DragonCon 2014

Marriott Marquis

Marriott Marquis

Every year since 2001, Cameron and I can be found in one place during Labor Day weekend – Atlanta. I call it the happiest place on Earth because of DragonCon.  (Yes, I know somewhere else thinks they have this moniker but they have clearly never been to DragonCon.) For 4 days, the downtown Atlanta area turns into a glorious hodgepodge of stormtroopers, red shirts from Star Trek, and every other genre of fantasy and science fiction in the past 100 years. Hosted over 5 hotels, DragonCon is the largest convention of its kind in the Southeast and possibly the entire East Coast. It has often been compared to San Diego Comic Con, but from what I have read and heard from those who have attended both conventions, there is no comparison. Comic Con is highly stylized with many A list actors and some amazing cosplay. DragonCon also has A list actors, bands, artists and the unique ability to meet all of these people in a casual, chaotic environment. Whereas the talent at Comic Con is often kept separate from the congoers, at DragonCon you can find yourself in the hospitality suite with Malcom McDowell or George Takei. (Yes, this happened to me last year. No, I didn’t snap pics. They were eating breakfast and I didn’t want to be rude.)

Top 5 things I LOVE about DragonCon:

1. Reconnecting with old friends.

Carly and I


Minion Dinner

Minion Dinner

There are some people that I only see once a YEAR. Thankfully our shared interest in DragonCon brings us back together year after year to catch up and enjoy a beverage or two.

2. Helping out friends.

SCF group shot

For the past two years we have helped out our longtime friend Allen of the Superhero Costuming Forum with one of his epic photo shoots. Cam and I worked security this year and it was fun watching the shoots while also keeping the backgrounds clean for them. Allen insists that he has retired from coordinating the shoots. Time will tell. 😉 Beatdown Boogie usually comes out with a video showing some of the footage from the shoots. You can find one of them HERE.

3. Cosplay. Lots and lots of cosplay



Ice King!

Ice King!



Yaya Han!

Yaya Han!

For 3-4 full days, there is an endless supply of people watching and costumes to admire. Some of the costumers spend an entire year planning, sewing and assembling their costumes for DragonCon. It is so much fun to go through the hotels that host the convention and see everyone decked out in their best cosplay finery.

4. Giving blood.

After giving a pint, they instagram you.

After giving a pint, they Instagram you.

I started giving blood at DragonCon 4 years ago and have kept it up as a tradition. LifeSouth hosts the Robert Heinlein blood drive each year. I like it as it is a definite time of year that I know I can make time to donate. Plus they tell me my cholesterol.

5. This one is for my guys. Battlepods.

Mech Corps Battle Pods

Mech Corps Battle Pods

Cam and Riley both love the battlepods. As posted on the MechCorps website: In the simulators you see above, You can battle multiple other pilots in 3-story tall, 75-ton walking tanks in a virtual world of futuristic war. Fight one-on-one, everyone for themselves or teams; with or without computer AI opponents. We will train and prepare you for 10 minutes of the most fun you’ve had beating up your friends … without leaving bruises!

Riley would spend his entire DragonCon in the battlepods if we let him.

5.b – And then there is everything else – the parade, the Masquerade, the music, the artists (both in the art show and comics gallery), the Dealers Hall and so, so much more. The sheer volume of activities at any one time during the convention are so diverse that you could have an entirely different experience each year and still not see and do all that there is to do. We go for the friends, the costumes, the events and the camaraderie.


Have you been to Dragoncon? If so, what is your favorite part of the experience?

House concert with Marc Gunn

Last night I attended a house concert at my friends April & John’s house to see Marc Gunn play. It was awesome. I first saw Marc play when he was part of the Brobdingnagian Bards at DragonCon many years ago.

Marc’s music is described as “Celtic music, the traditional and the twisted. Marc Gunn combines his love of traditional Irish drinking songs with fun, twisted lyrics. It’s like a satirical jam session between The Clancy Brothers and Weird Al Yankovic. Enjoy Celtic-style songs about hobbits, cats, kilts, Firefly, Star Wars, Star Trek, plus, Gunn’s rhythmic acoustic renditions of traditional Scottish and Irish songs.”

Marc introduced new songs I haven’t heard that were delightful along classics that I’ve always enjoyed hearing him play, like the Ballad of Jayne.

Marc also performed an acapella summary of Hamlet. I caught the second half.

Marc has also started podcasts and newsletters supporting the Celtic community. My favorite part on Marc’s network to follow is his Instagram account to see photos of his beautiful wife Gwen and daughter Kenzie. It is awesome to keep up with his lovely family and see how Kenzie is growing up!

I’ll leave you with one more video from last night. Don’t go Drinking with Hobbits! 🙂

What are your favorite Celtic songs?

DragonCon 2013

Every Labor Day weekend we travel up to Atlanta for DragonCon. We’ve done this since 2001, and we haven’t missed a year. Some years it was the only vacation we took. Other years, it was a stop in the wild and crazy path for that year. Since we’ve started going we have bought a house, had two kids, and I have changed vocations. The first two years that we had Riley, he went with us. I couldn’t bear to leave him for such a long time. By the third year, I realized that some time away would be good for both of us. When Gavin was born, we went with us the first year. Then he stayed home with his brother at his grandparents too.

This year Riley is 9 and we decided to bring him back with us. I’ve got to admit, it’s fun seeing something through the eyes of your child. They absorb things differently. They notice details you might overlook. And the enthusiasm!

This is Riley entering the MechCorps Battle Pods. These were, hands down, his favorite part of DragonCon. Forget seeing the spectacular costumes, meeting new & interesting people, riding overfilled elevators with strangely behaved adults – he really wanted to sit in a dark, enclosed, 360 degree experience video game where you chase your dad and his friends around in a giant robot and shoot rockets at each other. I can’t say I blame him. It was probably quieter in those pods than in the lobby of the Marriott after 7pm.

Riley also developed a new crush – Ice. I’m not sure if the crush is on the character or the person cosplaying the character, but I did get a full wiki education on Ice before we left the con. Yay for Scandinavians!

Riley met Wreck-It Ralph….

20130907-115743.jpg Ironman…

20130907-120014.jpg Hawkeye…

20130907-120133.jpg and Power Girl.
After we asked him to pose with the first costumer, Riley got into taking photos more. He also enjoyed watching the parade, robot battles and a few puppet shows. He wore his convention badge to school his first day back so he could inform his classmates of his epic adventures.
In addition to living the con through the eyes of my first born…

20130907-120828.jpgI even got to meet Aquaman, give blood and shop a little in the dealers hall.

Have you attended DragonCon? What are your favorite parts?