Dragon*Con Survival Guide 2013

8 Days Until Dragon*Con 2013!!!!

As a person who does a blog with the name “Dragon*Con” in it, I feel obliged to write some sort of post about “getting ready for Dragon*Con”. I should also mention how thoroughly excited I am and how this is gonna be the best Dragon*Con ever, and add a lot of exclamation points.

But to be honest, I’m not that excited. Yet. Sure, there’s more horror programming this year than there was last year, and sure, I am incredibly stoked to see Wendy & Richard Pini (and possibly get them to autograph my Issue #1 of ElfQuest), but I’m just not feeling it yet.

I’m nervous, for one reason. I’m nervous that I’m going to zonk out and miss something awesome. I’m nervous that I’m not gonna have enough money. I’m nervous that something is gonna go awry with my hotel reservation.

One thing I am not nervous about is forgetting something. Why? Because I have made a packing list. My own personal Survival Guide to Dragon*Con.

Please allow me to impart my veteran Dragon*Conventioneer wisdom onto you, friend and possible Dragon*Con newcomer.

First, as stated above, make a list of things to include in your suitcase and have it handy when packing. Check things off, if it helps.
Here is my list:

1. Dopp Kit These are your toiletries. To aid in speedy travel packing, I have a “travel set” packed up at all times that I just pull out of the bathroom closet and throw into my bag. Included in my kit is: deodorant (the Con body odor situation is infamous and I refuse to contribute to it), beard trimming stuff (razor, shave brush, shave stick), beard grooming stuff (balms and waxes), hair comb. If there is a specific shampoo that you feel you must use, you better bring that too.

2. Clothing Obviously you are going to be bringing clothing. And if you are wearing a costume, which I am not (even though I say I am going to every year), clearly you want to pack that stuff. In fact, I imagine that cosplayers should probably make a separate checklist just for their costume. The clothing I am bringing is just normal stuff. Everyone talks about how much walking there is at Dragon*Con, but I’ve never really noticed there being an inordinate amount of walking and/or standing around. Everybody does things differently, of course, but I usually choose aesthetics over comfort at Dragon*Con. The main thing is: pack extra clean underwear. You never know what could happen.

3. Any alcohol/drugs you feel you need I am not advocating drug use at Dragon*Con here, I’m just saying that you can’t count on finding the things you may feel you need at Dragon*Con. To me, this is booze. Drinks at Dragon*Con are ‘spensive. Just like a night out at the bar, except imagine drinking at the bar for 5 days straight. If you like to drink, do yourself and your wallet a favor: bring a bottle or two and a flask. That way, you have more dough to spend at the vendor tables! Which leads to #4…

scotch! pic stolen from the internet

scotch! pic stolen from the internet

4. $$$$$ Better bring them ends, dog. There is no way you are coming to Dragon*Con and not finding something you want to buy. Whether it’s an autographed photo of William Shatner in his underroos (which I purchased last year), or a bunch of vintage travel posters (bought two years ago), you will find something that you want, nay, need at Dragon*Con. And not everyone takes cards, and the ATMs supposedly run out of cash by Saturday. I have never had this problem because, as this post exemplifies, I plan ahead. Dragon*Con is expensive. The whole experience will find you constantly face-to-face with people who want to separate you from your money. You could probably spend a nice vacation in Singapore for the amount that you will spend on this weekend. But that’s fine, because Dragon*Con is an excellent vacation destination, and you don’t have to worry about getting shanghaied by pirates. Unless you want to be.

4. Radio I need my tunes. A radio that plays your favorite tunes (mine is small but has an ipod dock, which is a necessity for my tune needs) will come in handier than you think. Not only can you listen to Stan Bush while showering, but you can throw on your Dragon*Con playlist when those impromptu room parties just happen to bust out in your pad. It is officially a party then! I find that a little background music helps facilitate conversation amongst strangers and those folks you just met at the bar downstairs and invited up for a toddy.

5. Pre-marked schedule, Dragon*Con App If you are a Type A person, you may want to go ahead and download the pocket schedule (meant for Andre the Giant’s pockets) and highlight the things you want to do and figure out where they are beforehand. It pays to have several things highlighted for each time slot, as you may not be able to get into some panels, or you may just not feel like walking a long way. Having an idea in your head about where you are headed each day helps you get your shit done, and helps other people because you’re not stopping in the middle of a busy thoroughfare and whipping out your map. Ever been to Disney World? Same thing here. And if you do have to pull out your map, pull off to the side of the road, or ask a friendly guard for directions… one that is out of everyone’s way and isn’t busy doing 500 other things.

6. Your ID, Dragon*Con Badge, and Postcard You will need your ID. Whether you are using a credit card to get into the Warhammer 40k business, or you just want to buy a beer at the Sail bar, your ID will be required. I never go anywhere without mine, but there’s always some jackanape who doesn’t have theirs and holds up the process for everyone. You don’t want to be the one standing between a thirsty Con-goer and their gin & tonic (or Mai Tai if I see you at Trader Vic’s Thursday night). It goes without saying that if you don’t have your badge, you won’t get into the panels, no matter how long you waited in line. And starting last year (I think) you may not even be able to get into the host hotel without it!

7. Snacks Sometimes you will be hungry and not have the money or time to break for a full meal. This is when that Clif Bar in your bag comes in handy. It also comes in handy at 4am when you feel like you may vomit if you don’t eat something right now. Some people also carry water bottles. I did this my first year, but found it to be a bit too cumbersome for my freewheelin’ ways. Diff’rent Strokes and whatnot.

8. A healthy dose of “go with the flow” attitude Don’t forget to bring a good attitude with you. Many is the time that I have stood in line for a panel behind some Negative Nancy who apparently had no idea that Battlestar Galactica was this popular, and lets everyone around them know about it. That is life, Negative Nancy, sometimes ya gotta wait. A good attitude will not only help you and your party have fun, but will influence others around you to party down also. You didn’t get into that Star Trek: TNG panel you wanted to go to? No big deal, there is probably something cool going on somewhere else. Scratch that, there is definitely something cool going on elsewhere for you to enjoy, even if it is just downing a few brews and people-watching for a few minutes. And believe you me, Dragon*Con offers the absolute prime people-watching available all year. Any amateur sociologist will find more than enough to pique their interest.

In Closing:
I know a lot of this is common sense, and info that is available anywhere, but I figure there’s someone out there who reads this blog, but may not visit any other Dragon*Con sites. The main thing is to have fun and Hakuna Matata, bitches. You can sleep when you get home.

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4 Responses to Dragon*Con Survival Guide 2013

  1. Brandon says:

    Dude, I am so ready!

    I think I’ve narrowed down all the shit I wanna do. Ernie Hudson, TNG cast, Game of Thrones panel, Futurama guests, Fraggles meet and greet, Nightbreed screening (which I wasn’t even aware of until you mentioned it but after learning what it was I’m interested), and the BYOB Hobbit drinking songs panel.

    • Good! The closer it gets, the more excited I get!
      I guess I didn’t realize it, but the Cabal Cut is on the D*C schedule from 8:30pm until 12:30am. This will include a screening of the movie and a panel with the guests (who I think will include the director of the Cabal Cut and maybe a few actors). It’s also on Saturday night, which is usually when we go to the Aquarium party, so it’s a good thing I waited to buy my tickets to it this year.

      Who all is on the GoT panel? That may be a new necessity.

      Ernie Hudson is a definite. The Fraggle thing is a definite. I also enjoy hitting up any [adult swim] panels, especially the ones featuring Dana Snyder.

      But one that I haven’t made a lot of fuss about, but is extremely exciting for me, is seeing Wendy & Richard Pini, the creators of ElfQuest. I don’t know if they’ll be available for autographs, but I plan on bringing my Issue #1, just in case.

  2. Shidoshi B. Springsteen says:

    No costume, yet you tend to favor aesthetics over comfort…?

    • I should probably clarify that I’m not talking extremes here. I’m talking about wearing boots over sneakers and jeans over sweatpants.
      Every year I say I’m going to wear a costume, but never have. I don’t really know why. Dragon*Con always seems to sneak up on me. Here we are, 4 days from leaving for Dragon*Con, and I have no costume. C’est la vie and whatnot.

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