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.
Labels: babbling, big fun, Children, culture, holidays, kids, style, The People In Your Neighborhood, The people you meet sometimes, Truth is stranger than fiction, world view, yay us, You Do That In Public?