Monday, February 20, 2012

MegaCon 2012 Highlights

Well, THAT was an awesome weekend.

I'm used to conventions being a somewhat solitary affair; John and I wander the floor together and only interact with the occasional person in line or chatty artist over at Artist's Alley. This time, however, we had several friends both attending and exhibiting, and it was a delightful change to run into people we knew on a regular basis. Everything's just more fun with friends. (That probably makes me sound like Winnie-the-Pooh. And I'm ok with that.)

On Thursday we met up with Amy Ratcliffe and Thom Zaler at Epcot, and spent a delightful several hours roaming the world showcase together and eating far too often. I've followed Amy on Twitter for ages, so it was fun to finally meet her and find out she's even more likeable in person.

Amy in her Trek uniform at MegaCon (though she'll be quick to point out she's really more of a Star Wars fan).

Friday night as we were leaving the con we had the surreal experience of getting a phone call from Paul of Paul and Storm, the musical duo best known for their Wootstock performances. He threatened and cajoled us into coming to their show which was starting in just 30 minutes downtown, and somehow we managed to get there with barely a minute to spare.

The concert was awesome and hilarious, Paul name checked both us and our friends Missy and Scott of Basic Instructions from the stage, a CW fan bought me a beer (which I swapped with John for coffee, since my throat hurt), and after the show the six of us hung out in the green room for a couple of hours just chatting and laughing. (My first green room, you guys! And it was actually green! With lots of penises drawn on the walls! And everything was really, really filthy!)

We sat in a small balcony together with Scott and Missy. Here Paul's pointing at us and saying something about us being too "good" for the ground floor. ;)

Saturday was the crazy crowded day of MegaCon, with a ticket line that took over an hour to get through and parking spread out so far you had to take a shuttle, which added another 30 minutes to your travel time. This was also the big costume day, though, and the people-watching was grrrr-reat!

We kicked Saturday off with a Warehouse 13 panel:

It was held in a massive room that only had mics for the celebs, so we couldn't hear most of the questions being asked. Other than that, though, it was a good panel. Not spectacular, but good.

(Later that afternoon we got Saul Rubinek's autograph. He was perfectly polite, but very clearly not interested in small talk - even though no one else was waiting in line. I don't think any less of him for it, but the experience did leave us feeling a bit deflated; that's $30 I wouldn't spend again.)

Oh, and I figured out the perfect way to ensure your personal space at a con:

Wear a costume with pointy bits sticking out at face level! This Queen of Hearts had an extra chair's buffer between her and the rest of the row. Brilliant.

As much as we hang out in Artist's Alley it should be no surprise that we've made a few friends there. Here's Jennifer Teeter and Jason Thomas of Red Rocket Farm:

Every time we stopped by they kept trying to give us things (they're big CW fans), so we were thoroughly spoiled by the time the con was over. We did buy John a t-shirt and these two pieces, though:
Aren't they great? They're hand-painted 3D wood plaques; the robots are raised above the back pieces. One was $20, and the other was $30, I believe.

We also stopped to chat with Jasmine Becket-Griffith (whose art I've followed for years) and her husband Matt, who are just fabulous people. They live here in Orlando, too, so we see them at all the local art shows.

And while I'm at it, here's the rest of my art haul:

Ray gun prints (only $5 each!) by Amy Williams

Ninja Turtles print ($10) and original monster painting ($15) by Bianca Roman-Stumpff
The original Beaker & Dr. Honeydew ($20) is by Micheal Duron, who was kind enough to paint in lots more color while we waited:

Ooh, and I tried something new on Sunday, guys: I commissioned some art! I asked for Chell from Portal with cake and two portals, and a few hours later, I got this!

Seriously. How fabulous is that? (And only $15!) I'm going to have to start commissioning more sketches: not knowing exactly what you'll get is actually quite fun! (The only sad part is I don't remember the artist's name, and I can't decipher her signature. Anyone know?)

We met a few of you readers on Saturday, too, including Patti and Dave here:

Don't they look great? They credited Epbot with getting them into steampunk, and even for getting them hooked on conventions! Folks like this make me so happy I could pop. Thanks again, guys.

Saturday afternoon our good friends Ray and Julianne come out for their very first visit to their very first convention. (Am I a good influence, or what??) We wandered around and pushed Julianne - a lifelong Trekker - into meeting Brent Spiner by buying her his autograph. Brent was both snarky and sweet as always, telling her that life was going to be all downhill after meeting him and generally making her giggle like mad. She claims she'll be hanging his picture over her bed, but I'm guessing Ray (her husband) might veto that idea. Regardless, *that* was $30 well spent.

Which brings me to possibly the funniest thing that happened all weekend.

There was a large Star Wars section on the con floor with props and photo areas like this:

So we asked Ray & Julianne if they wanted to bring their 2-year-old over for a family photo near some Scout Troopers. What I don't think they realized was that *one* Scout Trooper was not a dummy.

Isaiah the two-year-old, however, knew IMMEDIATELY what was going on, and the following hilarity ensued: (Keep in mind this all occurred in less than 10 seconds, and that I was laughing so hard I had a hard time holding the camera steady.)

Isaiah eying the Scout Trooper with deep mistrust.

The "dummy" Scout Trooper and Isaiah play peek-a-boo over the oblivious heads of his parents.

Ray tries to direct Isaiah's attention to the camera, but there's no WAY the boy is taking his eyes off that Scout Trooper.

Mistakenly thinking he must be looking at his mother, the parents decide to swap. Meanwhile, the Scout Trooper gives mom bunny ears and the photographer (that would be me) starts howling with laughter.

Even while being swung onto his mom's hip, Isaiah never takes his eyes off the Trooper. Ray finally glances back as they walk away, only to see a harmless Scout Trooper dummy, standing stock still.

After that we got a few shots near the Jawas, but the damage was done:

I'm afraid little Isaiah will never trust another mannequin again. :D

Saturday night after the con we went to dinner with Scott and Missy, and Sunday night we went out with our friends Chris and Christie and their family, who all went to the con. They're all super amazing cosplayers, so I'm looking forward to showing you their various costumes in my next post.

Speaking of which, I'm going to wrap this post up now and show you my favorite costume shots in the next one. So stay tuned!


  1. ARGH! We were THERE. We were in Orlando all week, doing Wizarding World & WDW with the kids and in-laws, and I had NO idea there was a con going on. And now, here I am 2,500 miles away again...sigh...

  2. Ah! I wish I knew you were going, I went Sat! Would have been nice to meet you guys in person (Although you are probably less interested in that idea than I am).

    What's funny is a few of those artists are friends of mine :) I know jasmine and Amy, although I don't get to talk to them as often as i'd like.

    I love cons!

  3. I bought those same ray gun prints! Great minds yadda yadda yadda.
    I was keeping an eye out for you (creepy) but didn't have any luck....maybe next time :)

  4. Never having gone to a con, I have to ask... Do the celebs *really* charge 30.00 for an autograph?!?! That just lowered my opinion significantly!

  5. Fun...I totally feel like I was there with you. :) Can't wait for our con of Star Trek awesomeness in April...and Katie Cook will be here! So I might spend more time in Artists' Alley, which I haven't done before.

  6. Squee!! The Beaker and Dr. Honeydew sketch is fantabulously awesome. The science nerd in me is thinking that about completely new design ideas for my study room.

  7. @ Amanda - the autograph price varies by con and by how big of a celeb it is. The average used to be $20, so I was surprised to see them all up to $30 at MegaCon. A-list stars like Patrick Stewart or Shatner will run you at least double that, though.

  8. That scout trooper just made my week! (And it's only Monday!) I haven't laughed that hard in a long time. The poor kid will probably have a complex for life now.

  9. Seems you discovered why Saul didn't have a lot of people in his line...but I'm always happy to hear how Brent is so fun. Can't wait for the next installment! And to Patti and Dan: LOVE your costumes! That bodice is great!

  10. That was hilarious! Poor child. And I do love your con updates, it's almost like being there myself (which, sadly, probably won't happen in a forseeable future)...

    Looking forward to the costumes! :)

  11. Yeah, $30 seems to be pretty much standard these days, though when Shatner came to our local con (Emerald City ComiCon in Seattle) he was charging $70 and there were still insane lines around the entire media guest area. Meanwhile, I was chatting with James Marsters and laughing at the people stuck in that line :P. Then again, Gigi Edgley's autograph cost me $40, but it's still one of my favorites, and she was incredibly sweet and had come all the way from Australia to visit the convention so it was well worth the money in my opinion.

  12. Ray gun prints!! Might need to find a few of those for the rug rat's room! Looks like a blast. Now to convince you guys to come up to New Jersey (eek) for the Steampunk World's Fair in May. PLEAAASEE?! Steampunk! lots of it, and other fun stuff. You know you want to. ;)

  13. It's so disheartening when celebrities don't treat you like a real person. If they're not going to give you three minutes of their time and really pay attention to you, they shouldn't bother. You're paying for the experience, not the autograph. We've had a few people treat us poorly at cons, notably Lou Ferigno and Adam Baldwin.

  14. Ever think about going to GenCon?

    Sometime I think we should have a JenCon, and all the cool Jens can go. So far my list includes you, Jenny Lawson, and me ('cause it was my idea).

  15. My sweetie and I discovered Basic Instructions several weeks ago and LOVE it. Scott is so snarky and sarcastic! I've thought that you and John would really like the comic, and when I saw that you follow him on Twitter I knew I was right. How cool to realize y'all are actually friends!

  16. $30 is the low end for Comic Con, but I met Adam Baldwin when the line was short and didn't have to pay to say Hi and that I was a big fan. He was SO sweet, and put up with all of my giggling and blushing, and even posed with me for a picture for no charge. It was SO great!

  17. PSooo jealous you got to see the Warehouse 13 group. My favorite show. If it makes you feel better about Saul, I've heard he's actually got a history of being shy with fans, which might have been why. :)

  18. Little Isaiah is too cute! I love it! I'm not sure I could have done such a great job documenting the family. Tell me, is this post the first time they are being let in on the joke?

  19. Thank you for all your fun posts about the cons you attend. I haven't been able to go to one in years and I do miss it! Can't wait for my kids to be older so I can introduce them to the madness.

  20. @ Kristin - Yes, it is. I'm waiting to hear Julianne's reaction. :D

  21. I know exactly what you mean about the let-down feeling you get with the no small-talk. I had the same experience with Peter Mayhew when I got my Chewbacca signed. Even though there wasn't anybody else in line (early enough, in fact, that I was pretty much the only one in the room), he had no interest in talking, and wouldn't even make eye contact. I do realize (and sympthasize) that he gets reeeeeeaaaaally tired of being Chewbacca, but still...

  22. Once upon a time, autographs were free at cons. The celebs came to meet the fans and have a good time. I don't know why that changed, or why the fans didn't mutiny when it did. I've met most of the cast of ST:TOS and even Gene Roddenberry and Patrick Stewart, and I've never paid for an autograph.

    I never will, either.

    Glad you had a good time, but the idea that a celeb's time is worth $10/minute is an outrage.

  23. aw Jen you're such a tease! keeping all the costumey goodness for later!, you HAVE to come to the UK sometime, I'd love to be your con buddy xxx

  24. Not that I don't want to be associated with the incredible Jennifer Tilly (can I get a "wut wut" for bride of chucky!), but the last name's Teeter, if you feel like changing it. Although, people will probably think you're cooler if you met Jennifer Tilly, so you may want to keep it.

  25. Whoooops! Sorry, Jennifer! I blame the Con-Fusion. ;) I just fixed your name now. And sorry we didn't say goodbye on Sunday; hope you guys had a safe trip home!

  26. My church had a halloween dance for the teenagers and different groups decorated different rooms. In our room, someone volunteered to wear a mask and suit and stand in the corner looking exactly like a halloween maniquen. Our room was big so after trying to get the 'maniquen' to move, they started to chat and with no one noticing he would take a step forward. One person finally looked over, and realizing he had moved, fell to the floor in fetal position with a scream! It was halarious! We got a couple people this way. I laughed so hard.

  27. What fun! One of these days I will meet you at one of these cons. But I won't be stalking you or anything. :-)

  28. I LOVE Red Rocket Farms!! They are from Atlanta, too, and are so so nice :)

  29. I have to say, I don't mind paying if that is how the con pays for them to get there, but I don't think I would ever pay someone for their signature just because they're there! I think it's beyond rude to even ask! And I'm sorry to hear about Jane's bad experience with Lou Ferigno, my mom met him years ago and he was just awesome with her. And he didn't charge for her to get a signed picture of him either!

  30. We were there on Saturday! It would have been great to meet you - although by the looks of things, we almost did. That was my child that decided to disrupt the Warehouse 13 panel (sorry about that), but you did capture him in the full panel photo pre-meltdown.
    Hubby had the same thing to say about Saul - he wasn't mean, just not much for small talk. We were visiting with our friend Lewis and his TARDIS, and hubby just walked up to Saul during a lull at the table and told him that he really enjoyed Warehouse 13, and all he said was "thanks" and just left it at that. Don't know if he was just uncomfortable or what.

  31. The Isaiah photos are too funny. You captured the whole sequence and explained it well.

  32. When did I become so stodgy and respectable? I used to spend all *kinds* of time in green rooms like that. Ahh, how fleeting youth fleets away youthily.

    Also, I've been grading. Again. It's like they keep doing assignments or something. When do the demons of stupity come out? Soon? Yes? I complain some more now.

    Also, pretty princesses!

    Also, I like you.

  33. I was there on Saturday and was keeping an eye out for y'all. Sad that I didn't find you. Maybe next time.

  34. Can I just say that I'm most likely moving to Orlando in August for about a year while my boyfriend goes to school and my second thought (first being "I wonder if there's a WFTDA Roller Derby team down there I can join") was "OMG I CAN GO TO CONVENTIONS AND MAYBE STALK AND MEET JEN!!!!! WHOOOOO!!!!". SQUEEEEEE :):):):):):)
    (And. I of course mean Stalk in the most non-scary way haha)


Please be respectful when commenting; dissenting opinions are great, but personal attacks or hateful remarks will be removed. Also, including a link? Then here's your html cheat sheet: <a href="LINK ADDRESS">YOUR TEXT</a>