måndag 28 april 2014

Sci Fi World: Göteborg 2014

My feet are aching and begging for mercy whenever I even step near a pair of shoes - never mind my boots, my hallway is blocked by a huge bag that is only halfway unpacked and I feel like I had not enough sleep, despite having slept for a few hours more then usual. Well, it usually is this way the day after a convention.

The weekend was spent at the Science Fiction Convention in Gothenburg, a convention I had a habit of visiting in Stockholm for the past five years. Last year, I went to Gothenburg since a guest I really wanted to meet, Christopher Judge (Teal´c in Stargate SG-1) was supposed to show up there and I felt I had to go. So I did and I had a lot of fun. This year, I decided I would go there regardless if there was a guest there I wanted to meet or not. I had loads of fun last year, and I felt I needed to get away for a short while. So I got my tickets booked and held my thumbs as the guests where announced.

And Jackpot! Jason Momosa who plays Ronon Dex i Stargate Atlantis was booked to appear. So it was me and about a hundred Game of Thrones Fangirls who eagerly awaited the 26th of April and the start of the Con. However, he had to reschedule and it seemed like there would be no Stargate Guest at all. With only a week left until the con, I was uncertain if they would be able to get a new guest at all. However, Sci Fi World came trough and booked Corin Nemec instead who was able to come at a weeks notice. While I would of course go anyway, this just made it all much better. There is nothing that makes Cosplay better then having a guest that is a from the show you Cosplay there!

I suppose I should start by introducing my Cosplays. I have three of them but only two are whole at the moment. Two of them are very similar - only the basic uniform is different. Its the Stargate Atlantis Off-World and Garrison Cosplays. The uniform for the Off-World is a Black BDU while the Garrison Cosplay is tailored and for some annoying reason designed to be worn outside regular clothes, meaning you have to have a pair of pants under. Both uniforms use the same tactical gear; a Blackhawk Omega vest alongside pistol belt and P-90. To this, a patrol cap is worn.

The black Off-World Atlantis uniform was left at home this time.
Photo Credit: Per Petterson
The second one is a "early" SG-1 era uniform, OD BDU with a Blackhawk Omega Medic / Utility vest. I do not have one of those, so I was lent one by a friend of mine who happened to own one. Alongside this, I have a H&K MP-5 customized to the specifications of the SGC.On the head is a helmet - a plastic replica since a RS Kevlar one is both expensive and heavy. Neither is wanted. On the personal side, I had made sure to shave. The SGC is run by the USAF and their regulations apply. As such, no facial hair - or at least none like the one I usually have - is allowed.

Enough of that, getting all this into a bag was my first problem. My small and rather agile duffleback refused to do the job so I had to get the larger one - and that was not enough. Considering I only started packing the day before with no planning beforehand, this was kind of an annoying situation to be in. However, it all sorted out in the end but both on the journey there and the journey home, the bags was a very literal pain in my ass due to the unfortunate position of the Helmet.

After arriving in Gothenburg and checking into my hotel, I went to Slottsskogen. I did so last year and it was a great place to be. It still is - especially the seals, the penguins and the deers. Its a great place and I wholeheartedly recommend it if you need a place to just relax while in town. The evening was spent packing my first bag with the early SG-1 Cosplay. Since Corin Nemec would be there, I wanted him to see the SG-1 Cosplay first since that is the series he was in.

Early Stargate SG-1 Uniform, here with P-90 instead of MP-5
Photo Credit: Robert Johannesson
I made sure to get a pretty large dose of the hotel breakfast the morning after. Its crucial since you will mostly rely on snacks and water during the day. So grab what you can and do not forget the coffee was the instructions I gave myself. It should be noted that I only drink Coffee in emergencies and this was one. I never sleep well in hotels.

Oh well. I had planned to be about an hour early so I could "beat the traffic", the traffic being all the people showing up and creating a pretty damn long line. And so I did. I was not first in line but I did not really expect to. With decent company, the following hour went pretty quick and we could get inside.

I went a beeline for Corin and got my prop P-90 signed, having his signature join the one of Christopher Judge. I also felt pretty good that I was the first person to talk to him and being in Cosplay. So I got a couple of compliments on my Cosplay and we talked for a bit before the weapon was signed. I was so starstruck so I both forgot to turn on my camera - mounted on the helmet - and said a few things in the wrong order. But he was a terrific person, an impression that would be reinforced more as the weekend went by.

The following hours was spent talking and admiring other peoples cosplay, especially Pileruds Xenomorph Cosplay and Maniac FXs Predator The Alien was stellar and NOT something I want to meet in a dark alley. Other honourable mentions was the Stormtrooper Kid, Malin the Orc and of course the 501th Nordic Garrison and Superhjältar mot Cancer who do much to keep the spirit and atmosphere alive during both of the convention days.

Keeping the Alien and Predator from fighting was a full-time job for SG-15.
Photo Credit: maniacfx.com
The Saturday was rather slow with most of the time spent showing off, talking to people, being in photos and patrolling for Alien Contraband. The basic giest of my Character is that he is there to make sure no alien technology reaches the general public and to make sure the Alien guests behave and fill out their customs requisitions. I also ran into another SG-1 Cosplayer making the total such known in Sweden tallying about five people.

A few hours in, I stepped outside to get a breath of fresh air. This is the thing you want the most after a few hours in a hot uniform, save for the water. As for water, I averaged about 50cl every forty minutes, making sure I had a water bottle handy. Last year in Gothenburg, I ended up with the worst headache of my life and I am sure it was because I did not drink enough. No headache this year so I suppose I learned my lesson. While outside, I talked to two other Cosplayers when I hear a bang and that the weight on my gear have shifted. My custom MP5s sling mount (Improved my ass) had snapped and the weapon fell handguard first into the ground.

The handguard did not survive the fall, so I had no choice but to pick up the newly signed P-90, a weapon that I do feel is too valuable to be on a convention floor if I have any choice in the matter. Next lesson; Always keep the spare weapon available. A P-90 still fits the gear, so its not big deal, not really. The work I will have to put into the MP5 to restore it is another matter. After grabbing my replacement from the Wardrobe I rushed inside to get my sheduled photoshoot with Corin Nemec. After the botched photo of me and Judge last year, I was a bit worried, but the new Photographer sure new her stuff. I am quite pleased with the result.
Photo of a Photo on Blank paper. Never turns out as good as the original. Probably the point too.
The "All Stars" Parade that is held both days and is pretty much all the Cosplayers in one place marching around the place and then having a bunch of Photo Ops. At the three latest Cons I been to, there has been no managing of this from any of the Cons crew - the Cosplayers have to organize themselves and all three times, I have taken it upon myself to do it. I seem to get better at it too since I did not need anywhere near as much shouting as I needed the first time I did it. After the parade, Corin Nemec held a Question and Answer session. This was very well done, with the host having prepared questions in case the audience did not have any.

After that, I decided enough was enough for the day and packed up, but not after spending some of my hard earned cash upon an Omnibus of Timothy Zahns Thrawn Trilogy, the Comic version given out by Dark Horse and the rest was spent bidding a rather large Vor´cha Class Klingon Crusier from Star Trek. A bargain if I ever saw one. My only worry was that I would have to fit its box into my already overpacked bags. After grabbing a quick dinner, it was back to the hotel room where I made myself settle down with my new comic book, some cola and cheese doodles. After that, I had to pack.

I must admit I dreaded Sunday and with good reason too. Since my train was leaving in the evening, I had to check out from the hotel and thus had to bring all my stuff with me to the Con. I arrived one hour early - again after eating a large hotel breakfast - and this time, I was all alone. I kitted up my Atlantis Cosplay and made the most of it. Some of the dealers showed up right after and was let in at nine o clock, leaving me outside as the official Number One in the line. That does not mean I was bored however. Decided I could at least be off assistance, I positioned myself at the door and opened it for any Crew or Dealer who arrived, and that was quite a few. Very soon, people begun showing me the passes, probably thinking I was acting security and within about ten minutes, the Cons staff noticed that I was already checking everybody who entered and made it my semi-official job.

I soon found out exactly how much people tought I had actually been placed there to check peoples credentials. I accidentally left Gunnar Hansen, one of the guests waiting for about half a minute before noticing that he stood there, waiting to be let in. Of course, the door was unlocked and anybody could just enter but with a guy with tactical gear and a P-90 standing next to it, I guess people are not very eager to just check. Then again, it gave me something to do.

During all of this, a few people heading for the Axfood Convention seemed to think our entrance was the one they where heading for. Some actually just slipped in behind dealers, others showed their AxFood ID before I corrected them, telling that their Con was at the other end of the Corridor. All this makes me wonder what the hell AxFood has on their Conventions if the people staffing it genuinely believes it has an armed security guard. Maybe I should drop them an E-mail? 

It could be the grey uniform or the serious appearance. 
Photo Credit: Lars Wilderäng / Cornucopia
The Sundays are almost always calmer then the Saturdays. The only exception I have seen to this rule was when John Rhys-Davies (Gimli from Lord of the Rings) was in Gothenburg last year and had half the city come and visit him. For Cosplayers, this suits us just fine. Its more relaxed, more time to speak to each other and trade tips and moan about what has gone wrong with our Cosplays because there is always something that does go wrong. On my end, it was my belt. It kept snapping over the strain from the Holster, the Knife and the Water Bottle. In the end, it was solved with Duct Tape because where there are Cosplayers, there is duct tape.

During my walk around of the place, forgetting to shut my Action Camera off, I was recognized and approached by one of the few Swedish writers I keep track on; Lars Wilderäng. He wrote two books that are amongst my favourites and we had a small talk about Cosplay in general and then Game of Thrones, reminded me that I still need to watch that series. I can do so safely because I do not remember any of the spoilers posted.

After that, it was time for the Cosplay Competition. We signed up at the jury and then took our places backstage, waiting for our names to be called. Unfortunately, backstage was not a private area and we had to excuse ourselves constantly from all those who wished to take photos since it was not easy to hear exactly who was called up. At the competition, you preform a small show, preferably in character. I had planned to improve mine - I felt the one I did at the Stockholm Con was pretty stale - and decided to vary it up a bit. So I opened up by throwing a smoke grenade on stage from behind the door. Not a real one of course, but still enough to be just a little bit different.

After that, it was just the regular "the aliens are amongst you routine" for a few seconds then off the stage again. I admit I do not even want to win any such competition, I just want to show off on stage. Considering all the other great Cosplayers, it would feel stupid if I won. Most of my favourites did however walk away with a trophy in their hands. Pileruds Alien got the trophy for best Horror and that was indeed Well deserved. A Space Marine declared victory for the Emperor (I personally felt the Predator was more deserving) and Malin the Orc claimed the Fantasy price. The Junior category was won by a young girl dressed as Marvin from Hitchhikers Guide from the Galaxy, a terrific costume indeed. After the ceremony, we where all brought up on stage, a good addition from last Con and it shows Sci Fi World actually listens to the people who helps make it what it is.

After this, it was another Parade around the trade floor, where I had a bunch of people follow my directions and I must say it is a little weird feeling to complete the circuit and then shout "Parade, dismissed" and see people break ranks almost at once. And then it was the last point for the day; the last Q&A with Corin Nemic. It was empty to say the least, about ten people. But he found himself quickly enough and revealed that the strangest thing he had been asked was somebody who tough Stargate SG-1 was based off real events and the actors was in on it. If so, I guess Stargate Cosplayers are the biggest group of military posers on the planet. At any rate, it became a lot more personal, with him a bit more relaxed. It was a very good experience and I passed his table to say good bye afterwards. He is a really nice guy, and it was great to have him as a guest.

It all pretty much went downhill from there. Aside from the fact that Gothenburg Central had a Burger King, the heavy bags made quite sure that most of the times I had to carry then was spent cursing. I have since promised myself that if I ever travel for a convention again, I am going to have ONE Cosplay, not two. But I still had a lot of fun. And I met a lot of new people. That is what I will remember and that is what stays. So, until next con; I want to thank everybody I talked to, had fun with and Cosplayed with and above else Sci Fi World for arranging it.

SG-15, Over and Out.