• DragonCon 2012

Sep
5

After being on a sabbatical from DragonCon for a few years, Crystal and I were able attend this year!  DragonCon is my favorite convention in our area as it incorporates so many of my favorite subject areas, from programing to science fiction to costuming, while also involving a plethora of new people.  Beyond the huge variety of panels & people to interact with, DragonCon has a certain kind of raw edge that is both sincere and a little unsettling.  It makes for a great time to cut loose, celebrate some of the weirder aspects of your life, and have an all-around good time!

Around Dragon Con

The fact of the matter is that a person really has no way to do everything at a single Dragon Con.  As such, you have to pick-n-choose your battles and deal with the fact that you will have collisions.  I am always surprised by what I end up attending each year as it is never quite what I planned or expected.  For this year, the general theme of my con experience would be people watching, the gaming room, & attending various panels.

People watching at D*C is the best experience.  In addition to seeing some damn creative costumes, its always a pleasure to share the joy of some bit of nostalgia with a complete stranger.  You hear yourself shouting:  “Holy crap!  Its Captain N!  Hey, Kevinikus” or “No way!  That’s a Tron / Kingdom Hearts crossover!?!?  Fight for the users, Sora!“   Cons are as much about meeting new people and sharing ideas than anything else.  As such, I like to spend as much time as possible getting to know people and, in this case, what inspired their costumes.

Here are a few of the costumes that really nailed some of my favorite characters. 

DSC_0350

DSC_0317

DSC_0390 DSC_0399

DSC_0364

DSC_0375

DSC_0353

DSC_0393

The Gaming track of D*C is one that I had not participated in before.  Although I love the thought of gaming all weekend, its hard to justify spending time on an activity that you can do at your own home.  This year was an exception for me due to the fact that I was up late/early (Tristan decided that he was done sleeping at 4AM) and because the gaming rooms were in my hotel.  Between hanging out w/ the DnD players, playing several games of Werewolf, & soaking in a MtG tournament, I kept finding myself going back to the gaming room as much as possible.  It was a blast. 

Finally, I did catch some pretty great panels this year.  Of the ones I caught, the best on was the Sword and Laser Live panel featuring Tom Merrit and Veronica Belmont.  If you are not familiar w/ the S&L, the are an excellent Sci Fi & Fantasy book club.  In addition to covering some awesome books, they try to interview each books’ author.  For D*C, they were able to interview R.A. Salvatore.  They did a great job in keeping the session light but meaningful, switching between writer’s tips, making up for a wookie’s death by killing Jar Jar, and telling how the Drizzt story got its beginning.  Of course, the show was recorded, so please do check it out! 

Also, this happened while I was waiting in line:

DSC_0361

BAM! :)

Walk of Fame

Every year, D*C attracts quite a few guest celebrities.  In addition to attending panels and being open for questions, many of the celebrities are completely approachable, down to earth, and a pleasure to speak with.  For me, personally, this was evident as I was walking getting a signature from the cast of The Guild.  At the time, I had Kitara with me and she was not in the best of moods.  Rather than just signing a photo and rushing the man w/ the cranky infant on their way, just about every cast member took time to try to cheer her up.  Between funny faces from  Jeff Lewis & Sandeep Parikh, the free prints from Amy Okuda, and kind words from Felicia Day & Robin Thorsen , Kitara left a happy toddler.  That is awesome. 

Also, Crystal and I were able to get a few pictures w/ our favorite guests:

IMG_5954 IMG_4548
DSC_0334 IMG_6018

To all the celebrity guests at D*C (who will never read this blog post), thank you for being so kind and approachable.  In particular, The Guild cast (Felicia, Vincent, Jeff, Amy, Sandeep, & Robin), Sam Trammell,  Colin Ferguson, & Veronica Belmont – you all were so kind to your fans.  Thanks!

The Masquerade

This year’s trip was a little different than previous ones due to the fact that we now had Kitara and Tristan as part of our family.  As a way to balance the kid-friendly and adult-friendly aspects of the con, my parents graciously agreed to watch them for the 1st half and then bring down the kiddos to join us for the 2nd half.  This was VERY exciting due to the fact that Kitara was just old enough to participate in the Masquerade. 

As appropriately geeky parents, we wracked our brains over what to dress her as and finally came up w/ a version of a Dalek dress.  Of course, we also decided to do this think “the right way” and create the dress from scratch, starting only w/ fabric, thread, and a sewing machine bought from Amazon reward points. 

Needless to say, the making of the dress was painful but rewarding.  In fact, I found that I appreciated the mathematical aspects of the dress design quite a bit.  Honestly, it is much like wood-working  or even construction – which I did not expect.  I hope that Crystal and I can continue to dabble in this and use it as a tool to help Kitara learn practical applications of general math, geometry, etc.  It was a fun way to be creative.

Here’s the dress in process (its quite a bit harder than it looks):

DSC_0225 DSC_0228
IMG_20120828_164918 IMG_20120828_222806

With the dress created, we packed it to D*C and signed Kitara up.  I will not belabor the details, but I would be remiss not to point out the amazing staff that works so diligently to make the Masquerade happen.  From signup to the end of the show, they were 100% engaged and worked to make sure that we had everything that we needed.  In particular, Lee, the man who was working w/ the children and toddlers division, was both on task but amazingly kind toward the children.   Thank you, Lee!  In fact, thank you to everyone who helped make that even possible.

Long story short, Kitara was able to participate in her first Masquerade and she did wonderfully.  Typically, when presented w/ a new thing, Kitara can be a bit timid and shy until you ease her into it.  However, when it comes to stages, she goes all-out.  When we set her loose on the stage, she launched in to jumping and running to the other side.  Much to my amazement, she giggled and laughed the entire way and then ran back across for another turn.  I was a proud father and it was a pleasure to hear so many people take delight in her antics.  After her performance, she was awarded as the best in the toddler division!

DSC_0391 KitaraAward

Due to the pace of the evening, Crystal and I didn’t get to take any pictures of Kitara during the time of the show.  Thankfully, there were tons of photographers around there at the time and I hope that I can track some of those down. 

UPDATE:  The Daily Dragon did a write up of the event and had a small mention of Kitara:

This year each of the children’s entries were both wonderfully costumed and…  …uniquely talented.  The large Adipose from Doctor Who, the little girl in the Dalek Dress, and Kid Cyber and the Easy Bot were among the more memorable of the children’s entries.  via the Daily Dragon.

Other Highlights

So, this post is already running overly large, so I’ll condense all the other highlights in typical list fashion.  Some of my DragonCon 2012 highlights include:

  • Watching Grant Imahara speak to Kitara on stage.
  • Being caught in a elevator w/ John Rhys-Davies .
  • Watching my mother get excited about the DragonCon panels she was planning to attend (and watching Dad roll his eyes).
  • Catching up w/ friends!  (Dylan, Henry, & Devon – Sorry for not catching up more) 
  • Bumping into Lee Arenberg at a red light.
  • Breezing past Alice Cooper in the hallways.
  • Having every female within 10,000 miles stop me to see & play w/ Tristan.  :)
  • Watching Crystal swap parenting tips & stories w/ Sam Trammel.
  • Listening to a 2AM drunken Karaoke version of Purple Rain. 
  • Catching up on some incredible indie horror films!

I consider this my best DragonCon to date and I look forward to not only going next year, but also including Kitara & Tristan in the fun as they get a older.  I am already counting the days to D*C 2013!

 Tristan