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ConGregate 2016 In Review

22 Jul

Ahh another ConGregate come and gone.  Granted this is on my second one (and the third ever ConGregate!) but it’s such a fun little con.  This convention takes place mid July in High Point, NC and the wonder programmer (Love you Tera!) always keeps me super busy.  Okay… I volunteer for most of it, but she lets me!  Here’s a quick look at what I was on this year:

Friday:

  • How Star Trek Created Our World
  • I Wouldn’t Run Unless Zombies Were Chasing Me
  • AI:  Science Fiction and Fact
  • Ask a Mad Scientist

Saturday:

  • Duct Tape Bowties are Cool!
  • The Practical Physiology of Immortality
  • HollyWeird Squares
  • STEM for Kids
  • What’s Up With That?

Sunday:

  • DC vs Marvel

I was a little worried I wasn’t going to make my first panel because 85 south SUCKS.  Big ones.  But I squeaked in 8 minutes before the panel and even though it was a small audience it was a fun talk about Star Trek technology.  I didn’t even get lynched for not being a huge Star Trek fan!

Next was a geek exercise panel which was fitting with Pokemon Go having come out literally days before.  I got to moderate this one and we learned about some of the geekier ways people have used to get their workout on.  Shortly after this I went to Ted Roberts self defense panel which was a helluva lot of fun.  We had some people from his dojo who taught us some different moves and we got to pair up and practice.  Much fun and sweating was had by all.

The next science panel was about AI and thank goodness I was moderating this, because I really don’t know as much as Jim Beal, Stephen Simmons, or Darin Kennedy about AI!  These panels are fun for me to moderate because I can come up with the questions even if I don’t know much about the topic.

The last thing was the Ask a Mad Scientist which is always fun.  Late night ramblings about science.  I didn’t hit up many parties Friday night since I had such an early morning the next day.

Saturday I had the two “workshop” kinda panels targeted at kids.  I had two come for duct tapes, but there wasn’t much interest in the STEM for kids sadly.  I was going to make slime with them too!  Woulda been awesome.  Next year though.

My favorite panel of the weekend was the immortality panel though.  I love being on panels with Ted Roberts and we had some great discussions about immortality and is it physiologically possible.  We easily could have talked for another hour or two without even discussing the ethics and other implications of it.

Other panels that day were the HollyWeird Squares which was fun, but so much anxiety!  I’m not one for improv or on the spot thinking and some of the questions made me doubt my geek cred.

Saturday night I hung out at the Nth Degree party with some of my friends new and old and caught some Pokemon.  I mean why not? I could touch two spots both with lures!  I even caught a Charmander!  Much excite.

Sunday morning I had the DC vs Marvel which was a fun panel, but I felt lacking in my DC and general comic knowledge.

Overall, it was a great conMyMy and I look forward to being able to attend next year.  It is a great way to celebrate my summer because by that time I’m finally done with class and TSA responsibilities.

ConGregate 2015 Schedule

3 Jul

Hey everyone!

It’s been a while since I’ve had a post because I’ve been super busy.  First finishing up the end of the school year and then I took a group of students to Dallas, Texas for our national conference for the Technology Student Association.  It was long and I didn’t get in until almost 4am last night, but it was a blast and we now have a national officer! It’s very exciting.

But moving on to more fun things this summer like ConGregate!  We’ve got a week to go and I’m going to be a science guest.  Unfortunately I was unable to attend ConCarolinas, but I will definitely be at ConGregate and I have a huge schedule of fun panels, so please find me there!  You can find the full schedule or my individual schedule on sched.org.

Friday:

  • 1pm – Medicine of the Future
  • 3pm – Build a Better Space Habitat
  • 4pm – Warrior Women (M)
  • 9pm – Weapons in SF
  • 10pm – Doctor Who Through a Woman’s Eyes
  • 11pm – Ask a Mad Scientist
  • 12M – Step On It

Saturday

  • 11am – STEM for Kids

Sunday:

  • 10am – Costuming vs. Cosplay
  • 12N – Unique Costuming Materials (M)
  • 1pm – Women in Science and Tech (M)
  • 2pm – Back to the Future

I hope to see everyone there!

 

MystiCon 2015 in Review

6 Mar

I haven’t posted in a while, maybe Lucy really took it out of me, but since I’m going to be a guest at some conventions coming up soon, I need to get my butt in gear.  So here I am to talk about MystiCon 2015!  MystiCon was my first convention and is always a blast.  Plus I get to see a lot of old friends since I moved from that area.  So let’s start with this…

Friday

I had thought about getting there very early, but decided to wait and arrived about 2pm and parking was all gone, blast! Now I know for next year.  So I parked in the extra lot and took the shuttle up only to run into fridge also on the shuttle.  Score!  Checked in and unloaded all my stuff in the room and made some rounds.  Ran into so many people and did some catching up.

After some catching up, I decided to hit up panels.  Up first was Putting the Science in Science Fiction.  The panellist focused on what science fiction gets wrong with known science.  My favorite was Darin Kennedy’s concern about where all the poop goes on a spaceship (a valid concern).  Other topics included where some talk about genetics and things getting into police procedurals.  I think it’s interesting to talk about and I know things are not realistic, but it’s never really bothered me for some reason.  Well except some of the crazy shit in Lucy…

Next up was Penny-pinching, how to save money in costuming and cosplay.  There were some awesome cosplayers and costumers on the panel and they had great tips.  I really wish I had taken notes…  The biggest tip I remember was about using industrial cable ties for boning in a corset.

I was going to check out Nerdiquette 101 or Is There a Doctor on the Starship? but I got whisked off to dinner with my previous roommate and his girlfriend.  It was a nice dinner and we got in just before the dinner rush.

After dinner, I checked out the start of Iron Costumer as well as snuck off to the room to charge my phone and then caught the end of Iron Costumer.  My friend rooming with me finally showed up late and we got him into the room and hung out before catching the Bloody Desires and Sexual Magic (an erotic art show) put on by my friend Mark Davis.  It was pretty cool, though hopefully next year will have a lot more art.  We chatted with some of the artists and then checked out the Con-Gregate party and called it a pretty early night.

Saturday

Saturday seemed like it was a very long day.  Started with getting my friend his badge and then heading up to the Con Suite for some breakfast.  Free food is always good, but after the Con Suite at MarsCon… very few stack up.  But I got some noms and then went down to meet my friend to help her prep for the Masquerade since I was her minion for the weekend.  We got all the judges folders and applications ready and then had to run to Food Lion for a few things.  Had some lunch and then I helped her prep for her Henna class.  I did miss a lot of cool panels during the day Saturday, but it was fun to help get everything ready.  I do wish I had gotten to see one of the Q&A with Sean Maher though.

After the Henna workshop, I did wander off to the Match Game, which was hilarious as usual. This years naughty theme seemed to be peanut butter.  Think about it.  After that I stopped by Cosplayers Unite! Cosplay is For Everyone! and it was very empowering.  Jillian Ryan was awesome.  She really pushes the idea that it doesn’t matter if you cosplay to your body type or gender or anything like that.  It really made me want to get out there and start costuming, so maybe PowerGirl will be happening sometime soonish.

Just before the panel was over I had to run and change and get ready for the Masquerade green room.  I got to use my teacher voice and help get everyone lined up and started prejudging.  It was fun and there were some awesome costumes.  I didn’t actually get to see people go across stage, but it was cool to be behind the scene and talk to everyone.

After everything was done, I grabbed my friend and scarfed down some food.  We then wanted arounded through some parties and also went to KT Pinto’s last reading.  I had also chained into my chainmail top because I was feeling extra confident.  Afterwards and hung out with some friends and finished a bracelet one had asked for.  I wandered out as they were heading out for the night and ran into some more people, specifically one of the Hellboy’s from the Masquerade.  He introduced me to some of his friends and we chatted for a bit.  Shortly after I think I wandered back up to the room and crashed decently early.

Sunday

Sunday started a little early (my roommate snored and kept me up a bit) but I got my bags packed up and ready to check out and grabbed another bagel from the Con Suite.  Afterwards I hit up the Cosplay Armory panel which had a lot of great info.  I had no idea the amount of things you could do with craft foam!  I got to chat with some of the panelists and they are all super awesome.  Turns out Jillian Ryan is actually local to me!  I also got to chat a bit with Hazel Dayze about making a PowerGirl costume.  Yey for having future help.

I got checked out of the hotel while I had some time and stashed my stuff in a friends car.  Then I wandered until I decided to get in line for an autograph from Sean Maher, woo first in line.  I had him sign a Firefly t-shirt I had, hopefully I’ll be able to add to it at some point.

After that I did some wandering in the vendor room.  I decided to buy a pair of wire wrapped elf ears and that was the only vendor room purchase I made all weekend.  I did some rounds and said my goodbyes before heading out shortly there after.

Overall it was a pretty great convention.  There were loads of panels I missed that would have been awesome to see, but I lacked a time turner to make everything.  I also had wished I’d went to more things that Sean Maher participated in.  Next year they are having George R.R. Martin as a guest, which I’m not terribly excited about.  It’s going to sell out crazy quick and I’ve never read or seen Game of Thrones.  I’m hoping they still have a media guest of some sort, but they may not, we shall see.  I’m also hoping to be able to be a guest there as well and I think my odds will be good seeing as I will have been a guest at Con Carolinas and Con-Gregate by then.

RavenCon 2013

11 Apr

I went to Mysticon in Roanoke, VA this year for the full weekend and I have to say it got me hooked.  I met great people, the panels were great, plus I got to meet Peter Davidson and got a t-shirt signed.  How sweet is that?  The next con I saw that was fairly close was RavenCon in Richmond, VA.  I knew a few people that were going to be there, so I figured why not?  Got a room, got my badge, and hopped in my car.  This was only my second time staying the full weekend at a sci-fi con and it was great.  So let’s start with Friday.

Random, but there was a great set of GhostBusters there, caught them in action.

Random, but there was a great set of GhostBusters there, caught them in action.

Friday morning (despite having gotten 6 inches of snow the day before) I gathered up all my gear, packed up my car and started the trek.  It was about a 3 hour drive, which allowed me to listen to a few episodes of Geek Radio Daily.  I decided it would be fun to listen to the episode they recorded at RavenCon in 2012.  The hotel was fairly easy to find and I got there, got checked in (both to the hotel and con), all my gear up to the room, and went down to explore.  It was a little too late for the first panel, but I did make it to a 4pm panel of the messiest ways to kill zombies.  For one of the first panels, it had few people and there were some great ideas.  CJ Henderson described a super graphic, but epic, scene where a zombie was killed in a pristine white bathroom.  Very gruesome indeed.

The next panel I went to was Nerdiquette 101.  They had this panel at Mysticon and it ended up being great fun with some amusing stories.  One common story they brought up (that was described at Mysticon as well) was about the Speculum Guy.  For those that were there or know the story… beware the Speculum Guy.  They also brought up the meme going around that cosplay is not consent.  I would like to see these panels being more on Saturday than one of the first panels on Friday, that way more people (perhaps more of the ones that need it) can go.  Though I was quite happy there were few creepy skeevy people that I ran into and I didn’t get any weird appropriate comments or anything like that.

Super... er... well yeah..

Super… er… well yeah..

After that I grabbed a bite to eat in my room and a quick shower before changing and going down to the opening ceremonies.  I mention changing because chances are if you saw me this week, you’ll remember me because of my shirt.  I saw the idea online (I cannot claim the original creative idea) but I did find a shirt and got help to cut it out.  I did get quite a number of comments and a ton of double takes.  It was amusing when someone completely didn’t even realize that it was cut out.  Either way, I do believe the shirt was a success!

The opening ceremonies were great and we got to hear two songs by Mikey Mason.  Afterwards, I also stuck around for the Mikey Mason concert and got to pull out my sign I had created for his song “She Don’t Like Firefly”.  I made a little sign that I threw up that said “I like Firefly and I cried when Wash died” (in before spoilers!).  After the concert I wandered and met up with a few friends that are local to me that came as well and we checked out a room party or two.  The night ended hanging out in the lobby of the hotel with a bunch of people, including author KT Pinto who graciously offered and helped to warm up my bottom after I had been sitting on a metal table for a while.  It was a decently early night, getting to bed by 3 or 4am.

Double Jayne!

Double Jayne!

For Saturday, I did have plans to get up and go to some early morning panels.  I wake up at 8am and decide that was not happening and decided to go back and dose a bit until 11am or so.  When I finally got up I went ahead and got dressed up.  I decided I wanted to cosplay and I put in a bit of work to put together a Jayne outfit.  Yes, I am female (if you didn’t get that from the first photo, you may need some help), but it was my own take on the character.  I had tan cargo shorts, an army green shirt, the hat, boots, and of course, my gun.  This is where I put in most of the work of painting my Vera.  It’s not a replica, but it got the point across.  I was excited because as soon as I came down I was asked to pose for a few pictures and got a few comments on my costume!  I decided I might as well step outside of my comfort zone and enter the masquarde.  While it was fun, it did take up a lot of time and I felt like a missed a lot of the hanging out and other panels and stuff I could have been doing.  I also ran into another female Jayne, so of course, we had to get a picture together!

Other than that, I did go to the Geek Radio Daily panel, which was quite fun.  And we popped in a few room parties and did various hanging out.  After the group I had been hanging out with headed out for the night (around 2am) I headed down to the lobby with another friend and we found a few people to hang out with.  I was sitting on Podcasting’s Rich Sigfrit’s lap when my friend mentioned “Oh by the way, she’s ticklish.”  For those that may have been in the lobby (or anywhere near it) and hear a very loud squeak… that would have been me.  Also, the lobby echos very nicely.  That was a particularlly late night, ending up in bed by 5am.

Super Girl! I do have a cape to go with it.

Super Girl! I do have a cape to go with it.

When I went to bed, I knew I would not be making any early panels, but I had to get up and get packed for check out.  So I was up and had my car loaded by 11am and decided to check out the panel on the companions of Doctor Who.  I really enjoyed this panel and there was a lot of discussion on why people liked certain companions and why they didn’t like others.  It was neat to have a discussion such as that.  After that, I wandered a bit and had some nibbles in the con suite and then sat in on the “Print Is Dead” pannel.  I am glad I went to this because I was a little brain dead and the panel made me think and helped to perk me up.  After that I went to the second Mikey Mason concert, which probably also helped to get me pumped up.  I also bought both of the CD’s Mikey Mason had with him and got a “Best Game Ever” pick.  I wandered a bit after that, but it seemed most everyone had already left.  Reluctantly I headed out to start the trek back home.

Honestly, I am still exhausted because after I got back I was burried with school work.  It will be a little bit better after tomorrow, I’m just trying to avoid hitting that final wall until then.  But the con itself was great.  It’s definitely much more of a social con than Mysticon, but the few panels I went to were great.  It was also fun to dress up and I do plan on doing more costumes in the future.  For now, I’m thinking of working more with the Superman t-shirt and also thinking about a PowerGirl outfit.  We’ll have to see.  If you did run across me at RavenCon, give me a poke!  If you want to check out all the pictures I got from RavenCon please go over to the Frakin Spoilers Facebook Page!