But I'm getting ahead of myself. First up at the con was James' Q&A.
I was clever and recorded some of it. I was even more clever and put the combined clips on YouTube. It starts with a woman trying to embarrass James. Don't blame her. James asks fans to try to embarrass him with their questions. So she asked him to sing the female part of one of the Once More With Feeling songs. He replied that he can't even remember his own part. lol But he sings the original Star Trek theme song in a lovely falsetto for her instead. And that's where the video begins. Oh my gosh, it's gloriously awful. YOU'VE BEEN WARNED. :-D
Da Q&A, or parts thereof.
OK, I'll say it. I think he's so adorable.
He seemed to really be enjoying himself. :-D
This con banner was so purty I had to get a shot of it. James signed it on the way out of the Q&A.
Another Q&A I went to, especially to see Sam Witwer from Being Human.
Out in the lobby. I died and am ded from the adorable.
Anyway! Right after the Q&A were the photo ops. I decided to get one. One reason being that it's probably the last time I'll be in a position to get one. But also? I wanted to try an experiment. You see, there's been This Thing in the fandom for the past year, where James decided months ago that he wouldn't hug fans anymore during photo ops. He said his wife didn't want him to. OK, I can respect that. He's honoring his wife's wishes. Happy wife, happy life. ;-D But then later last year, he did a con in Paris, and was seen hugging in photo ops. A lot. Ah. Well. Huh. Curious. Truth be told, some fans were pissed off that they had been denied huggy photo ops, but then he was handing them out like whoa in Paris. I personally wasn't upset. Although a huggy photo op is very nice, the side-by-side pose is my favorite anyway, it being the most natural. (And if you're doing something as inherently ridiculous as a photo op, why not try to at least fake a natural pose? lol That's my thought on them, anyway.) But here at the Grand Slam con, I was going to test the waters. Would he hug us even if we weren't French? Or would he revert to his hugging is a big no-no stance?
Here's how it went:
James: [Smiles real big. We shake hands.] Hello! Great to see you!
Me: Hi James! Are you doing huggy photo ops today?
James: [Raises both shoulders, with sheepish, adorable grin.] I'm sorry, I'm not doing them anymore. [We pose side by side. Avoiding anything that might be interpreted as a hug. We separate.]
Me: [The experiment, it is not over. Would he hug if there's no photographic proof? ;-D] How about a hug after the photo op?
James: [Again, his head sinks into his shoulders, and he smiles sheepishly. He feels bad about this.] I'm sorry, I just can't.
Me: [I am a bad, bad, fan. Hence:] Well, you were hugging in Paris. [Smiles.]
James: [Still smiling big, although at this point, I wouldn't have blamed him if he told me to go harass Patrick Stewart instead.]
Me: [Seeing the irony that right now, he probably could actually use a hug, I smile and pat him on the arm.] It's OK, James. No worries.
Taken with my cell moments later.
Alrighty then, I think it's pretty clear from my experiment that unless you're French, you ain't getting no hugs from James. *shrugs* I think it's fair. :-D
Haha I had a little fun there, and my curiosity was satisfied. And James once again survived an encounter with me. But seriously, James has every right to say yes, no, yes, no, yes, no (kind of like that scene in Torchwood haha) to hugs or other kinds of photo op poses, as much as he wants. He's in control, and that's the way it should be, and I totally respect that. Totally. And if he says yes again later this year, that's his prerogative too. However, maybe since I brought it up to him, he might be more aware that fans do notice if he's inconsistent. And maybe he'll extrapolate that some of his fans do get upset about it.
Just as a sidebar, allow me to tell about the first time I saw James at a con. In fact, the first time meeting him. It was 10 years ago, at a Grand Slam in Pasadena. I was sooo nervous. I walked up to him, not knowing what to do or expect. I considered running for the nearest exit (no, really.) I didn't say a word and just kind of stood there, and he immediately opened his arms wide and enveloped me in a big hug. I wonder if he knew how much I needed that. lol A simple hug that said to me that maybe I wasn't too freakish, because look, he's hugging even me. At another con a few months later, he did the same huggy thing. And I said, "You give good hug." He said, "I'm a huggy person. I love to hug people."
That first photo op and first time meeting James. I have no idea why I'm cut out of it. ;) Such a good memory.
But back to this con! Next up was autographs.
Oddly enough, even after the photo op with me, James was still smiling and as friendly as ever. :-D I however was kind of bummed that my guitar's headstock had met the cement sidewalk just ten minutes earlier. Just cosmetic damage that should be easy enough to fix. But still.
I put my guitar in front of James.
James: Hey Becky, what do you have there?
Me: My guitar, which I've just dropped on the ground.
James: How long have you been playing?
Me: Since November.
James: [Starts to sign.] A piece of advice.
Me: [It's noisy in there.] I'm sorry?
James: A piece of advice. [Finishes signing, "To Becky, Rock it! James Marsters."]
James: String this guitar with extra light strings. But buy the 12 string guitar pack. And string with the big strings of the 12-string guitar pack, and you'll get the lightest strings possible. It won't mash your fingers up, and you'll be able to play longer. And you'll have more fun out of it, especially if you're just starting out.
Me: So what gauge are they? Like 11 or something?
James: Well, there's medium, there's light, there's extra light. And I buy extra light 12 string guitar. And just throw away 6 of them.
James: Yeah, and it really saves your fingers
Me: Excellent! Um, is there any chance you could play a little bit?
James: You know, I cut the crap out of my finger, and I'm playing next week. [Plays a little and stops.] Becky, I almost got stitches here, and I really have to make sure I don't open this up.
Me: [Yikes, poor dude.] I understand, James. [Ready to take the guitar back, but then he starts playing again, smiles, and hands it back to me.]
Me: Thank you.
First of all, what really thoughtful advice! I love learning guitar, but dude, PAINFUL on the digits. I'm going to take James' advice about the strings. I had no idea about his hurt finger beforehand or I wouldn't have asked him to play. Still, it was extremely nice of him to try a bit. It was fun hearing such sweet sounds coming from my guitar. The sounds I make aren't quite that sweet yet. ;)
At this point, I have a second item for him to autograph. Or something. ;-D
Me: [I hand him a paper with the Over Now lyrics on it.] This is kind of strange, and I don't know if it's going to work, but I was hoping you could write down a few of the chords for me. I'd really like to learn to play it on my guitar.
James: [Hesitates.] I can't really do that because I don't really know all the names of the chords, I just play them. [But! He has an idea. He takes my guitar back and starts to show me. Looks at my camera.] Yeah, record this. [Plays the first few chords, explaining each one, and shows where each one goes.]
Again, what an extremely nice thing for him to do, especially with his hurt finger. And he was so happy to help me learn it. *loves* Sadly, when I got home, I found out the camera hadn't recorded it. The camera was on and it did record up until then, but no video recording of that particular part. *sad face* I think what happened is I inadvertently pushed the record on/off button which is located directly next to the thumb rest. Kinda bad camera design there. Bugger. But luckily my friend seapealsh — was there and watched the whole thing, and was able to replicate what he had played on my guitar. So in a few days she's going to show me what James showed me. Yay seapealsh — ! And who knows, maybe I'll ask James for a re-do at some point. I could have showed up the next day for one, and this time really record it haha, but I just couldn't, knowing of his hurt finger. But maybe someday.
So that's my festive con experience! James, gotta love him. Yes, I do.
Thanks to oanimation — and seapealsh — for being such fun and awesome con companions! You two rock like two rocking things! xoxo