|LOST 2014 Attendee check-in. (Photo: Ian)|
Check-in was painless and didn't take more than a couple of minutes. I then joined up with MJ who waited behind for me while the rest of our troupe went to reserve a breakfast table at Duke's. As we left the hotel another pair of LOST fans joined us for the trek.
|Buffet breakfast at Duke's|
After breakfast we walked back to the Hilton. I heard that the line-up for Jorge Garcia's Q&A had already started, so decided to head up to the third floor to check things out. Sure enough, a line probably 30 people deep had already formed so I decided to get into it. Over the next few minutes the others in our group arrived.
|Waiting in line for the Jorge Garcia panel. (Photo: Ian)|
After waiting for about an hour in the increasingly warm hotel hallway (though, to be fair, compared to most con lineups this was easy peasy) the doors opened and we were allowed into the conference room. Being close to the front of the line we were able to snag front row seats, which ended up being directly in front of Jorge's signing table.
|The faithful file in.|
|Familiar faces at the front of the class.|
Shortly thereafter Jo and Jorge entered, to thunderous applause. Although I had met Jorge once before at a NerdHQ panel, it was equally thrilling and fun to see him a second time. Once again he proved himself attentive, thoughtful, hilarious, playful, and accessible, all the things one would want in a guest. A video of the full session is posted on the LOST 2014 website.
|Panel discussion from my vantage point.|
|Guest of Honour! (Photo: Ian)|
|LOST2014 fans from Galactica command table. I'm the redshirt far right. (Photo: Jo)|
After the Q&A Jorge moved to his signing table and, in an incredibly organized fashion, the fans were brought forward to have him sign an item and get a photograph. Given that we were about four feet in front of the signing table we were able to watch the first set of fans up close. One particularly cute moment occurred when a young girl, maybe 8 years old or so, walked up to Jorge wearing an "I love Hurley" shirt and smiled from ear-to-ear as she took a photo with him.
|Waiting in line to meet Jorge. (Photo: Ian)|
|My LOSTie crew. (Photo: Alice)|
Soon enough my turn came around and I stepped up to the table. After a quick exchange of pleasantries I asked Jorge to sign the back of my Hugo Reyes Ajira 316 ticket. Then I knelt down, wrapped an arm around his shoulder and tried my best not to a) blink, and b) look like a total dork for the camera. Fortunately Ian had kindly volunteered to take the photo and it turned out rather nicely.
|Jorge signing Hurley's Ajira 316 ticket. (Photo: Ian)|
|And this is what he wrote.|
Two other occurrences of particular note come to mind from the signing. The first involved Paul, who can always be relied upon to come up with creative ideas. This time around he asked Jorge to act out a short scene with him, basically handing him control of The Island the same way that Jack passed it on to Hurley -- by drinking Island-imbued water from a bottle. Jorge was a great sport, and at the end loudly proclaimed "...and SCENE!" It was a fun moment.
|Paul giving Jorge direction for the Island handover scene. (Photo: Ian)|
The other memorable moment occurred when Jorge was asked to sign one of the Hurley bobble heads and ended up writing his name across Hurley's butt cheeks. Jorge was so amused that he later posted it on his Instagram account.
|Signing Hurley's butt cheeks. (Photo: Ian)|
Such a fantastic start to LOST 2014! But the fun wasn't over yet. Saturday evening featured a welcome reception and costume competition. Prior to the event I met up with some of my peeps at the MAC 24/7 restaurant within the host hotel. The highlight of the gathering had to be Rambo's "tiny tacos", which aptly lived up to their name.
|Food & libation before the reception. (Photo: Chris)|
The reception was held just outside the hotel in an area designed for such gatherings. It was a bit dark and a tad crowded, but it worked out fairly well in the end.
|Welcome reception / costume party (Photo: Ian)|
There were two people in particular who I wanted to meet at the reception. One was Erika Olson who writes about LOST on her blog Long Live Locke. I won a Dharma beer cozy in one of Erika's contests and she was particularly nice when my first cozy disappeared somewhere between Chicago and Ottawa. The second was Kelsey Devois, a fellow Canuck who also had made the trip to the island. I'm happy to report that I was able to catch up with both at the event.
I would guess there were about a hundred people in costume that night, many of them very creative. Ian made a splendid Jacob, and Paul won the award hands-down for most obscure LOST reference.
|Photo of Des & Penny. (Photo: Ian)|
|Sayid & Charlie (Photo: Ian)|
|Bad Robot / Crazy Claire mashup (Photo: Ian)|
|Kate & Jack (Photo: Ian)|
|Paul! Is! Joop! (Photo: Ian)|
|Me, Cate Bolt, and Rambo with Joop. (Photo: Susan Terral)|
|Costume competition contestants at LOST 2014. (Photo: Michael Gillman)|
After the reception I hung around in the lobby for a while chatting with a few fellow fans as they drifted in and out. My memories already a bit fuzzy for that evening, but at some point I called it a night and head back to my hotel; there was an early wake-up call for our full-day bus tour the next morning.