Dragon Con: Day 2  

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Day 2 of Dragon Con dawned pretty brightly. I was up before 9:00 to attend 'Is It a Ghost: A Skeptic Reviews' with Alison Smith of the Skeptical Analysis of the Paranormal Society (SAPS). This was, as most science track panels, over in the Hilton, which was a several block walk. Really, I'm not usually such a baby, but there was a lot of walking.

Alison did a great job of showing us footage of a couple of different unexplained experiences and letting us decide what we thought. She asked the skeptics to approach the videos from the perspective of believing in ghosts and the ghost believes to approach it as a skeptic. I think most people in the room were skeptics and we all pretty much ignored her good advice and were skeptical.

She admitted to not believing in ghosts herself, but she explained that she always tries to approach anything she's examining with an open mind.

Next I putzed around for a while in the main Dealer's rooms, which were in the same building before heading back to the Hyatt to attend Michael Shermer's reading of Why Darwin Matters. It was a small group and an enjoyable conversation. He was selling hardback copies cheap and signing autographs. I picked up a copy and it'll be bumping my reading list down by one - as soon as I finish Julian.

After that panel, friends of mine found a table (in the role playing section in the Marriott, no less) and set up to play Carcassonne. I've never played the game before, but two things I like about it - it has interesting strategy and it's short. A game can be played in less than 45 minutes.

The game is simply a set of tiles and some units that represent each player. Each person in turn draws a tile and places it. It must logically match the tiles it's placed next to and must connect to at least one tile. After placing a tile the player can optionally place a unit. If the unit is placed in a city tile it becomes a knight; on a road, a robber baron; on a farm, a farmer; or on an abbey, a monk. Points are scored based on claiming the area with your unit. Other players can challenge your unit as tiles are placed.

That's not a very good explanation, but it's not an easy game to explain without visuals.

Trevor trumped us all by winning by a wide margin. His farmers ruled all of our knights. Of course later we would learn that we were playing the game wrong. But I think it was fun the way we played it.

I also caught a picture of what I thought was Cthulu at first, but turned out to probably be a mind flayer on second thought. In any case he was a nice guy and stopped and posed for us when I requested a picture.

After that we got some dinner in the Hilton because my friends had a panel there. I was so hungry. The lines were long at restaurants and I often got through the morning and afternoon on milk, juice, and an energy bar from breakfast. Finding a place to sit after ordering at walk-up and order places was also tough, especially if the place happened to be located in one of the hotels.

After that I rushed back to the Hyatt to attend Smackdown! Skeptics vs. True Believers. After waiting in line for a few minutes I learned that the panel we were waiting in line for was the Ghost Hunters and my panel had been moved to the Hilton. Arghh! So I ran back over to the Hilton and made it just as the panel was starting. It was crowded, so I ended up sitting on the floor near the front row.

Alison Smith, Michael Shermer, Patrick Burns, and another guy were on the panelGraham Watkins. I'm so sorry I don't remember his name and I didn't write it down. He's not on the official panel speaker's list. It was a good, polite debate until Patrick BurnsGraham Watkins called James Randi a fraud. The crowd booed.

Jeff Wagg, here in the audience, looked unhappy. Other than that it was an interesting, if not very controversial debate. The reason they're all looking towards me in the picture is because a guy on the floor near me was asking them a question. It was a great photo opportunity. I didn't use a flash (as in most pictures) and so the photo turned out a little blurry.

Later the FSM was sighted outside the main Dealer's rooms. I had no idea her deliciousness was female, but it has been confirmed. At least, it's confirmed that she chose to show herself to us as a member of the female persuasion at the Con.

Just thinking about it right now and I crave a noodley blessing.

I did manage to snap one more picture on our way back to the room. This costume reminded me of the imp in Heroes of Might and Magic V. I know it can't possibly be that. My husband thinks it must be from Spawn.

We planned to see something later, but unwisely we headed back to my friends' room for a little while we realized that we weren't going to be persuaded to go out again. It felt too good to relax. I headed back to my room to read, catch up with my husband, and get some much needed sleep.

Which reminds me, I forgot another panel we went to late on Friday (Day 1), which was 28 Minutes Later, a discussion about the two movies 28 Days Later and 28 Weeks Later. The discussion was mildly interesting, but I was tired and I about fell asleep a couple of times. The fun thing was that it was in one of the Brit track rooms and they had a lot of posters up about the new Dr. Who. Since I have friends here at work that are fans it made me think of them. Obviously I have to include a reference here just for them.

That was Day 2. It was probably the most grueling day of the four days for me, but it was a lot of fun.

See also
Day 1
Day 3
Day 4

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