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Shore Leave 2003

©03 The Media Desk


The Desk's Trek for Lunch

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       Shore Leave 25 happened, and that is the word, at the Hunt Valley Marriot in Baltimore the weekend of July Eleventh.
       It happened, and the Media Desk covered it as only the Desk can.
       Total coverage, deep involvement, pictures and quotes and... and ... whatever. Pretty much everything was accessible and in some cases, chased you around the building, except Lunch.

       The Con had their Blood Drive, groups did charity fund raisers, there was junk food by the hundredweight, music and dancing, costumes, celebrities, and merchandise of every stripe.
       There is really no way to describe the Total event though.
       Words fail at this point.
       Unless you are making a sensationalist fan-bashing feature, to cover it objectively and convey the spirit and 'feel' of the event is almost impossible.
       But if you are doing the former, it is easy pickings here. In spite of what Denise Crosby says, her Trekkies film crew is out hunting for 'Flakes' to exploit. No, that is Exactly what they are doing, one of her crew members said exactly that to the Desk at one point. "We want the flakes". Look at the picture of Ms. Crosby at the autograph table on the picture page. There at her table her true views on the whole thing came out, she hates all things Trek, and especially the fans that support it. Yet you can bet she cashes her residual check every quarter. On stage at her Q and A session though, it was a wholly different Denise.
       She buttered the crowd up, telling them their 'brother fans' in Brazil are just like them. Which may be true. And how this Con is the only one they are filming at in the US this year. Which is simply a lie, unless Bloomington, Minnesota and Little Rock Arkansas have been moved overseas. Sacramento might be a foreign country, but we'll let that slide. This can be verified on the project's website.
       Ms Crosby has an agenda, and to put it simply it is to paint ALL Star Trek fans as 'flakes'. Their word, not the Desk's. The Desk pointed out to the film crewman that the IFT table and the Starfleet display were raising money for rather noble charities. He wasn't interested. At All. And when the Desk spoke to Ms. Crosby herself it got one sideways look that turned into a glare and was then ignored.
       Such is life.
       Maybe she had missed lunch too.

       Yes there are 'flakes' in fandom. And it is not just Star Trek or Science Fiction fans that are flakey. NASCAR race fans can be just as around the bend (pun intended). TV Soap Opera watchers get there as well. Political activists can be pretty weird too.
       For evidence the Desk will hold up racing fans that refuse to watch events since Dale Earnhardt died and sent the Desk hatemail when it pointed out that Teresa was his Third wife and was Not Dale Jr's mother. You don't have to go very far to find examples where the 'disease of the week' from TV soaps has turned up in real world doctor's offices and emergency rooms. And if you don't know somebody that will claim with a straight face that at least George Washington, if not Jesus, was a member of their particular political party... you're missing something in life.
       And we haven't even mentioned the Shriners, rock music nuts, or those addicted to fly fishing or golf.
       But most of them don't wear uniforms from a TV series that was canceled ten years ago, or from a movie that is only shown now on Insomniac's Theater at two in the morning on some UHF station you can only get by sticking a wire coat-hanger into the back of your TV.
       Most people have a hobby or an outside interest. But most of them do not take it to extremes. It is the ones that do that make good camera fodder for people like Ms. Crosby who has an axe to grind. She made a bad choice and had her character discontinued on the show. She was asked to come back as a guest star on occasion, and now trades on it by getting paid for autographs and appearances at Cons like Shore Leave. And she sells her films about the flakes.

       Now don't get the point all sideways here. The Desk has nothing against Ms Crosby herself. It has met her before and found her rather charming and nice to talk to. She's not real tough to look at either. The Desk also freely admits that some Sci-Fi fans are absolute kooks that need years of therapy and perhaps heavy medication because they seem to be completely detached from reality quite a bit of the time, and at conventions, they totally loose it all together.
       Most others are just having fun. Some are doing charity work. A few are out for a buck selling souvenirs or trinkets of one description or another. One woman has run a thriving business for several years and pays for her stay at the hotel by operating a store out of her room at conventions, selling everything from new body stockings to old magazines. The Desk had no use for a forty dollar riding crop and simply thanked her for her time.
       But for the most part, they are more or less Harmless.
       Even the woman that showed up for Jury Duty in a Star Trek uniform, profiled on the Trekkies website, wasn't hurting anybody. And on Jury Duty you get an Official Lunch Break. Professional Freelance Journalists covering a major Science Fiction Convention don't.

       OK, enough of that rant.
       Back to the woman in the Hundred Dollar Bill beach towel and rather ill fitting Ferringi headpiece.
       No, the Desk is NOT kidding, see the Picture Pages and look for her, she's hard to miss.
       Some of these people are serious about their devotion to their favorite show, movie, character, or even minor plot element.
       Or game.

       There were those at Shore Leave involved in the 'Total Immersion' Dungeons and Dragons game who were discussing its finer points with great passion and obvious expertise on the subject.
       "No, if you cast the general heal spell here, it will affect those around you but since she is closer to you she will recover more points than I will, and he'll only get very few points." Those around the Dungeon Master nodded gravely and with great understanding of his wisdom.
       The other full scale game going was Mage Night. And those playing it were equally well versed although the average age of the players here was about ten or twelve versus the more 'mature' D and D crowd. These kids could calculate distance and trajectory with the best old line cannon cockers of the US Army artillery divisions. They worked calculators and rulers and knew how much damage which weapon at what range would do against what armor on which enemy tank. You have to wonder if this ability carries through to their schoolwork.
       Where the Sci-Fi fans devotion seemed to express itself more often in outward appearances, there was only one player in the game room in character costume. And a very fine Mage they made too.

       And what did the Desk do besides run around and take pictures of pretty women and watch the action while forgetting to eat lunch?
       Well. That was about it.
       It also met a fascinating woman who turned out to work in the LAW. But it spent quite a bit of time with her anyway.
       Well, OK. Miss Gin is lovely, charming, intelligent, and absolutely vivacious. The Desk will now have to publicly admit there is at least ONE lawyer in this country it likes. She had come to the Con and had gotten separated from her friends. In the course of its coverage the Desk asks people where they are from and why they came to the Con just to get the flavor of the crowd, so it asked her. She had never been to anything like this before. The Desk ended up showing her around the place and having a couple of pleasant conversations with her before her 'friend' showed up and made sure the Desk didn't pay too much more attention to her.

       Oh well.

       There was Cassan the Griffin and the Lady Jeanette.
       A graduate student using Shoreleave as a laboratory experiment. She was NOT studying reporters that are enduring self inflicted starvation.
       The Klingon Warrior in line to donate blood to the Red Cross. (Rumor has it that the blood drive was a qualified success even though they had a slow time of it early Saturday. "The Convention had an excellent morning program." Which had hurt their numbers.) He had had LUNCH!
       There was a Trek Themed Tennis Tournament sponsored by two Philadelphia area Star Trek clubs.
       And Belly Dancing lessons in the lobby at midnight. Miss Gin made a good effort. To Picture Page 1 That one is on page 3.

       One of the leading Scientists on the Hubble Space Telescope team explained the process of, and showed the shots from the orbiting platform that assisted them in, discovering the Oldest Known Planet in a star cluster full of ancient stars. The planet, nicknamed Methuselah, is estimated at twelve billion years old. The public announcement had occurred just Hours before the Convention started. Brand New Hard Science at the Sci Fi Con? You bet.
       And the usual Con events like the Masquerade and the Art Auction. Both of which were very well attended. The Masquerade was Standing Room Only, and several score of people were Standing. Which was well after Lunch by the way.
       Before the Desk blew out of town Sunday afternoon it had scooped up enough freebies to fill its day job lunchbox, and enough gifts and other odds and ends to make two of its coworkers, both totally charming and absolutely stunningly gorgeous women, happy. You don't expect the Desk to spend money on anything less do you? Like lunch....
       Nevermind. [NOTE: Even though the Desk missed two meals over that weekend, both lunches, it did NOT waste away to nothing.]

       So on the whole, Shoreleave 25 was a raging success.
       Beats just a Rage. Right?

Contact: Dr_Leftover{-at-}TheMediaDesk{-dot-}com PLEASE put Shoreleave in subject line due to SPAM.
[NOTE: Shore Leave, Star Trek, Dungeons and Dragons, Marriott, the Trekkie project, etc, and all related identifying names and marks are properties of their respective owners. All Celebrity photographs were taken during the public appearances at the convention. All other individuals represented are private citizens and real names are not used by the Desk. The Media Desk is not affiliated or otherwise attached to any of them. The Media Desk is a registered fully qualified domain operating as a Journalistic outlet. Opinions expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of anything affiliated with ShoreLeave ]

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