Wednesday, September 4, 2013

True Stories of Dragon*Con 2013: Laughs, Love and Life as Loki.

The following story of Dragon*Con 2013 is true. And by true, I mean false. It's all lies. But they're entertaining lies, and in the end, isn't that the real truth? The answer is... no.

I quote the Simpsons because at Con, sometimes it's difficult to discern between fantasy and reality. One moment you're walking down a non descript hotel connecting skybridge, the next you're bumping into an unimpressed thunder God who tries to brain you with his hammer. One moment, you're sitting in a plain restaurant pub waiting for your food with other patrons, the next a red Stormtrooper with gold bling and a boom box is commanding you to bust a move to his funky beats. It's MADNESS! ORGASMIC GEEKY MADNESS!

So yeah, last year, the fabulous heroine Super Muffin Girl issued the command for me to insert Con on my trip to Europe. I left feeling a bit like Morpheus had levered open my mouth, crammed that sweet ass red pill down my throat and showed me the SWEET TRUTH.


I left, vowing to return! And this past week... I did just that. And somehow, someway... this year not only surpassed the last, it blew it out of the sky just like Loki blew Nick Fury's stupid helicopter out of the sky with the Tesseract!

And so I flew, 23 hours across the face of the Earth to be met with two heroines and two heroes holding signs at the airport, welcoming me in a way that I would understand in my local vernacular. After being proclaimed a "Spoon!" and a "Bloody Legend!" by their signs, My fellow Scott, Mr. Spillman thrust some vodka infused gummi bears into my hand and it was ON.

After a spirited discussion of Iron Man 3, Guardians of the Galaxy, Excelsis, Aldrich Killian and most of all, the atrocity that is Ben Affleck as Batman, the train arrived near our hotel. The following day... it was time to LEAN INTO THIS SHIT. Deciding that the costumed action would wait until Friday, we still managed to use our combined nerdy powers to hijack a shuttle and have it drive us to the line of registration to get our badges. How did we do this? Professor Xavier-esque mind powers. And... maybe a little of the fact that it was a freely available hotel shuttle service and we didn't have to hijack it at all. We did the patented 'back and forth line shuffle' up and down the aisles and got the badges, along the way seeing a collection of ELITE t shirts including an Oregon Trail shirt with a T-Rex proclaiming "You have died by temporal anomaly". And if you don't get that... you're lame.

Myself, the Superest of Muffin Girls and the Patrickest of Connellys then journeyed to the nearby World Of Coke. It was great, apart from a few small hiccups. One, I was chosen to take part in a game where we used touch screen sensors on a big screen to solve mysteries and discover the secret recipe of Coke. All well and good, but they also chose a collection of USELESS CHILDREN to take part. Using my elite skills, I solved all the mysteries and pulled all the levers on my side of the screen while the children fumbled around doing what I hope was a stupid dance and not epileptic attempts to actually play the game. After an eternity, the kids finally completed their mission and we progressed. Hiccup two was the fact that in my wisdom I had elected to wear my "The rules don't just say you're wrong, they say you're a DICK!" t shirt to this family oriented tourist destination. Of course, this couldn't do, and so the Coke people VICIOUSLY CENSORED ME when I tried to get a picture with the Coke Polar Bear. This was AFTER the damn bear had practically tried to molest Shanon. So apparently, the Polar Bear can practically fondle himself over the hot girls but I can't have a t-shirt that says dick.  They attempted to make it up to me by letting me sample 64 soft drinks from around the world, but the damage was done.

That night, was the traditional Sushi Dinner and Pool Party that I missed last year by arriving a day late. Yes, that was exceedingly dumb of me. I put that under 'mistakes I will never make again' right above "Telling the security guard the replica tesseract staff is a weapon of mass destructive potential" and below "Wearing a dick shirt at the World of Coke". I got quite drunk, which I put down to a tag team of Scott and Hannah, the former handed me the fireball whiskey and the latter taunting me for drinking it too slowly. Oh well, it resulted in drunken pool conversations regarding Space Wolves and Chaos Space Marines so I can't really be mad about it. In between all of this action, Shanon attempted to kill me by feeding me cheese and I met my valiant opponent who last year had destroyed me at a game of drinking 'Rock, Paper, Scissors, Lizard, Spock'.

Fireball Whiskey. Drink it and you'll be breathing fire like you were injected with Excelsis by Aldrich Killian.

The next morning, I felt surprisingly okay. One of my comrades though, did not. I will protect their identity by referring to them by a pseudonym. So, yeah, Mega Cake Lady just managed to get out of the elevator after breakfast before depositing it into a nearby trash receptacle. Poor thing. I don't know what was the culprit, but my theory is a lethal mix of cake vodka, cider and fireball whiskey or some evil variant. We soldiered on though. And that morning, it was time to become legendary heroes (or in my case, wicked villains). I became Loki, rightful king of Asgard and epic righteous dickknob extraordinaire. Shanon became my heroic counterpart, Girl Thor, complete with Mjolnir that had to be repaired after airport security broke it. Patrick became Spike from Buffy, largely because with his bleached hair he looks so much like him that all he has to do is walk past and women go spontaneously gooey.  We escorted Amber from our room to her own over at the Marriott. However, she had many bags and nobody to help carry them, and so Loki, the demi god was reduced to her own personal bag bitch. Only at Dragon*Con.

Loki does NOT do bags.

Walking round the hotels and the dealer rooms comes the ultimate nerdy thrill. Other people love your costume and want to take pictures with you. Actually, in all seriousness, I am hereby recommending this practice to the Mental Health Council as a drop dead cure for depression. Grab somebody, throw them in an Iron Man suit, and get them to Dragon*Con. Then watch as a girl in a Pepper Potts costume with a Stark Industries folder finds them and voila! Happiness assured! Two of my personal favorite Friday encounters was an encounter with a group doing my adversaries the Avengers in the dealer room, and a parent stopping me because their little kid loved Loki, but then they couldn't get the picture right because the kid kept just standing next to my leg and looking at me in awe.

Me as Loki and Shanon as Thor. 

Friday night brought with it The Avengers Ball in the Westin Ballroom. It was once again, unbelievably awesome. Many Avengers, many girl Lokis, much singing, much dancing and much Loki and Spike throwing up for the West Side whilst girl Captain America looks on ashamed. There's something about a room full of Avengers characters dancing to 90s classics whilst I held the Tesseract in one hand and a bottle of cider in the other that just screams happiness. On the way out I converted a poor Hawkeye to be my slave with the Tesseract, however I failed to do the same to a Tony Stark who foiled me with a cleverly placed Ark reactor over his heart.

Saturday is typically a quieter day/night at Con for us, largely because everyone is gearing up for the massive 'finish all the alcohol' Sunday night, and also because this time we were scurrying all around Con trying to find a lost wallet that fell out of the pockets of a Scott Pilgrim costume. Dammit!! That afternoon, there was a Lollipop Chainsaw photo shoot that fulfilled all of my hopes and dreams by getting me to lay down in front of 5 Lollipop Chainsaws as they carved me up with their chainsaws. Fuck YEAH. Then, that night, Lokiwi of Asgard Zealand came out for the last time along with an awe inspiring classic Batman ensemble courtesy of Amber as Batgirl, Shanon as Robin and Patrick as the nefarious RIDDLER. DAMN YOU RIDDLER!! DAMN YOUUUUU!!!!

In my final close encounters of the Loki kind, I managed to encounter a group of 7 (!!) Girl Thors, who were accompanying a male Thor who looked about as cut and massive as the actual Chris Hemsworth. I thought of battling them all, but then decided submission was perhaps poignant and instead knelt down as they clamped their powerful Asgardian hands on my shoulder for a photo. This was definitely in the Top 5 moments of my nerdy existence. Finally, to cap off the night, I was tapped on the shoulder and told that I should go up on the loft above and yell out for the entire room to kneel before me. I thought this was a fantastic idea, however I was not quite drunk enough to dispense with all of my inhibitions and actually do it. But I vowed that I would next year. So hold me to that people! In other news from this night, I was told that my sultry foreign voice could curl girl's toes. No, I am not making this up.

We awoke on Sunday to the final full day of Con. That night was the annual tradition of the Minions cramming into a hotel room and judging the costume masquerade, complete with many hilarious remarks, huge amounts of drunkenness and Duck Dodgers in the 24.5th Century! This year was just as good as the last as I advocated longly and loudly for the victory of the Spider Man with broken legs, and the others made many sheep jokes at my expense. Oh, and they dubbed the Avengers group who did historical twists on their costumes as "The New Zealand Avengers". Thanks guys. I grabbed a comedic 'KAPOW!" sign from last night's Batman ensemble costume and we took to the halls and lobbies of the Con hotels (packed to the brim with Stormtroopers, Wolverines, Avengers, Deadpools and one asleep sheep) for one final night of debauchery. While I was no longer Loki, the spirit of drunken villainy remained alive inside me, and I interjected my unwanted 'KAPOW' sign in as many other people's photos as possible. Because in lieu of ruling Asgard, I supposed random Kapowings was a worthwhile second prize. It was another incredible night that words can't really do justice to, and after much sad partings and hugs, we finally retired and the greatness of Con drew to a close for another year.

The next day, I bought myself an awesome "Science Bros" t shirt featuring Iron Man and Hulk, said goodbyes and flew away back home with a treasure trove of memories and a fucking TESSERACT in a box. Ladies and gentleman, life doesn't get much better than this. Cannot wait to do it all again next year, and thank you to everyone who helped make it awesome!

If you want to help finance next year's trip to Dragon*Con... I am writing a series of sci-fi/mystery/epic books, you could always buy them :) *ULTIMATE CHEAP PLUG CHEAP PLUG ALERT*

As I once said and will say again; This is my place. These are my people.




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