Good Afternoon, and welcome to Ask a Geek Anything, the spot in the blogosphere where we’ll attempt to answer all your questions that won’t get us banned in Boston.
We’ve added a previously unannounced columnist, who currently chooses to go by Sgt Schultz, his biography is as follows: Sgt. Schultz is a visitor from a faraway land, with abilities far below those of mortal men. He fights a never-ending battle for Truth, Justice, and/or the American Way !
And we’ll be adding by request a little bit of a glossary or guide, more about that later.
Our First question is from Puzzled in Pittsburgh, who asks: “Yo, AAGA, where do I go about finding myself a con to go to?
Amanda Fuesting replied: I’ll take that one, You can find a list of upcoming cons with dates and locations here: http://www.upcomingcons.com/science-fiction-conventions. You would need to check out the specific convention’s website, or google that convention, to find out more about it. You could also ask friends who are into the con scene which cons they enjoyed.
Our second question for the day is from MooMilkyman, who says: “I’ve never been to a con before, how to I pack for one? Well Moo, this is more of an opinion question, so it’s our policy that we’ll give you at least two answers, one from the male perspective, one from the Female. So Sgt. Schultz answered for the men, with some kibitzing from Joseph Capdepon II as follows:
What to pack for a con.
2 bags. Fill inner bag with 4 t-shirts or top of some sort. 4 sets of skivvies (assuming you wear them). Two pairs of pants. One set of sweatpants, Good socks, and Sneakers. IF you think you might go out to dinner, one dressy outfit. Outer bag will haul souvenirs. You MIGHT want to bring a sleeping bag if you don’t have a room. You can usually pay for “crash space”.
Toiletries and sundries: Standard toilet kit. Add a small bottle of your preferred shampoo. Razor and cream if that’s your style, and your meds/vitamins 5 days worth. Pack some jerky, some food bars, possibly some trail mix, and a water bottle. Refill the water bottle often, and drink often. . .
On more delicate matters: If you’re so inclined, a six-pack of condoms. Even if you’re a woman, because when you need one, the other guy or gal won’t have one, and if it’s your style, a tube or bottle of lube. Note: a pump-action jar of “Anal Lube” is probably a bit much, especially if you’re into pickups at cons. Which are relatively easy, but expect to get hit on by both sex, and occasionally more than one other in the play.
If you do plan to get laid at a con, get a single,unless your room-mate is into group stuff. Not my style, but I’ve been asked. Otherwise, it’s more than a bit of an imposition on the other people paying for the room.
Special Note: If someone gives you a painted clothespin with a room number, do NOT go there if you’re anywhere close to being a prude. You’ve been invited to a “Clothespin Party”. BDSM will go on. You may observe or participate as you choose. Not **MY** style, but I’ve been to one, simply because I was curious.
And if off-duty NYC cops show up with a 300-pound paramour, and head up to the BDSM floor, make sure your room is ABOVE that floor. . (Sorry, channeling the Disclave Flood. I was there for “20,000 Leagues Under DC”. Woken up Zero-dark early by the fire alarm. . .)
And that’s why you have the sweatpants and a T-shirt. If, God forbid, something HAPPENS at the hotel, you’re clothed enough to evac. It’s happened to me twice. . . .
Joseph Capdepon II adds: I would say for clothing, pants or shorts are both good. It would depend on where the con is being held and what time of year. Also, clothing you pack, pack at least one extra change just in case.
Another tip is to check the weather report for the area before you go. We went to a horror con in Dallas in May one year. It was shorts and t-shirt weather in Houston and Dallas. By the time we got to Dallas, a cold front had moved through and it was cold enough for pants and jackets.
Also, unless you are cosplaying, make sure that your shoes are whatever your normal shoes are that you wear everyday. You will be walking a lot and be on your feet quite a long time.
One more item: If you are bringing alcoholic beverages, be sure to pack them in a way that they will not shift or bounce into one another, depending on your mode of transportation to the convention. If you plan on buying a bottle or three once you get there, no worries.
OK so now that the guys have had their say, let’s hear from the gals:
Amanda Fuesting says: What to pack for a con:
If you aren’t wearing a costume, take five days’ worth of clothes. Make sure you have clothes for a variety of weather conditions, because you never know if Mother Nature will decide to throw you a curve ball. Nothing sucks as badly as packing for hot weather and having a cold front roll in, or visa-versa. You’ll want one nice outfit for a dinner out, or a party that you may want to dress up for. Make sure everything else is comfortable, and preferably mix and match. Make sure you pack at least one cute jacket or sweater that can be worn with a variety of things, in case if gets chilly. You can make twenty outfits out of two pairs of pants and six shirts, with some accessory changes.
Bring a pair of comfortable dress-up shoes for that nice outfit and comfortable every day shoes for your other outfits. The key word here is “comfortable.” You’re going to be walking around a lot, and no matter how pretty your four inch heels are, you’re going to want to take them off. I don’t advise walking around the con without shoes, so just bring shoes that you can walk for days in.
Bring enough variety of accessories to suit whatever you might decide to wear in the morning. Have one purse that is comfortable to carry and matches everything you have for clothes, because you don’t want to waste time switching purses. Pack, and wear, pajamas that you don’t mind someone else seeing. If the con has a swimming pool, bring your swimming suit.
If you’re wearing a costume, make sure you have all pieces and accessories for the costume together, and hang them with the garment bag for that costume. Keep it all together, so that it will be easier to get into the costume when you get to the con. If it will need to be steamed or ironed, make sure that you have the appropriate tools to care for it, particularly if you are wearing the same costume for the whole con.
Pack your make-up in a small travel bag with your shampoo, soap, and other toiletries. Also make sure to pack anything you need for your hair, such as a straightener, curling iron, pony tails bands, bobby pins, ect. Bring some snacks that are easy to carry, like energy bars, and a refillable water bottle. You’ll want to drink a lot of fluids, so one refillable water bottle is easier than a bunch of bottled water containers. If you’re bringing alcohol, make sure it’s not going to break open. Bring cash for the vender tables, at least one form of ID (driver’s license is fine). Pack a small flashlight, your medications (five days’ worth), some extra Tylenol, Motrin, or whatever your preferred headache/pain medication is. A few bottles of Gatorade wouldn’t hurt either, to treat the hangover you’ll probably have at least one day of the con. If you’re planning on hooking up at the con, bring your own condoms and make sure your panties match your bra. Actually, if you’re single do that anyway, because you never know.
OK, well we have just enough room left for TLA corner… What’s TLA corner you ask? TLA Three Letter Acronym corner. That’s where we explain some of the ubiquitous acronyms and slang that is used in this and many other geek blogs (of course some of it isn’t three letters, but hey Geeks don’t always make sense). We’re going to try and give three or four terms and their meanings or usage every week until we run out of them and/or you, our readers quit asking what they mean.
So to start, we’ve been using SJW a LOT in this blog, and several others in the wake of the whole Hugo/ Sad Puppies kerfuffle, so in case anyone missed it, SJW is a “Social Justice Warrior”. This is a term originally invented by and self applied to the VERY active Left wing who practice the Alinskyism model of “Direct Action” as a compliment to themselves. It has since become a term or derision and those self same folks don’t want you to use it anymore, thank you very much! (Which is why we use it)
Fen: the plural non sexual of Fan, so Man, Men, Woman, Women, Fan, Fen.
Then there’s SMOF or Secret Master Of Fandom. This term was coined back in the 70s (yes smart ass, the 1970s) to describe the folks who make the cons run. These were the guys and gals that put in hundreds of hours and thousands of miles on their poor cars to make sure that we could have a con, and that most of the stuff would work. They still do, but there’s been a breakdown into two groups, the SMOFs that make it all work, and the folks that feel that “we’re the only real fans because we are the people who put blood sweat and tears into this, so we should be the only ones that get a say, and all the rest of you bastages can just sit in a corner and do what we tell you, Sig Hiel! See also CHORF.
CHORF, is a new term, coined by Brad Torgersen, in a his blog to differentiate the good fen (at least in our eyes) from the not so good. It stands for Cliquish, Holier-than-thou, Obnoxious, Reactionary, Fanatics. Needless to say, it’s not a good thing.
OK that’s all for today folks, remember you can contact any of us directly through Facebook, (except Sgt Schultz) or you can send your questions to this blog directly, and we’ll get to them as quick as we can. Good Day.