Friday, September 7, 2012

Dragon*Con 2012: THE BEGINNING

I'm going to ration out my D*C coverage into two or three posts, so as to not completely overwhelm you guys. This one will be more about my personal experiences at the con, and the next one or two will be all costumes. So get comfortable, and let's get to it!

John and I drove up to Atlanta on Wednesday, a full day early, figuring we'd beat the crowds and get a nice leisurely start to the weekend. It worked like a charm, and I *highly* recommend it if you're able. By Thursday afternoon all the host hotels were backed up as thousands upon thousands of geeks attempted to all check in at once. Parking garages were shut down, lines were long, traffic was awful, and we smugly breezed by it all to go grab our passes feeling nice and refreshed. ;)

Thursday night is when we first met Renee (who made that amazing Epbot plushie) and her posse from DCTV. For those who've been to Dragon*Con, this is the group that makes those hilarious bumper videos playing before each panel. They lured us to a room party with promises of fruity drinks and celebrities, and while Colin Ferguson never showed (we love you anyway, Colin!) they still didn't disappoint:

This is Garrett Wang, who played Harry Kim on Star Trek: Voyager. He had to leave before we could get there, so they made him take this picture for me as a consolation prize. (Garrett also included a coupon for a free hug. I still have it. I may frame it. WHAT.)

Renee's husband Alex and his best friend Stephen (aka "the bald guy" on DCTV) have a podcast called Disasterpiece Theatre, and somehow they managed to get me and John tipsy enough with fruity drinks to agree to be on it, right then and there, in the hotel room, with about 20 people crammed in the one room listening to us. o.0 Like all recordings of myself, I will never listen to it, but I'm pretty sure I said nothing even remotely interesting. But the guys are awesome, so you should go listen to the show they did with Colin, 'cuz that one is hysterical.

To give you an idea, this happened during Colin's show last year:

...And it was Colin's idea. (Coolest guy ever? YEP.)(That's Stephen & Alex, btw, and the gorgeous gal is Brooke, their show producer.)

Also on Thursday I got to play photographer for my friend Christie, who was swimming in the Marriott pool in her brand new mermaid tail. Definitely one of those "only at Dragon*Con" kind of things: there was a mermaid in the pool!

This one was taken with my phone and Instagram'd.

And these were taken with my 7D:
The distortion from the water makes her hand and face look really creepy here - but I kind of like it.

Shoots like this make me daydream about being a professional portrait photographer. I'm not saying I have the skill for it, but I just love it SO DARN MUCH. I could take pictures of people and play with them in Photoshop all day, every day. Besides, it's fun ordering pretty people around. "Now give me 'playfully mischievous.' Thaaat's it. [click click click] Now growl. You're a tiger. YOU'RE A JUNGLE TIGER."


Ok, back to Dragon*Con.

My parents arrived on Thursday as well, and my mom came prepared with a different steampunky outfit for each day of the con. Of course, my mom's version of steampunk is anything but drab:

Isn't she cute? Plus my Dad looks super spiffy in a top hat - he's just not wearing it here.

The fact that my parents come with us to Dragon*Con is one of the great joys in my life, and the fact that they enjoy it as much as they do never ceases to amaze me. They go off to panels and events on their own, and then tell us all about them at dinner. Plus every time I think the crowds and mayhem MUST be making them miserable, I turn to see Dad beaming at the people around us and remarking how wonderful it is that everyone there is so nice and polite, and how beautiful all the costumes are. The crowds did start to get to Mom a little this year, but she's a trooper, and she loves posing for pictures and excitedly pointing out that I'm her daughter every time we meet a fan. (Um, thanks, Mom....)

This year I decided to cut down drastically on the amount of panels we'd see to give myself more time to relax and wander. It worked, but I think I may have cut down TOO much, since John mentioned he'd have liked to see more. Maybe next year I'll hit the right balance. Anyway, the panels I most wanted to see were The Guild and Eureka, and for The Guild we discovered one of our Press pass perks was that John and I were allowed to stand in the back of the massive auditorium, as opposed to sitting with the crowd.

This was perfect for my anxiety (middle seats make me crazy), and also perfect for us to test the HUGE zoom lens my Dad had rented for the con. Seriously, this thing was a monster. It had to be a foot long, easy. And the room seated, what, three thousand people? But I managed to get shots like this from so far away that the people on stage were nothing but tiny blurs:

I post this pretty picture of Felicia to make up for what I'm about to post, which is the most epic "DERP" face I have ever seen:

Hee! Sorry, Felicia. And Robin. :D

The panel itself was quite good. It's always tough with that many people on stage, and I don't think Robin said more than three words, but there were still plenty of great moments. Like when Amy innocently asked, "Wait. What's a 'taint'?"


And here's where someone's phone rang, and Sandeep made her bring it to the stage so he could answer it:
Good times.

Yowza, this post is getting kinda long, and I'm only about half way through! So I'm going to break here and post the rest later today, k? Stay tuned!


  1. Your mermaid friend Christie looks a lot like Milla Jovovich, don't you think? She could rock a resident evil cosplay. And that tail is AWESOME. I'm impressed she could actually swim in it, I think I'd have just sunk!

    Also, as a Brit who will almost certainly never make it to a big US con (boo!) thank you for your awesome posts and photos!

  2. Awesome post! You can never wash your stuffy now. It was touched by Harry Kim! I love seeing the in action photos of the mermaid tail as well.

    Mom looks fantastic! I love how she and Dad are perfectly color coordinated! Did she plan it that way on purpose?

    Also, that closeup picture of Felicia Day was fabulous. I hope someone shares it with her so she can enjoy it as well. Unfortunately, it looks like she's contracted Youngblood's Disease in the next photo! Gahhh!

    Looking forward to part two of this post and hoping you're feeling better since the con!

  3. You have the greatest Steampunk/Star Wars mashup costume ever, your parents and your hubby are the cooles on the planet, AND you went to The Guild panel??? I am FAINTING with envy right now...

  4. I need to know more about this mermaid. She can't have the tail just for the sake of Dragon Con. My 11 year-old SCUBA diving daughter is still in love with mermaids and the sea, and where might we be able to find her in the future?

  5. More! Must have more!!

    I was so close to getting to go to DC this year - now it seems like everyone I know was in Atlanta last weekend.

    I'm not jealous, I just want to hear ALL the stories!!

  6. Sometimes when I read your posts I relate so much that I think I'm reading an alternate-universe version of myself, where I'm clever and have a life.
    Glad you had such a great time! Can't wait to hear the rest (and see the pictures, of course)!

    BTW, I think your parents are about the sweetest things to don victoriana since Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke in Mary Poppins. I hope I'm that cool for my daughter some day!

  7. I love it when my worlds collide, really I do :) I saw a picture of Renee with your knitted EPBOT robot on her flickr stream and was curious as to the story, now I see you know not just Renee, but Alex and Stephen too. All great people, I normally only get to see them at Balticon (you should go there) and can never make dragoncon.

    Looks like a great time, and your parents are indeed awesome. If only I could get my mom to steampunk :) I look forward to the next posts.

  8. Thanks for the Colin picture!!!!! And Garret. And your parents!

  9. That is so freakin' awesome! I'm so jealous and sqidgy-happy inside it's not funny! Hopefully we'll be back on the East Coast in time for next year's D*C! Keep up the awesome work you guys! At the risk of sounding like a stalker...the costumes are amazing and your pics are amazing and everything about you all is amazing!

  10. Oh where to start with the squees!?! Colin F - check! Mermaid in the pool - check! The Guild - check! Living vicariously through your D*C experience - check! So glad you had a great time and could enjoy it with your super fun parents too! Keep it coming, can't wait to read more!

  11. More, more, more...

    Please :D

  12. How fun! I didn't manage to costume this year, I have a pulled tendon, and ended up just being comfortable all weekend. Next year! Do you know who did the mermaid tail? It looks like a Mertailor one!

    I've been to a 'green room' party before, and they are very fun :)

    My mom used to come with me to D*con every year - but then again, she was always a Guest until just a few years ago!

  13. I am going to Orlando next week. (meaning in a couple of days) How silly is it that I am all excited to be in your neck of the woods, when I have never met you and the odds of bumping into you while I am there are slim to none? But I FEEL like I know you. Can I come over and visit while I am in town? (just kidding, mostly)

  14. I love all your posts, but your con posts have to be my favorite!! The pictures of the Guild panel are fabulous, I love Felicia!
    Thank you for sharing Jen, and John!!


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