So Steel City Con, despite being unprofessional and rude, managed to suck me back in. Which I kind of thought might happen eventually, but it was the bastards getting Mitch Pileggi, otherwise known as motherfucking Walter Skinner from The X-Files, that really did it. It was like they knew I couldn’t stay away if the word “X-Files” was anywhere on that flyer.

To make myself feel better about this, I rationalized it–technically, my brother paid for my ticket because he owes me money, so technically, it wasn’t my money the bastards got.

Of course, I ended up having a good time and finding some good stuff to give as Christmas presents, not to mention all the usual shit I want to buy for myself. Again, that’s the biggest bummer of all about the fact that whoever’s in charge is so rude–the vendors can suffer as a result, and it’s not fair to them and they don’t deserve it. I mean, I think there’s a reason so many go once or twice then you never see them again, for sure, especially when it’s a decent-sized convention, but it’s a shame.

The biggest draw this time around was three stars of The Walking Dead–Michael Cudlitz, who played Abraham; Josh McDermitt, who plays Eugene; and Khary Payton, who plays King Ezekiel. Paul and I were running a little late and lines were long, so I skipped out on Cuflitz, which was a shame because I was a big fan of him on Southland. But I hopped in line with my dad, Brandon, and Kelly for Josh McDermitt while Paul wandered around, not really caring. See, we may not have cable, but I may or may not watch the show at my job. It makes for a fun day at work, of course, and it’s always cool to meet people on any of the shows I work on. It’s happened a couple times now. McDermitt teased me about not believing that I actually did it, while Payton and I bonded over being sworn to secrecy about anything that happens. We got a good group picture with McDermitt but skipped it for Payton–all of the celebrities charge for photos and autographs, and his prices were just a little too high for us.

Of course, I was most excited about motherfucking Walter Skinner, so he was my next stop. I opted for a photo–I had nothing really that he could sign, plus nowhere to put it. Plus pictures are kind of cooler, in the age of social media. I mean, who doesn’t want a picture with pretty much any person they’re a fan of?

The more we’ve gone to the convention over the years, the more my attitudes over the celebrities charging for autographs and photos has shifted. I used to be dead-set against 100%, thinking it a greedy money grab. These actors, writers, artists, etc. owe it to their fans paying to attend to give them autographs and pictures for free, I thought. Now I’m not so sure. There’s part of me that still isn’t thrilled with the idea, but there’s a bigger part of me that realizes that even if these people aren’t on set, they’re still taking time out of their lives to appear somewhere when they really don’t have to. Do they need the money? Maybe, maybe not. Is it fair to expect them to essentially work for free? Not really.

Everyone was nice to meet and seemed to have a good time. Mitch Pileggi especially talked to us for a good few minutes, which was nice and probably because he had much shorter lines and could take the time to do so. But it was cool. We talked to him about how The X-Files is one of my favorite shows and I’m making Paul watch it, and he asked what our favorites were and rattled off some of his own.

Will I be back for the next one in the spring? Yes, because now the bastards booked The X-Files’ Cigarette-Smoking Man.

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