Wil Wheaton and I both attended our first Dragon*Con this year. As you can see from my big excited smile above, meeting Wil was the highlight of my con experience. It was that freaking awesome to top four days of total immersion in total geek culture. He was personable and gracious. Chris and I talked to him about Memories of the Future. I thanked him for introducing me to John Scalzi and Wil told me Scalzi had announced his latest book that very day. He’d read it, he said, and it is “amaze-balls.” I managed to hold down my fan-girl squeal long enough to walk away from the autograph table.
We geeks are a people without a homeland, but for the length of the con a few blocks of Downtown Atlanta are transformed into a habitat suitable for geeks of all types and affiliations.
It has been a week since we came home. The real world is a bit surreal. No one is dressed as a super hero. I haven’t seen two Doctors pass each other in the hall, nodding in acknowledgement with a greeting of “Doctor.” Even after 10 P.M., body paint is not appropriate attire. Ridges exist on potato chips, not foreheads.
Nothing about the other conventions I’ve attended prepared me for Dragon*Con. It’s bigger – five hotels, a downtown mall, a parade and over 45,000 people. Dragon*Con TV in our hotel room. I went to one actual panel the whole weekend – corset making – and didn’t feel like I missed out. It would, in fact, be possible to go without a membership and have a perfectly good time just people watching and sharing the adventure stories of our roommates. Of course, Chris and I have already preregistered for next year.
It is so difficult to sum up the events of the weekend as the formal events are only half the story. I admit the main reason I’m writing about it at all is to relive it for myself. Maybe next year I’ll blog from the event.
Our trip began Wednesday afternoon. Chris and I stayed at his cousin’s place in Alpharetta, Georgia in an effort to get into the registration line early Thursday. We were joined by Chris’ brother Eric. I was happy simply to get out of dodge. Anticipation was killing me. We had dinner with cousin Jeff and Eric a really, really yummy Indian restaurant. My first real moment of the convention happened hanging out in Jeff’s living room while I sat chatting with Kate about her current obsession with Supernatural. While she hasn’t ever been to a con, she’s my original geek friend. She’d explained about the fan-fiction surrounding the series, specifically the slash involving the Winchester brothers. They, apparently, call it Wincest and Kate, like myself, doesn’t really understand the appeal. What I said, however, was “It’s better for incest to be same-sex because you don’t have to worry about children.” Silence in the room and all three of the boys – the boyfriend, the boyfriend’s brother and their cousin – staring at me like I’m insane. What? In the context of the conversation, it was a perfectly reasonable statement.
Standing in the registration line Thursday, you would think, wouldn’t be very exciting. I was surprised, however, how excited I was to see all the people. Most were in their geekiest shirts, but a few dedicated souls were costumed up. One dude behind us in line was already drinking cheap beer. Way to get a head start on both counts.
Not much goes on Thursday night. We and the roommates got settled in. It was Chris and I, Eric, Teresa, Alex and his sister Lucy. Teresa invented a drink we’ll call a Tereka – Diet Mountain Dew and Tequila. I had a couple and Lucy was a little too buzzed to head out to the Celtic concert she wanted to attend. Not having anything better to do and not wanting to sit around, Chris and I went with Lucy to see Pandora Celtica and Emerald Rose. Very different sounds, but both awesome.
Daytime Friday was line day for Chris and I. We got the required autographs. Wil Wheaton (*Squee*) was first, then Gates McFadden and William Shatner. We stopped to talk to Brent Spiner about his web series Fresh Hell. Gates was nice, but we didn’t have anything specific to talk to her about. Shatner looked tired, but smiled and nodded. Best you can expect from a star of his age. Autographs are a cool memento, but I definably think the interaction is the important part. I wouldn’t, for example, buy an autograph or send someone to get one. I will, of course, have to be satisfied with the autograph from Leonard Nimoy Chris got two years ago.
There was Klingon Karaoke. Chris sang Bust A Move. The audience loved it.
As I alluded to in my mention of body paint, late night at Dragon*Con is pretty wild. We went to the Hyatt, closed to all but Dragon*Con attendees, to walk around and enjoy the costumes. Chris was still in his TOS Klingon and had far more photo requests than he expected. Was awesome.
The only problem with a late and eventful night on Friday was getting up early Saturday for the parade. Chris marched in full Imperial Klingon and ridges. So sexy, but hot and tiring. Still, he made CNN’s coverage of the con for the second year in a row. Later, we attended the Klingon restaurant invasion to hang with our various Klingon friends but especially those of House Koloth and the Nemesis.
I saw so many cool costumes and interactions between people in those costumes. Waldo and Carmen San Diego running around doesn’t fail to tickle me. I took lots of pictures both with my camera and Chris’ – feel free to look me up on Facebook and take a look. My favorite missed photo opp moment was a beautiful, Disney quality Snow White taking pictures of a You-Know-Who and a couple dozen Death Eaters.
Only at Dragon*Con. Only 353 days…