First off, I want to thank you all for your nice messages commemorating one full year of Dim City. Truth be told, I was very much thinking of going on a blogger hiatus, since I really don't think that Dim City is fulfilling what I was hoping to be its "special purpose", but I think I'll put my hiatus on hiatus for the time-being because I really can't let you lovely seven people down.
Now, for my pet peeve. I got an e-mail from a friend of mine today which read something along the lines of:
"Hey, R U going 2 the party?"
No, my friend isn't twelve years old.
And no, my friend isn't Prince.
So, why, you ask is he writing like that? I have no idea. How many key strokes are you really saving? It's not like he is abbreviating a word like antidisestablishmentarianism or anything. Anyway, please do me a favor and spell out words like "are", "you", and "to". And if you just can't for the life of you, bring yourself to do that...well...I just gotta say that I don't care what anyone says. "Purple Rain" ruled. Thanks for that.
Now, onto the new feature.
I'm a nostalgic dude and ever since I have been attending sporting events and concerts, I would save the ticket stubs. These would collect in various engorged envelopes in even more various dresser drawers. Each show would come and go and the stub would be stuffed in the envelope, like an additional and ill-advised forkful of mashed potatoes at Thanksgiving. Then, about a year or so ago, I found some albums on-line that I could buy that would house my ticket stubs all nice and neat-like.
What does this have to do with my new feature?
Well, from time to time, I am going to break out the ticket book and write about a particular event for which I have a stub. Some might be brand new writings (like today's). Some might be rehashed reviews I did for a long since defunct e-zine of concerts of yore. Hey, at least it's something.
I call the debut of this feature:
The Geek Is Out There
The date: Saturday, May 2, 1998
The place: South Weymouth Naval Air Station, Hangar 1
The price: $27.00 (face value)
The event: The X-Files Expo
OK, shut the fuck up.
Let me explain. I was stalking Gillian Anderson.
Well, not really, but I can't think of any other non-embarrassing reason to why I went to this.
Back in 1997 or so, I used to hang out with a buddy of mine practically every weekend at a local bar. We had just met at our job and had a lot in common, so we would spend hours hanging out, buttering up the bartender so she would give us free drinks, and watching sports and talking shit. One day he asked, "Do you watch the X-Files?"
"Oh, you gotta watch it. It's great."
Now, I was never a Sci-Fi guy. Sure, I liked Star Wars and Close Encounters, but I was never one to give myself a bowl cut with a Flowbee, put on prosthetic pointy ears and attend conferences where I could tell fellow idiots to "Live long and prosper". The idea of getting into the Cult of the X-Files was not attractive to me in the least.
Then, during re-runs, I saw this episode. Not even one of the better episodes of the series, but I was immediately hooked. I started taping all of the episodes and had them all in a library. And I severely lusted after Gillian Anderson.
Fast forward to 1998, when I heard that the X-Files Expo (with the alluring tagline "Experience the Intrigue") was coming to town.
I convinced a different buddy to come along (OK, I bribed him with beer) and we made our way to this Expo. Now, I would never have imagined myself going to any kind of show or movie convention EVER, unless maybe back in 1981 if there was a "Bosom Buddies" gathering just so I could then profess my pre-pubescent love for Donna Dixon, but most certainly not as a 26 year old man, despite my infatuation with Special Agent Dana Scully.
We got there pretty early. The ticket said the event went from 11 AM to 8:30 PM. I figured that we would be in and out of there in a couple of hours and that would be that.
Oh no no no.
First off, there's an insane amount of standing in line at these things. If you want to get in the venue...wait in line. You want to buy some overpriced merchandise? Get in line. You, god forbid, want an autograph of someone who played "Goverment Official #2" in Episode 2-11? Well, better start praying for lost time and get in the queue, Special Agent Dumb-ass.
As if waiting in line for an ungodly amount of time isn't enough, what's worse is with whom you are waiting in line. In no particular order:
- People dressed as characters from the show, complete with fake FBI badges (which would get you a nice stint in Gitmo these days)
- Those who believe in alien abductions
- Those who believe they have been involved in alien abductions
- Those who inexplicably want to be abducted by aliens
- Those who think they are, actually, aliens
- Reformed Trekkies
- Stalkers of Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny (present company not included)
- Parent's basement-dwellers
- Those who, when filling out information about themselves, put in the "Sex" field "Hopefully, one day".
At this "Expo", we were promised that some members of the cast would be available for autographs. This wasn't entirely untrue. What was more accurate is that you would have to wait in line, like cattle being led to the slaughter, for upwards of an hour, to have the actor (usually a fringe guy, like some dude whose only line in one episode was "You really think this was an alien abduction?", which is actually a line that was uttered in nearly every episode) sign something that you had to buy at some outrageous price. I swear I paid more for an 8x10 of the Cigarette Smoking Man than some Moscovites doled out for blue jeans during the Yuri Andropov administration.
So, long story long, I waited in line for autographs by:
- Dean Haglund (Richard "Ringo" Langley, one of the conspiracy theorists, The Lone Gunmen). He was a very cool and affable dude.
- Bruce Harwood (John Fitzgerald Byers, another of the Lone Gunmen)
- William B. Davis (the Cigarette Smoking Man). That black-lunged son of a bitch was all business up there. Then again, I wouldn't have wanted to talk to us wackos either.
Shortly after we were in line for the autograph sessions (2 at a time...and the whole process probably involved waiting in line for 2 and a half hours for about 15 seconds of face time), we started hearing rumblings of rumors that Gillian herself was going to be making a surprise appearance. I think this was just interference which made some people give up their place in line and run back to their cars to get the bouquet of flowers they brought just in case. I, most assuredly, was not one of those psychos.
I just brought a single rose.
Anyway, the star attraction for most of us was Nicholas Lea who played the diabolical agent-for-hire Alex "Ratboy" Krycek. Of course, he was beyond late getting there, which resulted in people wandering aimlessly around, shelling out money like labotomized automatons for the chance to get a picture taken in front of a blue screen onto which they superimposed a photo of Fox Mulder's office or answering nad-pumping X-Files trivia, like "Who gave Scully her dog?" (The answer is Clyde Bruckman, by the way). Seriously, what some of these friggin nutjobs would do...
Finally, Rat Boy shows up and I have to give the guy props. He's dealing with a bunch of fucking weirdos. I mean, I've-only-kissed-a-pillow nerds to the power of a parsec degree who actually believe the X-Files is Science Non-fiction.
He was eating his lunch when I got to him. We were all instructed not to ask for personalization on the autographs and to keep the chit-chat non-existent, so the wait for each person would only be 2 hours and 58 minutes instead of the horrifically unacceptable 3 hours.
I decided to try my luck with Mr. Lea and plopped down my 8x10 which I stupidly bought earlier (after figuring out I had enough money for a "I Want To Believe" UFO poster as well, if I bought the 8x10 of all three Lone Gunmen together, rather than 3 individual 8x10s).
Like I said...the wackos at these things.
Anyway, Lea apologized for having a mouthful of a sandwich when I approached him and I said that it was no problem and I complimented his work on the show. I also asked if he could make out the autograph to (my name). I like to have things personalized. It makes it more...personal. Go figure.
So, the "handler", who was some chick working the Expo and standing next to him in case some lunatic decided to lunge at him with makeshift shank that he whittled from the laminate of his faux FBI badge for causing Scully's abduction in season two, leaned over to him and said, "You're not supposed to personalize the signings."
Now, my name can be spelled one of two ways. Lea leaned over and asked me, "Do you spell it this way, or that way". I looked nervously at the handler (who was like a 85-pound high school intern...I was terrified of her), who emphatically told him again that he couldn't do this.
Lea asked me the question again and I said to him, "Look, man, I don't want to get you in trouble". He laughed and assured me he wouldn't get in any hot water, so I told him how I spelled my name. He autographed the 8x10 with my name and I felt fulfilled. I really think that Nick Lea fucking rocks, and I mean that in a totally heterosexual way.
And thus, the whole shabang ended for me. Many hours after we walked into the hangar and, with most of that time spent just standing in a fucking line, we decided to leave the Expo: tired (instead of "Experience the Intrigue, the friggin tagline should have been "Experience the Fatigue"), broke, disillusioned, Gillian Andersonless, and scared that these many whackjobs were actually in the same place at the same time.
But it's something to tell the grandkids. "Hey, Nick Lea once defied his handler to sign my name on an autograph. Betcha the other granddads can't say that!"
"Who's Nick Lea?"
"Ah, go frig, ya brat."
And in case you need proof that I was dumb enough to do this thing, here's my ticket stub:
Oh, and here's a pic of me after I got the chance to get a picture taken in front of a blue screen onto which they superimposed a photo of Fox Mulder's office:
The truth IS out there,