Norwescon is this weekend. It takes me back to what happened a year ago. I was at a Starbucks that weekend, grabbing a coffee after buying a pair jeans. I ran into my friend Rennie Aruacto. He was on his way to Norwescon and invited me to go along. I debated and eventually decided to go. I’m glad I did.
At the convention I ran into Mike Selinker of Loneshark Games. We ended up going out to lunch with a big group. When we talked about work and different projects, he got a text from none other than Wil Wheaton (who I had only met briefly at PAX East). Mike explained that Wil had asked him if he would create a puzzle for this show called w00tstock. I was familiar with the show, I had tickets to see it in Seattle in May. Being the eager volunteer, I offered my help to Mike for this puzzle project. He said he might have something I could do.
As the weeks passed I spoke with Mike briefly about how I could be involved. The weekend before the show, the puzzle performance changed and they no longer needed my help. My desire to participate prevailed. I asked if I could come early anyway. Maybe I could hang out, or find some place to help out. Mike asked Paul (of Paul and Storm). Paul said they would love to have me. So I went.
When I walked in I was greeted by a busy and slightly crazed Paul trying to run everything, coordinating sound check, his own rehearsal with Storm and Wil, an Adam Savage who was MIA and all the content on his laptop. I was surprised at the friendly greeting I got from Vic-20 and Sturgenis of MC Frontalot’s band. They were excited to see me having met me at PAX East.
I remember standing awkwardly on the side of the stage with nothing to do. Sturgenis walked up to me. “I feel awkward with nothing to do. I want to help but it’s not really my show,” I said. Sturgenis looked at me and said, “They obviously need your help. You’ll be running the whole show by the end of this.” I laughed.
But then, I did. Paul was on his phone and seemed concerned. Adam Savage had been dropped at the wrong theater. I recalled that google maps listed the wrong location for the Moore Theater, and unfortunately it showed the location as in Pike Place Market. I asked Paul, “Is Adam in Pike’s Place Market?” Paul asked Adam. Yes, he was. This was a problem. Adam Savage, recognizable celebrity, was right smack in the middle of touristville. He must be surrounded by people trying to get a picture. As it happened, yes he was. With the market about six blocks away, I offered to go get him and walk him to the theater. And that’s when I met Adam Savage for the first time.
As an aside, every time I have meet a celebrity or famous individual I am usually able to keep my cool and not fan girl out. This is because I usually meet these folks while I am working. I have a job to do, there is a set dynamic. I know what to say and I don’t have to come up with silly chit chat or talk about the weather. When I meet folks outside of that dynamic… Well let’s just say it usually leads to funny story.
Having worked at the Moore before, I knew the backstage entrance. Avoiding the crowds out front, we used the back alley to the stage door.
Once inside there was another fire to put out. And then another. It is what I do, what I’m good at and what I love doing. I ran the show. When I was younger, being bossy wasn’t always received with such appreciation. 🙂
Later, before the show I was up front dealing with a ticket issue and ran into Sturgenis and Mike Selinker. While I had been running around putting out fires I had missed the big speech Paul gave to the performers.
“Hey Liz,” Mike said. “Paul just described you as being ‘in charge’ and what you say goes.”
“Told ya.” Sturgenis said with a smile.
And the rest is history.
It’s silly to think, but if I hadn’t run into Rennie at that Starbucks, I may not have ended up with w00tstock. Life has these little moments and seemingly small decisions that can direct the course of our lives. I had worked hard the years before to gain the skills and reputation to allow me to step in at w00tstock with such success. The opportunities may arrive due to luck and chance, but you have to be prepared when those opportunities present themselves. And for w00tstock, I was ready.