Tuesday, September 06, 2011

WI TronCar to Dcon! or 2,280 Minutes in Heaven (with DragonCon) - Part I

For the 5 days prior to heading to DragonCon, I worked 47.2 hours.

At DragonCon proper, I spent approximately 38 hours experiencing, thriving, and living in the geek-infused chaos that is 40,000+ people, 4 hotels, and countless (home brewed!) beers worth of hedonistic, nerd-tastic, costume-enchanted chaos.

Now granted, I did pause for sleep. Perhaps in my halcyon high-school days, I could have powered through on pure adrenalin and Jolt Cola. But being that I also drove a total of 30 hours round trip, arrived late Friday and left Sunday (before the final day of programming), I do believe I did pretty good for an old (34) broad.

Now, sipping some Halloween Spice wine from Spurgeon Winery (leaving HotLanta, it was 94 degrees, arriving back in Wisco, it was the inverse 49) I will attempt to relay my experiences.

Thursday, September 1, 2011 approx. 7pm

“When the bombs go off, the sun will still be shining,because I’ve heard it said that every mushroom cloud has a silver lining.” ~ Owl City

This is my second time going to DragonCon. I don’t know if I learned anything the first time around.

After getting off work at 4:30pm, I rushed home to chill with our catstitter until my second driver (and significant other) arrived home from work at 6pm. I had been living in such anticipation of fleeing the confines of my job, my house, my Midwestern obligations that I had been driving around for two days with my fully-packed bags in the trunk of my car. On the day prior to departure, armed with Leinenkugel's and 2 rolls of painter’s tape, I had transformed my silver Toyota Echo (MinkCar) into TronCar for our journey.

The Man arrived home at 6pm, threw some deodorant in an Army Surplus bag, downed two beers, and we were off.

Actually, I decided to stop by a friend’s place to deliver some goods for an alternative show I was missing out on – Geek Burlesque, starring performers with acts homaging X-Men, Firefly, Tank Girl, Mario Brothers, and oh so much more. I really hated missing it.

Our map sucked balls. I drew it, so I guess that would be my fault. I also downloaded directions from Google that had us "Continue onto Edward T. Breathmint Pennyrile Pkwy to Lover's Lane"! As for the trip, I will say Travel Center of America (TA) damn good coffee, Tennessee has some bathrooms that look to have pre-peed water in them, and downing two beers, and then chasing it with a Kwik Trip Angus Burger + Dean Strawberry Milk does not make for good-tasting burps.

I’d hit up the Rosemary Garfoot Public Library in Cross Plains for some audio books. We had The Hitchhikers Guide Tertiary Phase, Christopher Moore’s Stupidest Angel, and a collection of David Sedaris to keep us going.

Holy crap, Illinois is a long state.

When we finally got to the Smokey Mountains, I realized that, though I’d driven this route (to Florida to visit my little sister when she lived there – the same little sister who is giving me the excuse to go to DragonCon this year as she now lives right outside Atlanta) in the past, I’d always left the North in the early morning, and had never actually seen this area of the world in the day time.

I am frightened of mountains, something I found out when I lived in Portland, OR. On this trip I discovered that mountains are still scary, even when covered with trees.

We were following a casket truck for a few miles. Emblazoned on the back was the note that “We only sell to licensed funeral professionals.” Driving right behind it, a flatbed truck carrying a solitary coffin. Hu?

Next time I journey to this part of the country, I will take time to stop at Dollywood, and Rock City. This time, we just powered through, fueled by coffee, Coke Zero, summer sausage, cheese curds, and the utterly fantastic Cheddar Multigrain Pringles. And then, suddenly…

Holy F**k it’s Friday, September 2, 2011

"What I need is a stiff drink and a peer group." - Ford Prefect, The Hitchhikers Guide Tertiary Phase.

7:18 AM

txted my sister.

“What time is it? You in Costume yet???”

She txt back:

“Haha! No. Just woke up and brewed nice pot of hot water. LOL. Coffee is a good thing to add when making coffee.”

We cross into Eastern Time Zone.

I am driving from Wisconsin to Georgia in part because I can. I am still healthy enough to make the journey, the car is healthy enough, gas is under $4 a gallon (the cheapest we saw it was $3.36), I have enough money to cover hotel and registration, and my life is such that I can run away and take a 15 hour road trip. Or rad trip. And I wanna see my seester.

Arrived at Roswell, GA, home of seester’s boyfriend, at 11:30am.

Picked up sister’s costumes, luggage, and cooler, which is filled with beer, milk and cereal, fruit, granola bars, almond 100 calorie packs, a fuckass huge bag of oranges she got for $2.99, apples and Emergen-C to stave off con-funk. Righteous.

We then drive into the bowels of Downtown Atlanta.

Arrive at Dcon hotel at 1:40pm.

Sister's Boyfriend

I am introduced to the other members of the room party and ask them all what they think of Friday so far. Here is the response I get from the mostly-horribly hung over bunch:


“Hangover – we drank so much we grew discouraged”






“Coffee takes away the pain of being dead”

and my favorite description of Friday?

“Almost Saturday!”

The Room

Stuff I did on Friday:

- Zombie Walk!

- Found out I should see “Hobo with a shotgun”, an actual movie based on the fake trailer on Tarantino’s Grindhouse.

- Saw less moms then last time – when we attended Dcon in 2009 (the same time they filmed the documentary “4 Days at DragonCon” ) we caught a ride to the airport with a mom who was heading home after spending the weekend dressed as a StormTrooper.

Stuff I didn’t do (from the downloaded schedule we all make nice little notations on, then ignore):

230pm – Panel: Violent video game law in California

530pm – Panel: How not to get into gaming

7pm - Anime industry panel

10pm - What’s new with Troma? (I ended up just asking Lloyd Kaufman when I saw him and ended up with the home-grown “Blood Junkie” )

Friday was frantic, in a way. Everyone freaking out that they just got there (save those who had arrived on Thursday and drank themselves into oblivion.) And as disorganized as any con – the schedule had only appeared a few days prior, and things were constantly being canceled and rescheduled (updates were available via the Daily Dragon). The con, tho fan run and therefore I believe more scattered than an industry convention, has been around for 25 years, and seems for the most part know how to make things work.

We got into our Zombie costumes and shuffled down to the Westmark, where we had heard the march/ walk started. We simply hung out in front of the place, starting at about 8pm, waiting for something to happen. Eventually we had to go inside and investigate. Seems there was a zombie makeup panel going on and anyone could get their makeup done before the walk. This lead to the actual walk starting about an hour late.

No matter. Hanging out on the street dressed as zombies, everyone who wanted to know about the walk asked us for details and then took our pics. Score!

We ended up shambling off after a guy holding a “Zombie Walk” sign – loosing him at every intersection and spinning in circles, then attacking the public. It was pretty great. Except for I was too scary – I vow to come up with a cute girl zombie before next time.


..up next, the Deadmau5keteers and more of Friday!

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