Monday, February 19, 2007

Lone Dalek Shuts Down LAX! (or my weekend at Gallifrey)

Last weekend was the 18th Admendment of Gallifrey One Convention at the Los Angeles Airport Marriott hotel right next to LAX.

I think I will start at the end of the weekend, though, since it was probably both the most scared I got and also when I felt the most stupid!

As always, Gallifrey One had lots of Doctor Who merchandise in the dealers room, including lots of things with Daleks. Ceramic Dalek Egg Holders (with a chocolate egg), Dalek Clocks, remote control Daleks, a Genesis Ark playset (with four Daleks and the ark) and a Dalek Bath and Shower Gel set. The Dalek Bath and Shower Gel I saw when it was originally released in the UK, but regular stores like, wouldn't ship them to the U.S. Others on EBay were going for ridiculous prices. I figured one of the dealers at Gallifrey would have them and I was right. I also picked up one of the Dalek clocks as well as a remote control Dalek. Having flown out, I didn't really have the space to carry back the remote control dalek and made arrangements for a friend that drove out to take it back to Arizona for me. The clock and the bath gel Dalek I figured I'd take on my carry-on, wrapping up the bath gel Dalek in a Gallfrey t-shirt to protect its protuberances from getting damaged or snapped off and place it and the clock in my LA Con IV tote bag. In hindsight, I should have sent those back to Arizona with the remote control one...

I had an earlier flight, departing about 6:50 pm, so I had to leave the convention before it was completely over, so I scrambled to get my stuff together after the State of SFTV panel that I was one and made it to the airport in plenty of time and headed for the security check in. It wasn't until I had everything already going down the conveyor belt at the security check point and they stopped the belt to look at my tote bag that I realized that inside that Dalek was more than 3 oz of liquid and it was most definitely not in a clear plastic quart bag! Going through my mind was getting thoroughly searched and even having the security people overreact and shut down the airport because of this potentially dangerous gel they just discovered inside a strange plastic casing! I immediately told them what it was and the TSA officer said I would have to dispose of the gel and escorted me back out to the front where I got to open up the Dalek, break its seal (the top part is the cap) and empty the contents into a trash bin with several TSA officers looking on.

I then got to go back through the security checkpoint, making sure I went back through the same one, since they had already seen the formerly gel-packed object. It sill left me a bit paranoid the rest of the evening, especially when I was getting some food, sitting in the front of a sports bar, and an off-duty TSA agent set down across from me looking pretty much straight at me while I was eating. He was actually looking at the TV screen directly behind my head, but it still wasn't very comfortable.

I'll try to get some stuff up about the convention itself in the next couple of days. In the meantime, Paul Cornell blogged about the con during the weekend catching some of the highlights of the con.

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