I’m Back… And with a Connecticon 2013 report!
It has been long… too long. I am alive and well though, and still working hard with everyone else at Senpai Magazine.
We have decided to change things a little bit. The Goal of Senpai Magazine was to share our interests with others as much as possible. Right now, we feel this goal can be best reached by making as much free content as possible.
Right now we are putting out a FREE newsletter called “Chibi Senpai.” Basically, it is our magazine in a very condensed format, delivered regularly to your inbox at absolutely no charge.
Additional details are here: http://senpaimagazine.com/chibi-senpai.php
So what have I been up to lately? Well, still cannot fully grasp Tumblr… It just seems like a collection of very messy blogs. I’ve also been playing a lot of Warframe… too much really.
I returned from Connecticon 2013 a few weeks ago. As usual, I had a blast. This year, the convention staff did a better job preparing for the weekend than last time. However, even with all that preparation, panel rooms still filled up QUICK and traffic/parking was a nightmare Friday.
Also, of course, they again underestimated how many of us Furries would be in attendance. They do this every year, nothing new. I just loathe the yearly “mill about for 20 minutes as con staff tries to process what exactly a Furry parade will entail.”
It went fine though. No escalators were broken, nor were we threatened with la Ban-Hammer from the Hotel staff. So this was a triumph….
I was surprised by the amount of Dr. Who related stuff at the convention. That is not a bad thing, it’s very much a good thing. However, to a newcomer, I could easily see CtCon being mistaken for a Who-related con instead of an Anime convention… er, is it primarily an anime convention? I’m actually not sure anymore what it is… hrm, always tons of resident evil cosplayers… tons of furries… Oh! It’s a con devoted to Awesome. That’s it.
Connecticon was actually my very first convention. I distinctly remember, as I weaved, maneuvered, and traversed the Artist Alley, thinking “Wow! These people get to go to conventions, be surrounded with such talented individuals AND make money! That sounds like the best thing ever!!”
Fast forward a few years, right after we create Senpai Magazine, and I realize “Oh… This is kinda awkward… I need to actually WORK while I’m here, hm…” I wasn’t alone in this “startling realization,” so we made a pledge that a few cons would be set aside primarily for fun, not business. Connecticon is one of those thankfully. Even without having to be bound to a table, there was still tons I saw, but lots I missed.
There were a number of little improvements that did not go unnoticed by myself and other guests. The program book was better quality, as were the badges. Now if only they’d learn to put times in with the panel descriptions… It’d spare us from the hassle of having to juggle art prints, props, vendor goods, and our phones, while we’re flipping between the scheduling grid and the panel description pages. Oh well… con guest problems, right?
I don’t even know why I’m complaining about that, since I make it a point to rarely read the panel descriptions anyway. I often prefer to go in blind and be surprised.
For example, on a whim Friday I went with my friends to a panel titled “Beyond Orcs & Elves.” I was assuming it was probably going to be a fan-run panel about exotic races in tabletop gaming. Nothing overly exciting, but I’d be content nonetheless.
Instead, I was pleasantly surprised with a panel conducted by Stacy Whitman, former editor of the DragonLance novels, which I LOVED when I was younger. Her panel comprehensively touched on a number of hot-button issues that are prevalent, not just in tabletop gaming, but in modern storytelling and even “geek” culture in general. Not just as a gamer, but also as an educator, her statements hit home again and again as she criticized the common ethnic tropes that dominate storytelling, such as the “plucky white boy hero” and “sagely magic black guy” stereotypes.
A lot of her criticisms openly conflicted with established D&D/Pathfinder… and well, general fantasy “rules.” “Why can’t kender cast magic?” “Why must most dark elves shun society?” “Why can’t the orc not only be a Wizard, but also the main character of the adventure?” etc
I came away from the panel, not just happy, but also having learned something, and reflecting upon my own character choices and creative process.
As a whole, it was a very fun weekend. I did pretty well sticking to my “5-2-1” rule of 5 hours a sleep a night, two decent meals a day, and one shower a day. It also helped having an assortment of protein-packed snacks at the room. I can’t recommend that enough for people staying over at a convention, as protein content is what will keep one from feeling hungry.
Fortunately, the post-con blues won’t be lasting too long, I got Connecticut Comi-Conn to look forward to soon!
– Furry Senpai