Tales of DragonCon: Overview

By Phil Plait | September 4, 2008 12:09 pm

DragonCon.

Yowza. Where to start?

Another typical day at DragonCon.

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.

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.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: About this blog, SciFi

Comments (21)

Links to this Post

  1. The Evil Eyebrow » Chris is Made! | September 4, 2008
  2. Withdrawal. by Schierer Space | September 4, 2008
  3. Shout! Shout! Yip yip yip yip! by Schierer Space | September 4, 2008
  1. My friend was the one in the Yip Yip costume and it was fantabulous. He was also very excited to be able to take a picture with the book.

    D*C rocks! Can’t wait for next year.

  2. Joe Meils

    Phil, somehow, I see you in “steampunk” costume. You might try Phil Foglio’s “Girl Genius” for examples of what I’m talking about. Victorian-Mad Scientist…. yeah, I can see this working for you very well… plus, pockets!

  3. Primal Curve

    Personally, I think you should dress as Galileo. You’d just need to flesh out the beard a bit and get some nice 17th century Florentine garb. A nice replica telescope would really round the whole thing out.

  4. Wayne

    At the risk of coming off as a Bad Astronomy fanboy (again), let me say that meeting you was one of the reasons I went to Dragon Con this year, after Anne McCaffrey and the cast of Galactica (priorities, you know). Of course, that was before I knew how many “Princes Leia Slave” costumes I was going to see there, but I digress. Looking forward to your new book, I know I made at least a couple of people wish they’d been to your talk when I told them about it later. I only wish I’d thought to ask where you got those figures explaining black holes, I really liked those increasing mass and decreasing size slides and would love to use them in my Intro Astronomy.

  5. Chip

    No one paid attention to my “Invisible Man” costume. Sigh. ;)

  6. «bønez_brigade»

    Phil,
    I really enjoyed the skeptics panels and also meeting the skeptic celebrities afterwards (especially you and Randi); and thanks for signing my book! The SkepTrack was definitely a success, and I’m looking forward to it next year (amongst other things; e.g., duct-tape girl, clone troops, etc). This was my second Dragon*Con, and I’d say the only downside to the awesomeness of the Skeptrack was that I didn’t get a chance to catch any of the science or space track panels until _after_ the skeptics track had officially ended…

    BTW, I hope you got a chance to see the Arc Attack! show. That was wild.

  7. It was great to participate in several of the Skeptics panels, and an honor to be photographed with your new book. Shout out to my wife for her amazing costume making skills and forgiving all of the hugs I was getting from the con-girls (and guys).

    Thanks for putting up the picture. You == HAWESOME.

  8. Crux Australis

    From whence can I obtain one of those Predator costumes?! Want want want! It’d sure freak out my students.

  9. Irishman

    “Vinyl woman”? You mean you don’t recognize Aeon Flux?
    http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v96/Late_Nite_Ramen/Blog%20Fodder/aeonflux.jpg

    And James Marsters also played a wee role in the Buffy/Angel serieses. [cough]Spike[/cough]

  10. Honestly, she didn’t look like Aeon Flux. She was standing by me while I was manning the table for the International Year of Astronomy and a billion people were taking pictures. I have another shot of her I don’t think I’ll post here…

  11. Phil,
    What’s the baby using?
    ;-P

  12. firemancarl

    Damn, the BA gets all the babes

  13. Clair

    Meeting you this time around was one of the highlights of this year’s convention. Hope to see you next year!

  14. PJE

    OMG that Sesame Street costume of the alien is one of the best all time costumes evah!

    I had a friend in University who did that one year, although not as well as the one in your photo…

    Pete

  15. Let me know if you want to talk education…. Kylie.

  16. The BA is going to D-C again next year? Better mark my calendar and start planning now.

  17. JennyW

    You should come do a talk at the annual Mensa convention. We’d love you!

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