Hi ho, Jason Peverett here, welcome to the Phile, kids. How are you? It's still bloody cold here in Florida. So, I have to start off with the news that Queen Elizabeth II is in hospital. Imagine how many radio deejays are going to be calling up the Queen's hospital in Britain trying to get through with fake accents. You know, it's been a bad week for religious leaders. The Pope has quit, the Queen is in hospital and Scientology's Giant Space Lizard has phoned in sick. This horse meat scandal just keeps growing. And it isn't happening only in Europe. According to a new report, donkey meat has been found in hamburgers in South Africa. Consumers said when they were eating the burgers, they sensed something was wrong but they couldn't quite pin a tail on it. In fact, in South Africa more than two-thirds of the meat products tested contained undeclared ingredients. Or as we call that in this country, a hot dog. For the first time ever, NBC finished fifth in the ratings. Fifth! If NBC were a racehorse in England, it'd now be a Burger King Whopper. President Obama said this week that after four years as president, "you realize all the mistakes you've made." So apparently he DOES watch Fox News. It's tax season. Has anybody been to their accountant? I used to go in with a short form and be out of there in 10 minutes. Well, now I went to the guy and the first thing he says to me when I walk into the office is, "Are you sure you weren't tailed?" Congratulations to Chuck Hagel, new secretary of defense. He's already off to a bad start. He's going to bring all of the troops home from Afghanistan, but they're coming on a Carnival cruise. Italy just had its elections. There's no winner. There's no government in Italy. People over there have been running wild through the streets, waving their hands in the air. And then they heard about the elections. All this turmoil, of course, is nothing new in Italy. Until the late 19th century it was just a bunch of feuding states. And the women had tiny mustaches. It was like the Kardashians. Italian women are some of the most beautiful in the world. This is why the Vatican is in Italy. If a man can walk across Italy and retain his celibacy, he's got what it takes to be a priest... or an interior decorator. A lot of Americans can't believe how crazy the politics are in Italy. A comedian might become prime minister. We would never do that in America. A pro wrestler? Sure. Stuart Smalley from "Saturday Night Live"? Yeah. TLC has renewed its reality show, "Breaking Amish," for a second season. Parents of those kids would be so proud if they had any idea what that meant. I mentioned the meat scandal just now, and I was thinking, and this is true, we actually had those meatballs from Ikea, the ones supposedly made with horse meat. We had them at Christmas and they are so good. You have to go to a furniture store to get them, but it's worth it. They come with a seabiscuit. Anyway, if you look at the instructions that come with them you wouldn't be surprised they were made out of horse meat. Take a look.
So, we were going through some of Logan's old children's books the other day as he is now 13 and doesn't need these books anymore and we came across this one.
I have no idea who got it for him or when he got it, but children's books sure have changed since I was a kid. I was watching TV the other say and I noticed this...
Norah O'Donnell is kinda hot. That's not what I noticed, she is the MSNBC White Ho. Alright, as you probably know by now it's March and all through March on the Phile it is "The Great Space Coaster" Month. What is "The Great Space Coaster" you ask? Well, get on board. "The Great Space Coaster" wass a children's television show that ran from 1981 through 1986. Thinking of the Coaster made me think of roller coasters. A lot of coaster's now that you ride in different theme parks they take your picture so you can buy it when you get off the ride. So, here once again, is another real funny roller coaster picture.
I couldn't do that if I tried, ripping out of a t-shirt. I'd be like "Arrrgggghhhh! Shit, my arm's stuck."Okay, now from the home office in Coasterville, here is...
Top Phive Things Overheard At Pope Benedict's Farewell Address
5. Beer here! Get your beer here! Ice-cold Miller Lite!
4. So Lady Gaga, Kevin Bacon and the Pope are on a desert island...
3. If we can get everyone here to do the Harlem Shake, I'm sure the video would go viral!
2. How do you say, "Where's the Porta Potty?" in Italian?
And the number one thing heard at the Pope's farewell address...
1. It's so nice that all of the church's abuse victims could gather here in one place!
One thing I loved about "The Great Space Coaster" is all the different kinda characters they had on the show. There was Goriddle Gorilla, Knock Knock, Speed Reader, Baxter, Gary Gnu... so many. Well, on the Phile I have a few characters as well. Eve Rest, Morgan Phreeman, Marvin the Modern Day Mayan. well, it's been awhile since I introduced a new character, but that ends now. You might of heard of his brother, but I don't know if you heard of him. Please welcome to the Phile for the first time...
Me: Hello, Vinnie, welcome to the Phile. So, what do you have to say? Anything?
Vinnie: Winnie the Pooh was voted best children's book character of all time.
Me: Well, obviously!
Vinnie: No once cares about my books.
Me: I didn't know you had a book, Vinnie.
Vinnie: No one does. How can he be so popular? You'd think Winnie would've gotten that shirt in at least a medium.
Me: You're a fine one to talk, Vinnie. Anything else?
Vinnie: Breaking financial news, Winnie the Pooh creator A.A.A. Milne has been downgraded to A.A. Milne.
Me: That's stupid. Vinnie the Pooh, everybody! Go back to the 100 Acre Woods.
Okay, today's guest the organizer and head of my personal favorite science fiction and comic book convention ever.... MegaCon, which this year will be held March 15th to the 17th at Orange County Convention Center, Hall D. Please welcome my favorite organizer ever... Christine Alger.
Me: Hello, Christine, welcome to the Phile. How are you?
Christine: I am doing well, thank you for asking.
Me: I have to say thank you for the press passes these last few years, it is really cool. I love going to MegaCon, meeting artists and various other people and interviewing them on the Phile. And last year I thought of interviewing you. You put a lot of work into the Con, and it shows, Christine. Do you plan it all year?
Christine: You are most welcome. It does take an entire year to plan this show. MegaCon is family owned and operated. We are run by two people, myself and my mother.
Me: Wow. I didn't think I was gonna be able to get a pass this year as on the MegaCon site it says no bloggers allowed for bloggers. Or something along those lines. Do a lot of bloggers, and podcasters abuse the pass?
Christine: Unfortunately not everyone that applies for press passes is truly looking to cover our show. We do not offer press passes to people just to conduct interviews, or take a few photos. Press passes are for individuals that are interested in covering the entire show. It is not cost effective for us to give free tickets to people who are not giving anything back to the convention.
Me: MegaCon is three days every year, so when it's over do you have time to rest or is it back to planning?
Christine: I would love to say we take time off, but we do not. We are back in the office the Tuesday after the show closing out the current year’s show, and registering vendors and artists for the following year.
Me: Where are you from, Christine?
Christine: I was born in Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania, but I was raised in Clearwater, Florida.
Me: Do you have children, and are they into fantasy, comics, sci-fi or video games or anything?
Christine: I have one 14 year old daughter. She has never been into TV, or video games. She is a fast pitch softball player and that is pretty much her life.
Me: When was the first MegaCon and how much have they changed since then?
Christine: MegaCon has been around since the early 90s, and has changed in almost every way possible.
Me: I am guessing you are a big fan of comics and science fiction. What is your favorite genre, and are you a Star Wars fan, a "Star Trek" fan, or do you love everything?
Christine: Please don’t tar and feather me, but I am probably the most comic ignorant person alive. I watched "Star Trek" as a child, but I cannot take credit for that. It was my father’s favorite show and if we wanted to watch television it was "M.A.S.H" and "Star Trek"! I do remember seeing Star Wars when I was very young, and I loved it so much I even remember what I wore that day and where we ate lunch. Creepy right!
Me: No, that's not creepy at all. So, I am guessing you have a huge autograph collection from everybody you met. Do you collect autographs?
Christine: Surprisingly we do not have many autographs at all. I am sure we would get more if we asked, but we never do. Our main goal is to put on a great show for our attendees.
Me: I never get autographs either. So, over the years, who has been your favorite celebrity that appeared at MegaCon and who was the worst?
Christine: I have a few favorites. Stan Lee is amazing, Tom Felton, and Tricia Helfer just to name a few. We work with some great agents, and the majority of our experiences has been good. I have a few that I would love to name as the worst, but I will never tell!
Me: Peter Mayhew? LOL. Just kidding. I am sure you met some prima donna's, am I right?
Christine: We do not come across many, but you sure do remember the ones that are!
Me: Over the last few years anime got bigger and bigger, Christine. In the early days of MegaCon was there much talk about anime? Or was I oblivious?
Christine: We have always had an anime presence at our show. It started to have a small decline over the past few years, but seems to be making headway again. A lot of people mistake anyone in costume as an anime fan, and that is definitely not the case.
Me: It seems to be everything is zombie now. Zombie this and zombie that. Are you seeing a lot of that recently at MegaCon?
Christine: Yes, the zombie craze has taken off! I think anyone that loves zombies has "The Walking Dead" to thank for that.
Me: Okay, let's talk about MegaCon, Christine, and its history. I remember going to MegaCon in the early 90s, but it was not at the Orange County Convention Center. Where was the early ones held?
Christine: MegaCon started at the old Expo Center in Orlando.
Me: Who were the first featured guests at the Con, do you know?
Christine: I am not aware of them, as I did not work for MegaCon at the time.
Me: When did you start working for MegaCon?
Christine: I became an official employee in 2007. I volunteered to help my mom out for a few years prior, but I have a finance/banking background.
Me: What exactly is your role in the company?
Christine: I am the Director of Operations. I handle all booth, and table sales. Basically anything on the operational side.
Me: MegaCon was once owned by CrossGen, a comic book company based in Tampa. CrossGen went out of business, so who owns MegaCon now?
Christine: My mom, Elizabeth Widera has owned Megacon since 2003.
Me: Speaking of going out of business, there used to be another large convention in town which kinda was MegaCon's rival, and that was FX. I used to go to both. FX just disappeared the last few years. What do you think happened? Or do you know what happened?
Christine: I honestly do not know what happened to FX.
Me: Now MegaCon is the biggest convention here in Central Florida. Do you think with MegaCon's success that's why Lucas held Star Wars Celebration here?
Christine: I really am not sure why Lucas Films decided to come to Orlando.
Me: It's because of you and MegaCon, Christine, and your mom. Take the credit! MegaCon is not going anywhere, is it?
Christine: Absolutely not!
Me: Okay, let's talk about what is happening at MegaCon this year. You guys are gonna have the whole freakin' cast from "Star Trek: The Next Generation"! That's amazing. I don't know if that has ever happened before, a convention having everybody from that show. Was that the goal to have the cast, or did it start with one actor and then just grew?
Christine: Yes, we are very excited about that! We got the largest part of the group together, then tied in Wil Wheaton and Denise Crosby was a bonus!
Me: Who else are you looking forward to having this year?
Christine: I would have to say Dean Cain, and The Phelps twins from Harry Potter. All of our guests should be very popular though.
Me: Every year Arnee Starr and Lloyd Kaufman are there, Christine. Did they sign a lifetime contract to be there? LOL.
Christine: Haha! No lifetime contracts at MegaCon. Lloyd Kaufman canceled on us several years in a row. Troma Films has purchased a booth almost every year, but Lloyd will be here this year for the first time in a while. Arnee Starr plays a role in our panel schedule. He is the one that provides the movie trailers, and the panel room is always packed for that!
Me: That is one of my favorite parts of MegaCon. Arnee is one unusual guy, isn't he? I asked him for an interview last year and he said , "Only if we do is naked." It never happened.
Christine: Haha, yes he has a very quirky personality! He is impossible not to love. And, I am happy to hear that that interview never took place!
Me: Me too. Friends at work and I were talking the other day about MegaCon and someone said, "Imagine if they had someone like Robert Downey Jr." Christine, that would be crazy, right?
Christine: Having a guest the caliber of Robert Downey Jr. would be great. There is always a good and a bad with any guest and that would create some challenges security wise! I would of course offer to be his personal handler if it would help the situation any!
Me: How would you organize something like that? The autograph line would be 18 hours long. You would have to have a limited pre-registration. Who has been the most popular person you ever had?
Christine: It would definitely be a challenge, but one we could certainly handle. Stan Lee, and William Shatner were both extremely popular.
Me: Stan Lee was supposed to be at MegaCon again this year but had to cancel due to his health. Have you heard anything recently on how he is doing?
Christine: We were disappointed that he canceled, but certainly understand. From what we have heard he is doing great.
Me: Alright, so, this month on the Phile is "The Great Space Coaster" Month. Do you remember "TGSC"?
Christine: I am sorry, no I do not.
Me: A lot of people don't, that's why I really wanted to donate a whole month to the show. Jim Martin, who worked on that show, and the Muppets, would love to make convention appearances. Should I pass his info to you, or vice versa?
Christine: You are welcome to give him my email address.
Me: I sure will. Christine, I have to ask you about The Hero Initiative. I think it's pretty cool. Can you explain what it is?
Christine: The Hero Initiative is a wonderful organization. They are a charitable organization that raises money for artists in need. You can find out more by visiting heroinitiative.org.
Me: Thanks so much for being here, Christine, I know you are very busy. Go ahead and mention the convention's website.
Christine: You are welcome, thank you for having me. Our website is megaconvention.com.
Me: Real quick, on the Phile I ask random questions that have to do with nothing at all. This is random thanks to Tabletopics... If you were cremated where would you like to have your ashes spread? What a depressing question.
Christine: I would have to say spread them on my husband’s nightstand. He hates dust almost as much as he hates to dust, and I would like to be sure he never forgets me!
Me: I doubt he'll forget you, Christine. Thanks again, and I will see you at the convention. Come back next year and we'll do this whole thing again. Thanks, Christine.
Christine: You are most welcome, and thank you for the press!
Me: And thanks for the press... passes.
There, that about does it for another entry of the Phile. Thanks to Christine Alger for a great interview. I will have her back again next year for sure. The Phile will be back next Sunday with the 600th entry pheaturing Brad Roberts from Crash Test Dummies. And then on Monday it's Jim Martin, from "The Great Space Coaster". So, spread the word, not the turd. Don't let snakes and alligators bite you. Bye, love you, bye. Strawberry Blondes Forever!