Another CONvergence has come and gone, and I am utterly exhausted. This is the big party that Jess and I look forward to all year. Despite some fuckery and unpleasantness, we had an absolute blast.
First let’s talk about the good.
- Reunited with old friends and made new ones
I used to be terribly shy, and I guess I still am to a point, but cons have really helped me com out of my shell. It was good seeing Tiffany, Patrick K., Patrick T., John, C.J., Jules, Daniel, Mitch, Amanda, Jennie, S.D., and R. Scott again. We also met some awesome new people, planned some awesome future group costumes, and met up with familiar faces from Twitter. I may lack local acquaintances, but I have wonderful friends worldwide, and CON always serves to remind me of that.
- My girl was the prettiest at the con
No, no. Don’t argue. My wife wins the arm candy prize. I got to spend the con with Jessica Rabbit, Amy Pond, and Rikku. Two fiery redheads and one bombshell blonde. Seeing my wife in costume, constantly being asked to pose for pictures, was awesome. Her costumes served as an ice breaker for many discussions on costuming and prop building that will serve us well over the next year as we both prepare new costumes.
- Survival Panel
The Post-Apocalyptic Survival panel was fantastic. Special thanks go out to Tiffany for helping me lug supplies around and to Patrick Tomlinson for hopping on the panel at the last minute. The can game was hilarious as always and very suspenseful. For the first time ever, the competition for the Golden Spork came down to two cans. The prize ultimately went to Amanda Alexander in her awesome Eleventh Doctor costume. I saw some familiar faces in the audience, including last year’s Golden Spork winner, which he brought with him. I should have gotten him and Amanda to pose for a picture. D’oh!
Nobody else on the panel wanted to do the YMCA apparently.
- Sold some books
I brought fifteen print copies of The Weller to the convention and came home with zero. I gave two away as thank you gifts to some very special people, but sold the other thirteen. I also handed out several book cards for the Retro Rocket ebook edition to those who specifically asked for the Kindle version. I was floored by how many people came up to me and asked if Weller 2 will be out in time for CONvergence 2014. We’ll see.
- Best. Reading. Ever.
Patrick Koozy, who lent his name and likeness to the villain in The Weller, also lent his voice to the character he inspired during the reading on Friday. The audience, including one CON volunteer, absolutely loved it. The reading of my WIP, Nighty Knights, was also well received.
- The costumes
I love cosplay, and seeing so many new and creative costumes really made the long drive to Minneapolis worth it. There’s nothing like chasing down a total stranger or shouting at them from a balcony and having them gladly strike a pose for the camera.
Now let’s talk about the bad.
- Badge pickup
The badge pickup process was ridiculous. Despite what some convention staff think, it was NOT a “resounding success.” Whoever thought printing badge names AT the con was a good idea needs to pull their head out of their ass. There were reports of pre-registered attendees stepping out of line and paying at-the-door prices just to get out of the line that stretched through the hotel, up the stairs, and down the hall. Some people were in line for over six hours! With opening day being on Independence Day, the staff should have foreseen overwhelming opening-day attendance and made more allowances for early badge pickup for local attendees.
- Green bath tub
Friday night, Jessica took part in a group competition where the objective was to make a “secret agent” unrecognizable to facial recognition. Jess was one of the models and I got to watch as she was transformed into a beautiful mermaid.
Okay, so that’s not bad. In fact, it was downright awesome. The bad part came at 2:30 AM when we got back to the hotel and spent the next two and a half hours scrubbing the paint off, staining the unpainted parts of her body as the water carried the paint down. My feet were green all day Saturday and so was our bathtub. I thought the hotel was going to charge us for damages for sure.
- Ass hat panelists
It never fails. There’s always one panel where some pompous asshole singles me out as the weakest link and makes it their mission to stop me from speaking and/or make me look like an idiot in order to make them look superior. This time there were two. No, I will not give names, so please don’t ask. In one panel, the man to my left interrupted my introduction not once, but TWICE to promote himself and his work, ultimately cutting my introduction short. Said dickhead then proceeded to dominate the panel and steer it in a direction that allowed him to toot his own horn and list off the names of celebrity friends he thought would impress the audience. The second panel involved a woman who made it her business to shoot down every opinion I had on the topic and repeatedly remind us of her “qualifications.” Tired, hungry, and in pain, I did not fight her very much and just waited out the clock.
Whoa, wait! “In pain?”
Yes, I was in pain for much of the convention, often putting on a brave, neutral face to keep it from showing. This brings me to my next topic:
- The constant pain
I haven’t talked about it much, but I suffer from an inguinal hernia. I was born with it, so this is nothing new, but the pain is. The pain started a little over a year ago and what it comes down to is gravity working against the hernia, so unfortunately even standing still for long periods causes me excruciating pain. Unfortunately a lifelong string of dumbfuck doctors who weren’t worth the paper their degrees were printed on kept this condition from being properly diagnosed and treated early, as it should have been. There’s light at the end of the tunnel, however, because I have been scheduled for surgery this Thursday. The doctor is confident that I’ll make a full recovery and in a few months be back to normal activity, including martial arts.
Because of my condition, I was constantly looking for a place to sit down at the con. I couldn’t help feeling like a burden to our friends when this kept me from moving easily around the room parties. Unfortunately the pain and stress of bad panels eventually took their toll on me and I wound up taking my frustration out on Jess Saturday night. Luckily she is very supportive and, due to her medical background, understands what I’m going through. All was forgiven when I brought her a peace offering from the dealers’ room on Sunday morning:
She made many squees of jubilation.
Despite the bad parts, Jessica and I had a lot of fun and we’re looking forward to next year. We took over 500 pictures this year, and if you’d like to see them, they’re available here. Feel free to tag yourself and/or anyone you know.
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