Fan: Tiffany
Date of meeting: October 25th and 26th
Place: Plano, Tx
Event: Dallas Sci-Fi and Comic*Con

I’m actually very proud to have been at this Con. Long story short, my boyfriend and I had been planning (for months) to attend Dragon*Con in Atlanta, driving from Dallas all Friday night/Saturday morning. I’d made reservations at a Days Inn not even a mile down the road from the convention, and Alex (boyfriend) was preparing to “revamp” his car with AC and new windshield wipers.

Well, the parental units got wind of this about a week before the convention. The ultimatum was that I could go, but if I did, they wouldn’t pay for my current housing and tuition. (Is that blackmail, or am I just bitter?) Needless to say, we didn’t go.
I was actually so disappointed that I emailed K-Dawg ( Katherine ;} ) and wept about the whole loss. Her reply was that of sympathy and understanding; we emailed back and forth with info, comments, and ideas every now and then.

Not much later, Katherine emailed me with info about the Dallas Comic Con, and said she was glad to do so because of the “personal injury” I’d suffered earlier in August. And thus, the wait began. Two long weeks later, I managed to squirm my way out of working on Sunday (nabbing the later shift on Saturday so I could at least browse around until 2:00).

The whole experience was fun – then again, experience is what I live for. Alex and I met at the Nearby IHOP (a local hangout of ours/our friends and a good locale between our homes) and left one car in the parking lot, taking the other down President George Bush Turnpike (the highway from hell... slightly less evil than I-635) to Plano. We actually missed the street (Spring Creek Parkway) because the directions that MapQuest gave us told us to pass it for some dumb*ss reason. So, a few u-turns later, we arrived at the Plano Convention Center.

It wasn’t as grand an event as I’d expected. In fact, the whole center was really, really small. It’s amazing that they fit everyone inside the way they did.

In one gymnasium-sized room with a stage, they had a maze-like venue featuring hundreds of people selling table after table of stuff. (Comics. I’ve never seen so many comics. I didn’t even know there were that many in print, not to mention for sale!) There were a few artists selling their works right as they created them. There was a large collection of tables selling posters of random stuff – supposedly the vendors had banded together to attract more customers – at which I bought Alex a movie poster of Agent Smith, where he’s doing that cool side-look pose with what I think is a .40-cal. There were a couple of tables selling swords and knives and axes, but I’ve got my share of... “medieval weaponry.”

About an hour into our adventure, we decided to attend the screening of the new Star Wars: Clone Wars cartoon on Cartoon Network (of which I’ve skillfully managed to miss the first/past five episodes). Storm troopers surrounded the room; it was intimidating until they took off their helmets to let the sweat dry out. The film was just a brief showing of the first episode – a three minute montage of a prologue to the series – but, of course, the animation was very well done. All hail Genndy Tartakovsky. They had a few ticket drawings for a limited number of booklets that had some sketches in them. Alex and I were disappointed when the two f*cks on either side of us both won a copy, and we didn’t get sh*t.

(If you’re wondering why I bother to censor myself, it’s so others don’t. Besides, if you’ve ever heard me talk, you’d understand that censorship can be necessary while on the job or at home. After all, the word f*ck used six times in a sentence isn’t quite PG13.)
After the show, our stomachs took over; the primal urge to feed overwhelmed us. So we quested for the nearest food product. After a while of searching, all we could come up with was a hot dog. It wasn’t very good, but our stomachs didn’t give a sh*t. (Literally – quite some indigestion after that.)

Fed and motivated once again, we re-entered the maze of comics and swords and T-shirts and action figures. Stumbling around to the far (far, far, far) corner of the room, we discovered the autographing area, stars-aplenty. We looked for Brad, Jay, and Katherine at a table somewhere, but all we could find was a Delorean and a Leprechaun.
So I dragged Alex to Warwick Davis’ table. We waited in a line to get to the table, and once we got there, his agent (I assume) – who looked a helluvalot like Moby, minus the glasses – was almost sympathetic that we couldn’t afford an autograph. Alex didn’t do much except hold my orange Halloween sucker that was free at one of the other tables while I chatted with Warwick. His accent is very modern British, (one of those that sounds so cool and eclectic that you keep talking just to hear them talk back). Apparently there’s a Leprechaun 6 ahead; (I didn’t notice # 5...) As Alex and I were leaving, Warwick and I shook hands... I shook the Leprechaun’s hand! (Still my claim to fame to this day.)
By this time, we had to leave; I had work in an hour or so. Being the human compass that I am, going back the way we had come was no big deal. But the traffic was a real b*tch. Whoever the *sshole is that decided that I-35 could use a little facelift is the top name on my death list.

Sunday went a lot smoother. We took the other car, and traffic wasn’t nearly as homicidal on the Turnpike. The parking lot at the convention center was pretty dead, too; we actually managed to seize a spot two rows away from the entrance. When we first walked in, the only people we saw were a handful of black people dressed in Sunday best. For a moment we had this horrifying thought that they’d cancelled the second day of the convention, and all we were left with was a group of Baptists fresh from sermon. (“God help us,” as Alex so aptly put.)
But our fears were calmed when we got our tickets for the day, (another $20 bucks up in smoke), and swam through the maze of tables again. We were actually surprised to have found Brad’s table so soon. In fact, at one point, I was so jittery that Alex had to literally drag me over to the autograph area:

“We don’t really have to see him now -“

“Yes we do! You haven’t shut up about this for the past two weeks, so we’re going... over... there...”
“No, no – not yet – look! It’s an Agent Smith action figure! Don’t you... oh, goddamnit -”
I took the opportunity to remind myself to breathe while I introduced myself to Katherine. It was good to finally meet her. I nodded to Jay, seated to her right. And by the time my eyes had made it to Brad, I’d flushed redder than a cherry. (Always good of Alex to point it out, too.) So I timidly discussed with Alex which picture I should have autographed, trying to avoid any actual conversation with anyone for a while.

I don’t remember who broke the ice first – Katherine, Brad, Jay, or possibly myself – but the moment Brad spoke up, it reminded me that he was just another person. It also reminded me that I was interested in the kind of person he was.
And so the fun began.

Alex and I stayed around the table for about two hours (...I think...). Always ready to make a sailor blush, I’d been watching my tongue for a while. That is, until Brad got into his role as Chuky, quoting, “Just gimme a f*ckin’ knife! I’m in the mood...” Then the kid gloves were off. The seven of us – including Maresa and Roz, on occasion – discussed everything from Brad’s movies to religion to the guy who played Sauron (sp?) in the Lord of the Rings, who happened to be sitting at the table across the Delorean from us. It was great fun to have such open conversation with Brad – and Jay, also. I plagued Brad with autographs, asking him to sign a poster I’d made of his mugshot as Luther Lee Boggs and a picture of James Venamun (the Gemini Killer) that I purchased. I also asked him to sign a copy of a short story I’d written involving the Gemini Killer and gave him a separate copy of his own. All this he did with a smile and a joke on the side. Katherine is very correct in saying Brad’s a complete gentleman. Even under the weather and attempting to recuperate, Brad gladly posed for two pictures, one with just him and myself, and one for which Katherine joined us. I didn’t want to press my luck and ask him to pose for another one with Alex. (And I think Alex was thinking the same thing anyway.)

In response to all those rumors that Brad is 5', 4" tall: While I was standing next to Brad for a picture, Alex happened to exclaim, “Wow, babe – you’re short!” Everyone laughed. Brad added, “Yeah, she’s too short, man -” and proceeded to step away from me. “I can’t do this; she’s too short.” (That helped calm my nerves a bit more – to see that Brad had a sense of humor I could easily appreciate – and it was easier to put my arm around him for a photo.) Brad must be at least 5', 9" tall because I, myself, am 5', 3", and he easily towered over me.
Well we hung around the table for a while longer, all the while feeling kind of “in the way.” For the entire two weeks before the convention, I’d had one goal in-mind: I was determined to ask Brad Dourif – and his entourage – to dinner. And when the time came to ask, Brad’s famous words were, “Yeah, that’d be fine.” (As Katherine likes to say... *dies*)
But their flight was at 7:00 pm. By the time we were all leaving the convention center, it was 4:00 pm; there was no way they’d make it through DFW Airport in time if we went to dinner. Sadly, we were obliged to drop the idea. (Though Brad did say, “Maybe next time.” One can always hope.)

So as we were making our way to the parking lot, I took the opportunity then (instead of at dinner) to read Brad’s palm. I’m not going to divulge any personal info – that’s between the reader and the participant – but I will say that everything I observed was correct, except for something I had forgotten how to guage and guessed at anyway. In one of the steps, you ask the participant to flip you the bird (which determines how they interact with the rest of the world). Katherine, being the observant photographer that she is, managed to capture this lovely moment – right when Brad’s flipping me off – in a photograph. Thankfully, it’s not on the website; instead, I think there’s a picture that was taken immediately afterward (if that wasn’t the aforementioned photo, itself) of Brad with a closed fist, and me with a grin on my face.

Such mischief!

By then they only had a small window of time to haul serious *ss to DFW, so we parted ways. Alex and I said goodbye to Maresa on our way in the other direction to the car. (Everyone likes something in particular about Brad; Maresa said she likes him in a bowtie – from “Ragtime,” I believe.)

And thus, the adventure came to a close. Alex and I ate dinner together at the Olive Garden down the highway, sans Brad Dourif, Jay, and Katherine, all the while wishing they could have joined us.
It was good to experience Brad as a person, not a star. Sometimes I think people get a little overzealous about the actor/actress, musician, or artist that becomes the apple of their eye. And it doesn’t help that most celebrities encourage their reputation/image. Brad’s modesty and his honest, irreverent personality are something to be greatly appreciated, even admired. It is my belief that it’s who a person is that determines whether or not they are beautiful. In my eyes, Brad is quite a gem.