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The Sciences

Tales of DragonCon: Overview

Bad AstronomyBy Phil PlaitSeptember 4, 2008 9:09 PM


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DragonCon. Yowza. Where to start?

OK, for those not in the know, DragonCon is one of the premier scifi/fantasy conventions in the country. It's big, like 40k people big. A lot of stuff goes on: talks, movies, singing, panels on various topics, places where celebrities sign stuff, and so on. I mostly attended and participated in panels, sitting with skeptics and podcasters and scientists and educators. For example, the first panel I was on was Skepticism 101, an intro to critical thinking. We had Randi, Michael Shermer, DJ Grothe, Jeff Wagg, Richard Saunders, and Ben Radford. It was a lot of fun. The place was packed (I counted about 150 people IIRC), and we had lots of audience participation. In fact, I'd call that the theme of all the panels; fun, audience questions/comments, and lots of smart people. That last bit is pretty important; I heard a lot of folks saying how much fun it is to hang with smart people. I love smart people. And the friends! Richard, A, Evo and Sheila, Derek and Swoopy, Maria, Christian, Carrie, Tim, the other Tim, Mykel, George Hrab, Soccergirl, and many many more. These cons are a chance for us to renew our friendships and have a good time. Also, to ogle the costumes. That's a definite plus. I took a bazillion photos, and posted quite a few on Flickr.


Another typical day at DragonCon.


This one was particularly cool. I saw the yip yip yip costume, and had to get a picture. A couple of years ago at DragonCon 2006, my bud Mykel and I went around and took pictures of costumed revelers holding my book, Bad Astronomy. This year I did it again, but this time with the proof copy of Death from the Skies! So I go up to the yipyipyip guy and ask him if I can get a shot of him holding my book. Mind you, I walked up to him randomly; I could have been anybody. He says (muffled behind the mask), "Sure, on one condition. You put the picture up on your blog." Awesome! I was recognized. Turns out, he has his own blog and talks about this very incident. The costumes went on and on. next year, for sure, I'll come up with something. I felt a little stiff walking around in a polo shirt and long pants -- I had no go-go boots, or vinyl, or tape over my chest, or helmet, or antennae, or chain mail, or stormtrooper outfit, or gladiator cape, or zombie wounds. Sigh. I have some individual stories to tell over the next few days, and I'll drop them in among the regular posts. Promise. Until then, you can read Maria's thoughts, and stories from Carr2d2, and A, and Kylie. Other blogs abound, too. I plan on attending next year, schedule permitting. I love me some scifi cons, and I always have (I went to Disclave and Balticon back in the early 80s, so my geek cred is established). I suspect I always will, too.

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