Dragon Con: Day 1  

Monday, September 03, 2007

I'm back!

Dragon Con was just as exciting and tiring as always. Unfortunately it was also as problematic as always.

(Apologies in advance. I have an old digital camera, which doesn't do much to enhance my poor photography skills.)

My flight left promptly and it seemed to be a good start. I began reading Julian, which I really am enjoying, but more on that later this month.

I got in and received a message from my friends that the hotel had completely screwed up and assigned the four of us to a tiny room with one double bed. They managed to squeeze in a cot for their son, but they weren't optimistic that the hotel would have another room available or that they'd be able to find another cot. After a brief, panicky call to my husband who was working and finding my PSP didn't want to work on the airport's wireless, I thankfully locating a touch screen yellow pages and I managed to find a hotel with a room. It was more than I planned to pay, but it was better than sleeping on the floor. :)

World War Army Costumes

Then it was a MARTA ride to the hotel to check luggage and a short walk to the Hyatt for registration. As I walked around to the Baker Street entrance I caught a few photo ops. I really enjoyed the Army costumes.

Registration was already lined up way down the street. The first conferences started at 1:00 and I was pushing it to make that time. I called my friends, let them know I was able to get a hotel and that I was in line for registration. We made plans to meet back at their room as soon as I was through.

And boy was I glad that I pre-registered. That's the line for Ticket Master pickups, which was also out the door and around the corner of the hotel. The empty purple rows shown there are for pre-registration.

I felt kind of guilty when I walked past people that had been standing in line for hours, but then that's the benefit of paying early, I guess. I was out of there in about 20 minutes. Later in the week on Saturday and Sunday one-day registrations were even longer. I think I heard that there were 40-60,000 people there for the weekend, but I don't know how accurate those numbers are. I caught a picture of a "sim" in line as I was waiting.

After registration I went upstairs and found my friend's room. It really was a lovely room, but it was small. They were going to a panel at 1:00, but I wanted to see "Skeptics and Skepticism 101" at that time, so we split up. I treked a couple of blocks down to the Hilton, where the science track meetings were largely held.

The room was already very full when I arrived and I ended up taking a seat right up front next to the projector.

Michael Shermer, Jeff Wagg, and Ben Radford were on the panel and it was one of the best of the weekend. It was mostly a Q&A from the audience, but there was a lot of good discussion about skepticism, woo, and religion in general.

Shermer performs healing magic.

I met my friends near the main dealer rooms. We walked around a bit looking at booths. Many of the vendors were the same as last year. Personally, I found most vendors to be rude. I know it's busy, but the general attitude of most vendors was terrible. Chessex was one exception that I found.

But these guys were around as advertising mostly. I'm not sure which booth they were for. Nearby there was a coffee vendor selling different types of undead-themed coffee. Actually, to tell the truth, there were many vendors I didn't visit, so to say that most were rude is only my perceptions of the ones I visited. And this only includes the main dealer rooms, not the local dealer area.

At 3:00 it was time to check-in so I headed back the several blocks to my hotel checked-in, picked up my luggage, and saw my room for the first time. It was nice. It was huge. Both years I've gone my friends have been assigned to a tiny room and I've been given a big room even though they are reserving for three or four people and I reserve for one. My view wasn't so great though. Their view? I don't even remember if they had exterior windows in their room. If they did, I never even looked out.

Then it was a hunt for my friends again. Phone reception inside the hotels was spotty, especially in the basement. I took a few more pictures of people posing around the Hilton and on my way to the Marriot, where all of the gaming rooms were located. The Marriot is undergoing renovations and it wasn't easy to navigate. Plus, by this time the hotels had become very overcrowded. It was work sometimes just to get from one side of a room to another. I tripped over so many people, winced, and said, "I'm sorry," so many times over the next few days that in the end I just accepted that no matter how careful I was I was still going to trip over someone.

At several points during the weekend the fire department closed off entrance to the Hilton and wouldn't let anyone in the front entrance until areas could be cleared.

At that point, after only half a day of walking, I was beginning to ache. I blame the concrete floors, but I must really be in worse shape than I realized.

I took a few more pictures of people in costume and a few pictures of the crowd from above in the Marriott. The best places to catch people posing is in the lobby of the Hilton and lower level (not basement) of the Marriott. Outside of the main dealer rooms was also a popular spot this year.

I didn't take as many pictures of costumes this year. I tried to get the more unusual or better ones, but the crowds turned me off enough that I didn't stop very often. The few pictures I got were more candid or at odd angles.

This was taken when I escaped the crowds at the Marriott of a guy posing with a light saber-wielding group. You can see how difficult it can be to navigate, especially when people (like me) are stopping to take pictures.

A couple of people had props with them. A full-sized R2 droid was making the rounds near the people with Star Wars costumes.

Eventually I met up with my friends again for dinner, which usually is somewhere at the Peachtree Center food court for us (and many, many others). Yami Yami is wonderful for sushi. It's always fresh because it's gone as soon as they put new rolls out.

At a previous panel my friends had heard mention of a screening of a zombie movie, so we decided to go to it. I managed to capture this costume on the way, which I thought was fitting.

The screening was in the frigid Learning Center in the Hilton, which is where we saw the Lovecraft film festival last year. I brought a jacket, but I was still cold. We only saw one film, Zombie Love, but it was good. I'm not much of a person for musicals, but this one was comic, especially the choreographed dance scenes. The songs are still stuck in my head. That's not necessarily a good thing for any song, but still if you get a chance to see it, do. And stay for the credits. :)

And that was the end of the first day. We were tired. I walked back again to my hotel and after a hot bubble bath, some Motrin, and some more Julian slept well.

See also
Day 2
Day 3
Day 4

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