FanExpo AAR ( For KC and Chris)
So for the first time in 11 years, we didn’t do dragoncon. This wasn’t an easy decision but then, it sort of was when the idea came of doing a “grand tour” of europe with the small kid, and satiating my miserably intense homesickness for Amsterdam.
After being away for 6 years, it’s time to go back. My heart truly resides there, and I miss it. Not even all it’s libertine ways, but the canals, and the houses and the cozy feeling (gezelligheid) and here I go, waxing poetic.
So I dropped the hammer, if I gave up dragoncon for a year, we’d do this, because I wasn’t going to drop con, and NOT get something else for it.
We opted to get our geek on close to home at Fan Expo, the upstart co-booked event to Dragoncon. Several years ago, Fan ex was the weekend BEFORE dragoncon, and events transpired to move it in to opposition. That often means we get the celebs for two days, then Dcon does, or vice versa.
Friday afternoon was opening day and deluxe/vip badge holders got front line access to see the vendors before it opened to general admission badges at 4. This IS one of the perks of fan ex, the deluxe level. You get a separate lounge at both North and South buildings of the Metro Toronto Convention Center ( hereforth known as MTCC.)
We browsed, and then I found a cozy lounge chair to await Stirling for his last day of pre-k and our photo op with John Barrowman. We had one for James Marsters but things came up. Next time…. I’d never in my life done a photo op, either. Too many tales of issues with Froggys Photos at Dragoncon. But Epic does it well. We were in line and John hopped out fueled by sheer joy. He chatted up the waiting line and then spotted Stirling. “What’s YOUR name?” STIRLING?! Well, this is right after John’s own scottish heart. So they had a wee chat. And we got a fantastic if lightning fast pic, and by the time we’d walked out of the staging area the pic was in our hands and the jpeg in the inbox. It all feels a BIT assembly line but not bad either. We got the photo signed. John leaned over “can Stirling have chocolate?” and dashed off, to return with a chocolate dalek.
We were exhausted and crawled home. St Andrew Station to College maybe a 10 min walk and 10 min train and I THINK I went for food for us but honestly I don’t recall.
Saturday: We hit the con early. MTCC isn’t well situated for access, given construction and a love of 80’s brutalist architecture. We spent most of the day, and I caught Barrowman’s Q and A, which was well run and he’s funny and sweet and racy and charming and it was just full of hilarity. He seems to thrive on generating positive energy and attention from people unlike actors who just want attention. There’s a difference.  I’ve heard some people grouse about him but I think even his missteps come from accidental and not malicious. Basically he’s a giant goofball. It’s good with me.
Stlrling found the kids lounge ( another point for Fanexpo) and was entertained by the Turning Mecar ( mech -car) toys, a korean transformers thing that was in force that weekend, and crafts table and dalek by the Dr Who Society of Canada. ( Kudos here they did a fantastic job). It’s nice to see the wee geeklings welcomed into the fold. We all dressed as adventure time characters ( dad: jake, kid: finn, me: Marceline). We live next to a hotel and more than a few of our own building’s residents were attending too. Geek does run in this town.
We caught a panel on 3d printing, whereupon Stirling shushed his dad. Kid knows how to con. I went home early, suffering the side effect of a major meds change and a racketing headache. MTCC is HUGE. like, sprawling huge. It compares to Dragoncon in size ( honest)
I tried to catch another panel but there was a schedule error and I was tired of the rather frustrating crowds of the MTCC so I left early.
Sunday: I skipped. The boys headed off and I worked on a short story at home. I’d had “enough” and that’s to say I missed the key part of my con, socializing with friends.
Fanexpo’s nice…but it’s not home.
For reasons of bizarre politicking, I’ll never be on the horror track ( there’s 6 tracks or so), and so it feels less participatory and that’s what I love about dragoncon. The camaraderie, the shmoozing. Fan expo lacks that spark for me. I had fun, but it was…I’ve done the best and I guess my standards are high.:D

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