DragonCon 2013 – Day 2

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Instead of viewing the parade, we decided to check out the dealer tables, newly relocated to the Americas Mart Bldg #1.  The rooms had always been very crowded when they were located at the Marriott, so with the larger space and the throngs elsewhere, it seemed like a good occasion to check them out.

The facility itself is giant, with three buildings used for all sorts of wholesale vending purposes.  For the handful of rooms just used for DragonCon, it was still huge... and very confusing to navigate... or exit quickly in the event of a fire.  But!  There was more space to walk around where we found, essentially, the same ol’ stuff.  Some examples in order:  Swords/Knives, various Steampunk accessorizing, and Zombie games.

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From comics to T-shirts to corsets to pins and patches etc., there’s everything a D*Con person might want to look for.

After that, it was time to get in line for Lee Majors, of “The Six Million Dollar Man” and “The Fall Guy,” among others.  The crowd was dwarfed by the large ballroom, and, like Lindsey Wagner the day before, I had expected that more participants would want to have attended this panel.  On the other hand, there are many good panels and they compete with each other.  It didn’t diminish my appreciation of the time I spent at this one.

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Majors is now 74 and still working. As he said “I can’t walk as much but I can talk a lot.”  The years of doing many of his stunts have caught up with him, and it was interesting to hear how he included many of the aging stuntmen and actors from westerns (during his “Big Valley” days) as possible on his series “The Fall Guy.”  Otherwise, notable moments were recalling riding on horses next to his childhood hero, Roy Rogers, while chasing bad guys, 2 broken noses during the “Big Valley” – one from a horse, one from Linda Evans, and stories surrounding his bionic days.  In comparing “Six Mill,” as he refers to it, with “The Fall Guy,” he preferred the latter because it allowed to essentially be himself.  “Six Mill” had “too much running.”  Majors retains his piercing gaze and mannered raising of his left eyebrow, and seemed very pleased with a career of making family friendly shows.

After each panel, and particularly on Saturdays when the hordes are at the largest, getting from Point A to Point B can be trying, especially with programming spread out among 5 downtown hotels.  There’s a 30 minute gap between program slots.  Here’s a shot of the mayhem between panels.

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It should be noted that D*Con clears all auditoriums between panels, unlike others where people are allowed to claim a space and hold it all day.  Good for us! But more traffic in between.  D*Con has a good share of attendees with disabilities, and it’s hard to imagine negotiating the lobbies, elevators, sidewalks, etc.  It takes some patience for everyone.

Afterwards, it was off to see Larry Niven, a sci-fi author I read a bit of when I was a teenager, primarily the Ringworld books (ranked #44 on NPR’s list of top 100 Sci-Fi books).

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Niven began with his intro into writing, having flunked out of Cal-Tech twice in Math, buying a stack of sci-fi magazines because they were cheap, and working through a correspondence course on writing which he jettisoned after making his first sale, about the time of “How to Develop a Character.”  He had good humor throughout.

He’s one of a number of authors who take the science of science-fiction seriously, and spoke a fair amount of the challenges of writing about slower than the speed of light assumptions in fiction.  It makes it really difficult for alien races to arrive here by now, or for us to get to them.  “It’s safer in a slower than light universe.”

He’s used General Products hulls in several of his books, which are transparent.  Why?  Because he was frustrated looking out of little windows in aircraft.  On “The Mote in God’s Eye,” (#61 on the list mentioned above) which he co-wrote with Jerry Pournelle (of whom he also spoke), he revealed that Robert Heinlein actually proofed it for them, and said if they adopted the changes suggested, it would be the best sci-fi book he (Heinlein) had ever read.  It was clear that he was very grateful to have Heinlein devote that much time to his work.

In general discussions about the difficulties of writing sci-fi, he mentioned about “Lucifer’s Hammer” how important it is to have a very strong alien race, but not too strong, because we have to win.  He was the Literary Guest of Honor, and the audience included 4-500.

Later, I attended a “Falling Skies” panel which my wife wanted to see.   Featuring one alien, two characters that were either killed or disappeared, and a writer/science director, it was an entertaining discussion, particularly Doug Jones comments about working under prosthetics, but he may as well be a comedian.

When it comes to characters who get killed off, it was interesting to hear how they would take the news when they received the script.  They commented that it was good for the show, but... I still would think they would be a little frustrated with the loss of the paycheck.

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Otherwise, I hung around and took pictures.  And that’s why you’re here anyway, right?

This guy had an interesting outfit.  It includes lights, so that elevates the game a bit.  But to pose, he had to get down on the floor.  I’m not sure what creature this is, but that’s a load to carry around and a pain to demo properly.

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I liked the following shot of a street crossing because it has a father/son moment.  There’s a lot of those around D*Con.

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Video games were never just for guys.

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Following is Tali’Zorah nar Rayya – from Mass Effect.  I didn’t know who she was and had to ask...  After looking online, it’s an excellent costume of the character.  Her face was less visible normally, but the flash penetrated.

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There’s an easy assumption about costumed attendees.  They like you to notice and they like to be photographed.  They all strike a pose, which makes me wonder how much time they spend practicing that pose.  Still, it’s better than just standing there.

The guy below in the dragon suit attracted several other costumed people for joint photos.  Concealed behind the lady is the dragon’s girlfriend, who sat very patiently while he did his thing.

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I spoke with this guy a bit, who was visiting from Washington, D.C.  He had a very good Indy costume.

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Below is the best of the expressions I captured.  Mario is almost a photo-bomb here, but this couple had it together.

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A Steampunk, western, Green Lantern, complete with power ring.  Love it.

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I caught the Cheerleaders of the Sith lounging beside a hotel bar, and I persuaded them to pose with their drinks.  They liked the idea.  We’ve never seen what Darth’s favorite concoctions were, have we?

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And, from the “I want to make something out of available materials" genre, we have this lady.  Pretty incredible!

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All my pictures featured here, others I’ve left out, and prior year pictures are posted on Flickr.

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