Bayoucon 2014

Lake Charles, LA

Bayoucon 2014 is a fan-run convention in Lake Charles, LA that takes place every June.  I have attended this event (and was even the vice president of the convention’s board at one point) every year since its inception with the exception of 2012.  Originally this convention was primarily a science fiction based event, but it took a shot at anime last year.  This year, it seems as if the convention went back to sci-fi, featuring guests from Stargate SG-1, Star Trek:  First Contact, Star Trek Continues, The Walking Dead, and one anime guest.  I’ll speak about some of these later on.

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Photo credit: Garrett Manuel

I attended the event as a guest panelist and as a member of the crew of the USS Lafitte, a Lake Charles based Star Trek fan club that is celebrating its twentieth anniversary this year.  I arrived on Friday and met up with the Lafitte crew for the evening.  Neither of my two panels took place on Friday night, so I had a lot of time to walk around and check out the event.  I also got to visit with a lot of friends, some that I had not seen in a very long time.  Attendance was okay, but there was still plenty of room to roam around without being crunched shoulder to shoulder with other guests and fans.

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Photo credit: Stuart Griggs

Saturday was a bit more active than Friday night.  All of the celebrity guests were available for autographs, photos, small talk, etc. on this day, and I took a little bit of my free time to speak with the lovely Noelle Hannibal, who many of you might recognize from Star Trek:  First Contact.  A few more of you eagle-eyed fans might remember her from the TV series, Buffy The Vampire Slayer, and I commend you if you recognize her from that, because she was in full makeup for that show.  We talked for a bit and I got a photograph and an autograph from her.  She was very cordial and a pleasure to speak with.

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Photo credit: Kendall Fontenot

Saturday was also the day that the lovely ladies of Orion’s Envy made their appearance in all of their green glory.  These ladies are excellent dancers and capture the allure of the Orion Slave Girls with perfection.  It’s hard to say anything bad about these ladies because A) they are as friendly and lovely as can be and B) they are real Star Trek fans.  I consider them friends and look forward to seeing them at any convention that I attend.  They performed on Saturday evening for the crowd in between sets by the Consortium of Genius, who jammed out to a ton of original tunes culled from multiple genres.  COG (as many people refer to them) also cranked out an epic version of the theme from Doctor Who, which is my favorite series of all time.

I hosted a panel about the Fifth and Tenth Doctors from Doctor Who on Saturday.  I called it Five and Dime and briefly highlighted the multiple similarities and differences between the men (Peter Davison and David Tennant) that portrayed these two incarnations of the Doctor and how the two relate to one another in real life.  I was shocked at how many people attended the panel.  Apparantly the Lake area is hungry for Who.

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Photo credit: Garrett Manuel

Sunday was much, much more laid back, and attendance lightened as the day went on.  Despite the small numbers, though, I had a nearly packed house for my second panel, Upgrades:  From Mondas to Cybus Industries, which covered the ever-changing Cybermen from Doctor Who.  This panel was much looser than my previous one, drawing a lot of interplay from the crowd, and we even went off on a few tangents like Superman and Harry Potter, but it was still a lot of fun and well-attended.

The event closed with what was supposed to be a panel focusing strictly on Cliff Simon, but he suggested that all of the celebrity guests take the stage with him and it basically became a free-for-all where photos were snapped, autographs signed, and plenty of fun was had by all.

After the convention called it a day, I managed to grab an autograph from Michael Koske, a featured Walker from The Walking Dead.  I asked him how many times he died on screen as a Walker and he told me that of the forty-three Walkers that he portrayed, forty of them bit the dust on the screen.  He was a genuinely nice guy and I wouldn’t mind seeing him at another convention down the road.

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Photo credit: Some random dude who offered to take the photo for me. I returned the favor. Thanks, random dude!

I also got to hang out for a bit with Larry Nemecek, who is bascially a Trek library full of knowledge about not just the many series and films, but of many other Trek related things.  He also portrayed Bones in the first two episodes of Star Trek Continues, a fan created series headed up by Vic Mignogna, who is best known as an anime voice actor.  If you ever get the chance to check out the show, do it!

The best thing about small cons like Bayoucon is the fact that you spend almost no time in lines to meet celebrities, shop vendors, or interact with artists.  Even better than that is the fact that you get to hang out with friends in a very loose environment.

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Photo credit: Garrett Manuel

Bayoucon has had many ups and downs over the years and still seems to be trying to find its footing, but two very important staff members, the husband and wife duo of Michael and Jenni Moreau, have managed to make this an enjoyable event.  They go out of their way to make this event special, and they should be recognized for their work on this event.

If you’re ever in the Lake area during the early days of summer, be sure to check out Bayoucon.  I plan to attend this event again next year, and hopefully with new panels to present.

Header photo taken by Garrett Manuel.

Busy Weekend Ahead!

Lake Charles, LA

Bayoucon takes place this weekend in Lake Charles, LA.  It’s a science fiction/pop culture convention that has morphed from sci-fi to anime and then back to sci-fi over the years, but has never really experienced a lot of growth.  It’s a small convention that is in its sixth year (called Con du Lac for its first two years).  In fact, I was involved with this convention during its third and partially during its fourth incarnation.

I am now going to be a panelist at this weekend’s event.

I’ll have a full report and photos next week.

Stay tuned and thanks for reading!

Wannabeeeees!

spice

Lake Charles, LA

Calm down, calm down.  This post has absolutely nothing to do with the lovely Spice Girls (although they are a guilty pleasure of mine).  Nope, I just used their photo to draw attention to the topic at hand:  Wannabes.  Yes, there are a lot of “wannabes” out there.  From wannabe athletes to wannabe authors (like myself) to wannabe zookeepers (I’m guessing those really exist), this great land of ours is flush with wannabes.

This post in particular is about a specific type of wannabe:  the wannabe fanboy.  Now I’m not trying to start an argument over who is “more of a true fan” than any other person or what criteria must be met to be considered a true fan at all.  I’m focusing on certain people who become instant fans of a new franchise or genre because they’ve effectively been forced out of another circle of fandom or they become a “fan” of a franchise for their own personal gain.

I have dealt directly with this type of person.  They latch onto whatever fandom happens to be hot or popular at the time, and uses it to gain pseudo-friends because they irritated, lied to, and basically ticked off the last group they were a part of before getting the boot.  I have witnessed this type of person openly blast anime and anime fans, calling them and their genre “stupid, silly, and just dumb.”  However, when that person saw another group put on an anime-focused event and saw how much attention and money it brought, the individual immediately started to use and abuse anime for profit.

Fortunately, the anime fans of the world caught on to this person’s motives and left him/her high and dry.

After this failure, the individual went to another established (yet aged at the time) franchise, Star Trek, to make another attempt at a cash grab.  While it was only a slightly better event, this person yet again ostracized fans of Trek, making him/her two for two on ticking people off.

The next event this person put on was even worse.  The individual doubled up in desperation, attempting to draw both anime and Star Wars fans to the next event, but the event bombed.  While the anime fans had learned from experience, the Star Wars fans had already researched this person and avoided the event like the plague.

Now this person is trying to abuse Doctor Who.  This individual has told me to my face how dumb the good Doctor is in his/her opinion, and just can’t understand why anybody would want to watch the show.  This person didn’t care two bits about the Doctor, the Master, the Rani, Turlough, Tegan, or Peri.  But now, all of a sudden, and with no real fan groups left in the area to milk for profit, this person has become a huge fan of the Doctor, going so far as to join up with a fan group and use it to promote his/her event.

It’s a really sad turn of events in my opinion, that a person would be so desperate for attention and profit that they would sell themselves out to the highest paying fandom.  In short, this person is a fanwhore (Is there such a term yet?  If not, I call dibs!).

This person leeches any and all they can for their own personal gain.  It’s sickening.  I do not like these types of people.  It’s one thing to not like a series or comic and then gradually become a fan, but to instantly become a fan of a franchise that you have a long history of hating and/or disliking is a bit odd in my opinion.  It’s as if the Holy Spirit came down from Heaven and tapped your anime-hating brain and made you an instant fan.

Please, readers.  Do not become one of these posers, one of these parasites.  It doesn’t look good on anybody!

That’s it.  I’m off my soapbox.  I just had to get that off of my chest.

Thanks for reading and tolerating me for a bit.

Convention Panels And Weight Update

Lake Charles, LA

On the weekend of June 20-22, I’ll be at a local convention in the Lake Charles area called Bayoucon.  I’ll be hosting two Doctor Who panels (one on Saturday at 3PM and the other at noon on Sunday).  The Saturday panel will be focused on the Doctor while the Sunday panel will be about the Cybermen.  If any of you happen to be in the area, feel free to come to the Lake Charles Civic Center and check out the panels.  I’ll post photos after the event (and also a review of the convention itself).

It will be nice to attend a convention again.  The last one I attended was the excellent CyPhaCon, also in Lake Charles.  It’s a growing convention, and has done so each year.  Bayoucon is a very small convention, but it brings in a lot of my good friends who I don’t get to see very often.  Sometimes these smaller events are some of the best ones, because you can actually move around the convention center and talk at length with friends.

As far as my weight goes, I’ve lost fifty-one pounds!  I have three pounds to go in order to reach my next goal of 190 lbs, and from there I’ll be shooting for 180 lbs.  After achieving that goal, I’ll slow down a bit on losing weight, and focus more on maintaining and increasing muscle mass.

As always, thanks for reading.  Next time I hope to have a brief review of the latest X-men flick and possibly a look at the recent Darth Maul:  Son of Dathomir comic releases.

New Additions To The Ol’ Star Wars Collection (And A Collector Rant)

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Lake Charles, LA

Now, it’s time for my collector’s rant.  Normally I don’t mind when other collectors gripe about the quality of a figure if they are purchasing high end figures (i.e. Sideshow Collectibles), but reading about all of the whiners griping about the quality of the Saga Legends and Black Series figures is really getting on my nerves.

First and foremost these lines are TOYS.  Do I need to put that in bold lettering?  Fine.  They are TOYS.  They are meant to be played with by children (and adults who aren’t afraid to let the figure loose from its plastic casing).  I understand that the paint quality and, in some cases, the figure quality is bad, but ultimately these figures are meant to be played with and enjoyed. 

The Black Series (at least the six inch line) is geared more towards adult collectors, but children still want to play with them.  My son looks at my Darth Maul, Luke Skywalker, and Han Solo figures and you can literally see the restraint in his cute little face.  He wants to play with them soooooo badly but knows that daddy got them strictly to display.  I buy him Black Series figures as well, and let him do whatever he wants with them.  He loves to play with his figures, as any normal kid wants to do.

The Saga Legends line has problems of its own, but not once have I heard my son or any other child gripe about the lack of articulation.  He just goes along playing with them as if nothing is “wrong” with the figures.

That’s what is so irritating about being a collector.  I go to the store and see other guys my age or older (and a few younger ones as well) digging through figures and when they find one they want, they grab it and study it closely.  If there’s just the slightest blemish on the figure, they get all bent out of shape and toss the figure back on the peg.  I’ve seen people pass up Boba Fett figures because there’s a slight chip in his paint job.  Guess what?  I bought that figure and gave it to my son.  He loves it, and so do I.  All that these “adult” collectors do is demand better figures from Hasbro as if Hasbro only makes figures for adults.  Then when Hasbro does crank out something that is high end, these same collectors gripe about the price.  It’s a vicious and never-ending circle.

All that I have to say to these types of collectors is, “Grow up!”  I don’t know about all of them, but I collect figures because I love Star Wars.  It brings me joy and happiness.  I watch the films with my kids and it makes them happy as well.  Star Wars is supposed to be FUN!  Don’t ruin for everyone else.  Try to think back to the time when you were a kid wanting to buy and play with figures from the movies.  Put yourself in those old shoes and remember the fun that was had by you and your friends.

Smile, Star Wars fanboys!  Be happy that your franchise is back on top and, most importantly, HAVE FUN!!!!!!

Sorry about the rant, gang, but I had to get this off of my chest.

As always, thanks for reading, and may the Force be with you!