Convention Countdown

Tomorrow Gina, William, and I are heading south. This is my first extended time off work since Willie was unceremoniously ripped from Gina’s body, and I’m ready.

In the past I’ve made the mistake of opening my mouth around celebrities. Gina is the charming one, so it’s usually best if I hang onto her arm and let her work her magic. Just about all the happy memories I have of real connections with folks I admire are thanks to her. All the cringefestival trainwreck gutpunch nightmares that have me waking up in cold sweats at 3 am are thanks to my terrible overly-planned notions of what I thought would be funny.

“See, you push a robot in like, every episode. Well, every one with a robot.”

“Well,” said Frazer Hines, “I did push a Quark once.”

“No man it’s like all of them. Every time, and I was like, ‘Hey it’s time for Robot Tippin’ with Jamie McCrimmon.’ You should have t-shirts made, man.” I flailed around mimicking shoves to an invisible robot.

“Uh,” he said, “I need to go talk to someone over here.”

This was after I asked him what a drink ticket was. This motherfucker owns racehorses and some hayseed just asked him, “What you do with this ticket?” at a mixer that said hayseed paid for in advance knowing there would be drinks involved. I went to get a beer.

By the time I got back, Frazer Hines was chatting up my wife and I had it all figured out. Well, I had two things figured out. Frazer would much rather talk to the ladies, and I’d do better to let Gina sparkle and just observe and report instead of trying to perform around performers.

I really phoned this one in. Fake mustache, wrong beret. Frazer said I made a stunning Saddam Hussein.

We ended up spending most of our time that night with Richard Franklin and Wendy Padbury. Richard brought up politics, which amazingly did not go badly, and he ended up being the de facto host of the whole shindig. We talked about work, and from that point on he knew us as “Gina and Bob, the booksellers.” Gina made the real connections there, though, especially with Wendy, and it was wonderful how they palled around all weekend.

Andrew Cartmel caught me on my way out and expressed dismay at not getting the opportunity to spend more time with me. Me, BABY. We talked about bookselling for a couple of minutes and he invited me to stop by and see him the next day. I didn’t take him up on that because I was afraid I’d have to buy his $40 paperback. When I got back to work, I ended up tweeting to him about another new release of his, The Vinyl Detective: Written in Dead Wax. He replied, sparks flew, and we’ll be getting married in the spring.

So my charms do work, but only on a relatively small demographic.

I have a new plan that will surely widen my audience: I’m going to strap Willie to my chest. Yes, I became a father just so I could use a super cute kid as celebrity bait. Nothing can go wrong with this strategy.

I’ll have on my brand new, getting-much-closer-to-screen-accurate Brigadier costume, and Willie is going to be Baby Benton from the Third Doctor story, The Time Monster. “We” (meaning “Gina”) took some artistic liberty and made him a baby UNIT outfit since Sergeant Benton just wears a diaper in the episode and that’s not a costume, that’s neglect. I even have a UNIT button on the front of his carrier. It’s going to be amazing.

Gina spent the last couple of months making Sarah Jane Smith’s Andy Pandy outfit from scratch while wrestling with a growing infant. That’s right up there with summiting Everest in my book. I also realize this jumble of names and words probably means nothing to 95 percent of the population, but believe me, this shit is important to Whovians.

This is a large convention, so I don’t expect anything as intimate as what I’ve just described to occur. We’re going to WhoFest 4 next month, which will be a small weekend hotel hangout, but FanExpo is more like riding Space Mountain. You spend hundreds of dollars and stand in line for hours for mere seconds of thrill, but some of those memories last a lifetime, which is what keeps us going back. There are also weird moments, like the time I poured my heart out to Rob Schneider about watching SNL with Dad and he seemed to really get it. Then, Rob and Gina eloped.

So happy together.

This brings up an important point, though. I am easily cropped out of every photo we’ve ever taken with a celebrity. Gina looks like she belongs there. It usually looks like the actor showed up for a photo with her.

Willie is my secret weapon. I’m going to be all up in that photo op now. I don’t care if Alex Kingston and Catherine Tate are going goo goo ga ga over him, he’s strapped to me. We’re Master Blaster. Quaid, start the reactor. We’re a team, baby, and I’m going to get me some love.

If all else fails, I’ll ditch the fam and run away with John Barrowman. No one can resist a man in uniform.

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