> My Convention Story

     I went to my first and only convention at Cherry Hill, New Jersey from August 9-11, 2002. It was one of the greatest experiences I've ever had. Below I have my story (and please forgive the fact that I was an energetic 16-year-old when writing it). I also have picture posted further below including pictures I took, scans I bought, and personal artwork I had autographed!

The Story

    It all started Friday evening. The convention just opened up and all the tables were selling things. Some were so expensive that you would need a WHOLE BUNCH of money to buy it. Like a nice plaque with a good picture of the Samurai Xena was $200! Creation charges the hell outta people. They have enough of my money.

    So I went to some other tables. More expensive things. A pack of Xena collectable cards that came in a pack an inch thick was $50! I about died. I met two nice women their. They lead me around since this was my first convention. Later that night, Claire and Danielle did the Vagina Monologues! It was REALLY REALLY REALLY FUNNY! Then, they also did some fan fiction which all turned into a big joke! Okay. That's over.

    I get up Saturday early. I have time to do some things till 1:00 p.m. Finally it comes after an eternity. I got to that one late because my mother wanted to drive around Cherry Hill and sight see. BAD IDEA! Well first it was 11:00 a.m. and there is still a long time left. So we go to this small shopping center and right as we pull in from a blind corner there are two women in the road that my mom almost hit. Then I took a second look and yelled "Oh my god, mom! You almost hit Danielle Cormack and Claire Stansfield!" Sure enough, they were in the middle of the road! No, I didn't follow them. My mom and I continued to shop at a shoe store and other stores.

    Cherry Hill is so messed up with its roads. You can tell that they built the buildings first, then they decided to snake the roads through. Some roads after an intersection magically have another name all of a sudden. We were lost for 2 hours. I hate Cherry Hill and always will.

    We got back, I was late for the convention and got the last five minutes of Claire's talk. She is really funny! Just in that last five minutes I laughed so hard I almost fell out of my chair. A lot of things were dirty or mean jokes. And they were funny. Near the end, Claire is laughing and then says "I'm going to hell." I just thought about how much that is like my family. My mom always says that we are going to hell as a joke when we tell a mean joke or if we see someone do something funny like fall down (some are funny, some are *you need to get up and help them* you have to know which is which). Anyways, after that was a short intermission then an auction.

    You people are gonna die when you here this. First of all, Callisto's sword sold for around $600! That's a lot of money. Then they brought out the big weight champion. They had a new chakram signed by Lucy Lawless!!!!! That thing sold for $1150!!!!!! I almost had a heart attack.

    Later on Danielle came up and talked for awhile. She is funny also. The part I like best was the projection screen behind her. It showed her on stage. What happened though is this, it was like looking at a TV of a picture of a TV of a picture of a TV and the same picture just keeps going back. Well Danielle didn't notice that and jumped in surprise when she saw her live picture on it. Then she says "Damn it, I knew these sleeves looked poofy!" Funniest part of her entire talk.

    Then came autographs. Oh man, that took forever. It started around six and ended near almost eight! People wanted pictures with them, multiple autographs. That's when I got mine. I was near the middle of the line. Right after that was an appearance by ROC with Tim Omundson. They were going to do Al Gurney's Love Letters. You know that those letters are REALLY DEPRESSING.

    Hold on, let me back up. Hundreds of people were lined up in the lobby. Some already had tickets and were waiting to get into their seats and a lot were there to buy tickets. I had a preferred seat so I knew I would have one. So I'm sitting right outside the bathrooms, and woman comes and sits next to me. She tells me about the times she's seen ROC and how much she loves her. Then she says that Renee is in the bathroom because she heard someone say "Renee needs to go to the restroom" (bodyguard guy I think). Anyways, we keep sitting outside the bathrooms and all of a sudden Renee's husband walks into the men's restroom. THEN! Renee herself walked out of the bathroom she looked at us, we just smiled, she smiled back and went through the crowd. No one recognized her! Then we watched Love Letters and she actually stayed on five minutes after to answer questions. She didn't have to do that. Everyone loved it. No one had a camera though. CREATION (those stupid *(@&%$(@*&$#@) wouldn't let anyone take a camera or cell phone into the room with Renee and Tim! If they thought your were trying to get one in, they would search you and confiscate it from you. GRRRRRRRRRR!

    All right, I go to bed. At least I have my photographic memory of Renee. That will do. I wake up the next morning when the Sunday Breakfast is going to begin in about two hours. I didn't buy gold tickets so I couldn't go, but I wouldn't be there late enough Sunday to see Hudson and Tim talk and get their autographs. I was furious that I wasn't going to meet them.

    So I'm sitting in the lobby and recognized the lady I sat next to last night. Her name is Judith and she was telling me how she also dislikes the prices Creation charges people and she only came for Renee's performance. We hit things off from the start and I told her my dilemma. She felt bad and then all of a sudden she goes, hey Hudson must be coming into the lobby soon, there's her body guard. And sure enough, in a few minutes, Hudson walks by. I about died of a heart attack. I barely said as she walked by "Hey, Hudson." She looked me in the eyes and says "Hey". I was shaking for ten minutes afterward. Not only did she say "Hey", she stopped, looked me in the eyes, and had a huge smile on her face!

    Okay, so I'm talking to Judith again about my plane trips and here is how it went "...then we got off the plane and there is Claire and Danielle." I just slipped it smoothly into my sentence as they walked out of the elevator. There was also Tim but I couldn't see him at first. So they walked by, going to the breakfast and I'm still depressed about no autographs from Hudson and Tim.

    Then Judith realizes that her bags are still in her room and she has to check out, but her friend who is in the breakfast has the car keys! So Judith and I go and stand outside the ballroom where the Sunday breakfast (brunch really) and looked for her friend. Judith finds her and walks in to get the keys. She was gone for like five minutes and I'm thinking what the hell happened. All of a sudden she comes back and goes "Come in quick. The stars are doing photos and autographs with people! This is the time we can sneak in!" So we did!!!!!!

    While we were walking to the table Hudson walks by and I hear her say "Oh! Is this where the coffee lives?" I started laughing inside my head. I just wore a smile on my face. So we get to the table and sit and wait for the stars to make their rounds. First come Claire and Danielle. They actually remembered me from yesterday and then someone shouts as I'm getting my picture taken "Finally! Someone taller than Claire!" What a thing to say at a time like that. Anyways, they go, and Judith tells all the women at the table about my dilemma of the autograph problem and all of a sudden it became all of their problem! They were all scouting out where Hudson was in the room, how many people were left in line, where to find a marker for the autograph. We got all that.

    Then Judith and I approach Hudson on the other side of the room even though it isn't our turn to see her yet. So I was getting ready to wait patiently when all of a sudden Judith goes "This is your chance, honey!" And she grabs me by my upper arm and hurls me towards Hudson. Luckily I was able to stop myself from knocking Hudson over. Then I start telling her my problem and if I could get her autograph now. Then her body guard guy in a real rude voice says "Hudson can't do autographs right now. You will have to wait for this evening!" and he was trying to push me out of the way. Hudson basically says "Back off! He can have my autograph if he wants!" and she signs my wall and she turned around to talk with someone and then she says "Oh right!" and she turns around and all of a sudden Hudson is hugging my right side posing for a picture! I just wasn't expecting her to be so close (physically) to me so fast! I didn't even really see her turn back around!

    Then that's over, a couple of people took my picture with her (in case mine didn't work, I have a feeling my camera didn't). So then I go back over to my table and wait for Tim. We cleaned off the table for Hudson (at first) but learned Tim was coming so we worked just as hard. When he came all the women at our table starting yelling, clapping, and cheering so loud that that was the only thing to be heard in the room. Tim just looks around and says, "This is how everyone should welcome me!" Then the women at my table said "We cleaned the table for you. You have to get on it now and pose!" His eyes got so wide when he looked at the table and he just said "That's in Hudson's contract."

    He took pictures with everyone at the table and he signed my wall! Well there! Now I've solved the autograph problem and I am quite content. So I just went around taking more pictures of Claire, Danielle, Tim, and Hudson. It was a good thing Judith and I had just pushed our way to the front of the line (mob really) to see Hudson. She had to leave before she finished with everyone. As she was leaving she got up on a table and just started doing all these poses for people to take pictures of. Then she gets down, leaves, but while in the hallway again, she starts doing more pictures, talks, and does more autographs. A woman truly devoted to her fans. They all were. Claire and Danielle on Saturday waited to give autographs and pics with everyone. Tim tried to do as many as he could (he was coming on the stage later to talk and do more autographs). He was the last to leave the big breakfast room.

    So I'm quite happy. The rest of the story goes "I'm happy. I don't need to go to the rest of the convention now. I've got my autographs. I've met all the stars. I'm tired and want to go to sleep." So my mom and I leave and catch a plane ride home. OHHHHHH! I forgot something. If you are a Hudson fan you are going to absolutely hate this one person. A woman living in California had a first class 6 hour flight to the Cherry Hill convention. And guess what, she was next to Hudson the entire time! Wait. It gets worse. Then she didn't have a ride to the Hilton Hotel so she got a ride with Hudson in her limousine! ARRRGH! I met that lucky woman later at the breakfast table! So that is my long story.

    A friend who stayed at the convention longer than me saw Hudson's talk. Hudson was wearing her costume from The Bitter Suite episode. And after that, Hudson auctioned off her dress for charity. People, if you aren't sitting, you better do it now. The dress was bought for $3,000! SHEESH! I wish I had that much money to spend on Xena memorabilia.

The Pictures