Folks, I have a confession to make: I am terrible about taking pictures. Every year I went to Dragon Con in the past, the only time I managed to get any pictures was when I was sitting down and watching the parade. I have hundreds of parade pictures on my hard drive. I keep meaning to be better. When packing up to head out on my daily adventures, I’d put my camera on top of all of the stuff in my backpack. Heck, I took two cameras down to Atlanta with me. Three if you count my misbehaving phone. Honestly, I have no excuses when it comes to my lack of pictures. It’s a good thing that my memory is as good as it is, right? Right. So, here are my Dragon Con highlights since I can’t really remember all of the details. Because Dragon Con.
As you could probably tell from my recent list of road trip tips, I’m perhaps a little more than neurotic when it comes to traveling. That’s why I was up at 3 a.m. and over at Tihana’s house at around 4 to pick her up and start our Southward voyage. There’s really not a lot to tell about the drive down there. It doesn’t take as long as one might think but always feels like it takes forever. All told, it took about 11 hours with periodic pit stops. Honestly, I don’t remember a whole lot about the drive despite being behind the wheel. I do remember that we got to see a pretty sweet sunrise. That’s always awesome.
We arrived in Atlanta and pulled up to the Westin where we’d be rooming with friends of mine (Gary and Jessa) and the random guy on the floor (that’s a whole different story). Unfortunately, the parking lot was full and I had to hunt down an alternate place to house Sorsha (my car) for the long weekend. I lucked out and found a nearby parking garage. Once all of that was sorted, we made our way up to the 42nd floor to our room. I don’t recall ever having stayed up that high in a hotel before, but I might have. We had a nice view and a bed to share (not like that, pervs). After we settled in and changed into more comfortable attire, we went through the speedy badge pick-up process and tried to round up folks to go to dinner.
That didn’t work out as planned and we ended up in the food court. I actually like the food court. We had some pretty decent Indian food and then just wandered around to help me get used to the place all over again. At some point, we were joined by everyone’s favorite web designer, Micah. My companions went out wandering the con until late. Me? I decided to attempt to get a good night’s sleep. It almost worked.
I set my alarm for 8:30 and my confused friend (*cough*Micah*coughcough*) texted me and tried calling me a few minutes before 8. i gave up on sleep and got up, showered, and ready for the day. Showers, especially at Dragon Con, are very important. After a breakfast at The Corner Bakery (I love, love, LOVE their Berry Almond Swiss Oatmeal), I was off to the Marriot for my first panel, Under the Dome: Chrysalis. As I promised the track director and friend of mine, Kelley, I wasn’t entirely negative. I did, however, make sure that while there were some redeeming moments, they were few in number and that I still wasn’t a fan. I am so glad that I don’t have to watch that show unless I”m feeling particularly masochistic.
After that panel, I was free to roam and try and catch up with my friends. I’m not going to lie: a good chunk of my time at the con was spent trying to wrestle my phone into submission so I could try and keep in touch with people. You can imagine how well that all worked out. My phone knows it’s being replaced in November and is making sure to punish me, but that’s enough of that. On to the rest of Friday!
I had three panels back to back Friday night. Quantum Leap 25th Anniversary, Wizard of Oz Anniversary: Because, Because, Because, and Friday Night: Sci-fi TV Death Zone occupied my Friday night. All with the lovely American Sci-Fi Classics track. Of the three, though, I would have to say that the Oz panel was my favorite. Just because. Okay, no, I just loved talking about Oz and its various incarnations. I also liked imparting some film history on the masses. My geek knowledge is broad, after all.
After my panels, I shuffled off to the food court for sustenance and spent some time wandering around the con with my friends before calling it a day.
Saturday began with my 8:30 alarm so I could get myself in gear so I could do the breakfast thing before my morning panel, Geek Year 1984: Classic Sci-fi Roll-A-Panel. That panel was a blast. I think we had a record number of panelists. I laughed so hard. I don’t feel like I contributed as much to that panel due to the fact that I was born in 1984 and there are a few things I still haven’t seen, but I had fun just sitting there and being a part of the experience. Though I’d have liked to have seen the parade this year, I’m okay with having skipped it for the panel.
Like the day before, I wandered around after the panel. I think this was the day I wandered into the Art Show and bought a print from Yale Stewart. I love his adorable take on the DC characters and appreciate his response to his recent controversies. That’s another thing I could blog about later. Since I was left to my own devices, I actually sat in on a panel that I wasn’t on. I like stopping by the Urban Fantasy track and enjoyed listening to some authors talk about their work and writing process on the Folklore & Mythology in UF panel. I really need to get back to writing fiction.
Anyway! Earlier in the day, I told Gary that I’d be calling in lame for the Real Ghostbusters: The Best & The Beautiful panel because I wanted to make sure I was freshly showered before I met Cary Elwes. Not only was I freshly showered, but I’d even taken some time to put on a bit of make-up so I’d look less like death warmed over. I showed up early to the panel and was told that the line had been cut off because so many people wanted to see him. That meant that none of my friends could make it in to take pictures of me. Due to the weather and stuff, Cary was a few minutes late. I got to shake his hand, sort of establish how we were going to kick things off, and then I was off onto the stage for Cary Elwes: A Career of Unusual Size. After giving him an introduction and setting him up to talk about his upcoming book, I just sat back. The man just runs things himself. It was fascinating to watch him as he interacted with his fans. He’s also a really nice guy. I should stress that because it’s true. When the panel was concluded, he had to go take care of stuff and I darted off to grab a bite to eat at the food court (this is a running trend, huh?).
My post dinner shenanigans began with Truly Outrageous: Female Heroes From Classic Sci-fi where we had a rousing discussion of feminism and what makes a person a hero. That panel went to a number of unexpected places, but I think it was really helpful in continuing the ongoing discourse about representation in media. Sure, we’re just fans, but the conversations have to start somewhere. Change has to start somewhere.
After that, it was time for sex and violence in Bodice Rippers & Angst. We talked about a number of TV shows and how they portrayed sex and violence. We also talked a lot about History and how a lot of these shows took a lot from what actually went on, but not enough in some cases. It was a great time and I got to talk about how much I loved “Vikings.” When the panel was over, I ended up chatting for a long while afterward with Kelley and Jessa. Unfortunately, that meant I inadvertently missed the screening of Of Dice and Men (I hope it went well, guys! I’ve heard only good things!). When it was Super Late, we called it a night and went our separate ways.
I didn’t have a morning panel and got to be a little bit lazy on Sunday morning. That was pretty spiffy. I took my time getting ready for the day before wandering off to The Corner Bakery where I got to sit down and chat with a couple of guys who’d been frequenting the panels I’d been on. They were inquisitive and it was almost like having fans. I wish I’d gotten their names. I was too focused on shoving oatmeal in my face. Man, that stuff is so good. Seriously. I told them that I was going to be on another panel due to my having told Gary that I had Sunday free. I’ll get to that in just a bit.
Since last year, the vendors had been housed in the America’s Mart in Atlanta. Midway between the Westin and the Hyatt, it’s kind of a pain in the ass to get into and always seemed to have a long line to get into it. I lucked out on Sunday and managed to get in before the crowds did. I stopped by the Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab table and picked up a new bottle of perfume and some imps (little perfume samples). I also got to wander around and see all of the great stuff the merchants were selling.
My friends and I met up after my wandering and we headed back into the mass of humanity that was growing in the merchant’s area. I picked up more perfume and a poster before we called it quits and decided to rendezvous with our other compatriots, Mac and Sherri. That’s how we ended up back in the art show where I grabbed a couple of posters. I should mention at this point that I don’t have any more room for posters on my walls. Nor do I have the inclination to take the ones currently on my walls down to replace them. Someday, I guess.
We went our separate ways and I picked up a sandwich before wandering downstairs for my final panel of the con, Conan the Destroyer: Crom Demands Tribute. This panel was definitely a highlight of my con. I got to sit on a panel with Gary, Phantom Troublemaker, and William Stout. William Stout is an artist and production designer who has worked on so many movies including the Conan films. It was so awesome to sit on that panel with him, hear his stories, and joke around with him. You can hear the panel here thanks to Phantom Troublemaker (there’s a bonus picture of me). Stout wants to be on more panels for the track. I’m hoping to sit in on at least one or more of them in the future.
My panelist duties concluded, I went off in search of my friends who’d gone out for dinner at a nearby restaurant. I just want you to know that I ultimately made it there despite my phone’s GPS. Apparently, tall buildings really mess with the whole GPS in the phone thing and the stupid map took me a long way out of the way before I managed to find the restaurant. The kitchen was backed up and I ordered wings. We laughed and I got to hear about the super cute bento panel that they’d attended. We also got at least one or two new inside jokes from that dinner adventure. Anyway, wings finally in hand, we went back to the room where I discovered that said wings were disappointingly salty. So. Very salty. Like. Oh my goodness. So much salt. Tihana was a fan, though, and ate the rest of them like a trooper.
Micah spent the night on a piece of unclaimed floor. We also got introduced to the seriously screwed up in an awesome way short film “Dark Companion.” It was a weird night and a pretty sweet way to end the con.
Sleep deprived and looking forward to our eventual return home (or the next leg of a trip in Micah‘s case), we left Atlanta sometime between 9 and 10. Like the drive before it, I don’t really remember a good chunk of the voyage back to Maryland. My passengers passed out frequently and I amused myself with music and letting my mind wander as I drove. We hit some random traffic that added an extra hour to our trip. Eventually, we made it back to the Old Line State. After dropping Tihana off at home, Micah and I made it back to my house. I unpacked and then just goofed off on the internet until my brain finally shut down enough to let me sleep. Thus ended my adventures.
I had a great time and I think my friends did too. Further adventures in Atlanta are being discussed so I’m assuming folks had a good time. I always feel like I don’t do enough at the convention. Then again, I remember that I’m not necessarily the partying kind. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized that I’m far more introverted than I initially believed. One of the reasons I like staying in one of the host hotels is that I’m close enough to the action while still being able to flee back to my room when I need to decompress. That’s so necessary. You have no idea. With the crowds only getting larger with each passing year, I think having a quiet space for downtime is vital. At least it’s vital if people don’t want a stressed out and unhappy Tegan.
Next year, I’m going to have a phone that works. I am going to make a concerted effort to take pictures while using said phone because remembering to take my phone out of a backpack or something is just not something I do. I also need to be okay with stopping people to ask for pictures. Every year is a learning experience and I hope to have such experiences for many years to come.