My I-Con Reunion

I often remember my mom saying to me, “It doesn’t matter so much where you go, it’s who you’re with that counts.” I think at certain times I mistook this advice for her trying to prevent me from going places I wanted to go (probably with people who weren’t necessarily the best influence), but as I get older and add more places to my travel log, I realize there’s a grain of truth in her words; maybe even a very large grain. It’s not the places I’ve seen that stick in my mind so much as the jokes I’ve shared, the questions I’ve asked, or been asked, and the stories I’ve heard about people and places I can only imagine. Case in point, I’ve been to a lot of conventions in my veteran years as a sci-fi tv star. I’ve visited different countries, stayed in fancy hotels, not-so-fancy hotels, eaten great food, eaten frozen dinners, you name it. And while all of those things are interesting and certainly entertaining at times, what impresses me most is always the people. The reason I returned to I-CON last weekend, having attended it only two years prior, was exactly this: the people. I had such an incredible time, both with the other actors and the staff, it was kind of a no brainer when they asked me to return. The word that came to mind when I thought about what was different at this convention than many of the others was “community.” The word that comes to mind after attending the con for the second time, is “family.” And not just because I refer to the media chair as “Ma” and spent the whole weekend with one of her eight children whom I care for like a little sister (even though she spent most of her time taking care of me). No, not only because of those things. It also feels like family because despite all the chaotic events and activities and the massive amount of man power and organizing that must have gone into the event, everyone there seemed to be enjoying themselves. Like a high-stress holiday dinner, people coming and going, gears grinding, sparks flying, people were still smiling and having a good time. They still cared about being there rather than just getting the job done. In a world, and often an industry, where product trumps people, it’s refreshing to remember what’s at the heart of all this madness. The sci-fi community never ceases to be a good example of keeping this principle real.

Anyway, I’m keeping this short and sweet, but thanks for the good times everyone at I-Con. Hope to come back again soon!



the hazards of riding a yoshi

Every time I think of I-CON 28 (a convention I attended exactly two years ago, and am revisiting this weekend), I literally laugh out loud. This is because one particular event sticks in my mind and, kinda like farting in public, the joke just never gets old. Doesn't matter if I'm by myself or reminded by someone who witnessed it, I just can't get over the absurdity and hilarity that ensued the night of the costume contest. Let me set the stage... There was a kid who had been walking around the convention carrying a sign saying "Free Yoshi Rides." Appropriately, he was dressed like the friendly dinosaur from Mario Bros. Being the adventurer I am, I decided to take him up on his offer. As soon as I got on his back, I realized we had not discussed the rules of engagement and I had no idea where he was taking me nor for how long. I suddenly felt very vulnerable, but figured, what's the worst that can happen? After a few awkward minutes of skipping around a school gymnasium, he dropped me back off at my table and we all had a good laugh. He proceeded to make a mark on the back of his sign, apparently tallying his Yoshi ride totals. (Should I have felt used? Nevermind.)

So that night, as he would, Yoshi entered the costume contest. Each contestant did a little presentation or routine in the middle of the circle and some of the other guests and I were there to judge the best costumes. Simple right? Well, it was all fun and games until Yoshi backed right into me, not-so-subtly gesturing for me to enjoy and encore presentation of my Yoshi ride. What's a girl to do? I couldn't say no in front of everyone. So I hopped on and this is what happened... (Make sure you scroll to the end for the best part.)

Okay, wanna know what the best part was? After he dusted himself off and asked me if I was okay, he looked me square in the eyes, shrugged his shoulders and innocently proclaimed, "Game Over!"


(Special thanks to Tory Belleci from Myth Busters for the ongoing moral support and spontaneous laugh attacks.)