Monday, September 8, 2014

Dragon Con 2014 Recap Part 1 - Thursday by Phantom Troublemaker

I am going to do my best to keep this a bit more brief than I usually do. Typically my Dragon Con recaps span around four days of posts and that’s just absurd. But every year I say I’m going to tighten them up and it never happens.

Let’s see how I do this time around.


I arrived at Con this year earlier than I ever have. I got to the Hilton right before noon on Thursday. They had this thing set up where if you were a guest you got a voucher when you checked in. This voucher would guarantee you a room for 2015 as long as you redeemed it whenever they started redeeming them that weekend. I was thrilled to see they already had a desk set up for this, so as soon as I had my room key I took my luggage and got in line.
I’m not usually much of a line talker; especially when I’m not in my Phantom gimmick. But I was really excited to be at Con so early and to be able to get stuff done. As a result I was pretty chatty. In the check-in line I spoke with an older gentleman in a Utilikilt who was just as excited as I was and had all kinds of questions about how long I’d been coming and what I was doing. He was from somewhere in the North and was accompanied by folks from Washington (the state – I asked for clarification) and Oregon. Once we got up front I bid him farewell and gave him the valediction I got from my Dragon Con mentor, Mr. Beau Brown – “Have a great Con!” I now say this every time I part company with a newfound acquaintance – groups in elevators, people in lines, drunks on bathroom floors.

In the voucher redemption line I met a guy from elsewhere in the country – Nevada or some such – and we talked about our histories at Con. I felt like our interests lined up a bit, so I pitched my panels to him and gave him a card. It turned out he already had Whose EFF and the Conan panel marked in the Dragon Con app. I was ecstatic. That’s happened a couple of times before and it’s always a good feeling. Despite the fact that the people are clearly going for the subject and not for me, it shows that the app does work and that every panel has a fair chance to be seen and attended by everybody.

I got through the line and got my room for next year. Well, I hope I did. I have a goldenrod carbon copy that says that I did and confirmation should arrive within the next two weeks. I won’t be one hundred percent comfortable until I have that e-mail.

It took two trips to my car to get all of my luggage, stuff for panels, and beer. While I don’t necessarily relish the extra trips, I do like the fact that I have a reason to bring so much extra crap. It makes me feel all important and stuff. I had all of the prizes for Whose EFF and the 25th Anniversary showing of THINGS. I did not have my usual supply of toys because the toy panel did not happen this year. A lot of people have asked why and all you really need to know is there was a scheduling snafu and the fine folks over at RetroBlasting ended up doing it. And I am totally okay with that. Bless their hearts for taking it over and putting on such a thorough presentation.

Guest badge pickup wasn’t until 2 PM, so I had some time to unpack and get situated. After that I made my way over to the Marriott. I did some last-minute printing before I left the house and I’m glad that I did. The first thing was my early check-in confirmation for the Hilton. The second was an e-mail from Miss Lady Flex about the Whose EFF segments. The third was my Attending Professional confirmation from Dragon Con. That came in particularly handy because they had a heck of a time finding my badge and packet. I have no idea why. But once I gave them the e-mail they found it fairly quickly. That yellow “Professional” ribbon was a lot more satisfying than the “Media” one from last year. Given the choice I’d much rather be up on stage than sitting here at a keyboard. Also, this was the first year they actually printed “Phantom Troublemaker” on my badge rather than my real name.

Now that I was properly badged up, I threw a hood on and headed to the American Sci-Fi Classics track room to see if my personal heroes Gary and Joe were there yet. They weren’t, but the A/V folks were setting up. I asked them about hooking up a laptop and they said if I could bring the laptop to the room they’d check it right then and it would allow them to check out their setup as well. It was no big deal (on Thursday at 2:30) to run back to the Hilton and grab my laptop from the room, so I did it. I don’t think it took me fifteen minutes, round trip. At any other point over the weekend it would have been at least half an hour.
I have to say, I was quite proud of myself for “helping” with that. I also brought my Needless Things banner and Whose EFF posters down to the room to hang them up. I love the fact that every picture from the Classics track has my stuff in the background.

I’m still getting the hang of Thursday night. Two years ago I overdid it and missed out on Friday stuff. Last year I paced myself and had a fun night without repercussions the next morning. This year I got shitfaced. It was a bad decision, though one I didn’t necessarily make consciously. I mean, those Trader Vic’s Mai Tais are really good. So a couple of those combined with six or eight of my beloved Miller Lites were enough to have a very strange effect on me.
I got back to my room around 3 AM, not feeling too bad. I flossed (possibly the last time I did all weekend) and brushed and laid down. And as soon as I laid down I realized I was fucked up. I lay there for a little while, trying to decide if I should go and throw up or not (as one does). Eventually I gave in and went to the bathroom to attempt to expel the foul spirits from my system.

No dice.

For whatever reason, I couldn’t get myself to spew. And believe me - I tried.

I went and laid back down, hoping the soothing dorkiness of Dragon Con TV might lull me to sleep. I think I went out for a while, but at some point I woke up to see myself on TV. This was not some drunken fever dream – it was the sketch I was part of for DCTV! 

I popped up and watched myself give a not-quite-big-enough performance while my two hilarious co-stars battled. I tried to settle down after that, but come 7 AM I was still wide awake and utterly nauseous with a splitting headache. And no Ibuprofen.

Side Notes: 1) I did not bring Ibuprofen or spoons. Those were the only things I forgot. 2) That was the only time all weekend that I saw my sketch. I never got the opportunity to record it, which bummed me out.

I have never been drunk/hung over in that manner before and it sucked. Eventually I fell asleep somehow, but I didn’t wake up until around 1 PM. It wasn’t as big of a deal this year as it was 2 years ago because I didn’t plan on spending much time in the Dealers Hall this year. Funds were super tight thanks to one calamity after another (so tight that I skipped buying new Godzilla toys on the way into work today and I am still kicking myself over it). But I definitely missed some quality walking around time and didn’t make it to Artists Alley until Sunday.

Hey, it could have been worse. I could have been sitting outside of my hotel room, puking on the floor at 3 PM on Thursday. I hear that happened. To somebody. But certainly not anybody I would associate with.

Come back Thursday for more! 

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