And we’re back! First let me say that our trip to California was a whirlwind of FUN. The kids had an amazing time and are officially sci-fi convention addicts. They want to go to next year’s convention AND want to have a full range of cosplay stuff in their suitcase when we go.
Wednesday: We drove to my sister’s house in NoVA to spend the night. It was a long drive, so we got there very late, but got to enjoy breakfast with the family and the kids got a little bit of cousin time.
Thursday: My sister drove us to the airport where my kids got to experience a lot of firsts. The most notable was their first time on a plane. We flew Virgin America and enjoyed a non-stop flight. On the way west, CB sat in the window seat and CG sat in the aisle, while I sat in the middle. When we boarded the plane they were fascinated by everything they saw. The window shade, the tray tables, the TVs for each seat, the remote controls, the lighting on the plane (shades of purple and teal). It was all oohs and ahhs for them. Once we took off they enjoyed looking out the window at the cities below, then the clouds below, then the lights below as we finally arrived in Los Angeles.
We landed at 8 p.m. PST, which was 11 p.m. EST, so their energy flagged as we sat on the shuttle bus to the hotel, stuck in heavy traffic. However, once we checked in they perked up and we immediately headed over to the Gallifrey One convention location (two doors down from our hotel) where we picked up our badge sand attended the opening ice cream social. We hung out for about an hour, were able to meet up for a few minutes with my friend Cassie, At that point we were all exhausted so we schlepped back to the hotel to get a good night’s sleep.
Friday: Up and at ’em! The Doctor Who convention was FUN. So many people in great cosplay outfits – from Doctors to companions to villains to robots. The convention had a good mix of activities. Besides the discussion panels (which ran all day for three days), they also had a dealers room, a video room (showing episodes of Doctor Who and Torchwood all day and night), a game room (with 100s of board games to play), photo ops with actors as well as autograph lines with the same. Not only that, but the non-official activity of the con was collecting ribbons. People would randomly hand out ribbons. Wearing a fez? Here’s a ribbon about the 11th Doctor. Carrying a sonic screwdriver? Here’s a ribbon about assembling a cabinet. Ribbon after ribbon with quotes from episodes, or funny sayings about the show or a character. The kids became enamoured with collecting as many as they could. We realized quickly that people liked to TRADE ribbons, and we had none to trade. But fortunately they were still each about to get about 30 ribbons during the weekend, which was not bad for first timers. We’ve decided that if we go next year we’ll take four sets of 250 ribbons each, with different sayings on them. And then trade, trade, trade.
Saturday: The programming on Saturday was a highlight. CB was able to secure John Barrowman’s autograph – and he had VERY nice things to say to CB about his name (which CB doesn’t like and merely puts up with). Then not 45 minutes later CB got his photo op with Barrowman – and it ended up being a GREAT picture. I also attended the Barrowman discussion panel which was hilarious and so great – he’s naturally funny and basically just performed for us under the guise of taking audience questions. My face hurt when it ended after an hour. Another highlight was a program called the "Timey Wimey Puppet Show" – a thoroughly entertaining all-ages puppet show that was probably our favorite panel of the entire convention. Saturday night for a brief moment I saw my old friend Nick, who I hadn’t seen since my wedding in 1997. Sadly, that was our only conversation as we were never able to meet up again to catch up on 17+ years.
Sunday: we opted to skip the convention activities on Sunday and instead chilled at the hotel before picking up a rental car and zooming up to the Santa Monica Pier for a few hours, followed by a trek to see the Hollywood sign. Then we came back to the hotel, and went to bed early since we had an early flight in the morning and needed to be on the shuttle to the airport by 5:30 a.m.
Monday: we landed in Dulles Airport to SNOW SNOW SNOW. In the end, once I confirmed that Charlotte had more ice than snow, and that school was cancelled, we opted to stay put for the night and drive home Tuesday. So the kids had more cousin time before we watched a movie and then headed to bed.
Tuesday: up and out by 10 a.m. By that point the roads were completely clear and we had smooth sailing driving home to SC. Upon arriving home, Dobby the Dog was so happy to see me after almost a week that when I sat down in a chair he didn’t just jump on my lap, but he crawled up my chest to basically sit ON MY NECK AND HEAD in an effort to get close to me. Let me remind you – he’s a 50 pound dog.
It was great to be home again, and the kids were thrilled when it was announced that school was delayed by 2 hours on Wednesday due to snow.
All in all it was a really great trip and I really do think we may try to do it again next year. the other Doctor Who convention that looked interesting was the one that takes place every November in Long Island. I told Denis that that convention has potential if only because it’s near his family so we could make it a family trip for all four of us.