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Rats Eye View, Dragon Con 2003
[09/23/2003] [Rift]

I know that this has little to do with Amtgard, but give an old Duke his due, I’m stuck on the East Coast and everybody went to Florida for an event that I could not make it to.

The main reason that I went to the Con was to meet an old friend of mine from El Paso, Michelle Ellington a.k.a. Tawnee Darkfalcon. A lot of you will not know that name but many will, she was “Old guard” when I started in Amtgard twenty years ago. Tawnee was one of the people that started the Burning lands and has served as Monarch on numerous occasions. She even held the copyright for a time. Well, Tawnee does not do Amtgard any longer and I thought that this maybe my only chance to see her this year. She does a lot of art and she did have several items in the art show and we spent a lot of our time there. She also does costuming and we spent a fare amount of time checking out the hall costumes. I can remember a giant Pink tutu complete with fairy wings that she put me in sometime in the late 80’s that won best of show for our class at WesterCon and again at WorldCon, but I digress.

Rats Eye view, Dragon Con 2003.

Let me begin by saying that I am a Nerd. I know that the T stands for in Cpt. James T. Kirk and I know what NCC means in NCC-1701. I watch almost anything Sci Fi or fantasy. I play all kinds of game from checkers through Live Action Role Playing games, yep, I’m a Nerd. I can’t fix my own PC so I’m not a Geek, and that puts me smack dab in the middle of Nerdom.

So when I tell you that this Atlanta-based Science fiction convention was an unbelievably good time you may start thinking, “What does a self-proclaimed nerd know about a good time?” Well, as well as being a Nerd I am co-creator of BallSpitters traveling bar and burlesque show, founder of the Iron Mountains (just the most ass-kicking group in Amtgard), co-inventor of Jugging in Amtgard and I have dated models, strippers, porn stars and Heather Graham (it was only two dates but that’s still better than you). So when I tell you this was a good time you can believe me.

The first thing that struck me was the number of people in costume. Sure, there were dozens upon dozens of Storm Troopers, but they were really good Storm Troopers. I’m not talking about some cheap off the Wal-Mart shelf Storm Troopers but rather the on leave from an orbiting Star Destroyer Storm Troopers. These guys, and girls, were cool and some of the ladies had form-fitting armor that made me stand at attention when they went by. There were other costumes in ample supply. I saw at least one person dressed as a character from every major TV Show Sense Dark Shadows. Star Trek, Star Wars, BattleStar Galactaca, Lexx, Farscape, Stargate SG-1, and Video games and Comics and everything you can imagine, I personally saw at lest 40 Lara Crofts and was nearly killed by a drunk Cylon in an elevator.

Now, anyone who has ever been to a Science Fiction Convention can tell you that sometimes the people that dress up like Lara Croft look more like her car than the svelte video game/movie heroine. I saw very little of that and all the Lara Crofts that I saw fell into the do-able category. And if sitting around and looking at do-able woman is your bag than bring a camera. You’ll come away with more shpankter pics than a Frat boy at Mardi Gras. I had one clone following around me and the four woman I was with for over an hour until one of them took off her dress so he could get his pic and leave us alone. That led to a dress theft and partially nude chase through the hotel that ended with three of the woman on the floor in a tickle fight over the dress, and that was just the first night.

I have to admit that I slept a lot of the day away after staying up at the parties all night but there is a ton of cool things to see and do during the day. I went to a fighting robot discussion presented by one of the guys that started “Robot Wars”. This guy made the champion heavyweight robot “Minion”, and was giving a robot building class on the new “Ant” weight class of fighting robot. “Ant” weight is a new one pound and under class that is gaining popularity across the country. He was able to build a wedge type robot during the 30 minutes that he spoke to us. Check out for pictures and info. The coolest thing about this kind of fighting robot is you can easily build one for under $25.00 and can build a beast for around $100.00. Considering that a heavyweight robot can set you back $15K, these little buggers allow anybody to build a fighting robot on almost any budget.

The shear number and scope of things to do during the day made my head hurt. They had over 380 guest speakers. I spoke with The Incredible Hulk, Jaws of James Bond fame and Larry Bond the author and creator of the way cool naval simulation game Harpoon. There is not just one but two huge dealers rooms. One was a slick corporate room with companies like Wizards of the Coast, Warhammer, Steve Jackson Games, X-box and many others. This dealers room was the better of the two as far as looks and things to see, the over 6 foot tall goddess running the Corset Sluts booth in her Valkyrie-inspired aluminum mini-dress being just one reason. The other dealer’s room was your typical con-type dealer’s room with individuals or smaller companies selling a large verity of crap. And mostly it was crap, a few jewels mixed in, but mostly crap. I mean who out there can’t get bad copies of Anime off the Internet with out paying $20.00 a copy for a pirated version in a photocopied jacket.

I was able to get a full weekend pass for only $10.00 – at the door it was going for $70.00. A buddy that was flying in could not make it and he gave me the ticket and all I had to pay for was the transfer fee. I can honestly say that I would have gladly paid full price. There are ways around the ticket price, too. For one, the parties are all free and you do not need to have a ticket for those. I also found that if you follow a nearly naked hottie (not as rare as you might think, yeepie!) past the security guys its like you were never there. My honey paid for one day and our friend paid nothing and we went everywhere with little hassle. Besides, it was kind of fun to sneak in through the back door of the gaming room.

Next year I plan on going in style. Room, party and more friends. Maybe I can get the goddess from Corset Sluts to come...

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