Home from Dragon*Con!

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What a great weekend! Drove down to Atlanta for Dragon*Con on Friday and back up on Monday, so basically had just under 72 hours of fun with my tribe.

A quick recap:

Friday – Arrived around 3, went to Gail Martin’s reading which was awesome. She read from four or five of her books, including her upcoming urban fantasy, which sounds awesome. Immediately afterward in the same room, we had John Hartness’s reading which also served as a Big Bad Anthology party. This served as my very first convention panel, and at the biggest con on the East Coast nonetheless. About 20-30 in attendance, but hey, it’s a start! Glad to share that moment with John, Matthew Saunders, Nico Serene, Jay Requard, James R. Tuck, and Bobby Nash (who I hadn’t met before) as well as our publisher, Allan Gilbreath at Dark Oak Press!

The Big Bad

After that we all tried to go to a second floor Mexican place on the corner by the Westin, but it was so packed that a) we couldn’t get a table big enough and had to leave so John could get to his next panel on time and b) there were so many people at the top of the escalator that they couldn’t get out of the way and we had to push the emergency stop button to prevent everyone from falling over like dominos!

Jay, Margo, Nico, Matthew, and I adjourned to our favorite Atlanta diner and proceeded to have waffles, bacon, and French toast for dinner then went to the “Main Event”. Our very own John Hartness was on a panel called “The Men of Urban Fantasy” with Jim Butcher. Yes. That Jim Butcher – Dresden Files – Codex Alera –  20 books or so and counting – yeah, that guy. It was very cool, especially the moment when John finished telling the story about his 4 foot talking lizard character in one book that John had to figure out how to get, well, some action –  but not in those words, as you can probably guess. Butcher was briefly speechless to which John added, “Follow that, Butcher!” To quote Barney Stinson it was legen – wait for it – keep waiting – almost there – dary! After many high-fives and laughter, the five of us adjourned to mine and Matthew’s room in the Westin and discussed the pros and cons of midichlorians (note – there are no pros) before joining John, Allan and others in the hotel bar to while away the night till about 1 am, at which point, Darin needed sleep… badly (obligatory Gauntlet reference)

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Saturday – Matthew and I got up early and grabbed coffee before heading out to stand on the sidewalk of Atlanta at 9:15 to secure adequate viewing for the 2013 Dragon*Con parade. Here is a link from Geeks Are Sexy with better photos than the ones I took from the sidelines: http://www.geeksaresexy.net/2013/09/01/the-dragon-con-2013-parade-in-pictures-gallery/ This was a great time, though it was amusing watching the Atlanta police try to keep everyone out of the streets. Highlights included Zombie Village People, Steampunk Tetris, the Fruit of the Loom guys, Flav-a-Flav Deadpool, Boombox Stormtrooper, Surfer Batman, cool swordfighting reenactments, the Batmobile/Ecto1/Mach 5 driving by, Boxy Superheroes, Waldo on a Unicycle, and of course Kermit and Gonzo stormtroopers. No steampunk X-men this year, unfortunately. Very cool seeing my friend Amy Jo Maitland and her husband Paul out with the Space Marines (now famous in the last picture of the link above.) Also, Janine Spendlove as Princess Leia, complete with Mickey Mouse ears since Leia is technically a Disney Princess now.

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Then it was off to the Dealer’s Room, where you can buy anything from leather corsets and steampunk goggles to posters with Darth Vader with the Death Star Memorial. (Was this an inappropriate take off of the famous Vietnam Memorial painting? Yes. Did I giggle just as inappropriately, and then feel bad about it? Yes.) Nothing I needed, but was fun to shop. Oh yeah, met a professional cosplayer. She was gorgeous, but her whole job is to dress up like superheroes, get her picture taken for posters and calendars, and stay in shape enough to look good enough doing it. Must be nice…

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People watching was pretty incredible. Here’s just  a brief sampling.

Steampunk Tetris

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Then lunch with Matthew and my friend Kevin at Hard Rock before heading off to the Hyatt to check out the art exhibit where we ran into Ernie and Asher de la Torre as well as Terry Kaden. Lots of fun hanging out with those guys and catching up.

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Then it was off to the hotel to rest up for a minute so we could all have dinner at Beni Hana. Kellie Gibson took time off from planning her next world hopping trip to New Zealand to take a train up from Elsewhere, Atlanta and join us, which was TOTALLY awesome. Great dinner with Jay, Margo, Nico, David, George, Sarah, Matthew and Kellie, and good to see Michi and her boyfriend, Mark for a few minutes. Great to meet you, Mark. After dinner, Matthew, Kellie and I took off for the Marriott and people watch. More Doctors than you could shake a sonic screwdriver at, though one cosplayer dressed as the Fourth Doctor did give us some Jelly Babies. Great to see you Kellie! Have fun in Hobbiton!

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I also met a third of Alpha Flight and posed with them as Puck (dwarf superhero, for the uninitiated – see pic at top of page). Lots of great people watching – which is, of course, why you go to Dragon*Con in the first place.

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Oh yeah, Tim the Enchanter sicced his Killer Rabbit on me. It had BIG POINTY TEETH. Can’t forget that one.

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Sunday – Woke up a bit tired, but got going quickly. Made a snap decision after coffee to go catch the Buffy panel with Kristine Sutherland (Buffy’s mom), Nicholas Brendan (Xander), and James Marsters (Spike). Brendan was a bit inappropriate (in a good way), Marsters rocked, but Sutherlan pwned the panel when one of the questions was how to stop a cockroach infestation. May I say it, Kristine Sutherland is the Linda Hamilton of the cockroach world. You had to be there, I suppose…

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Then it was off to eat a quick bite to eat before going to see Adrian Paul at 1 o’clock. If you didn’t know, he played Duncan MacLeod for six years on the show Highlander, where he was immortal. What did I learn? That Adrian Paul actually is immortal. 15-20 years since the show went off the air and he looks EXACTLY the same. I might argue he even looks better. And what a gracious speaker. That was a ton of fun, right Jay?

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Then it was off to the Celebrity room to meet some famous people. Stood in line for twenty minutes and actually got to meet Adrian Paul up close and personal. Yep. Definitley immortal. Also met the preacher from Walking Dead, Blue Fairy and Jiminy Cricket from Once Upon A Time (helped Blue Fairy with her cold), Mr. Fantastic from FF, Kristine Sutherland from Buffy, and saw George Takei, Ed Asner, John Barrowman, Laura Vandervoort and a slew of others. Still, meeting the Highlander was the highlight. (Does that make it the Highlighter???)

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After a bit of people watching, I headed north out of Atlanta (yes, shock of shocks, I left the con for a minute) to go visit Jennifer Scully and her two lovely daughters. We had Mellow Mushroom pizza and pontificated for an hour on the favorite things of pirates. (What’s a pirate’s favorite sci-fi movie? Starrrrr Warrrrrrs!!!) Great to see you, Scully. Your book is on the way soon.

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Then back to Dragon*Con to see the Barrage in the Garage, ummm… I mean the Violence in Urban Fantasy Panel. (Sings variation of Sesame Street song “One of these Panelists is not like the other.”

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Then, utterly exhausted, the fab five adjourned again to our hotel room to again discuss midichlorions (still no pros) and other mid-series continuity shifts (the Planet Zeist?? What??) Then bed time for our last night. 🙁

Woke up this morning early, got some editing done over Starbucks, met and old school Doctor Who fan, then did some last minute shopping with Matthew. (Katie and Livvie – I got you something!!!) before loading up the car and heading north. Last stop? Cracker Barrel with Matthew and Nicole.

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What a great weekend. And it’s not quite over. Took a day off tomorrow to recuperate from my vacation. 11 am tomorrow? 2 hour massage coming. Oh yeah.

Wednesday it’s back to work, but that’s still 36 hours away. Now the only question is, whatever will I eat for dinner tonight?

Oh, one last thing. If you saw anything cuter than this baby R2D2 this weekend, I would like to see it.

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