Margaret Mitchell's Apartment

Oh hey, so I was in Atlanta recently, unless the endless Dragon*Con talk didn't tip you off to the fact.

Know who used to live in Atlanta?

Well, if you read the title of the post, you'll know it was Margaret Mitchell.

I think you can click to embiggen

I didn't go inside or anything, but was intrigued enough to take a picture, anyway!


So, Dragon*Con.

I don't really know where to begin, so I guess I'll just start from the beginning of the trip and work my way through. Ish.

In case you have no idea what Dragon*Con is, the official website is here. According to that site, it's "the largest multi-media, popular culture convention focusing on science fiction and fantasy, gaming, comics, literature, art, music, and film in the universe*." Basically my Vegas. I've never been to a convention before but have sort of been dying to go since I finally came to terms with my nerdery several years ago and better yet, finally found friends with similar interests. The original plan was to attend San Diego Comic-Con, but registration for that was a complete schmozzle, and to make a long story short, Dragon*Con came to the rescue.

Taken in the Centennial Olympic Park
(By the way, if you follow me on Twitter, you'll know that I was basically gushing ecstatically the entire time, and you probably won't even need to read this post.)

I set out for Atlanta very early in the morning on August 30 with my friends Cat and Dave, arriving there in the late afternoon following a very uneventful flight. We planned to spend a little bit of time doing general tourist stuff in Atlanta, and then attend the non-stop nerd party for the remainder of our time there. Without getting into too much detail about the pre-con days, I'll say that we achieved pretty much exactly what we wanted to.  I actually really liked the parts of Atlanta that I saw, despite all the naysayers.

Also I had this delicious ice cream
We had peaches from a fruit and vegetable stand, and visited the World of Coca-Cola, and ate delicious food. And then we registered for the con and the whirlwind began.

"Normals" won't understand this, but when you've been a nerd for a long time, you do a sort of natural self-censoring that involves never bringing up your interests around strangers. So on registration day, being around an enormous room full of other geeks for the first time in my life, I was pretty much completely overwhelmed. All of their t-shirts were hilarious. All of their jokes were jokes I would make. I guess that sense of belonging must be what the normals feel all the time, and it's a very good feeling. It's especially nice to know that you're not the weirdest one in the room, which is how I often feel at work. (To be fair to the other con-goers, I only saw one girl with one of those creepy Asian ball-jointed dolls, and only encountered one woman who seemed to think that she was actually a witch, so the weirdness level wasn't really that high.)

Registration Day was September 1, and that night Cat, Dave, and I partook in some partying. There were some things happening in one of the other hotels, so we walked over and...

(I basically feel like a country bumpkin every time I leave the province, but this was especially severe.  In Montreal the crowdedness was too oppressive, but in Atlanta things were all enormous and impressive instead. I should also add that this trip was the first time I've been to the US of A since 1989, when my parents brought 2.5 year-old me to Disneyland shortly before my sister was born.)

But even with all the awesome that preceded it, I think the con really started for me when we were mobbed by a group of the Sesame Street Martians/Yip-Yip Aliens.  Good Lord.

Beer? Beer-beer-beer?
 Anyway I'm starting to get into mundane details.

The con was spectacular, basically. I got to see my hero, Wil Wheaton, in the flesh, at the first Guild Q&A panel, although I didn't manage to make time to meet him during any of the ensuing days. Unfortunately I'm pretty typical and he's pretty much the King of the Geeks, so the line to see him was always very long.  I also went to a few other panels (Terry Pratchett fan panel, Narnia vs Middle Earth film adaptations fan panel, The Big Bang Theory - Are We the Joke? fan panel, and, most terrifyingly, the Conservatives in Space discussion panel), at least one of which I'd like to address in more detail here in the coming weeks. The level of discourse was almost always really good, whether it was coming from the panelists or the audience.

Jellyfish are pretty but also terrifying
I'm a wimp so I didn't do much partying, but I did drag my friends all the way around the Georgia Aquarium on the con's aquarium night. Oh, and the three of us were in costume the first day, too, which was a lot of fun. People even asked to take pictures of us, despite the fact that we weren't super hardcore cosplayers and also that I was cross dressing.

I'm not posting any pictures of people in costume right now because there are a million of them elsewhere online that you can find if you know how to do a Google search. I'm also not posting any pictures of my friends and I because I don't have their permission and I don't think there are any pictures of just me, at least not that I have yet, and also lol I'm trying to protect my anonymity, fools!

In short, I very highly recommend attending a convention if you have the time and/or resources. I'll probably try to make it to a smaller one next summer, and I may even consider returning to Dragon*Con at some point in the future, if it doesn't become as hard to get to as Comic-Con currently is. I'm sure I left out a lot of stuff, but if you have any questions, please feel free to ask!

And here are some Tribbles. I'm pleased to report that they didn't detect any Klingons in the vicinity, and will now be guarding my apartment.

* I'd say this last bit is debatable.

In Which A Mission Is Modified Again

OK, so I’ve obviously been neglecting the blog to a pretty absurd degree lately. And although I’ve been really trying to resist this, I’m afraid that I’m finally just going to give in.

No more romance novels.

I dunno if this’ll be a shock/disappointment/relief to you guys or what, but basically I have less than 50 leisure hours available to me per week, and there are too many amazing things out there for me to spend insane amounts of my free time reviewing terrible novels (I’ve taken that away from Dragon*Con, if nothing else). Like I said when I previously modified my mission statement, if there comes a time when I’m an unemployed loser again, I’ll happily go back to the romance novels.

The blog is called Two Hectobooks, though. I have something like 45 inherited books sitting on my bookshelf that desperately need to be read, and a reading list that’s about a million miles long on top of those, so I’m just going to keep reading and reviewing whatever, interspersed with the Top 100 books. In case you’re curious about what random novels may be coming up, the inherited books are mostly a lot of Canlit. My personal taste, if you haven’t figured this out by now, runs strongly toward sf, with forays into fantasy, horror, historical, and basically just about anything that has a catchy title and smart cover.

I feel sort of sad about this decision, but I feel good about it, too. The blog has been feeling like a burden for the past several months, but now that I’ve made this decision it’s starting to seem like a fun project again. The current romnov, Night Bites by Nina Bangs, is a lot of fun, but it’s also seemed like an impenetrable barrier that I had no time to dissect mercilessly. Now I’ll set it aside in favour of something else, and hopefully get back into the groove again, and post more often than never.

Still, if any one, five, or ten people out there want to take over the romance side of the project, I’m completely open to that, and I’d be happy to add you as a contributor to the blog, or just put up some guest posts from you! Just comment on this post or, you know, call me, since I think all my readers are close friends who have my phone number, haha.

And finally: hopefully over the next couple of weeks I'll have a chance to mess around with the formatting and various pages on the site, so that they reflect the various changes.

Current Distractions, Belated August 2011 Edition

Last month was a whirlwind, to put it mildly. I went from my Company’s office, to no fewer than three different job sites, two of which required drug tests* for access (so I had two pleasant afternoons of hydrating madly to convince my shy bladder that it would be alright to pee in a cup). Work stress has thus been a bit higher than usual, and the hours have generally been longer than the standard 40 hours.

The other major distraction was preparing for travel at the end of the month. I went to Dragon*Con in Atlanta, which I think warrants a post of its own, so I’m not going to say much about it right now. But prior to the trip I was at a remote site, and so my preparations were all a lot more rushed than they normally are. Fortunately I was with two other people, and so we all sort of managed to get things figured out as we went.

I have an announcement post that’ll be going up shortly after this one (and hopefully the Dragon*Con one), which will please and/or disappoint you. In the meantime, I’m hoping to get back to work on my reading in the very near future. (I brought Good Omens with me for reading during the con, and I finished it on the flight home, so I’m all set for a new book!)

* That brings my Total Lifetime Drug Tests quantity to four, which I feel is kind of a huge amount.