• Lisa

Dragon Con fun, part one

I survived Dragon Con! And this year I will actually share pix and stories before Christmas. LOL

As with last year, I did not stay at one of the insanely expensive host hotels downtown. I hate to drive in Atlanta, and hate it worse the closer to town I get. Thankfully, the little extended stay I discovered last year, not far from where the pen show is held, was available, and I landed there around lunch time on Thursday, day one of the con. Unofficial activities are starting up on Wednesday now, aka day zero, but they seem to be more for downtownies. I’m good with the way I did it last year, and planned to repeat the procedure.

Lunch time was a little too early to check in, so I let the nice ladies at the hotel front desk know I would be back about 3. A big storm was bearing down on Florida, which I worried might mean a lot of evacuees passing through Atlanta in the next few days in need of gas, so the first thing I did was fill up my tank. Then I splurged on lunch out, wandered through the nearby mall, and bought some homemade flavored popcorn from a young boy and his mom who ran a kiosk.

I checked in and ran next door to the Publix for staples—I LOVE the tiny kitchenette in the hotel’s rooms. I swear it’s the size of a postage stamp but it has probably half the cabinet space of my kitchen at home. Then I stocked my little backpack with 75 crocheted tribbles and my water bottle, and headed for the train station. Having been smart enough to load my transit card online, all I had to do was swipe it and hop aboard!

It took me just a minute to get reoriented to the con footprint once I got off the train at Peachtree Center, and then headed for the Sheraton to register. We were tense for a while leading up to con, because the Sheraton had had an outbreak of legionnaire’s disease, which is a waterborne bacterial thing, and was closed down for a good while. reopening just weeks before Labor Day weekend. On the brighter side, everybody reasoned it would probably be the cleanest place in Atlanta after that.

The line to register was huge, much longer than last year—it went almost completely around the building, so, 3 blocks or so? One nice thing, though, was having that time to start really getting into what I call con headspace, admiring people’s costumes, striking up conversations, and even enlisting the help of the gals in line in front of me to help me get my tiny wingman pinned to my shoulder (after they played with him and cooed over how precious he is)

The swag and seek meetup was that evening. This year we actually got a room, instead of having to meet in a hallway! It was great, until everybody started to get up and socialize and pass out their swag; then the chairs got in the way and it became something of a mess ☹ Hopefully next year, the mods will remember this, and ask attendees to pitch in and move the chairs before we start! That aside, though, it was great fun. Every one of my tribbles was gone before I left the room, and I went home with everything from comic books and stickers to jewelry and badge ribbons. And a lei, which tiny Tony claimed.

The swag group is already making plans for next year, and a couple of folks are going to make tribbles. Good thing I had already thought of something else I want to give! I love the ribbons people hand out to attach to your badge, and I got an idea on the way home for one that ties in with tiny Tony. I asked in the group if it would be too late and untimely next year, but they seem to think not so. So next year’s swag from me is likely to be a red badge ribbon that says in gold ‘I (heart) Dragon Con 3000’.

Friday is the first full day, and honestly my favorite. It’s not quite as crowded just yet, but it’s busy enough to be fun. I attended a couple of panels and ate my packed lunch (yes, I did that again, because it saves time as well as money to have a peanut butter sammich in my bag instead of having to stop, pay, find a seat, and eat) while walking down to the vendors building. As before, the line to get in there was pretty long too, but the weather was surprisingly mild, and again, line-standing is a nice chance to slow down and socialize a bit.

Only problem is, after you wait 10 or 15 minutes to get in, you don’t want to shop for an hour and then run back out to go to other panels! Well, I don’t, because to be honest, shopping was one of my favorite parts of last year’s con, and this year there were even more vendors! Four floors of stuff? I mean, really, it’s outlandish. LOL. So, I ditched a couple of panels and got a good bit of Chrismukkah shopping done. Spent most of the afternoon, and still didn’t make it through the last floor of vendors OR the artists’ floor!

Part of the reason for that was I spent a good bit of time at the BPAL booth greeting the denizens there, and being a perfume fairy. See, the Lab makes special limited edition scents for events they vend at, perfumes you can only get there. People who have the chance to attend those often offer to pick up bottles for those who can’t. AKA, perfume fairies! I can only keep 2 or 3 people straight, but it’s fun to be able to do something nice for fellow BPALies. Having most of the Lab’s stock out in front of me, however, meant I had to sniff lots of things I never had before; and since I guess I looked like I knew what I was doing, a lot of muggles (okay, just non-BPAL-obsessed con-goers) asked my help or advice when the actual labbies were busy. Happy to be of service!

Some pix from the first couple of days—

Waiting in line to register (this is AFTER getting into the Sheraton, understand, not the 3 block long line outside!)

Every corner you turn has another fun thing. In this case, it was a fundraiser for the con’s annual charity; donate, and get to play chess against a Jawa.

This was at the Marriott btw. Remember when I shared the legend of the carpet, I said they replaced it several years ago with something really awful? (points) 0_o

View from the train platform, waiting to ride downtown. My hotel is just beyond that tall building, almost within walking distance if worse came to worse.

Panel featuring Mark Sheppard, aka Crowley of Supernatural. He was a delight. I got to talk to him for a minute at his booth later in the con.

The world’s biggest hair ball, at the Ripleys Believe It Or Not booth in the vendors building.

A staffer with scissors and spray-on adhesive took snips from anybody willing and affixed them to the ball…and yes, I had to participate. A tiny lock of mine is off to one side of that monstrosity. Sorry for the blur. As usual, I suck at photography, and was trying to stay out of other people's way who wanted to see the thing.

This has dragged on a bit longer than I meant for it to! I’ll break off here, and post again in a couple of days with more pix and yarns (literally, in a couple of cases!)

#fandom #travel #shopping

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