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Stellar Occasion 4

Friday | Saturday | Sunday | Afterthoughts

Friday, August 1st, 1997

2:00 pm

Although the con runs from Friday through Sunday, usually the guests arrive Friday, and don't start mingling with the fans until Saturday. I went ahead and went Friday just so I could get a 3-day pass, and wouldn't have to put up with the lines on Saturday.

After getting my pass, there was a notice: Mira Furlan would sign at 3pm. What luck! Mira had arrived early, and would be doing a quick autograph session! The lines were short, and what few people could make it to the con on Friday got to see Mira and get her autograph! You know, Mira wears a perpetual smile... and when she smiles, her whole face smiles with her!

5:00 - 7:00 pm

Ben Bova was there, too, on Friday, and was equally easy to talk with. (Yes, this is the Ben Bova that Peter David named "Bova" and his father "Benn" after.) I talked with Mr. Bova about Peter David's creations, as it seems that Mr. Bova was only slightly familiar with the fact that a character had been named after him. He didn't know about Space Cases, so I let him know all about it! ;) Then, Ben Bova and Thomas K. Martin hosted a panel on "Mars: Is Fiction Better Than Fact? Where Next?" Opinions and thoughts from the folks who write about the ideas, and the people who read those ideas. Very thought provoking! :)

8:00 - 9:30 pm

The opening ceremony for the con was neat, albeit a little on the hokey side. The Prometheus Stunt Team, who apparently do stunts for various tv shows as well, showed off their talents at pyrotechnics and fights scenes. Quite impressive! There was also a ballet, a folk song, and a dance routine... all for the guests and fans! Peter David hadn't yet arrived... in fact, his plane wasn't due to land until 10:30 pm.

10:00 - 11:15 pm

The celtic-folk-humorous musical group RAVENS played a concert, and it was great! Their songs are indeed quite entertaining, and I'd recommend them to anyone that likes good music and good, silly fun!

Saturday, August 2nd, 1997

This day is very special to me! It was my birthday! And after having chatted with Peter David so often on the Internet, I was finally going to get a chance to meet him! On my *birthday* no less! What a fantastic birthday gift!

10:00 - 11:00 am

Peter David gave a panel on... whatever he wanted! As it turns out, he read a really neat story about "Skippy: The Jedi Droid". At the beginning of the presentation, Peter happened upon a young girl in the audience, Michelle, and, with the parents permission, placed Michelle on the stage. Peter's plan was to read the story aloud to everyone, but to kind of read it to Michelle in particular. (at least, thats the impression I got. :) Michelle was about 3 or 4 years old, I'd guess... and almost stole the show by just running around the stage while Peter was telling the story. It was quite a hoot! hehehe "It's no skin off my nose.", said Peter while Michelle was running around on stage. "I've been upstaged by my six-year-old on many occasions!" The story, and Peter's impression of Luke Skywalker, were VERY entertaining!

After the story, Peter showed the first and second season Space Cases blooper reels! Finally, I got to see Rebecca Herbst kiss Rahi Azizi full on the lips, and Rahi's reaction! Hilarious!

11:00 am - 12:00 pm

After getting Mira Furlan and Ben Bova's autographs the previous day, all I had on my list was finally getting a chance to introduce myself to Peter David. In the hallway, Mira, Thomas K. Martin, and Peter were signing. I went to the hallway... and became decidedly very unhappy.

Usually, in an autograph session, it is a first-come, first-serve line. You get in line, and wait your turn, and get your autograph. This has always worked fine for me.

This time, however, the folks running the con handed out numbered tickets. That way, you could walk into the dealer's room, checking out all that they had to sell, and you didn't have to wait in line. Every few minutes, someone would walk into the dealer's room and say something like "we're now allowing ticket numbers 9000 - 9030 to get autographs."

Now, this is fine. It's a good idea, but they apparently didn't plan it very well. I was one of the first 20 or 30 people to walk up and get a ticket, and right after the guy in front of me (Ed Dravecky) got a ticket, I got the next one. MY ticket was 80 or 90 digits HIGHER than Ed's!!! Since people were going in groups of 30 at a time to get autographs, I ended up being in the FIFTH group! (Ed was in the 2nd, I think.) Ed got his autograph, but they never got any further than the 3rd group. Then they said that, if you still wanted an autograph, you'd need to come back at 3:00 pm and get a NEW TICKET. The thing is, Peter wasn't signing again until 5:00pm!! Argh!

However, I caught Peter as he was leaving the autograph table, and introduced myself. We shook hands and said "hello" to each other. Peter was in a hurry, however, to go see Mira Furlan speak in her panel.

12:00 - 1:00 pm

Mira Furlan spoke, and talked about all kinds of things. The one thing she did make a point on was the fact that she didn't like driving. She thought it was really funny, because on Babylon 5, she's "driving" the White Star spaceship. hehehe

2:15 - 3:30 pm

Wandered around the hotel, checking out some places. Generally, wasting time.

Finally, I went back to the dealer's room (at the insistance of my friend, Curt, who was with me on this particular day).

It was in the dealer's room that I bumped into Peter David. We chatted briefly about things, and he graciously offered to sign my ST: New Frontier #1 book! Thanks Peter!

4:00 - 5:00 pm

Prometheus, the stunt team that showed their stuff on Friday night, took questions and gave answers about stunts, and the effects that they put together.

5:00 - 6:00 pm

Peter David gave his second, and final, panel of the day and weekend. This time, he started the presentation by showing the first season Space Cases blooper reel. He followed it up with the story of "The Archetype", and finished his presentation with the second season blooper reel. This time, however, there was nobody on stage except Peter. hehehe Peter also went over "The Bear" story... again. (The "Bear" story is the story behind what occurs in, first, the Babylon 5 episode "There All the Honor Lies", and then in the Space Cases episode "Who Goes Where?" Poor Peter.. if he had a dollar for every time someone asked about "The Bear" story, I'd guess he'd have enough money to fund another season of Space Cases by himself!)

6:00 pm -

I wanted to stay SO badly... there was still the costume contest, and then some dancing! Unfortunately, during the last 24 hous I'd only had about 3 hours of sleep, and it was beginning to catch up to me in a hurry. Try as I might, I *had* to go home. If there was only some way I could have stayed, but, alas, it was not to be. :(

Still, there was one more day to go, and I was going to be rested up for it, by golly!

Sunday, August 3rd, 1997

1:00 - 2:00 pm

Although I had all the autographs I needed, I still wanted to get a picture of Ben Bova and Peter David together. Unfortunately, that didn't happen. (They were not seated next to each other, and Mr. Bova departed immediately after 2pm)

However, I had a chance to talk to Peter, when he wasn't signing autographs, at the autograph table. We didn't talk about much... mostly small talk. (Lets face it: with the exception of Space Cases, what else is there to really talk about without knowing what the other person's interests are?) It might have been small talk, but I still took great delight in just chatting. It was refreshing to meet a guest that didn't mind talking a bit. :)

2:00 - 3:00 pm

Mira Furlan had her second, and final, panel for the weekend. This was mostly a q-and-a session with the audience. No particular questions or answers pop to mind... it was just nice to watch Mira answer questions, and smile. (Oh! That smile! Wow! She can light up a darkroom with that smile! hehehe)

3:00 - 4:30 pm

Peter David and Steven Sears (scriptwriter on "Xena: Warrior Princess") held a panel on Scriptwriting. This panel was actually supposed to last for only one hour, but the conversation was so appealing, that I think Peter got caught up in it. (Peter was supposed to be attending a panel at 4pm called "What If Roswell Really Happened?") You should have seen Peter's reaction when the con-folks came in and told him what he was missing! Oh! Talk about a picture being worth a thousand words! hehehe

Still, the stories that Sears and David exchanged with each other, and the audience, was fantastic! Both seemed to agree that writing was best left to ... here is a shocker ... writers. (As opposed to executives that *think* they know what is best for a show... a good example of this would be the second season episode "All You Can Eaty". An episode that, some have punned, "sucked from beginning to end". [referring to the vacuum that they used on the ship. They used the vacuum at the beginning of the show, and the end of the show, proving that the show really did suck from one end to the other.])

One thing that did come up was when Sears was talking about being picked up at the airport on Friday night and being brought to the hotel. "They picked up Mira and I at the airport, and..."

It was here that Peter interrupted. "Oh, sure, they picked YOU up!"

Let me explain...

A week before the convention got started, the computer that the con-folks were using to hold the information on schedules, flight lists, and other info, ATE the information. It got totally trashed. They had to rebuild all the data in a week. Many people will agree whole-heartedly with this, since schedules were not even ready on Friday. In fact, the book that they sold at the con, with information about all the guests, wasn't even completely ready. The book I got, for instance, doesn't have a picture of Peter David in it, although it does have his background information. Other books, that were ready on Saturday, DO have his picture in it.

In all the confusion, Peter David got left at the airport on Friday nite. He ended up renting a car, and driving himself to the hotel.

Still, the con-folks reimbursed him for his troubles. When I asked Peter about this on Monday, I said "I can't believe that they messed up picking you up at the airport!"

"It happens," Peter said. "What can you do?"

All I know is, if it doesn't bother Peter, then that's fine by me. :) (Still, if it happens again Peter, just give me a call... if you're going to run about in Dallas, after all, you need to be in a truck! hehehe)

4:30 - 5:00 pm

While Peter went to the last of the "Roswell" panel, I stayed outside in the hallway. The panel was half over, and the only thing remaining on my mind was that I wanted to say "bye" to Peter before he had to go back home.

5:00 pm -

The "Roswell" panel was letting out, and I was waiting for Peter so I could say "Thanks!".

About that time, Mira Furlan walked by in the hallway. "Does anyone know where I can find Peter David?" The few of us that were still in the hallway pointed toward the room that Peter was still in.

I walked into the room, since I figured Peter and Mira had something they wanted to talk about, so I could make a quick "thanks" and let everyone get about their business of getting home. As I walked in, Mira and Peter were walking out. Peter bumped into me, and, since it was kind of crowded in the room, and Peter definitely showed signs of wanting to talk to Mira, I pointed towards the exit.

Once back in the hallway, and making our way towards the elevator, Peter turned to Mira and said "Mira, this is Robert Rhodes. He runs the Space Cases website."

Well, now, that pretty much floored me. I can't recall who said what next... the best I can recall, Mira said "Hi", and I said "Hello"... and that's all I can remember. (Peter, that was *very* nice! Thanks!)

I thanked Peter David for his patience in allowing me to basically annoy him for almost two solid days. We shook hands, and departed. Mira and Peter stood in the elevator, and I waved to them both as the elevator doors closed.


First impressions are very important in life. You can chat with people day in and day out on the Internet... but until you get a chance to walk up to them, and *talk* to them, you will never really know anything about them.

I still don't claim to KNOW Peter David... but I definitely feel that I have a better understanding of the guy. He's definitely one of those people I'd recommend going to see at a convention, if you get the chance.

I'd hope that I made a good impression on Mr. David. My opinion is that I came across as a bit pushy during the weekend. The problem was I wanted to hear everything he had to say, and, if I had to do it again, I think I would LISTEN more than I would TALK.

If I had to pass only one piece of advice onto you, it would be just one thing... and take it from someone who knows from personal experience:

Never ask about "The Bear."

This page was last updated on August 6, 1997.