I found myself thinking during Chicago TARDIS, why am I here? Why am I excited to be here before it happens and why do I always want to come back? For those who know me, this might seem odd. "Doesn't Mike love Doctor Who more than just about anything else?" you may say to each other. "Wouldn't a Doctor Who convention be perfect for him?"
But other than Brad and since then, my fandom has been a private thing. I wouldn't necessarily say that I've been in the Doctor Who closet. I wear my fandom on my sleeve (quite literally if you've seen the patch used to cover the whole in my jacket), but I've never felt the need to reach out to others and share my opinions on the show.
- Freaking out as the Metra pulled into Lombard because, well, dumbass, you can't just get a cab in the suburbs the same way you can in the city. You'd think City Mouse But Former Country Mouse me hadn't grown up in a town where cabs only exist as things on your truck or tractor or combine. Unfreaking out because the shuttle to the hotel was there because someone on the train had arranged for them to meet them. Thanks, stranger couple who I never managed to see again all weekend to thank again properly.
- Being able to check in early even though we hadn't officially asked to do so earlier.
- Waiting at the elevators for Andy to come down from our room and seeing an enthusiastic, event-badged youngster bound from the elevator and realizing after he'd walked by that it was Tommy Knight from the Sarah Jane Adventures with whom Andy'd shared the lift (as they say), Andy, who has seen as much SJA as I, having no idea who the boy in the elevator had been, and both of us realizing over the weekend that many pre-teen girls would have killed for the moment that Andy had been oblivious to
- Hearing one of the panelists (who shall remain nameless) tell a story that I have heard (through fan legend) that he tells at conventions even though it can't possibly be true and sighing with relief that everyone has the good taste not to correct people about their own lives.
- Sitting in on some really intriguing "alternative" panels about costumes and fan fiction and other ways that people approach shows I love in ways I don't fully understand and getting an understanding -- or even an appreciation -- of it. That's not to say I'm going to show up in Doctor-garb next year (unless I finally decide which pattern I want Andy to knit for my Fourth Doctor scarf) but I definitely feel like I understand the impulse of those who do more.
- Finding out that Rob Sherman and Toby Hadoke had written a book in which they documented re-watching every episode of Doctor Who from beginning to end -- especially focusing on, in a very non-stereotypical-fan way, the good parts and peppering it with personal stories. As this was an idea for a blog I was considering (beyond considering, I've taken notes for the first 3 seasons), this might not seem like a personal highlight, but Running Through Corridors is a good idea done better than I probably would have done by people who will actually be read, so it lets me off the hook, and their panel about it was charming. The book seemed like a good purchase for someone like me, who prefers his fandom solitary; I can watch the episodes, develop my own opinions, read what someone I respect says about them, but not have to actually argue with them when and if I disagree.
- I was reminded again about Big Finish. (This is one of the problems with solitary fandom; there's just so much going on.) Well, it's not that I'd ever forgotten them just how much I like them. Though I'd heard many good things about their officially-licensed line of audio stories starring past Doctors and companions, I'd never actually bothered with them until my first Chicago TARDIS a couple of years ago and was charmed (there's that word again) by the creators and stars of the work. Boy, was I pleasantly surprised at them and couldn't believe what I'd been missing. Logopolis readers who can read between the lines (or actually know us personally) know that money has been a little (read: a lot) tight as of late, but one of the main reasons I'm glad that it might be slightly looser is because I'd like to spend more of it on the awesomeness.
- Saturday afternoon, I found myself sitting in a panel about Doctor Who role playing games. I was a big, big fan of the 1980s FASA game (pictured delightfully right), even though I'd never been much of a gamer. Though I didn't have much chance to actually play them (again with the solitary fandom theme), they were among my most prized possessions and I often used their character and creature creating rules to spurn my imagination. This panel spoke both of them and the new(ish) RPG Doctor Who - Adventures in Time and Space, which had been on the horizon at my previous Chicago TARDIS. I was delighted to learn that it was well-received and a great gaming system, and since nothing was sheduled (as they say) in the room after the panel, those leading it led a rather mad-capped short demo game (or as short and demonstrative as you can do with 7 people playing.) Even under those constraints, it was fantastic and I really hope that I can do it again for real soon.
- Later that evening the aforementioned Mr. Hadoke performed his show Moths Ate My Doctor Who Scarf, and it was definitely worth the weekend. Funny, sweet, and the type of thing that might make a grown man a little teary.
- Saturday evening, I drank a few beers with Terrance Dicks. That's just a good story right there if you know have any clue who he is. But if you don't, then he was a script editor and writer of the classic series, and, most importantly (at least to me), the writer who adapted many of the original scripts for their Target novelizations. So in other words, he's probably the person who has written more words that I've read than anyone else other than myself. Everyone should be so lucky to drink a beer with this person in their life.