It's interesting that the Speak Out With Your Geek Out project came along when it did. Perhaps it wasn't random that it would be planned during, what I refer to as, "Con Season."
For the uninitiated, July to October is when a large number of geeky conventions take place. From the mac-daddy of all conventions - Comic Con in San Diego - to smaller, regional cons, it is possible to get your geek on for months on end (assuming you have a big travel budget and lots of vacation time).
My convention-going started by accident. I lived in Atlanta for many years and one of my very best friends still lives there. A few years ago, my friend decided to attend Dragon*Con, a gigantic geek fan-convention held in Atlanta over Labor Day weekend. My friend was there for about a half a day when she called and said, "start saving your money now... you're coming here next year." I did and, with the exception of the year my grandmother died, I've been going every year since.
Labor Day weekend has, historically, also been host to PAX Prime (aka Penny Arcade Expo: The Original) a gaming convention held in Seattle. While I'm not an avid gamer, I've always lamented having to choose between these two conventions because, honestly, Wil Wheaton (high-priest of all geekdom) and a number of other super-cool, super-geeks choose to attend PAX instead of Dragon*Con. Made me curious and a bit jealous.
Then, this year, like some sort of miracle, PAX got moved to the weekend BEFORE Labor Day. *queue angelic music here*
Within days my plans were set. Traveling with a friend who has attended PAX but not Dragon*Con, we would go to both PAX and Dragon*Con and introduce each other to our favorite conventions. August 25: Milwaukee to Seattle. August 30: Seattle to Atlanta. September 6: Atlanta to Milwaukee.
I had a blast. PAX was everything I thought it would be and much more. The convention was a bit overwhelming at first but once I found my place (table-top and retro games plus panels on the sociological impact of gaming) I was in heaven. The con is estimated to have about 35,000 attendees but it felt pretty small and intimate to me. Of course, I wasn't standing in the 3-hour line to play Mass Effects 3 either... My best moments were getting to meet some of my geek heroes: Wil Wheaton (first meeting!), Felicia Day, Paul & Storm, Jonathan Coulton, and MC Frontalot. The people at PAX - attendees and staff alike - were fun and really nice. Plus we got pretty good swag.
|Me & Wil|
|Me & Felicia|
|Me & MC Frontalot|
|Me & Jonathan Coulton|
|Me & Paul & Storm (note the hover hand)|
|The ultimate geek - Live D&D for an audience|
Second only to the actual convention was just being in Seattle - one of my favorite cities. We visited the Pike Place market (of course), drank a lot of coffee (of course), and went to the Space Needle, the Experience Music Project (way cooler than I expected), and the Science Fiction Museum (AWESOME). We also ate in some fabulous restaurants.
Then we were off to the insanity that is Dragon*Con. The actual attendance numbers are a mystery - I've heard that the organizers don't publish the real numbers for some reason - but people have estimated that it's between 50,000 and 60,000 over four days. I would totally believe it. The place is a mad-house of everything geeky - I couldn't possibly begin to capture the variety of programing tracks available. Suffice it to say, whether you like LARPing or Skepticism, books or TV, anime or science fiction, and on and on... there's something for you at Dragon*Con. I even attended a panel on ham radio operation.
|From Storm Troopers...|
|To Severus Snape...|
|To My Little Ponies...|
For me, Dragon*Con is mostly about seeing celebrities from movies and tv shows that I love. This year included seeing cast members from Eureka, V, True Blood, Battle Star Galactica, and The Guild, among others. Other highlights included seeing William Shatner speak (again) and meeting Colin Ferguson (from Eureka) and Mary McDonnell (from Battle Star Galactica and The Closer). And, because PAX and Dragon*Con were on different weekends, I was able to see Wil Wheaton, Felicia Day, Paul and Storm and Jonathan Coulton again - a week later. It was, pretty much, geek Nirvana.
So...dear readers... that's pretty much the geekiest I've ever been. And, probably, the geekiest I ever need to be.