All the Whelms

All the Whelms

I’m unpacking and finishing up the last of the laundry from the trip, and I wish to chronicle a bit of my adventures from the past week.

Disneyland was as it always was, a bit of a homecoming. Lots of construction made navigation of the park more difficult than years past, but serviceable. I know which things I wanted to experience and I managed to do all the things. California Adventure had great people-watching, as they were in the middle of Lunar New Year celebrations and the park seemed filled with Chinese tour groups on vacation for the biggest holiday of the year. It felt bizarre, sitting on one of the benches in front of the pier, listening to Chinese music (both traditional and pop) and seeing how…global this whole thing was. Capitalism strikes again, but it was so interesting. Go figure.

I had planned our Disney trip for Monday/Tuesday, as weekdays were supposed to be less crowded. Little did I know that the kids had the day off from school on Monday, so the parks were more crowded than usual. We tried to get on the Indiana Jones ride, got to the stairs right before loading, and then had to leave the ride. Indy’s always prone to breaking down, but with the influx of guests, the breakdowns were much more prevalent. After we left, it started to rain(???!!!) so we left Disneyland and walked the 2 blocks to our hotel room.

Gally is always like a homecoming as well. After helping with setting up the drapes in the main hall for the past few years, Jeff & I have gotten to know a bunch of the folks who actually make the con happen for the past 20+ years. It was great to catch up with them in a venue that wasn’t just Facebook. But the con itself was filled with ups and downs, and, privy as I am to the inner workings of said con, it was like the old saw about a swan in water, serene above the surface, but paddling furiously below. That the con *seems* smoothly run is testament to the hard work of all the folks who run it, FOR FREE, FOR THE LOVE OF DOCTOR WHO AND THE FANDOM SURROUNDING IT.

Anyway, this year I didn’t want to tax myself with trying to see too many things. Sat in a group of panels from Friday and Saturday. The Camille Courduri/Jemma Redgrave This or That was a particular favorite of mine. Rapid fire Q&A, and when Camille was asked her fave version of the Sonic Screwdriver, to which she replied “The one I keep in a drawer next to my bed,” which killed most of the audience, including me. Camille scolded all of us for having dirty minds. “Smutty Gally!”

Also, Jemma Redgrave’s laugh is a gift to the world.

Then there was the Steven Moffat one-on-one where I think he was ready to defend himself from haters. Not 2 hours before the panel, I was in the dealers’ room and spotted a cosplayer dressed like Moffat with a sign on the back reading “I’m Steven Moffat. Kick me.” I don’t condone violence against anyone, not even TV showrunners. So that was…bizarre.

Say what you will about his run, I did appreciate Moffat’s absolute candor during his panel. It was candid and raw and I think he did a decent job of defending himself against accusations of “all your female characters are the same” and misogyny. To which, he stated (this is not an exact quote, I think, but I hope I got the gist) “Misogyny is a genuine tool for evil in this world and you voted it into the White House.” There are valid points to criticism of his writing (hell, I didn’t like everything he did either) but he defended himself well and accepted that he did make some mistakes. There was also a fan who brought up mischaracterization of the First Doctor (”make the tea”, “smacked bottom”, etc.) but Moffat pointed out that the Doctor was absolutely a product of his time, those lines came directly from the First Doctor serials, and the whole point of that scene was as a commentary,on how far the character has come since then. (I mean, even in The Five Doctors, One told Tegan to make some refreshments and she’s all like no fucking way and Fivey told her to “humor him.” What I’m saying is that it was already an awkward thing in the ‘80s and Fivey was already a little embarassed!)

From what I’d seen, Moffat spent loads of time hanging out at the hotel bar and speaking with fans the entire weekend. He absolutely wanted to interact, and I’m hoping he had a decent experience.

Sunday was a mixed bag for me. Lack of sleep finally caught up with me and I woke with the worst migraine I’d had in perhaps a few decades. Took my meds and decided to take it easy for the rest of the day. No panels, just a final sweep through the dealers’ room, and mostly just hanging out in my hotel room sitting on the balcony and peoplewatching. I was in a strange headspace by Sunday afternoon. I’d cried in the shower. I still don’t really know why. Probably a mix of fatigue and sadness that my week away was nearly over. So i missed the Gallifrey Waits No More, which was, by all accounts I’d read afterwards, an incredible and neccessary panel on the Me Too movement as it pertained to many of this year’s female guests. I hope that more cons are brave enough to do this, and that the momentum for this never stops.

I’m back home now, nursing post-con blues, while Jeff, I think, has caught a terrible version of con crud. Next Gally will be incredible.

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