Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Dragon Con 2015 - Diagnosis: Post DragonCon Malaise. Recommended Treatment: Picture and Video Review

The wind-down period begins.  Monday comes and you start to see suitcases rolling through the hotels and the food court, lines forming at the check-out desks.  You begin to feel deflated despite your continued Con-enjoyment.  You are still attending panels, but as you see suitcases sitting at the feet of others in the panel with you, your heart aches.  You’re soon to join them.

DragonCon is coming to a close in a few short hours.

As I type this I am at my first official day back at work and back to reality.  The good thing is that it takes at least a week before I ever accept this mentally, as I stay in the realm of memories and grins, burps that still taste of food court goodies no matter how many times I brush my teeth, and swag that litters the house for days until one figures out how to organize all that crap.  While I’m back to the grind, I’m not terribly bummed about it yet; I’m still on my “Con-High.”  With that in mind, I am rewinding the wind-down to take you on a journey through my Con experience for 2015.

I arrived on Wednesday as my Husband and I are volunteers for the DragonCon Store.  We were part of the set-up team goes to the Marriott, Sheraton, and America’s Mart, and makes sure all those pretty DC shirts, backpacks, and lanyards are all laid out nice and pretty on the shelves and in the display cases, with LOADS of stock organized in the back in just the right place so you aren’t waiting for hours for us to rummage through boxes to find what you want.  You’re welcome, by the way.  We plowed through a ten hour day and an eleven-plus hour day on Thursday setting up shop in all the stores, crashing at the hotel afterwards.  We missed any Thursday fun because like most of the other staffers, we were wiped after all that work.  We played Magic in the room and chatted with other Store staffers on Facebook or text about how sore we were gonna be.
Next day, the fun came.
The next morning it was officially “Con or Bust.”  While my Hubby went to get the life sucked out of him (I could have put that more heroically on his part.  He went to donate blood,) I went to the Threats of the Streets panel for the Armory Track.  I have missed Armory panels more times than I wanted in previous years and this is one of my favorite tracks that I refused to miss this time.  This panel was well worth the wait.  A discussion of what Law Enforcement of any level can and cannot do in terms of arresting, attacking, home invasion and breaching…and I was a note-taking fiend.  I followed it up with my Husband and I going to another Armory panel on Ammunition and Explosives, which was just as good as the last and just as full of note-taking from me.  Have you begun to realize I am far from a normal, feminine person?  The more I write about the Armory track the more I realize my two favorite lines from Fiona in Burn Notice remind me of myself:

“The balcony’s big enough to lay prone with a sniper rifle…but there’s not enough space for my snow globes.”

 Michael:  Fi, if someone wanted to buy a modified Sega 12-K, where would they go?
Fiona:  Oh, Michael!  That’s so sweet!  But…it’s not my birthday for months!

I’m SO un-feminine…
I wish I could say we fit in a few more panels afterwards, but we decided this year to do something we don’t usually do.  Go to a lot of actor’s panels.  Anyone that has done this before knows this requires hours out of your time for lining up early.  With that in mind we sat our butts in line for Stephen Amell’s panel.  The long wait was worth it as we were 6th row aisle seat.  What a view and what a panel.  We got the official preview of the Season Four Arrow trailer before anyone else in the world.  You can’t beat awesome like that.  Friday was capped by a two hour game of Are You a Death Eater…in which I sold out my own Husband.  Before you judge me, it was good thing I did.  I was a Student and it turned out that he was a Death Eater and had helped in getting rid of two other students already!  I helped people, alright?!  Don’t judge me!
From Saturday morning until lunch time we were shopping in the America's Mart, then straight on to a Magic: The Gathering Booster Draft.  My deck turned out alright…I fashioned a pretty good Boros Renowned with a splash of Black.  Not shabby.  But mana flooding in the first round killed me and I was eliminated early.  Sucked badly.  Husband was annihilated shortly after so we just play-tested our makeshift decks for fun until the next panel we wanted to hit, which was the Cruxshadows’ reading of their screenplay “After All.”  When I attended last year, it was a theatre play and read much differently.  I loved both variations and am unsure which I gravitated towards more, but I was thrilled to hear the differences.  I can’t wait to see this on the big screen. 

After this it was time to grab some Subway and crash outside of the panel room for the Adult Themes In Genre TV Shows, on which I was panelist.  The discussion ranged from the over-sexism in Game Of Thrones and its overuse of rape, to violence and emotional/mental issues, to espionage and cop shows, and whether or not any of the above listed issues have a benefit onscreen or are only hindrances and de-sensitizations in society.  It was definitely an hour I enjoyed being a part of.  If you couldn’t get to it and wanted to, the panel is on the Highlights video I’ve attached to this article.

Sunday morning proved to start off right, and with one of the best panels I have ever attended in my eleven years of DragonCon.  We got in line early with Red Bull in hand from our long night of card playing and lack of sleep to see John Barrowman.  I already knew he was outlandish and fun, in touch with his fans and a sweetheart, plus outrageous and hyper.  But when he stepped out on stage wearing a TARDIS dress and red pumps to match, I knew it could only go downhill from there.  I was wrong however, as it instead just climbed higher and higher to insane hilarity and touching sweetness throughout the hour.  He talked of his upcoming Represent campaign to raise money for foster homes for LGBT youth.  Many get displaced due to foster parents who choose not to deal with them or try to “change” them, and as a result their self-esteem can plummet, many leaning towards suicide attempts.  He stressed his hope of having such homes in ever major city someday.  That was the serious part.  The funniest, however, were more outlandish than the next.  The highlights for me?  
1:  John’s PA coming out on stage dressed as Captain America.  John sees him a freaks, gingerly rubbing his shoulders saying, “Hello, Captain America!  I'm TARDIS.  I have a friend called The Doctor.  He's been in me.  Would you like to save your nation and come inside the TARDIS?”
2:   Someone asking John what he was wearing underneath his dress.  He responds with asking his bodyguard to come to the edge of the dais, which was putting the man’s head level with his waist.  He threw his dress over his bodyguard’s head, much to the scream of the crowd.  His bodyguard came out from underneath, looked at us in feigned “Oh my!” with a hand to his lips in shock, and walked away grinning, to which John says, “He’ll never be the same again.”
It gets better than this man’s panels….HOW, exactly?

We went straight from there to lining up for Felicia Day’s Geek & Sundry panel.  At the start of the panel I found that while watching DCTV, I had earned my place in DragonCon history.  Remember the Earwig bumper about Star Trek?  The one with the Frozen lyrics screaming "LET IT GOOOOOOO?"  That was mine!  I got a bumper on DCTV!  WOOT!  But back to the panel.  Escaping being the butt of dirty double entendre is beyond her, but it makes for one hilarious hour.  I was even the last person of the hour to ask her a question about whether she felt the digitization of tabletop games (Magic: The Gathering on Playstation, Family Game Night on Wii,) was a negative to social interaction in the Tabletop realm or a positive spin to gather more people to board games in the technological era.  She agreed it was a positive, which I hoped that she would.  But I leave you with two awesome words that were repeatedly uttered by the guests on this panel.

“Ample bosoms.”

See, you’re hooked.  Now you wanna look the panel up on Youtube don’t ya? 
Our next stop was grabbing dinner and heading to a panel that touched the childish heart in me:  The Animaniacs sing-along.  The show’s composer plus the voice of Yakko himself sung songs from the show plus other creations.  There is nothing like hearing their stories then being taken back in time by the voice that led your younger years.  I have been playing the State Capital song and the Countries of The World song in my head ever since then.  They even included a new verse to the “Countries” song as we have had new countries form since the Nineties…which they performed for the very first time at that panel.  
The panel was in the Hilton, which worked out nicely as my next stop was right after said panel in the same location.  It was the meet and greet for the very blog you are all reading this from.  That’s right…all the writers and contributors for this lovely blog gathered together in one place by the Hilton pool, and it didn’t open a hole in the space time continuum, blowing up the universe.  I did, however, discover that between the laughs and birthday cake, the talking and general goofing, that we at Needless Things apparently have supernatural powers.  Several of us began talking about the GI Joe verses He-Man panel, which led to our favorite childhood movies/cartons, which as He-Man was in the mix led to one of those being referenced as Master of The Universe.  I get home and find that Masters of The Universe has been added to Netflix.  Just like that.  We have the amazing ability to add movies we talk about here at Needless Things to Netflix with the powers of discussion.  Submit your favorites so we can say their names out loud and POOF!  We’ll see what pops up in your Netflix queue the next week!  By the way...I'm just kidding about the submit your ideas, bit.  We're not X-Men, people.

Or...ARE WE...

Monday.  The last day.  The day that, while you are still enjoying yourself, you are made of sad feelings and woe.  We’ve now came full circle in my post.  My Husband and I packed out suitcases and showered that morning and headed to our last day of festivities.  Our first stop was a spot in line at the Marriott for Karen Gillan’s panel.  We had lucked out seating-wise for most panels to date:  Stephen Amell: 6th row aisle.  John Barrowman, 8th row center.  Felicia Day, 4th row center.  Karen was a bit further back, sadly, as despite the volunteer’s advisement that she had promised our group first admittance pre-line as were among first arrivals, a group of rabid fans RUSHED the line-up from out of nowhere so hard and fast they started knocking people over.  The volunteer had to start screaming at people and shut off the line entirely, advising that she would have people ejected if they didn’t “grow up and start acting like adults.”  It was truly a pitiful site.  But once inside the panel itself was wonderful, with discussions ranging from Doctor Who to Guardians, upcoming projects to her favorite embarrassing stories about her to two real-life best friends Matt and Arthur (The Doctor and Rory Williams.)  
We ended our panels with time on the Tabletop track, attending two back-to-back panels on Advanced Gamemastering (I thought it would help with the Supernatural RPG I want to run and at next year’s DragonCon,) and our favorite, Worst Gaming Story Ever.  You can hear my husband’s story about his brother in the video I included in this article. 

There’s much I didn’t toss in.  Playing cards, reading books I bought or my Husband surprised me with (WOOT for Felicia Day’s new book!)  People watching and the general adventures we all experience at Con.  But half the fun of Con are the stories that you DON’T share.  The ones you keep to yourself for that happy memory when you need a smile to pull out of your back pocket.  So enjoy the video I have attached for highlights and the Adult Themes panel (no kids in the room when watching that panel, please.  It is rated R/MA/NSFW.)  Here is my Flickr link for a full list of my shots:
Part one of my Highlights video:
And Part two of my Highlights video.  This video is the panel which is rated NSFW.  So as I said before, NO CHILDREN in the room:

Look through my pictures and video as well as your own and smile a bit as you gear up for next year.  Half of us already have rooms booked and registrations bought.  Do you?

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