Gallifrey One and Balancing Priorities

Gally was a GREAT time this year, as always!

Gally was a GREAT time this year, as always!

Much as I’d love to write a whole, long, in-depth post about what a wonderful, life-affirming time I had at this year’s Gallifrey One convention, I simply don’t have it in me. And that fact is what I’m here to write about.

I knew, going into the month before the convention, that I wasn’t going to be able to throw myself in as wholly as I have done many years. When possible, I like to speak on panels, attend meetups, and even do the occasional on-stage interview with a guest. This year it was not possible.

As I’ve alluded to recently, I’ve been working on getting my mental health under control. I haven’t reached a real crisis point, and I’m determined to do everything I can to make certain that I do not. Late last year I started on anti-anxiety/antidepressant medication for the first time in over a decade. If you’ve gone through this process, you know it’s not usually an easy thing. Finding the right medication is difficult and can require some trial and error. Finding the right dosage of the correct medication(s) is yet another wrinkle. It can be a long and drawn-out process, but if you need the chemical assistance to keep you going, it is well worth the time and effort. I know it has been for me.

Anyway, having just switched to a different med several weeks before Gally, I decided I’d kinda take a back-seat convention-wise, and that was absolutely the right thing to do. I was already committed to doing a Verity! meetup (it would have taken something truly serious to get me to back out on that!) and the live Verity! In Defense Of panel (something that requires very little effort on my part). So no problems there.

The one other item I decided was worth doing was being a guest on a live one-off episode of Paul Cornell’s Cornell Collective podcast. It was late on Friday night, and there was a moderate amount of booze involved (enough to have fun, not enough to adversely react with my meds). It went spendidly! This one was fairly easy to say yes to because there were few logistics involved–all I had to do was show up and answer questions into a microphone. I did those things and had a wonderful time doing them! (That podcast should drop in the Cornell Collective feed soon (if it’s not there already)!

And, of course, I spent lots and lots of time hanging out with friends and fans and catching up with many many people I care about and many people I now care about after meeting them last weekend. I love how my Gally family grows a bit each year.

I feel like this Gally was a huge success. Maybe not in the same flashy-in-the-spotlight way some previous ones have, but in a really fundamental, mental-health-supporting, I-had-a-great-time way.

I hope to take this lesson and build on it in real life. I have a tendency to say yes to everything and over-schedule myself. I’m going to work to do that less, and to be sure that the things I do schedule for myself are the things that will take less prep-work and will leave me feeling good about the time spent doing them. (And with enough mental “gas” in the tank so that I can devote myself to my day job–which I am genuinely passionate about.)

This might mean fewer podcast appearances talking about things that are new-to-me (or that require rewatching/re-reading), but for now, I think that’s for the best. This also might mean more hanging-out-in-person with friends to simply sit and absorb something fun. My friend Annette has taken me under her wing and is teaching me about the joys of regency romance and the world of televised/movieised Jane Austen. (She also has four cats, which provide a lovely stress-relief service when it comes to cuddling and petting.) Oh, and Steven is showing both Annette and me the British classic(?) show Robin of Sherwood. So yeah there are plenty of things I can do to keep myself on an even keel without expending too much effort.

So I apologize for a lack of my usual in-depth convention travelogue, but this is me setting priorities too. It was more important for me to share a bit about where I’m at than to crow about where I was last weekend. But just to give you a bit of a taste of my Gally afterglow, here are a few post-con tweets. (And don’t forget to check out the #gally1 hashtag for more of the shenanigans that happened all weekend long!)

 

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Continuing Fun from Chicago TARDIS

I had a lovely time at this year’s Chicago TARDIS. This is the fourth in a series of posts detailing why!

Sunday was a jam-packed full day. After the Verity! live show, the next excitement was seeing Steven on stage yet again. He interviewed a panel of five companions: Lisa Greenwood (Flip from Big Finish), Louise Jameson (Leela), Wendy Padbury (Zoe), Deborah Watling (Victoria), and Anneke Wills.

Steven and the ladies!

Steven and the ladies!

It was fun to see Steven juggle a large panel, as that take very different skills from simply interviewing one or two people. He did fabulously well as always! And afterwards, he mentioned to Louise Jameson that his sister-in-law (my sister Amber) is a huge Leela fan. Louise immediately asked to meet her! (She really is that nice a person!) So we scrambled via text message to track down Amber so Steven could take her to meet “Leela”.

Here's the proof!

Here’s the proof!

Amber was positively giddy after this happened. I only wish I could have seen it, but I had to dash off to my next panel, Clarity for Clara. I was pretty nervous about this one because I’ve done a couple of other Clara panels at Chicago TARDIS, and without fail, they’d been the worst of whichever year they happened in. In part, that was due to rampant mansplaining and poor panel etiquette, but also because the people on those panels generally didn’t like Clara much (or AT ALL), so I found myself the lone voice of dissenting Clara-love.

Thank heavens this year was different! The panel had no haters. Only one person was moderately lukewarm on a part of Clara’s history (and Quite Liked the rest), so it was a wide-ranging and interesting discussion with no man- or fansplaining to be seen.

Perhaps the lack of mansplaining was due to the lack of men?

Perhaps the lack of mansplaining was due to the lack of men?

Also, dig Nichole Corrigan’s sweet Polly cosplay. She does a Doctor Who podcast called Two girls, a guy, and a TARDIS!

A couple more events happened after this, and I will tell of them soon!

Even *More* Chicago TARDIS Fun!

Lookit me! Continuing to post content like a content-posting thing! Not sure whether I’m motivated by true improvement or just a desire to re-live a lovely weekend with friends. Either way, I’ll take it.

I should start by declaring that the order I post these events in is not necessarily the order in which they happened. I realized my last post was totally out of order. The “Trial of a Time Lord” panel happened immediately before the Michelle Gomez interview. Not after it. Whatevs. This is a perfect example of what being at a convention does to your brain. Keeping on track and on schedule is tough when I’m out of my routine! Thank heavens for the Sched app, or I’d’ve been lost several times!

Anyway, I’m moderately sure that the next fun thing I did was watching Steven do another main-stage interview: The Warrior and the Tin Dog.

I adore this Lewis Achenbach drawing of Steven, Louise, and John!

I adore this Lewis Achenbach drawing of Steven, Louise, and John!

Louise Jameson and John Leeson were yet another highlight of the weekend. They were charming and enthusiastic and got along with each other (and Steven) beautifully. Again, Steven asked behind-the-scenes questions—some of them quite specific! How many other interviewers ask Doctor Who actors what they remember of director Pennant Roberts? Probably not a whole lot. But it led to some fascinating anecdotes. I suspect that interview will be on Radio Free Skaro sooner or later, so keep an eye out for that!

After that, I scampered over to my next panel, The Fighting Companions, where we had a wide-ranging chat about companions. We talked about those who were already soldiers/fighters when they entered the TARDIS and those who were tougher (or not) when they left. The central question was whether Davros was right when he said the Doctor turns his companions into weapons. Fascinating discussion!

I am clearly making a serious, cogent argument. That automatically happens when you gesticulate, right?

I am clearly making a serious, cogent argument. That automatically happens when you gesticulate, right? Whatever I’m saying, I don’t think Robert Smith? is buying it. Kathy Sullivan seems to be on board though.

I already mentioned the oodles of fun Lynne and I had anchoring our live Verity! In Defense Of panel on the main stage (which was my next fun panel-type-thing). Here’s another drawing from Lewis Achenbach, capturing Lynne and I on the main stage during the show. I love how he nails Lynne’s smile.

We are two sassy ladies, and Lewis captures that nicely!

We are two sassy ladies, and Lewis captures that nicely!

And here’s a pic of the visual maestro in action!

Here is Lewis getting started on a drawing of yours-truly!

Lewis is just getting started on a drawing of yours-truly!

And that about brings me to the end of today’s lunch break. Let’s see if I can keep up this streak and share more fun tomorrow!

Photo credits:
Drawings – Lewis Achenbach
My panel – Steven Schapansky
Lewis in action – Chicago TARDIS. You can find this and other great pics on their Facebook page.

More Chicago TARDIS Goodness!

I am trying to get better at writing about things and events in a more timely manner, so here’s another quick lunchtime post about my fab Chicago TARDIS weekend! This is clearly a place I could use improvement because I STILL haven’t finished writing about our trip to London, which has now been over a year ago!

The first excitement of the weekend was watching Steven interview Michelle Gomez (Missy) on the main stage. I love watching him do interviews because he makes the guests feel so at-ease. It’s more like watching two people have a conversation than a formal interview. And he asks a lot of questions about the technical side of things, like direction and production details. That’s the kind of thing I find most interesting.

They look so relaxed.

They look so relaxed.

If you want to hear the interview, you’re in luck! It’s on this week’s episode of Radio Free Skaro!

The next event I attended was another Steven-centric one. He did a panel about “Trial of a Time Lord”. Continue reading

3 New Favorite Things

e-lewis-achenbach-drawing-lewis-achenbach

This past weekend I headed to the States for Chicago TARDIS, which was (as always) a lot of fun! Above, you see one of my new favorite things–a drawing of me on stage during the Verity! live show. The amazing Lewis Achenbach was stationed at the front of the main stage, and he drew lots of the goings-on. And yes! We were on the main stage for our live show!

Lynne and I are playing Game Show Hosts!

Lynne and I, playing Game Show Hosts!

While the recording didn’t turn out, we had a wonderful time making audience members defend some of the most-maligned aspects of Doctor Who. They stepped up in a fabulous way. Steve was the final winner, but I give very-honourable-mentions to Matt and Dora, who both had spectacular runs and made me laugh so hard I was literally crying.

And here is my other new favorite thing:

My Hugo Award!

Yes! That’s my name on a Hugo Award!

We played the throne room theme from Star Wars as Lynne presented Steven and I with our Hugos for Best Semiprozine for Uncanny Magazine! It was more intense than it looks.

I cried.

I cried.

I am still in shock about this. Winning was amazing, but it was a thing that didn’t feel real– Continue reading

Fame Is Relative

nowhearthis

No, this is not a treatise on North American culture and our fascination with/addiction to celebrity. The internet is littered with thinkpieces about that. This is simply a personal observation inspired by events of the past weekend. I attended the terrific Now Hear This Podcast Festival in Anaheim, California. It was a fabulous weekend for many reasons, and one is that it really made me think—and brought me to a realization, which boils down to this tl;dr:

It’s all relative.

Early in the weekend I tweeted this:

It was 100% true. We did have a happy listener track us down to hang out with us at the con. And I did have a serious fangirl moment myself mere moments before that. I listen to Pop Culture Happy Hour every week and admire the people who make that show happen. I did not go up and talk to them at that moment because A) they were just checking in to the hotel, which is a shitty time to accost someone, and 2) I am, at heart, a shy introvert. (Despite any perceived evidence to the contrary.)

What I did was attend their show and enjoy every minute of it—perhaps especially when Linda Holmes gave special recognition to Jessica Reedy for producing the show—as someone who does a lot of the unseen work for several podcasts, I’m always thrilled when the hidden engine of a program gets recognition. Afterwards, Steven walked up to Jessica, shook her hand, and thanked her for all her hard work. I was like “Why didn’t I think of that?” (Answer: shy introvert.) But I smiled and thanked her as well. Being at the same con all weekend, I wandered past the PCHH crew more than once, but didn’t get up the courage to say hi (or to thank them for inspiring our “happy things” segment on Verity!) until they were literally on their way out of the hotel. (And thus I missed meeting fellow Wisconsinite Stephen Thompson.)

Anyway, the point is not how nice they are or how cool they were or even the fact that Glen Weldon knew my name:

The point is this: Continue reading

London Travel Diary – Day 8

Our continuing adventures in the UK! Check out Day 1Day 2, Day 3, Day 4, Day 5Day 6, and Day 7 if you missed them.

And yes, I sure am taking my time getting through these. At this rate, I may not finish until the one-year anniversary of the trip! Life, as always, has been busy, but delightfully so, of late. My still-new job is so amaz-awesome-tastic that I’ve devoted a lot of mental energy to it. When writing all day, it’s hard to come home and write more. Working on that balancing act!

The impetus to get back on this particular horse is that Kat and Chris are headed off to the UK soon, and I am very jealous! (But also insanely happy for them!) So in addition to living vicariously through their social media, I’ll be re-living our fabulous trip through these diaries.

Day 8: Friday, November 6

Friday morning saw us having brekkie in our hotel. One of the best moves we made when planning this trip was getting that little studio. The kitchenette saved us so much money because we had groceries on hand and didn’t eat every meal out. We did, however, decide to wander off in search of coffee, in part because we just wanted to go out and be in London. I’m usually happy to laze around a hotel room, but when in that glorious city, I mostly preferred being out enjoying it.

Warren met us at Euston Station and came back to our place briefly to drop off his overnight bag so we could go to lunch unencumbered. He had his overnight bag with him because the big plan for the day involved trekking up to Derby via train for An Evening with Michael Pickwoad (Doctor Who production designer), courtesy of the Whoovers!

In one of many happily-timed coincidences, fellow Doctor Who fan and Gally attendee Sami Kelsh happened to be in London, and was relatively close by at Oxford Circus. We put off lunch for a few minutes so she could join us. (I’m not sure if I’d ever met Sami before, but I certainly hadn’t talked to her much. What an awesome opportunity to do so. She’s fab, and I can’t wait to hang out with her again!)

We decided to try the lunch buffet at Taste of India, Continue reading