Part the First!
After a relaxing, but not exactly restful, trip to see my parents on the beautiful coast of North Carolina my wife dropped me off at the airport for my flight to Tulsa via Dallas. As I think I said prior, the reason for flying to Tulsa instead of straight to Dallas (where A-kon is) had more than a little to do with money. As an added bonus though I got to see my friend Pat (whose blog I would link to but he password protects the mug) who was unable to attend the con itself.
The flights were uneventful in spite of a rather fantastic thunderstorm in NC. I did get to meet a charming older lady who I shared a row (and no more) with. We chatted and actually had dinner together at McD's in DFW. The flight to Tulsa had me sharing a row with two young ladies and we all happened to be reading Dean Koontz novels (not the same one, that would be freaky). I landed in Tulsa at about 9:15 local time and Pat and Jay were waiting for me. We exchanged manly hugs and retrieved my less than manly suitcase. Jay was sporting a shaved pate and a forked blue beard with a bright red soul patch. He does something every year along those lines. A man that big with that sort of facial growth could easily be intimidating and I'm sure he was to anyone that didn't know him.
A short trip later and we were ensconced in the warmth of Pat's pad. The man is a consummate host, I'll say that for sure. He had some brats and an awesome chili sauce ready for us to chow on. That plus beer (some of my home brew and some of his store bought) got us in a movie mood. The lateness of the hour and the fact that we had to get up at 4:30 am (a bomb that got dropped during dinner) didn't stop us from catching a good portion of Bad Boys 2 on Pat's 62" Screen of Hotness. I fell into a sound but all too short sleep on the futon in spite of the decibels pumping out from the subwoofer five feet away.Part the Second aka Day Two!!!
Friday dawned, but we were up before it. It was dark and already humid as we climbed into the XXXterra of Doom to pick up some of Jay's friends and their dog. We gave them a ride to somewhere in Oklahoma and then joined the wagon train south. Smitty joined us and we played chase car to the other vehicle. A breakfast of foodstuffs from Carl's Jr.
under our belts and we were finally on our way.
Playing DJ using my laptop with an FM transceiver thingy and doing the alphabet game (The object of the game is to cite all of the letters of the alphabet ,in order, from a to z using road signs and license plates. The first person to z wins.) kept us all awake. The miles rolled by and we reached our target around 12:30 (after an unintentional tour of downtown Dallas).
Our party was staying in the Westin Hotel, which is attached to the Adam's Mark were A-kon is held. Our room was swank times ten. Gear stashed, we ate lunch and then headed down to the con proper. It was a sea of geekdom. Lines snaked all around and we took our places to pick up our con badges. "Security" made sure that we all stayed in formation (and let me tell you, having a last name with an R meant a looooong wait). We got the "opportunity" to watch some sort of summoning/mating ritual/line dance that the hard core fans were doing to anime music. Not even the hardest core in our group new what the heck they were doing.
Finally wearing our geek badges with pride, we were able to take in the rest of the con. I spent most of the next hour or so in the dealer room. It had all kinds of anime, manga, food, t-shirts, cheap indian swords, and a Guitar Hero game that never ended. It was also an excellent place to check out costumes. I hope to have some pictures from David (one of our group) but for now let me just say that some folks apparent;y work on their cosplay
stuff all year. Then of course you have the ones that look like they spent as much time on theirs as I did on my science fair projects in high school (except the costumes used a little more posterboard and Elmer's glue).
The biggest disappointment I had was a lack of any actual anime being shown. At least nothing I was interested in seeing. They did have rooms dedicated to J-Pop
, hentai (you look it up, just not at work) and video games (only saw one interesting game that involved a DJ turntable). But the main reason I went was to hang with some friends and gawk at those geekier for something than I.
Let me take a moment to say that I was convicted about that. I started looking down on these folks and that's just wrong. I hate it when people look down on me for having a hobby they don't understand so where do I get off doing the same? Granted that didn't stop me from pitying/being creeped out by the guy who was cosplaying as a girl with dice on her head, but it couldn't be helped. Maybe I was just jealous of his legs, but I'm not telling.
Dinner at Atomic Sushi, a last pass through the con for the day, and drinks at the hotel bar (the highlight of which was the Espresso Martini
) closed out the day.