But I did accomplish my major mission. But, before I go into detail, I need to do a brief pre-con report.
Okay, so, I didn't wind up bringing homemade Fruity Oaty Bars as snacks. I almost did. I made a test batch about a week ago, which were a little more like fruit squares than what I pictured Fruity Oaty Bars as (which is something sort of like a Nutrigrain bar at least in shape, and thus more conveniently snackable on the go than a desert square). I was planning on spending the day before making a second batch which, if it turned out like I'd hope, I'd bring with me.
Except, Wonderland got in the way. Not Alice's, Canada's. See, my brother and I have Season Passes (it was sort of a birthday gift), and we hadn't found time to go. After Labour Day, Canada's Wonderland is only open weekends which isn't as convenient, and this week we planned on Tuesday, but turned out my brother had to work and could only do Thursday or Friday. So, Thursday it turned out to be. We went on a few rides, got some thrills, yadda yadda yadda although mostly waited in line honestly, though still fun. I thought maybe I'd still have time to do the squares, but... traffic on the way home was really bad, and I wound up with an hour less than I'd planned and there were dishes to do and I was already tired and wanted to relax before Friday hit so I cancelled the baking plan. Maybe next year (and maybe by this time, I'll have time to craft a box for them that matches the show packaging, so I could say I'm cosplaying as a free sample offerer in the Firefly verse).
For the record, my plan to do a Blueberry-Starfruit filing (Blue-Star aka Blue Sun which is the evil corporation in Firely that Fruity Oaty Bars is a subsidiary of) fell through because Starfruits never appeared in any stores... Wikipedia said the season starts in August, but I guess it takes a while to show up. As a backup, for my test batch, I went with Blueberry Raisin (Raisin pronounced Ray-Sun can still lead to a mashup name of "Blue-Sun Flavor"). Worked well enough, I think, you couldn't really taste the raisin anyway (it was more in the batter part than the filling). Taste was pretty good, only problem was it was too crumbly and a bit sticky, so I wanted to up the batter/filling ratio (or lower it, IDK, whichever means more batter and less filling).
So, onto Fan Expo itself!
The reason I finally went with Friday was that I had to work on Saturday... granted, after I normally got home from these cons, but it'd have left me pretty wiped doing both in one day, and I'd be extremely frustrated if for whatever reason I couldn't get Jewel Staite's autograph until late and had to choose between potentially outright skipping work to wait or going through all this for nothing (I'd have chosen to go to work). But since Jewel (alone of all the Firefly guests) was there Friday too, and I heard Friday was generally less crowded, I figured I'd take a chance (it was a chance because even though it was less crowded, instead of all the Firefly fans seeking autographs being divided among 3 different stars, they'd only get Jewel there, and also she might not show up until late in the day the first day, depending on where she was coming from). But I had a feeling Jewel would be polite and show up earlyish in the day. She's Canadian, and she's also Kaylee. ;)
So, I got up around 5:30am, showered and such and left at 6ish, then took the subway down. Now, in previous years, the timing's been roughly the same, and usually showed up with maybe a half-dozen to a dozen people in front of me. This year, I was literally the second person. A few more quickly showed up. I didn't talk much at first beyond sharing details of how it went in previous years. But yes, it soon became obvious that the line was much much less than it was in previous years, or at least, previous years on Saturday. Maybe all Friday lines were like this. This was good, for the most part, but there was one negative sideeffects... fewer cosplayers. My whole time in that line, I think I saw one person who could be described as cosplaying (He had some kind of red mask I didn't recognize... no, not Deadpool).
But, after a slow start, I did manage to get in at least a bit of conversation with some of the people around me. Nothing intense or prolonged (often they went into digressions about things like Pokemon which I know nothing about except that Pikachu is one of them). And they let us in a bit early... they both let the first people in line pre-buy their tickets/wristbands early so when it was time to go in we could go through the door immediately, and I think they also opened the doors slightly earlier than they were supposed to. But I was probably within the first dozen or so people who bought tickets on-site to go through the doors. I quickly found may way over to the other building where the celebrity autographs were, with plan in hand... wander there in circles until I could secure either a spot in the line or a number to come back later. At first they weren't letting people line up for the people who weren't there, so I wandered, looked at the costumes, etc.
Let's talk about them here, even though I saw them over the course of the whole con and talking about them out of order: There were a lot of Harley Quinns as you would expect (the vast majority of them wearing the Suicide Squad outfit with the "Daddy's Little Monster" shirt). A lot of Reys (including a whole bunch of kid-Reys, at least one who must have been like 4 and had a plush BB-8). Plenty of Doctors and other Superheroes as usual. Not as many Deadpools as I'd have expected (though they were still well represented). A number of various Teen Titans. Not many Arrowverse characters, I think just one Arrow stood out to me and I think there were more comic/animated versions of various characters than TV-DC ones (like a comic/animated Vixen). I did see a zombie Liv Moore from iZombie that was great, looked just like the character and posed with a "hot and spicy" ramen bowl in her hand and eating a chunk of brain with her chopsticks. Excellent. Unfortunately I once again failed in my long-term goal of finding a Runaways cosplayer (maybe once the TV series starts, but they probably won't be right anyway).
Anyway, I did look at many of the booths and sometimes I did consider buying stuff but either the price was too high (I mean, a carton of eggs that inside were Facehugger eggs from aliens is cool in theory, but not for $40) or not QUITE what I wanted. And far too many "mystery boxes" (I don't care if there may be $50 of merchandise inside for $35, if it's not something I'm actually INTO then it's worthless!). And also far to many Funko Pop dolls. I seriously don't get them, I don't even particularly like the look of them, which is fine, not everything has to be to my tastes but it's like everywhere and so many stores were just walls of those stupid figures).
But eventually I saw there was a small line forming in front of Jewel Staite's sign, even though she wasn't there yet. I overheard one of the helpers say they were hoping she'd be there within about an hour, but they hadn't actually heard anything and guests generally show up when they want. But as I said before, I had faith in Canadian politeness so I figured I'd get in line. I did wind up waiting about an hour there, but honestly I didn't mind. The person immediately behind me was a nice woman (I think she said she was from London but I might have misheard) and we started talking initially because I had to relay the "we're hoping about an hour but we're taking it on faith" message, but we kept up a pretty decent conversation about various other Firefly actors, other con guests, our different vision issues, the Princess Bride, and a bunch of other things. I even mentioned how I almost baked Fruity Oaty Bars, so I suspect that, if I actually HAD some, I would have had the social fortitude to offer some to her and others in the line. She seemed a real Kaylee type (and also identified with her and said she'd thought of cosplaying as her). My only regret (save for not having Oaty Bars) was that in the final movement to go see Jewel Staite, I didn't get a chance to say "It was nice talking with you" or the like, and since it would have felt creepy to wait around, I wandered off and never saw her in the crowd again.
Jewel herself was friendly enough, talked about how many signatures were on my DVD set and called it a labor of love. Also her first silver pen was really faint, so she signed over it in black. So technically, I got TWO Jewel Staite signatures for the price of one! Albeit, both on the same place on the same item. The price, for anyone wondering what the current state of these things, was $50. She also (or at least, her handler expressed on her behalf) no close up pictures because she was also there with her husband and baby and I guess she either didn't want them on picture or maybe distracted by errant flashes, which I was disappointed by but could respect. I later got a couple very blurry distance shots just to remind myself I'd been there.
Speaking of photos, as I said, I didn't get many. Part was because of my camera (I think there's some really stupid where if you press the "take picture" button on the side, but don't press it LONG ENOUGH, the camera thinks you didn't really mean to take a picture... IDK, but apparently my default press isn't long enough), but a lot of it was my social contact issues. As I may have mentioned before, a lot of time I don't really understand what's going on up there until I try to do something and find I can or can't do it that day, like there's an autopilot that kicks in and steers me away or makes me mumble or blanks my mind. It's not usually fear at least on a conscious visceral level. There is some anxiety involved in upcoming social interactions but honestly that's mostly the fear of not knowing what I will and won't be able to do on a given occasion where conversation might be advisable but I find I am only able to communicate in monosyllables. And on that particular Friday, I seemed to be almost completely lacking in the ability to ask people to take their picture, except in cases where I piggybacked off of somebody else. Which was a bit surprising because I thought I'd handled myself relatively well in conversations, carried my weight and didn't seem too awkward, I thought that I was having a remarkably Good Day, except, suddenly, couldn't initiate conversations. Maybe I burned off all my social energy managing that that for the rest of the con I was as timid as a mouse. I don't know. My brain is a dark forest full of tangled branches that really should be torn down for everyone's safety.
Anyway, most of the rest of the con was wandering, looking at various costumes and shops. I picked up free miniposters from The Expanse and Killjoys at the Space booth. Apparently there was some contest to meet the Doctor and his new companion when they come to Toronto in October, but I didn't fully realize it until I got home (the sign sort of implied that I would have had to ask someone at the booth for details, and that apparently wasn't going to happen that day). Travelled between the two buildings for a time, saw John Barrowman and Alex Kingston from afar. Barrowman, oddly, seemed to sign from the Fan's side of the table, at least while I was there, and often took casual photos with fans instead of dedicated photo ops, which seems to be out of fashion from the celebs... but good for him if that was indeed what was happening.
Aside from some water once I finally found a water fountain, a free sample of energy drink at one point, and a single Reese Cup (for which I paid $1 because I thought they were handing them out free but after they gave me one they revealed it was "give what you can to support local young athletes" and I was too embarrassed to just give it back... now, if it was to support young readers I'd have given money happily! ;)), I didn't eat or drink until I got home. Was too tired to cook anything or go out to get something, so ordered out. I was going to order a gyro but apparently they were backed up on delivery and not accepting new orders so I ordered Chinese food instead, which was almost as good.
Anyway, on balance I guess I'm glad I went, even though it was exhausting and I'm going through various "what I should have said/done" scenarios in my head now that it's far too late. And now I only have to meet two more members of the cast of Firefly in order to complete my signature collection (Adam Baldwin and Ron Glass... three if you count Joss Whedon for creating the series, which I would).