January 14 - 16, 2005 - Guilford College, Greensboro, NC

The full transcript from Mike Nelson's entire presentation is viewable here, in two parts. Part one is Mike's presentation, part two are all of the audience questions. Enjoy! Part 1 and Part 2.

The Tape: I recorded all of Mike's presentation with a digital camcorder, and have it available on DVD or VHS if you are interested in seeing it. Drop me a line via email if you'd like a copy.

The Con:
It was January 15th, 2005. The bizarre warm front that had settled upon the southern region of the United States had seemingly passed. It was the first cold day in over two weeks. The warm weather had melted enough snow that two of the four ski lodges in the area were completely shut down.

Dana Auditorium However, skiing was not on my agenda for the day. Earlier in the week, I had recieved word from the Satellite News that Mike Nelson was to be at a small college in Greensboro on Saturday. I couldn't pass up a chance to see Mike again, especially considering he would be only a two hour drive away. And so, I hopped in my car with a small array of mstie-lore and was off. One-hundred-and-seven miles later (although, for comedic effect, you can subtract one mile from that, if you'd like) I arrived at Guilford College. The school is a private college located on the outskirts of Greensboro, founded a hundred-odd years ago by the Quakers. I parked my vehicle and scouted around. I had arrived a full hour early, and few people were to be seen. Eventually, however, I encountered someone who I determined to be something of an organizer for the convention. I made my way to Dana Hall, where Mike was scheduled to appear at one, and nearly knocked over a man in a leather jacket, who was standing inside the doorway. It was Mike, having a conversation with one of the con organizers. He looked just as good as always, maybe a few pounds heavier, but he'd still fit nicely into his blue jumpsuit. I found myself a seat off to the side so I could tape the proceedings, and I began to setup.

Precariously positioned I had the great fortune to borrow one of my University's MiniDV camcorders, so I was able to record the entire proceedings digitally. It worked fairly well, although, for whatever reason, the auto-focus was constantly going crazy. I was watching Mike, not the camera, so I didn't notice the camera was slipping in and out of focus every few minutes. My old 8mm camera that taped Gateway 2000 is mad, but it'll pass. I had brought my recently completed Tom Servo head, and people began to notice it. I built the head over Christmas to keep at school, because my friends had been getting more and more into the show. I don't keep my entire Servo up at school because I don't have the space.

Audience People started to come into the auditorium, and at one there were approximately 300 people, mostly college student, in attendance. Dana Auditorium is a marvelous facility, built in the style of old, single screen theaters with balconies. The room was massive, and had huge chandeliers. For such short notice, and in a state where it's next to impossible to find even Executive Snack Dispensers, it was a very good-sized crowd.

Organizer At shortly after one, a convention organizer made his way to the stage. After a brief introduction, it was time, and Mike made his way onto the stage. Not surprisingly, Mike was fantastic. He began with a bit of self deprecating humor, thanking everyone had come to see him, and thanking everyone else for, "showing up anyway." Dustin McNeill After some introductory formalities, Mike announced there would be a small contest to win a few of his books. He called two people up on stage, and after asking them both their names, started to interview them. One of the two people was Dustin McNeill, who runs the (New) Deus Ex Machina, and wrote the second convention log available on this website. Dustin was wearing a handmade shirt that read 'Mike Nelson is a God' that Mike found rather frightening. After asking one of the Dustin such questions as, "What kind of car do you drive? What year? Do you like flies?" Mike admitted, "I don't know how to interview people." Beginning the contest, Mike pulled 'his' book out from his leather case: it was a book titled 'Happy Cat: A Keepsake Journal For My Cat.' Admitting that he didn't have a cat, Mike said he didn't really need the book anymore. The first question was, "What is the full name of Patrick Swayze's character in the movie Roadhouse." Neither of the two contestants knew, but Greg Starbuck, who was in the audience, and wrote an accounting of the con for Satellite News, raised his hand. Color Fun After he said it was 'Dalton,' Mike looked to his two contestants and yelled, "Now you know! Ring in!" He held a second round for with two new people another book... a crossword puzzle book. After the contests for the books, which Mike advise could be regifted, he read two passages from his (real) books. He pulled out a copy of Movie Megacheese and read the Bridges of Madison County chapter. Mike's luggage was apparently being held hostage by Northwest Airlines, so he actually had to borrow a copy of his own book from someone in the audience to read the passage. He then read the chapter from Mind Over Matters on the wonders of Radio Shak. He had this chapter printed out on computer paper.

The Leprechaun Story Before, during, and after reading passages from his books, he spoke about MST3K, his current work, and life on Lake Wobegon (or something like that.) Mike proceeded explain why there are so many bad movies in America. He claims it's some evil plot by monkeys, who are mad that NASA stole their credit for the Apollo program. He discussed several things about movies that don't make sense to him, and then discussed one of the most bizarre things I have ever heard: positive reviews of the movie Leprechaun. It is amazingly funny, and has to be seen to be appreciated. Click the movie link to your left (or right here) to download the 4 and a half minute long clip (its 3.57 megs.) The most incredible thing about what Mike said, is that it's all true, I found the original reviews on the Internet Movie Database and on Amazon. You'll have to find them on your own. Mike spoke for a full hour before beginning a round of audience questions.

Someone asked what the strangest memory he had from the series was, and Mike responded with a horribly depressing story about something that happened to Kevin. Apparently, while the show was in production, BBI had received a call from someone claiming to be Robin Williams's agent. He told them that Barry Levinson was in the middle of pre-production for a film and that he had seen an episode of MST and wanted to cast them as bit parts in said upcoming film. Some time passed, and the writers found themselves in Pasedena for an awards ceremony. Kevin spotted Levinson, and went over to discuss this film. Mike watched Kevin from a distance saying that while he couldn't hear their conversation, he could see all that transpired. "Kevin's talking very animatedly, and suddenly his face is just turning red. And I see Barry Levinson shaking his head. And the guy just turns his back fully around to Kevin. Kevin slinks back to me and he says, 'The guy had no idea who I was,' he said. 'I felt like suddenly in the middle of my conversation I just started going 'roof, roof'." Mike continued, "Needless to say we, we we're never in the next Barry Levinson film." Mike thoroughly enjoyed switching back and forth from the podium microphone and a handheld wireless mic.

My hair challenges yours to a fight. He answered a few MST questions, and then a wise guy, eh? asked, "I'm not sure if I'm here in the right time or place. What time is the Sure Success Through Real Estate Conference?" We all had a good laugh as Mike's face became deadly serious, "Alright, get your ass up here." Mike continued to instigate a fight with the guy, but when he ran up on the stage, Nelson showed his true colors, running off in fear of the lanky college student. Answering questions Eventually, Mike called on me and I asked where he got the name, "Ponty Feeb" for the main character, in his novel, Death Rat. Mike answered the question... I think. He answered questions for about twenty minutes, responding to all order ot MST questions, both typical and obscure. There was the ever present, "Which is your favorite episode?" question. I wonder if the Brains pick different episodes each time they answer that question on purpose, because I've never heard the same one twice. I thought the question I asked was obscure, but one gentleman raised his hand and asked, "Will you be doing any more syrup commercials?" Wow. That one even took Mike two seconds to register. The crowd was a good assortment of Sunday driver fans, and obsessives like myself. As the questions ended, an autograph session in the lobby began.

Caution: Marker may impede upper brain functions People had brought all order of MST and Mike items to be signed. I was surprised to see what looked to be a brand new copy of the ACEG. I know it's still in print, but I haven't seen one on bookstore shelves in a while. I made my way to the front of the line and set my Servo head down on the table and presented Mike with Rhino Volumes 1 and 4. Mike gestured toward Servo and said, "My old buddy," as he began to sign the DVD covers. The end Pictures were taken and Sharpie marker fumes were inhaled. It was announced that Mike would stick around for the date auction that would be held at seven. The autograph session went on for about thirty minutes or so, and then Mike left the auditorium lobby with the con organizers and the dorky security guard. This guy, who was supposed to be the security officer couldn't have weighed more than 160 pounds. The only thing he could have actively 'secured' would be dustmites, or maybe one of those U-Store-It places out in the middle of nowhere, provided that the U-Store-It had an electric fence and Hobgoblin-Pinschers.

Chevy Cavalier It was three, and I decided not to stick around, as the rest of the con was something of ren fair rejects and guys who refused to give up their goth lifestyle depite the fact that they're in college now. I made my way out to my vehicle, to discover that I was parked directly next to Mike, who was going to go on a reconissance mission for his luggage. The car rental agency had given him, in his own words, "a Cavalier, living the high life." I crossed the road and went into Chic-Fil-A for a some food and sat with three other people who had come to see Mike: Tim, Ryan, and Vanessa They had driven down from Virginia, a two hour drive similar to my own. And, like myself, they had come just to see Mike, not for the rest of the con. They had heard of the con the same way I had, by way of Chris Cornell's email three days before the convention. We discussed the show, and because I had brought my Servo head, some botbuilding details. After we finished eating, we went our separate ways and I began my two hour trek back up to the mountains of North Carolina.

More Con Pictures!
Here's a group of fans that asked me to take their picture and email it to them. I should probably get on that.
Fans 2
Well adjusted Americana.
Mike and Jeff
The man who stood next to Tom Servo for five years, and yours truly, who built one.
Mike on the stage
Mike up on the stage reading from one of his books.
Just one more thing.
Mike, say it ain't so! Where are the Converses?

-Jeff Zehnder Jr.
Log completed 3/19/2005

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