Monday, August 8, 2011

True Stories of John 12: Otakon 2011

5:55 PM: Walking to elevator of hotel. The Sheraton's lobby features a grand piano. Patrons are playing videogame and movie tunes on it. I get the theme to Halloween as I wait for the elevator. It’s going to be a good weekend.

8:47 AM: The first person to cut in front of me in line while complaining about how rude everyone is appears. She does her job swimmingly.

8:52 AM: First broken escalator encountered. Panic abounds.

9:05 AM: Waiting for a premiere. There’s a fellow with an “Otakon 1994” shirt in front of me. That was the first year of the convention. Youngsters behind me mock him for having no life. They are silenced when he begins getting cell calls begging him to come back to work.

10:45 Stuck behind perfectly nice couple on the escalator. They are stuck behind a high elf in high heels and a thong. The guy is eye-level with the thong. He looks very happy until his girl notices. She looks severe. Then she says, “I’d hit that, too.”

1:01 PM A Captain America cosplayer attempts to arrest a Cobra Commander cosplayer. It’s going to be a good weekend.

2:53 PM I pass at least the tenth person who is at least one hundred pounds heavier than me. For at least the tenth time, my reaction is that nothing is wrong with them, but that I should exercise more. I don’t know how this works, but it keeps happening.

3:50 PM: Pass a legless Speed Racer cosplayer in a wheelchair. I try to highfive him, but he ignores me. I presume he couldn’t see me through the blinding brilliance of how awesome he is.

4:52: A guy in a Flash t-shirt holds up a line of at least two hundred people because he’s so slow.

5:10: Go to dinner at the Pratt Street Ale House. The best French fries anywhere. Look at the TV for an update on the budget issue. CNN proclaims: “BREAKING NEWS: ‘We don’t know what is going to happen.’” I don't check the news for the rest of the weekend.

5:58: The point at which so many “clever” t-shirts are seen that I hate all of them on principle. It’s scientifically impossible for even the funny ones to be funny anymore. Please stop buying your clothing from websites.

9:20: Otakon gets religion? An absolutely ripped Vega, a bunny girl and someone whose costume is pretty much being naked look envious and lonely in a corner as a Jesus Christ cosplayer is swarmed for photos.

8:00 AM: I shower. I brush my teeth. I apply deodorant. Doesn’t seem novel and noteworthy? You haven’t been to many conventions.

8:42 AM: I attempt to exit the hotel through a locked door. It is directly next to a door clearly marked, “Please exit through this door.” Humility is checked.

10:10 AM: A doctor is mistaken for a cosplayer.

2:15 PM: There is a 100+ person line to get on the escalator upstairs. Upstairs awaits a 200+ overflow line to get into the 500+ person line to get into the theatre and take any seats that are empty after the current screening. Anyone already in the room is free to stay for the next event.

2:50 PM: Visit a different set of lines and talk to a staffer about room clearing. A gigantic line continues to form while we talk. When we conclude, I ask if I have to go to the back or can I step back in where I was. He flinches like I’m going to hit him. These poor bastards. He looks so relieved when I say I’m not going to give him trouble over it and walk to the back.

3:01 PM: Halfway during my tenure on the giant line, someone in the middle of the 500+ person queue asks, “What is this for?” I see him leaving a minute later.

3:30 PM: A man of Middle Eastern descent is mistaken for a Sayid from Lost cosplayer.

8:18: At the Q&A with a certain director, one fan has the balls to ask why these stories always follow the same formula. I don’t think his point is valid, this movie’s actually different in its focus, but damn that takes something to ask. The MC actually instructs the crowd to shout him down.

8:30: I have a great seat at the center of the theatre. I overhear staff chatting that a long line of people have been kept outside the theatre for at least an hour and are furious. I go to the back of the room and watch. A long-haired kid sprints from the entrance, up the aisle and dives bodily onto my former seat. Better than whatever I would have watched from that seat.

8:33: Pass a couple looking for seats. One asks, “Where do you want to sit?” The other answers, “Japan.”

10:00: See a grown man fall on his head on concrete mid-dance. I’m old enough that this signals bed time for me.

10:22: The best elevator ride. I am dressed in khakis and a button down, because I forgot to stop being an adult. I shared this elevator with some samurai and furries. As I walk out, I say, “Have a good night, everybody.” They respond, “Goodnight, Dad!”

 8:50 AM: Apparently I’m really nice. Whatever I said during checkout, the clerk extends a hand and offers to high five me. I could do with more of this in my life.

9:42 AM: Am bombarded by the soundtrack from Glee. After three songs, I ask the purveyor if the purpose of that show is for explicitly less talented musicians to cover music that I know is better than that. The purveyor is not happy.

10:32 AM: Am introduced to the “brassica napus” flower, otherwise known as “rape blossoms.” You learn something every day.

10:58: Overhear hushed, gossipy arguments on how horrible some girl is. These people seem personally offended at this girl’s selfish behavior. It’s two minutes before I realize they’re discussing the movie I was just at.

3:00 PM: Apparently Batgirl can do more than walk now. She flashes me as I exit the Baltimore Convention Center. I think what a funny way that is to end the weekend.

3:15 PM: Apparently someone else had a better idea for how to end the weekend. As I’m walking to the light rail, something stirs to my right. It is a giant African American man. He tackles me from the sidewalk and into oncoming traffic. I try to shove him back to the safe place where people go and realize, no, I’m not very strong. I ask if he’s okay. He says, “No, I’ve really got to take a shit.”

4:30 PM: Apparently someone else had an even better idea for how to end the weekend. I exit the light rail to visit my grandmother. We visit Wegman’s, a grocery store. We walk through the ice cream aisle and find the Death Gods from Bleach pushing a cart. Grandma smiles softly at them and asks me, “Are they your friends?”

Final Score:
Apparent males cosplaying as Link: 4
Apparent females cosplaying as Link: 8
People of absolutely androgynous gender cosplaying as Link: 1
Green Arrow: 1


  1. "For at least the tenth time, my reaction is that nothing is wrong with them, but that I should exercise more."
    You are the awesome-est person ever.

    Also, this was hysterical. If I want to fit in next year, should I be mostly naked, in a half-assed costume, or in a unique, handmade outfit?

  2. The "Goodnight, Dad" and "Are they your friends?" are my favorite.

    *high five* (because you need more of those in your life)

  3. That was hilarious, John! I love the line "I forgot to stop being an adult".

  4. "Are they your friends?" OH man *wipes a tear*

  5. I enjoyed this post even if I felt totally clueless. What is Otakon and what are cosplayers?

    And can we still be friends even though I don't know these things?


  6. You told it like only you could John and gave me a great laugh this morning - when I really really needed one!

    There were so many good lines in this but I'm selecting this one to show case;
    " Overhear hushed, gossipy arguments on how horrible some girl is. These people seem personally offended at this girl’s selfish behavior. It’s two minutes before I realize they’re discussing the movie I was just at."


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