Fanboy/Girl Moment(s)

Dragon Con is coming soon.

DragonCon2014_logo
Rejoice!

For those of you that are unaware of what that means, I invite you to go here so that you can see why this is a cause for celebration. It’s an opportunity to be amongst my fellow nerds and geeks, as well as catch up with many friends that I often times only get to see at these sorts of things. It’s also a great time to have a random celebrity encounter or two.

Here’s my story!

This had to be close to 10 years ago, but I was riding in the elevator to head back to our hotel room after a good bit of aimless wandering in the Dealers’ Room. The plan was to relax for a sec, grab something to drink and then return to the sea of humanity that was the convention. There were a few other younger folks on the elevator heading to their own various destinations. The elevator stops, and a rather distinctive older gentleman makes his way on and gives a friendly greeting before pressing the button for his floor. I’ve done a bit of research and online sleuthing since that moment, and after lots of intensive labor I was able to track down his photo.

GeorgeTakei
Yuuuuup!

Now as famous as George Takei is, this was during the years before he became the Lord and Savior of the Internet and easily one of the most influential personalities in existence. You youngsters might not believe it, but there was actually a time where people didn’t know who George Takei was. And here I was on an elevator with such a group, as no one paid him any semblance of a mind or even flinch.

Be cool, Mani. Be cool…

He starts cracking jokes, because of course he’s going to start cracking jokes. There was some laughter from the masses, but still no sign of recognition. He doesn’t seem to mind, and he just keeps smiling and chatting away. Finally, the elevator comes to my floor. As I’m making my way out, I quietly extend my hand and smile.

“Huge fan of your work, sir.”

He returns the smile and shakes it. “Oh, thank you very much.” And after the door closes, I practically power-walk to our room, throw the door open and announce to my roommates that I had just run into George Mother-effin’ Takei =)

I’ve had other friends have some pretty cool celebrity encounters at Dragon Con as well. So, my people, let’s hear it- have any of you had any sort of celebrity encounter? Who was it? Where was it? I’d love to hear about it!

A Helpful Guide For Attending a Convention

I was going through some of my old stuff and stumbled across something that I wrote a few years back. With Dragon*Con being right around the corner, this seemed appropriate to repost!

If you’re one of the ones fortunate enough to have a convention pop up in your neck of the woods, then by all means I suggest checking it out. And why is that, you ask? Aside from a cult, where else are you going to find a larger group of like-minded individuals? As the safer alternative, I highly recommend to anyone that they attend a convention, at least once. Be it sci-fi, anime, or what have you, it’s a good opportunity to gain a broader appreciation of your genre of choice. Of course it can be a bit daunting, so I’m here to offer my services in preparing you for such an endeavor. This guide is not only for you neophytes out there, but for you con vets at well, because, well, sometimes even we need a reminder or two.

The first thing that you’ll more than likely notice, especially if you are a newbie, is the fact that there are some people in this world that make your devotion for a particular series/character seem almost normal. Whether this is a good or a bad thing is all in the eye of the beholder. It’s either something to aspire to, or something to shy away from. On the subject of social interaction at conventions, even if it goes against every fiber of your being, I strongly suggest speaking to some of the people there. Sure, you might be as pale as Rei from Evangelion due to your constant shunning of sunlight and human contact, but I guarantee that they’ll be someone there that can relate to you. If you see a nice costume, complement them. If you like someone’s shirt, let him or her know. For the love of humanity, remember your upbringing and show some decency, though. Just because someone is dressed up as Naga from Slayers is no reason to hold a conversation with her cleavage.

But if you didn’t want us to stare, you’d have worn a sweater.

The best way to describe the feeling you’ll get the first time you walk into the Dealers’ Room is that of fandom overload, as you’re going to see just about everything you have possibly ever wanted, and then some. While the more seasoned vet is used to this, it can still be pretty overwhelming at times. You can always tell who’s the newbie in the Dealers’ Room, because often times they are the ones you’ll find on the ground twitching and giggling madly. My advice here is to simply narrow your search down. Make a list of the things that you really want, and would probably have a hard time finding outside of the convention. If you still have it in your budget, you can then start hunting for whatever odds and ends strike your fancy. Random Sidenote – food money should not be mixed in with this budget, and neither should your hotel expenses. You need to eat, and spending money meant to cover the hotel room has been known to anger roommates.

Now, this one is for the more seasoned con-goer, those individuals that have been at this for a while. My advice to you is to simply get out of your routine from time to time. It may seem painful to skip that Hentai panel that you’ve attended every year, but I’m sure that there’s something else going on at that same time that you’ll find just as interesting. It doesn’t pay to get stuck in your ways, because there’s a lot going on over the course of the weekend that you’re bound to miss out on.

And of course, the final and most important rule is to simply have fun. Do whatever you do to have a good time, within reason of course. Whether that is Cosplaying, attending panels, or getting tipsy with your friends in the sanctuary of your hotel room, have fun. I mean, after all, isn’t that what these conventions are all about? Having a bit of fun and meeting new people that share your enthusiasm for the genre? I’ve learned that you get back what you put into these conventions. So with that in mind, sit back, relax, and take in the sights. And have fun, dammit.