Sunday, September 20, 2015

50 Days of Dragon Con 2 Weeks Later

The Con Itself

HOLY COW!!! There is so much to tell and I hope I can remember it all.  First my Sexy Sandwich.  So there has been a change in the general location of Froggy's.  It is still in the basement of the Marriott but in a different room with a bit of a different set up.  I get to the room that they are queueing up the lines for the photos.  It is very hot down there and there are a zillion people.  My op time was 2:15.  They did not call people for my pic/time for awhile and 2:15 came and went.  They did announce that Stephen's plane was late so he was going to be a little delayed.  After awhile they called us to get in line.  Off we went to a smaller room.
John Barrowman in a blue Tardis dress
YAY.  Once in the room John Barrowman got up on a table and told us that Stephen was on his way. He was up on that table for probably 10 minutes or so just entertaining us.  WOW.  What a cool guy.  My parents used to talk about entertainers and how my generation is missing them.  Think Lucille Ball, Bob Hope, and Johnny Carson.  For the first time in my life, I have had an encounter with a true entertainer.  John Barrowman, wow, you are amazing.  He did not have to do that for us.  He could have gone back to his room, sat in a corner reading a book, anything, but no, he entertained us.  A true Treat.
Once Stephen gets there, they file us in.  I was the third in line and wowie.  He is BUFF and all muscle.  Cool Guy too.  Friendly and kind.  I was so lucky to have met them both.

Next on Friday was my ultimate fan-girl moment.  I have never really had one.  I get pathetically shy when I meet celebrities so I usually just turn red and put my head down.  No fan girl here.  That was until I met Caroll Spinney.  Caroll Spinney has played Big Bird and Oscharsince the characters inception.  He has been with Sesame Street since the 70's.  He is now in his 80's and still plays this character.  WOW.  I went to his table to have my books signed and while in line I was trying to not get fan-girl.  I failed MISERABLY.  I get up there and I start to cry.  He and his wife are the most awesome people.  They were snuggling at the table and I could not even speak.  While he was signing, his wife, Debbie, asked me questions and all I could do was nod and cry.  Totally embarrassing, genuine, but embarrassing.  I was pretty much a mess the rest of the day.  I went to several panels and late night stuff.  FUN FUN FUN.

Saturday and or, was it Sunday?
I went to the Carroll Spinney panel on Saturday and I cried through the whole thing again.  At least I am not the only one there in tears.    The rest of the day was spent panels.  I loved a lot of them and then there were a few I was confused on.  I went to a panel on mature themes in genre tv and it became a rant on the whole incident with Sansa and Ramsey.  Like 3/4 of the panel was about this.  Kind of annoying.  The track director spoke up from the back of the room and told the panelists to get off of Game of thrones.  THANKS!  I went to one on Dark Matter and there was so much giddiness over the whole thing it was great.  Some time on Saturday, things started getting jumbled and I do not really remember what happened on Saturday vs Sunday.  I do know Saturday night was the Voltaire concert.  It was as wonderful as always.  I love going to the concert and dancing with everyone.  I do not get the people who sit in the back of the room not bopping along, not singing and just looking bored.  There were lots of panels both days some good some not so much.  They all kind of bled into one another.  I really liked the LotR panels with Constance J Wagner.  She is awesome.  Saturday night was the annual Match Game in the 25th Century with Gil Gerard.  The guest panelists this year included Sylvester McCoy, Trenna Keating Garrett Wang and John Barrowman.  The guests are not generally announced until the game starts but apparently Gil tweeted out who they were going to be. The guests were amazing and I had a great time.

Monday
Monday was so weird.  Normally this is the day that people go home.  I get it.  This year it seemed almost abandoned.  There were so few people left.  Also, there seemed to be ALOT less programming Monday.  What happened?  Is it because so many of the track directors and staff want to go to the Dead Dog Party?  I do not get it.  I thought the con was supposed to be four days.  Instead it is more like 3 and a quarter.  I hope we get more programming on Monday next year.

All in all this was a wonderful time and I am already prepping for next year.  Thank you again to all of the volunteers that put the show together.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

50 Days of Dragon Con Day 1 HOLY CRAP IT IS HERE!!!!!!

Heaven,

I will lose my internet at noon so I can not do a recap of the days events.  Instead,  I will do a pre-Friday Friday recap.  LOL.  Today is the day I get to meet Oscar the Grouch and Big Bird.  HOLY SHIT!  I get to meet the man that has made these two awesome characters come to life, Carroll Spinney.  I am so in awe.  I am nervous and excited all in one.  I am sure I will be a blathering idiot when I go to get the pic and autograph.  I absolutely know I will be.  Still, I have to do this.  I am also getting a sexy sandwich and for those of you who do not know what a sexy sandwich is, it is a pic with you between two hot people.  In my case the sandwich I chose is John Barrowman and Stephen Amell from Arrow (along with other things).  WOOOOOOOOOHOOOOOOO!!! Again, I will be the blathering idiot but I do not care as I am sure I will not be the only one.  Hopefully I will not get teary eyed because I am so excited.  Tee HEE.  Thank God I am not a pee-er.  Can you imagine getting so excited/nervous you pee all over yourself?  That totally has to suck.  How have the rest of you handled this kind of excitement/nervousness?  I know I will turn red as a tomato, but hopefully that is the worst. 

Well, I am off to have a SPECTACULAR day at con.  I will have more for you when I get home.  Thank you for reading and I hope that I have kept you interested at least a little bit.

50 Days of Dragon Con Day 2

Thursday
Thursday before con is a bit of craziness.  Yesterday the Marriott had a bit of a snafu and started taking their furniture away from the common areas a day early.  It was kind of cool since there were obviously so many more con attendees here than there were last year.  Wednesday is the new Thursday, I guess.  Anywhoo, they put the furniture back for yesterday and then took it away late last night.  Since arriving here I have already walked more than 10 miles and it is only Thursday, what the heck?!? LOL I knew I would walk this much.  I got up early and headed down to the Hilton lobby where I got in line to register for my room next year.  I stood in line for over an hour and got to meet a really cool chick from Nashville.  HI, Melissa!  We chatted about this and that for over an hour.  I learned that she likes to make her own hooch- apple pie- and I have put in a request to buy some from her next year.  I got set up for next years room and was off to registration to pick up my badge.  WOO HOO this line, while kind of long took less than 15 minutes and then I was off to the blood bank.  Here is the thing, I usually figure I will not be done with the hotel, badge pick up and the blood bank before 2.  I was not only done, I had stopped in a sit down restaurant for lunch and was in the game room playing Fluxx before 2.  HOLY COW!  This was the fastest Thursday of chores I have to do that I have ever had.  Thank you to all who made this go so fast!

I hung out in the game room for a few hours played some games then went to the food court and got an absolutely dreadful cheese steak.  DO NOT GO THERE.  The sandwich was cold, my soda was half full and it was not good at all.  Now what to do?  I still had a few hours before the sing-a-long began.  I hung out under the pulse lounge and people watched.  This is always a good time.  Especially in this location.  You are out of the way and yet you can see 3 floors below you.  WOO HOO.  Great place to watch my people.  I have to say there are a lot of Jurassic Park costumes this year.  Kind of disappointing though.  They are not hard to make or assemble so meeh. 

The sing-a-long is next and was put on by the American Sci-Fi Media Track.  They played all sorts of songs and we sang, I think it is kind of self explanatory, honestly.  But we had a blast.  Jeff even had fun as I heard him singing along.  I was the dork singing at the top of my lungs to songs I had no idea what the words are and was dancing in my chair.  WOOT fun times.  Thanks Kelley and Gary.  It is now midnight and I have to get to bed because my first panel starts early tomorrow and I am so excited.  WOOT!

50 Days of Dragon Con Day 3

Arrival

I arrived in Atlanta on Tuesday.  WOO HOO.  I am home with my peeps.  We got to the hotel and checked in and were instantly given a voucher for next year.  YAYYYYYYY  I took my things up to my room and I have to say it was a little weird, my room had a Murphy bed.  It is a great room but still kind of strange. 

Once I settled in a bit (yes, I am an un-packer) I was off to check everything out.  There were some changes but not many.  The first was the concern of many, the change in the Marriott carpeting.  I get the sadness over change.  I was one that was sad to see the pretty swirlies go away.  That being said, when walking into the Marriott, I could see how worn and thread bare the carpet was in very many places.  There were other spots that were bubbling and just nasty.  I think folks will soon come to love the new carpet as much as they did the old.  So far they have only changed it in a few places.  The Atrium level and a few of the smaller conference rooms on other floors. 

The other thing I noticed is that there were so damn con goers here already.  Usually on Tuesday there are a few lone peeps and the rest are there for other conferences.  It was so strange to see my peeps this early.  Totally AWESOME but totally strange.  Off I went to CVS to buy my water bottles for the weekend and a few munchies.  Nothing much had changed.  Everything in the hotels seemed pretty much the same old same old.  One thing I did find that was different was Gus's Fried Chicken in the lower level of Peachtree Center.  OMG it is some good fried chicken.  I totally recommend it.

I have such an odd feeling.  I feel like I have never left.  I am at my home away from home.  It is like the outside con world does not even exist.  This place, and this time is mine.  In some ways time is standing still and in others I can hardly believe I have already been here a day.  I spend 300+ days per year looking forward to this one week.  Now that I am here I am in pure heaven.  This is my place, these are my people, and I am in a world that will not judge me for singing out loud, dancing in my chair, or liking what I like.  I love these people.  All of them-even the ones I do not like.  I feel so free.  Thank you.  Just thank you.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

50 Days of Dragon Con Day 4

Obelisk

So the track I am about to talk about has gone through MANY changes the last couple of years including splits and name changes.  I do not know which track this story fits into right now so we will GUESS that it is the newly created Horror track.
Many years ago I went to a panel about the tv show Dark Shadows.  I loved this show from the 90's and then watched many of the movies off of the 60's soap opera.  I loved this show.  The track was sponsored by Netherworld haunted house here in Atlanta.  They brought in props for the stage.  It was REALLLY cool. 

Before the panel began there was some staff setting up and the like and one of the staff knocked an obelisk down on to the audience.  This actually hit a girl in the leg.  NEVER once did the guy check on her or apologize.  Medical was called in and the whole bru-ha-ha ensued.  Never once did he ask her how she was doing.  Someone went to get her ice and everything.  Did the guy that knocked it over do anything?  NO he looked at her like she did it to herself.  What a jerk.  The victim turned out to be ok and pretty cool about the whole thing.  The guy, he was a complete dick about it all.  I see him from time to time at the con and i think what a jerk and move on.  Seriously how could he not at least say he was sorry?  I do not understand people these days.

50 Days of Dragon Con Day 5

Vortex


When at con there are dozens of food options to choose from.  Once the con starts I do not leave the con and worry about food.  Since I am here early I leave to go to eat. There have been several places that have come recommended.  One of the places is a burger joint called The Vortex.  This is just down the street from the Hyatt in midtown.  I did not look this place up on line and instead decided to go in blind.  Once I got there there was a sign to seat myself.  I turned the corner to find a very large penis statue.  OMG THIS IS SO COOL.  There were dead animals on the wall-not really my thing- but lots of other random stuff plastered on the wall and the walk spaces.  When I sat down the menu cover was covered with rules amout not being a baby, smoking, drinking, and the such.   It was all very cooooool.  Then I opened the menu and instantly became overwhelmed.  I wanted everything.  How do you decide?

I decided to get the Mac N' Cheesy-Changa to start off with.  This is macaroni and cheese wrapped in a tortilla with some pulled pork then fried and topped with queso.  OMG HEAVEN.  This is one of the best things I have ever ever eaten.  OMG the goodness!  Since I was still undecided on which burger to get, I asked the waitress.  I ended out getting the Zombie Apocalypse OMFG burger.  This burger was a delicious meat patty on a piece of Texas toast topped with pulled pork, 2 fired eggs and honey BBQ sauce.  Pure deliciousness.  This was so damn good.  All of their burgers looked so good.  Next time I go I will try some other burger but definitely get the Changa again.  The prices were excellent so all in all a great value.

HOLY COW do I recommend this place to anyone going to con.  It was a 5 minute Uber ride for $5 to get there and the same to get back.  SUCH greatness and not that far out of con.  Check them out!!!

50 Days of Dragon Con Day 6

Packing


Packing for con can be a complete nightmare.  You will inevitably forget something and bring too much of something else.  There are tons of tips and tricks on the internet for how to pack a suitcase.  I think everyone has seen some of those.  There are also other threads of information floating on other ideas and helpful hints.  I thought I would chime in on those.

I always expect that I will forget something.  I just hope it is never too major.  When I am at con I start a list for next con of what I need to bring.  To be honest this is never a new list.  I keep a list in my phone and just change the year on the title.  Then I uncheck things that I need to bring back again.  Mostly the unchecking are things like toothbrush, deodorant, shampoo and the like.  Then I add things that I had not thought of or have purchased this year for the next.  I continually change old items to fit something new, add or delete items off of the list.  I have had this generally same list for the last several years.  Sometimes there are things on there that are no longer needed or just extras.  Heck for this year I brought 4-yes 4-travel sized tubes of toothpaste.  I guess I did not want gnarly breath.

I checked everything off of my list but there were a few snafu's this year.  I had on my list headband.  I generally do not wear headbands and thought hmmm.  So I brought the one I had in my hair drawer.  What the list now says is jeweled headband.  I forgot I have a jeweled on that I wore not too long ago and it did not get put back in the Dragon Con accessories bin therefore I forgot about it.  OOPS Now I will remember for next year.  The other error is that for some reason a razor was not listed on my list.  There was shave gel and I brought that, but forgot the accompanying razor...oh well.  I went to CVS (oh yeah, I am here) and bought one.  This will now stay in my Dragon Con travel kit.  WOO HOO!!!

Needless to say, nothing is perfect.  Get over it.  I do every year.  Learn to live with it and your con will be FANTABULOUS!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

50 Days of Dragon Con Day 7

Costumes





Costuming is a huge part of con.  While I do not often participate, I see it and appreciate it.  You have the folks that are HUGE cosplayers and those who are more hobbyists.  I love all of the costumes.  So many of them are inventive.  There are the standard costumes you see at every con and then there are those who take it to a whole other level.  I love the kids that obviously made their own costumes and the adults that have spent the entire year making one that is super intricate.  Every costume should be appreciated and held in a form of reverence. 

Some of the most interesting costumes are not necessarily those that are of costume characters we know and are screen accurate.  Those are amazing, do not get me wrong. The amount of talent it takes to make those is absolutely staggering.  CONGRATS to those that have that kind of talent.  The costumes I like better are the takes on something, mashups or gender bending.  I love to see a female Captain Kirk or a male Princess Leia.  No matter of the skill level.  There is so much talent that goes into both, I like the ingenuity and creativity that goes in to the ones that are not screen accurate.

To those who costume, you are all amazing, beautiful, and talented.  I congratulate you on all of your hard work.  More importantly, I applaud the very obese men and women who have the inner strength to wear spandex and face the grouchy naysayers head on.  YOU ARE MY HEROES!

50 Days of Dragon Con Day 8

Podcasts


In my preparation for Dragon Con I listen to a lot of podcasts.  I find anything and everything that I can get my hands on.,  There are some that are informational and educational and there are those that are more just entertainment.  I have been listening to different ones all year and most especially for the last several weeks. 

So my favorite two podcasts have been the Needless Things podcast and Debriefing Dragon Con.  These are totally different from each other.  Needless is put on by Phantom Troublemaker on the ESO Network and is the more entertaining of the two.  He has guests and tidbits of what is to come at con.  Debriefing is put on by the leaders of the Dragon Con for Newbies Facebook group.  This podcast while entertaining, is more for informational for con newbies than anything else.  Having con to con for many years some of the information is kind of redundant BUT every year I get new tips and find out about some changes that are coming to con this year.  Both are amazing and great to listen to.  Debriefing is about 15-30 minutes whereas Needless is usually over an hour.  I recommend checking out both of them.  They are available on iTunes and Stitcher for download. 

Thank you to all of those who put these podcasts on.  They are great to listen to and oh so much fun.  I appreciate all of the information. 

Have fun and you can NEVER be too prepared for con.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

50 Days of Dragon Con Day 9

Jeff

My brother Jeff is a huge dork.  I can say this because I am hos sister and because I am a dork too.  I have been going to con for more years than I can count.  Every year I come back with great stories and experiences.  I keep encouraging him to come along but due to circumstances he has never been able.  Last year I was sitting in the Hyatt lobby before con and I could not do another year without my brother trying this out.  I called my mom and asked if she could give him the airfare to con and I would get his membership and help with the hotel.  She agreed and this is his first year at con.  OMG I am so excited.  I am working so hard to remain cool but it is so hard.  As I tell everyone each con belongs to each person.  I can not tell him what to or what to see.  I can however wish he has a good time.  How do I play it cool when I wan him to have a good time and see everything.  UGGG.  I hope he has a good enough time that he wants to come back again next year.  Wish him luck.

50 Days of Dragon Con Day 10

Newbies


There are a lot of people that make their first journey to Con every year.  There is a Facebook group that is dedicated to helpful hints and tips for anyone in the group.  There is a plethora of information.  There have been dozens and dozens of questions and everyone is so very helpful in answering any and all questions.  Everyone wants to know what are the things that they can not miss.  I stand by my answer to that question.  I always answer that the con is an individual pleasure.  I can tell you what I think are cant miss things but to someone else they might be meeh.  I think that each individual has to figure out what their things to do are.  I have been going to con and every single con I find something new that is a can't miss thing to do.  People say that the parade is can't miss.  I have never been to the parade and do not think I am missing out.  I think the Voltaire concert is can't miss but others I know could not care any less about going to the concert.  Dragon Con Newbies.

There are also frequent questions about what are essential things everyone needs to know.  I have some helpful hints for EVERYONE at con not just the newbies.

1) Comfortable shoes...you will walk and you will stand and wait.
2) Hand sanitizer.  Con-crud is a very nasty flu and hits you as you leave the con and lasts a week after con.
3)  Stay hydrated...The host hotels all provide watering stations with paper cups and you can fill a water bottle there if you have one.
4)  Do not forget to eat.  Whether you take travel sustenance with you through your travels or if you stop at a cafe or food court..do not forget to eat.  I have forgotten to do this from time to time and by Monday you start feeling it.
5)  Shower every day.  Your fellow con attendees will DEFINITELY appreciate it and you will appreciate it from them as well.
6) Try something new.  Do not get stuck in a rut...you are not there to do the same old thing.
7) Talk to someone-meet new people.  You never know, you can meet a life long friend.
8) Take time to relax.  Whether it be in a panel or in the morning before you leave your room..take 10 minutes to decompress.
9) Go to con a day or two early to get your bearings on where things are and how to get form one place to another efficiently.
10)  HAVE A GOOD TIME

Monday, August 24, 2015

50 Days of Dragon Con Day 11

Hulk

Many years ago long before the Avengers was a thing there was a Hulk Cologne.  It smelled like battery acid.  Nowadays they have reformulated it and it is not as dreadful.  You can now even buy it in a Avengers sample pack.  RAH.  The reason I bring this up is because I was once Hulked.  The American Sci-Fi Classics track holds a panel called 'Stump the Geeks' in which the panelists ask the audience questions and the like and if you mess up and get it wrong, then you get squirted with Hulk cologne.  I kid you not, the stink can take several showers to be fully free of.

My first year in this panel I intentionally missed a question to get the full experience.  BAD DECISION!!!!  Last year my question was really hard but I was victorious.  The question I received was: Justify the existance of Jar Jar Binks.  My argument was that since the comic relief usually provided by C3PO and R2D2 was missing they needed another element to keep stressful situations light.  The second argument was that George Lucas wanted to sell toys and thought Jar Jar would sell millions.  The arguments were good enough to not get Hulked and instead win a DVD box set of SeaQuest.  YAY.  It is a very funny game and to see people try to not get Hulked.  It is a fun panel and if you get a chance to try it one year I totally recommend it.  A ginormous thanks to Joe and Gary for putting this panel on.  It is always so much fun.


Sunday, August 23, 2015

50 Days of Dragon Con Day 12

FDaDC

Back in 2009 some folks got together to do a documentary on Dragon Con.  They called it Four Days at Dragon Con.  Originally this aired on PBS and is now shown pretty frequently on Dragon Con TV.  This documentary has been a savior for me in the middle of winter and spring when I am depressed and missing con.  I honestly watch this probably 10-20 times per year.  The documentary is amazing.  They did such a good job making it and capturing the essence that is this wonderful weekend.  The documentary talks about the origins of the convention, how it has grown and changed.  There were several of the Con directors that made an appearance.  There were lots of costumes and lots of info on tracks and the like. They did such a good job making this that it has won several awards.  Congrats to all that helped in the making of such a great movie.

One of the sponsors of the documentary was the Mellow Mushroom pizza place.  I had never heard of Mellow Mushroom before.  In 2013 I decided to rent a car and go out and about the greater metro Atlanta area.  I got groceries, a cooler and went a few other places as well.  When on my adventures, I decided to try out the Mellow Mushroom.  I found the nearest location to me at the time and had some seriously delicious pizza.  While sitting there I notied that this was the location that was featured in the show.  WOO HOO I stumbled upon a movie location.  LOLOL

Really, this is a great introduction into the awesomeness of Dragon Con.  Especially if you have not been to con it gives you an idea of what to look forward to.  
If you have not watched it, I recommend checking it out here: Four Days at Dragon Con
 
Photo courtesy of Four Days at Dragon Con

50 Days of Dragon Con Day 13

Froggys

Froggy's Photos is the company that is responsible for the celebrity photo opportunities.  In previous years they have been set up in the basement level of the Marriott.  The way it works is that you can either order in advance or go to their table and buy a photo opportunity with your favorite celebrity or guest.  They take your money and tell you when to show yo for your photo.  When that time comes they line you up and herd you into a room with the celebrity.  LITERALLY they stand you next to the celebrity and say "say cheese" and you are herded out again.  You are actually with the celebrity for no more than 2 minutes.  Really quick.  They are efficient and very organized.  Not to say that people have not had their issues, but all in all, they are not too terrible.  Once your photo has been taken they tell you when you can come and pick it up.  They have a bunch of tables set up in the hallway outside of the photo rooms and they print the pics and leave them on these tables. 

I often go down to the photo tables just to look at the pics and see who are some of the better celebrities.  You can tell a lot about the celebrities from the pictures that they take.  John Barrowman ALWAYS looks like he is having a good time.  There are others that look like, well, they are annoyed to be there.  I kind of feel bad for the people who paid for a pic with their fave celebrities and than the celebrity looks uber pissed off or something.  For some this is the opportunity of a lifetime.   There are many people I have thought about getting my pic taken with and then seen some of their other photos and have decided against it.  Some of the best are Stan Lee, John Barrowman, the casts of the Guild and Warehouse 13.  Some of the worst have been Gillian Anderson, Richard Dean Anderson and Joe Manganiello.  I get that people have bad days and the such.  Some folks do not like having their pic taken at all.  My thought is don't sign up to do it will upset you.  No big deal.  I have only done a few of these ops before and I have loved my experiences with all.  This year I am getting a sexy sandwich with John Barrowman and Stephen Amell of Arrow fame.  OMG I AM SO EXCITED!!! To the celebrities who do this and might do this in the future, thank you for you time and making the effort to have a good pic taken. 
Here is a link to their celebrity photo opportunities at Dragon Con this year.  Froggy's Dragon Con Opportunities



50 Days of Dragon Con Day 14

Celebrities


Hundreds of celebrities come to Dragon Con every year.  One of the most entertaining celebrities I have seen was Carrie Fisher.  OMG She is a hoot.  I have never laughed so hard.  She talked about her books, her mom, Star Wars and everything in between.  She had some of the funniest stories I have ever heard.  At one point she got up and stood on the table. Seriously I was almost peed in my pants at a few times.   She was so good they replayed her panels on Dragon Con TV in the hotel rooms.  It takes a really cool guest to get that privilege.  After the con, I got her book Shockaholic and liked it quite a lot.  I am so excited to see that she is going to be in the new Star Wars movies.  I think she is an excellent actress and a very very funny lady.  Check out her books.  I highly recommend them.
Photo Courtesy of IMDB


Wednesday, August 19, 2015

50 Days of Dragon Con Day 15

The Nerds

In general, Sci-Fi conventions are filled with nerds, dorks and geeks.  Whatever you want to call us.  There is a movie from the 1980's that is kind of our mantra.  Revenge of the Nerds.  If you have not seen it check it out.  Years ago there was a party losely based on this movie.  A Revenge of the Nerds party.  OMG there were nerds there in abundance.  There were Alpha Betas, Tri Lambs and I went as and Omega Mu.  We danced, we drank, we partied like we were in the 80's.  This was sooooo absolutely amazing.  We all let out Geek Flag Fly.  I went as an Omega Mu and Marc as a Tri-Lamb.  We had pics with other Mu's and Lambdas.  We even partied with Alpha Betas and the Pi's.  So much fun to be had.  I hope there is another one of these parties again.


Tuesday, August 18, 2015

50 Days of Dragon Con Day 16

Kilt Blowing


Have you ever heard of kilt blowing?  Neither had I.  Apparently it is an annual event at con.  One year I decided to go to see what all of the hubub was all about.  Kilt blowing is exactly as it sounds.  The host, Jennie Breeden, is on the floor with a leaf blower and people come up on the stage to have their kilt blown up.  Many of the participants know exactly what they are getting into, many do not.  The fun is watching the participants play it up.  You also get to see who is wearing something underneath their kilt.  This is so much fun to watch.  Men and women participate and are in the audience.  Of course, the best seat in the house is on the floor in front of the stage.  Even if you are in the back you get to see the production and everyone involved has a good time.  Due to the nature of this event, it is held pretty late in the evening so you will have to be on the look out.
Here is a video of the events a few years ago:
Kilt Blowing

Monday, August 17, 2015

50 Days of Dragon Con Day 17

The Rain

A few years ago Atlanta had one of the rainiest seasons in decades.  It rained quite frequently during the week before con and right up until con.  Talk about humid.  Saturday during the con the rain decided to make an appearance and it was hilarious.  There were no people outside smoking, lingering or moving from one hotel to another.  We were all inside.  Since it was raining and my original plan was to go from the Marriott to the Westin for a panel of some sort, I decided that might not be the best idea.  Instead, I decided to go to an oragami panel.  LOL OMG there was a line out the door of probably 50 people to get into this room.  The room they were in was a smaller one in the deep dark depths of the Hyatt.  Yes, that area where I got lost and had to pee.  I was down there once again, and this time I was looking for something to do.  Alas, with the line, I decided to head off in another direction and found another panel to go to.  I still can not believe that origami had a line out the door of 50 or so people.  I guess that is what happens when it rains at con.

50 Days of Dragon Con Day 18

Good God, what is that smell?


There is a room in the Hilton that is often misunderstood.  This room is in the basement and is often filled with 40 year-old virgins.  The room that I speak of is the game room.  This room gets such a bad rap and I am going to try and dispell some of it here.  The room is rather large and filled with tables for gaming.  The game room is open 24-7 through out the con.  The room is kept quite chilly and that is for one reason and one reason alone....it stinks.


The people who go into this room often are not seen again until after con.  Many of them do not leave to shower, eat or sleep.  There are piles upon piles of empty pizza boxes strewn across all areas of the room.  Trash cans are continually full and the poor Hilton staff always looks a little scared down there.  People say that the smell comes from the gamers never leaving and never bathing.  While that might indeed be true, it is not completely accurate.  They keep this room pretty cool to help with the smell but we should not blame the gamers entirely.

The basement of the Hilton also houses Trader Vic's a restaurant that has a Mai Tai that will put you on your bum pretty quickly.  For some reason their exhaust seems to blast straight into the gaming room.  It is TERRIBLE.  I have been in this room before the con has even begun, and it smells really badly.  REALLY BADLY.  So, while some of the stink might be a gamer or two, the very large part of it is the restaurant.  Please be kind to the gamers and stop in and play Munchkin, Cards Against Humanity or whatever is your pleasure.  It is great fun especially if you do not feel like sleeping.

p.s Gaming has become so popular they have had to break it out into several different categories of gaming and they have spread out so they are not in the basement any longer.

Photo courtesy of Dragoncon.org

50 Days of Dragon Con Day 19

Walk Throughs



A long time ago in a town far far away there was a little convention called Dragon Con.  Dragon con has been around for 25+ years and has gone through many changes.  There have been additions and subtractions of locations and changes of dates.  Things can get kind of confusing some times.

One year I was jonesing for the con so bad I started watching random Dragon Con related YouTube videos and found some by a gentleman named Rich Colvin.  He posted a walk through of all of the hotels and even the food court.  This was sooooo amazing.  These not only helped with the con withdrawal but it also provided lots of good information for those who had never been to con.  OMG it was AWESOME.  Since the time the originals were posted he has done several updates and changes.  Check some of them out here: Rich Colvin Dragon Con Walk Throughs.  Rich did these a few years ago.  Since then, Darren Nowell and Mike Faber of the ESO Network have done one of their own walk throughs which is also extremely helpful.  As I have said, there are many many changes that occur every year.  Check theirs out here: ESO Walk Through.  Even though I have been going to con forever and ever and know where all of these videos take me, I like to remember the happier times.  These videos help take me there.  HEE HEE

Since seeing these, Marc and I have done some on our own.  These are not posted to any channel because, well, they are not appropriate for people of all ages.  (wink wink).  I love watching these in the spring when the con withdrawal starts getting bad.  This year we have two GoPros and will do battling walk throughs so it will be totally different.  I can't wait. 


50 Days of Dragon Con Day 20

Match Game in the 25th Century


Year in and year out Gil Gerard also known as Buck Rogers hosts a game show called Match Game in the 25th century.  If you do not know the game from the 70's and maybe earlier/later there are 2 contestants and many panelists.  The host asks the panelists a question and they write their answer on a card.  The contestant then tries to guess what the panelists have written.  Depending on the panelists and the questions, hilarity ensues.
 
Gil gets fellow con guests to be the celebrity guests for him.  In years past he has had Julie Benz, John Ratzenburger, Garrett Wang, Sylvester McCoy, Herbert Jefferson, Jr and many, many others.   I have been to a few of these and I have to say the funniest person BY FAR was Sylvester McCoy.  You might know him as the Seventh Doctor from Doctor Who or more recently as Radagast the Brown form the Hobbit movies.  Holy bananas that dude is hilarious.  He must have asked to repeat the question a zillion times.  Gil-the host- even handed him the card so he could read his own question and as Sylvester was reading the card he asked Gil to repeat the question.  He was so amazing.  His answers were so hilarious I thought Garrett was going to pee his pants, let alone the rest of us.  This is put on by Gil himself in coordination with the American Sci-Fi Classics Track.  They put together a great show and it is great fun to watch.  I hope they continue to do it for many years to come.  If you get the chance to stop by the walk of fame, stop and talk to Gil, he is an amazing and great all around guy.

Photo Courtesy of Buck Rogers a.k.a. Gil Gerard

Sunday, August 16, 2015

50 Days of Dragon Con Day 21

A Goober

I am a goober.  It is who I am and I have tried to get over it for years and I have been wholly unsuccessful.  At con TheOneRing.net has a table in they Hyatt.  It is in the same place and has been for years.  I go there multiple times every year and say hello to DJ and Kirsten.  Every time I go there is trivia or some other sort of contest.  It is always fun.

One year I was making my rounds and I came to see Billy Boyd of the Perrigrin Took fame.  I am not celebrity gaga nor have I ever been.  There was a line to play trivia with him.  OMG I wanted to play because you could win a tee shirt.  However, playing trivia with Billy Boyd....I totally spazzed out almost had a panic attack in line.  There were two people in front of me and I freaked out and ran.  I was such an idiot.  Gawd, why?  Why did I do that?  What was so bad at playing trivia with Pippen?  NOTHING.  I have no idea why I panicked, I just did.  I wish I would not have but given the situation I would have freaked again.  I am sorry we did not get to play Billy, I would have loved to have met you and played trivia.

50 Days of Dragon Con Day 22

The Walkout
I hate walking out of panels.  I hate it so much I would rather suffer in silence than hurt the panelists feelings by leaving.  I have only walked out of a few.  Back in 2011 a book came out called 50 Shades of Grey.  I am sure all of you have heard about it.  I read it and thought this alternative style of life was intriguing.  The Electronic Frontiers Forum or EFF track had a panel called BDSM 101.  I saw this and thought hmmmmmmmm.  I went to the panel and it was in a very large ballroom in the Hilton.  The line to get in went all around the lobby and well scattered out of sight.  Due to the subject matter this was a late night panel.  I went and sat near the back.  In front of me there was a couple in their 40's I would guess.  Then next to them was this foursome of 20 somethings.  There was one girl on the end sitting next to the female of the 40 somethings.  The 20 something had fuzzy hand and leg cuffs on.  Interesting.  The male and female switched places and the male started talking to this girl.  The female struck up a conversation with the dude next to her now.  OMG! I found myself in a swingers club....Cool but I do not swing.

By the time the panel began, the room was standing room only.  There were people dressed in every sort of BDSM attire and many folks like myself in jeans and tees.  The panel began and there was one emcee and several different 'presenters'.  I say this because they did not present in the usual fashion of presenters at a con.  They acted out scenes and talked of scene etiquette.  They talked about their personal preferences, play dates, Munches, and many other things.  At one point they all got mad at 50 Shades stating it gave them a bad reputation.  They were all well informed and comfortable with the subject matter.  This was very well organized and in some was one of the best panels I had been to. 

I had been alarmed since I saw what was happening in the row in front of me and saw it progress.  Now, I was feeling really uncomfortable and pretty miffed.  I was a noob in what I thought of as a class for noobs and they were talking wayyyyyy over my head.  This was not a 101 class but a 501 class.  The final straw was the row in front of me.  The girl was being pawed by both the male and female while the female was being pawed by the dude next to her.  EWWW.  Not something I wanted to see, like ever and certainly not in a panel at a con.  I looked to the very few rows behind me and to my shock they were all empty.  There were many seats open in the rows in front of me but I did not notice that the entire back was empty.  HOLY COW!!! This was freedom.  There were already enough people that had left one more would certainly not be any worse than the 200 or so before me.  I was outta there as fast as my chubby legs would take me.  FREE I WAS FREEEEEE!

50 Days of Dragon Con Day 23

Academics

Every year there are dozens upon dozens of academics who come to con.  They are panelists, guests and sometime just regular con goers.  When academics host panels usually the category they are talking about is a dead give away as to who they are and the kind of panel they are on.  Occassionally there is an academic that fools the track organizer and then well, bamboozles the rest of us too.  If I go to a panel, it is because there is something about the toopic I would like to talk or learn about.  I hate leaving panels in the middle.  I think it is rude and then it might hurt the feelings of those on the panel.  Needless to say, I have walked out of very few panels.

When you read the info on the panel and it suggests a panel is about topic X by academic Y, then you go to listen to a hearty discussion, academic or not. No problem, you know what you are going to.  I have gone to many of these panels and I enjoy them very much.  I go into these panels knowing that this is more of information gathering and learning than entertaining.  Last year I went to a panel on a track that has NOTHING to do with academics.  I have been to dozens of panels with that track and have never found anything academic about it.  I went in knowing what the subject was about and thought this was going to be a lively discussion.  BWHAAAAAAAHAAAAA it was an academic reading his dissertation.  I was PISSED OFF.  This track, what the hell was going on.  I read through the description again and NOWHERE was it suggested that this was not some sort of a discussion but some know-it-all dude talking about periods.  What the heck?  I so badly wanted to leave.  I saw some friendly faces in there too and we were all looking around the room at one another kind of doing a subliminal, "if you leave, I will follow".  Needless to say, none of us left.  It would be rude.

Later on in the con I wandered into another academic panel.  This one did not call out that it was academic either.  However, this was the Tolkien track and the title was Dwarven History.  Hello, how could this not be an academic panel?  I went and it was awesome panel.  This guy sat up at the front and told us all about the history of Tolkien dwarves.  These are histories that are not in the books.  The description did not have to tell us this was going to be academic, the title did it for me and I was sooooo excited.  The other panel wellll um nope.  

Word to the wise, read the description of the panel and if anything looks wonky, find somewhere else to go or something else to do.

50 Days of Dragon Con Day 24


Saturday Night


Every year at con there are parties, parties, parties.  There are official Dragon Con parties and then there are the other parties.  There is inevitably LOTS of alcohol consumed by LOTS of people.  Most people know how to handle their liquor.  Every year there are a few schmoes who can not.  They go up to the higher levels of the hotel and drop things off of the balcony.  Jerks really.  Some have been con attendees, others not.  No matter their tolerance level, someone is bound to be an idiot.

I can not count the times I have gone back to my room LATE one night or early the next morning and found some complete idiot passed out in a corner, hallway or on a stairwell.  Seriously?  Don't you have friends that will take care of you and not let this happen?  Damn this sucks that you do not have friends, or they are crappy friends.  At other venues this could be quite dangerous.  I do not find the con to be dangerous, per se, but there are crazy people in every bunch.  Please if you are going to drink, please have someone with you that can handle their liquor better than you can or better yet, do not drink to that state.

50 Days of Dragon Con Day 25

Dealers Room





This is a very tricky and touchy subject.  The Dealers room or Vendors hall.  This area of conversation is sure to piss some people off.  Many years ago the Dealers Room a.k.a. Vendors Hall was located on 2 floors of the Marriott in 3 different rooms.  It was crazy, crowded, smelly and generally not a fun place to go.  Back in 2013 the powers that be moved this over to America's Mart which is across the street from Peachtree Center and next door to the Westin. 

I know why it was moved...durrh, we had outgrown the space at the Marriott.  I get it, I really do.  This does not mean I have to like it.  I have massive crowd issues and I hate to be in large crowds.  I would endure the Vendors Hall because I had to if I wanted to purchase some merchandise.  I liked that it was in the Marriott because I could make a quick trip in there in between panels and shop then leave and come back and do another section later.  I liked that and I only had to deal with the crowds for short spurts. 

Since the move to America's Mart the poo has hit the fan with the congoers.  The space at A.M. is very oddly shaped and we were on two floors and in different rooms on the same floor.  There was not a way to effectively direct traffic and once in the rooms it was oh so difficult to find the vendor you were looking for.  Once you got into the depths it took FOREVER to find you way out again.  This does NOT help my crowd anxiety.  Even when I knew where I was going (per the map) I got lost both on the way in and the way out.  Instead of a quick trip like I had to deal with at the Marriott, now it was an hour of planned time and it was hell.  Things got so bad that Marc would not even go in last year.  I only did because I had to.  Our tee shirt supply was getting dangerously low.  I do not know how many times the Fire Marshall shut the place down for being over crowded.  It was total, complete chaos.  A NIGHTMARE for people with crowd anxiety. 

I know you are thinking, "If you have this bad of crowd issues why do you even bother going to con at all?"  1) I love my people and this is the only time I get to be with them.  2)  The rest of the con the issues are manageable.  I go into panel rooms or bathrooms or something so the crowds are not pressing in my face.  Besides the issues are only when I go into the common areas.  I only have to go into the common areas once per hour.  See not so bad. 

This year the powers that be say that things have changed in America's Mart.  No longer are we going to be in Building 1 we will be moving to another building all together.  I think it is building 2 but do not quote me on that one.  Supposedly we will be in one ginormous room with all of the vendors so there is no getting lost in weirdly shaped rooms. All I can do is hope that the hell of shopping will be made easier this year.  Here is to hoping.

First floor and first room on second floor.
Second Room on the second floor

50 Days of Dragon Con Day 26

Walk of Fame



The Walk of Fame is where all of the celebrities are grouped together to have a booth where you can take some pictures with them (depending on the celebrity) have a chat and have them sign a picture they have there or some of your memorabilia.  This is a great place to ask questions and take a short moment to get to know your favorite celebrities on a more personal basis.

Over the last few years the Walk of Fame has gone through several changes.   When I first started attending con the walk of fame was located in two ballrooms in the Hilton.  The space while very well organized was pretty cramped.  They have now moved to one of the ballrooms on the Marquis level of the Marriott.  I am kind of sad this is where the WoF was moved to.  I miss being able to drop in and shop instead of having to build it into my schedule of events.  I This ballroom used to house some of the vendors which have since moved elsewhere.  More on the vendors later.  The new space is quite a bit larger than the previous space in the Hilton.  While it was very organized in the Hilton, with the larger space the organization and flow have become even better.  From all appearances it looks like they can get even more celebrities in here than previous years. 

In the Walk of Fame I got to have a discussion with Eddie McClintock of Warehouse 13 fame about twerking and the evils that are plaguing our kids these days.  It was quite amusing, let me tell you.  I have also observed many other celebrities having a good time with the con goers.  My Mom got to chat with Ernest Borgnine before he passed away.  She had a lovely chat for quite awhile with him.  I have watched con goers in tears while stuttering to try and talk to the celebrities.  I have seen celebrities dancing with, and genuinely enjoying the fans.  John Barrowman takes my breath away.  He is truly kind, attentive and funny to all who come to his table.  How he has that much energy is amazing to me.  WOO HOO Captain Jack.  Every celebrity is different and every time you go to see them, the experience is different.  Have a good time and let the celebrity have a good time too.

If you have a favorite celebrity and they come to con I HIGHLY recommend stopping in to say hello.

Walk of Fame in the Marriott.  Things might change this year, don't know yet.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

50 Days of Dragon Con Day 27

The Host Hotels


Every year we the con goers completely take over 5 host hotels.  The Sheraton, Westin, Hyatt Regency, Marriott Marquis and Hilton.  The hotels are all AMAZING to the onslaught of us the gaggle of nerds.  Dragon Con has a contract with the hotels that on their internal TV station they run Dragon Con TV.  Dragon Con TV is run 24 hours a day throughout the con.  Lots of random skits and the morning info show.   They even do parodies of current music.  Pretty cool when you are in your room getting ready in the morning and have it on in the background. 

Considering there are 40,000 plus con attendees plus staff, and guests that puts us over 50,000 people.  Not everyone stays in the host hotels, but they are FULL.  The hotels also have contracts with other folks to allow for other non con attendees to be there as well.  With all of us, the staff at all of the hotels is absolutely stellar.  I have never had a bad staff experience.  Some are meeh but never a BAD one.  The hotels even design their room keys especially for Dragon Con.  Pretty neat.  The Hilton even has some of their staff dress up as a greeting committee.  They provide snacks and water while you are in the registration line.

For all of the trouble we may cause and all of the chaos that comes with us, I think the host hotels do a fantabulous job.  The Hyatt has even sent an email this year that lets their guests register for the con next year at their registration in a couple of weeks.  WOO HOO.  Last year the Hilton did something of the similar.  I hope they do it again.
To all of the staff of the hotels, thank you for making us feel so welcome.

The voucher for a room for the 2015 con



50 Days of Dragon Con Day 28

A Good Place to Eat



When the total debocle of Twenty-Two Stories was over I was famished.  I decided to go to a restaurant that I have walked past for years and have never been in.  I went to Sear.  Sear is a steak place on the Atrium level of the Marriott Marquis.  I have been passng by ther for years and years.  It never looks full and I have often questioned if it is open or not. 

At previous cons I used to always eat at the food court.  RAH not all that, I promise.  You get tired of fast food after 4 days.  I have even tried renting a car and going to the grocery store.  That worked, sort of.  But still, I was limited to fast sandwiches and chips that are not a lot better than the food court food.  Then you add in the cost of the rental car and it was not really worth it.  When CVS went in the mall, that helped a bit but still what they carried was all fast-ish food and not really a step up, just more variety.  Even with the secret food court, still, fastish food.  There are lots of sit-down restaurants.  Most of them are pretty fancy and kind of expensive.  That is unless you leave the host hotels and go out to see what is out in the great wide world.  I usually try to avoid going out because Atlanta is very hot and humid in August.

I decided to try Sear.  I went into a mostly empty restaurant and was instantly sat.  I looked at their menu and decided to order a steak and macaroni.  I have to say this is one of the better steaks I have ever had.  E.V.E.R.   Since this one random decision, I have gone to Sear every year since then.  I have tried many different side dishes and desserts.  All have been exquisite.  If you have some extra cash-Sear is kind of expensive-I whole hartedly recommend making a stop into Sear.



50 Days of Dragon Con Day 29

Lost...Again


While I am on the subject of getting lost in the Hyatt, I have yet another story to tell you.  One year not so long ago, I was looking for a good place to eat.  I had heard that the Hyatt had a bar on the roof and it spun.  COOL.  I also heard that the Hyatt had a good restaurant called Twenty-Two Storys.  I decided this was the place to go.  Now, I thought this awesome Twenty-Two Storys was on the roof of the Hyatt and went looking for it.  This was a few years after the struggling to find a bathroom incident so I was a wee bit more familiar with the hotel than I was previously...or so I thought.

Once at the Hyatt I went to the elevator bank and usually they have something that tells you to go to the special elevator that takes you to the roof.  Maybe you have to get a special visitors pass or something.  I could find no info on this at the elevator so I decided to do some more walking.  I knew there was an information panel over at the International Tower so I headed over there.  I found the interactive menu for Twenty-Two Storys but not instructions on how to get there.  AHHHH!  Really irritating.  I kept looking around and decided to try the elevators again. 

As I got back to the elevators, there were fellow con goers and they were setting up the Con Suite and told me to stop by.  I decided to follow them.  I did this because I did not have a Hyatt room key and did not want to get trapped on a higher floor.  I wandered around the second floor of the Hyatt and found the Con Suite for the first time ever.  TOTALLY COOL!  YAY!  It has now been an hour since I set out and I am famished and not a little bit pisssed off.  I decided eff this I was going to go to Sear in the Marriott.  On my way out of the elevators heading to the Marriott habit trail I walked passed the bar known for the Bucket O' Rum and saw the waist high sign stating that this was Twenty-Two Storys restaurant and bar.  OMG I was soooo mad.  GRRR, I thought this was supposed to be on the roof.  Needless to say that Polaris is the bar on top of the Hyatt.  Yeah, I know that...now.

The Polaris at the top of the Radius Tower.
 

50 Days of Dragon Con Day 30

Lost...At A Con

Have you ever had to pee so bad you thought your eyeballs were floating?  Of course you have.  We all have.  One Thursday before con, I was doing some recognisance.  I was still a newbie then.  In fact I think this was my second or third year at con.  I was wandering around and got myself lost below ground somewhere in the Hyatt.  It was the maze that is the in between spot between the Hyatt proper and the International Tower.  UGG if you have ever been there, you know what I am talking about.  There are several floors and all of them are confusing.  They all look similar.  I was looking for a bathroom and I kept seeing signs to go here and there but I could not find the bathroom to save my life.  Finally I found my way to the Hyatt proper and their wonderful bathroom.  YAY.

While I am on the subject of con bathrooms, the Marriott is the bomb-diggety.  They have gorgeous bathrooms that are all individual and they have people in there cleaning almost all of the time.  I have never been to a Marriott bathroom that has been out of toilet paper or paper towels.  They are such the poo.  This is not to say that the Hyatt, Hilton, Sheraton and Westin are bad, just they are not as cool as the Marriott.  If you have a need to make #1 or #2 and it is not a rush situation,  recommend making a stop in the Marriott.


50 Days of Dragon Con Day 31

Celebrities

Every year Dragon Con brings in dozens upon dozens of celebrities.  Some are current, some are not.  Some are main stream, some are not.  Some are authors, some are movie stars.  There is a celebrity of sorts for everyone.  Some of the celebrities do the Walk of Fame- I will get into this more in a later post.  Some celebrities do panels and discussions.  Either way, celebrity sightings are cool. 

The celebrities that do panels are often surprised by the turnout of the people that come to see them.  Often times, the lines to get into the celebrity panels go around the building to get into them.  Not every celebrity is the same.  There are bigger names and there are lesser known names.  Every few years there are celebrity surprises.  The celebrities are not necessarily sci-fi related and yet they are invited and come to con.

Back in 2011 Dragon Con brought Loni Anderson and Howard Hessman to con.  They did a couple of W.K.R.P. panels.  Heck, maybe it was only one, I do not remember for sure.  This is one of the few celebrity panels that I stood in line for for hours.  I did not know why these two were at a sci-fi convention nor did I care.  These two were absolutely AMAZING guests.  They were genuine, friendly and truly surprised at the turnout.  We were so happy to have them.  This was truly one of my most memorable panels I have been to.  Such WONDERFUL guests and I have to say Loni Anderson looks FANOMINAL.  

Thank you for coming Mr Hessmann and Ms Anderson.  Thank you for coming and being such great guests.  I hope you will be able to come again soon.