Monday, September 5, 2011

Dragon Con: The Final Chapter


Usually, today is completely awful.  A hangover rides in my head and clouds everything I encounter until I can finally go to sleep and try to forget the day ever happened.  Why is today usually so shitty?  Because it’s the day after Dragon Con, and if we’ve learned anything from past experiences, that means a pretty drunken, shitty Josh.

This year was no different on the main points of being ridiculously hungover.  I woke up at four o’clock this afternoon with a mouth that felt like sandpaper, moaning and wishing I could be a different person while being thankful that I couldn’t remember most of the end of the night.  A quick glance through my text messages revealed a little bit of what I was up to, and I wasn’t too curious about my other performances.  Some things are better left in the past.  Except for this wonderful nugget of wisdom my blackout brain came up with:  “I’ll baby you.”  It was one of the text messages I sent to my lesbian friend in Milwaukee.  It’s a pick-up line of sorts, to mean something along the lines of “Girl, you lookin’ so good that I want to put a baby in you.”  I think that’s pretty awesome and plan on keeping it around.

Throughout the day, I came up with two other nuggets of wisdom that someone should have tattooed on them at some point.  Number one:  The only two choices in life are to either go big or go home.  Therefore, if you’re already home, you have to go big.  There’s no other choice.  Number two:  A fist is a rectangle and a hand is a square.  As everybody knows, a square can be considered a rectangle buy a rectangle can’t be considered a square.  Likewise, a fist is still a hand but a hand isn’t necessarily a fist.  So, think about that for a little bit.

Anyways, last night differed from the last two years in a main way, and not just because I didn’t poop on a hill this year.  Dragon Con was checking entrance passes this year.  Total bullshit.  They had that place locked down like the president was inside.  Every door at every level was being guarded.  Even the loading dock had a guard stationed at the door.  I know.  I looked.  Simply getting into the ridiculous gala of ridiculousness became the main goal.  It was like we had an epic journey filled with obstacles and enemies on our way to some grand reward.  Pretty fitting since the place was filled with people dressed in Star Wars and Lord of the Rings costumes.  However, it was actually just a brisk walk at night with a water bottle filled with orange Gatorade and too much grain alcohol.

Our day started at eleven in the morning when we walked downtown and watched the Dragon Con parade.  The parade is a weird idea, because they didn’t have floats or anything to make it look like a parade.  It was just a bunch of people dressed in strange ways walking together down the road.  Well, I guess I should take that back.  Occasionally you would see a sign that said something along the lines of “Chapter 37, New Jersey” and then a bunch of people in Storm Trooper costumes.  This means that not only are people signing up for clubs based around Star Wars, but they are doing it on a nationwide scale like a fraternity or sorority.  That’s nuts.

While watching the parade, I wavered from outright awe at how excited everybody was/ how much they believed whole-heartedly in what they were doing, and pity for the parade members.  To be in your mid-forties, dressing like Darth Vader, and honestly thinking you’re the man and living it up like you’re a rock star struck as being a bit pathetic.  They were making the crowd chant and relishing the attention like nobody had ever made eye contact with them in the past.  I watched these people pretend to be other people and seeming like they were sexually aroused strictly because of the aura they were projecting. 

My moments of pity were soon demolished when I realized that these people aren’t pathetic for what they were doing, they were lucky.  They have found something that they absolutely love and are able to do it.  It may be only for one day out of the year, but that’s okay.  How often do guys sitting in a sports bar, smoking cigarettes and pounding beer, actually get to play in the NFL?  Never.  How often do people who sit in their rooms and play guitar actually get to play in a football stadium for thousands of cheering fans?  Never.  But these nerds, and yes that is the proper term for these people, get to live their dream every year if they feel so inclined to make the trip.  That’s awesome.  It could be said that this analogy is flawed, since they are simply dressing up as characters and are not actually the character.  But that’s okay.  That’s not the point.  The point is that for this one weekend, they can feel like that character, and that’s close enough.

The best thing I saw all day was when a group of about twenty dudes in kilts were walking down the street.  A guy from the crowd, also wearing a kilt, walked into the middle of the street to take a better picture of the other kilted men.  He snapped his photo, made eye contact with one of the marchers, gave him a thumbs up, and mouthed, “Well done,” with complete sincerity and a touch of admiration.  It kinda blew my mind.

The parade ended and we headed to the Georgia Dome to tailgate for the Georgia vs. Boise college football game.  Personally, I don’t give a shit about college football.  I just wanted to try to get some free hotdogs and drink beer in a parking lot.

During our twenty mile walk (or something along those lines) my roommate made the mistake of having "1997" on his shirt.  Apparently, something fucked up happened in Nigeria that year, because a random voodoo woman on the sidewalk took an interest in him.

"1997!  Nigeria is Kenya!  I paralyze you!  I paralyze you!" she yelled while throwing imaginary lightening bolts in his direction.  I'm not exactly sure what she said.  "Nigeria is king," is another theory.  Either way, she definitely freaked out about the year 1997 and Ted should be getting his back broken any day now.  Actually, about five minutes after the curse, he almost got hit by a car.  Now, it would've sucked to have to take him to the hospital and deal with all of that shit, but it would've been kinda awesome if the curse came through so quickly. 
 
Cursed or not, we eventually made it to the Georgia Dome.  We knew people that were going to be tailgating so we figured we’d just meet up with them and party down.  But since we went there straight from the parade, we arrived far too early.  The people we knew wouldn’t be showing up for another few hours.  Great.

We stood in the shade as much as possible and drank our beers while watching a bit of a live soap opera unfold.  Apparently, some parking lot attendants had been taking some bribes from people to hold parking spaces.  Security found out, and they were charged with felonies.  Yeah, felonies.  A bit of an over-reaction?  Perhaps.  That sucks for the parking lot attendants, but I guess they shouldn’t have been doing shitty shit.  Also, it gave us something interesting to watch for a little while so I’m glad it happened.

After an hour or so of sweating our asses off, we walked home to rest up for Dragon Con.  A few hours, two pizzas, a swim, and a shower later, we were ready to hit the road.  We rolled with a crew of eight people, all dressed in a different color.  The general consensus was that a costume would somehow help us sneak in.  We mixed our riot punch (one part Everclear, two parts Gatorade) and hit the road.  One of the members of our rainbow knew a person working security which we figured would help us get in, even though the guy wasn’t working the door.  We approached the Hyatt through the taxi section of the driveway and walked directly into the building.  Booya.  The main party was going down at the Marriott across the street, but we started slow in hopes of crossing through the connecting bridge between the two hotels.


Inside the Hyatt was the general craziness we had come to expect.  Cartoon characters followed comic book characters through crowds of video game characters.  Pretty standard stuff.  While wandering around the ground floor, we stumbled across a crowd of people.  If we've learned anything from past Dragon Con experiences, it's that crowds equal cool shit.  And, of course, we found a Spiderman breakdance battle inside the crowd.  A Spiderman breakdance battle is exactly what it sounds like.  About five different people dressed as Spiderman traded off breakdance moves in an attempt to draw more applause from the crowd.  Kickass.

Eventually, we decided to try to make the switch to the Marriott.  Fatal error.

We followed the crowd through the skywalk and towards the Marriott.  Two guards at the door.  Checking entrance passes.  Fuck.  We turned around to go back to the Hyatt.

“Hey you, in the hat.  Let me see your badge.”

Fuck.

“That one, right there with the black hat.  Hey!  Stop!”

Busted.  But I was the only one.  Everyone else kept walking while they hauled my ass to the sidewalk.  I walked around to the front of the hotel and tried to get in the same way we did the first time.

“Let me see your badge.” 

Fuck.

I shrugged my shoulders and walked down the road, finishing off my riot punch along the way.  Eventually, my roommate called to see what the hell was going on.  I told him I’d meet him at the bar and that they should stay there for as long as possible.  There’s no need to make them feel bad for me getting the boot and having them leave when there was so much more ridiculousness to enjoy.  After a short walk, I sat down at O’Terrill’s and ordered a drink, shocked to find them open past eleven o’clock.

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