September 4, 2013

Dragon Con III - Sunday

CosmoQuest booth at another convention
One of my Dragon Con rituals is stopping by the Skepchick table and picking up some Surly-Ramics.  Amy Roth makes this stuff and she lets me take pictures of a couple pieces (as long as I promise not to post them online) to let my girls look at and choose from.  My Lovely Bride’s favorite piece is a black one with an imprinted image of a human brain on it.  Under the brain is simply the word “Use.”  She wears it to all of her Science Professional Development events.

No more.  Some douchebags out to get the Skepchicks complained that they were breaking some obscure vendor rules and sure enough, they closed up shop. Apparently as a non-profit they can only have items with their logo for sale for donation purposes.  Not their personal creations.  Even though they’ve been in the same spot since about 2006 and don’t exactly take any business away from any other vendors.   But that’s bureaucracy for you.  I’ve been in touch with Amy and will be buying some pieces online and encourage you to do the same.  She gives a lot to charities and even makes it possible for female scientists and skeptics to attend these kind of science/skeptical events.

Next I hit Dr. Phil Plait’s talk on 10 Interesting Facts About Our Solar System.  Even though the poor guy had partied too late, he couldn’t be held down for long. His enthusiasm for sharing incredible astronomy bubbles up no matter what and is entirely infectious. He mentioned that there was an astronomer named Charlie Bates with a solar telescope we could go out and see that day. Phil talked up this guy and his mission to share solar science with everyone, especially students, and his need for donations to keep the program running. Here's his website. I gotta see if he'll come to our school. I tried to see the solar scope myself later, but the rain came in! I blame it on too dang many dudes in Thor costumes bringing the thunder.

I wandered past the CosmoQuest table after that and a nice bald dude was passing out free comics. I knew I kew him but couldn't place the name. I'd seen him and was running through which scientist or astronomer he might be when he pointed to my Sword & Laser shirt and said he was on that show. It the writer Scott Sigler! Very nice guy.

I went to a panel on the fight against Creationism and Intelligent Design with various speakers, including my personal favorite philosopher, Massimo Pigliucci. I saw him downstairs afterwards waiting to get a coffee and walked up and shook his hand. Achievement unlocked! Read his blog. He's always right.

Okay, I'm not going to list every panel or event I attended. Let's just say there was some more great science, some fun actors and another comedy extravaganza. I met some cool dudes in a long line dressed like workmen from the Others' compound from the LOST television show who were con regulars and clued me in on the different hotels in case we decide to stay at one next year.

I've poked around online and seen some talks I've missed on video and even the whole parade itself if you want to bother searching for those.

This was not my favorite Dragon Con, but that's like saying it wasn't your favorite birthday party when you're a kid. They're all pretty good, just some are better than others. This con is getting way popular and hence way crowded. I mean super-mega-crazy crowded. Not fun crowded in places. I could barely stand the vendor area, which is a shame because there is some great stuff there.

The good thing about Dragon Con, though, is it's a total fan-run event and they really do want it to be the best it can be for the fans. They're always tweaking things to make it smoother. They'll figure things out. Just the people that handled the lines were amazing, keeping everyone queued up , organized and informed.  

All in all, a good time.