In the morning, I made Daughter bandage a couple of my toes because they hurt so badly. And we walked back down. I had wanted to be there by 10:00, but didn't make it. That was an 'Oh well'. I sat in Leonard Nimoy's panel at 11:30.
The older, more experienced actors almost always make the most entertaining panels. Whether they are humorous, bawdy, or informative, famous or more behind-the-scenes, they are always well worth the time. Leonard Nimoy is no exception.
He spent a few minutes talking about how his current full-time hobby is photography, and about how the title to his book "I Am Not Spock" was totally misunderstood; but the thing that stands out the most for me is his telling about the Vulcan 'live long and prosper' greeting. To shorten his entertaining story a whole lot, he felt that when the viewers are first exposed to Vulcans besides Spock, there should be a special, typically Vulcan, way of greeting each other. So he was told fine, figure one out. The hand signal that he introduced is the sign for the 'sh' letter in Hebrew, and he learned to make it as a teen. It stands for 'shalom' as well as for the Hebrew word for 'god' (which I fear I have forgotten) and is used by priests when they give blessings.
Since everything *looked* like he was going to sit in the common autograph booths rather than being sequestered (as he and William Shatner were last year), I hurried down to the dealer room just on the off chance that he was.
And he was! - confirmed by a 'front' man, Gary, who was waiting there for him to come back. I later told him, "Congratulations for having the hutzpah to sit out here with the mob." He grinned and said, "People are wonderful," and I agreed that most are.
Consulting the picture, you can see how the autograph booths are set up. Most autograph lines of people waiting are where you see the short green lines that I've added. Lacking any other information, I started lining people up there, but was soon told to line them up where you see the red line going behind the autograph booths, and behind the curtain that is there. (The long green line was for Bruce Campbell, who is apparently wildly popular, but I never did figure out for what. The other special guests were: Beau Bridges (Stargate), Avery Brooks (Deep Space 9), Max Brooks, Emma Caulfield, Roger Corman, Thomas Dekker, James Duval, Lou Ferrigno, Linda Hamilton (Terminator), Udo Kier, Walter Koenig, James Kyson Lee (Heros), Victor Lucas, Mary McDonnell, Robert Duncan McNeil (Tom Paris), Leslie Nielsen, Tom Savini, Barbara Steele, Dave , Larry Thomas, and Billy Dee Williams (Lando Calarisian). But when you do a really big star, there isn't time for anything else.)
I ended up calling for people with cameras to gather in the area I've put in red; shooing people off the red carpet ("It's a barrier for the protection of the guests, not a place to walk."); calling out to anyone in the brown area that was buying an autograph from LN to join the line behind the curtain (go behind the Billy Dee Williams sign (area N) and you'll find the line) - otherwise they would stand there forever and never get their turn; going down the line calling out "Autographs are $60; photo-ops are $60; if you need a picture for him to sign, that's another $5; if you have a friend with a camera, they may take a picture of you while you're getting your autograph; do not ask him to pose; cash only - no plastic; please have your money out when you get to the corner." And over and over again, "No, you can't just go up and shake his hand, there are 50,000 people here who would like to do that." And by the same token, in answer to, "Why is it so much?" - "If it were any less there would be another 2000 people in line." Even so, most people didn't have their money out when they got to Gary.
They really don't understand, because they are just there to have a good day. Nobody is paying them to consider the logistics of the situation. But Leonard Nimoy is a man of action and very valuable time. He was a very good sport about it all, but everytime he didn't have a customer standing in front of him, he was tapping his marker impatiently on the desk. With a smile on his face. Probably thinking about what he could be doing with his photography if he weren't sitting there.
Within a half hour, more volunteers were sent to help me out. Can't remember their names to credit them, I'm afraid. There was a big guy - both directions - who sat in the entrance to the booth so that no one could get up beside LN, and a girl who took over shooing the camera people to the side, clearing the red carpet, and sending people to the right line. So most of the time I was standing where the green dot is, near Gary. We worked well together, and for the most part kept the line moving.
At 1:00, LN went up to the photographer's room for the photo-ops. We continued selling tickets for that, and I had to go down the line pulling out people who wanted that to come forward and get their tickets right away and get up there. Everyone who got a ticket and went up, got in, and was able to have their picture back the next day. Some people got to get it autographed, but most either couldn't come back on Sunday, or their picture wasn't back in time.
So that's how it went for me, from noon until 4 or 5:00. At about 2:00 Gary asked whether I could stop the line so that LN could take a break. I found that there was a distinct break between people who had been waiting more than an hour and people who had been in line less than 20 minutes, so that I could break it there. I occasionally heard rumours about how very crowded the hall was, but didn't personally experience it. I was too busy where I was, and couldn't have told you what was going on with the guests next to me. (I was in fact asked whether Beau Bridges was coming back, and had no idea. I had to ask Staff.) But at one point, they stopped more people from coming in! - unheard of!. Fire codes and all that. The aisles were so crowded you couldn't walk through. They're having staff meetings right now to talk about how to handle the greater crowds in the future.
I was on my feet for the entire time; fortunately, with my toes hurting so much in the morning, I had decided to use a crutch during the day. I'm glad I did. I also had a sandwich packed, so that when LN went to lunch at 2:30, I ate my sandwich. I don't think Gary ever ate anything. He *did* ask me to mind the booth for a few minutes while he went to the men's room. When LN left for the day (having finished the existing line), Gary gave me a can of Romulan Ale which hadn't been used. It's an energy drink. I've no intention of opening it.
Afterward, I had almost enough foot-power left to get to the panel rooms on the 700 level and sit on a couple of those, with my feet up, to rest. One toe in particular felt like I was being stabbed with a pin with every step. I was supposed to meet Daughter at the Masquerade at 7:30, and was rested enough by then, but couldn't find her. Inquiring at the Volunteer Desk revealed that she had gone on back to the hostel, being too tired to stay up any later, and I was just as glad. The walk back was sheer misery, with my toe hurting and my feet throbbing.
Daughter had danced well beyond her real limits on Friday night, and never truly recovered before last night. I had wanted to be checked out of the hostel by 9:00 am Sunday, but in fact let her sleep until about 9:10. I'd like to say I slept well, but between anxiety, over-excitement, getting up to get things for Daughter in the middle of the night (she was in the top bunk, and I was seriously afraid she'd get sick), I didn't get the sleep I should have. Good thing we started trying early!
To be continued ... here.