The Early Years
As a kid, I was a fan of Star Trek, but it went in phases. My parents watched it all the time (TNG, Voyager and DS9 at this point), but I seemed to like it depending on my mood. One day, it was the shit, the next it was stupid and lame. Looking back now, I realize that I really didn’t understand it. I knew the basics. People on a space ship, travelling to planets. But that was really it. I didn’t care. I didn’t follow it. I guess I hadn’t quite hit my TV obsession phase yet.
It was basically the same with the show Friends. I thought it was funny, I knew all the characters, but I really didn’t understand what was going on. I knew Phoebe was weird, and I liked her for that, but I didn’t get most of the humour.
I’ve since watched both shows and now that I actually know what’s going on, I have a completely different perspective on them. Although, I haven’t watched every episode of Star Trek, I’ve watched enough to be able to understand a heck of a lot more than I did as a kid.
I own all the Friends DVDs now, and I’ve watched the series several times over, and realized that I was far too to be allowed to watch it when it was on. There were a lot of jokes that I find funny now, but there’s no way I would’ve understood them when I was a kid.
And So It Begins
My real connection to television came with Saturday morning cartoons, but my obsession, for lack of a better term, didn’t really kick in until I moved from Southern Ontario to the middle of nowhere in Northern Alberta. I was 13, and was in a new province, in a completely different culture, over 3000km away from the people I’d known for most of my life.
Being 13, naturally, I was drawn to the normal tween shows, like Lizzie McGuire and Degrassi: The Next Generation. Another show that seemed rather fitting, was Corner Gas. It helped my parents and I cope with the culture shock of moving to the middle of nowhere and provided for tons of entertainment. “40km from nowhere, and way beyond normal,” I believe was the tagline for Corner Gas. There also wasn’t much choice, since we didn’t have cable at the time. The only channels we could pick up were 13 and 10, CTV and CBC, as well as a very staticy 70, which was the French version of CBC. We basically just used that handy little channel return button to change channels. Never pressed channel up or down, or entered the numbers.
I’ve since grown out of those tween shows, for the most part, but that was just the beginning of everything. One day, my dad came home with a DVD of season 7 of a show called Stargate: SG1. I’d never heard of it. I watched a few random episodes with my parents, but I had recently discovered the internet, and learned how to make websites (thanks to an optional class I’d taken in Junior High). While they were watching that DVD, I was entering the world of fansites. I was also extremely active on the official Degrassi web community. I don’t think that site exists in the same capacity any more, but it had become a huge part of my life.
I’d made several different small fansites while on my sad little dial-up connection. One of the bigger ones I’d made was for actress and singer Alexz Johnson, who I’d discovered on a show called Instant Star, which was produced by the same people who produced Degrassi. A few years later, I actually started a fansite for actor Jake Epstein, who I’d originally seen on The Zack Files, but became a real fan of when he joined the cast of Degrassi. That was basically the beginning of my fangirling.
Officially a Nerd
Ok, none of those things were really all that nerdy or geeky, but that’s how it started. A few years later, while I was in college, where I actually got free cable in residence, I came across Space channel and Season 10 of a show I’d seen a little before… Stargate: SG1.
I found myself watching it, totally confused as to what was going on, but I was still into it. I remember bragging to my dad about the fact that I had the channel in res, but we didn’t have it at home (by this point, we did actually have cable at home). I’d also seen bits of episodes of Stargate: Atlantis, but that one, I definitely hadn’t gotten into.
At this point, I was at college where I took a semester of Multimedia, and switched to Computer Information Technology for my second semester. After deciding neither was quite right for me, a couple years later, I ended up at a different college, back in Ontario, where I was taking Web Development. It was in my first year, after my roommate had introduced me to the world of streaming TV shows online, that I found myself watching season 1 of SG1, followed my season 2, then 3, and so on. When I got to the point where SG1 and Atlantis overlapped, I switched back and forth for each episode.
Stargate: Universe was starting right around that time as well, so, of course, I was watching that too. I’ve since purchased all the Stargate DVDs, including the original movie, and the two SG1 movies, and watched them all several times over.
I then found myself streaming other TV shows online. In my second year at college, in Ontario, a friend mentioned a show called Firefly, and said that I’d probably like it. She was right!
There have been several other shows I’ve become obsessed with since then, obviously. You wouldn’t want me to list them all here. There have been a lot.
Becoming a Convention Attendee
I had heard of Comic-Con, of course, who hasn’t, but I didn’t really know much about it. Somehow, in 2012, I heard that Amanda Tapping (which I was a huge fan of, from Stargate), was going to be at Calgary Expo. I had no idea what Calgary Expo was. Had never heard of it. All I knew what Amanda Tapping was going to be in a city, 3 hours away from me, and I REALLY wanted to meet her! This was also into her days of Sanctuary, so when I found out that Christopher Heyerdahl was also going to be there, I was excited. That year also had Oliver and James Phelps, who played the Weasley twins in the Harry Potter movies, as guests. And, THE Patrick Stewart (along with the cast of Star Trek: The Next Generation).
I was officially attending my first con. Naturally, I went a little overboard and got 4 photo ops, and of course had to get Amanda’s autograph. But I had a blast.
The following year, they had, wait for it…. Michael Shanks….and….. Richard Dean Anderson! Oh yeah, and Nathan Fillion!!! Also, John Barrowman, Eve Myles, and Gareth David-Lloyd from Torchwood. I did some serious fan-girling at the 2013 Calgary Expo.
I was a little disappointed at how my Torchwood photo op turned out. They made me laugh way too hard, so I was ugly laughing, and trying not to, which made it worse, when the guy took the picture. No surprise, John, Eve, and Gareth looked PERFECT. I was a little bit upset over that. I did, however, get all three of their autographs, on a Torchwood picture.
I attended Edmonton Expo that year, mainly because I wanted to get another picture with John Barrowman. But Joe Flanigan from Stargate: Atlantis was also there. Edmonton was a much smaller con, only in its second year, but it was run by the same people who do Calgary Expo.
At some point, I want to go to Vancouver FanExpo and/or Toronto FanExpo, or one of the many other cons held in Toronto.
In September 2016, I finally attended Fan Expo Canada in Toronto, as I talked about in this post.