Monday, November 7, 2016

Christina's DragonCon2016 Wrap-Up: Part 2

By Christina Sizemore

The shenanigans continue.  Well, the milder variety, anyway.  But hey, still cool DragonCon stuff regardless right?  Time to wrap-up my DragonCon wrap-up, guys!
It's the second half of Saturday, just after the InstaFilk panel I talked about last piece.  I've been a martial artist for twenty years and the one panel that I have failed to get to for several years now has been Master Musashi's demonstration on the Silk Road Track.  Finally, this year, I made it.  It was everything that I hoped it would be.  Any martial artist can tell you that most Masters are cut from the same cloth; they are wise, experienced, fast, temperamental, no patience for fools, and a hysterical sense of humor.  Musashi was of the same ilk and far from a disappointment.  Weapons techniques, take downs, strikes, and full demonstrations with fully workable swords tantalized the crowd.  Ookies (partners) who demonstrated techniques on him or were used as tools for his technique and some that showed their own weapons prowess, as well as many audience volunteers.  It was well worth the multi-year wait and you better believed I stepped up at the end to shake his hand.

It was my turn to speak again and this time it was on the Shipping The Heroes panel.  I normally wouldn't be one to gush over romance or relationships; I'm not very girly.  But sometimes you just have a thing or two to say on such matters, especially if it relates to character development.  This panel was outstanding.  The audience got involved and I loved their enthusiasm.  The panelists had so many variances in favorite/least favorite pairings and their effect on fandom led to many great conversations and kept the flow so well during that hour.   We brought up everything from Arrow to Smallville, Once Upon A Time to Flash.  This panel was proof of why I love speaking at DragonCon.  You get on the right panel and you have can have a lively conversation that everyone enjoys, is lighthearted, raises excellent questions, and becomes something people want to see again and again each year.  It was an excellent conversation topic that I hope comes back around for next year. 

The rest of our evening was spent checking out the gaming hall in "Amerimart" Building 1.  We crashed there with our own gear after we ate dinner in Peachtree to play cards all evening.  We come equipped for gaming; we even have our own gaming suitcase.  No joke.  So we brought with us that night several Magic decks, Firefly Tall Card, and We Didn't Playtest This At All.  Now, you all saw the CoolStuffInc bags all around Con this year?  Well there is a reason.  They are freaking awesome.  We saw someone in the Dr. Horrible line with a copy of the best card game ever:  Sushi Go!  They had bought it from the CoolStuffInc booth, so my lovely husband snagged one on Saturday.  This was one of the many games we dove into Saturday night.  My stinking teenager has turned out to be a Sushi Go! master and spent Saturday beating the crap out of us.  She just sucks. 

I had planned as the evening neared 10 to leave and help out at Phantom's legendary Dirty Dirty Con Con Game Game Show Show, however a massive Cosplay malfunction befell my teen.  Her gender bend Jack Frost was fantastic... except that her sandals broke.  Letting my child walk the streets of Atlanta in bare feet?  Heck no.  So the evening was spent going in search of gaffers tape from any DC store that had some to spare (volunteering there has its perks) so that could repair the show at least temporarily until we could get back to the apartment.  You can't win em' all I guess.

Sunday was a day of hurry up and wait.  We got to the Con Suite early for breakfast, grabbed it and ran to get in line for the Firefely Guests panel.  We're a family of dedicated Browncoats; my teen even had a Firefly themed birthday party complete with Simon's crappy birthday cake.  So getting to sit in on Summer, Adam, and Sean made my normally peppy kid even peppier (is that a word?)  Time afterwards was spent with card playing and eating in the Con Suite, killing time and people watching a bit.  That went on until 3 when we went to the Westin to try out a new multi-player Star Trek based game available on Steam called Artemis.  My gosh....I think I fell in love with a computer simulator.  Six stations are set up where each person takes on a different role from the ship; Helm, Captain, Engineering, etc.  Everyone works together to pilot the ship and work together to complete a mission.  It.  Was.  Awesome.  I highly encourage everyone to buy it and give it a go.  It was the best gaming experience I have had in ages.  My teen isn't even a Star Trek fan, but she was begging to sign up for the next available slot to play again.  Freaking epic!

We left out Star Trek high to join in on some Gothic doom-and-gloom frivolity.  Going to Voltaire's Gothic Homemaking web show panel was a Con highlight.  The husband and I have always LOVED Voltaire.  He is a staple in our family, but our daughter never really understood why until this panel.  Our little Gothic teen now has a new Goth hero.  His web show is fantastic and will be a cult fanaticism.  

While the husband went to a 3D Printing panel, the teen, myself, and a good friend of ours went to the Whendonverse track for Whedonverse Family Feud.  Questions about anything and everything Joss did were asked...and they got hard.  I wound up in the first game and wow, I'll be darned if my team  didn't win the first round.  I scored a card that gave immediate access to the next Guest panel out of the deal, which I gave to our friend to get in to the S.H.I.E.L.D panel later.  I love the gaming panels.  They inspire audience involvement and are always lively.  And honestly the Whedonverse Track knows how to get their audiences involved and interested, laughing and just feeling like part of the group rather than people that are just listening.

Our evening ended sadly with a search for a lost tablet- which luckily we found- but it took us away from the Dr Who part that we had planned to hit after Family Feud.  But that was alright as we made up for it by seeing the Doctor's Wife the next morning when we met Alex Kingston.  Her panel was our first hit Monday morning and she was so personable.  Threw in her own discussions toward the crowd, was so animated, and wasn't shy about any questions.  As wonderful as the characters she plays.  This was really the only panel we saw on Monday as the rest of the day was spent with catching more pics, Con Suite, snagging more time for cards, and getting last minute shopping in (such as nailing down time at the Cruxshadows booth.)  The hubby and I had to report for volunteer work to take down the DC stores so time was winding down.  But as you can read from the many pages I have gathered up here, the time we spent was far from productive.

This Con isn't the type of place you go to for lounging by the pool to relax.  It's a different kind of relaxing that energizes you.  You learn new things, meet new people, get tons of exercise from all the walking, experience so many wonderful sensations and even new skills that will cause you to actually walk away learning new things about yourself.  Twelve years of DragonCon and it has ceased to get old.  I don't think that it ever will.  

Christina Sizemore is trained in only four things:  writing, fighting, paranormal investigating, and being a mom.  At this point in her life she truly feels that she is not qualified to attempt to learn any new field.  A twenty year martial artist, mother of three, and writer who is working on the publication of her first book titled “Finding Your Way: A Guide To Your Path In The Martial Arts,” she spends her days working out, writing, making fanvids, going to DragonCon, and playing board games/video games/out in the yard with her kids and husband who are just as geeky as she is.  She is convinced that one day her skills will be of assistance in the Zombie Apocalypse and that while she is of no use in the kitchen, she can Buffy that zombie for ya or teach you the best way to get the blood stains out of your clothes (Psst…the secret is mixing Crown Cleaner and Shout.  Just sayin’.)

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