This weekend I got to do something I never thought possible I got to work with my idol Amanda Tapping, I mean she was just a guest at the conventon I was working but that’s the closest I would ever get to working with her. Armageddon is hands down my all time favourite event of the year, I love the atmosphere and the people and specifically my amazing Con Family, so it was great having my Con Family and Amanda in the same place because it made it that much more special. I had already met Amanda once last year, but being at an event as a voluneer instead of just a nervous attendee made that connection with Amanda different to the last time and I was much more relaxed this time which probably helped.
As usual for an Armageddon I helped set things up for the event, which included helping to set up the signing area with guests posters and photos. My mate Jodie and I also had a small stall we asked to have to help raise money for a charity after the passing of a good friend and fellow convention attendee only a month before the event. We wanted to do something in memory of our friend Liam, so we put together a tribute video and collected items to sell including autographs and artworks etc to help raise money for the charity DEBRA which supports people with EB, which is something Liam suffered from. With me volunteering it meant I couldn’t help Jodie man the stall, but thankfully she managed to find people to help her out over the weekend to keep the stall manned and allow her to do what she wanted to do.
As always the weekend started off with a VIP cocktail party on the Friday night, when the guests arrived and the initially assault of fans on Amanda was over I asked if she was okay for a drink or food, she asked me if I was her minder and I said not really and her response was something along the lines of “You’re just a real beautiful, happy, smiling person” and she put her arm around me and gave me a bit of a squeeze. As a staff member I did my best to help move Amanda around the room to mingle with other attendees, it was a little bit hard and in the end I kinda just felt like a bit of a stalker hanging around her but I was holding her drink for her and whenever food made an appearance would ask if she wanted anything, I was being helpful plus chatted to friends who were also there. One conversation with Amanda went along the lines of me saying is “You’ll have to excuse me I am so overtired, I’m a little bit crazy” and Amanda’s response was a hug and a “Me too!”. Robin likesd to use his special inside voice a lot, which is basically him talking EXTREMELY LOUDLY, whilst Amanda just stands there and shakes her head at him.
There were moments throughout the night where I did mingle away from Amanda, I made an effort to go and say hi to Sylvester McCoy as I had worked with him the previous Armageddon, I also got to speak with Aliana Huffman briefly and Adrian Paul, but that was only because I helped Amanda escape all the clustering fans to get over and say hello to him as well. I also had a great little chat with Agam who is another beautiful person that I adore. Throughout the night I had an issue with the straps of my dress falling off my shoulder all night, it was really annoting me and once Amanda noted and whispered to me “Don’t worry I’m having the same problem”
Later on in the evening people were starting to ask Amanda to have photos taken with them, and I generally ended up being the person taking the photos for them, which I was find with, at one point my mate Kara wanted a photo so I took one for them and Kara asked if I wanted one, doing the right thing as a staff member I declined but Amanda had other ideas as she reached across and pulled me into a huge hug as she then kissed the top of my head and then the photo was taken and is still one of my favourites as I especially love the hugs smiles on our faces plus it’s a little more casual than the professional shots I have. Throughout the night Amanda kept offering me her wine; for the record I didn’t drink any which was good cause got pulled up by a booze bus on the way home, after picking up some Macca’s because I never remember to eat at these events.
Then came the Saturday and my job for the weekend was in the media area as a gopher or runner, which is basically someone who stands behind the guests and runs and gets food or drinks when they need them or sit with guests when their minders needs to go and do something, it’s my favourite job as a volunteer I love the running around and being kept busy plus the variety of getting to sit with the different guests. I spent a bit of time talking with Sandeep and Jeff from The Guild, another show I love to watch as it’s hilarious. I also chatted with Agam a lot and learnt that this was only her second or third convention and she still wasn’t quite that used to them and also Kara was her minder for the weekend. Robin was amazing and a little insane, he liked to just randomly jump up and go for a wander, his minder definitely had her hands full with him.
On the Saturday I got a photo with Robert Picardo, did my famous change in and out of costume for the photo which often surprising the guests when they see me in the photos going from Armageddon shirt to a full Stargate costume. I also got another photo with Amanda bcecause how could I pass up the opportunity, she loved my costume and especially my P90 because she grabbed it from me and posed with an adorable grin on her face, when she handed me back the P90 she comment with a sad face “I miss my gun”. I got to attend the VIP Sanctuary panel as it was a little later in the day I don’t recall a lot of what happened during the panel only the walk back to the green room afterwards when Amanda slung her arm over my shoulder, looksed at me and asked “Was that too goofy?” a little taken aback I just replied with “It was goofy but that’s okay ’cause you’re goofy and goofy is fun” Amanda just smiled.
Throughout the day I got to sit with several of the actors, I sat with Sylvester and took him to his panel I also sad and chatted with Louise Jameson, Nicholas Brendon & brother Kelly. As the guests started leaving for the day Amanda turned around and gave me a hug and thanked me for my assistance. That night there was a Stargate dinner so after finishing off some tasks before leaving the expo venue I rushed to the hotel and got changed into my dinner outfit in the hotel toilets, not the first time and probably not the last time either. Thankfully I sat at a table with a few friends at the dinner so we had a good conversation going when the guests arrived, and Amanda ended up sitting right next to me. Amanda was telling us how she kept herself awake by dancing to her iPod before the dinner and my response was that I had gotten changed in the hotel toilets, she smiled laughed and said “Well you look fantastic” so of course I blushed. The waiter at the hotel was a total Amanda fanboy and kept brining Amanda glasses of wine the whole evening, and then at the end of the night he got his photo taken with her and was very happy.
There was a conversation where people were telling their or their parents love stories and I just said “My parents have been divorced since I was six” a person responded with “We’re telling good love stories” my response to this was “It is a good story, it means I have four parents” Amanda laughed put her hand on my shoulder and said “Me too!”. It was mentioned that a lot of the people on our table would be going to AT6 in UK the following year and when I said I probably couldn’t go Amanda asked “Why not?” I explained and her response was “Who do I need to call for you! I need my Aussie posse” So this then made me start planning my first overseas trip. At some point we got onto the topic of Vegemite and then someone mentioned Vegemite chips existed and Amanda said she needed to try them, this then sent me on a mission after the dinner to find Vegemite chips. Amanda had brought some books with her to sell to raise money for Sanctuary for Kids, the books were a cartoon story of a day on the Sanctuary set title ‘Rubber Rocks and Apple Boxes’ everyone on our table brought a book and Amanda, Agam and Robin signed them all for us.
After eating dinner the guests swapped seats and I ended up with Robin next to me, because I was having a failure to keep my straps up weekend, I was also having strap issues tonight and whenever Robin noticed he would push my strap back up. Although when I got a photo with him he pushed my strap down for the photo and then to keep with the theme when he signed my book her wrote “Keep your straps down”. Agam also made a comment on my appearance saying I looked lovely, I comment on this because I rarely wear dresses only to events like this. On the way home from dinner I managed to successfully find some of the Vegemite chips and brought half a box of packets of them, so there were plenty to share.
Got the opportunity to sit with a lot of different guests on the Sunday whilst minders got things done for themselves, when I was sitting with Lance Guest from ‘The Last Starfighter’ we had an interesting conversation… I said I was a little embarrassed that I didn’t quite understand the movie even though Locky and Scotty had me watch it. He said “It’s okay, I think it’s before your time. What were you doing in 1984?” My response was a slightly cheeky smile… “You weren’t even born yet, right?” I nodded. The Vegemite chips got opened fairly early on in the say and everyone was trying them, the guests, staff and even some fans (mostly friends). Robin and Mark Sheppard loved them the most and took a couple of packs for later. I definitely have a Vegemite reputation at conventions because when friends saw the chips the general comment was along the lines of “What else would you expect from Smiley?”.
During the even the guests were given these Lego ‘I Love Armageddon’ badges that they put on to wear for the rest of the day, Agam gave me hers and I was wearing it in my photo with her so she had to point it out. Got a group photo with Amanda with friends of mine who were in a Stargate costuming group at the time called SG-7. As we were waiting Amanda walks past and she starts singing “Smiley’s got a gun” like the song ‘Janie’s Got a Gun’ my reply was that Amanda had just given me a theme song. After the group photos I stayed for a photo with one of my best friends and my ‘lil sis’ Sarah, this photo is my favourite of the weekend because it has the two most important people in my life in it… Amanda for being amazing and my inspiration and idol and my lil’ sis for being my BEST friend who I met through this fandom so it’s all thanks to Amanda. As I left the photo session Amanda hugged me again and her hugs are amazing.
There was a lady who had been sitting with Adrian Paul throughout the weekend, her name was Victoria and she told me that she had been asking around to find out what my name was and everyone had been answering ‘Smiley’ but no body seemed to know my actual name only the nickname, I am not sad about this my nicknam suits me and is very well known in the convention scene nowadays. There was a period of time were I sat with Alaina Huffman I got her to autograph my SG Shirt, she spent quite a bit of time looking at it and all the different autographs on it, she seemed impressed and was the first SGU actor to sign in. As the end of the weekend neared I started getting my autographs, Robert autographed my SG shirt and was the last main cast member of SGA to meet – I just need to meet Beau Bridges to have all of SG-1 as well. Got my autograph on my photos from Amanda and I also gave her one of my pattern drawings which she spent quite a bit of time looking at.
As the guests started leaving Amanda was still there signing with a queue and Robin was curled up on his table with the tablecloth wrapped around him. Once Amanda was done I walked back with her and other guests and staff to the green room, I gave her some of the left over packs of Vegemite chips and we just chatted as we walked. After finishing off some things I said my goodbyes and ran off to complete some other errands, as I was heading back I happened to catch Amanda, Agam and Robin as they were leaving and I held the door open for them. Robin grabbed me and gave me a big hug, followed by Agam and then Amanda too… I was a little speechless and just watched them go, I think this was the biggest fangirl moment of my life. The weekend then ended once again with a Gifts For The Geek Aftermath party which was still amazing even though I remember being so tired I just collapsed onto a couch and basically stayed there the whole time.
Complete Guest List: AMANDA TAPPING, Robert Picardo, Robin Dunne, Agam Darshi, Nicholas Brendon, Kelly Donovan, Alaina Huffman, Mark Sheppard, Morgan Sheppard, Adrian Paul, Jeff Lewis, Sandeep Paraikh, Sylvester McCoy, Louise Jameson, Mark Ryan, Callum Blue, Kevin Conroy, Paul Eiding, Lance Guest, Catherine Mary Stewart, Tom Braidwood, Dean Haglund, Bruce Harwood, Louise Jameson, Rob Guillory, Fred Van Lente, Frank Cho, Kevin Conroy, Kyle Hebert, Scott Mccord and Steve Blum.