Asylum 13 Experience

Guests: Lindsey McKeon, Adam Rose, Timothy Omundson, Theo Davaney, Nicki Aycox, DJ Qualls, Gil McKinney, Matt Cohen, Amy Gumenick, Richard Speight Jr and Jim Beaver.
Okay, so I started writing this last night but I had to sleep and shower and stuff. I was absolutely exhausted after such a great weekend. Anyway, I’m gonna break this down into days. I’m sorry it’s so long, but so much happened that I wanted to write about!

I got the train an hour earlier than planned because I was so excited and really bored waiting at home so I got the train – it only takes like 45 minutes from Telford Central to Birmingham International so I got there really quickly. My suitcase was doing my head in though; it was so heavy and kept tipping when I was pulling it. On the bright side, strangers are more likely to move out of your way or let you across the street if you’re pulling a suitcase for some reason.

As I was getting off the train I was met by two girls who asked if I was going to Asylum 13 so I told them I was and they admitted they didn’t know where the Hilton was. I’d been in May to Asylum 12 so I offered to show them the way and that’s when one of them asked me “Do you go to New College by any chance?” And I do. Turns out they do as well.

It didn’t take us long to walk to the hotel and I met up with my roommate Carrie who told me to go and pay my £90 at the desk and gave me my room key. I went straight up – we were on the third floor and I am terrified of lifts. Yep, I had to walk up three flights of stairs for the rest of the weekend.

Then I had to wait two hours until I was called for registration but once my group was called then it went really quickly and efficiently. The line for the photo ops however was so long and I did get a bit fed up but at least no one was pushing in front of anyone which would’ve absolutely done my head in. Eventually I got to the front and asked if they had any Meet & Greet’s left… They did not. So I bought a Matt Cohen photo op, a Richard Speight photo op and a coffee lounge for Theo Davaney.

I got back to my roommate and was so disappointed to find that she and all her friends that she was sat with had Meet & Greets. But I decided not to think about it too much; at least I was at the convenention. So I went up to the room and got ready for the party while she was in the Meet & Greet – after she’d finished with that, Carrie came upstairs to get ready and then we went down together.

I’m gonna admit that I spent most of my time sat in the bar instead of the party even though I don’t drink. I don’t think I can really write about what happened because that wouldn’t be fair. I will tell you that a Supernatural convention is one of the only places where you will find yourself talking to a drunken Snow White asking you if God will forgive her for drinking and watching Supernatural. Anyway, me and Carrie stayed down there until about 11.30PM before going up to bed.

Can I just say, Hilton beds are a bit shit. If you lean on it the tiniest bit, the entire bed will move like a metre.

Up bright and early at 7.30AM to go downstairs and have breakfast before heading to the main hall. It was a lot like I remembered it in May except a lot less busy. Everyone got a seat this time whereas a lot of people ended up having to stand last time. There was Flash telling us crap jokes just like last time, pretty sure they were a bit delayed just like last time. And then it started! The guests were brought out one at a time and it was amazing to finally see them in person. Then, even better, Matt and Richard announced they were going to be hosting karaoke that night!

When the opening ceremony was finished Jim Beaver did a panel and he was hilarious. When asked what it was like to work with Jared and Jensen he just looked blank and asked ‘who?’. I’m not gonna lie, that’s the only note I wrote down and I can’t really remember a lot else of the talk. I do remember him saying ‘balls’ and ‘idjit’ which I guess isn’t very informative. When he went off stage, Nicki came on and I’d gone off for some reason that I can’t remember and when I came back I’d missed a bit of her talk but she played guitar and sang for us and she was absolutely amazing. She was also really sweet and she was telling us about how we should stop being so mean to ourselves and just learn to love ourselves. She said “I said things to myself I’d never say to another person.”

After her panel, Theo and Adam came out for theirs but my group got called for autographs at that moment so I didn’t hear any of it. At May we’d received autograph cards that were ticked off when you had a certain actor’s autograph but this year they just ticked your number off at the door and you needed to get all your autographs there and then otherwise you wouldn’t get them at all.

Anyway, you go into this room and you’re directed to the shortest queue first. So I was sent to Lindsey first who didn’t say much but she seemed sweet and she is so pretty. This is gonna sound weird but her eyebrows are so nice… When I checked my autograph later I realised she’d accidentally written ‘Hazzie’ instead of ‘Hozzie’ which I thought was pretty funny.

Next I went to Amy’s line who didn’t really say a lot either but she did smile and say thank you to me at the end. She was also extremely pretty. She didn’t do personalised autographs but I didn’t mind too much. Her signature is absolutely beautiful, I’d like to add and she wrote ‘best wishes’ underneath. It’s so neat. On to Matt’s line where I didn’t really get to speak to him much because I was too busy trying to spell my name to his PA (an ongoing problem I had for all my autographs) but he told me I had a cool nickname and drew a little heart on my autograph.

Then I went into Richard’s queue and his PA didn’t ask what my name was but then Richard asked me so I told him it was Hozzie “O-Z-Z-Y? Right?” “With an H – Hozzie.” “Oh! Hozzie! So H-O-Z-Z-Y?” “Ie, not y.” “I didn’t get that right at all, did I?” He told me he loved my name and asked if it was short for anything. Then into Gil’s queue who was really sweet and gave everyone their own little personalised autographs, like he’d draw a heart on one persons autograph and then put ‘xoxoxo’ on another person’s autograph. I got the ‘xoxoxo’ and he said “Lovely to meet you Hozzie!”

Finally I went to DJ’s autograph queue. I’d been looking forward to meeting him because he was in ‘Supernatural’, ‘The Big Bang Theory’ and ‘Lost’ but I’d read on one of the Facebook groups that he wasn’t that nice so I was a bit disappointed. Until I met him – he was so nice! He told me he liked my name (after I’d had to spell it for him) then he asked where I was from. He’d never heard of Telford (surprise) and asked where it was so I told him and added that it was awful. He laughed and said he’d say the same about his home town.

I left the hall and accidentally spent the remainder of my money on a DJ photo op. I needed money to get the train home so I had to text my Mum and beg for more money. She wasn’t exactly happy and now I owe her £70.

After the first batch of autographs we had a lunch break where I ate the food I’d brought with me to the hotel in my room. I was not about to spend a stupid amount of food when I had none to spend. Eventually I got a text off my Mum saying there was now £20 in my account so I dashed over to the NEC to take it out of my account – the cash machine at the Hilton charges you to take out your money and I didn’t have time to pay for my own money. When I got back I’d missed most of Matt & Amy’s panel but I did get to see them tell each other their three favourite things about me which was really sweet and sentimental – until Matt got to number three and said “And my number three – I hope your husband isn’t around – but have you seen her? She’s beautiful.”

They were called off stage and DJ was brought out. He sat on the chair that had been provided for him and complained that the stage was shorter than last time and went off stage for a second then came back with two more chairs and stacked them on top of one another and sat on them until someone got him a stool to make him taller. He started the panel by telling us a story about how he slept on his front so he went looking for the only pillow that was comfortable to sleep on that way – anyway, it ended up with him wearing wet underwear.

I had to leave then because my group got called to go to Matt’s photo op and it was absolutely amazing. I’d been tweeting my friend Carolin about how I was too afraid to ask him for a hug but he gave everyone hugs without them asking. It was awesome, he gives such amazing hugs. I don’t love my face in that photo but he looks good and it’s still a great memory. I said thank you afterwards and he looked at me and said “thank YOU.”

I got back to the main hall in time for the rest of DJ’s panel – he was telling us stories about how he thinks he’s a bit psychic which he thinks he gets from his Grandmother (I think) because he knew his Grandpa was going to die the day before he did and he knew he had cancer as a child a year before they found out. He was asked what his most embarrassing experience as an actor was and he told us about a film or something he’d done where a bunch of actors basically came into a room and stared at his penis. Also that having to ‘werewolf out’ on Supernatural was a bit embarrassing because he barely knew the girl that was supposed to be his wife and it was basically him just growling at strangers – but he was thankful Jared and Jensen weren’t there or he couldn’t have done the scene. I can’t remember when but someone began to ask him a question about people who didn’t understand fandoms but understood people’s love for sports and DJ then gave a long speech about how we shouldn’t care about being different and being enthusiastic about something – “Screw people who don’t get fandom because I get you guys!”Then he ended it by telling us to watch his programme ‘Z-Nation’ (even if we had to steal it) and when he left the staff played a trailer of it for us.

Then it was time for the DJ photo op that I’d spent all my money on! I wasn’t disappointed. I went in and he was making everyone stand on the other side of him so he put his hands on my shoulders and guided me round to the other side of him then put his arm round me. I was feeling pretty confident after my hug with Matt so I dared to hug DJ and he laughed and said “Oh I like this” and held my arm with his other hand – when the photo was taken I said thank you and he said no problem darling.

So at this point I was stressing a bit because my group was going to be called for Richard photo ops soon but so were my afternoon autographs. Luckily as I was walking down the hall a steward was telling another attendee to just go into Richard’s photo because there was hardly anyone in there so I got to go in before my group was called. Not a lot happened – I was too afraid to hug him this time but I think this photo turned out the best than any of the others.

I went back into the main hall and saw about two minutes of Gil and Lindsey’s panel before I was called for autographs. I went back into the autograph room and met Nikki first as her queue was the shortest and was a bit disappointed at first because she didn’t say anything to me but when she handed me my booklet back she told me she liked my hair colour! She’d signed her name, drawn a smiley face and written ‘Meg’ underneath. Then I met Timothy who told me I had a cool name and not a lot else.

Then I went to Adam’s table and after I was asked to spell out my name, he wrote ‘COOL NAME!’ on my autograph while proclaiming it in a sing-song voice. Then he handed me my autograph and said ‘see you at karaoke’ and I’m a bit worried about what I looked like because I melted a tiny bit on the spot. Went to see Theo next – not a lot happened, I spelt my name for him and he wrote ‘you rock’ on my autograph.

Finally I went to Jim’s table and his PA took down my name, one I’d met earlier in the day so luckily she remembered me and my awkward name spelling. Jim checked the spelling of my name, then when I said thank you, he said ‘no worries sweetie’. Then I was done with autographs for the weekend!

By the time I finally got out of there the panels for the day were over – the queues were pretty long and slow, since it’s a smaller con the guests have more time to talk to the attendees and personalising the autographs took longer but it’s worth it when it’s your turn.

Anyway, I’d just like to add that all the stewards were really nice and knew what was going on where which made everything a lot less stressful. Also, a lot of them liked my ‘Spirited Away’ t-shirt which definitely made me a lot happier.

Also, I went to the convention in May with two of my friends and I went to this convention alone. The biggest difference between going with friends and going alone is that when you’re alone A LOT more people talk to you. Seriously, I must’ve talked to so many different strangers that day. And with it being a smaller con, I picked up my photo ops really quickly. Last time I must’ve spent an hour waiting to collect my photos but I picked them up under ten minutes this time.

I’m gonna try and make this briefer because I really need a shower and sleep!

DJ sang ‘Talk Dirty to Me’, Timothy sang ‘Dancing Queen’, someone sang ‘Part of your World’ and DJ ran into the crowd and put his arms round two girls and started swaying with them… I remember singing ‘Dead or Alive’, ‘Fix You’ and ‘Eye of the Tiger’. Then of course we finished the night by singing ‘Carry on my Wayward Son’. Honestly, the energy in the room and the atmosphere was absolutely amazing. If you ever get the chance to go to karaoke hosted by Matt and Richard then I would one hundred percent recommend it. Seriously.

Matt told us all that Misha, Jared and Jensen etc were celebrating the 200th episode party that night and as far as he was concerned, that was our own 200th episode party.

Okay, so I didn’t write any notes about today so I’m gonna have to tell you everything for memory and it’s a bit hazy ‘cos it’s all just one big mess of happiness.

Basically the first thing I did was go to the registration place and asked if I could swap my Theo coffee lounge for a DJ one. Nothing personal to Theo, DJ had just been so funny and sweet the day before and I knew I’d prefer to be in DJ’s coffee lounge. I didn’t think I’d be allowed to swap but luckily I was!

The first panel was pushed back by an hour which kind of played around with everyone a bit but Rogue managed to sort everything out and by lunchtime everything was back on track. The first panel was Richard & Matt and the two of them are absolutely hilarious. One girl asked them to pronounce a Welsh word which Matt was ecstatic about until he saw the piece of paper with the word on. I cannot even remember what the word was. They also told us a story about how Richard had spilled his drink all over a stranger’s seat on an airplane and ruined the stranger’s pillow and blanket trying to clean up the drink.

They were called off stage and I went off for a bit then came back to hear Amy, Lindsey & Nicki’s panel. They were all so awesome – at one point Nicki jumped off the stage to hug a fan after something she’d said to her (I can’t remember) and Nicki even asked permission to go and hug them first so Amy and Lindsey started a hugging chain by the stage. Amy was asked what she thought Mary would think of how John had raised the boys and she said mainly guilt but that if Mary had the choice she’d probably still make the deal with Azazel to save John. They were also asked who they thought was the most badass female on the show and they all picked themselves – to which Amy said “Well without Mary, there’d be no Sam and Dean…”

When they went off stage there was a forty-five minute wait where they showed us these random videos of people doing ‘extreme thing’ until Richard Speight came back out. A girl asked him whether he knew about ‘Sabriel’ and if he’d read any of the FanFiction. He said he’d heard of Sabriel (supported it, apparently) and asked if she shipped it and if she wrote FanFiction. She admitted that she did and he asked what other pairings she liked and disliked “I like Destiel, but I don’t like Ruby/Sam.” “Didn’t Jared marry the chick who played Ruby?” “Well yeah, but-” “So you like FanFiction but not FanFact.” Also, something must’ve happened during his photo session with Matt because they brought out one of the photographers tied to a chair and Richard proceeded to feed her a banana, sweets and some water. He let her go when she managed to peel and eat a banana by herself. He told us about how he likes to play pranks on Rob Benedict, like giving him a fake name (Heywood Jablome or however you spell it) to check into a hotel. Also, that Rob was in a really bad mood so Richard called him and told him to go to where he was so they could go back to the hotel together. Rob travelled from the hotel to him so that they could travel back to the hotel together.

Then it was the lunch break and I had my DJ coffee lounge straight after lunch and for some reason I had never been so afraid in my life so I couldn’t eat a thing for the entire hour. They’d moved the coffee lounges that day and I was worried I wouldn’t be able to find it so I left ‘early’ – when I got there, nearly everyone else was already there and there were no seats left so I had to wait for a woman to go and get some more. Everyone in there was really nice and even though I didn’t say a lot it was interesting to listen to them talk. Then DJ showed up!

He started the lounge by talking how good it was when he peed before coming in. He talked to us a lot about British reality shows and his favourite pair of sunglasses that he got off his friends rich ex-husband. He said he took about fifty pairs of these sunglasses and they all had teeth marks on them so if he pulled them off too quickly he could feel his teeth against his ears. DJ left karaoke after half-an-hour the night before but was stuck in two hours of traffic – “For the first time ever I stood out of the sun roof and yelled ‘do you know who I am?’ And it worked, people were moving out the way for me”. He asked if we had anything to ask him and a fan asked if there was anything he wished Garth could’ve done in the show that he didn’t get time to do – he admitted that he didn’t like the werewolf story and that he wished Garth could continue hunting so that he had more of a chance of coming back to the show (as he said later in his panel “Garth’s happy now but I’m not”). When he got the call asking him to be on the show again and they explained the idea he was so drunk that he told them he thought it was a good idea even though afterwards he didn’t like it that much. He also said that he was filming another show at the time so every time we don’t see his face it’s a double acting as him. They picked out a location for the barn and everything but DJ couldn’t get there so they had to build everything inside the studio and spent a ton of money and DJ felt really bad and he said the person he apologised to didn’t try to make him any better about it – “Yeah, this is the last time we’re gonna do that.” The lounge was over way too quickly and he said goodbye to all of us then left.

Immediately after his lounge he had a panel so I went to that and he told the ‘peeing’ story all over again and oh my god, he told another story about when he was high and thought he was Mary Pickford reincarnated – I found a video of it and please watch it, it was so funny ( it was probably my favourite story from the weekend. He brought Mr Fizzles with him and someone asked him to do the impression but he’d lost his voice at karaoke last night so he couldn’t do it – he let this little kid hold Mr Fizzles though and promised that when his voice healed he’d do a voice recording and post it on Twitter where he’d talk to the little kid. There was a load of other stuff he said, he talks really fast and he’s so hyperactive.

After that it was Tim’s panel – I remember him telling us a story of how he met Dick Van Dyke as a kid and he was so nice to him, then about ten years later he was working with him and told him the story of how he met him as a kid but apparently he didn’t really care and Tim said he was pretty upset about that for a while but then got over it. He said something about how he used to study theatre because of how well he could project his voice. I’m going to be honest; I can’t really remember a lot, I was absolutely exhausted by this point…

Then it was the final panel of the day – Jim Beaver. He was wearing a black t-shirt saying ‘idjits’ that I thought was pretty neat. One fan asked him how difficult it had been working with Jared and Jensen – he told us a story about how he’d decided not to pursue being an actor and had decided to take up a job interview painting aerials. It wasn’t a TV aerial on top of houses though, it was one of those massive aerial’s and when he got there a man yelled at him to come on up. Jim went looking for a ladder – “I could still be looking for that ladder today” – there was no ladder. He had to climb up the aerial on these brackets. He got a quarter of the way up and he said the cows in the field looked like little dots so he started to climb slower and slower – “I began to realise that I would never reach the top of this aerial within my lifetime because I was climbing so slowly” – so he decided to climb back down. He said that he figured this was the guy’s test of who could paint the aerials, if they could get to the top. Then he said “So in terms of how difficult it was to work with Jared and Jensen… I’d say I’d prefer to be back on the aerial.”

One man got up and told Jim about how his wife had severe social anxiety and she couldn’t even go shopping with him because she was so afraid of strangers but how she’d gotten over her fears so she could come to Asylum 13 and meet him because she was such a big fan. Jim seriously looked like he was going to burst into tears. I must admit, I was kind of nearly crying too…

After Jim’s talk it was time for the closing ceremony. All the guests were called out and then gave a little goodbye speech each – can’t really remember every individual ones, just little snippets, ya know? Then the actors ran down the middle of the room hi-fiving everyone sat in the aisle. Well, I am so glad I sat where I sat because I was right on the end of the aisle and got to hi-five everyone as they ran past.

And then it was time to go.

Misha crying gif

I’m very sorry about how long that was; it was just so amazing though! Soon I’ll be counting down the days until Asylum 14 and then there will probably be an equally long post. I didn’t post any of my photo op’s because my Mum hasn’t scanned them for me yet and honestly, I only like the one of me and Richard (I look awful in the others) but I’ll probably post them on my twitter so yeah, keep an eye out for them!

Also, I’d just like to add that although I got stressed about getting everything in, Rogue’s organising was absolutely brilliant and I got everything I paid for. Unlike ‘Summer in the City’ in August…

Annabelle: Review by Holly Bareham


So I decided to post this review here as well as my horror movie review blog simply because I can. So here is my first horror movie review on this blog!

I’m kind of late reviewing this movie… I always say to myself I’ll post a review the day the film comes out but I don’t. This is because on the day it was released, ‘The Maze Runner’ was also released so I went to see that instead. Then I figured I might as well wait for ‘241 Orange Wednesdays’ and so I have only just seen this film.

Where do I begin? Okay, so at the start of the film I got into a discussion with my friend about how a decent horror movie has to be scary. I told her that there wasn’t a shit horror movie that had managed to scare me and that I was certain this film would be the same. My theory has been torn to shreds by this film.

The film starts out with a few clips from ‘The Conjuring’ which I guess was to just refresh our memories of when we were first introduced to Annabelle. We’re then introduced to Mia and John Gordon who are expecting a baby. As we see in the trailer, John gives the Annabelle doll to Mia as a gift to complete the collection of dolls they have. Obviously, this then leads to supernatural occurrences in their home.

Dean screaming gif

Where do I even begin? I feel like this film didn’t even focus on the Annabelle doll. It was almost like they used her as an excuse to create a completely different film. We learn the kind of origin of Annabelle within the first half-an-hour of the film and then the rest focuses on the lives of Mia and John with little relevance to Annabelle. She is in it obviously but the attention is mostly away from her. This film might as well have not included her really.

On the bright side, the acting wasn’t terrible especially from Annabelle Wallis who played Mia (ironic name, I know). Everyone played their characters believably and it did help me get sucked into the story. However, the acting truly cannot save this film. The timeline seemed a bit rushed – their story begins taking place a year before Ed and Lorraine Warren intervene in ‘The Conjuring’. Everything happens extremely quickly.

I don’t wanna reveal any spoilers because I know how irritating that is but don’t even watch this film and tell me the end wasn’t stupid because it was. I think the film itself could’ve been saved if it had a decent ending but it didn’t, it had one of the worst endings I have ever had to sit through in my life.

Sam and Dean emotional gif

Personally, I think the beginning of the film was great and showed a lot of potential. Once the baby is born though, the entire film goes downhill. I think the reason I found this film so scary was because I watched it at the cinema and because it was the first time I’d watched it so I was more afraid of what could happen than what did happen – if that makes any sense.

If you want to learn the teeniest bit more about Annabelle then I guess I would recommend this film but don’t expect an awful lot. It sucks because the trailer looked absolutely amazing and what we ended up with just wasn’t what I expected.

Review: Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zeven

Elsewhere Gabrielle Zeven

Okay, I’m going to be honest. The only reason I decided to read this book was because I saw Isabelle Fuhrman talking about it in an interview and how she’d loved it. Anyone who knows me knows that I love Isabelle Fuhrman. Like love her. So I decided to give this book a read.

The main character, Liz, is killed in a hit-and-run accident and when she wakes up she finds herself on a boat with no idea where she’s headed. Eventually she makes it to Elsewhere where everyone ages backwards until they are ready to go back to Earth.

Sam Excited gif

Okay let’s start with Liz. I really liked her. Yes, there some things she did that really got on my nerves but it’s not a decent character unless they annoy you every so often, right? She was absolutely lovely and I could really imagine what she was like from the way Gabrielle Zevin wrote. Upon arriving at Elsewhere she goes to live with her deceased Grandmother Betty whom she had never met. Betty was just the way she should’ve been – caring, sweet and incredibly irritating from time to time.

To be perfectly honest even though I enjoyed the story I was kind of expecting more. I thought this story was going to be absolutely beautiful and thought-provoking but it didn’t quite live up to the hype. This story is entertaining and I wasn’t bored reading it, but it didn’t particularly stand out from any other book I’ve read. As with most books I’ve read (and complained about) it eventually ended up with some amount of romance. Unlike most books I’ve read however, this romance wasn’t irritating and wasn’t unrealistically instant. Owen wasn’t my favourite character but I didn’t find myself hating him either. Well, not all the time.

The story itself was at best what I’d call ‘sweet’. It didn’t make me sad, happy or really feel anything. Then again, I did get through this book in under a week which for me is something of a record. I was sucked into the story, mainly to find out what choices Liz would make and how it would end. After all this, you’re not really left with a lot though.

Misha Frowny Face gif

I would recommend this book to just about anyone I suppose but I want you to know that it isn’t absolutely amazing. I’m not saying it’s not a good book, because it is. I would re-read it and plan to in the future. This book isn’t exactly mind blowing though. This is one of those books that you really need to discover for yourselves.