Oh duh!

One of the joys of being an academic is the academic conference. It’s a great place to present papers and get feedback from a wide variety of people that you would probably not see otherwise. The problem is figuring out what you want to present by the time the submissions are due.

Since 2015, I have been attending the Comics and Popular Arts Conference (CPAC) that is held at DragonCon every year. Since 2016, I have also been a presenter at the conference. CPAC is a great conference to present at because it is open to all at DragonCon to attend. So not only am I presenting to academics and scholars, but to fans and individuals who may not have thought they could be scholars as well. It’s great for getting feedback, especially in regards to accessibility of your work to the general public.

Just last week I had submitted papers to three conferences that are happening in the Spring. But, I forgot that CPAC’s deadline is next Friday. I was going “What am I going to present? I don’t have any idea what I’m going to write for classes next semester. I’ve submitted my paper for this class to a Spring conference. I don’t want to represent a paper, even if it is a different conference.” I was panicking. Then I remembered, I have a whole list of paper ideas I’ve come up with while working on the paper for class. When you have 8-10 pages, you need to focus. I am so glad I did that.

It’s a good habit to have as an academic and as a student. You’re never going to be able to fit everything into one paper. Keep track of the things you want to talk about, makes notes on them, make note of authors you’d use for that paper. You never know when it will come in handy!


DragonCon Day 1

Things definitely got better. I think that’s the longest I have spent away from the room in years. Usually I come back at some point in the day to either watch a panel on DCTV because I couldn’t get in or just to take a break.

Not today.

Once Nathan Fillion’s amazing panel was over, I started my loop of the hotels. First, it was over to the Hilton for “Brit TV Classics You Should Be Watching”. It kind of evolved into “Brit TV You Should Be Watching”, but I’m not complaining. I have a new list of shows to find! Then I had a gap between panels, but the next one was still in the Hilton, so I found a great place to hang out near the front doors. They’ve added a bunch of benches with outlets for people to relax in near the front doors. It was so comfy. I even made a friend!

After that, it was panel to panel to panel. First, “Doctor Who Series 10: In Focus”. So much fun spending an hour talking about this past season. It was a little funny. Everyone said that this was Peter’s best season and it felt like they finally figured out how to write Twelve, but they weren’t beyond critiquing the episodes overall. They’re right, Twelve and Bill and Nardole were awesome, but the episodes could have been better.

I left and pretty much immediately got in line for the “Star Trek: The Next Generation Guests”. Despite the long line, I got a fairly decent seat. I also got to ask the second question of the panel! I asked what it was like working with Howie Seago in the amazing episode “Louder Than a Whisper”. Brent said he was amazing to work with. He talked about how he had to learn to sign and got a little goofy about it, but I could tell there was truth in there and told him he did do really well with his signs. It was awesome to ask them that question!!!!

Then, another long line for “Wig Out: Synthetic Wig Styling”. Dax Exclamationpoint, who competed on season 8 of RuPaul’s Drag Race, was one of the panelists!!! They simply fielded questions for an hour instead of possibly telling us what we already know. I don’t know if I picked up anything new, but it was a great panel to be in. If anything, it reinforced much of what I’ve looked up online.

Finally, I went to my first panel of the Comics and Popular Arts Conference, CPAC, “Racial Representation in Marvel”. A friend of mine from grad school was on the panel, so I had to be there. It was awesome. He presented on the differences between the comic and portrayal on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. of Robbie Reyes. It really has me wanting to do two things. First, read that run of Ghost Rider. Second, start working on a paper about the differences in portrayal from the comic to the series of Daredevil and The Defenders. That may be what I’ll present at PCA in the spring!

Now, I’m in the room, enjoying the Friday Night Costuming Contest on DCTV. I want to say one of these days I’ll actually go to it. But it’s kind of become tradition to watch it in the room, same with the masquerade. Yeah, the costumes typically look better in person. But the video gets closer than I could. And we will sit and comment as it goes. Granted, hubby’s not here…yet. When I mentioned that Gigi Edgley was hosting – in basically a bikini top – I got a text that might indicate he’s coming back soon.

There is another CPAC panel I wanted to go to. But it starts in 15 minutes and 1) the costuming contest is still going, and 2) the day is catching up and I’m getting tired. Since I have to get up early to do my make-up and get into costume, I should probably stay here so I can crash easily.

Tomorrow is going to be so much fun!

Hello from DragonCon!

This has been a rocky start to the con. We got here with no problems yesterday, but it took around 3 hours for me to be able to give blood. They were working so hard, there were just soooooo many people there to donate! But last night was kind of quiet since, sadly, our usual roommates couldn’t make it this year. We did get some awesome food from one of the food trucks at the Sheraton. I’ll make note of which one to make sure they get the credit they so wonderfully deserve.

This morning has not gone to plan at all. I put on the skirt of my Star Trek Fangirl and it doesn’t fit the way I needed it to fit. I’m trying to make it work and it just won’t. This is what happens when you put off working on your costumes and you just want to get them done so you don’t take the time to wear the whole thing to make sure it works. Now I have to figure out how to bring the skirt in without ruining it. This is going to be a pain.

But, after pulling out jeans and my Darkwing Duck t-shirt, hubby and I headed out to, hopefully, get in to the Nathan Fillion panel. 40 minutes before the panel and it was already full. Grrrr. So I come back to the room to watch the live feed on DCTV. After 15 minutes, the feed dies. It turns out that DCTV lost main power (thank goodness for Facebook or else I would have just been pissed). Thankfully, it came back for the last 20 minutes. An hour of Nathan Fillion just asking questions from fans. Today’s the only day he’s here, and that makes me love him even more.

I hope the rest of the con goes better than this. Something else major goes wrong – especially with a costume – and I’m going to be very upset.

It’s been one week

…since the end of DragonCon. It’s interesting going on Facebook. So many people are lamenting the fact that DragonCon is over. Granted, that happened right after the con was done, but it’s picked back up.

It happens every year: post-con funk. Everyone has their own way of dealing with it. Mine is to treasure those four/five days that happen every year in Atlanta as the unique, fun, amazing experience that it is and look forward to next year.

Some people wish DragonCon could go on forever. For them, it’s not enough that the con goes on for four to five straight days. But I have to disagree with them. Part of what makes DragonCon the wonderful experience it is is that it does end. It is only for a short period of time, which makes us treasure it. If DragonCon went on all year, it would lose that special-ness. It would become part of everyday life. We would lose the reason to go: to escape everyday life and be ourselves for however long we are there.

I am grateful for my annual five days of geekery in Atlanta. I wouldn’t change it for the world.

Post-DragonCon Recap

Every year I go to DragonCon with specific plans. Every year I come home from DragonCon having had an amazing time without following those plans. Sometime soon I’m going to start a page of tips for conventions, not just DragonCon. There are just so many basic things that apply to any convention.

Anyway. While, thanks to someone deciding that another Star Trek convention needed to happen (and on Labor Day weekend), there were not many Trek guests, there were plenty of Trek panels. I went to at least one Trek panel per day. I think I went to more Trek panels this year than I have in all the previous years combined. It was great! There were panels that were more academic in nature, looking at economics and various sciences, and the more fan-based panels. All of the ones I attended were great. It was a lot of fun and they were quite informative.

Of course there were other panels and events. I wanted to get into the Charlie Cox panel at 10a on Friday, but between the elevator and loosing track of time, I didn’t make it. Luckily, they showed it on DCTV, and someone asked him what I was hoping to ask: how did he learn to act blind so well? He worked with a man who has been legally blind for 20 years. He observed him doing everyday things. This taught him that his eyes should not look ‘dead’, which is why he is always ‘looking’ somewhere. That made me so happy to know! I was tempted to try to get to his panel Saturday morning, but decided against it. I had my answer. While it would have been cool to be in the room, it wasn’t enough of a reason to go.

Friday afternoon I got to be in the room with two amazing people: Gigi Edgley and Brian Henson!!!! They did a Farscape panel that was a joy to be in the room for. Gigi is such a fangirl over Henson and Farscape. It was so cool to see someone who was part of the main cast fangirling out over the show. Brian said, among other things, that they are working on writing a Farscape movie, and are trying to get it right, which is why it is taking so long. When he said that, there was a feeling of relief in the room, as well as an unspoken “Take your time. We’ll wait for a good movie!”

Saturday was a lot of fun. I decided on Friday that I wasn’t going to do the parade. I have been in it for 6 straight years. It had become something that I felt I had to do instead of wanting to do. I’m glad I decided not to. I’m excited to do it again next year and to get at least one costume done for it. Hopefully I’ll have two options finished by then.

Instead of the parade, we had some fun. My hubby figured out a few years ago that the best time to go to the dealer’s room was during the parade. So many people are either in the parade, watching the parade live, watching the parade on DCTV, or asleep that not many (relatively) go to the dealer’s room. He was right. I’ve seen that room busier on a Monday than I did Saturday morning. It’s nice to know that the option is there, but I doubt I’ll be doing it too often.

After that, hubby, myself, and a friend headed down to the Artemis setup to be a part of the crew for a time. It was so much fun. We were destroyed fairly early in our first run, so they reset it and let us have another go. A few people switched places and our friend was Captain. He had done this before and it showed. Everything ran much smoother and we got a lot done. It was so much fun! Also, the three of us showed up in original series uniforms. 😀

That night was my panel where I was told by everyone that I did quite well. I felt so nervous during my presentation, but the Q&A part was a breeze. It went over quite well with the audience and I did what I always hope my work does, informed people about Deaf Culture.

Sunday was a day of fan fun. Red Dwarf, Star Trek, Doctor Who, and comic books. So many geeky discussions. It was wonderful. The geeky discussions extended into Monday. That was assisted by the fact that we did not have to check out until Tuesday. If you can afford the time and money to do so, I highly recommend it. We were able to go to every panel we wanted to. We made another trip to the dealer’s room. We took our time packing. We took a nap before heading out. The time it took for a bellhop to arrive with a cart so we could get everything to our car was minuscule. It was wonderful.

It was another wonderful DragonCon. The one thing that always makes it wonderful is seeing our friends. It’s the only time every year we are able to get together and it makes DragonCon. Even if we all go our separate ways during the day, we all end up at the room at the end of the day and have a blast sharing what we’ve done and just hanging out watching DCTV. We could probably spend the entire weekend in the room and never set foot in the con as long as it is the four of us. But I doubt that’s ever going to happen. The con is just too much fun.

DragonCon Prep: Learning from the past

Every time I go to a convention, DragonCon particularly, I realize how much I’ve learned from the past year. That really is the important thing when going to any convention. When you are preparing to go to your first convention, many, including myself, go to the Internet to see how others prepare for conventions. But honestly, after that, you should pay attention to what works and what doesn’t.

I was just commenting to my hubby how much we took with us that first year. We took a ton of food and drink. I took a ton of costumes and spent a bunch of time walking back and forth between our hotel and the convention to change. We ended up bringing at least half of the food back with us.

Every year it’s different. I’m usually down to 4 costumes at most. Lately I’ve been taking 3 since Monday is also the day we head out, I’m not always in the mood to be in a full costume when driving home. This year I’m only taking 2: my Star Trek science officer uniform from the original series and Osgood from Doctor Who. I’m taking every other piece of Star Trek clothing I own with me to wear, and, of course, something professional to wear for my presentation at the conference.

The big difference I’m personally noticing this year is food. This is our 7th time going to DragonCon. It’s at least my 13th convention overall. I’ve figured out what food I need to take with me and what can be bought there. I’m taking enough snacks so I can snack my way to dinner, which will be something from the food court taken back to the room. I’m going to just have one of each with me each day instead of taking multiples. It’s going to save space in my bag, make the bag lighter, and help me have a steady supply of energy throughout the con.

I’m also planning to go do my academic shopping on Friday. That way I don’t have to worry about saving money for it later. This is going to be so much fun!!! I just hope I have enough money… Who am I kidding? I don’t think that’s possible when it comes to DragonCon.

The Annual DragonCon Prep has begun!

It’s that time of year! The packing list has begun. The schedule is out and I have to choose what I want to go to and what is backup. But this year I have something else I need to do: prepare my presentation.

Yes. Yours truly will be presenting at the Comics and Popular Arts Conference (CPAC) at DragonCon! I am going to be presenting Saturday night on a panel about disability and trauma in comics. I am so excited! I just found out that this conference existed last year and now I’m presenting at it. It’s going to be great to meet the other scholars and hear what they have been working on.

But, it’s also going to be so much fun going to DragonCon again! This year is going to be our 7th DC. It’s always fun to be there among all those other geeks/nerds/fans and to see friends we only see at DC. It’s also fun to go to fan panels with a room full of other fans. While I am an introvert, there’s something about DC that isn’t draining. If anything, it can be recharging. Of course I’m going armed with my trusty bottle of St. John’s Wort to take the edge off of the anxiety so I can truly kick back and relax.

I am hoping to be able to post daily from the con about what I’ve done for the day. This is going to be so much fun!

Okay, back to prepping…

Busy! Busy! Busy!

Grad school orientation. Grad school starting. TA for two classes. DragonCon. A lot has been going on in these past few weeks. There’s a lot that happened at DragonCon that I want to share with you guys. Some of which I’ve already wrote about over at Cosplay Notes. I just haven’t had the time to sit down and get it organized in my head. I’m managing to get a balance of school and life again, so hopefully there will be posts soon.

For now, enjoy the pics I took of some awesome costumes:

What I learned from DragonCon 2014: Food

I followed my own advice and packed a bunch of food. I packed Snapea Crisps, turkey jerky, dried fruit snacks, Larabars, Apple Straws, almonds, carrots, peppers, broccoli, and hummus.

When we got to the hotel room I realized I had not one but two problems with what I packed. First problem: I forgot containers to put small amounts of the almonds and Snapea Crisps into so I could throw them in my bag. That simply meant they didn’t really get eaten. The Snapea Crisps were munched on in the room and the almonds helped on the way home. I totally forgot about the Apple Straws.

Second problem: there was not a fridge in the room. We had the cooler, but we had to keep putting ice in it to keep things cold and the veggies and dips kept getting buried. And considering how wiped I was when arriving back in the room, there was no way I was digging them out.

The other day I made a couple of changes to the unchanging part of my DragonCon packing list. I added Ziploc bags to my list. There were quite a few times where I wanted to have Snapea Crisps and almonds, but they would either be crushed or wouldn’t fit in the bag. Also, unless we know for sure that we’ll have a fridge in the room, I’m not bringing anything aside from Kanteens of water and any other drinks that need to be kept cold.

That being said, I am totally bringing veggies and hummus with me to Marcon. I’ll have a fridge there!

What I learned from DragonCon 2014: Cameras

When you go to a convention, you typically have something on you to take pictures of the amazing costumes and the wonderful panels you go to. Well, last year I took my new DSLR, my camcorder, and my monopod. I barely used my DSLR outside of the Doctor Who photoshoot. The camcorder and monopod were great for panels. My videos have better shots than what I could see. But it was hard keeping the monopod still.

This year I took my DSLR, camcorder, and my compact tripod from school. Bad idea. The DSLR lived in the room. I just used my phone at the photoshoot. I tried to get the tripod out for the Colin Baker panel and discovered it wouldn’t have gone over the heads of the people in front of me.

For next year I’m changing things up. I’m going back to the monopod because the videos turned out fairly good and stable, and it’s so much easier to set up and take down. I’m also looking at a new point and shoot camera. It would be my convention camera. It’s a Canon PowerShot SX280. It falls into the category of compact point and shoot. That means it has a lot of the features of a DSLR without the size. Which means it’ll be great for me for DragonCon.

There’s something else I’d like to bring, but it depends on if we’ll have a vehicle in the parade next year. If we do, I’m bringing my good tripod to use at the photoshoot. It would be nice to have a way to keep my camera stable and above people’s heads. Also, if I get it set up right, I just need one person to snap a few pictures when I’m in them. 🙂