BabelCon 2008

AER BabelCon 2008

AER: BabelCon, 2008

A girl of about eight or nine walks up to JG's table and she hands him a hand drawn picture. JG wonderfully draws the shy girl out asking questions about the drawing. He gets her to tell him about each element of the picture. There was the sun at the bottom. Earth was present with an astronaut overhead who exclaims, "Earth!". On the right was Jupiter with the Red Spot. On the left was Saturn with a rocket going to it. Anyone in range would know this as JG and the darling girl were discussing the picture in detail. Afterwards, JG signs a copy of "Blood Will Tell" and offers to trade it for her drawing. JG has a new picture. The darling girl has a signed copy of ?Blood Will Tell?. It was a good trade. JG was happy with it. You could tell by JG's actions.

The Man, JG, was just wonderful with the way he handled that girl, and everybody else for that matter. He was a hoot to be around as he interacted with pretty much everybody, guest or Con-goer. The Actor, JG, was an interesting study in his panel as with professional discussions with those in the business. Easy to talk to. Easy to listen to. Easy to learn from. JG was just plain fun to be around.

JG was an example of the tone of this Con.

BabelCon was a laid back, low stress, everybody has fun type Con. Vendors, Guests*, and Con participants were all talking casually with each other. There were many photo-ops and impromptu events that occurred just on a whim. It was fun to see the Guests as fellows in the acting profession talking with and playfully joking with each other.

* Regrettably there was one prima donna that just simply was there for the pay. She certainly adhered to the 13th Rule of Acquisition. She was simply unsociable and no fun. She was the personification of the 10th Rule of Acquisition.
I had originally intended to get her to sign my Batleth in order to add another Klingon signature to it. I came to the Conclusion that the $20 was not an issue, I would pay the $20. The problem was that with her attitude, her autograph did not deserve to be on my Batleth with the likes of Vaughn Armstrong, JG, and Bob O'reilly.

BabelCon was quite different in operation from our local Conventions. The Guest tables were in the main, open hallway for easy access by all participants. This Con had a relatively small vendor room, but it was large enough. It had a (Gary Gygax Memorial) game room and some five or six panel rooms. These panel rooms started at 1000 Saturday and had panels still going after midnight into Sunday morning's wee hours. Something that we don't see locally. There was also a room devoted to children. No kidding.

The panels themselves were surprisingly heavy in Professors, Academia and technical professionals. I noted three Doctors and a ?technician/drafter? as panelists providing their presentations though I never actually checked a Con schedule to find out the actual ratio of Academics and professionals to laymen. There was some serious erudition here.

I sincerely recommend this Convention for the erudition if for no other reason.

After making arguably the longest single day trip that the Karmann and I have ever made, I arrived in time for the Meet&Greet. JG was in the vendor room (as was Susie) chatting with everybody when Bob Mays announces his entrance with a flair. He and Richard Hatch apparently arrived together as Bob also announces the arrival of Richard and they walk in together.

Bob Mays and his light hearted joviality set a good pace as he MC'd for many panels and was cracking people up. This gent is quite simply as funny as Grethor! When a (wo)man reaches a certain age, then they can cut the PC bullshit and tell it as they see it. Bob made good on that ability.
Bob's really funny story is that he placed and order for some fresh oysters. The Conventioneer's parents apparently have a sea-food related business as they harvested fresh oysters and drove them to personally deliver to Bob. It was a case of 1000 oysters on ice! The arrival of such a treasure was ordered to be guarded and thus Ripar and myself ran interference while a Snowtrooper and Stormtrooper ran trailer.
A Feddie attempted to hijack the shipment as it was being wheeled through the hotel and had to be taken down.
The presentation of some 1000 oysters had to have a public opening. Bob opened the box and taste tested the batch to insure that the shipment was good. He then asked for cocktail sauce to get serious with this shipment.
He was later on stage commenting about the orion slave girls and the fact that he had a case of natural Viagra out by his table.

JG had the Oasis group belly dancers open his panel. Bob announced him and JG ran up the aisle flanked by the Klingons. His panel was open and candid with lots of interesting notes about his career and questions from the audience. One of his important statements was that as a non-superstar he has to work for a living between Contracts. He is currently teaching and acting for Cornell University. ?That's 'Professor JG' to you. OK??

The Convention was great. The hotel itself as a lodging location did an acceptable job of which I have no complaints. However, the hotel management had not been properly overseeing the restaurant manager as they should. After working for 2 earth years at a restaurant, and then 6 earth years in a hotel/restaurant, I know how one should be run. The hotel has allowed the restaurant manager too much autonomy without oversight and the restaurant manager has allowed this restaurant to go to Grethor.
On Saturn's day, Ripar, Amy (a mutual friend), and myself were seated without real interaction right at the door of the restaurant. The terrible wait for service, the terrible wait for drinks, the terrible wait for food, and the food was cold and incomplete **, the terrible wait for missing items ordered, the terrible wait for refills, allowed us to warn other Convention Participants at they waited, and waited, and waited to be seated, to go somewhere else for food. We turned away some 30 people, suggesting that they go to a restaurant that will care for them.
The Convention is wonderful, but plan on eating some other place than the Grethor-hole attached to the hotel.
** We were allowed to order food of which there was not the inventory to build. Simply put... Parts were missing from our orders because they were not in stock. Why were we not advised that the fridge was empty before placing our orders??? Just another example of incompetence of the restaurant manager who was not being properly overseen by the hotel manager.

There were three Klingon Assault Group vessels in attendance. The very local and very new IKV K'vette, the somewhat localish IKV Bayou Serpent, and the rather distant IKV Melota. I salute the IKV K'vette for getting serious in a hurry. I salute the IKV Bayou Serpent, without whom, JG would not have been at the Convention. It was the IKV Bayou Serpent that negotiated with the Conventioneers to pay for his 'guest fee' to get JG to participate in this Convention.

I leave it to Ripar of the IKV Bayou Serpent to write the more exacting details as his AER is now incorporated by reference.

I wish to express my thanks to the Con organizer/owners for allowing me to participate in their Convention. It was fun to participate in the 47th Anniversary party of the Parents. Also, thanks for the pictures and video that was transferred to my pocket computer.

Thank you, JG, Bob, and Richard for a Grethor-of-a-good time!

Strength and Honor, Y'all
Cdr. Salek, Sutai
Ship's Brewer, IKV Melota

July 18-20,2008 was the date and Baton Rouge,LA was the location of Babelcon 2008,the third installment of this con. In attendance was myself and B'ehrmaq of the IKV Bayou Serpent,Salek of the IKV Melota,and Bar'tok of the IKV K'Vette. This was my second year to attend and it's gotten even bigger than last year but still hasn't lost the fan friendly atmosphere that most cons lack. It's a fan run con so there isn't any price gouging ($30 for 2 days). Guests this year were J.G. Hertzler,Suzie Plakson,Richard Hatch,and Bob May.

I was approached months ago by the con director asking for help in bringing J.G. to the con since they weren't sure they could afford it. In exchange for paying his appearance fee, we were promised that J.G. would be ours during the hours he wasn't working the con. They kept their word! With help from Salek of the IKV Melota and Bar'tok of the IKV K'Vette, the IKV Bayou Serpent raised the money and were given full access to J.G.

I arrived about 11:30 am on Friday and we were scheduled to pick J.G. up from the airport in New Orleans at 2:30ish. B'ehrmaq rented a van and along with a con rep, we proceeded to pick him up. New Orleans has a lot of water.There is a bridge that spans about 20 miles over water with no exit ramps and we were unlucky enough to get stuck in traffic due to a wreck for about an hour so we were about 30 minutes late picking him up but he was in phone contact with the con rep so there was no damage done.The ride back took about an hour and 15 minutes in which J.G. asked questions about the area since he hadn't been there in over 30 years.He also started joking with the group as soon as he got into the van and his mouth opened.

Once at the con,we got him checked in and along with Bar'tok and one of his crewmen,we went to his room and I gave him a bottle of bloodwine that I had brewed.He poured us all drinks (including himself) and we nearly finished the bottle. He got a call from Robert O'Reilly who asked if we met him at the airport in uniform like we did for him last year.Since New Orleans airport security is much more strict than Baton Rouge we decided it wouldn't be a good idea.J.G. joking told O'Reilly "only the dead chancellor gets that kind of treatment!".We then took him out to dinner and to the "meet and greet" party from 8-10pm.Salek of the IKV Melota arrived at this point after an 8 hour drive from DFW.What a trooper to drive that far with no air conditioning in 95 degree heat and 80% humidity.

The other stars were all there for the meet and greet and it was Suzie Plakson that I was looking for. I have never met a Trek star that wasn't extremely friendly until I met Suzie. I had brought her a bottle of bloodwine as well but she wouldn't accept it by saying "I'm not a sci-fi fan". She also wouldn't let anyone take pictures or videotape her. She was even rude to Bob May who has to be one of the nicest people I've ever met.

The next day we got into uniform and I got my autographs out of the way. I now got a picture with Suzie only after buying something.I then proceeded to do what I do best...walk around and intimidate the feddies. There were a lot of people in costume and since it was also a fantasy con, the costumes included Trek,Star Wars,Battlestar,pirates,knights,and even Orion belly dancers. J.G. asked the belly dancers to do 2 songs before he went on for his Q & A and we escorted him to the stage. I use the word "escort" loosely. J.G.,B'ehrmaq,Salek and myself ran up the aisle screaming to the stage to the delight of the crowd.

The con broke for dinner and we took J.G. to Chili's down the road.We only had an hour before he had to be back to judge the costume contest and we were told there would be a 30 minute wait for a table. After a throwing his weight around a little,(not in a rude way)J.G. convinced the staff to pull another chair to a table for our 5 person group and we made it back in time for the Orion belly dancers who J.G. really wanted to see.There we sat with the Chancellor of the Klingon Empire,watching the green ladies gyrate.Once they were off the stage, a small child ran up to one of the girls that she knew and the dancer was hugging the child. J.G. saw his opening and ran up on his knees to get a hug of his own!

The costume contest was broken into 3 catagories,children,novice and professional. I came in 2nd place in the novice group,being beaten by a group dressed as characters from "Firefly" which just looked like normal clothes with a few patches sewn on. I was given a certificate signed by J.G.,Bob May,and Richard Hatch who were the judges and a headbutt from J.G. They had an auction for charity next with Bob May auctioning off several one of a kind items. B'ehrmaq was the proud winner of an autographed photo of Malcolm McDowell which he got for $80. With the majority of the activities done for day,we got out of uniform,showered,and met J.G. in the hotel bar where he bought us drinks and chatted about anything from Trek to body piercings.We closed the bar down,J.G. went to see a seminar on global warming,and Salek and I went to the room we were sharing to drink bloodwine til 2am.

Sunday morning I went down with a mundane friend to get the breakfast buffet and Bob May asked us to sit with him. He's a real character and loves to talk. Bob had ordered steak and eggs rather than the buffet and with the bad service it took a good 30 minutes to get his food. He didn't seem to notice and talked to us like long lost friends. Even when his food arrived the didn't eat much at all,instead talking about everything under the sun.He's really into the cons and especially the charity auction.They raised around $1,400. After breakfast we met back up with J.G. who brought back my now empty bloodwine bottle which he signed for free along with the full one that Suzie wouldn't accept. We got a few more pics out of uniform with him,Bob,and Richard Hatch before saying goodbye to Salek who had to head out early for his long drive home. Bar'tok of the IKV K'Vette was put in charge of taking J.G. back to the airport and after saying goodbye to all our other friends,con reps,and stars,we headed home. Thanks to Babelcon for giving us the chance to spend so many hours of personal time with my favorite Klingon!

Cmdr Ri'Par sutai-bortaS
IKV Bayou Serpent CO and ship's brewer


AER's Page