Too……What?

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Lake Charles, LA

It’s been a week since I attended CyPhaCon.  That event was as excellent as expected, but something happened to me on my way out of the convention on Saturday evening that I feel must be addressed.  Before I continue I must say that what happened to me on that evening did not occur as a result of any actions by the convention staff or volunteers and it definitely IS NOT a reflection of the convention as a whole.  In fact, CyPhaCon is very accepting of ALL flavors of people no matter what race, religion, creed, or fandom that they happen to be a part of.

So what the heck happened?  I finished up my last panel for the day and closed up shop on the USS Lafitte fan table.  I walked around the convention for a bit, visited with a couple of friends and then decided to hit the road.  I was wearing the Star Trek tee in the featured image for this post.  As I was walking out of the Lake Charles Civic Center, I passed two young girls that I would estimate to be around sixteen years of age.  As they walked by, one of the young ladies said, “I don’t know if that shirt is too homo or too Trek.”

I stopped in my tracks.  Did she just say what I thought she said?  Too homo or too Trek?  I do not know if either of the girls noticed me stopping, but neither of them stopped walking.  I briefly looked over my shoulder and then thought to myself:  Let it go.  She’s an immature little girl.  It’s not worth it to say anything.  People that have known me for a long time know that I rarely speak up about anything, and I eventually talked myself out of addressing the young lady.

Still, her words bugged me.  No, check that.  The fact that she said her words out loud and with enough volume so that I could hear them really bugged me.  I honestly couldn’t care less about her personal feelings on me, Star Trek, homosexuals, heterosexuals, or anything else.  Those are her personal feelings.  But what about my feelings?  Why did she say what she said out loud without thinking about how I might react or be affected by her words?

I could easily say that she’s a homophobic idiot and leave it at that, but that’s not the biggest of her problems in my opinion.  Her biggest problem is that she didn’t think twice about making a comment that could be deemed derogatory or the consequences of saying those words.  If I were a homosexual man, how would I react to her words?  Would I just blow them off and get on with my life or speak up to her and give her a piece of my mind?  As a heterosexual man, should I have stopped her and given her a lesson in respecting others or just tear into her and tell her how rude she is and how her parents obviously failed her?

Well, homosexual or heterosexual, I didn’t do anything, but I am going to do something now.  I’m going to say that this young lady needs to seriously take a look at how she treats others.  I do not care if she is scared of or has a general dislike of homosexuals.  That’s a problem she needs to look into for herself.  I’m also not too concerned if she said what she said in an attempt to insult me, homosexuals, or Star Trek.  She lacks respect for humans in general.  That’s the thing that concerns me the most.

She’s not alone, either.

I see a lack of respect for humanity almost every day of my life.  Whether it is someone who insults another person for being gay, black, Catholic, or poor, or someone simply cutting in a line or using strong language in front of a child, we as a nation and a world are LOSING respect for one another.

Yeah, this girl made a simple statement that was probably meant to hurt or provoke me, but she’s definitely not the first person to do so and she definitely won’t be the last.  We need to change how we treat each other.  If you see a poor person on the street, offer to buy them a meal or give them a couple of bucks.  If it’s cold outside and you see a cop freezing his backside off directing traffic, offer him a cup of coffee or hot chocolate.  If a gay person happens to be walking down your street, don’t cross over to the other side in fear (they won’t hurt you, I promise).  Instead, give them a smile and ask them how they are doing.

Simply put, BE NICE!  There is no need to insult anybody because of their race, sexual orientation, religious or political leanings or any other reason!

Oh, and to answer the young lady’s question about whether or not the shirt is too homo or too Trek.  NOTHING is ever too homo or too Trek!  It’s perfect just the way it is!

As always, thanks for reading.  Now go respect each other.

Five Years Strong!

Myself and Vic Mignogna.  You know him for his anime work.  I love him for his work in Star Trek Continues!

Lake Charles, LA

Since 2011, southwest Louisiana has been home to two fan-run pop culture conventions.  Both of these conventions can trace their history back to the now defunct ConDuLac which first appeared in 2009.  That convention lasted for two years and then became two new and wholly different conventions called Bayoucon and CyPhaCon. CyPhaCon recently celebrated its fifth anniversary and despite southwest Louisiana’s smaller market (in comparison to metro areas like Houston and Baton Rouge), the convention has grown each year and appears to have no intentions on stopping that growth any time soon.

I attended CyPhaCon’s fifth anniversary as part of the USS Lafitte’s fan group.  The Lafitte is the Lake Charles Chapter of Starfleet International, the official Star Trek Fan Group.  I set up the table on Friday night alongside the crew of the USS Neptune and the USS New Orleans.  These ships would prove to be extremely helpful over the weekend.

Friday night was packed (especially for a fan-run event), and there was a steady crowd throughout the evening.  I didn’t get to do much looking around since I was flying solo at the table, but I did manage to pass through the vendor area once and I made my plans for a few purchases over the weekend.

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Saturday morning brought with it a much larger crowd and it was on this day that I got to see a whole lot more of the convention thanks to my fellow Starfleet members.  They helped man the table while I walked around a bit and snapped photos of cosplayers and met Vic Mignogna, anime voice artist supreme and, as I told him, the “Kirkest Kirk outside of William Shatner” for his portrayal of the iconic captain of the Enterprise on Star Trek Continues.  Vic was extremely nice and I have to admit that he ranks near the top of my list of coolest media guests that I’ve met.  Miltos Yerolemou (Game of Thrones), Chuck Huber (anime and Star Trek Continues), Jeffrey Combs (Star Trek: DS9, Re-Animator, etc), Larry Nemecek (Star Trek Continues, all around Trek database), and Marie Doll (cosplay guest of honor), were also on hand for fans to meet and interact with at the convention.

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I also hosted two panels on Saturday that were well attended.  Roughly twenty people attended my “Southern Geek:  The Walking Dead” panel.  Other members of Southern Geek were supposed to assist with the panel, but due to issues that they had no control over, they couldn’t make it, so I had the place to myself.  The panel covered the TV series for the most part, with a couple of attendees tossing in a bit about the comic books.  We couldn’t talk a whole lot about anything beyond Season Three of the show, though, since a lot of folks were still playing catch up with the series.  On a strange note, we ended up talking a bit about Twilight during the panel.  Yikes!  It was still fun, though, and I’d do it again if necessary.

My second panel was “Deja WHO?” and was an attempt to cover the repetitive nature of Doctor Who since Steven Moffatt took over as show runner.  Of course, with quite a large mixture of new and old Whovians in the mix, the panel sort of snowballed into a big discussion about the actors that have portrayed the Doctor and everyone’s favorite villains over the course of the series.  About twenty people attended and it was a very lively panel.  Hopefully I can do something similar next year.

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DDK made an appearance on Saturday as well and, as the above photos prove, he was grossly outnumbered by villains.  No matter for him, though, as he handled everything quite well.

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Other conventions were well represented at CyPhaCon.  In the above photo you can see me and the lovely Jett and Zee, mascots for MechaCon which is coming up soon.  Other conventions that were represented included CoastCon, Geek-O-Nomicon, and Space City Comic Con among others.  A screen-accurate TARDIS was also on site, hosted by Tulsa TARDIS and a group that has recently started producing episodes for their own Doctor Who fan series.

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The convention was well attended on Sunday as well, and it also featured the best part of almost every convention I’ve ever attended:  Orion’s Envy.  I’ve known these lovely ladies for quite some time now and even though I’ve seen their performances countless times, they still manage to surprise me.  They were only able to attend on Sunday, but I’m glad that I got to catch up with them.  I believe that their next performance will be at Bayoucon in June.

Overall, CyPhaCon was an excellent event.  There were a couple of bumps in the road, but considering that this event has consistently grown with each year of its existence, I’m sure they will find a remedy for next year.

I really enjoyed this event.  Fan groups were treated quite well and offered snacks throughout the event.  There was also a fan appreciation party, but I was unable to attend since I had a panel going on at the same time.  I look forward to next year and can’t wait to see what the CyPhaCon bunch has in store for us all!

The next convention on my radar is Bayoucon in June.  This year it takes place in Sulphur, LA.  There’s a very slim chance that I will be attending Comicpalooza, but I doubt that I’ll make it over to Houston for that show next month.

As always, thanks for reading.  If you attended CyPhaCon or any other events recently, let me know about them in the comments section.  See ya later!

CyPhaCon In Less Than Two Weeks!!!!

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Lake Charles Civic Center

The best anime, gaming and sci-fi convention in southwest Louisiana is less than two weeks away!  CyPhaCon will take place from Friday, April 17th, to Sunday, April 19th, at the Lake Charles Civic Center.  The convention has expanded in both size and attendance every year, and its fifth anniversary is no exception.  There will be events, panels, and performances held on all three floors of the Civic Center and special performances will take place in the recently renovated Rosa Hart Theater.

I’ll be there helping at the the U.S.S. Lafitte table, so if any of you happen to attend, be sure to stop by and say hello.  There will be lots of other fan groups there as well, including the 501st Legion and Rebel Legion (Star Wars), numerous ships from Starfleet, Steampunk fan groups, and other groups such as Southern Geek (which is very near and dear to my heart).

As usual, expect a lot of cosplayers with varying levels of expertise.  This year’s cosplay guest of honor is Marie Doll.

Media guests include Miltos Yerolemou (Syrio Forel on Game of Thrones), Vic Mignogna and Chuck Huber (both well known for their work in anime and currently part of the fan-produced and seriously awesome Star Trek Continues), and Mr. Trek himself, Larry Nemecek (who has also appeared on Star Trek Continues).

Fans of horror, many of the different Star Trek incarnations, Gotham, Re-Animator, and tons of B-movies will be pleased to see that Jeffrey Combs will also be in attendance.

Also, one of my favorite performance groups, Orion’s Envy, will give a special performance on Sunday at the convention.  It’s been awhile since I’ve seen those lovely ladies, so that’s definitely something I (and you) cannot miss!

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This convention has become one of my favorite events in the Gulf South.  If you can attend, please do so.  Also, swing by the Lafitte table or check out my Dr. Who and/or The Walking Dead (done with members of Southern Geek) on Saturday and be sure to say hi.  Also, if you are an author, actor, performer, cosplayer, or fan group founder, be sure to come and talk to me about setting up an interview if you’d like and we’ll do just that.  I’m still looking for folks to interview in the wonderful world on nerdom, and would really appreciate a few volunteers.

I’ll have a full write up after the convention, so keep an eye out for that in the very near future.

As always, thanks for reading!

Tee-Dub-Dee!

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Alexandria Safe Zone

Well, well, well.  Where should I begin?  Should I talk about that brilliant season finale last night or get a few small things out of the way first?  Okay, let’s start with the small stuff.

First and foremost I am still riding a major high from CoastCon last weekend!  Not only was the event a great time, my blog post about it has gone on to become my most read post ever with over four hundred viewings!  It really warms my heart to think that over four hundred of my fellow nerds actually took the time to read my post about CoastCon.  Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Secondly I would like to mention that CyPhaCon will be taking place in about three weeks in Lake Charles, LA.  They’ve definitely upped the ante this year by adding Jeffrey Combs and Vic Mignogna since I last posted about their guests.  Be sure to look them up on Facebook or on the interwebz.  If you can make it down to Lake Charles and the convention, be sure to stop by the USS Lafitte table at the convention.  That’s where I’ll be and I’d love to meet some of my readers.

Lastly (at least before I get into the meat of my post), I want to say that The Flash has been blowing me away with its most recent episodes.  The show has definitely amped up things with two back-to-back episodes that could easily qualify as season finales.  Tomorrow night looks very promising, and I plan to blog about it later this week.

Now, if you haven’t watched last night’s episode/season finale of The Walking Dead, you may or may not want to avoid the rest of this post.  I won’t give anything away that hasn’t at least been hinted at all season, but I will definitely say a few things that many will consider major spoilers.  So, with that said:  READ WITH CAUTION!!!  SPOILERS AHEAD!!!

For starters, I really enjoyed this episode of The Walking Dead.  It was well-paced, full of suspense and loaded with looking for something.  Morgan was looking for Rick and ran into the Wolves.  Daryl and Evan were looking for potential Alexandria citizens and, at least to me, acceptance of one another.  Carol was looking to protect her friends.  Nicholas was looking for revenge against Glenn despite being the real reason that Noah died.  Abraham and Eugene were looking for their old friendship, even if it was based on a lie.  Gabriel was looking for redemption and Sasha wanted (walker world) normalcy.  Rick and Deanna were looking for control in very different ways.

Morgan in turn found Daryl and Evan, who had just decided that they were going to go out in a blaze of glory after being pinned down by a lot of walkers.  I’m really enjoying the interaction between those two characters.  Hopefully we will see Evan develop even more and eventually become a strong member of Rick’s group within the walls of Alexandria.  Carol began telling fibs to members of her own group in order to protect Rick and to also figure out who had really bought into the whole idea of Alexandria.  Of all of the characters on the show, Carol is my favorite.  She seems to have her head on straighter than anybody else in this crazy new world.

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Nicholas, chicken of all chickens, knew that eventually the truth would be clearly revealed about what went down between him, Glenn, Noah, Tara, Eugene, and Aiden.  Perhaps out of fear (but more likely out of revenge), he led Glenn into the woods outside of the walls of Alexandria and attempted to kill him.  The odds were not in his favor, however, as Glenn quickly turned the tide….and the other cheek….and let Nicholas live.  Something tells me that what happened between those two will be resolved later next season.

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Abraham, who seems to be taking on the role of grand philosopher within the walls of Alexandria, was duped into talking face to face with Eugene by Rosita.  The duo talked out their differences, apologized to one another, and seem to be back on steady footing.  I’m glad to see that Eugene has finally grown a spine.  Hopefully Abraham will guide him on his way to becoming an excellent ally in the new world.

Gabriel and Sasha’s stories intertwined.  Gabriel at first seemed to be looking for death after ratting on Rick’s group to Deanna, intentionally walking up to a feeding walker and whistling to get its attention.  Instead of giving in, though, Gabriel grabbed the walker by a noose around its neck and decapitated it.  He then dashed its head open with a rock and finished off the poor soul that it was feeding on when he walked up to it.  Sasha spent the episode laying on top of a walker bed and then headed to the church looking for answers.  She confronted Gabriel and put her gun to his head, but Maggie came in and saved both of their necks, as Sasha probably would have had to answer for killing Gabriel.

Rick, after getting cold-cocked by Mchonne last week, woke up with a ready plan to take control of Alexandria.  He hoped that he could do this without bloodshed but, as always, he was prepared to kill anyone that needed to be killed.  Deanna was attempting to restore order after Rick’s fight with Jesse’s husband.  A “trial” was held where everbody but the two prime suspects seemed to show up.  Rick was busy cleaning up a few walkers that straggled into the walls of the city after Gabriel intentionally left the gate open.  Jesse’s husband was getting drunk….again….desptie having a confrontation with Carol earlier in the day in which she threatened his life.

When it looked as if Deanna had arrived at a standstill with Rick’s group, Rick showed up with one of the dead walkers over his back and told them what he had found.  He then started to reason with Deanna and the rest of the group.  Deanna was still on the fence until Jesse’s drunk husband strolled into the meeting and made a futile attempt at attacking anybody that was near him.  His first and only victim was Reg, Deanna’s husband.  Reg’s throat was ripped open by a machete.  Abraham quickly slammed Jesse’s husband to the ground and Deanna, with hate in her eyes, uttered, “Rick….do it!”

And Rick did what Rick does best.  He then looked up and saw an old friend standing in shock, Morgan.

That seemed to be the end of it, but we were given a glimpse back at the place where Daryl and Evan had been trapped by the walkers.  On a vehicle by the gates of warehouse they had been at, a message was left by the Wolves, a message that let everyone know that they were coming.

What surprised me the most about this episode was that none of the major characters died.  I do see at least one or two of Rick’s group, most likely Carol and/or Abraham, passing away at the hands of the Wolves next season.  I hope I’m wrong, as both of these characters have become so much more than what they began the show as when they were each introduced.  I don’t think Daryl is going anywhere anytime soon, but I have a sneaking suspicion that his character is about to say his goodbye as well.

This was probably the best season yet of The Walking Dead.  The finale was excellent (although not my favorite overall), but the entire season was solid throughout, with no bad episodes at all.  I hope next season is just as great.

That’s all for now, folks.  As always, thanks for reading!

The Coast With The Most!

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Biloxi, MS

After missing the last two years, I managed to finally return to one of my favorite conventions, CoastCon, in one of the most beautiful towns on the gulf coast, Biloxi, MS.  I hitched a ride with the gang from CyPhaCon on Friday, March 20.  We arrived in the early afternoon and quickly set up the CyPhaCon table.  While I’m not an official member of that particular convention, I do offer my services in return for a ride to and from the event (and a floor to sleep on).

The crowd was light on Friday (as it almost always is at fan-run conventions) but there was no shortage of fellow fans to hang out with until well into the evening.  I had a great time talking with a lot of friends that I haven’t seen in a long time.  That’s my favorite part about conventions like CoastCon.  Sure, there are media guests, panels, gaming, authors, and vendors, but it’s getting the chance to see old friends and make new ones that share our passions that makes these conventions so great.

CoastCon opened its second day as the oldest fan-run convention in the Gulf South at 10 AM on Saturday morning.  Panels included a Q&A with anime voice artist Tiffany Grant and actor Tony Amendola.  Other panels touched on everything from feminism to makeup and reading and writing in Elvish.  The ladies of Hip-ocrisy entertained con-goers with their bellydancing talents and gaming took place throughout the day.

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CyPhaCon’s official mascot, Serenity, tangles with the Discount Dark Knight!

One extremely nice surprise about Saturday was the large number of awesome cosplayers in attendance.  Guest cosplayers Destine Magique and Awkward Cosplay Girl showed off their talents, but there were plenty of regular attendees showing off their own awesome cosplay creations!  Of course, the Discount Dark Knight took time out of his exceptionally busy schedule to snap photos with a lot of the cosplayers, and here is just a sampling of the excellent costumes at the convention!

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Destine Magique cosplayer, Kitty, and DDK!

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Awkward Cosplay Girl, DDK, and Destine Magique cosplayer Alaska!

Awkward Cosplay Girl, DDK, and Destine Magique cosplayer Alaska!

At 11AM on Saturday, Southern Geek, a Gulf South-based fan group that covers all areas of fandom, hosted a panel about The Walking Dead.  Rafe White, SG’s fearless leader and founder, headed up an all-star panel that included Kristyn Tower, Claire Scates, Tim Nicholas, and yours truly as we discussed the show and the comic.  We covered where they both currently stand and where we believe that they might be headed.  Those in attendants were encouraged to join in on the discussion and Southern Geek was not disappointed!

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Saturday evening was CoastCon’s legendary Bachelor/Bachelorette Auction and although I was personally unable to attend, I heard that it was just as crazy this year as it has been in the past.

Sunday continued the fun with more excellent panels and a ton of gaming.  I picked up a book from The Rob Cerio (https://www.facebook.com/TheRobCerio) and he asked DDK for a selfie.  Never one to deny his fans, DDK happily took a selfie with Mr. Cerio.  I also picked up a sweet CoastCon tee shirt and entirely too many buttons.  My poor backpack is running out of room for all of them!

CoastCon is definitely one of the best conventions in the Gulf South.  It offers fun for all ages and covers just about any fandom that people celebrate and love.  If you’re ever in Mississippi in the very early spring, be sure to check out the oldest fan-run convention in the south!!!!!

On a side note, I also have to mention a couple of places that I dined at while visiting CoastCon and Biloxi.  On Friday night myself and some friends ate at El Rancho.  It’s some of the best Mexican food in Mississippi and the restaurant itself offers up some great atmosphere.  I also tried out a sandwich at Zeppelin’s Pizzeria.  Again, the atmosphere was awesome and the food was excellent!

Finally, I want to mention just how wonderful the Mississippi Coast Convention Center and Coliseum is as both the host for CoastCon and as an excellent place in general.  I love the design of the center, especially the way that it incorporates the waves of the Gulf of Mexico into the design and layout of the building.  It’s one of my favorite convention centers to visit.DSCF6416 DSCF6417

Oh, and did I mention just how freaking beautiful the Gulf Of Mexico is in Biloxi???

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As always, thanks for reading.  Next month I will be attending CyPhaCon in Lake Charles, LA.  It’s one of the fastest growing fan-run conventions in the southern states and I look forward to it each year.  See ya next time!

CoastCon This Weekend!!!

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Biloxi, MS

I am SUPER excited for this weekend!  I’m heading to Biloxi, MS for the weekend with a couple of friends to enjoy the wonder that is CoastCon!  It’s the oldest fan-run convention in the Gulf South and it’s also one of my favorite conventions to attend.  I haven’t been able to go for the last couple of years due to work and personal responsibilities, but this year the gods smiled down upon me and gave me a chance to reunite with one of the best conventions around.

With that in mind, I’ve decided to revisit an old list that I created over on a webpage called Lunch.com.  The page isn’t very active anymore, but the list that I compiled is still very relevant.  With only a slight bit of alteration, this list is the one list you’ll ever need to survive any convention, no matter what the size.  Take a look at this survival guide and let me know what you think.  I’ll be blogging about CoastCon as soon as it’s over and I get back home.

Here’s my personal survival guide of things that are necessary for you or any other person to survive a convention.  I hope you enjoy it!

MONEY–You’ll need lots of money if you plan on having a good time at most conventions.  Cash is best, but a lot of conventions and, more importantly, vendors selling goodies, are accepting debit and credit cards.  The primary problem with using credit or debit cards is that often the vendors and the convention itself must rely on the Wi-Fi available to them at the venue where the convention is taking place.  If the servers can’t handle the barrage of traffic or if the signal is just really, really bad, using cards can slow down the process for you and for the vendor.  Just be sure to hit an ATM before going to the convention and you should be fine.

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FAN SHIRT–Almost as important as that cold, hard cash is a tee shirt that lets the world know that you’re a fan of something.  It doesn’t have to be a flamboyant or distracting shirt, just a little something that tells fellow con goers that you’re a Brony, a Browncoat, a Trekkie, a Marvel, a DC, a….well, you get the idea.  Wearing your favorite character on your shirt also opens up lines of communication.  It’s a lot easier to approach that cute girl or guy if they are wearing a Doctor Who shirt and ask them a question about their fandom than it is to pace back and forth wondering if he or she even knows who Adric is, right?

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COMFORTABLE SHOES–Be prepared to do a lot of walking and standing in line…..a lot of it……TONS of it….especially if you’re at a larger convention.  You’ll want to keep your feet nice and comfy so that they aren’t trying to Shane you by the end of the day!

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FOOD–Be sure to stock up on a few quick snacks before entering the convention.  Also be sure that the convention even allows outside food because some of them don’t.  I always try to bring one or two Clif Bars with me so that I’m not forced to pay fifteen bucks for a hot dog and a drink.  Convention food prices are usually very inflated, so be prepared to spend big bucks unless you prepare ahead of time.  I highly suggest eating a large breakfast or taking a break during the day and visiting a local restaurant.  Better yet, make sandwiches and bring them with you to eat either in your ride or back at the hotel.

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WATER–Again, as with food, be sure that the convention allows outside beverages.  Most of them do not, but many of them also don’t check bags, so you might be able to bring one in with you.  Just be ready to cough up any contraband if you decide to bring in outside food or beverages.

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A SHARPIE–A lot of veteran convention goers might be shaking their heads at this one, since most guests at conventions that autograph anything will have Sharpies or other pens handy.  I’m not suggesting that you bring your own Sharpie for these situations.  What I want you to have a Sharpie for is that moment when you may not necessarily be at the convention.  For instance, say you’re sitting at the hotel bar and you happen to strike up a conversation with a media guest.  You hit it off with this person and spend a couple of hours chatting about something.  At the end of the night when it’s time to say goodbye, you might want to ask for an autograph.  Now, whether or not the media guest actually agrees to an autograph (or photograph, for that matter) is entirely up to them and you should respect their choice, but if you have a Sharpie handy, you can get that autograph a lot more easily!

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CAMERA–This one’s a no-brainer.  You’re going to take photos…..a lot of photos!  Whether it’s celebrities, cosplayers, really cool stuff like the Batmobile or the Mystery Machine, you’re going to want to take a photo or two for the memories and to post on Facebook to make all of you friends jealous.  Be sure to have a fresh memory card, too!

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BODY SPRAY–This one is a tad bit controversial.  Why?  Because there are a lot of people out there that bathe in body spray and it’s so strong on them that it’s often hard for those around them to breathe.  However, if given the choice between smelling AXE Body Spray or Swamp Butt, I’ll take AXE every time.  If you’re walking a lot or if you’re wearing a costume, you’re going to be sweating a lot.  Just a couple of quick shots of body spray will hold the stench at bay for a little while.

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PHONE–This one’s kind of obvious, but you really need to have a phone handy for the simple fact that you might need to get in touch with your friend who is on the other side of the convention hall.  You can also use it to instantly take pictures and video and post them to the web.  Also, a lot of conventions now offer their programs as a downloadable file.

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A BACKPACK–I know you’re thinking, man, this is an excellent list, Kendall, but what am I going to carry all of this stuff in????  A backpack, of course!  Use it to haul around all of the above items that will fit in it and also use it to keep your hands free for high fives and hugs.  I personally like to decorate my backpack with nerdy buttons, but you can leave it plain Jane if you please.

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COSTUME–Lastly, if you aren’t going to be wearing a fan tee of your favorite fandom, a costume is the way to go.  It isn’t a necessity, but it’s definitely very fun to dress up as your favorite character and interact with fans.  Also, don’t feel as if you have to have a screen accurate Iron Man suit or a cape just like Superman.  Buy and/or make whatever you can to the best of your abilities (and your cash flow) and have FUN!!!  If anybody makes fun of your costume, ignore them.  They are completely missing the point of cosplay if they believe that your costume has to look exactly like the one on the screen.

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In summary, using all of the above items will help you successfully survive a comic/science fiction/pop culture convention.  The most important thing to remember is to have fun.  Make friends, share a few laughs, listen in on a few panels, and meet your favorite media guest.  HAVE FUN!!!!

As always, thanks for reading.