Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Dragon*Con and Amanda Tapping

I know I promised pictures from Dragon*Con, but alas, I do not have them. I took pictures, but with my dad's camera. And I don't currently have anyway to transfer those pictures from my dad's camera to my computer. I need to go to Best Buy and buy an SD card reader, but I haven't been able to fit that into my schedule. So it's still going to have to wait.

But I can tell you about Dragon*Con and its sheer awesomeness.

Dragon*Con was far more crowded than I ever remember it being. I heard rumors of their being 50,000 people. If you've never been to an event like it, it's hard to fathom what this means. Basically imagine crowds that you can't fight. It's like being in an ocean or river, caught by the current. You don't know where you're going or why you're going there, only you can't fight the river of people. And suddenly you find yourself at an escalator that goes down--and you want to go up--but you have no choice but to go down because you CAN'T FIGHT THE CURRENT!

Despite that chaos, it was awesome, and this year I got to meet one of the women who brought to life one of my personal heroes. I met Amanda Tapping, who plays Samantha Carter in my favorite TV show of all time--Stargate SG-1.

I was really excited. I stood in line to get her signature, but the pressure of the line to move quickly meant I didn't get much time to talk to her. Alas. But the next day there was a Stargate Panel that she was attending, so I went to that.

This panel turned out to by awesome. Amanda Tapping and two other actors were present (both of the others were from Atlantis). Usually at Dragon*Con, if you want to ask a question you line up behind a microphone, and the people answer from on stage--where they sit at a table facing you. But this time, the two other actors grabbed wireless mics and ran around the audience, coming to the people who had questions. So people brave enough to ask questions were reworded with getting to talk with, stand near, and shake hands with a Stargate actor.

So being an engineer, I had a question. I asked, "As an engineer, I find myself often saying things then pausing and thinking, 'I can't believe I just said that and its real.' Did you guys ever have moments like that?" Well, Amanda Tapping didn't really answer that question exactly, but her answer was even more awesome.

She explained that one time she was reading the script and there as an equation written in it. She was supposed to write it on a board or something in the episode. At this point she had been playing Samantha Carter--astrophysicist extraordinaire--for quite some time. Looking at the equation, she just had a gut instinct that it was wrong. So she spent a day working it out, trying to figure out the accuracy of this equation. And by the end of the day she realized not only was it wrong but found the correct solution!

She then took it to the writer, all excited, and was like "Dude, this equation is wrong!" The writer then just looked at her and said, "Whatever, Amanda, just fix it."

On one hand, it makes me frustrated that the writer didn't care to double check their accuracy. But on the other hand, it made me really excited that one of the characters who inspired me towards my career path and engineering, actually inspired the actress who played her to look into science. How awesome is that!

So Amanda Tapping is going down in my book as being legit and awesome. Sure she's not actually an astrophysicist, but after hearing her talk I could tell she realized her character's impact on girl's like me and took it seriously. And that's amazing.

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