Dragon*Con 2011 – Saturday

Ah, Saturday. Or, as I like to call it…THE DAY OF AWESOMENESS!

Our day started pretty early – 7am rise and shine to get showered and start preparing for the parade. There had been a big delay in getting the parade ribbons. They hadn’t been delivered when they were supposed to be, and we ended up getting them at the last minute. In fact, I can’t actually remember whether we got them late the night before, or early the day of the parade. I’m sure Maggie remembers. We grabbed breakfast at the Starbucks in the bottom of our hotel (we were staying in the Westin!) and then started the trek to Woodruff Park, where the staging area for the parade would take place. And where I learned there was a serious dearth of public restrooms. And few businesses open on a Saturday morning.

Pre-parade lesson learned: Potty before you go, or plan to get a citation somewhere along the way for public urination. No, I did not receive a citation.

We had a pretty good place to watch all the craziness. We were, unfortunately, not situated near the troop of Spartans from 300. I think the parade planners might have been on to me. While we stood around, waiting for things to begin, we managed to score some Red Bulls. Quite honestly, it’s not something I’ve ever had before. I got the sugar-free kind. It sorta tastes like Pez.

Maggie and I, dressed in the fashion of Bob and Carl: Sci-Fi Janitors, were going to be amongst the last folks to walk in the parade. Heather would be joining us, dressed as a dragon convict. Get it? Dragon Con? Mwahahaha. At one point during our wait, some weird mad scientist guy came to interview us for his show. He asked me what my favorite kind of trash was to clean up. I said “political.”

Over the course of the next hour, we were joined by two pairs of Bob and Carl. One group had “dress” suits like us, the others had actual biohazard cleanup suits. Just so you know…that fabric doesn’t breathe. That’s kind of the point. Both pairs were wearing real gas masks. I don’t know how they made it through the entire parade route with them on. It was entirely too hot. Even with my cardboard mask, I was dying.

We all cleaned the entire time. And interacted with folks along the route. Occasionally we’d clean each other. I realize how wrong that sounds. Get your mind out of the gutter. We learned later that we – the Sci-Fi Janitors group – were featured on CNN’s website! Huzzah!

There was a group of protesters following behind us for a little while, but they must have lost their interest when we didn’t get our hackles up. i thought it was interesting that they were protesting our parade, calling us out for sci-fi and fantasy fandom, when we had a pretty nice group marching in the Dragon*Con parade under the flag “Fans for Christ.”

The end of the parade was a little bit of a cluster****. People kept walking right in front of us, despite the best efforts of the parade volunteers to keep everyone back. There’s supposed to be free water for parade participants at the end, and there wasn’t. All the folks who were sitting by the outside of the Marriot and the Hilton were getting up and going into the hotel whil those of us who were in the parade were still trying to file into the loading dock.

The three of us ended up heading over to the Hilton, to try to find the Bob and Carl panel. By the time we found the room, there was a sign on the poster that said it was full. We stood outside the room for about 10 minutes, trying to decide what to see next. We’d just figured on getting lunch when I turned to Maggie and said “I kinda just want to pop my head in there and must look at the crowd.”

So I did.

There was about a two second pause between the time I opened the door (and people turned to see who was trying to squeeze into the room) and when the room erupted in cheers. Matt and Beau – the creators of Bob & Carl – were standing on a small stage, speaking to the audience. They saw us and started waving us to the front of the room, saying “Come up here! Come up here!” I started to shake Beau’s hand, but he said, “No, we’ve got to hug.” So we got hugs from Matt and Beau! Matt, at one point, said “I’m trying so hard not to cry.”

We weren’t originally intending to stay in the room – when I say it was packed, I mean it was PACKED! – but Matt and Beau made room for us on the edge of the stage and told us they were going to work us into the live show. That’s right, folks…Maggie and I got to make an appearance in a Bob & Carl sketch. After they posed for some pictures with us and the puppets, all together.

We went down to their booth later, to ask them to autograph our brooms. We got free buttons! We grabbed some lunch from the Marriott convenience store (best salads EVER!) and headed over to a quiet corner to sit down. While there, Maggie and I made the mistake of pulling off our galoshes. Ewwww….calf-high rubber boots in the middle of sweltering Atlanta do not make for a good time. Instead, they make for soggy socks.

By that point, we were a bit warm and ready for a costume change. The previous night, Maggie had received an invitation to a “Meet the winners of the Costume Contest” panel, so we headed back to the Westin so she could grab her stuff. Since we were planning a quick meetup with other Labyrinth-costumed people later that night, I went ahead and grabbed my WiseMan costume bits. It’s a bit of a hike from the Westin, especially while carrying a whole bunch of Goblin Knight and Wise Man bits, so we barely arrived in time for the end of the panel. Maggie talked about her stuff briefly and, as the panel audience broke up, the two puppetry-related judges invited her to come along to a puppetry panel the next morning.

Maggie and I posed for photos on several floors of the Marriott for about two hours before Maggie had finally had enough of being in the Goblin Knight costume. She headed back to the hotel to change into her Silent Hill nurse costume once more. I hung around in the bottom of the Marriott, enjoying a brief respite from carrying around my giant (fake) head.

Usually, I don’t tend to get asked to stop and pose for many pictures. That changed a bit this time around. When Heather and Maggie showed back up (Heather in her Worm costume), we parked ourselves in a corner and waited for people to come to us. And come to us, they did. Much of my night was filled with variations on the following conversations:

Con-goer: Oh my god! Labyrinth! I love that movie! Can I get a picture with you?

Me: Sure. [poses for picture] Are you in a costume?

Con-goer: Uh. Yeah.

Me: You have to tell me what it is.

Con-goer: You can’t tell?

Me: I can’t see. Hold on a moment [lift up head and gasp for air, admiring their now visible costume] Ah. Cool.

Con-goer: Wait a minute…You can’t see out of that thing?! It must be really hot in there!

In all honesty, Icansee out of my Wise Man head. Just not very well. And only in a very small area in the front, right where the bottom of the stabilizers rest against my chest. Unfortunately, that means I can see things only if they’re about three feet tall and standing DIRECTLY in front of me, and most people I come across at Dragon*Con just don’t fall into those parameters. So there’s a lot of either standing around, talking to people without looking at them, or standing around, holding a giant costume head above my own head. Thankfully, I was able to rest part of the Wise Man head on my own in such a way from time to time that I could talk with folks face-to-face, without all the blood and feeling draining from my arms.

Now, I’m going to say, right off the bat, that I don’t get hit on a whole lot at conventions. That I know of. I mean, I’m kind of oblivious, quite honestly, so I could be wrong, but I don’t think I am. Maggie’s usually the one with people following her around. That being said…I did actually get hit on while wearing this costume. I don’t know what was up with people that night, but it certainly made for an interesting evening.

I also had a LOT of fascinating conversations with people. Most folks would ask the usual questions: How long did it take to make the Wise Man? What was it made out of? Is it really heavy? Is it hot? Does the bird talk? Is it stimulating being your own hat? (extra points to you if you get that last reference) Since I love costumes, I am only too happy to talk to people about their construction. Everyone was surprised with how light the head actually is. By this point in time, I know…make your head light, so you don’t get light-headed.

The head wasn’t actually all that uncomfortable that evening. When Maggie went back to the hotel to change, she unclipped the portable fan from the inside of her Goblin knight helmet and brought it along for me. So I effectively had air conditioning in my costume. If I’d had a little water bottle, of the type you use for gerbils and the like, and a ledge for a book, I’d have been perfectly entertained inside that head.

Every time I came across someone who was a big fan of the Wise Man, I’d take off the head, reach my arm inside, and operate the bird puppet while doing the voice. There’s even video somewhere of me doing that. I’m sure it’s on youtube somewhere, but I haven’t found it yet.

Random conversation that evening:

Heather: [looking at large canister of Ghostbusters ooze] I wonder what it’s made of.

Maggie: Strawberry pasties

Me: No, I don’t think that’s what it’s made of.

Apparently, while cutting through the elevator corridors at the Marriott, Maggie says I happened past Temuera Morrison. I didn’t see him – didn’t even know he was at the convention – and couldn’t hear her when she tried to get my attention, which is unfortunate, as she says he was intrigued by my giant costume head.

We ran in to Jenn (Sweet Bee from the previous year) during our evening. Since she’s a follower of the blog, she knew I’d used coffee to distress the Wise Man robe. Instead of a typical greeting, she wandered up, leaned over to put her nose against my costume and took a good long whiff, declaring that I didn’t smell too strongly of coffee. I was relieved.

Eventually, we found ourselves in the bottom of the Marriott again. I’d confiscated a chair and was quite comfortable. While relaxing (with my head off) I spotted a dead-on Wilfred cosplayer. He even had the stuffed dog. He came over for a picture, as did some folks dressed as the Snowths from the infamous “Mahna Mahna” sketch from The Muppet Show, and a couple who were dressed as contestants fromLegends of the Hidden Temple. AH! Childhood flashbacks!

At this point, Heather had gone outside to smoke and we were just about ready to pack it up. Originally, we were going to leave out the back of the Marriott and trek all the way back uphill to the Westin, but then I suggested we take the shortcut through the Peachtree Center mall, so there was less hill for me to wander up while carrying a giant head, with my robe trailing behind me. While we waited for Heather to come back in, I went ahead and put my head back on. Folks were still wandering past, taking pictures, and I didn’t need to see Maggie to talk to her. While I sat there, on the edge of napping (yes, sometimes I nap inside my face-shielding costumes) I heard Maggie say “I think she’d appreciate it if you took a picture with her.” Knowing she wasn’t speaking to me, I lifted my head to see who she was talking to…

and saw Steve Gonsalves from Ghost Hunters.

He had been trying to get a picture of me on his iPhone. Maggie went ahead and took a picture for him with his camera, and one for me with mine (a big “Thank You” to Robert, by the way, who made it possible for us to take pictures of the con this year without dragging around tons of heavy camera equipment!). He wandered off, and Heather returned a few moments later, very upset to learn that she’d just missed him.

NGB Costume Awards (Saturday)

Most Original: Nintendo Cowboy

Most Creative Use of Material: rake wings

Best Random Find: Wilfred (he was also Maggie’s pick for “Most Disturbing) and Death from Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey

Best Harry Potter: Luna Lovegood with Lion Head

Best Group (tie): Three Amigos (they even sang the song!) and the Male Princesses

Funniest: Keyboard Cat

Best Childhood Moment: Inspector Gadget

Best Stormtrooper: Bunny

Best Superhero: The Tick

Creepiest: 3-headed Clown (this was a Maggie and Heather pick. I never saw him)

Best Board Game: Candy Land

Best Star Wars: Jawa

Doctor Who: Cat Nurse

Dragon*Con 2010 Con Report #5 – Monday

And here we are, at long last, at the final con report for Dragon*Con 2010. Honestly, at this point my main goal was just to finish this up before the new year hit. I think I would’ve cried if I were still writing these in January. I’ve wanted to write about all sorts of other stuff before now, but felt like I owed it to everyone to finish the task I set out for myself first. Once this is over, though…there’s all kinds of other fun stuffs on the horizon!

So, let’s get this over with, shall we?

Monday.

By this point in our excursion to Dragon*Con, the three of us were pretty tuckered out. If you’re wondering why, just go back and peruse a bit of the reports for the previous days. We had been running and running and doing a little bit of sitting, and then ran around some more.

Monday, therefore, was going to be a bit more low-key. There weren’t a whole lot of panels going on, most of the amazing, gasp-inducing costumes would’ve been packed up already, and the normally crowded halls and open spaces of the three four host hotels would be almost abandoned.

I do wish more people dressed in costume on the last day of the con. Granted, it’s basically a half-day and most people are barely holding onto consciousness at that point, but part of me kind of feels like saying “You’ve committed whole-heartedly thus far…why not go out with a bang?” For that reason – well, and also because Maggie and I jump at ANY opportunity to wear our costumes about in public – the three of us had picked out costumes for the final day of Dragon*Con.

Maggie trotted her Gabriel costume out again. I do believe it’s got the distinction of being the first costume she made entirely on her own. I’m always impressed by the chaps. She didn’t have a pattern. She just made it up on the spot, using a bit of spare fabric she had sitting around. If I remember correctly (which, at this point, is highly unlikely) she barely had enough.

I had managed to complete my much-desired Popple costume in time for Dragon*Con. I’d actually had the idea to make one at last year’s convention, and it took a full year of fussing about with fabric to finally pull the thing together. It went through a number of changes, and I’m still not 100% happy with the whole look. I think I’m going to scrap what I’ve got and start afresh later, but that’s not what this post is about. Suffice it to say, I had a Popple costume for Monday’s Dragon*Con.

And then there was Heather.

In the months leading up to Dragon*Con, Heather had been brainstorming a bunch of different costume ideas. I was impressed with the ones she decided to go with. Not only were they pretty easy to pull together, they were all going to be easily identifiable by fellow con-goers and would be comfortable to wear for an entire day. Her final costume idea, however, was my absolute favorite.

It was, quite honestly, one of the most brilliant and original ideas I’ve heard someone come up with.

Ladies and gentlemen, on the final day of Dragon*Con 2010, my sister chose to go as Wilson.

The Volleyball.

From “Cast Away.”

Yes, that movie with Tom Hanks stuck on an island.

Yes. She went as the volleyball.

I want you to sit there and imagine, for a moment, how someone might approach that sort of costume. Would she build a giant contraption that would sit around her, and paint it to look like a volleyball? Would she wear a shirt with Wilson’s “face” printed on it?

Now that you’ve thought about the possible approaches to said costume, I’ll show you what she went with.

Love it, love it, LOVE IT!

Originally, her plan was to carry around a bunch of the items Chuck Nolan has with him on the island – an ice skate, the pocket watch, maybe some loops of video tape. In the end, we were only able to get the FedEx box. We all felt it was imperative that Heather have it, just to make it more obvious what/who she was supposed to be.

Maggie had painted the wing insignia on the box before we had left Northern Virginia. We were worried about the paint flaking off, and I suggest covering it with clear packing tape. I figured it would blend in, since it was a package. The box made the trip to Atlanta nicely, stowed in our makeshift overhead compartment in the Green Man, along with Kowl’s ears, Ripley’s gun and Gabriel’s wings. When we piled out of the car on Monday morning, we went ahead and popped the box open into it’s “ready to be mailed” shape.

Heather’s costume was a nice little group project on Monday morning. Heather handled the clothing part and Maggie did the hair while I got my stuff together. Then, we switched and I did Heather’s makeup. I think we did pretty well, considering I was going off a tiny little picture of Wilson that Maggie had pulled up on her phone.

Obviously, we had gotten a few weird looks when we left the hotel that morning. That was to be expected. Not as many as we got when we disembarked at Dragon*Con. While Maggie went off to pay for the parking, I unloaded my Popple costume and got dressed for the day. Once again, I found myself standing in the warm Atlanta weather dressed in what basically amounts to footie pajamas.

Oh…at this point I’d like to take the time out to say “Thank goodness for crocs.” Now, I’m not the sort of person who bought into the whole Croc phenomenon when it first took hold. I didn’t run out and buy a pair and wear them to work, school, the doctor’s office, etc. I’m quite happy with my tennis shoes, quite honestly. However, I have since come to the conclusion that Crocs (and similar, non-brand-name versions) can be counted amongst a costumer’s convenient supplies. I built my Kowl feet around a pair of Croc-like shoes this year. I had used a similar pair of shoes for the basis of my Po feet a few years ago (I had to be creative when making giant panda feet). I knew I was going to need to wear footie covers over whatever pair of shoes I was going to wear while in my Popple costume, but I didn’t want to have to worry about laces and pulling the covers on and off the shoes. I wanted something cheap to slip inside the Popple foot covers, that I could then slip onto my own feet. Crocs were the answer.

The Popple costume wasn’t actually completely finished. Orginally, I’d wanted to make a little nose-and-fuzzy-cheek addition that would cover part of my face. I decided to put it on hold for this year, and focus on finishing the myriad of other small tasks on my list leading up to the con.

I still needed a weird nose, though. My human nose just wouldn’t work for the Popple. So I brought along my little foam clown nose. (Just to clarify…when I clown, I don’t actually wear a clown nose. I paint my red nose on)

Between the red clown nose, the multi-colored tail dangling from my butt and the feathery mop of “hair” on my head, I made quite a sight walking into the Marriot that morning. Though, to be fair, I’m not entirely sure whether people were staring at me or my sister. Regardless, we walked through Atlanta’s streets and entered the Marriot in search of that day’s breakfast.

For once, the line at Starbucks wasn’t ridiculously long. We quickly made it up to the counter, where a young man was taking the orders of the people in line. When I got up to the register, I encountered one of the major drawbacks of my popple costume…I have an opposable thumb, but no fingers. Let me tell you, folks, it’s damn hard trying to fumble your money out of your wallet when you have mitten hands. I ended up having to ask Maggie to help.

The woman who rang me up took one look at me and broke into a huge grin. She asked if I would mind stopping for a picture. I told her I was fine and waited while she pulled her camera out of her apron. I’m pretty sure she had prepared for her shift that day, knowing full well that she was going to see people in weird costumes at her register.

By the way, she had no idea whatsoever what I was. She just thought my costume was cute.

Drinks and pastries in hand – or, in my case, paw – Heather, Maggie and I

Even obscure toys from your childhood have to eat.

 confiscated one of the small tables set near the railing, over-looking the lower level. I had to take my nose off to eat, but did my best to keep my paws on and crumb-free. At one point, a man with a GIANT camera wandered over to us and asked Heather if he could take a picture of her. She said of course. We asked if he knew what she was. He said “No,” at first, but then took a closer look at her face and what she was carrying, and realized she was Wilson. I think he might’ve taken a picture of me, too, and of course didn’t know what I was, but I’m not 100% sure. Parts of Monday are hazy.

After breakfast, the three of us headed to our first panel of the day, “Disasters in Costuming.” The description in our pocket program guide was as follows:

Mistakes they never saw coming: guests and audience alike talk about stuff that had hilariously disastrous results. Don’t try this stuff at home.

How could you read a description like that and NOT want to go to that panel? By this point in time, Maggie and I have had our own share of disasters in costuming. There was the time she got stuck inside her PPP Ron head because her hair got caught in her fan. There was the time Maggie’s homemade stilt feet for her Pan costume broke while she was walking around in the dark, next to the firepit! (Don’t worry, she didn’t catch fire) There was the time she wound up with bright blue hands while painting Heather’s Orko gloves.

Wait a minute…I’m starting to notice a trend here. Maggie’s had the more notable costuming “incidents.” I’ve had some, too, but I guess they’re not as memorable. Or maybe I’m just not remembering them at the moment.

At any rate, we were both interested in going to the panel and learning from the mistakes of the experts. Heather wasn’t originally going to accompany us, but she ended up following along. I want to take a moment now to tell you that, immediately following the panel, she said “That was great! I’m glad I came.” See, Heather? We pick interesting panels.

Anyhoo…the three of us walked into the room and paused slightly. Normally, the doors of the rooms for panels let you in to the back of the room. Chairs are normally arranged facing away from the main doors, with the table that the panel members sit at being furthest from the entrance. This way, if you’re a little late for a panel, you won’t be as disruptive.

This was not the case with this particular panel. The door opened into the front of the room, so the three of us had to walk in and pass rows of people already in their chairs and waiting for the discussion to begin. Of course, this meant that people got a nice, long look at my costume. As I walked down the aisle towards some free seats in the back, a gentleman sitting at about the halfway point of the room leaned forward and asked “Are you a Popple?”

I grinned, said “I am, indeed, sir,” and gave him a high-five for knowing what

Petting my tail

 I was.

“Can I get a picture of you, please? My wife’s a big Popple fan. She’s going to be kicking herself that she missed you.”

I stopped mid-aisle and posed for his camera, and noticed a few more people stepping forward to take pictures. Apparently, once someone pointed it out, other people could recognize what I was. It helped, I’m sure, that most of the crowd assembled in the room was my age or a little older, so they knew what a Popple was in the first place.

There was one young woman, in particular, who was excited to see my costume. She asked “Do you have a pouch?” I responded by turning around and showing her, and then proceeded (with Maggie’s assistance) to unzip the sides and bring what I could of the pouch around to the front. It doesn’t really work the way I want it to, and that’s one of the things I want to change for the Popple 2.0 costume.

The panel started soon after we took our seats, and proved to be one of my favorite panels, ever. There were tips, tricks, and “PLEASE make sure you aren’t this stupid” stories galore. As the program guide promised, the panel members weren’t the only ones providing anecdotes and advise. I absolutely love hearing fellow costumers talk about their work – about what worked and what didn’t.

Heather separated from us for a while after that. She went to the final Ghost Hunters panel of the weekend and headed over to meet Amy and Steve at the Walk of Fame afterwards. She was positively giddy with excitement when she met back up with us later.

“I got to shake Steve’s hand!” she grinned. Apparently, the joy at meeting the Ghost Hunters drove her original question from her head and she had to quickly substitute another…which she couldn’t even remember when I asked her. She did remember, however, that Steve couldn’t look her in the face when he met her. He kept looking away, trying not to laugh at the fact that she looked like Wilson the volleyball.

The other major thing we did on Monday was attend “Dragon*Con’s Got Talent,” the convention’s brand-new talent competition.

I am at odds about what to think about “Dragon*Con’s Got Talent.” I think, in some ways, the judges were a bit mean. There was one judge, in particular, who should probably thank his lucky stars that he wasn’t set on fire by the audience for banging the trash can lid gong in the middle of a pretty good act. He was just a pompous act, and I honestly have no idea what qualified him to be a judge of talent, other than the fact that he said he would do it. The other two judges were much more pleasant and fair about their dealings with the people who had entered the contest.

Now, as with any kind of talent competition, there were some entrants who were, shall we say, less than blessed as far as their so-called talents went. Some folks sang who really shouldn’t have sung. Some folks came out and tried comedy and found that the phrase “Comedy is hard” is entirely too true. There were some folks who just plain confused me.

Nestled in amongst some of the atrocious crap acts were some absolute gems. There was the guy who came out and performed a classical guitar piece, and nearly brought the audience to tears. There was the guy (the final performer) who sang “Anthem,” from the musical Chess. His voice gave me goosebumps – and he played along with the emcee’s goofy antics in the middle of her performance. And there was the young woman who came out in a full Diva Plava LaGuna costume and sang “Il dolce suono,” the operatic half of the Diva’s song from the movie. Technically, the song is from Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor. When asked why she didn’t sing the second part, she quipped “Because you guys gave me a time limit.”

I’ve actually got video from my phone of the woman’s performance, but it didn’t transfer over when I got the new phone, so I need to find another way to post it for you all to listen to. In the meantime, here’s the song from the movie (full song, but with weird arrangement of clips).

She ended up winning the grand prize, by the way. She was well-deserving of the win, too. Everytime I think of Monday I just remember Maggie leaning over to me and excitedly whispering “I think someone’s going to sing the Diva’s song from Fifth Element. I just saw someone in a lot of blue.”

The inside of "The Eggbeater Hotel," as Maggie & I call it.As we left the talent competition, we decided to call it a day, grab some snacks and drinks from the Marriot’s convenience store and start heading home to good ol’ Northern Virginia. A quick trip to the bathroom was also in order.

Of course, when you’re wearing giant blue footie pajamas with a weighted tail that could possibly get caught in a toilet, and the zipper of your costume is behind a giant patch of fleece that is held up by velcro that sticks to your fuzzy Popple paws, a “quick trip to the bathroom” doesn’t really exist. While Maggie waited for me, about four different people came up to her just to say she looked awesome. One of those four people was a really shy, geeky guy who shuffled up, said “You look gorgeous,” and shuffled off again. I think that’s my favorite moment from Monday, and I wasn’t even there for it.

On our way out, we passed a table for one of the musical acts that had performed at Dragon*Con. One of the women stopped Maggie and asked if she could have her husband take a bunch of detail photos of her costume. She told us that she has been wanting to make a Gabriel costume for the longest time, but that she hasn’t been able to find any good shots of it on the internet. Maggie’d had the very same problem herself, back when she was making the costume, and she readily agreed to pose for some shots and give the woman some tips.

While Heather and I waited for Maggie, another young woman came up to me and asked “Are you a Popple?” She took some pictures of me, as well, and I left the convention feeling as though I’d accomplished something. People actually knew what I was! That doesn’t always happen when I’m in costume at a con.

As I’ve mentioned, there weren’t a whole lot of costumes being worn about the halls on Monday. For that reason, I don’t really have many NGB costume winners today.

Best: Diva Plava LaGuna

Most Dedicated: Stormtrooper – In case you’re wondering, it’s because it takes some manuevering to get into these costumes, and I’m impressed someone had the dedication to go to that trouble for a half-day at an almost empty convention.

Most In Character: Some sort of demon-thingy that snorted at Maggie when she walked past it.

Most Random: Golden Batman

In the aftermath of this year’s Dragon*Con, I’ve realized a number of things:

  1. There’s nothing that makes me squeal louder and revert back to being a child faster than a remote-control robot.
  2. I need to assign people in my group as “official note-taker” on days when I’m wearing a costume with mitten paws or gloves with only three fingers.
  3. I am entirely too easily amused by Star Wars-influenced pick-up lines.
  4. I need a smaller digital camera, capable of taking both still photos and video.
  5. I need to add pockets to the inside of the damn Popple belly patch.
  6. Velcro and fleece/terry cloth make life entirely too challenging.

Dragon*Con 2009 Report #7 – Fourth Day and travel

The morning of the fourth day started a little slower than the others. I blame being awake and in costume until 1:34am the night before…er, that morning, rather. It also started with a wonderful present from the Buckhead Hotel – loud pile-driver equipment smashing holes in concrete somewhere outside our side of the hotel. Who needs an alarm clock when you’ve got a front row seat for construction?

I had packed up most of my stuff the night before, despite it being really late when we got back to the hotel, so I went to get the luggage cart from downstairs while Maggie finished packing up the stuff in the bathroom. I just want to say right now…thank goodness for luggage carts! It would have taken us an hour and about three trips each to get everything downstairs and out to the car otherwise.

Since we were going to be leaving straight from the convention to come home Maggie and I both chose costumes that would be comfy and were easy to move around in. She wore her Gabriel costume (from Constantine), sans wings, and I wore my Molly Weasley costume. The newly reconstructed sleeves were much lighter and were a more manageable length. I need to make a lining for the body of the sweater, though. The body of the sweater stretches a little too much and really needs to be tacked onto a stable lining. Without it the sleeves are still heavy enough to stretch it out.

We parked the car in a fairly empty lot (the fee was half what it had been for the rest of the weekend) and headed inside. The first order of business was finding coffee and breakfast. We wandered into the bottom floor of the Hilton in search of both. We hadn’t really been in the Hilton much over the course of the weekend and it was nice to explore a little more of it in the early hours of the last day. We happened across a little cafe-thingy on the bottom floor. There was a little convenience store type of set-up off to one side as well as a counter where you could order coffee and pastries. There was also a nice little seating area off to one side of the counter. We stowed our gear on one of the chairs and set down for a quick breakfast, looking over the schedule of panels and events.

I had my back to the coffee counter and the nearby line of patrons but Maggie had a pretty good view of everything and was doing a little bit of people watching. At one point I saw her face go into the “that’s someone famous” look I know so well by now. She caught my eye and started describing the guy she saw but she couldn’t place where she knew him from. The description was: skinny guy with gray hair and sunglasses. I casually scooted my seat back and glanced over to the line. The guy in question was standing up at the register, picking up his drink order. I’m pretty sure he saw me look but since I didn’t run up and beg for an autograph or otherwise bother him while he was going about his business. It didn’t take but a moment to recognize who the guy was.

Alan Ruck, of Ferris Bueller and Spin City fame. Pretty cool, just coming across people out in the hallways. That wasn’t the first one of the weekend, certainly. As I’ve already mentioned in earlier entries we also saw Brad Dourif (Wormtongue!), Jason Momoa (I don’t think I mentioned that one, actually), and Jason, Grant and Tango from Ghosthunters.

Breakfast finished, we wandered off to the Hyatt. We wanted to catch the final TAPS panel of the weekend and it had been moved to the same ballroom the Masquerade had been in. Now, anyone who’s been to a convention of a scale like Dragon*Con can tell you that waiting in the lines for panels tends to occupy a large bulk of your time. We had actually managed to get around that this time simply by not attending that many of the really large ones. The only big ones we had gone to were the two TAPS panels and one with the Stargate cast (both SG1 and Atlantis together). Well, and I waited in the Star Wars costume contest line, but I don’t think that counts. The cool thing about the panel on the fourth day was the line. Or rather, the lack of one.

It seems we weren’t the only ones feeling tired after an extended weekend spent up to our elbows in geek-centric fun. Everyone else we passed through the day, while still having fun and in a good mood, seemed to be one step away from being the walking dead. It looked like most people were actually clearing out on Monday, rather than squeezing a few last drops of play from the remaining panels and events. It worked to our advantage, though. When Maggie and I arrived at the Hyatt and found the appropriate ballroom we were allowed to go right in. The panel wouldn’t start for at least another 15 minutes but the staff didn’t need to bother enforcing lines.

We scoped out our seats – pretty close to the front, if not the actual front – and I made a quick run out to get some water. While I was wandering around in the Hyatt lobby I was stopped by an admiring costumer. She loved the sleeves. The Chamber of Secrets Molly Weasley costume is one that she’s been wanting to do for many years, she said, but she’s been put off a bit by the sweater. She knits and crochets but said she has never done something as complicated as the sleeves. She wanted to know what pattern we used.

If you’re interested in making your own, there are two routes you can go. There’s a pattern in a book called Charmed Knits, though – if you look at the picture – there seems to have been a slight problem with the drafting of the sleeve cap section of the sleeves. I don’t know enough about either method but I would venture that this problem might simply be the result of knitting the pattern in the book, instead of crocheting it. My sleeves are crocheted and I don’t have the same problem as the women in the picture. Of course, I’ve also got a slightly different pattern, so the argument might not be valid anyway. The other place you can get a pattern for the sleeves is from a knitter who has her own blog and Etsy shop. If I remember correctly, this is where we ultimately got the pattern from.

The woman knew about the Charmed Knits book. I think she even said she had a copy of it. I told her about the pattern that’s online, too, and told her that it works as a nice starting point but she’ll probably have to make some alterations to it. When Mom reworked the sleeves she just made stuff up as she went along. I’m not even sure she could tell anyone later what she did. The end result was fantastic though. The woman gave it a thumbs up – as well as the rest of the outfit.

Actually, a number of people mentioned that they liked the costume that day. We had passed by two guys sitting outside one of the hotels earlier that morning and one of them had said “You’ve got pretty colors. Bye pretty colors.” He might have been high but I’m counting that as a win nonetheless. Maggie just shakes her head when I wear the sweater. It’s definitely a costume choice that she would not make. She does concede that it makes me a bit easier to find in a crowd, though. All she has to do is ask people “Excuse me, did you see a girl come through here wearing a sweater that no one with working eyes would ever wear?”

**just want to go ahead and take a moment out here to send a shout-out Angelica’s way – she made the wand and the purse that I use when I wear the costume. Thanks!**

The wait for the TAPS panel was made pleasant by the handing out of assorted goodies. The woman who had done the introductions for the first panel was back again for the final one, with the notable addition of an eyepatch. Well, of gauze taped over her eye. It seems she had somehow managed to cut her cornea with her con badge (though she doesn’t know how). She hadn’t even bothered to go to the hospital yet. She said she was going directly there as soon as the panel was over.

Maggie ended up getting one of the free swag shirts that the lady was handing out. The woman started asking questions about trivia that had been revealed at the various TAPS panels that happened over the course of the weekend. One of the questions she asked was in regard to a story Jason and Grant had told about Tango, Steve and “Mothra.” Maggie’s hand was up before she even finished asking the question. 🙂

The panel itself was just as awesome as the first one had been. Dustin was once again the life of the panel. Maggie and I were impressed that he drank seven bottles of water by the end of the panel. That boy must have been dehydrated!

After the panel we wandered around again for a bit. We took another tour through the dealer’s room over in the Marriot – I got a pin that said “Who the hell would throw shit at a fan in the first place?” and Maggie bought her facehugger from Alien. We saw a t-shirt for Cthulu’s Clues that I kind of wish I had the money for. It depicted Blue with tentacles. Very cute, if a little creepy.

There wasn’t much else we wanted to do or see so we decided to cut out a bit earlier than expected. The trip back wasn’t all that eventful – other than lots of rain and me trying to change into pants and a t shirt while we drove down the interstate. Don’t worry, I wasn’t driving.

On the way down to Georgia we had spotted a roadside store selling peach cider, chutney, fruit and other assorted goods. We figured we’d hit it on the way back, when there was still daylight. We were both looking forward to it but weren’t all that impressed with the offerings in the end. I did, however, find evidence to support a theory I’ve had for many years…that pickles are evil. See? Even the shop agrees!

As I mentioned, the trip home wasn’t full of as many things as the trip down had been. I did see something interesting on the back of someone’s car. It made me chuckle when I saw it driving down the road. I suppose it’s better than writing “Wash Me” in the dust.

The notes for the fourth day of the con are woefully incomplete and jumbled. There are a few phrases here and there but it’s clear from the writing that my brain was still muddled by some con-generated cloud of ether. For instance, the page opposite the one detailing Day Four bears a scrawl that says “Real men wear capes.”

I would think that would go without saying so I’m not going to argue the point. I’m just curious as to the circumstances surrounding the point in time when I wrote it. Was it something I overheard? Something I read on a t-shirt? A thought I had while walking past a bunch of superheroes on the way to the car? No earthly idea.

I’ve also got a sketch accompanied by the note “pannier pockets – Awesome!” and a list of two

things to add to my “to be made” list: Popples and Garthim.

::sigh:: A costumer’s work is never done. Next entry should be the last one.

Oh, and Captain Picard seems to be saying “Who’s special? You’re special.”

Dragon*Con 2009 Report #1 – Travel to Atlanta and DragonCon Day 1

Maggie pulled up to my house around 9:30am on Thursday and we added all my gear to the stuff she had already loaded in the car. After everything was finally stashed in the car we headed off to Saxbys to grab some ice for the cooler, stock up on free pastries for the weekend, and start the day with some caffeine. We had just gotten on the road when I realized I hadn’t asked Maggie to grab the orange sweater I was borrowing from LeeAnn. I’d meant to call her before she left her house but quite obviously forgot. Since we had to head past the house anyway we stopped in real quick and I grabbed the sweater. Good thing. Can’t dress as Velma without an orange sweater.

The trip down was pretty uneventful, as our vacations tend to go. Usually when it’s just Maggie and I traveling somewhere together all kinds of interesting stuff happens. This trip was a bit different.
Of course, there were a few things that made us giggle along the way. The first was a sign for “Squirrel Level Road.” We both saw the sign and immediately had visions of bands of squirrels wearing tiny yellow hard hats and carrying little squirrel-sized levels, trying to make sure the road was level and getting squished in the process. I don’t know about Maggie but I was also picturing them in little reflective vests.

The second thing that happened along the way didn’t inspire giggles so much as a creepy feeling. Since we were traveling with the windows rolled down in lieu of having the AC on full blast, Maggie and I had tied our hair back with bandannas. Believe me, if I hadn’t done that my hair would’ve whipped me to death and I’d never be able to get a brush through it ever again. Anyway, there we were driving along and an older gent pulled up to the side of the car. And when I saw “older gent” I’m not talking about someone in their 30s or 40s. I mean someone who was probably mid-60s. And very definitely a biker. He kept trying to shout something and motioned back. I rolled down the window, thinking he was telling us that the tire was flat or something similar. Finally, I realized what he was saying. He pointed to the back of his bike and asked if I wanted to hop on.

Ew. Just ew. Ew ew ew. No thank you.

He just smiled and headed off when I shook my head.

We got to Atlanta without anything extremely strange happening. I believe we made the trip down in about 9 hours, whereas it’s supposed to take around 10 1/2. The hotel we had booked on Hotels.com was located a short drive from the host hotels. When we pulled off at our exit we ended up in kind of a swanky end of town. Many of the apartments and houses we passed were inside little gated communities. I had seen pictures of the hotel where we would be staying – the Buckhead Hotel – and it looked pretty nice. When we pulled up to it, I noticed it didn’t look exactly like its picture.

Turns out the hotel was undergoing a pretty big renovation. We were worried that, due to the renovation, our stay was going to be filled with lots of construction noise. That wasn’t really the big problem. Well, apart from the piledriver that started banging away around 8am on our last day there. The big problem with the hotel came from the guests. One night the halls were filled with undergrad-age college students who were clearly gathered for a night of boozing and bad choices. The halls smelled like frat boy cologne (even the girls drenched themselves with cologne), cigerettes and alcohol. The smell even lingered on into the next morning. After the college party (which, in retrospect, probably had something to do with the big Virginia Tech – Atlanta football game that was going on that weekend), we had to contend with even more people running up and down the halls, screaming and carrying on.

After a short nap, Maggie and I woke up nice and early for our first day of DragonCon. Maggie and I brought five costumes overall for the weekend – four for wear during the regular day and a fifth costume for the masquerade. For our first day at the con we wanted something that wasn’t going to be terribly restrictive but would still fit into the spirit of the weekend. I wore my Velma costume. Maggie opted for her Rorschach costume from the Watchmen. We wanted to get downtown early enough to guarantee a good parking near the hotel and to get in line to buy our passes for the weekend. I’ve yet to be in danger of getting to a con only to find that the passes have been sold out but, if it were ever to happen, I’d put money on DragonCon as the place that changes that.
We got to the hotel around 9am. We actually ended up getting a spot in a parking lot right next to the Marriott Marquis (one of the main hotels for the convention). We were directed towards the registration area, up the street at the Sheraton.

Ah. The Sheraton. I kind of felt sorry for that hotel. As I believe I mentioned in one of my earlier posts, DragonCon takes place throughout four hotels in downtown Atlanta. Now, all four hotels are relatively close, but three of them are located more centrally than the fourth. These would be the Marriott Marquis (what I would say is really THE main hotel), the Hyatt Regency Atlanta and the Hilton Atlanta. These three hotels are actually connected to each other. Well, the Marquis is connected to both of them. I don’t actually remember a way to get to the Hyatt directly from the Hilton without going outside and down the block. I don’t remember a little walkway connecting the two of them. Instead, you could travel to one or the other by way of the Marquis.

The Sheraton Atlanta, however, is not connected to any of these hotels by anything other than a long uphill climb on a sidewalk. I’m almost sorry to say that this is the main reason we didn’t voluntarily spend time in the Sheraton. We only went into that hotel to purchase our con badges. As soon as that was done we abandoned it for the other three hotels. In fact, I recall a point in our weekend when we were planning on going to an event until we found out it was being held in the Sheraton. Rather than trek up the hill to the other hotel, we opted to find a different evet.

Anyway. Back to registration. As I mentioned, we got to the hotel around 9am. We then proceeded to wait in a huge, long line. Now, anyone who’s been to a convention before can tell you that waiting in a queue is part of con life. It’s just something you do. Usually I don’t complain, either. You get to check out people’s costumes, it’s fun to listen to the conversations people are having all around you, and sometimes you can make new friends while you wait.

The way they set things up was kind of wonky, though. You came in, waited in line to get the registration papers, filled those out and went to stand in the line to pay. They had things divided so you could pay either cash or credit, but the line divide for the payment options didn’t happen until the last 50 feet of that particular line. People who didn’t necessarily have to wait for the pain-in-the-ass credit card machines still had to wait because they couldn’t get past to go to the cash line. After we paid, we got to wait in another line. This one was the queue for the data entry part of the con. We were supposed to take our little registration slip (stamped with the message that we had already paid) to the data entry place. Here, someone would type in our information – address, contact phone number, our primary interest in the con, etc. We wouldn’t get our badges there, though. Oh no. That would be too easy. After we finally got through data entry, we were directed to walk down another path to the side of the huge crowd waiting to pay, to a small section at the back of the room (right were we had come into the room in the first place). There was no line here, though. Nope. This time we milled about aimlessly as they called the names of people whose badge information had printed out. It was hard to hear the exact names they were calling, and it was kind of just a little mob standing around.

After two hours of standing in line Maggie and I got our badges. Near the end of our long wait people finally started to realize who I was supposed to be. We grabbed some pocket schedules and headed outside to see if we could get our bearings. Since we had traveled to DragonCon with the intention of competing in the Masquerade we knew we needed to register for that event as well. Luckily, masquerade registration was in one of the three main hotels. We headed back out into the smelly Atlanta air (I don’t know if you’ve ever been to Atlanta, but it really does smell. Quite literally. Like raw sewage), down the street, and up the poorly planned staircase of the Hyatt. Somewhere around there Maggie lost one of her gloves.

It didn’t actually take us very long to register for the masquerade. There were two little forms to fill out and we had to hand over the cd with our sound on it. Unlike the other masquerades we’ve been to, the sound files for entries into the DragonCon masq have to be screened prior to being allowed in. They check it mainly for language. Who knows if they actually check it for length. Lord knows there were a couple of groups that went over their alloted time on the day of the masq.
After we finished all of our registration tasks we stepped to the other side of the Hyatt lobby. Maggie took a couple of photos of our respective costumes. While I was sitting down a young girl and her even younger brother came over to take pictures. She wanted a picture of the person sitting next to me – I couldn’t recognize the costume – but he seemed in awe of me. He came up to me and whispered “I know how the mystery begins,” referring to the new live action Scooby-Doo movie that’s coming out soon on Cartoon Network. His sister held up the camera to take a picture and I asked if he wanted to hold the magnifying glass. The whole thing made the costume worth-while.

Next it was time to grab some food. We headed over to the Marquis – spotting Waldo along the way – and tried to get our bearings. There were two restaurants inside the Marquis – one was a sports bar (High Velocity), the other a regular sit-down restaurant (Sear). There was also a pretty cool bar (Pulse) in the middle of the open space on one of the lobby floors. Yes, the lobby essentially had three floors. In addition to the two restaurants in the Marquis there were also walkways to two different food courts. Originally we planned to grab stuff at the food court but, unfortunately, everyone else seemed to have that idea as well. The place was completely packed. Instead of waiting in yet another long line and then still having to look around for a place to sit down to eat, we opted to go back and try the food at Sear.

The food was alright but wasn’t really worth the price. Luckily, the waitress was pretty good about making sure our water glasses were filled. We had only been at the con for a few hours and were already parched.

By the way, want to know my #1 piece of advice to newcomers to the con scene? Drink LOTS of water. Even if you’re usually pretty good about keeping hydrated, you probably need to drink even more. Despite the heavy AC that most hotels tend to blast during large events like conventions the place tends to get pretty warm.

After lunch we headed downstairs to check out the dealers room. In addition to the main dealer’s room in the bottom of the Marquis there were a couple of rooms off to the side of one of the floors that were originally listed as exhibitor halls. I thought the exhibitor halls would be more along the lines of fan tables and such. Nope. They were selling lots of merchandise in those rooms as well. I was actually kind of surprised (pleasantly, of course) by how many Firefly-centered dealers there were. I had come across one or two of the vendors before, at Polaris, but that’s usually it as far as solely Firefly vendors tend to go. In contrast, there had to be at least five or six at DragonCon.

After checking out the dealers and exhibitors we headed over to the Hilton. According to our pocket guides that’s where the “Walk of Fame” was located.

What is the Walk of Fame, you ask? Simple. It’s where all the film and tv guests who were booked to come to DragonCon sit and hang out. They’ve each got a table or two and folks can line up for autographs. Now, most of the guests at DragonCon were located inside the Walk of Fame but there were a couple of specialized lines out in the hall for the biggest names. For instance, Leonard Nimoy, William Shatner, Patrick Stewart and Kate Mulgrew all had lines that queued up outside of the Walk of Fame room. I think it was mainly because DragonCon staff realized that their lines would have taken up all the free space inside the Walk of Fame.

I want to take a moment here to say a little something about the Walk of Fame at DragonCon. In short, it was fantastic. I’ve been to three other con locations before (FanExpo, Polaris, and Shore Leave) and the way DragonCon was set up is, hands down, the best out of all these in terms of autographs. There were no long waits, where the lines block dealer booths and cross into other autograph line territory (FanExpo). There were no confusing maps of how the lines need to move forward (sorry, Polaris, but those lanes aren’t always necessarily user friendly). And, most of important, I didn’t have to worry about having to listen for my badge number to be called before I could even line up for an autograph, and risk not getting one at all (Shore Leave, you know I’m talking about you). Despite the fact that DragonCon sees several thousand people every day, my wait for an autograph was really short. I was also able to walk around the rest of the room and just enjoy the environment without worrying about getting in the way of other people. The vibe in the room was really laid back.

So. I can hear you asking “Who’d you get an autograph from?”

It’s a valid question. After all, there were a bunch of guests at DragonCon that I was excited to see. Was it Felicia Day? Malcolm MacDowell (who, incidentally, didn’t have a long line at all)? Gareth David-Lloyd? (::sigh::) Joe Flanigan? John Billingsley? Karen Allen?

Nope.

I knew I was only going to get one autograph since I was on a fairly limited budget this con go-around. Most autographs tend to run about $20, with the picture included in the price. I really didn’t forsee getting any other type of souvenier while I was at the con – although there were a number of really awesome t-shirts that I really wanted. I ended up parting with another $1.50 for a funny pin later on, but kept to my self-imposed one autograph rule. With that in mind, there was only one choice…

Paul McGillion.

Did you just say “who’s that?” For shame! He was only the best character on Stargate: Atlantis. I’d actually met him briefly during my very first convention, up in Toronto. When Mag, Mel and I went to FanExpo Maggie lined up for an autograph. She also got a picture with him. He commented on our horns at the time and later, in the Q&A session, he mentioned them again. It was the first time I ever saw Maggie melt into a puddle. It was actually his behaviour at FanExpo that got me watching Atlantis. The show was already into its second season, with a bit of a delay between when it aired in Canada and when it aired in the U.S.

Money in hand, I stood in a rather short line at Paul’s table. There were a bunch of pictures laid out on top of the drape. Most of them were of him in Stargate costume. One was the same as the one Maggie had. There was actually a really good one showing off his bright blue eyes, but I opted for one that was kind of a candid shot. The guy who was handling the photo section of the table liked that one.

Paul chatted a bit with the fan in front of me and then it was my turn. He shook my hand and made sure he had the spelling right for my name. I usually have them make it out to my nickname, rather than have them spell the whole name. There are so many alternate versions of the spelling of my name that people would be bound to get it wrong. He liked that it was an easy one to remember and complimented my sweater. I thought that was interesting, as I don’t think orange looks good on me, but I pointed out that the sweater was a necessity when paired with the socks. As soon as he saw the socks he figured out I was wearing a costume.

While he made out the autograph, I let him know that he was the reason I started watching the show. In particular, it was because I was impressed with the way he interacted with fans when I first met him up in Toronto. I’ve had experiences with people before that were less than pleasant, but he was very gracious and friendly with everyone there. I mentioned that Maggie and I were the ones who had been wearing the horns (he still remembered!). He seemed very touched by what I said. We chatted for a little bit longer – I won’t bore you with the details – and he shook my hand again before I left. He is still the nicest actor I’ve ever met.

After I got the autograph Maggie and I wandered through the rest of the room. The guys from Ghost Hunters were over at their booth. Neither Maggie nor I could afford to buy anything at the table but she wanted to know if we could take a picture. Unfortunately, her shyness started to get the better of her so I had to ask. I went up to the table where Steve and Tango were sitting and asked Tango if I could take a picture. He said sure and even agreed to hold my Velma magnifying glass. Unfortunately, you can’t really see it in the picture. I also don’t think he realized who I was supposed to be. Of the two, Tango is definitely the more outgoing when in a crowd. You can tell that Steve isn’t really comfortable with all the attention.
We left the Walk of Fame and headed outside to see about lining up for the TAPS panel that evening. We had to head back over to the Hyatt and learned that, at 6:30pm, the line had already started for the 7:30 panel. It started at the doors to the Hyatt and went across the little plaza, stretching towards the stairs. For safety reasons, the line broke off there and started back up again at the base of the staircase. The woman at the doors to the Regency ballroom (where the panel was scheduled to be held) said the line was already stretching around the corner of the building. When we went downstairs, though, we saw that it hadn’t actually gotten that long yet. We figured we had a pretty good chance at getting a good spot inside the panel.

The people running the con had clearly thought that the room would fill up completely when they let us in at 7:30. In fact, there turned out to be a LOT of room left. Maggie and I ended up sitting in the front row, off to the side of one end of the table. We were on the end closest to Dustin and Joe Chin. I took a little video (which probably won’t be up online for quite some time) and Maggie hauled out the papperazzi flash for her photos. I ended up sitting next to a woman who had a very rum-filled Rum and Coke, which made for an…interesting experience. She was rather giggly, though I’m not sure if this was due to the alcohol or the presence of the TAPS guys.
Again, Steve wasn’t all that talkative during the panel, but Dustin really seemed to come to life. He was funny without dominating the entire panel, which can sometimes be a problem. There were a bunch of cameramen walking around during the panel. Some of them were filming for the DCTV stuff – taped panels that air over a special channel in the four convention hotels, in case you wanted to go to an event but couldn’t get in. The other cameramen were filming for the show. I’m looking forward to seeing all the DragonCon stuff on the actual show.

Throughout the day Maggie’s big goal was to search out all the characters from the Watchmen. She actually did a pretty good job. The first we came across was a woman dressed as Silk Spectre I. I saw one or two more over the course of the weekend, but this one had the best presentation of the costume. There were a couple of Rorschach’s walking around that day, which was kind of interesting. Ever seen the Pierce Brosnan version of The Thomas Crowne Affair? You know the scene near the end where all the guys in suits and bowler hats are walking around? That’s kind of what it was like from time to time. Of course, I was with the only Rorschach who could actually see where she was going when she had her mask on. I believe I was also with the only female Rorschach walking around that day – there was another woman later that weekend with a Rorschach costume, but not on the first day. Apparently the other Rorschach’s were all having difficulties seeing through their masks. Maggie and I, however, already have plenty of experience with vision-limiting masks, so she knew to make it so she could see out of hers.

Anyway, she managed to get most of the main Watchmen characters. There were a couple of Comedians walking around (though she didn’t get a picture with the first one we saw, who happened to be wearing a bathrobe). The best looking Comedian was actually walking around the next day, but we took a picture anyway. The best find was when she spotted Silk Spectre 2 coming down the sidewalk while we were standing in the TAPS line. When she stopped for a photo I noticed she was carrying a beach ball with a little Dr. Manhattan figure inside it. Genius!

Maggie actually came across two Ozymandias costumes that day. The first one was in the area of the fan tables in the Hilton. The other also happened to walk down the sidewalk while we were in line for TAPS. As he walked by, he reached out and bumped Maggie on the shoulder with his fist. We both thought that was hilarious.

Originally Maggie and I had planned to hang around for the Dr. Horrible Sing-Along Blog event and the zombie walk that were scheduled for that night. After we got out of the TAPS panel, though, we both came to the conclusion that we were just too tuckered out from the day’s exertions. We decided to call it a night and headed back towards our hotel to change and find food.
There was a Ruby Tuesday’s right around the corner from the Buckhead and we settled down in a booth to start recuperating from the day. The place was rather quiet, which gave us an opportunity to start our little end of the day debriefing session. I had taken a few notes throughout the day, to make writing the con reports a little easier.

During our little debriefing session we mainly discussed costumes. Obviously I’m naturally going to be drawn to them in the first place, but even I was sort of overwhelmed by the costumes I had seen that day.

Just…WOW.

It’s hard to determine the ratio of costumed to non-costumed attendees, simply because there are a number of people who, upon first glance, don’t appear to be wearing a costume. I fell into this category on the first day. Although the bright orange knee socks tended to clue people into the fact that I was dressed as Velma it wasn’t as obvious as Maggie’s costume. When she had her mask down, it was quite clear that she was in costume. I think I mainly looked like a handler who made rather bold choices in regards to color.

Another thing that made it difficult to figure out how many people are in costume was the sheer number of people who were attending the convention. FanExpo was huge but it didn’t feel anywhere close to the size of DragonCon. Sweet dixie minis, there were a lot of people!

The number of costumes wasn’t the only thing that struck me on that first day. It was also the level of the costuming. Although there were a few costumes here and there that were obviously thrown together at the last minute or were constructed by less skilled hands, the majority of the costumes were mind-blowingly outstanding. The level of detail, the craftsmanship…all sorts of things.

During our evening debriefing (quit giggling, sickos) Maggie and I awarded our own little costume awards for Day 1.

Funniest: This was actually a tie between a guy who was wearing a giant costume that I simply referred to as the “Fire Chicken” and a guy wearing a hat with the Geico money stack (and eyes) on top. He had things hooked up so he could play the song “I always feel like…somebody’s watching me.” Unfortunately, I don’t have a picture of either one at the moment. There wasn’t even an actual reference for the fire chicken. Someone asked the guy what he was supposed to be and he responded “I don’t know.” I thought that was hilarious.

Ballsiest: (male) Aquaman. All he was wearing was a green Speedo-like thingy and sandles with wings. (female) Aeon Flux.

Creepiest: The nurse from Silent Hill. Apparently she was in character the entire time she was in costume. She was scaring little children when this picture was taken. And me, I’ll admit. She was scaring me.

Most Common General Category: Steampunk – I think this had a great deal to do with the fact that the Time Traveler’s Ball was being held that night.

Most Common Specific Type of costume: Ghostbusters. One or two had the name Venkman or Stanz on their overalls, but most had their actual last name on their suit. And every one of them had a proton pack that lit up.

Best Worksmanship: STEAMPUNK! Hands down, no doubt about it.

Most surprising to see more than one of: Clockwork Orange costumes.
Alright. That’s it for now. It’s actually just taken me about five hours to write this up and add in the photos. All that after a long day starting out my internship downtown. I’m ready to pass out in my bed now. I must really like you guys, considering I really wanted to be in bed about halfway through this thing.
Tomorrow (hopefully): DragonCon parade