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Friday, July 22, 2011

CONvergence: The Write-Up, Part 3

A typical panel room
GUESTS

I already mentioned Brian Keene, who was drinking in front of everyone and had this great just-don't-give-a-fuck attitude. Don't know anything that he's done (I think he's in comic books), but he's awesome. I didn't see much of him though, even though he was the first billed guest of honor.

Likewise was Joseph Scrimshaw. I'm not sure what he does, but he was pretty damn funny too. If not for the Vilification Tennis fiasco, I would have had no compunctions about seeing him. Plus I got to see Bill Corbett and Kevin Murphy (of MST3K) in odd, brief cameos.


And I swear I saw Linkara there. He's a vLogger on "That Guy With the Glasses", specializing in comic books. He's one of my favorites, mostly because he's a Minnesota native, but he's also great at making fun of bad comics. All the TGWTG guys are great with pointing out problems in story-telling that I use in my work. He wears a distinctive hat, and has a pudgy midwestern face, so I think I saw him boffing in the garden court. Wait, that come out wrong.

Paul and Storm also performed Saturday night, which was fun to see. I love Opening Band. And when I watched the Minnesota W00tStock on YouTube, I had to keep from laughing at work from the Captain's Wife Lament. But now I'm realizing you can only listen to that song a few times. It's a fifteen minutes song (with potential for longer due to improvisation) and the jokes tend to repeat. Paul and Storm must be going nuts if they play that every concert.

And finally, Seanan McGuire. She was the only guest of honor whose work I had partaken of, when I read Feed (under Mira Grant). I gave it a lukewarm review, but boy, in person, she is intense. I'm pretty sure the woman has an army of snakes and pestilence in her backyard if you cross her. She studied herpetology and folklore in college. She grew up in a single-wide trailer. She's prolific with a capital PRO. She's released so many books she had to use a pseudonym. She reminds me of a female John Scalzi. At first, I wasn't going to buy the sequel (Deadline), but now I think I might. Mostly because I'm pretty sure she can make things happen with her mind.

MISCELLANEOUS

The best part of the convention that wasn't event was the free food and coffee. Of course, you'll find me saying that about most of anything that has free consummables. Not only was it free coffee, it was free special coffees. (I don't know what those are called--the specialty coffee drinks like lattes and cappuccinos. Coffee recipes? Coffee cocktails?) But the line for it was long. Good thing there was a half hour between panels, because that's about how long it took at non-morning hours.

I learned about the Geek Partnership Society, which I don't know much about what it does, but seemed to have a large presence at the convention. It's Minnesota-based and they have events all year long, for gaming, anime and other geek stuff. They said it was like "a convention all year long", which I have no problem with. As far as I know, it seems like a Mom's Club for geeks. My goal is to find out what they have to offer, to find some more like-minded people to hang out with.

And on that note, I have to talk about what happened Friday night. You see, the whole point of going to CONvergence wasn't just for the purposes of writing. I was also hoping to make connections. Not just writing connections, but maybe making a new friend or two. Meeting new people. Meeting like-minded people. I've mentioned before how hard it is to make new friends at my age and place in life.

But I soon found that this was not to be.

You might ask why I didn't bring my wife with me? For one thing, cost. Instead of $60 it would be $120 for us to go. For another, there's timing -- you can't stay late to see the good stuff. For another, my wife is a bit of a geek, but not nearly at the level I am. She doesn't know what Rule 34 is and has never heard of Nyancat. For another, there's the kids, who would have very little to do.

I learned this at the Rennaissance Festival, that (probably because I'm an introvert) I like having space and freedom to explore these new places, to be unencumbered. Probably because that's what I need to get comfortable with them. If I brought the family, I would always be concerned about their needs, if they were having a good time. And they would always be hanging on me. (I mean literally. There's a picture of me at the Rennaissance Festival with Alexa hanging in the front sack, asleep). That's why I went alone.

But it appears at these conventions, it is expected that you travel with a group of friends. Where you get these friends, I don't know. A lot of the people were high school or college age. Man, I wish I had friends like that at that age. Everywhere I went, I saw people (often in costume) playing games with their friends, sitting in line with their friends, or partying with their friends.

You see, in CONvergence, they also have these room parties, in this area that surrounds the pool/garden court. On both the first and second level, there are cabanas and each one has a themed room party. Examples are Nerdtron Dance Club, Willy Wonka's, House of Toast, Vice City, Gryffindor and Slytherin Commons, Mos Icee Cantina, Perfectly Legitimate Spaceship (not a speakeasy), and others.

I desperately wanted to go to one of these parties, but I didn't know how they worked. Do you need an invite? Would I be welcomed? Do you need to show ID? Do they all serve alcohol? Are they too crowded? It's the equivalent of going to a house party, alone, where you didn't get an invite.


While Vilification Tennis went on (which I couldn't get into) I stood on the balcony, looking over the court where people were playing games, dancing, drinking, talking, hitting each other with foam swords. All I did was wish I could be a part of it. But I have this crippling introversion that prevents me from saying word one. I get a freeze response. That's why I have no friends. I thought I was going into a world that was mine, where my people were. Now I'm not sure what world I belong in.

This was the night I expected to stay up, go to the late night panels and events, and have fun. But I decided to go home early. If I'm going to feel sorry for myself, I might as well go home and do it, drink my own booze. To my surprise, my wife was still up, and was wondering why I was drinking. So (in a move uncharacteristic of me) I told her everything I just told you.

But you know what? When I went to bad that night, I had a comforting thought. Even though I felt like there was no world out there I could belong to, there would always be a little world in my house. A little world where they always accept me, I always have friends, and they understand most of my jokes.
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