Each year at Dragon*Con, I like to think I notice things that can make the next year better. So, here is what I got from this year.
- Costumes do, in fact, make things more fun.
I’ve been going to Dragon*Con, off and on, for … a lot of years. I know the first year I went was after high school (graduated in 1992) but before leaving college (graduated 1998). I’ve been about a dozen times and before this year the closest I’ve come to wearing a costume is to wear a t-shirt relating to something in fandom. This year, however, I put on a tattoo shirt, one of those mesh things that makes it look like you have a full chest, back and sleeves of tattoos. So simple, and yet it was the start of about a dozen dozen conversations. That shirt will be making an appearance next year, and I’ve resolved that I will have a costume for every day next year. I’ve said that before, but this time I mean it.
- Food in the room doesn’t have to be crap.
In previous years, the wife and I have brought down snacks and sandwich stuff (peanut butter & jelly, cold cuts and condiments), but this year we had a George Foreman Grill and hotdogs. Next year we’ll probably expand that to burgers, both beef and veggie, and maybe more. The biggest revelation, however, was that we didn’t have to actually bring down food. There are two Publix stores within easy reach of the hotels that we could just hit up for supplies after getting downtown. Next year, when we get down there on Thursday, we’ll just make a store run rather than haul all that stuff with us.
- Bitter people are going to be bitter.
Some folks apparently like to be angry. They’ve decided they hate something (even if it is entirely hypocritical) and not a thing you can say will change their mind. Once you have identified a bitter person who is entrenched in their bitterness, just walk away. And if you can’t walk away, try to steer the conversation toward something that will make them walk away or at least to something they aren’t bitter about.
- Working staff can be fun.
I imagine that working registration and dealing with people who hate you because they blame you for the long line has got to suck. But working a track can be an absolute blast if a) the rest of the staff is cool, b) the track is something you are interested in, and c) you don’t mind missing large chunks of the con. Now, this may be my opinion and entirely biased, but the MMORPG Track staff is definitely cool. And I love MMORPGs. And I’ve been coming to con enough that I’m not really “missing” those chunks as much as I’ve seen them before. Besides, the con is practically 24/7, so there is always time to see the sights. Anyway, I had an absolute blast and look forward to working staff again next year.
- Internet access is highway robbery unless you do something about it.
Every year at con, I always want to be able to check email or browse the net, or even post my blog entries. The host hotels typically charge around $12 to $15 per day for access. This year, I was pointed toward Boingo. If you happened to be staying in or spending lots of time in the Marriott Marquis, then signing up for Boingo’s $9.95 a month plan right before con and then cancelling it after is far far cheaper than paying the Marriott prices. I don’t know if there are equivalents for the other hotels, but I tend to always stay in the Marriott. I usually end up spending $60 on Internet access during con, so spending $10 instead was a nice savings.
And that appears to be all that I learned at this year’s con.