Dragoncon: Thursday


This is the year of being broke. Okay, I’m usually broke. Especially at Dragoncon. But this year I have discovered new depths of poverty. And misfortune, as I discovered the key to my cash box has vanished, leaving the small amount of cash and a few checks inside inaccessible to me short of rolling over the damn thing with that cartoon squishy thing from ROGER RABBIT.

Wednesday night I drove down to Nashville and crashed with my good friend Stephen. The starscape over the Land Between the Lakes is something to behold – the faint stars-between-the-stars you can only see when you get well away from the lights of civilization. It was almost worth how utterly exhausted I was post-drive.

Thursday allowed me to sleep in, so I did. Then I drove from Nashville to Atlanta, which let me meander over the foothills of the Cumberland Mountains. Along the way I suspected my tires were soft due to excessive rattling, so I stopped at the Sam’s Club in Murfreesboro to fill up a bit. That’s when I discovered one of my tires is down to the steel belt. Oops.

As I lack the funds for a new tire until a) I sell a gazillion books or b) I get paid next week, I risked it. As I am writing this, you know I did not have a blowout on the mountain pass and die. Hopefully the same will hold true for the drive home.

I passed into the Land of Peachtree and Eastern time in midafternoon. Seriously, Atlanta. What’s with the Peachtree thing? I’ve been here once a year for six years running and have yet to see a tree with peaches on it, but holy Zod, how do you people navigate in a town with 800 Peachtree streets?

Still, I keep meaning to return to Atlanta sometime when it isn’t Dragoncon. I hear there’s an Atlanta that exists beyond the four blocks of the show, and even in the weeks that aren’t Labor Day. Probably just one of those stories.

I off-loaded my books at the Kerlak booth, though the Kerlakians had yet to arrive. (Sounds like a Star Trek race with bumpy foreheads!) I met up with my good friend David, who was kind enough to offer me lodgings for the first night, as I could not afford a hotel room for four nights. No offense, Marriott, but when $185 a night is your CON rate, that’s a little excessive. Love your hotel, but damn.

David went to his normal-person badge line; I went to the VIP line. I followed the yellow brick tape all the way back, picked up my badge and that of my flunky (Angelia Sparrow, take a bow!) and was done in five minutes.

Three hours. Minimum. That’s how long poor David was in line. It streteched all the way around the Sheraton, before the tape and ballroom switchbacks that make the baby Jesus cry. Meanwhile I wandered around – as I tweeted, between the sweating, walking and not eating, I should lose five pounds every Labor Day. It’s the Dragoncon Diet Plan! Seriously, I am always amazed at the huge number of people who will stand in that godawful line every year. There has to be a better way, but I’m not smart enough to think of it.

Meanwhile I was counting fez. Fezes? What’s the plural of fez? Too many, that is, as fez after fez wandered by. I had a hideous suspicion they must have something to do with DOCTOR WHO, as the Doctor temporarily adds a fez to his already-godawful costume and River Song won my love by blowing the fez to smithereens.

But I was curious about the fez, so I employed my redoubtable skills as an investigative reporter and started asking people questions. Soon I tracked the fez to a man in a red silk suit who was handing them out. At first he denied his identity, but then he admitted it.

It seems a few years ago, he and a few friends all happened to wear a fez on the first day of the show. First Day Fez became a habit with them. Then it started to spread. Now he gives out fez to strangers. His costume is that of the Unknown Fez, hiding his face behind a mask.  Photo pending due to technical issues.

Then I scoped out the Atrium Level, where we will have our kaffeeklatsch on Saturday. Oops. I managed to pick the only part of the Marriott without much seating that isn’t in a bar. They’ll make us buy drinks to be in there. Damn. Too late to change – it’s on all the flyers. Meh. This is why I shouldn’t be in charge of things.

At long last, David got his badge and we escaped. Tomorrow I’ll be there early to help Kerlak set up the booth, and wandering about until my panels start that evening. People who are direct-messaging me shouldn’t; I can’t get them until I get back to my computer. I don’t have Twitter sent to my phone.

In the meantime, I leave you with this PSA: Give blood. People need it, you can spare it and there are cookies. I am medically barred from donating, so I’d consider it a favor if you go give blood. LifeSouth is on site all weekend.


  1. I knew I should have just come over Tuesday and broken into that thing.

    Have fun, love.


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