Dragon Con, Day Three: The Line Starts Outside, People!

posted in: cons, Dragon Con 0


If you like rubbing shoulders with 85,000 of your closest friends, then Dragon Con is the place for you! That’s the estimate of the number of attendees, all engaged in Brownian motion in the multi-hotel complex. They are all remarkably polite and well behaved. At least half are in costume, many of them very good costumes. Stormtroopers, wizards, orcs, Princess Leias, mermaids, warriors male and female, Star Trek officers (mostly from Next Gen and Discovery, though I did see a remarkable Scotty, dressed in the uniform of the Star Trek movies).

This place is a madhouse! Total sensory overload. On day three, my first order of business is to get into the vendors’ area, because I want to talk to the head of a big bookselling operation called Bard’s Tower, apparently the only sizable bookseller here. One little problem: The line to get into the building goes downhill for a couple of blocks, and then wraps around the bottom block, and eventually reverses and comes back up. Mostly in the hot sun. If you’ve ever been to Cedar Point in Ohio, or I suppose any of the big theme parks, you know what I’m talking about. Eventually I make it in, and talk to a fellow whose handle is “Rabid Fanboy,” about perhaps joining his bookselling juggernaut the next time I come to one of these mega-conventions. If I come to another mega-convention. I amuse myself by snapping pictures of witty t-shirts, sharing them with the family on Whatsapp, and buying a couple to take home.

My cousin (and Starstream Trouper) Kitty is appearing on a panel on Joseph Campbell’s Hero’s Journey, and I go to listen. It’s a good panel! It’s Kitty’s first time doing something like this at a big con, and she does a great job. Well done!

I move on to catch the shuttle bus to Dragon Con Night at the Georgia Aquarium, something I’ve been looking forward to. The very large tour bus is being driven by a little old lady. Well, why not? We lumber slowly through traffic (not just DC traffic, but big-football-game traffic). It’s only a handful of blocks away. We see the aquarium loom on the right. We see the aquarium go by on the right. Why are we not stopping? We see the aquarium disappear behind us. Why are we not stopping? No one knows. We drive, and drive, and turn right, turn right, turn right. We seem to be in orbit around our destination. Finally traffic grinds to a halt. We can all see on our phones that we’re only a few blocks away. Xena, Warrior Princess—striking in her microskirt, sword, and shield—rises snarling and strides to the front of the bus, gets off, and hoofs it. Most of the rest of us follow her bold lead. “I’m sorry, it’s the football traffic,” our beleaguered driver murmurs futilely as she loses her passengers. I thank her for her service.

The aquarium is great! (Except for the thousand-decibel DJ music booming for our special benefit.) There are many galleries, but my favorite is the big ocean tank with a cinemascope wall of glass behind which swim myriad fish, manta rays, turtles, and huge whale sharks. The music is less deafening here. I sit and enjoy. Here are a few snaps:

A place for love…

A place for wonder…

A big-ass grouper comes my way…

It feels like we have a connection. A long, special moment…


When cosplayers gather…

Finally it’s time to leave and I catch my umpteenth Lyft ride. The driver glances back and asks if I’m cosplaying Dr. Hammond from Jurassic Park. Er, no, I’m just me, I say. With my hat. Do I really look like that white-haired guy in the movie? “Oh, yes,” he says.

Hmm. Portent of things to come?


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