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!)

 

Gally 2016, Wrap-Up: Observations

Want more Gally goodness? Check out my posts covering Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday!

The leave-taking on Monday morning was as wistful and melancholy as ever. It’s hard saying goodbye to friends knowing I’m not gonna see them for a whole year. At least the trip home was smooth and trouble-free, and I had lots of warm memories to combat the cold in Edmonton. Happily, we didn’t even have to clear any snow off the car in the airport parking lot.

Gally 2016 Sally in parking lot

I’ve spent some time thinking about this year’s Gally, not just the events, but some of the things I noticed about myself and others. Things I liked, and things I didn’t. I want to cover a couple of them here.

Come Together, Right Now, Oh Gally

One of my favorite things to see at conventions is people who kinda know each other (or only know each other online) getting to meet and spend time together. This is especially great when they get along as well (or better) in person as they do online. This happens left and right at Gally, but a few instances stood out to me in particular. Continue reading

Gally 2016, Sunday: The Big Day

Want more Gally goodness? Check out my posts covering Thursday, Friday, and Saturday!

The last day of Gallifrey One is always bittersweet. You’re still enjoying the convention, but you know the flight home is just around the corner. This year, my biggest con-responsibility was on Sunday, so it didn’t feel like as much of a wind-down as it sometimes does. Because of that responsibility (and the related nerves), I didn’t make it to any of the AM panels I meant to attend. Instead, I spent the morning almost-forcibly sleeping in and being as laid-back and leisurely about getting ready as I could. Then I sat in the sun by the pool with Deb and Katy to calm my nerves as much as possible.

The responsibility I was calming (and steeling) myself for was my first main-stage interview! Thus I also read through my list of possible questions several times as I soaked up the rays. I wasn’t properly terror-nervous like I had been for my first two on-stage (smaller-stage) interviews last year, but I was still a bit uncertain about it. Continue reading

Gally 2016, Saturday: Disco Fever!

Want more Gally goodness? Check out my posts covering Thursday and Friday!

Saturday at Gallifrey One was my least panel-filled day, but it was still full of goodness!

Gally 2016 Ninth Symphony

My only official panel that day was Ninth Symphony, discussing series 9 of Doctor Who. I was the moderator, but I tag-teamed with Derek Kompare, scholar-extraordinaire and friend-of-the-podcast. We chatted about it on Friday, and he had great ideas for how to tackle the subject. (Going episode-by-episode is impossible in an hour because you’ll never get through everything!) So Derek directed what we talked about while I made sure everyone got a chance to speak, played traffic cop, and called on audience members for questions.

Speaking of audience questions, unlike some panels I’ve mentioned, Continue reading

Gally 2016, Friday: Getting into the Swing of Things

Want more Gally goodness? Check out my post covering Thursday!

Friday is when Gallifrey One officially gets underway. There’s an ice cream social on Thursday night that I always mean to attend but never quite get to. I covered this year’s reason in my last post.

RFS w Peter Davison via Rachel

Peter Davison on the RFS live show

What better way to kick things off than with a rollicking live show from the fine fellows at Radio Free Skaro? As always, the show was great. They interviewed tons of great guests: the 5th Doctor himself, Peter Davison, writers Sarah Dollard and Jamie Mathieson, casting director Andy Pryor, actor extraordinaire Julian Glover, and last but certainly not least, actress Patricia Quinn (who was either overplaying “eccentric” or was possibly chemically altered in some way–regardless, it made for one of the most entertaining interviews in Gallifrey One history). You can listen to the whole panel on Radio Free Skaro episode 515, and I highly recommend you do!

But I’m kinda burying the lede. Before the fab interviews got started, they showed an intro video that may have been my favorite part of the whole convention. While we were in London, Steven, Warren, and our friend (and television producer) Simon spent several days shooting this video. Seeing it edited together on the big screen with a huge audience was everything I could have hoped for and more.

Continue reading

Gally 2016, Thursday: Self-Care Edition

E at Getty 2016

It’s now the Wednesday after the Gallifrey One convention, and I’m just starting to feel like I belong in the real world again. I think Gally, which is the weekend I look forward to all year, gets better every year, and this time was no different.

Actually, the one difference was that I was feeling a bit under the weather the whole time. Not bad enough to impact what I participated in, but enough to affect my choices when it came to eating and drinking. In the end, I think that might have improved my Gally experience. I usually tend to go a bit overboard in that department. I tell myself “it’s vacation!” so I eat all the gluten and dairy I want and guzzle booze like it’s going out of style. I didn’t feel up to that this year, and as a result, I remember the entirety of the disco, and I didn’t spend my days feeling bloated and sluggish. I hope I remember that next year. Moderation leads to more fun. (Gosh I feel old when I say that.)

Anyway, on to some of that fun! Continue reading

Gally One Here I Come!

Gally 27

As this publishes, I am at the airport and will soon be winging my way toward sunny LA and my favorite weekend of the year: Gallifrey One! It’s the largest fan-run Doctor Who convention in the whole wide world, and as far as I’m concerned, it’s also the best.* Whether you like to see panels, get photos/autographs, watch interviews, cosplay, buy merch, play games, or just drink booze and chat with your friends in the lobby or by the pool,** this con has something for everyone.

Personally, that last item is the one I look forward to most, with the first item coming in a close second. For me, Gally feels like an annual homecoming. It’s the people who make it so special. I look forward to seeing my Who family every year, so catching up is job #1, and watching those folks be all smart and eloquent on panels is next. This year some friends are doing interviews with the pros, so that’s another thing to look forward to!

As for me, here are the things I’ll be doing at Gally this year: Continue reading

What I Brought Home from Gally

gallyfrontpagelogo

I should not be writing a blog post right now. There are multiple reasons for this, but I’ll focus on the main one: Post-Con Brain Fog. Oh sure it sounds cute, but when you’re struggling to keep your eyes open for a full (okay, almost-full) work day, it’s a lot less cute.

On the other hand, I should be writing a blog post right now. I’ve been remiss of late, in part because I’ll be uprooting myself and leaving my entire (non-online) life behind,* and I’ve gotten a wee bit busy preparing for this. I need to get on the stick and get writing!

I suppose whether I should or shouldn’t write a blog post right now is moot. I am writing a blog post right now. Whoa, this has gotten entirely too meta. Moving on to some actual content… Continue reading

Geek Girl Gushes: Gallifrey One’s Network 23

If you follow me on Twitter, this post may be largely redundant.  For that I make no apology.  I firmly believe that no amount of gushing about Gally is too much.  On the plane ride home, I drafted over 40 short posts about the fond memories I made last weekend, and I’ve been dribbling them out on Twitter and Facebook ever since.  Because I am such a completionist (something I’ve found is not unusual in Doctor Who fandom), I’ve decided to collect them all here in one place for easy reminiscing.  Before I get to that, a few words about the weekend in general.

Gallifrey One is the oldest and largest fan-run Doctor Who convention in the world.  Once you’ve been there, you understand why.  Simply put, this con is fantastic.  I’m not exactly a con expert, having only attended a handful of different events over the years, but I can safely say that Gally is my favorite by far.  (And that’s saying something, because I positively adore several others, including Chicago TARDIS and Dragon*Con.)  The inestimable Shaun Lyon has done a fantastic job helming this convention and making sure that everyone is happy—from the guests to the attendees to the volunteers to the hotel staff.  It was a veritable well-oiled machine.  With the exception of a few technical hiccups, I saw very little in the way of the FUBAR moments I’ve come to expect as a necessary evil of con attendance.

This, Gallifrey One’s 23rd year, was my first in attendance.  I didn’t even know Gally existed until Radio Free Skaro interviewed Nerdist luminaries Chris Hardwick and Kyle Anderson at last year’s convention.  After hearing that podcast (and being floored to find there was an entire podcast devoted entirely to Doctor Who! [silly, naïve, Erika]), I discovered a vast and welcoming Twitter community of Doctor Who fans and podcasters.  Over the course of a few months, they applied just the right amount of friendly peer pressure to convince me to take the plunge and commit to Gally.  This is a decision I have not regretted for a moment.

I’d met a few of those fine folks at the aforementioned Chicago TARDIS in November, and it was as wonderful to reconnect with them as it was to finally meet the others who were able to make it out to sunny California.  And sunny it was!  While the people and the excitement of the convention were the best part, a vacation in southern California is nothing to sneeze at when compared to the usual mid-February slump in my home of Wisconsin.

Having arrived early, I got to spend the Thursday before the con with four of my favorite people (two who’d already held that honor, and two who did by the end of that day).  We drove up the coast to the Getty Villa in Malibu where we absorbed more beauty and culture than I thought one location could contain.  Please feel free to peruse the photos of that amazing and moving experience.

The other exciting pre-con activity in which I got to partake was a “live” recording of the Doctor Who Book Club Podcast.  I was über-chuffed to have been invited to review Paul Cornell’s Love and War.  I had a fantastic time talking about it with Erik and Sean.  I won’t say much about that here because I think you should listen to the episode when it’s released.  What I will say is this: Erik and Sean are as charming and delightful in person as they sound on the podcast.  I couldn’t be more pleased that they let me join the fun.

After that night, the official convention fun started, and it was a whirlwind of excitement and panels and fun and friends and booze and bad food and then more of each of those every day—plus a live lobby commentary and an interview (which may or may not ever be seen) by Chloe Dykstra and Matt Mira of Nerdist Industries.  I wish I could appropriately capture the magic that happened over those few days, but I think Deb Stanish put it best when she tweeted “Has something ever been just too important or lovely to articulate? This is why I’m finding it hard to do Gally highlights.”  That said, I’m clearly managing to chronicle some of the joy; I could go on for pages and pages, describing every moment I remember.  Instead I’ll just stick with my plan of including the lovely memories I’ve already tweeted.  This is by no means a comprehensive list, and perhaps I’m a fool for even attempting to capture this much of the glory that is Gally, but I felt like if I didn’t at least try, I might explode.

So here, in no particular order, are just a few of the highlights of my first Gally.  You better believe I’ll be back.

  • Unexpected post-#Gally highlight: I can now “hear” tweets from lots of people in their own voices.
  • #Gally highlight: Meeting @quarridors in person. I still wish I’d followed Nat’s lead & spent some time in the pool!
  • #Gally highlight: Flobbycon.
  • #Gally highlight: Meeting the sweet and kind @sourcitruslady. Yet another person I wish I’d’ve gotten to spend more time with.
  • #Gally highlight: Knowing I could wander around for a while & be guaranteed to run into someone awesome, be it a friend, celebrity, or both!
  • #Gally highlight: Meeting the lovely @Bellaira & bonding over shared joy & inconvenience.
  • #Gally highlight: Drinking tequila w/@philfordesq. Well, Phil was a highlight. As it turns out, I’m none too fond of tequila.
  • #Gally highlight: An entertaining & informative panel on the music of #DoctorWho. @emilyooo knows her stuff & how to talk about it!
  • #Gally highlight: Being insanely decadent & drinking Starbucks lattes every morning.
  • #Gally highlight: Meeting my official unofficial gay husband @tardistavern in person. I’m a lucky bride.
  • #Gally highlight: Randomly meeting @MattMira in the lobby & trying to find @harries71 so Matt could geek out about Cash in the Attic.
  • #Gally highlight: Being interviewed by @MattMira for the @Nerdist YouTube channel. Whether they use it or not, ’twas a hoot!
  • #Gally highlight: Meeting @freyburg in person. A fellow w/a delightfully irascible wit & great talent–with whom I’ve got much in common.
  • #Gally highlight: Witnessing the sheer genius of Mette & Bryan’s costumes firsthand. They left me speechless repeatedly.
  • #Gally highlight: @RadioFreeSkaro and the World of Tomorrow stage show! The boys did a fantastic job kicking things off in proper fashion.
  • #Gally highlight: @AndreT_NY‘s hilarious & clever ribbon costume. Nice work Sir! Loved it!
  • #Gally highlight: Seeing @Feliopolis again. Can’t imagine attending a #DoctorWho con w/out my clever friend to keep it real for me.
  • #Gally highlight: Meeting @TardisTavernTit in person. Wish I could have spent more time hanging with him. Con life is so scattered.
  • #Gally highlight: Toby Haynes’ ass.
  • #Gally highlight: Meeting the lovely @capricorn_one. And not just ’cause he agreed to get his own room. : ) He’s a great bloke besides.
  • #Gally highlight: Meeting the incomparable @DebStanish. Everyone told me she was awesome & I’d love her. Everyone was right.
  • #Gally highlight: avoiding “con-crud” (aka con-SARS) until I got home. Don’t want to get out of bed, but the real world beckons. #coldmeds
  • #Gally highlight: Meeting @twillian in person. I’m glad cool, creative, interesting people like her are procreating (since I’m not gonna).
  • #Gally highlight: Meeting @whomeJZ in person. One of my favorite podcasters. Hearing him wax poetic re: #DoctorWho in person is even better!
  • #Gally highlight: Meeting the hilarious @KungFuYoda. I do appreciate a good crass wit. He’s got that in spades.
  • #Gally highlight: A delicious & delightful dinner w/@David_Barsky. (Exec producer of Dirty Jobs.)
  • #Gally lowlight: Not getting to meet @abby_queenofall. : ( She was genuinely missed, as was discussed on numerous occasions.
  • #Gally highlight: Meeting @BullittWHO in person. Every bit as thoughtful & hardworking as I expected, as well as every bit as fun & cool.
  • #Gally highlight: Watching @Legopolis talk about (& play with) LEGO during the panel about it.
  • #Gally highlight: Telling Shaun Lyon that my first Gally was completely as advertised. Best con I’ve ever been to, hands down.
  • #Gally highlight: Meeting the delightfully droll @harries71. He makes clever sarcasm an art form. Could listen to him all day.
  • #Gally highlight: Meeting @xanister in person. Someone so sweet & adorable doesn’t deserve to also have a razor wit; she’s doubly blessed.
  • #Gally highlight: Meeting @dubbayoo. His twisted sense of humor is just as hilarious in person. & he’s an amazing fellow to boot.
  • #Gally highlight: Touching the Pacific Ocean!
  • #Gally highlight: Seeing @Legopolis again. This one belongs in the goes-without-saying category.
  • #Gally highlight: The many & varied ways people managed to sneak outside booze into the Marriott lobby, while keeping things cool & relaxed.
  • #Gally highlight: meeting many twitter friends in person. What a great crew!