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I never really left...

I love `con. I love it more than I can express. Dragon*Con is the high point of the year for me, but I dearly love all of the `cons we attend - Dragon*Con, Necronomicon, and Frolicon/Fantasm. They are the environment where I am most in my element - where I am most myself. I love even my "mundane" life, but I feel most alive at `con.

It's not perfect though, and I have a couple of complaints about `con (and Dragon*Con in particular). One complaint is that I can only be in one place at a time. When there are up to 5 different "must do" events happening at the same time it requires painful compromises and crushing sleep deprivation.

The biggest problem is simply that it ends. A con lasts 3-5 days, and then you go back to the real world, right? And the contrast between "con space" and "normal space" is jarring. Honestly, the only thing that keeps me from falling into a depression after Dragon*Con is the promise of Necronomicon right around the corner. I suspect that my obsessive need to take copious pictures at `con stems from a desperate desire to bring some small part of con space back into normal space. As the event winds down my strongest desire is to not have to leave con space.

This year, to my delight, I haven't really had to.

Most of my "recreational listening" nowadays is podcasts, and many of my favorite podcasts - The Skeptics' Guide to the Universe, Point of Inquiry, The Signal, Skepticality, etc., had some representation at Dragon*Con. What's more, they've been steadily airing recordings of some of the panels. No, of course it's not the full `con experience, but in at least a virtual sense I've been steadily attending panels all month. Some, like the SGU panel and the last couple of episodes of Skepticality, are panels that I was physically at, and others are panels that I missed due to conflict or the need to sleep (curse my puny meat body!!). But in either case it's been a sheer joy to keep part of the event still going almost a month later! In fact, I still have at least two more events to "attend" that are currently on my iPod, and then I may start going through the rest of the recorded panels.

I really hope that this becomes a trend for large sci-fi conventions in the future. There's no replacement for actually being there, but this is a wonderful complement to the `con experience.

Comments

( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
terriaminute
Sep. 25th, 2008 06:44 pm (UTC)
We call this "con-itis"
-- Eager to get to a con, sad to leave, that jarring difference between con space and normal space... Yep. Con-itis. Gotta go!

I'm so glad you've got a way to fill that void between cons. I have trouble sitting through panels these days, or I'd go listen to some. My con-itis is satisfied by being surrounded by fans, people who don't think I'm too weird or whose eyes don't glass over when I talk about Martian rovers or Lord of the Rings the latest Dresden Files novel. I need to share space with my peoples!!!
mosthings1z
Sep. 25th, 2008 07:22 pm (UTC)
And remember Scream Fest week after Necro and MegaCon end of February. Get your Con on all year long!
(Deleted comment)
datan0de
Sep. 30th, 2008 01:01 pm (UTC)
Re: Dragon*Con
I'm not ignoring your question about how much Dragon*Con costs. As strange as it may seem I'm just not qualified to answer it with any specific numbers. My money foo is largely restricted to "can I afford this item right here in front of me? Better ask Kim!" I keep meaning to pass the question along to Kim but only seem to think of it when she's not around. I will eventually get her to reply, or feel free to directly ask her yourself of course! I can give a few tips though, as we were absolutely destitute our first few Dragon*Cons and still had an epic time.

Sharing a room and transportation are the best and most popular ways to save a significant chunk of the cost. They're also potentially a lot of fun, since it means that your friends are right there with you and spares you some of the hassle of coordinating getting together with people. Believe me, it's not uncommon at all for people to split a room among as many people as will fit on the floor!

Staying at a hotel that isn't one of the `con hotels but is within walking distance can cut the price significantly also, though it means that you eventually have to leave con space to crash. We did that our first several Dragon*Cons and it worked out fine, though I have to admit that I've gotten hooked on staying on-site.

The other big thing that we do to save money is bring much of our own food - usually Chef Boy Ar Dee, energy/protein bars, canned sodas, and stuff to manufacture sandwiches. (Total side note - I love to apply industrial words to mundane food preparation. If I ever owned a sandwich shop like Subway or Quizno's I'd call it Sandwich Forge.) We've had a big sushi outing during Dragon*Con the last several years that's become a tradition, and typically will eat at least one meal in the (pricy) hotel restaurant but those aren't requirements by any means, and by taking a spartan approach to the rest of our food needs we save a pile of cash, and end up spending roughly the same amount for the rest of our meals that we'd spend outside of `con.

The only other real expense is the "dealer room" (which is actually the dealer room and the exhibitor's room). They sell everything a sci-fi, fantasy, or gamer geek could want. Aside from owning a home or bailing out major financial institutions, the dealer room has the potential to be the greatest money sink known to man. But it doesn't have to be! I've heard people say "I don't want to go to `con if I can't spend money in the dealer room." These people are heretics and full of fail, and I have several of them buried in my back yard. If you're broke then just skip it. The dealer room is awesome, but it is absolutely not an essential part of `con unless you're going there to buy something specific. Even without money it can be fun to browse, though personally for the last few years there have been so many other things going on that I've barely found the time to set foot in it. Oh, but prices usually drop on the last day.

The one area where I stand firm and absolutely unwilling to compromise is with duration. Once you've committed to going it's sheer madness to go for only part of the weekend. Seriously. The stuff that happens on Friday is different than the stuff that happens on Saturday or Sunday or Monday. They're not interchangeable, and I would starve myself for a month and a half before I would even consider going for just one day (and I'm not speaking hypothetically here).

Hell, a 4-day pass for next year is $60 until 11/14. If you absolutely can't afford that then let me know and I'll PayPal you half. Seriously. I'd hate to see you miss out on the whole weekend! Of course, you're on your own as far as a room, but you've got 11 months to make those arrangements. Just let me know.
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )