One of the strange things about sharing this occasional column over the years is that I have revealed far more about me than I probably should, and that you probably don’t even care about.
I don’t know why I do it. I guess to help me try and get through certain issues I have, or simply because some people find it entertaining. That includes my ongoing fear of crowds.
It’s not exactly agoraphobia. I’m not like breaking down and freaking out when I’m standing in a crowded elevator. It’s just that when there are a lot of people around me, like say at a convention, I tend to get uncomfortable and a bit lost in what’s going on. So I really try to avoid it.
That’s why I turn down doing many conventions (although people say I make a great moderator, and a fun panelist). I will do the ones here locally in the Tampa Bay area that I’ve done for many years now like Necronomicon and Orlando’s Oasis conventions.
And this weekend I’m at what is a rather unique convention called Southern Media Con (or, as I lovingly call it, North By Northwest Con — don’t ask why).
It’s a much smaller convention, and I mean much smaller, but this is a group who are there ready to talk, not just listen. Being a panelist at this convention is more like being a group leader — you get the conversation started, and the convention-goers themselves keep it active and vibrant.
This convention has been going on for several years locally, formerly called Vidcon, but I never actually made it out — mostly because it always seems to fall the weekend before San Diego Comic-Con, and that’s when I’m the busiest trying to get ready.
But this year I was invited, and I came out. And I’m very excited. I got to experience some of this new format (to me) on Friday night, and I love it. Mostly because it means less work for me as a panelist. But also, I love a convention panel that is very engaging with the people who pay money to be there — and make it about them. That’s the way it should be, and something I think other conventions may have lost sight of recently.
Of course, our managing editor Bryant Griffin and I are making the cross-country trek again to San Diego Comic-Con, flying out on Wednesday. We also will have another reporter with us, Trek Radio head and one of 1701News‘ editors Lisa Guetzkow.
We are still working to get our schedule put together, and have a lot of content that we are already preparing. This is going to be a lot, and the entire weekend is always a blur. Of course, I am going to miss my “convention wife,” Kai (I didn’t ask if I could use her last name here, and I doubt she’s up this early for me to ask). She works with Cox Radio, and they are not able to make it out this year. She’s become my true con buddy, and I think I’m going to be lost without her.
And she’s going to miss my debut as a Comic-Con panelist moderator. Yep! Believe it or not. On Saturday (my schedule permitting), as editor of 1701News — our new Star Trek news site partnered with Roddenberry Entertainment — I’ll be hosting the Roddenberry panel. And there will be some awesome people there.
Rod Roddenberry is expected to be there, of course, as well as his amazing fellow executive Trevor Roth. Also there is Tory Mell, the producer and writer of the 360-degree film “White Room: 02B3,” as well as Paul Morrissey, Aubrey Sitterson and Chris Moreno from the new graphic novel publication of “Worth.” Also slated to be there is “Star Trek” superfan (and the person we should all thank for there still being Star Trek) Bjo Trimble, and Arcana publisher Sean Patrick O’Reilly.
The nice part is you won’t even have to wait in line for Hall H. Because we’re going to be in Room 25ABC on Saturday at 3 p.m. So for the three of you with that lifelong passion to see me up on a stage .. well, here you go!
Then in August, I have one last convention for the year (until Necro in October), and that’s VegasCon, representing 1701News. This is the greatest Trek convention you can go to, all put on by Creation Entertainment. We have a long list of Star Trek people we’re going to talk to, and you can get all the updates on our sister site, 1701News.
One thing we are trying to plan while we are there is an informal gathering at the Rio Suites Hotel in Las Vegas to celebrate the 15th anniversary of Airlock Alpha. That’s right … next year, this site is going to be driving a car, so watch out.
And maybe my crowd-phobia isn’t as bad as it used to be. I mean, 12 years ago, I just did Necro, and that was it. Then I started adding more and more conventions. And now, I just realized, I’ve committed to five conventions this year.
I guess there really is a cure. Now if I could just work on my mysophobia.