Spirit's Account of New Pacificon 1998

July 1998

So here is what happened to me in the great metropolis of Cincinnati, OH (otherwise known as Erlanger, KY).

This isn't going to be as long as my Las Vegas report for several reasons. First of all, I wasn't there as long. Second, I didn't do as much. Third, it's been two weeks now, and my memory is a little fuzzy. I usually do these things pretty quickly, when it's still fresh in my mind, but I've been going non-stop for the last two weeks, and this is the earliest I can do this.

Although I live in Dallas, flying out from Oklahoma City was the only option for me due to $$$$. I coordinated my trip with Jenna Mead and Deb Sims, who were flying in from Kansas City. We planned to meet at our St. Louis layover, and travel on together to Louisville, KY, where we would rent a car and drive the rest of the way.

So on Thursday night I packed up the car, said a prayer that it wouldn't die on me, and headed for my home town of Ada, OK. I spent the night with my parents, and my dad dropped me off at the airport the next morning. I flew into St. Louis and met Jenna and Deb right on schedule.

Their flight arrived at gate E2.

I had met Jenna in Vegas, but this was my first time to meet Deb. And our layover was long, but not boring, for Nancy Meier, who lives in St. Louis, dropped by to see us. She wasn't able to attend the con, so we pulled out photos and other paraphenalia right there in the terminal. She visited with us for about 90 minutes. I'd never met her before, either, but it was great to see her, as we'd talked by e-mail often enough.

The rest of the trip went as planned, and we reached the Holiday Inn about 7:00 that evening. I spent the rest of the evening in the con suite, being a nuisance, greeting people, telling everyone that my name was Mary Brick, and learning how to slice green peppers. Don't ever let anyone say that Earth 2 is not educational.

I met Jo, Tina Tocco, Deb Wilson, Paul Bromley, Elizabeth Heckert, Ellie Jones, Margaret Czarney, Becky, English Kate, Ann Reddecliffe, Melanie McManama, Anne Backus, Ona Sostakas, and a bunch of other people whose names I cannot recall, all for the first time. I also met again Cathy, Cheryl, Earth2Kim, and Kelly.

Mary Brick, all of our guests of honor, and several others were at the baseball game, watching the Cincinnati Reds get whipped by the Pirates? Padres? (Mary help me out, here).

Sorry, people, it's been two hectic weeks. Hope no one's offended if I forget your name, or spell it wrong. If you want, you can forget my name or spell it wrong in return, and we'll call it even.

We stayed up pretty late, just chatting away.

The next morning, we started the convention. Just about every teenage girl (and a few more, besides) were lined up outside the dealers' room, waiting to buy photos of Clancy as soon as the doors opened.

Ah, those dealers. We had only two, but they had some interesting stuff. One in particular had lots and lots of photos. I picked up a couple nice ones of Debrah (like any photo of Debrah wouldn't be a nice one?), a group shot, and one of Jessica Steen. And when I picked up the one of Jessica, one of the girls hissed at me in shock and surprise. I'm a Debrah fan – what was I doing buying a pic of Jessica?!?!

Well, they're both pretty, let me tell ya.

Anyway, all four of our planned guests were there. Kirk Trutner (Cameron), Rockmond Dunbar (Baines), and props people Bill Traetta and Jana Marie Bonar. All four of them were very nice, very professional, very lovely people.

I got to see Mary Brick again, as well as Lori Young and George Cifrancis. I met Bettina Ball for the first time. (I believe she wins the "I came the farthest for this thing" award.) I also got to meet Elizabeth Heckert's dad. I had originally thought that he was a hapless parent, being cruelly dragged around the country by his con-going daughter. But he's as much a fan of the show as anybody, and he provided a lot of lively discussion. He's a very nice, very sharp man. I wish we got to see more of him.

Mary occasionally threatened to douse me with water. I don't know why. I don't do anything to encourage such behavior – anything at all.

We had panel discussions involving pairing the characters together, coming up with backgrounds for the background characters, more character stuff, and still more character stuff. The room was filled mostly with D&D'ers. I'm afraid they dominated.

We got to hear the two actors speak. Kirk Trutner is now working again at Universal Television. He reported that he had found the room where most of the props and equipment for Earth 2 is still stored, such as the ATV and the bio-dome, and was doing his best to keep it there.

Why the producers never paid Kirk a little more money and let him talk is beyond me. He is as quick-witted and as clear a speaker as any I've ever heard.

Rockmond spoke for a while, answering questions. He told us a list of projects he's working on, and a list of movies to watch out for in the video stores and theaters, including one called "Madam." I don't remember what the others are; I'm sure someone has that info written in stone and committed to memory. If anyone wrote down Rockmond's future works, please speak up.

Bill and Jana had some good stuff to show us. The main attraction was Whelan's mask. (Paul Bromley and I both wore it for a short time! It was so cool!) They also had little miniature kobas, early model Zero gloves, and some other things I can't remember. All the pictures I took during their session didn't come out because I loaded the film wrong, which I haven't done in ages. They had some early E2 promo stuff from Universal, such as the mug and some pens. (No, they weren't for sale, so don't even ask.)

Following the autograph session, we had an auction. Two of the VA-1587 jackets from the show had been donated, as well as a furry thing worn by Alonzo. (Don't ask. I didn't catch all the details.) Cathy got a jacket to complement the vest she bought in Vegas, giving her a set! Way to go, Cathy!

During the auction, Bill Traetta told us he had been in the show twice. He can be seen once as an underground-dweller. I don't know where or for how long. The other time he was on camera...was as Devon Adair's dance partner at the Martins' VR wedding reception.

Well, I did a double-take. I said, "So you're the one! I've always been jealous of you!"

That night, we had a banquet. I think we sat at about six tables. It was very nice, and the food was good. (The mashed potatoes looked a lot like fish. Don't ask how, it just did. It was most amusing, as it kept fooling everyone who went down the line.)

After the banquet was over, we gathered in the hallway outside and took more pictures. We took turns posing with our guests. When my turn came, Jana put her leg up and draped herself over me as if we were passionate lovers. That was pretty cool, I have to say.

(If anyone has a picture of that – especially the leg part – please send. Thanks.)

We then went several different ways. Some people went to see Armageddon (for some strange reason...). Most of us had already seen it, and we went to see The Mask of Zorro. We had a pretty good time.

The next morning, panels started anew. Elizabeth, Ellie, Margaret and Becky had told me that there would be a duel between them and the Heller's Angels, as the subject was "Relationships." Well, the Holiday Inn employees acceded to our wishes and dug up one of their flower beds out front and filled it with water, ready for the mud match. But it didn't happen, so they replanted their flowers. And all at no charge.

We talked some more. Later in the afternoon, all four of our guests were on stage together, and talked with us for a while. They encouraged us – emphatically – to keep writing, to keep sending the letters to Universal, to NBC, to UPN, to the Sci-Fi Channel, to keep getting the name of Earth 2 out there and to let it be seen by anyone and everyone who was willing to look at it.

The guests were each presented with an appreciative plaque and a con T-shirt. We all signed a congratulations card for Jeff and Lisa on their new baby Grendler, and signed a birthday card for Nancy which Elizabeth was passing around.

We closed up the convention rooms. Several of us met in the hotel lobby at 7:00 for dinner. The next day was both Mary's and Kelly's birthdays, and we went to a country/barbecue type place called "Longhorn." (I think.) We had a good time there, and went back to the hotel, where we sat up in the restaurant, and then the hotel lobby, talking with Kirk, Bill, and Jana. My vocabulary was expanded as I learned the meaning of the word "doofi." As I said, E2 cons are educational experiences.

I left while the others were still talking, as I had to be up early the next morning for my flight back.

The next day, Jenna, Deb and I rode back to Louisville. We flew back to St. Louis, had another layover, and I said my goodbyes and got on my own plane for Oklahoma City. My dad was there to meet me.

Although my Earth 2 vacation ends here, there is one more thing I want to add, since it meant a lot to me. I asked my dad if we could go see the site of the Oklahoma City Courthouse bombing, since I'd never been, and we went there. The memorial hasn't been built yet. The chain link fence which surrounds what remains of the building is still covered with letters, teddy bears, photographs, banners, and tiny wooden crosses. We walked around it once, and I used the rest of my film taking pictures of it.

All in all, it was a very lovely time. I just wish the convention could've lasted longer.

Like, say, a year or so...

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