Manchester G-MEX
11-12 February 2006
11 Feb 06
Sala Baker
Sauron, Uruk Hai/Lord of the Rings
Minotaur/Chronicles of Narnia
Chief/Pirates of the Caribbean 2

The photo he signed "I" seems most appropriate for our home...seeing as there is such an abundance of testosterone here!  hehehe!
: )
Meeting the actors from some of our favorite movies has been an interesting experience all around.  It's great to meet them in person, to see them as real people (not just the characters they play) and to share a smile or two...sometimes even a great laugh!  : )  I have been floored by the kindness and generosity exhibited by many of them.  We have come away with treasured memories....and some fun photos!  It's not always easy to get everyone in the picture to smile at the same time...especially when the boys love to clown around for the camera!  hehehe  : )
11 Feb 06
Shane Rangi
Mumakil rider/Lord of the Rings
General Otmin/Chronicles of Narnia
stunts/King Kong

I was so surprised when we asked for a photo and he proceeded to crawl under the table to get to our side! (the next few times he needed to cross the table, though, he jumped over!) The boys were tickled when he generously gave them a Weta t-shirt.
The next day, when William & I went back to let him know we had found an action figure of his LOTR character, he gave William another t-shirt, this one a special one of Gollum.  As we walked away from speaking with him, William says,"He's cool!"  The boys are so quiet that I am constantly searching for little signs that they are enjoying the experiences at hand.  His facial expression and tone of voice made it clear to me that attending the convention was a good boost for all of us.  : )
11 Feb 06
Kiran Shah
body double for Frodo/LOTR movies
sleigh driver/Chronicles of Narnia

Meeting Mr. Shah was indeed a great honor!  He has displayed such kindness and generosity when he helped us with the "Smile Project" that I would have been sad not to have met him in person.  Such a sparkle in his eyes!  Truly a gem!  : )
Another fantastic highlight was getting the opportunity to meet Louise, another contributing author to Lembas for the Soul!  I was glad that she was able to sign the three copies I had brought to give away.  : )  We had a great time presenting Mr. Shah with his copy.  He seemed very surprised by the gift and very grateful.
We didn't get to spend much time together as I needed to begin shopping with my family and she also had family with her but the time we did have was sweet.  : )
It's great to be able to put another face to the name.  
11 Feb 06
William gets to meet Jorge Garcia  (aka Hurley from Lost)! 
That was fun!  They noticed his Hawaii t-shirt so that sparked a bit of conversation...
Getting these boys to talk out loud is a real challenge!!

I just found trivia on that says he was born in Omaha, NE in 1973!  Wish we'd have known that on Saturday!  It would have been neat to talk with him about our old stomping grounds!  : )
11 Feb 06
John Rhys-Davies
Gimli & Treebeard/Lord of the Rings
Viscount MabreyPrincess Diaries 2
Sallah/Indiana Jones movies

While the entire day was a wonderful joy for us...the conversation with "our Gimli" was so awesome!  Everyone (even Robert!) enjoyed listening to him talk. 
(and yes, Mom, Connor is also ticklish in the hips...which is why he is blurry in the picture!)  : )

Mr. Rhys-Davies was another recipient of the Lembas book.

I could have spent all day talking with him.  I just wish that I didn't get so tongue-tied when meeting new people!  I always think of the clever comments AFTER walking away...hehehe!
11 Feb 06

Mom takes a potty break and look what happens!

The boys had seen other people pose this way and thought it would be SO COOL to have a picture of themselves under arrest by Star Wars troopers!
: )
11 Feb 06
Kenny Baker
R2-D2/Star Wars movies

another quiet time with the boys...this meeting was not a long one due to shy boys and mom not knowing all that much about Star Wars...
11 Feb 06
Jay Laga'aia
Capt. Typho/Star Wars movies

This meeting was a highlight for Josh!  : )
Another kind soul...Mr. Laga'aia wrote his "Smile Project" answer right there on the spot!  "To make sure you get a reply" was his reason.  : )

11 Feb 06
Josh finds joy in sliding down the railings outside the convention center as we leave for the evening.  The funny thing about that was that it had been raining and now he had wet pants!  : )
11 Feb 06
We had parked several blocks away from the convention center (first time in Manchester...not sure where everything was situated...chose the first car park that we found in the area where we thought the GMEX was located)
It was raining a little...and getting dark but we got a few good pictures of the downtown area
11 Feb 06
We would have been happy with McDonald's...but Robert held out for something nicer.  We ended up eating at a nice restaurant in
China Town before heading to our B&B lodging.

We stayed the night at the West Lynne Hotel where we enjoyed a small apartment that was clean, warm and dry!  I don't know why I didn't get photos of the place...but I would stay there again.  Wonderful experience...kind people.
12 Feb 06
The beginning of another soggy day.  Here is where we parked the truck this time...we thought we were closer to the convention center...but we really weren't!   At least we got to view some different scenery along our walk to the GMEX since we were on the opposite side of it.
12 Feb 06
We got to the GMEX later than planned and missed out on tickets to the talks that we wanted to get seats for...except for the Narnia talk, which was fun.
After that, all we had left to do was get our photo with Andy Serkis.  When we got the autograph on Saturday he had so many people waiting to see him that no pictures were allowed.  So we thought we'd try again today.  : )
Since the queue (line) was not up to our numbered tickets yet, we went to find some lunch and found this wonderful place called the Pizza Express.
12 Feb 06
Here we are inside the restaurant.  Such a lovely elegant atmosphere for a pizza place!  They had many different types of pizzas and pasta dishes to choose from.
We enjoyed it.
12 Feb 06
Snapping pictures of the surroundings while waiting for Andy Serkis to take a 5 minute break.  We were next in line when the lady stopped us to inform us of the break...when she held up her hand and started talking I thought she was going to tell me that they were going to impose the no posed photo rule again...I almost started to cry!  We'd been waiting so long!  So when her words registered in my brain...I was very happy to wait for five minutes!!  : )  John Rhys-Davies was nearby and other guests who were entertaining to observe.

12 Feb 06
Andy Serkis
Gollum/Smeagol/Lord of the Rings
King Kong/Lumpy the cook/King Kong

Finally it's our turn!  : )
Andy, true to his reputation, is a joy to meet.  I could see the fatigue in his eyes, though, from his long hours of meeting and greeting the multitude of people who wanted to see him in person.  I have to think that he has a lot of appreciation for his fanbase to put in such long hours...and to treat everyone with the warm kindness he shares.
On a more personal (& vain!) note, all that walking in the rain didn't do much for my hair at all!  This is one reason I tried to get all the photos done on Saturday!  : )

Connor asked him which would hurt more, falling in the lava or getting eaten by giant worms.  Mr. Serkis laughed and said definitely the worms would hurt more.  : )
12 Feb 06
a MASSIVE church structure in downtown Manchester
12 Feb 06
geese & ivy
12 Feb 06
couldn't resist the interesting angles...
12 Feb 06
nor could I resist the raindrops on moss...William pointed this out to me...I think just to see if I'd take a picture of it...I thought I heard a faint groan when I actually took the time to do just that!  : )
12 Feb 06
my guys near the river where we parked
12 Feb 06
down, down, down...the narrow cobblestone street to where our truck is located
12 Feb 06
this sign at a McDonald's on our drive home just struck me as funny
close this window to go back

11 Feb 06

This was a neat photo op they had set up to raise money for charity...the boys had to have all the characters present in the photo with them.  : )