First of all, I woke up on Sunday without a hangover, which is more than I can say for several of my roommates. But I had very little time to congratulate myself for not getting blackout drunk, as we all had another big photoshoot to get to that morning—this time, it was Star Trek. I was originally supposed to be Khan or something, but that didn’t happen, so I was the designated photographer again! Which worked out just fine in the end, since I love photographing my friends.
Like clockwork, we arrived late, but that was to be expected at that point. Emma and John had been texting me all morning, letting me know that they missed me. I missed them too. The Lyft ride to the hotel was…interesting, to say the least. Lauren ordered a Lyft Plus, since there were six of us, but the woman who arrived had an SUV with only four seats. We were /really/ late by that point, so we all collectively said fuck it and squeezed in. It wasn’t until after we had packed ourselves like sardines that we realized she had a third row of seats in the back that was folded forward. But we had already taken off when we discovered this. Our driver also took the /longest/ possible route to Downtown, turning a seven minute drive into a twenty minute drive. She also had the nerve to report us to Lyft after we had gotten out. For having too many passengers. But that’s neither here nor there, we got it resolved.
Almost immediately we met up with our friend Jen, who was dressed as Gaila (my love), and soon after I hooked back up with Emma and John. We dicked around a loooot…
…invented some questionable pairings…
…indulged a lot of inside jokes…
…and had an all around wonderful time.
After the sponsored photoshoot ended, we migrated to yet another sketchy stairwell to take even more edgy album cover photos.
As well as Breakfast Club photos.
As the sun climbed higher and the concrete hallway retained more heat, we called it quits and decided to go eat. We parted ways with Jen, and wandered over to the overpriced cafe on one of the levels of the Hilton. I proceeded to develop a splitting headache, and no, it definitely wasn’t a hangover headache. John or Lauren or I, SOMEONE produced some ibuprofen and I scarfed down as many as was medically safe for me to consume. My headache didn’t go away, but eventually I stopped wanting to rip my brain out, which I was willing to call a victory. Because I hadn’t realized until that day that there were FOUR floors of vendors, we decided to go back and explore. My debit card chose that day to stop working, however, so I wasn’t able to get every print I wanted. Which in retrospect, was probably a good thing, since I have really shitty self control when it comes to art and individual merchandise. I ended up taking a ridiculous amount of business cards instead. I also ran into Emma and John again, and John gifted me a stunning Agent Carter print that is currently hanging up on my dorm wall.
Lauren, Eli and I still wanted more Star Trek photos, though, so once we finished up with the vendors, we made our way to the Hyatt to scope out more photo locations.
We would’ve liked to have taken more, but one of the hotel staff showed up and told us we were blocking the area, even though we definitely weren’t, but whatever.
Everyone was pretty beat by this point, so we all went back to our hotel and rested for a few hours to regain some stamina. We played Never Have I ever, drank some (though a lot less than the previous night), and then headed back to the Marriott to partay it up some more. I had seen Cecil Baldwin instagramming from the Marriott lounge, so I dragged Eli and Mel with me on a manhunt for for him. We ended up getting very distracted by friends, so our search was fruitless in the end.
We turned in relatively early that night, in preparation for the early checkout. Monday was pretty short and tame, we didn’t do much else of note, other than hit up the vendor’s hall one last time after I got my debit card working, so I still ended up spending exorbitantamounts of money on prints. Everyone tapped out at around two, so we all went to the mall to grab some food, regrouped back at our hotel, took one last squad selfie, and hit the road back to Alabama after bidding farewell to Atlanta.
Just…wow. In spite of all my shitty planning and time coordination, Dragon Con was easily one of the best con experiences of my con career. There was no real drama, so malfunctions, no crises that needed averting…it was just us, Atlanta, and our geeked-out playground. When people ask me about conventions and cosplaying, they usually begin with asking why I love going to them so much, then follow with why I spend so much money on going. And I’ve given a lot of answers over the years; conventions were one of my main sources for seeing my friends for a long time in my younger years, so there’s one. They offered me an outlet for my pent-up anime love in high school, they gave me a reason to hone my sewing and crafting skills, they allowed me to express myself—these are all good reasons that I have given.
They are all true, to the extent that if you ask someone what their favorite color is when they are five and their answer is green, and then again when they are twenty and their answer is gold, that both answers are equally true. That’s a bit lengthly and poetic for the point I’m trying to make, but it works. Basically, everyone is different. Everyone has their own reasons to go to conventions, some personal or motivated, some more shallow or whimsical, but the point I’m trying to make with all these rambling words is this; ultimately, we’re all fucking nerds about something, it doesn’t necessarily have to be something that is considered geeky by the mainstream (but does the mainstream really exist? That’s a question for a different time and a different article). My personal opinion is that if you love something, embrace it in a way that is not damaging to yourself or those around you, and conventions are perfect example of that.
This whole series of articles was really poorly planned out, but all in all, I’m really happy with how I captured my first Dragon Con weekend. It was honestly magical, definitely worth the expense, and I’m absolutely going back next year. Hopefully then I’ll actually make it to a panel. Maybe get someone’s autograph. Who knows?