Thursday, September 17, 2009

Disney 2009 - Prep Meeting

With Disney right around the corner, the FBO+1 decided to have a prep meeting and make sure we had all of costume pieces together and finalize plans.

As usual, it didn't take long before the 'dress-up' took a turn down a different path. Since Jesse had the newly created prototype of the Emperor's mask sitting on his kitchen table, deTag decided he wanted to give it a try.

I'm really looking forward to Disney this year. Since this will be our fifth trip to Disney in as many years, Darrell and I are going to try doing some things a little different. First, we want to catch the rope drop at Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom on this visit. We are also going to experiment with taking an afternoon break back at the hotel We have compiled a list of 'little' things that we want to see in each park. Things that might normally get over-looked.

I'm also looking forward to our traditional costume night in our Haunted Mansion outfits. I'm hoping we can get group pictures with several of the Disney villains this year! Here we are from two years ago...

hitchhiking ghosts, mnsshp

This was taken at around 1am. We were heading out out of the park that night when one of the Disney photographers asked if he could photograph us in the Bibiddy-Bobiddy-Boutique studio. We of course said "Yes!" and the rest is history.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Dragon*Con 2009 – Day 5

The final day! Luckily, I had arranged for a late check-out so I was able to get up, go grab some breakfast, eat in the room and then start slowly packing up everything. It is so much easier to get it all together without anyone under foot, so I talked Darrell and Jesse into checking out the Dealer’s Room one last time. That gave me the right amount of time to pack it all up, arrange for the bell-hop for both rooms and grab a piece of lemon pie from the Chick-fil-a. By 2pm, the bell had arrived at our room, loaded up and gone downstairs with Darrell following. I waited with Jesse. It took about 20 minutes, but the second bell showed up and I headed downstairs to find Darrell and wait for Jesse. With both bell carts down, Jesse and I went to get the cars. I always have a slight anxiety attack when arriving and leaving the hotel. I think it is the logistics. Can I get in? Will there be too many cars?, etc. Well, we had no problems getting in, loading up both vehicles and getting back on the road. We both headed to our place first, since Jesse had some of our luggage. We arrived at the house, unloaded, brought everything in and sat down on the sofa. I don’t think I moved for the next 3 hours. I was happy and content watching TV, dozing and being covered with my four-legged, fury children.

Hmmm, I wonder what costumes we’ll do next year????

Dragon*Con 2009 – Day 4

I was up and waiting at the Walk of Fame by 9:30a this morning. My largest indulgence at D*C these days is autographs. The Dealer’s Room has not had anything interesting in years. I had my stack of DVD’s and was ready to wait my turn for my desired autographs. This year’s list of wants were:

Tom Felton (Draco Malfoy) from the Harry Potter movies. I wanted to add his to the 1st Harry Potter DVD signed by the Phelps twins (the Weasley twins).

Malcolm McDowell, who has been in numerous movies. As a matter of fact, I recently watched him filming H2 in my hometown. I had the ‘Clockwork Orange’ DVD for his autograph.

Karen Allen, best known for playing Marion Ravenwood in the Indiana Jones movies. I wanted her signature on my Animal House DVD. She played Boon’s girlfriend Katie. I wanted to add her signature with Stephen Furst’s (Flounder) that I had signed a few years ago.

Barry Bostwick, best known as the Mayor from ‘Spin City’ but also played Brad in the The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Need I say more?

Doug Jones, the Chameleon of actors. He played the zombie Billy Bones in Hocus Pocus, the Silver Surfer, Abe Sapien, the Chamberlain, and the Angel of Death in the Hell Boy movies, Pan and the Pale Man in Pan’s Labyrinth. He is the one actor that you never really get to see. He is a wiry contortionist that is always encased in latex. He is also a SUPER nice guy. He takes time to talk to his fans. A very tactile fellow. He truly enjoyed petting Michael’s head. I’ll have to see if I can up load the video.

Out of all my wants, the one I was willing to give up first was Tom Felton. I am a huge Harry Potter fan. In the last movie, Draco was by far my favorite character. I also knew there were lots of people willing to wait in very long lines for his autograph. As I said, I was there by 9:30a and the Walk of Fame did not open until 10a. I was lucky enough to be in the first wave admitted into the room. As everyone filed in around me, I headed toward Tom Felton. I knew it was going to be the longest line of everyone on my list. As I approached his table, I noticed most people making a bee line to the Star Gate stars. To my utter amazement, I was the first person in the Tom Felton line. Other that the British accent , he looked like and came across as a California surfer dude. He was pleasant but not over friendly. That did not disappoint me in the least. Over the years, I have learned that is very typical for the more sought after stars.


After I had Felton’s signature, I headed over to Karen Allen. I really didn’t have a choice since Bostwick, McDowell nor had Jones arrived. Again, very friendly but not much unnecessary conversation.

As Karen was signing my Animal House DVD, Barry Bostwick arrived. I jumped over to his table and was lucky enough to be first in line for him as well.

Now, all I had left was McDowell and Jones and neither of them had arrived. This was about the time I ran into Michael. I didn’t surprise me a bit that he was in the Walk of Fame. He is an avid autograph collector and has the largest collection of autographs that I have ever seen. We walked up to McDowell’s table and saw that he supposed to arrive at 11a. It was already 10:30, so we decided to wait. Michael already had multiple McDowell autographs but spotted a picture of McDowell & Zombie from the Halloween movies and just had to get it. McDowell actually arrived a little early and Michael and I were the first in line. Not only were we able to get the autograph but he was one of the stars that was allowing photographs.


A nasty photograph phenomenon has reared its ugly head in the last few years at D*C and it is very unfortunate. It used to be that if one waited in line, they could get autographs and photos with all the stars. Then if you did not want to wait in a line for a personal autograph or photo, you would could just snap a picture from the side. Most of that has ceased to exist. Just snapping random photos in the Walk of Fame is no longer allowed. It is probably one the most ridiculous rules instated by D*C. Now, you have several different photography situations in the Walk of Fame. First, there are the stars that only allow photo sessions with approved, professional photographers. Tom Felton fell into this category. Next are the ones that charge extra for a photo. This group included Karen Allen and Barry Bostwick. Lastly, there are the actors that gladly do photos when you get their autographs. Just like the good ole’ days. These are the stars that are the most enduring to my heart. They simply come across as thankful to have fans rather than the fans should be thankful for them. This year, those actors were Malcolm McDowell and Doug Jones.

Speaking of Doug Jones, after I had McDowell’s autograph, his was the last I needed. Michael and I wandered down to his table and saw that he should be arriving at 11:30a. We decided to wait. Michael already had Jones autograph but waited with me just to see him again. Jones had made quit the impression on Michael on Friday. Well, 11:30a came and went. Jones’ handler changed his arrival time to 11:45a. Then 11:45a came and went. Lastly, he changed the arrival time to 12 noon. About 11:50a, Doug came walking into the Walk of Fame and repeatedly apologized for being late. Before he could get seated, Kane Hodder (Jason from the original Friday the 13th movie) walked down and scolded him for making us wait. He told him that Michael and I had been waiting for nearly an hour for him. On that note, Doug grabbed some comic books he had tucked under the table and handed them out to the 20 or so people in line and told them he would sign it at the table. Luckily, Michael and I were first in line. Doug signed both my Hell Boy (for Darrell) and Pan’s Labyrinth (for me) DVD’s plus the comic book. He came out from around the table, gave me a big hug and took a picture. He did the same thing with Michael. The entire time, we just made conversation and thanked us for being fans. Just one Doug Jones can make up for what everybody else lacked. I’m so glad his was my last experience in the Walk of Fame.

Once we finished there, Michael and I headed to the Dealer’s Room. I made it about half-way through before I realized I needed to head over to the 501st fan table. Darrell and Jesse had table duty from 1p – 2p and Donna was supposed to be there in her Wonder Woman costume.

I arrived about 1:30p and finally got to see Donna. She had one of the best Wonder Woman costume’s at D*C!

My next assignment was to head to the Hyatt lobby and re-direct any Storm troopers to the new Comcast photo shoot location in the Hilton. Michael caught up with Darrell and me in the Hyatt and hung out with us while rounding wayward Storm troopers. We ran into Circus Envy doing his Santa impression in the lobby.

By 3:15p, we were headed back to the room. I took some time to straighten the room, prep it for the Masquerade that night and download some of my photos and Darrell’s photos to my laptop. In the mean time, Jesse put Bob in the Emperor and Kevin in Vader and took them to the lobby.

Slowly, visitors came trickling in. Deneen and K came down. Kindra and Paul came over. Nikki, Sarah and Gig stopped by for a few minutes and the Kuipers came by to visit. Before I realized, it was 8pm and the Masquerade was starting in 30 minutes. I ran to the food court to grab Darrell and me some dinner. We actually crammed 17 people in to the room; Bob, Kevin, Darrell, Josh, Kyle, Kristin, Kris, Jane, Deneen, K, Will, Cricket, Michael, Kindra, Paul, Jesse and me. I wish I had taken a picture!

After the Masquerade, it was back in costume and to the lobby. Deneen didn’t want to wear the full Imperial Officer so we improvised a sexy number with the leather corset.

Much fun was had for the rest of the night doing fun, obnoxious and slightly obscene photos!

I think I was so exhausted by this time, I completely forgot the over-the-balcony shot!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Dragon*Con 2009 - Day 3

I didn’t have a choice but to get up at a decent hour on Saturday morning. No matter how much my body protested. The highly anticipated D*C parade is always on Saturday morning. The crew was supposed to meet at the Marriott fountain at 9-9:15’ish. The parade lineup was at 9:30am about 4.5 blocks away at Woodruff Park. With lots of help from me dependable bo’sun, we dressed Kyle, Bob and Deneen and prepped all the Bunny Bead bags. Jesse even had time to help Darrell into his RC costume. We finally arrived downstairs around 9:30am and headed to lineup.

The Black Bunny Crew this year consisted of Kindra, Bob, Deneen, Jesse, Josh, Kristin, Kyle, Will, Cricket and Steve (not pictured).


The parade was amazing as always despite a grumpy parade director. Although we had tons of beads it seems like we gave out early this year. I was holding my last bundle of Bunny Beads before we ever reached the Hyatt. I had promised Gracie beads and I wasn’t going to be caught empty handed.

After the parade, Darrell and I headed back to the room for a nice long, cool rest and a much needed shower. After a refreshing break, Jesse and I decided to head to the food court for some lunch/dinner while Darrell took a short nap. The food court was beyond crowded so we walked down to the Metro Diner. The wait wasn’t too long. After 10 minutes, we were given a table in the bar area. The Metro has a large variety of good food but the service was slow. Between D*C and the football game in the Dome, the Metro was having a hard time keeping up with the demand. As a matter of fact, the service was so slow that after we received our drinks, we had our server deliver our order in to go boxes. Our next goal was to maneuver through Peachtree Center and back to the Marriott. This was more difficult than normal. Saturday is the single, highest attended day of D*C. Combine that with all the ‘sightseers’ from the parade wondering through the hotels just to see what they can see and it becomes a zoo very quickly. We finally made it back to the room and had our meal. Now it was time to get Deneen ready for the photo shoot. It would be the first unveiling of her Imperial Officer costume. I was nervous. It was such a fitted garment and she had not tried on the final piece until this afternoon. I held my breath…. and it fit like a glove! Relief! During the middle of all this chaos, the beautiful Julie and her husband Steph came by to visit. Julie actually took one of the first photos of Deneen.


Once Deneen was ready we headed down to the 501st Mixer bar about ½ block down from the Marriott. Frank, the owner, was kind enough to let us take photos of Deneen with some willing Stormtroopers (thanks to Mike, Hal and Jesse) while they were setting up for the Mixer. There were pictures snapped and not just by Darrell. Here are some of the raw photos…

After the photo shoot, Deneen, Bob, Jesse and I walked back up to the Marriott. Jesse wanted to get out of his armor and Bob wanted to get back into the Emperor costume. When everyone was ready, we walked back down to the bar. When we arrived the Mixer was in full swing and we had a great opportunity to show off both costumes for a few minutes.

After an hour, Bob, Deneen and I headed back to the Marriot to meet up with Mystique (Sarah), the Baroness (Nikki), a Pirate Wench (Amanda), Selene (Jamie), an Elf Warrior (Cricket), Cobra Kai (William) and several handlers. Many pictures were made as everyone walked around the Marriott.

Soon we were joined by Kristin and two Royal Guards (Josh & Kyle). Since I was starting to feel a sore throat coming on, I asked if Kristin would mind handling the Emperor and Royal Guards and headed back to the room.

I took my, now traditional, over the balcony shot, chugged some Airborne, climbed in bed and waited for Darrell to get back from the Mixer.


Thursday, September 10, 2009

Dragon*Con 2009 - Day 2

I actually awoke at a decent hour Friday morning. After getting ready, I walked down to Jesse’s room. He and Bob were watching DCTV and combing over the Dragon schedule. I asked if anyone wanted to walk to the Sheraton with me but had no takers. I headed out by myself. As I walked through the Marriott Lobby I noticed a line outside the Atrium Ballroom. I wondered what event had people lined up at 9am? I asked and soon discovered it was the OVERFLOW from the Shatner/Nimoy Panel that was scheduled at 10am in the Hyatt. The actual Panel room was filled to capacity by 8:30am.

I continued on to the Sheraton. I needed to pick up the Black Bunny Crew parade ribbons. We had gotten our memberships so late the night before that the parade table had already closed. On the way over, I walked by the Metro Diner. Even they know about D*C's reputation.


With Parade ribbons in hand, I walked back to Peachtree Center to pick up some breakfast for me and my still sleeping husband. I had to do a double take as I walked by one of the displays in a trendy boutique. At least they were trying to get into the spirit of things….


Back at the room, Darrell and I watched the Shatner/Nimoy Panel on DCTV. It was much funnier than I expected. I learned that Leonard Nimoy lived in Atlanta for 1 ½ years, when he was stationed at Ft. McPherson. His daughter was actually born at Ft. McPherson. Who knew?

I spent the afternoon catching up on some last minute costuming chores. Luckily the beautiful Kindra came and kept me company for awhile. In the mean time, Darrell was walking around the con taking some pictures.

It didn’t take long for Bob to get the itch to play Emperor again, so Jesse and Darrell got him ready and took him down to the Marriott Lobby.

By this time, it was late in the afternoon and I needed to prepare for Pirate Tea. Pirate Tea is when we all gather and figure out the plans for the parade on Saturday morning, like who needs costuming, meeting time, meeting place, pictures, parade ribbons, beads, flag, etc. It is short and sweet – sort of like Happy Hour. During Pirate Tea, we had a visit from Harris and the ever lovely Erin the Esurance girl (aka Donna). She and some friends were walking around as Erin Esurance, the Geico Caveman and Flo from Progressive Insurance. I wish I could have seen them all together.


This year was a bit different. This year Pirate Tea not only served as the parade planning meeting but it kicked off the 1st Annual Poor Man’s Pub Crawl. It is a simple concept, really the same as a traditional pub crawl only you go room to room instead of pub to pub. Each room has to provide one drink to each person participating in the pub crawl. There was a great response when I sent out the concept email and we ended up with seven rooms participating and about 25 people. That averages to just over 3 1/2 people per room – actually a low number for a D*C. Along the way, we lost some people and gained others. Here we are at the beginning of the crawl and no the child did not accompany us on the pub crawl. He was safely tucked away in bed in his own room with daddy.


From my room, it was off to Josh, Kristin and Kyle’s room. There we were met with plastic fedoras, plastic martini glasses full of a sweet concoction and Frank Sinatra playing. You have to love props; especially ones that you get to keep. I wore my hat all night long.

Our next stop was at Jesse’s room. He was serving Melon Balls to drink. The theme was a mix of ‘Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay’ and ‘Tropic Thunder’. Think “Rock with your cock out and Jam with your clam out” with Ludacris playing in the background. You just thought Jesse was so innocent. We tried to get him to do the Les Grossman dance but to no avail. Maybe next year.

The next room brought us all back to the 70’s. Deneen, K, Nikki and David dressed the room and themselves. You had to love this room. Strands of peace-signs hanging over the door, giant window clings, disco music and David in a flammable, white, Saturday Night Fever, disco suit – PRICELESS!

Bob was supposed to host the next stop at his room in the Hyatt. Instead, we were redirected back down to Jesse’s for Hurricanes. There will be more on this turn of events later. Much, much more….

After Hurricanes, Darrell joined the walk. He had been getting into his ‘Fleam’ costume. We journeyed to the 16th floor of the Hyatt Atrium. The Hyatt has been remodeled and the rooms look great but I absolutely hate that atrium elevator. While waiting (and waiting), Fleam posed with a couple of friends…

At this point, the group began to dissolve away. Jesse, Josh, Kristin and Kyle headed over to the ‘Dr. Horrible Sing-a-long Blog’ and for some reason Bob exited the elevator on the 9th floor and was never seen again that evening.

There was a large variety of drinks in the 16th floor room in the Hyatt Atrium. I would use the actual room number but I can’t remember those details. One of my favorite pictures from the night was taken on this stop. I don’t know why, I just love this picture of Cricket. I think it's the fairy wings.


The last room was in the International Tower of the Hyatt. That is where Beau made me ‘Chocolate Cake Batter’ shots. Now, I had never experienced these delights. He handed me a shot that was a pale yellow color and a lemon wedge covered in sugar. I was instructed to suck all the juice out of the lemon, discard the wedge and drink the shot with the lemon juice. I did and it tasted just like chocolate cake batter!!! It was incredible. I still don’t know how all those liquors and flavors produced that taste but they did and it was good. Not many people made it to the last room. It really was a shame because they had some of the best drinks.

I am proud to say that I was one of only three that made it through the entire crawl. The other two were Kindra and Paul. I think we deserve an award. Speaking of awards, we (that would be the ‘Royal We’) have decided to give an award out for Best Drink, Best Theme and Honorable Mention. It was a tough decision.

The Honorable Mention room is actually Honorable Mention because their theme AND drink was EXCELLENT (ask Bob), that would be Josh, Kyle and Krisitin’s room. I mean who could resist plastic fedora’s that you can write on AND plastic martini glasses! If I had been a good organizer, I would have gotten all the theme names and drinks but I didn’t. If ya’ll will email them to me, I’ll post it.

The Best Theme goes to Deneen, K, Nikki and David’s room. Giant window clings, wigs, costumes, props and David in the flammable ‘John Travolta’ suit from Saturday Night Fever.

The Best Drink goes to Sarah & Beau’s room. All I have to say is “Chocolate Cake Batter’ shots.

Now I will digress to pub crawl stop #5. This was the one Bob was responsible for hosting. Here is a quick story on how that all went down…

See, we didn’t have time to plan the drinking route before the pub crawl. Some people were not checking into their rooms until Friday evening. Therefore, at each stop, I would ask someone if they were ready to be next. If so, I would announce the next room number and the approximate arrival time – so they had time to prepare. Well, Deneen, Nikki, K and David’s room was the last room in the Marriott. The remaining three rooms were in the Hyatt. I asked Bob, “Do you want to be the first room in the Hyatt?” – no response. I asked again - no response. At this point I told him I would announce his room next, “What time?” – no response. “Bob tell me a time or I’ll make one up” – he said, “OK”. So, I announced the hotel, room number and arrival time. It was then that, Jesse informed me Bob’s pub crawl drink was back down in his room at the Marriott. So I ask Bob “Are you going to take the cooler to your room at the Hyatt?” – no response. I ask Bob, “Can you function alone?” He shakes his head ‘No’. I told him to get a buddy. He points to Jesse and says “He’s my buddy.” At that point, Jesse and I took over. I announced that the next room would be back at Jesse’s in the Marriott and then we would head over to the two rooms in the Hyatt. I went to my room to scavenge cups while Jesse headed to his room to straighten from the previous stop and prep Bob’s drink for the evening. Slowly everyone began to show up and I must note that the host himself was last to arrive.

And it is because of this that Mr. Ollis doesn’t receive an award but will be the namesake of the award given out each year to the most disorganized, confused, drunk, silliest, etc. whatever trait or behavior truly captures that feeling from the 1st Pub Crawl. They will receive the “Ollis” Award. Bob, you should be so proud.

The Crawl was over and I still had one more chore to do. I had about 100 Black Bunny beads that needed to be stickered. Darrell headed out to the Marriott Lobby and I headed back to the room. Again, the lovely Kindra came to my rescue. With her help, we were done in about an hour. We talked awhile and she decided to leave before I completely konked out on her. I was tired. I don’t know how she does it. She is awake when I go to bed and awake when I get up in the morning and to top it all off – she’s 13 weeks pregnant. Go figure. I think she is part Super Woman. Just before I headed off to bed, I stepped outside the room and took my over the balcony shot.