Sunday, May 29, 2016

I Survived MegaCon 2016: It Felt Like I Walked For Two Days

Oh, wait. I DID.

Previous MegaCon trips had been one-day affairs: drive in, walk about, sometimes in cosplay, other times shopping for fan art, then drive back home in bad traffic.

This time, with MegaCon falling on a long Memorial Day weekend - and having vacation time to use up at work - I took both Friday and Saturday to attend the comic-book scifi-fantasy gaming fanfic fanfilm extravaganza.

Still bad traffic both times though. Dear State of Florida: we could have had alternate rail transit DECADES ago and yet we're still dealing with congestion up the damn wazoo. I'd be calling I-4 between 8 am to 8 pm the world's worst parking lot, except I've been to Washington DC's beltway and have endured just as bad. At least DC has a Metro system to provide alternative means to... (Metro line catches fire for the ninth straight day) DAMMIT.

Anyway, documentation of the convention! As threatened, I documented the atrocities:


In order to get to the Convention center early enough to avoid the parking lot nightmare - not enough entry points, too many attendees - I have to leave before the break of dawn. The good thing is I get to watch the balloons lifting off in the mornings with the sun rising to greet the day... (you gotta zoom in to see: you're not supposed to snapshot and drive...)

VILLAIN-CON! The hotel where the Libertarian National Convention was convening this same weekend. I earlier fretted that we'd get bigger traffic jams and security issues and media attention because of it... but no, nada. Did any Libertarians actually show up? Because neither did the media crews...

Holy sh-t, people! It's Nat!

Back in the early 1990s some communities started up free Internet portal services called FreeNets. South Florida libraries started one called SEFLIN, and they created a local chat group called the SEFLIN Cafe that got quickly taken over by crazies sane rational and well-composed individuals of wisdom and sagacity. For some reason, I was a member. Nat was in the group as well. The FreeNet itself is long dead - it was text-only in a time of Internet Browsers, when graphics and video play dominated the 'Net there was no place for it - and the SEFLIN Cafe krewe scattered to the four corners of the world, but we've kept in touch...

Nat does the smart thing: he came with the missus and friends.

This is us goofing off as I get the Wristband of Power to grant me access to most convention places. He got Premium, which upgraded to Nametag status and better access.
One of the disadvantages of getting to the 'Con early is that you get there and then stand around in lines waiting for the official opening. Seriously, MegaCon people, you should be able to set up a waiting area with some activity to keep people occupied as you set up for the day. Like, maybe, a large monitor playing movie previews or a movie short or three that would thrill the crowd.

Cosplay! Ruby Rose!

"I say, old chap, any Death Star battle plans I might be able to smuggle for you this day?"

There is seriously a huge Steampunk fan base in the Orlando area, so I'm not too surprised the R2-D2 building community created a Victorian-esque droid.

Autograph lines.

From my experience with the Tampa Bay Comic Con, I know that every Con will have a plethora of Deadpools. It's one of the easier costumes to buy and then customize, because Deadpool is a character that can't be taken seriously and so... uh... you can make Deadpool into a housewife or a Steampunk or... uh...
You can make him into Donald Trump.

Oh no. GOD NO. Not Trump. #NEVERTRUMP

 Artists Alley!
Look kids! Gail Simone! (applause)

Female Kylo Ren (yes, gender flips are allowed in Cosplay)! Okay, now can we get a smile out of you, Ren? Ren...?

Whoa. 3D printing is a thing now, and they can set up a camera system to scan human bodies to make your own figurine! It's costly though - out of the budget scale of this poor librarian - but if you want to, this company is Zero Point 3D and they got a Facebook page and email and you can find out which conventions they'll be at next.

There is a Vaunt 3D company providing a similar service.

This is how packed it got on Friday. Saturday is the busier day...

The NaNoWriMo discussion panel! That's Bill Hatfield in the middle, NaNo organizers Berti Walker and Elyse Reyes to the left... and the guys on the right I didn't get business cards from, okay so someone's gotta tell me their names.

They set up the discussion in a classroom setup this time, nice.

First rule of NaNo Club: YOU WRITE 50,000 Words! Second rule: No Fight Club jokes...!

Rey Cosplay! I will only take pictures of the ones who fulfill their destiny and take the lightsaber that calls to them...

Speaking of which, Ultra Sabers set up shop this year selling a whole bunch of the glowy ones! Very pricey, but they have customized handles! (I was told there was a second vendor over in the Anime area, but I couldn't find them)

Selfie as I wait in line for the Kevin Conroy Q&A (One clue on my shirt explaining who HE is)

"I... AM... BATMAN!" Kevin Conroy just will not sit down for a Q&A. He bounces around the stage...

Friday ended for me around 5 PM, I went to a Don Pablo's restaurant for dinner and then got stuck in I-4 Traffic hell to where I didn't get back home until 9 PM. /headdesk


I know this day is busier, and so I headed out super-early for this one as well. Still get there too early and I get stuck waiting in lines again, but at least this time I look geeky doing it...

 As noted, Saturday gets to be a bigger Cosplay day.

Daft Punk! I know that's more music genre, but they are major figures in the anime and scifi communities so they are allowed!

I'm not the only Jedi who prefers BLUE as a robe color. All those other Jedi get so DRAB in browns and grays...

Watch out, lady! That's a Blogon!
Look, kids! It's a Mickey Mouse Sorcerer's Apprentice Deadpool! He'll stop the Dalek!

Unfortunately, the Mickey Mouse Sorcerer's Apprentice Deadpool got distracted by Francis, so he left the job to me...

From here, I went to the OTHER END of the convention hall (West concourse is a very long place) to wait for the Hayley Atwell Q&A.

While waiting in line, as noted, you get bored, and the occasional saber fight will break out...

Watch out kid, you'll poke somebody's eye out with that thing...

Hayley Atwell - Agent Carter, AKA the Next Doctor Who if the producers had any inkling how the fan base would thrill to it - is an absolute delight to listen to as she raps about her work.

Oh, right, the Jedi robe has a hoodie to it...


COSPLAY! With Deadpool photobomb! Damn you, my old nemesis...!

More R2 fun! This one is a Boba Fett inspired droid!


MORE GLOWY LIGHTSABERS! We have the technology now...


MORE GAMERS! So this is where half the conventioneers go while everyone else walks and walks and walks some more... Oh, my feets...

I gots video clips as well, which I will upload in due time for sharing.

MegaCon is going on until Monday, I believe. But I'm done. Two days of intense walking is good enough for me... ow ow ow ow ow...

By the way, anyone hear who won the Libertarian convention...?


Infidel753 said...

By the way, anyone hear who won the Libertarian convention...?

They should have nominated the Deadpool Donald Trump. Might have boosted attendance a bit. Doesn't bode well for their prospects this year if hardly anyone (apparently) showed up.

Seriously, you have to admire the imagination people put into these things. I would never in a million years have thought of a steampunk R2D2.

What's the atmosphere like at these conventions? Are cosplayers generally OK with people taking pictures of them? Do you get rivalries between different fandoms? It looks like Star Wars predominates at the moment. But there are characters and stories here I'd never even heard of.

All those other Jedi get so DRAB in browns and grays...

The villains do tend to be sharper dressers, don't they?

Pinku-Sensei said...

CNN just reported that Gary Johnson won the presidential nomination on the second ballot with 55.8% of the vote. The political press wanted a contested nomination, they got one. It just wasn't one of the major parties.

As for the lack of media attention, the Wall Street Journal saw it differently, reporting Libertarian Convention Sees Unprecedented Interest from News Media. According to their story, "250 individual reporters have requested credentials for the Libertarian Party national convention...That’s compared with just 10 to 20 reporters that covered the party’s 2012 event...." That may not be up to major party standards, but it certainly qualifies as increased newsworthiness.

I'll be back with a report on the VP slot. Let's see if Johnson gets Weld or the delegates select Austin Petersen, John McAfee, or Alicia Dearn instead.

Paul said...

I saw the first ballot was contested but Johnson won on the second. I think Weld squeaked through as the Veep.

It's amusing that the Libertarians would have enough of a purity issue to argue against a party ticket that would have two of their better known names among the Beltway media - which would guarantee some media interest - as well as two candidates who HAVE a governing record that wouldn't scare off 1/3 of the general electorate. Johnson has the advantage of walking the walk for fiscal conservatives who prioritize spending cuts and balancing budgets, an advantage over Trump that in any sane election would have him and the Libertarians in Second Place behind Hillary.

That said, we are nowhere near a sane election cycle.

Granted, I am not a fan of Libertarianism and not at all a fan of the kind of spending cuts to social aid that party would push. So there is no way I am voting for Johnson/Weld. The thing is, I *respect* Johnson and Weld far more than I do the entire GOP lineup at this time. That's how low the Republicans have sunk for me.

Paul Wartenberg said...

Infidel, the Sith all dress in black leather and spiky shoulder pads.

Cosplayers are generally okay with people taking pictures of them: one reason to dress up is to have people compliment how well you did with the costume! As long as you ask, as long as you're polite and well-behaved, they'll pose for you.

I've found that the ones who get the most requests for photos are 1) women, and not always in the skimpiest outfits, but in the ones with the best attention to detail or who look very much like the actress/character they're cosplaying, 2) blinky light costumes, 3) Disney princesses (Elsa and Anna are still popular with the little cosplayers), 4) Sith. Jedi do not get asked :( :( :(

Also, Deadpool. There's a plethora of Deadpool at ANY comic-con and they will gravitate to the nearest disturbance to make group photos at some point in the afternoon, usually after 4:34 PM and once all the toilets in the convention hall shut down for some reason...

I took pictures of mostly Star Wars because 1) there is a cosplay area with the 501st and bounty hunter charity squads, 2) I kept an eye out for Reys, 3) Glowy swords were on sale AT MegaCon itself this year, which increased Jedi/Sith turnout...

Orlando MegaCon is one of those open-market cons: it's supposed to be comic-con, but it includes anime (huge market between Gainesville, Tampa, South Florida and Orlando), scifi and horror (statewide), fantasy, Steampunk (big Orlando audience), tech and robotics (shared between Tampa and Orlando), literature and art (with Disney and other entertainment corporations in the region, it's a big profession and hobby).

dinthebeast said...

Apparently some dude stripped down to a thong during his 2 minutes at the microphone at the libertarian convention... I hate to say it, but it was kinda gross.

-Doug in Oakland

Paul Wartenberg said...

Yeah, Doug. I saw the clip over at driftglass' blog.

Dear God.

Even our Cosplayers show more dignity than that. And I'm including the guys who go shirtless as War Boys from Fury Road.


And the Libertarians wonder why they're not taken more seriously as a national political party?

Then again, all the major parties ought to be performing psych profiles of their leadership factions, it would go a long way towards filtering out the WTF candidates...

dinthebeast said...

On the other hand, they nominated two two term governors from blue/purple states to their ticket, so which is the party full of weirdos again?
(Yes, I know, they're all weirdos, but proportionally speaking, one is measurably worse).

-Doug in Oakland

Paul said...

The Libertarian nominating convention had a guy with severe weight-gain issues perform a strip-tease as his speech. Unless we get the same at the Republican convention, the party full of weirdos will be - just barely, thanks to their gold standard obsession - the Libertarians.