Here's the truth about any Con, whether it be Comic-Con, Dragon*Con, or even, yes, TwiCon: attending one is strangely similar to attending a family reunion. It's like coming home; there's no need to impress anyone (unless you're posing for pictures that will be around for awhile), just a pressing desire to take the small bit of time you have and enjoy just being yourself, for once. You don't have to be afraid to let your Geek Flag fly - your family has no choice but to love you anyway. The same goes for the Conies (not to be confused with Carnies). You walk in a room and you instantly know you're among family. These people feel you, they're on your level, on your same page. You can be yourself around them and there's not an ounce of judgement coming your way, cause let's face it, you're probably the sanest one in the room. That's not to say that you get along with all of them. Akin to a family reunion, there's always that one person who is not on your level, not on your page. When Uncle Bob leeringly inquires whether you've been working out lately, it's just about as creepy as that one Conie who approaches you while you're waiting for your Marta train and comments on how nice your teeth are. But besides good ol' Uncle Bob, it's always nice to see the family; to be among your own kind. Still, however nice it is, you can probably only take a couple days of it (I know I can only stand a couple hours at a time with my family), then it's time to rejoin the real world. But it was fun, and rather interesting, while it lasted...
I had a full, four-day pass to Dragon*Con this year... and absolutely no one to go with. Every single one of my friends (and family) flaked out on me at the last moment. This didn't necessarily turn out to be a bad thing. When you're attempting to traverse through a room packed full with hundreds of Con-goers, most in costume (I can't tell you how many times some dude's sword poked me - *There's your dirty-minded material for day...You're welcome), it's best travelled alone. On Friday, I went to pick up my badge and spent a couple hours walking around, buying a couple comics and having dinner with a friend that was working security.
As always, my most pressing stop was the Walk of Fame, where all the actors and panelists sign autographs. Now, you have to pay for an autograph, which to me is really like paying for the privilege of meeting a favorite actor. I could really care less about the actual autograph. Last year, I had money for one (the disastrous meeting with Nathan Fillion) and the same went for this year. True to form, I stalked around, searching for my newest sci-fi crush, Michael Trucco. He was sitting among the other Battlestar Galactica alum, all of whom I was immensely excited to see. His line was very short, only a couple people were in front of me, which was good considering my nerves were at their breaking point. With legs made of jello and a heart beating far too fast and hard to be healthy, I met Michael Trucco. Even cuter in person, he was an absolute doll. He immediately broke the tension by laughing about my confusion as to where I put my money (his girl helper wasn't very helpful at all) and laughing even harder when I received my $5 change ("And there, you get that back..."). I bravely thrust my hand towards him and introduced myself as he shook it. I was already doing better than I did with Fillion. I told him that I had just recently finished Battlestar and how great it was and we entered into a conversation about people trying to avoid spoilers and such - he leaned back in his chair, with his beautiful arms crossed, like he was just chilling at home with a friend. I realized I hadn't picked a picture for him to sign yet, so I embarrassingly scanned the piles and chose one. I can't imagine what it must be like for the actors, sitting there and waiting while their fans choose a picture of them that they liked. It felt very awkward. I couldn't think of anything to say while he signed the picture (later I thought about a ton of things to talk about) and he handed it over and I told him, "Thanks, it was nice to meet you", and walked away with legs now like marshmallow. All my energy and cool (the little that I had) now sapped, I headed home with my XOXO signed photo of Sam Anders.
Since I spent most of my time at Comic-Con waiting in lines for panels and little to none exploring the exhibition halls, I promised myself I would do the opposite during Dragon*Con. The only panel I attended was an 11:30am Battlestar Galactica panel on Saturday morning. I got there far too early, but was rewarded with a seat in the first 5 rows in front of the stage. It was a great panel, including Michael Hogan, Michael Trucco, Kate Vernon, Mary McDonnell, Luciana Carro and Alessandro Juliani - with a surprise guest, Aaron Douglas. Mary McDonnell was like a giggling schoolgirl, she opened the panel with "Hey y'all. I love Georgia!", in a deep southern accent. She was by far the most interesting and active panelist - always cracking jokes and laughing. She was also the smartest person in the room. Michael Hogan and Kate Vernon jokingly argued like a married couple about Tigh's affair with Caprica 6 and Michael Trucco avoided the mic as much as possible. Everyone else was great. I felt like the biggest geek in the world when, as they got up to leave, Michael Hogan (in his booming, unique Col Tigh voice) yelled, "SO SAY WE ALL!" to the whole room and we all obligingly called in answer, "SO SAY WE ALL"! There is really no going back for me. *sigh* If men don't start listening to this, I'm doomed to be the old lady who lives with her cats and who watches reruns of Firefly every night.
After spending two days alone around the Con, I was ready for some company. Luckily, I had some friends that didn't tend towards flaking out. I met them (Eric & Emily) around midday on Sunday and we spent the next 10 hours walking around the exhibition halls, seeking out food, taking pictures, learning about Steam Punk and drinking buckets of rum. They had never been to a Con before, so I enjoyed showing them around and just having some friends to enjoy the experience with. We met up with several of their friends, most in costume, and relaxed by people watching on the Hyatt patio. As 11pm rolled around, and if it's possible, the Con got even more crowded, I was seriously fading and we finally headed back via Marta (where we met the Uncle Bob of the convention). I decided I didn't contain one tablespoon of nerd pride left in me and took Monday to recover from geek-overload instead of attending the last day of the Con.
All I can say is - my body and sanity are very happy to hear that they don't have to go through that again for at least another year. Below are some pictures from the Con. Enjoy.