Atlanta's Dragon*Con is Labor Day Weekend
posted August 24, 2011 3:05 PM   RSS

Any Mefites in Atlanta for Dragon*Con Sept 2-5 want to get together?
Dragon*Con is coming the weekend after next. Any MeFites like to meet for a drink in or near the Con area?
posted by pointystick to Proposed (28 comments total)

Yay, thank you for starting the thread - if we can't all manage to coordinate a meeting in one time and place, at least we'll have someplace to post daily "this is what I'm doing & wearing today" updates in hopes of spotting each other in the wild.

I will be getting to Atlanta midday 9/1 and staying at the Sheraton. I know I'm going to dinner with friends at 6:30 that night at an Indian restaurant, and having breakfast at the Sheraton each morning, but beyond that I'm just waiting for the 2011 pocket program (or rumored DragonCon phone app) to figure out exactly what I'm doing the rest of the time. But I would definitely love to meet some mefites this year.
posted by oh yeah! at 8:17 PM on August 24, 2011

I've managed to miss the meet up every year for the last few when JHarris had tried to get a few of us together, but I'd really like to try and make it this year.

We're at the Marriott this year and we're checking in on Wednesday, but not "moving in" until Thursday. Like oh yeah! most of my schedule is waiting for the pocket program, but the vast majority of my time in recent years has been spent in the Space, Science and Skeptic tracks. Whether I spend hours waiting in line to see Wil on some panel this year has yet to be determined (mostly by what panels they stick him on).

(P.S. Everyone should go see sgranade's talk on quantum computing! His presentations for the Science track are always fantastic.)
posted by elfgirl at 3:02 AM on August 25, 2011 [1 favorite]

I have been summoned! I'd certainly be interested in a meetup. My schedule is figuratively all over the map (literally all of my talks, like the quantum computing one, will be in the Hilton) but I'd like to make it regardless.
posted by sgranade at 12:55 PM on August 25, 2011 [1 favorite]

I would love to meet up with you guys! Hopefully I'll have my schedule worked out soon...this is my first Dragon Con so I'm going crazy with all of the options for things to see and do.
posted by d13t_p3ps1 at 8:03 PM on August 25, 2011

My Thursday dinner is at Haveli, 225 Spring Street NW, if anyone wants to join me, it's the Brit Track pre-Con meetup.
posted by oh yeah! at 9:21 PM on August 25, 2011

Not sure who else in the thread is an East Coast mefite; did everyone make it through Hurricane Irene ok? I'm still coming, but I haven't had a chance to go through the pocket program yet, probably won't be able to give it a really thorough read until I'm at on the plane.
posted by oh yeah! at 6:00 PM on August 30, 2011

I've never been to DragonCon before, so I an still not sure which days I will go, and what i will do, but I am also down for any meetup.
posted by polywomp at 9:53 AM on August 31, 2011

I'm not trying arrange a meetup this year, but i'd be happy to see people if you're around.
posted by JHarris at 8:30 AM on September 1, 2011

I may or may not show up--I moved from Cambridge, MA to the Atlanta area in January. But I'm trying to keep gas consumption to a minimum.
posted by Schmucko at 7:39 PM on September 1, 2011

I'll be around - maybe instead of a formal meetup we can do like oh yeah suggested and check in on here
posted by pointystick at 8:23 PM on September 1, 2011

You can recognize me at the con today (Friday) because I'll be wearing an N64 Zelda shirt with a lizardman on the front. ("Lizalfos" to Zelda fans, "lizard person" to the gender-inclusive.) I'll also be carrying around a Mario Star messenger bag, this being one of the few places and times when I can carry it around without feeling quite so self-conscious about it.

I've put my planned schedule into Google Calendar, but am not sure how to share it. I will try to make the quantum computing panel and the brony video panel at least. I'll probably also be at the Trace and Frank of MST panel, although I've been there like the last three years.
posted by JHarris at 1:23 AM on September 2, 2011

Please take note everyone, they actually have pretty good mobile schooling apps especially for the con this year:
posted by JHarris at 1:55 AM on September 2, 2011

Today I'm wearing a shirt that features a Death Star that is colored to resemble a Pokeball. Also, my hair is bright pink.
Say Hi! I know this morning I'll be in line for the Tom Felton panel. After that I'm not sure where I'll be.
posted by d13t_p3ps1 at 4:30 AM on September 2, 2011

I have to work this morning but will be in this afternoon. In absolutely useless news:
I am a pale, brunette, glasses wearing girl in jeans and a black tee. The pale aqua messenger bag is pretty much the only noticeable thing
posted by pointystick at 4:58 AM on September 2, 2011

Just got a seat in the Westin for the Back to the Future Q&A, the will head to the Marriott for the Being Human (US) panel, not sure what's next. Today I'm wearing a blue/purple dress and a white macrame shrug.
posted by oh yeah! at 8:27 AM on September 2, 2011

I did meet sgranade for his Quantum Computing talk. He was extremely good at presenting the material I have to say, and he gets extra points for using a picture of Derpy Hooves very early in his talk.
posted by JHarris at 7:01 PM on September 2, 2011

Alas spotty WiFi coverage around here means I've only just now seen pointy stick and oh yeah!s descriptions.
posted by JHarris at 7:02 PM on September 2, 2011

Also, I was at Brony video panel, it was okay but mostly it was just a bunch of animation dubbing memes. Was packed though; they had to resort to having people sitting on the floor in front of the first row, of which there were a sizable number.
posted by JHarris at 7:11 PM on September 2, 2011

I'm wearing a faded Atlanta Zoo tee-shirt today. My badge, BTW, says "John Harris" and "RodneyLives."
posted by JHarris at 5:35 AM on September 3, 2011

JHarris, where were you sitting? I was the one sitting cross-legged in the middle of the back row (reading an iPad up until the panel started).

I'll be wearing my MeFi 'Please Hope Me' shirt for at least part of the day today and I'll mostly be in the Hilton for tracks, but do have a brief foray over to the Hyatt for one of the Art Show panels.
posted by elfgirl at 6:54 AM on September 3, 2011

During the Dragoncon morning show today they joked mentioned that there was a Reddit meetup at 6:00 at the Marriott 10th floor lounge and joked (I don't recall it exactly) that the Metafilter people would also show up and a fight would start.
posted by lordrunningclam at 8:53 AM on September 3, 2011

I was one of the volunteers actually. The one that looked play-annoyed at the end when he told everyone to sit down. I'll look for the Please Hope Me shirt.
posted by JHarris at 10:01 AM on September 3, 2011

Sunday morning now, today I'm wearing a gray shirt. Still haven't encountered anyone except sgranade. In other news, played Cosmic Encounter for the first time last night, we had a lot of fun with it.
posted by JHarris at 6:06 AM on September 4, 2011

I'm in the Marriott Atrium ballroom waiting for the True Blood panel to start, then panels back to back all day, not sure where I'll end up for dinner. Today I'm wearing a turquoise dress and a big purple cloak.
posted by oh yeah! at 7:15 AM on September 4, 2011

Last day. Made it to the WhatTheCast Live podcast panel yesterday and met sgrenade. Today I'm probably going to the Hyatt for the Warehouse 13, Supernatural, and Sylvester McCoy panels, but also want to fit in one more trip through the dealer rooms and have to check out of the Sheraton by 2 and get to the airport in time for my 7:30 flight.

Today I'm wearing blue/gray pants and a black "Evil is Afoot!" Tick tshirt. Hope everyone had a good con, looking forward to next year's 'mefi missed connections' thread already.
posted by oh yeah! at 6:03 AM on September 5, 2011

Well, the con is over now. Total mefites seen this year: one, and he had a panel. Total seen throughout five years of going to DragonCon: three. Sigh.
posted by JHarris at 11:53 PM on September 5, 2011

I went to more panels this time than usual. In addition to the quantum computer one, I went to the board gaming panel, Richard Garriott's panel, one on game design, one on old-school D&D, the Brony video panel (which was probably entirely scavenged off of YouTube, I hope they have something better for bronies next year), and the Bill Corbett panel. Oh, and also the Atlanta Radio Theater Company's DragonCon show.

I taught three groups how to play board games in the gaming room: one group Dominion (well it's really a card game), one group Power Grid, and one group Innsmouth Escape. I love doing this, it was the most fun I had at the con, and may considering offering services as a game teacher next time. I myself learned to play Cosmic Encounter and San Juan, which will probably go into my next Gamasutra board gaming article. I saw what I can only assume is a prototype of an Diskworld board game, called Ankh-Morpork, but didn't learn anything else about it. Alas, most of my attempts to play other games, especially Puerto Rico, didn't find any takers.

I have to say that the video game room upstairs at the Hilton was kind of sucky. The people in charge of it were fairly rapacious. The people in charge of it don't actually seem to have been con people, but instead were an invited gaming store, I think it was called "The Source" or something, who used it as an opportunity to sell stuff. They had banks of Xbox 360s and PS3s for playing things, but they leaned heavily towards recent crapware, FPSes and fighting games. They had just two screens devoted to retro gaming, and they constantly had to switch the wires between systems. They used terrible RF converters on these that made some games unplayable due to flickering screens. I demonstrated one-credit runs of Castlevania and Gradius III there. I made two solid attempts at completing arcade Rampart, which surprisingly was available downloaded on one of the PS3s, but was stopped on a third by a host who said they were trying to reserve the systems for people playing disk games and not "demos." Most of the time these games were crappy kart racing games, Dragonball Z fighting games, Marvel vs. Capcom 3 for the hundredth time, or Armored Space Marine Kills Huge Bugs 17. Well, fuck you, condescending store guy.

This was the first year that I managed to find the "con suite," that being a place out of the way upstairs at the Hyatt that offers free food to convention goers. It was woefully under-supplied when I went there; they gave out tiny slivers of Subway ham subs, fragments of cheese quesadillas supplied with makeshift pico de gallo made out of random ingredients found rummaging around, and lots and lots of PBJ. They did have a soda fountain set up, and I hear they had vegetables at one time, which I unfortunately missed.

Notes, and tips for next year:
*The coffee bar in the Hilton is open 24 hours, and has free wifi under the SSID "hhonors".
*The food court is almost always crowded. It closes at around 11 pm most days, but oddly is open until 1am Sunday. Unlike some previous years, security actually roams around evicting people now instead of letting them wander the closed mall, which makes it a bit harder to get to Marta (one will have to go outside to get to it).
*The food court has wifi too, in two forms. SSID "Peachtree" (or something like it), which is sometimes available but has a better signal, and the "Caribou" SSID from the coffee shop, which has a depressingly short range, even less so when a dozen or more laptop-using con goers are trying to use it.
*I noticed more laptops at the con than ever before (I felt a lot lonelier carrying my laptop around last year), and iPads and other tablets were fairly common at the con this time. Of special note, DragonCon made a surprisingly excellent free app available for iOS, Android and Blackberry that did an excellent job of making their schedule searchable and generally navigable, and also offered automatic downloaded updates of event changes and cancellations. It even offered a scheduling feature that tracked panel conflicts, user rating of panel experiences, and supported exporting schedule data to the device system's calendar! Once I got this downloaded I found I could dispense with the ubiquitous old newsprint schedule entirely, which is good because I have found it never survives being in my tote bag for long.

This was my fifth year at the con, and the first one where I had a really solid idea of the geography of the hotels and how to get from one to another:
The three main hotels, the Hyatt, the Marriott and the Hilton, are arranged in a line, filling three adjacent blocks. A fourth, the Sheraton, is one block away from the Hilton. This forms a large "L" that roughly serves as the extent of the con. (There was a fifth hotel this year, the Weston, that I didn't make it out to.)
There are three ways to get between the Hyatt and the Marriott. The obvious way, outside crossing the street, is not always the best. I avoided this route this time and took the "skyways," which connect between the hotels and the nearby Peachtree Center mall. From the second floor of the Hyatt, one can go directly to the Marriott using a walkway over the pool, or can instead go through another route that goes to the mall food court and from there take another skyway to the Marriott.
Both of these routes lead to the same place in the Marriott, which is right in front of its atrium and the blood drive. It is difficult now to give floor numbers, because of an annoying quirk of the landscape and the Marriott: its bottom two floors are half buried on one end. What is the ground floor entering one side is effectively the third coming from the other way. When going through the Marriott from the Hyatt to the Hilton and vice versa, one has to change floors twice.
The Hyatt has main programming events, but its basement floors house animation and anime stuff, which typically has some video programming that's not reported in the schedule. It also has the con suite, some bars, and long lines for celebrity panels. Dances, official parties and costume shows are also generally done here. Its status as site of the anime programming makes its basement areas one of the younger areas of the con.
The Marriott has the dealer's room and the exhibit halls, which sound different but really add up to mostly the same thing: places to buy stuff. The Dealer's Room skews towards comics, magazines, trading cards, DVD and used merchandise. Some of their DVDs are of highly questionable providence: they were selling disks of whole seasons of MST3K that I happen to know for a fact are not official products, and a few years ago there was a guy who sold pre-synched RiffTrax disks which I have not seen there since. Disks of obscure cartoons can be found here which were certainly taped off of Saturday morning television ages ago; I overheard one of the sellers of these mention that the disk contained old commercials included in the video.
Elsewhere in the Marriott there are miscellaneous panels, including the American Sci-Fi and Sci-Fi Media panels, which this year were behind the blood drive. This hosted two of the most fun panels of the year that I saw, the one on SyFy channel original movies (it took a less than reverential attitude towards them, thankfully) and another where they showed the SyFy Channel movie "Sharktopus," which was as bad, and as fun, as you would expect from that title. There is a Starbucks on the Marriott that I think is open late (if not 24 hours), a number of tables set up by various groups, a couple of bars, and sometimes the edges of the Marriott lobby have interesting panels, such as (from previous years) a great panel on Jack Kirby that featured lengthy excerpts of an old interview with him.
The Hilton is the most interesting hotel of the con I think, but it is not obviously so to a first-time goer. This is where the gaming panels are held, where board and role-playing gaming is done, and the EFF's panels are always here, as are the Space, Science and Skeptic tracks. This year I nearly camped out here.
The Sheraton is a little distance from the other hotels, and tends to have overflow stuff. The British Television track has moved there, and some miscellaneous celebrity panels take place there as well.
posted by JHarris at 5:05 AM on September 6, 2011

I was really pleased with all of the 'infrastructural' improvements this year. The streamlining of the registration process down from the hours-long mess of previous years, the lockdowns of the hotels at night to keep out the non-badge-buying gawkers, and the new schedule app - it just made things go so smoothly. And with a whole year to tinker with the app, I assume it will have more bells & whistles next year.

For next year's thread, I think our only hope of a meetup will be on the Thursday night before we all start getting pulled in different directions, or crossing paths at one of sgrenade's panels. (And anyone who is not already a subscriber to the WhatTheCast and/or Dragon*ConTV podcasts, subscribe and get caught up -- they're fun, and you'll be able to recognize him when you see him outside the panel rooms.)

Oh, and for you Atlanta residents, Yeah! Burger is awesome. If you haven't had a meetup there yet, you need to, oh my god that was a great burger. (and I'm not just saying that to be eponisterical)
posted by oh yeah! at 8:20 PM on September 8, 2011 [1 favorite]

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