Better And Better

If you don't draw yours, I won't draw mine.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Project A Kon

And speaking of Larry Correia, that reminds me-- I ran into a guy dressed out as one of his characters out of his excellent series of Monster Hunters International books.

He was very nice, and let me take his picture. I mentioned that I'd been a moderator with Larry at The Firing Line and The High Road for some time, and he asked if I wanted a patch. I've never gotten an MHI patch, so I was excited to get this one. I think that I'm going to sew it onto my patrol bag. I may put velcro on the back, and put it on my department gas mask bag, or on my fast response bag.

I ran into the guy at A-Kon, an anime convention for serious nerds. What was I doing at A-Kon, you may ask? Well, I think that I was being a good daddy. See, my elder daughter and her best friends have gotten deep into reading all manner of Japanese cartoon books called Manga. They watch videos of Japanese anime. They copy hundreds of Japanese pop songs in MP3 format to trade among each other to play on their iPods and phones and convert to CD format to play on my dadgummed car stereo when we go places.

So when my 12 year old daughter, who had just been recognized by Duke TIP as a really bright kid for doing exceptionally well on the SAT in 7th grade, got all A's for the six weeks, the semester, and the school year, she was getting a big reward. And she wanted A-Kon. I took her and her two best friends.

Folks, I've been to a few county fairs, a goat ropin', and I've seen ducks copulate, but I've never seen anything like this.

We drove into downtown Dallas to the hotel. No parking for blocks. We finally drove into a parking garage that was almost full, for $18 to park. We walked into the hotel amidst hundreds-- nay-- thousands of people dressed in various costumes. My daughter was not in costume, but she had dyed her bangs aqua (hey, they grow out). She was so normal-looking, that she was almost invisible. I just wore khakis and comfortable shoes. I was invisible.

We walked in as the conga line of several hundred passed us. The leader was a belly dancer with 8 foot butterfly wings of gold. Following her were all manner of costumed nerds who were in their natural habitat, mostly between the ages of 14 and 30.

It was as if, repressed of their chance to be social during their daily lives, these youngsters had finally found Their People, and took the opportunity to crawl out of their shells. They were jubilant. When they found someone in a similar costume, depicting the same character that they had come dressed as, they didn't get upset. Indeed, they would happily embrace, as would long-lost friends who had finally reunited. I saw this over and over again. They minded not at all if you asked to take a picture of them (or better yet, with them). It was a high compliment, and the most popular had worked on their poses. My daughter was a little jealous of her friend who was repeatedly recognized for the character whose costume she wore.

I paid the registration fee for all four of us. But that was it. (Besides snacks, lunch, supper, and a little help with a pin when a girl came up short.)

We saw furries, cross-dressers, perverts, and robots, both real and imagined. We saw storm troopers. We saw girl storm troopers. We saw video game characters. We saw faux Florentine fencing demonstrations. We saw people dressed as stone angels. We saw browncoats. We saw steampunks. We saw movie heroines. We saw superheroes. We saw strange mixes of culture that defied explanation. It was a throng of nerd-dom, taking up three stories of the hotel.

And next year, if she gets all A's, I'll take her to do it again.

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18 Comments:

At Wednesday, June 15, 2011 10:36:00 PM, Blogger On a Wing and a Whim said...

the "defied explanation" red monitor-head is from FLCL, if I remember correctly. And yes, that entire anime rather defied explanation, even before they started breaking the fourth wall.

...

I miss cons! I'm not sure Calmer Half would survive if I dragged him through one...but what doesn't kill him will make him stronger, right?

 
At Thursday, June 16, 2011 8:32:00 AM, Blogger Christina LMT said...

Envy! I'm sending this link to Silver, she will expire of envy, too.

 
At Thursday, June 16, 2011 8:32:00 AM, Anonymous Shrimp said...

I've never attended any 'con' of any sort, but I have both relatives and friends that are way into Star Trek and have attended whatever that one is called. Myself, I just don't think I could do it (without smacking some nerds around and getting arrested). But, I would definitely buy the Epic Fail T-shirt with the 20 sided die if I had gone to that one. How I miss those days.

 
At Thursday, June 16, 2011 11:16:00 AM, Blogger Old NFO said...

Interesting... "glad" I missed it :-) but good on your daughter for the grades!!!

 
At Thursday, June 16, 2011 2:24:00 PM, Blogger Silver the Evil Chao said...

Oh my god. This picture. They're all dressed as Panty and Stocking With Garterbelt characters. xDDDDDD I thought that show was only popular in my circle of college friends. xD

And I'm massively disturbed that this picture has items with both Hatsune Miku and Black Rock Shooter...

Hahaaaaaa, Hatsune Miku cosplay. xDDD

KYAAAAAAAAAA Yoko and Simon from Gurren Lagann!!

Yeah, I agree with On a Wing and a Whim - TV-head guy is likely cosplaying the resident robot of Fooly Cooly. Which is actually a show that is LESS weird than Panty and Stocking despite being made by the same people. I didn't really spot it at first because the TV on the guy's head is RED, but whatever. xD

Maaaan, I'm totally envious. I want to go to one either cosplaying as Arisato or as Hatsune Miku...but no money for costumes! oAo;; Or skill, for that matter. No money for con, either. xD

 
At Thursday, June 16, 2011 10:38:00 PM, Blogger Matt G said...

Silver, are you talking about this guy as being Arisato?

 
At Friday, June 17, 2011 10:24:00 AM, Blogger Matt G said...

Oh, my daughter says, "No! That's Sebastian! And Grell, strangely a girl, there."

 
At Friday, June 17, 2011 12:12:00 PM, Blogger Silver the Evil Chao said...

Yep, that's Sebastian and Grell from Kuroshitsuji/Black Butler. Which is an awesome historical/supernatural manga series (the anime sucks).

And Grell is girly enough that a girl cosplaying as him really isn't that much of a difference...

 
At Friday, June 17, 2011 6:34:00 PM, Anonymous Jennifer said...

Nice. I was but eye candy in a comic book store's booth for my first comic convention. My hair was its natural color and pulled into a simple ponytail. It was the 90s and there were no fantastic costumes.
My how things change. I was reminded of my own costuming adventure as Trinity of the Matrix just today...

 
At Monday, June 20, 2011 9:31:00 AM, Blogger Tam said...

Cool! Congratulations to her! :)

(I was in TIP in the inaugural year...)

 
At Monday, June 20, 2011 12:21:00 PM, Blogger Matt G said...

And three years later, I was in it, too.

 
At Monday, June 20, 2011 5:17:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

No costume? Maybe you're just not shopping at the right place.

Brass

 
At Monday, June 20, 2011 8:51:00 PM, Blogger Tam said...

Neat-O!

Did you go to summer school at Duke? I took U.S. History 1918-Present that first summer of '81. It was awesome. It wasn't until deer camp in '03 that I was again in my element, surrounded by like-minded nerdy brainiacs. :)

 
At Tuesday, June 21, 2011 12:43:00 AM, Blogger Matt G said...

Nah. Didn't have the scratch. They had me go down to Baylor to be "commended" for my performance, which I thought was a pretty big deal, until I learned that what it really meant was sitting in an auditorium with a bunch of REAL brainiacs winning things like new whiz-bang 286 processor machines, graphing calculators, encyclopedias, and paid trips to camps. I got a tiny certificate (seriously-- couldn't spring for the full-sized?), and some invites to some camps that I couldn't afford to attend.

My elder daughter got a really nice medal, and invites to some other camps that I can't afford to send her to. ($900 plus travel to a month-long philosophy course taught at Duke that she doesn't get college credit for? Sorry, kid. We're going to make better choices than that.)

 
At Sunday, June 26, 2011 1:39:00 PM, Blogger phlegmfatale said...

Let us know and we'll meet you there next time - sounds like a scream!

 
At Wednesday, July 06, 2011 9:47:00 PM, Blogger Justthisguy said...

This is why most SF sucks these days. It is all ate up with the girl cooties. I write as one who grew up reading the likes of Hal Clement and Doc Smith. OhJohnRingoNo is doing a bit of helpful pushback.

 
At Friday, July 22, 2011 6:14:00 AM, Blogger Cybrludite said...

Justthisguy, what's wrong with girl cooties? As Galahad said in Monty Python & the Holy Grail, "I bet you're gay!" (Not that there's anything wrong with that...) :-p You get to meet all manner of smart, capable, and more often than you'd expect, hot nerdy ladies at conventions. Some of them are even single, or otherwise available.

 
At Friday, July 22, 2011 6:36:00 AM, Blogger Cybrludite said...

Shrimp, trying to slap the nerds around would be a very bad idea. I've found that we've got a somewhat higher percentage of martial artists & vets amongst our numbers than the mundane population. You might have the misfortune to pick on, say, one of Mad Mike's kids or, worse, this little redhead I know who has a black belt and who's been bragging about her brand new naginata.

 

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