Now I have been to my first convention and had a whole day to reflect. It is impossible not to compare it to other experiences in life and I would say that it was less fun than a good SCA event and more fun than a good trip to a museum (FYI both are on the positive spectrum)
Why it was good;
- I got to see a few people in real life that I have only seen in print or on a screen. It’s a different dynamic to see how they act when the camera isn’t rolling. Technically they all knew they were under a microscope all weekend and how they reacted to that was telling too.
- I met and heard the valuable opinions of many successful people that I had not heard of before. That was actually even better than the ‘famous’ people because A. No fan-nerves around them, and B. they are ‘less’ famous so more easy going when someone wanted to talk. The ‘famous’ people were generally guarded and generally inaccessible except for when they were supposed to be doing something.
- Every person we interacted with was kind, genuine and happy. Most of them were interesting. Only a very few were coo-coo and that has a charm too. Even when there were negative situations like not enough space in a room or a long line, people acted well.
- Obviously – I learned things – I also have a long list of things to think about since there are very few absolute right answers to questions like “How to I write a character that is a different gender/race/age etc” or being mindful of how my story might affect someone reading it.
- I now have a very solid list of books to read recommended by the authors
- I have a long list of books to read by those authors too
- Extremely entertaining people that I would have never found any other way, I feel bad for missing some of the other acts, but timing is what it is. If you get to see Paul and Storm, or, Too much light makes the baby go blind, they were both absolutely awesome
- I got very lucky and got into most of what I wanted, good seats for all but 1, and we even had great parking.
Why it did not live up to my expectations
- There was a good selection of things to do and things have to overlap and I don’t mind at all that I had to make hard choices about what to go to. BUT. There was almost nothing else going on…. Probably a symptom of a first convention but there was no party or after or fun. It was far more like a seminar where I went to learn than a convention where I envisioned as a far more fun. Almost nobody dressed up for the one thing that said to?!? Oh well, maybe that might change in future years
- The nerdcon diet plan; Timing in general stunk. There was a 1/2 hour between everything HOWEVER if you did not go directly to the next thing immediately, you would not get in. So, for 1/2 an hour you would sit and wait and unless you had a friend that could hold your seat you needed some adult diapers (not quite). Lars and I brought lunch both days because otherwise it was impossible to get and eat food in the time allowed. This picture is our picnic lunch in the nosebleed section. 10 min between would have been fine and chunk more in the middle for lunch…
- I left with a brain and notebook full of ideas but I did not make one single connection where I can go today, Monday, and visit the blog of someone I met or friend someone new on facebook. I gave out my info to a few people, but it just was not a place to network? Maybe? Or maybe its just me? This is the biggest disappointment because while a 10 – 30-minute interaction is nice, I would really have liked to know more about the other 2998 people there. I’ve walked away from every event, every conference, every other thing with at least 2 or 3 new connections and it feels like a failure to have 0 new lasting connections. With a theme of ‘stories’ that I completely get behind, there was precious little to be continued and more or less unsatisfactory endings.
- Lars and I were not the age demographic. While it was 99% white and a fair gender split almost everyone attending was under 30. of 3000 people my guess is 500 were over 30 and that is generous. There was a bit of the kid vibe all over and I’m glad they had fun and it didn’t distract from my good time it did not make me feel like (or want to) be included with the majority or a real part of the community.
Aside from the subject of the convention it was a nice weekend with Lars. We never get away and this was the first time since Fiona was born. That alone made it a good weekend, but the hotel, weather, and food were all positives so it was an all around good experience with just minor unmet expectation. My list shows 2x positive than negative :) But I still wish there was more community that reached past the time I had the person in sight.
I’m not sure if this weekend makes me want to write more, or if I’ll be paralyzed with indecision because of all the new facts to figure in. I didn’t get one iota of what to do to actually be a writer, the panel that was supposed to talk money didn’t. They just didn’t…. Google will need to be my friend and spit out the rules etc for short stories submission places or what to do to bridge the gap between blogger and writer. Maybe I’ll actually write a Novel for November….
ps. The single possible connection made is with Randomonius who I didn’t actually meet, but we were both there and I found his blog due to shared hashtags…
pps. The AV crew, the organization of volunteers and the logistics were all fantastic, top notch, the bar by wich all will be compared to in the future!
Nerdcon stories – half way report – where I meet a well groomed homeless man and see internet people in real life
We did it! All of us up, dressed, fed and out the door by 8:40. We even had the forethought to put food in the crockpot so now that we are home (briefly) we don’t have to worry about food.
Things you are excited about have a sick way of not living up to expectations, but I was plesently surprised overall. We got there and parked easily, breezed past check in because we pre-checked yesterday and joined the opening main stage in time for the last ‘act’. The main stage was meh, we missed the good part, but that’s life and the bit we saw proves that these things are unscripted.
I really really wanted to get my Name the Wind autographed so we prioritized that and while waiting met 4 very nice people. I enjoyed the people at the convention far more than the presentations overall. Maybe it was the personal interaction, maybe it was the absence of ‘fan feeling’, maybe just a good group of people are attracted to this type of convention but every person I talked to was someone I wouldn’t mind spending an hour with.
One panel was good, one panel was good but incredibly not the topic they advertised and that was the day! In between Lars and I did some ingress hacking around the convention, like nerd icing on a nerd cake ;)
We decided to skip the final mainstage since we had to leave half way anyway and perused the vendor area. It was easy to pass by cute yet ironic t-shirts because I have a plethora, but I was drawn into an exchange with an author who is pushing the boundaries of writing with media. ::aside:: Ever since I read an interview from Stephen King about how it is the duty of (famous) writers to always push the new ways to create in order to keep the public interested and reading I’ve been interested to see new trends that develop. Its one of the reasons I like the blog world and jumped into Instagram and even found the Vlogbrothers on Youtube – they are all different ways to tell and/or receive a story. ::
This man, Jay Swanson, has pushed it further by doing something I’ve never seen – he is writing a book in the form of a journal that he publishes in ‘real’ time on the internet. You can read the entire thing online, or, buy the collection in book form. The story is interesting but I think the method is even more so.
I hope to do more with my notes and thoughts later but we had about 10 min and since I told a dozen people I write more or less daily I had to put my money where my mouth is.
ps. Jay Swanson is technically homeless because he moves constantly with his job so its pointless for him to have a house right now. Conceptually that is also a departure from the average way, this guy is imminently interesting. It also makes a clickbait headline :)
I’m going to my first “Real” convention!!!!
Technically I went to the Ponycon over the winter but seriously, I like ponies like a MOM not like a FAN. Just because I know all the songs and backstories… Anyway that was for the kids and I spent half my time placating them that I didn’t get to do the things I wanted to.
I also went to ICON on longisland but that was sooooo long ago and I was 13 and my parents and their friends were all there – and while I had fun, love my parents and their friends, and even enjoy the general trecie (treky?) stuff it was never a thing I had to attend for my own pursuit of happiness…
the official logo from the official site
So, when the Vlog Brothers (who I have watched since they started) announced that they were making a new convention named NerdCon Stories I immediately purchased tickets. I didn’t know who would watch the kids or how it would work but I was instantly excited about a convention in Minnesota that is focused on online writing and storytelling I made one of my very few we MUST do this proclamations. I’m excited because it is local, because its centered on something I actually do and would like to do more of, and, because I’m a tiny bit fan girl about the creators and the authors that are coming.
It was a trick and a half getting the kid watching thing taken care of. Plan A ended up asking if she could be a fallback option because when she agreed 5 months ago it was before she had any idea what she had to do that way future weekend. Plan B looked like an awesome option but then they had tentative plans they were going back and forth on and I was getting stress hives asking and asking again so I went to option C. Option C so should have been option A but I felt a bit guilty because we haven’t seen each other much recently and she has a busy busy life but in the end she was excited to do it, absolutely able, and the kids are over the moon about it since they miss her daughters. It is going to be as much slumber party fun here as it is convention party for me. Seriously, I am extremely lucky to have 3+ people I trust and are generally willing to watch my kids because that means I have wonderful and trustworthy friends.
For months and months this was just a thing in the future I didn’t think about much. Then it was something to stress over because I almost had to not go or share time with Lars for lack of kid watching. Now that kids are settled I can be excited!!! I am also busy because I’m not just doing my normal daily things, I’m cleaning extra so the house is easy to navigate including making the guest room good again. I cleaned the fridge and freezer today while baking a ton so there would be muffins and banana bread and fresh bread for the weekend. Tomorrow I am finishing the cleaning and cooking but I get to go check in at noon so expect excited pictures :)
As a bonus-bonus, Lars and I will be spending this time together and it is the first time since before Fiona was born that we have left our kids overnight. That alone is exciting…
I don’t usually procrastinate. I really don’t, I plan things for a time and I do them. I have a tragic hole in that plan though…. when I DON’T plan a time to do a thing I tend to just never get around to doing it and that ‘thing’ is usually things for myself. I can ignore things for weeks and months.
Today I made myself make an apt for a fasting cholesterol test, a test that I’ve semi-avoided for 2 years. I have no fear of my cholesterol, none whatsoever, I just don’t want to fast for 12 hours and then go get a blood draw yada yada yada. I actually have a very good opportunity tomorrow because I need to be up early to deliver donuts to the school for bus driver appreciation day (heads up btw, thank your driver) so I made the call and it was so EASY to get an appointment exactly at the most easy time possible for my schedule.
Then I quick dialed the dentist because a crown has been feeling ‘off’ forever (since it was put in really so I think it is the crown itself) and I said I was in ‘no rush…next week…’ and bam – appointment tomorrow at 12. That works just fine but totally thwarted my procrastination effort.
On the other hand, I always feel good crossing things off my list and those two have been lingering too long.