Thursday, October 20, 2011

Getchur Geek On

I cannot believe I have not written about New York Comic Con yet!

It's been four whole days since I was there, and yet my blog remains void of any mention of NYCC. For shame, self.

So, er, on Sunday, my brother Mr. Funny, and I went to New York Comic Con 2011. It was awesomesauce, or whatever the kids are saying these days. We would have liked to have gone all four days of the con - as we geeks in the know call conventions - but alas, he had work and I have a three year old who naps in the middle of the day and also isn't as into the Star Wars movies as his cousin Rudy, Jr. is. (I'm not saying I feel competitive with my cousin Rudy over this or anything, but when his little boy - who is the same age as my son, the Juban Princeling - referred to "Empire Strikes Back" as "The Ton-Ton Movie," I seethed with envy. Now, my son is my son and I love him as-is, but I'll admit here that I might love him slightly more if he did something adorable and geeky like that and just once asked to watch "The Ton-Ton Movie" instead of "Yo Gabba Gabba.")

Also, cons cost money, both to attend, and while you are there. The Jacob K. Javitz Center here in New York, which plays host to NYCC, charges an arm, a leg, and a kidney for the grub in the food court (no joke: my lunch of 3 chicken fingers plus a handful of sad french fries, plus a small soda and a mini chocolate bar, came out to $15 and change), and then there's all the geek crap you have to buy. YES, YOU HAVE TO BUY GEEK CRAP. YOU JUST DO, OK? Mr. Funny walked out of that con $50 poorer, but the proud owner of a Mr. Spock-inspired bathrobe. It's about quality of life, people. Try to keep up.

We chose to go on Sunday because there were two panels I wanted to attend: the Geek Parenting Panel, and We're No Angels: Leading Ladies of SF/F. Actually, honestly, I felt like I had to attend the Leading Ladies panel because it featured Patricia Briggs and Kim Harrison, both of whom I've read and both of whom I adore and want to stalk a little bit. 

When we got to the con, my brother made a comment to the effect of, seeing people in costumes we don't recognize makes us feel less geeky. And that's pretty much how I felt at the Geek Parenting panel. It was good times for sure, and gave me lots of food for thought - I'll never buy a pre-packaged costume for the Princeling again, I promise - but I went in thinking we were all going to discuss methods of slipping more Star Wars-themed media into our children's lives, and whether or not we should show the series to them in order of when the movies were released versus their chronological order (I vote the former). Alas, silly Mer. That's not what the Geek Parenting panel was about at all. Most of the other geek parents in the room - the overwhelming majority, in fact - were avid comic book readers and/or role-play-gamers, or RPGs. I...have never picked up a comic in my life, except for when I dated that idiot in college who read them and I had to step over them to get into his room. I've also never played an RPG. Once in a while when we're watching "The Guild," my husband will causally suggest we try out World of Warcraft, to which I respond it's not like I've got tons of free time on my hands and need something new to occupy my life. Besides, thanks to "The Guild" we know how real gamers feel about "casuals," which is pretty much all we could be.

So, I felt slightly inadequate at that panel, geek-wise, but at least I learned that certain RPGs are actually good for kids and help children and teens build worlds and tell stories, so that once day if the Princeling decides he's into it, I'll be prepared.

The Leading Ladies panel was also informative, for wholly different reasons. As a writer, getting to hear Patty & Co. wax eloquent on subjects like writing discipline, world-building, faith in yourself as a writer, and publishing myths, made me want to come home, lock myself in a room, and finish my damn novel already. Which I've been mostly doing all week, when I'm not picking my son up from school, spending quality time with him so he doesn't turn into a recluse, feeding myself and/or my family, seeing a chiropractor for my sciatica pain, or sleeping. And, I'm pleased as punch to report that I managed to finally break away from my habit of acting like a total jackass in front of famous people I love, and actually said hello to Patricia Briggs and told her what a fan I am, and she did not seem scared or weirded out by me. That's progress.

My inspiration.
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Mr. Funny, for once, did not attend the con in costume, but I did. I needed something to go with my pregnancy, and there's not a whole heck of a lot out there in genre-land. The night before the con my husband and I worked on attaching the head, arms, and upper torso of an alien from the "Alien" movies onto either my baby bump or a t-shirt, but the thing was just too damn heavy and kept flopping down. And here I bought an ounce of stage blood for it and everything. Instead, I put on one of my husband's grey undershirts, and then one of his black tank tops, and my army green cargo pants, and went as Sharon from "Battlestar Galactica." I kept rubbing my belly at the con hoping someone would get it, but no one did. Sad face. And it wasn't until the Leading Ladies panel that I even saw another BSGer. We gave each other mutual props. 

What I actually went as. Or, tried to. Not shown: Sharon's baby bump.
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In all, the con was amazing, and I'm glad we went. Maybe next year we'll go for two days so we have time to go to more panels.

I came home with a bag full of swag, including a Lego Transformer for the Princeling, courtesy of the Geek Parenting panel, a Peter Parker/Spiderman mask he hates, and a Stormtrooper coloring sheet he ignored. But I also spent $8 to buy him a little plush Ewok - shut up, my son is 3, I'm not about to buy him pointy-toothed Chewbacca - which he LOVES. He's been a little scared of monsters lately, so I told him the Ewok is a protective Ewok that will look after him when he sleeps. He even asked me to tell him a story about the Ewok, so I did:

Once upon a time, in a galaxy far, far away, there was a place called Endor. And in that place lived the Ewoks. And they were furry and small and sweet and wore clothes. So once day, some monsters came and wanted to build a weapons system on Endor, [Princeling: "What's that?" Me: *ignoring and continuing*] but the Rebels, lead by Luke and Leia, went to Endor to fight the monsters. And the Ewoks helped the rebels! They helped protect Luke and Leia and the other Rebels! That's what Ewoks do, they help people against the monsters. And so the Rebels won and the monsters ran away and everyone was super happy. The end.

We may not read comics or play RPGs, and my son may not know his TIE-fighters ("twin ionic engine," don't test me) from his X-Wings just yet, but that kid loves him some protective little Ewok toy. It's a start.

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