Thursday, August 8, 2013

Dragon*Con Prep!

I live for Labour Day Weekend.

You might think I'm exaggerating, but I honestly, Dragon*Con, for me, is about living. Its a massing of tens of thousands of people, all held together by a love of a culture. Its a diverse culture, to be sure, but it takes every single person who wears a badge and makes them one of many. You will never be the only one in the room who likes a certain TV show, or who reads a certain series of books, or plays a particular game. Your interests are shared by many; you are never singled out as different. It is the ultimate celebration of 'being yourself', letting loose and not being scared. For me, its about living life to the fullest.

And, one top of all that, one of my favourite parts of the Con is the preparation stage. Piecing together a costume; making lists of things to do, bring, and eat; poring over the guest list to find the people I can't wait to see. Not only am I really prepared when I get there, but I had a month of enjoyment out of my ticket!

I plan on bringing the market bag I made last year. Looking back at the post, I had hoped to empty it of yarn by this time... That didn't happen. Oops!

Here is a Packing List I suggest for your Con bag:

  • Water! I'm bringing a Camelback insert, and refilling it every night. Hydration is extremely important.
  • Snacks: Granola bars, homemade chips (in a tupperware so they don't get squished), Goldfish.
  • Lunches: I plan on creating bentos with high-carb foods (onigiri for me, fresh bread for the boyfriend). I'll post about them later. There is a food court, and hotel food, of course, but lets save a bit of money, shall we?
  • Hip Flask: Its got a map on it and will have rum in it. 
First Aid/Costuming Aid
  • Small First Aid bag with Band-Aids, Neosporin, and pain killers. I expect that blisters and headaches will be the only real injury we will receive.
  • Feminine Hygiene Products. Even if you don't expect to red tide to hit, the stress of the con often will mess with your cycle. Or, you could be like me, and somehow match it with this weekend, 3 years running. In an emergency, stores in the hotels sell them, but I like to be prepared.
  • Deodorant. Its hot and humid in Atlanta. You don't want to smell like... well, the rest of everyone.
  • Sewing kit with needles, black thread, and safety pins. Both costumes are black this year, but if you're wearing something with lots of colours, pick up some clear thread, or bring bobbins with matching colours. Don't let your sewing kit get too bulky, though!
  • Steampunk Handkerchief. It matches, and a hanky always comes in handy.
  • Parasol. This goes with my costume, but will also keep the sun off us for the walk there and back, and any intermittent outside-ing we will have.
  • Hairpins and hat pins.
  • Cell Phone and charger. Airplane mode while in the basement of the Hyatt. I have one of those wallet cases for it, so I will be keeping my debit card, ID, and cash in it. 
    • If you have a smartphone or tablet, be sure to download the DragonCon App! It works offline, so its great on tablets without wifi, or phones in airplane mode. I strongly recommend it!
    • I also suggest installing a QR Code reader. Lots of fliers and such have QR codes, and it will make life a bit easier.
  • Camera, if your phone sucks/doesn't last that long.
  • Kindle, pre-charged, loaded with a few books, for waiting in line and such. I have one with month-long battery life, so I don't expect it to die over the weekend. Make sure to bring your charger if you have a fancier version!
  • When it comes to electronics, its best to keep it simple. For one, if something gets stolen, you don't want to by carrying your laptop around. Also, you really don't want to be distracted from the Con around you, because you were playing Pokemon on your DS. There is already so much you won't be able to see, because of time and being human, you don't want to miss out on anything else.
Other Accessories
  • The Pocket Guide. The app is awesome, but your phone WILL die.
  • Umbrella, if it looks like it will rain.
  • Hand towel. Cleaning up messes, wiping one's brow... Its much easier than having to find paper towels.
  • Gaming accessories (Dice, Magic the Gathering Decks, etc). I would advise against bringing large books (like Players Handbooks), because they are bulky, and the gaming room tends to have everything.
  • Cash. Vendors prefer cash, and when you have cash, there's a definite limit on what you can buy. Moreover, check out the list of vendors, so you have an idea of what you want to purchase. But keep a bit for those 'must have' buys. I'm going to hit up the bookstores and Chessex this year!
  • Calling Cards. For people I meet (and like!), and photographers to send you your picture. Ask the photographer for his card! Also, its a great form of advertising! Put your blog or etsy store on it. 
  • Calling Card! Complete with blatant advertising.
  • Notepad. You're going to meet people, see things, need to remember things--its important to be able to write them down, even when your phone dies. Notepad and some cool pens are a must.

Things to Make Sure You Do at the Con
  • Find one panel a day you can't live without missing. Go to that panel.
  • Get business cards from stores you buy from, and store you wish you could buy from. Keep them in your wallet, or someplace safe. You can even write a note on them, so when you look at them later, you remember why you liked them.
  • See the Atlanta Radio Theater Company. Seriously. They do a great job of whatever they perform, and radio theater is a bit of a lost art.
  • Stay hydrated! You don't want to spend the convention sitting in a first aid room because you passed out in line. Remember: don't start drinking water when you get there, start drinking the day before!
  • Use the 3-2-1 rule: 3 hours of sleep, 2 meals, 1 shower DAILY! 
  • Visit the Art Room. There are a lot of really cool things, and many forms of media. Its pretty fantastic!
  • As someone on a diet, I also suggest letting it go by the wayside this weekend. You're going to be spending a lot more energy than you're used to; its better to get behind on your weight loss by a pound than passing out due to lack of food. 
  • Remember: DragonCon is about an experience. Its not about what all you buy, its about the people you meet, the fun you have, and the time of your life! Go bond with people! Make new friends! See some cool panels! Enjoy yourself!