tried to eat the safe banana (thefourthvine) wrote,
tried to eat the safe banana
thefourthvine

Con Report Part 1: Wherein TFV Learns Valuable Lessons

Oh my god. Vividcon.

Yes, I have thinky thoughts to post here (including ones on Where This Journal Is Going), but I just got back from the most social weekend of my life (no, I am really not kidding) and now I'm getting some kind of plague. Coherence isn't going to be happening today. This is just my wow report, plus a few notes that I may forget as normal life returns.

Right now, though, I'm going to get out whatever reactions I can manage while being grimly stalked by a dog who apparently cannot believe that I left her again, despite her clear indication that she prefers me to be present at all times, ideally with food on hand. The last time I left her (in the excellent care of Best Beloved, let me note - this dog is not abused, no matter what she may tell you; she is a filthy, filthy liar) this resulted in serious sweet potato action. God only knows what the price will be this time. (I threw away the lone sweet potato we had before I left for VVC. Fool me twice, shame on me.)

So. I had a blast and I'm planning to go back if I possibly can, which - look. For all you fans who have been saying, "I am not a con person," there's a lesson here, and it is: if I can go to a con and have fun, maybe you can, too. It's worth considering. I am not the Fan Least Likely To, but I am very nearly that person, and I went. I had fun. I'm still capable of typing in mostly complete sentences. I am living proof that people who don't have social skills can still have good cons!

I'm not going to talk about who I met; I'd leave people out. But I do want to thank all the people who talked to me - you made the con work for me, seriously, because one thing I should have mentioned is that I lack the ability to start a conversation unless I have a direct question to ask. (No, really, do not say, "Just say hello!" Trust me, this is not useful advice in my case.) And I really want to thank the concom for inviting me, and being so nice to me. And, you know, all of VVC for being awesome. And, um - I'm getting sniffly. I mean, more sniffly. (I wasn't kidding when I said I was sick.) I probably need to stop before I'm openly weeping and clutching my con DVDs to my bosom, which might void their warranty.

Actually, I can't clutch my con DVDs to my bosom, as I've been re-watching them pretty obsessively, so there will probably be a Vids from VVC post coming up, likely long after everyone else has posted theirs.

In the meantime, here are nine things I learned at VVC.

  1. There is no good way to explain to outsiders what, precisely, Vividcon is. Attempts to try will end in heartbreak, and that's even if you're not currently sitting next to a missionary singing for your soul in Korean. (True story. You don't want to know.) Three conversations that prove this:

    At the Airport on the Way There:
    Person who has been scrutinizing my t-shirt: Viv-id-con. What's that?
    Me: It's a convention about fan-made music videos.
    [Pause]
    Person: *gets up and moves to a different chair about 15 feet further from me, as though I had said, "It's a gathering of people with highly contagious fungal diseases"*

    Checking into the Hotel:
    Checker-in person: So, you're here for...vivid dot com? Is that what it is?
    Me: Vividcon.
    Checker-in person: Right. All the girls together.
    Me: Well, it's actually - see - okay, yes.

    (This was the concept all the hotel employees seemed to carry away from it, actually: lots of female-type persons, together. The hotel shuttle driver said, "Was that the party with all the dancing ladies?" Spinelessly, I agreed. There were ladies, there was dancing: close enough. Plus, I liked the mental image this gave me. The hotel employee who asked me why there weren't any men at our party was a bit more of a problem. "There are," I said. "No, there aren't," he said. I did not say, "Then I nominate you to deliver the bad news to some people who genuinely seem to believe that they're guys," but in retrospect I should've. Or maybe just posted a note on the con suite board: "Hey guys, you're girls. Just FYI!"

    After a while, I found myself wondering if the men attending the golf course managers' convention I once shared a hotel with - and, seriously, if you get to pick, I would not recommend golf course managers as party fun time companions - got remembered mostly as "the group with all the men." (I myself remember them as "the convention of guys you could pick out at fifty paces because a) they wore clothes that most people would don only as penance for something really bad, like maybe killing their father and marrying their mother, and even then lots of people would probably choose to put their eyes out instead, and b) they all hit on me." Keep in mind that I was 16 at the time.))

    On the Airplane Home:
    Woman next to me: So you went to Chicago and you stayed near the airport and you didn't leave the hotel? Why?
    Me: I was at a convention. It was in the hotel. I was busy.
    Man in the aisle seat: There are lots of things to do in Chicago, you know.
    Me: Well, yes, I'm sure, but I was there for a convention, and -
    Man: What kind of convention?
    Me, warily: A fan-made music video convention.
    [Long pause.]
    Man, trying to sound upbeat: There are lots of great things to do in Chicago! Museums, the aquarium, art, you name it. Lots of heritage stuff, too.
    Woman, apparently helping to sell the argument: There's shopping, eating, clubs - incredible. You can have a lot of fun in Chicago.
    Me, quietly: I had a really good time.
    [Another pause.]
    Woman, obviously trying to be kind: Next time, honey, just stay downtown.

    Lesson learned from this: Next time, I'm going to tell people I'm going to Chicago for a lesbian sex party.

  2. There is nothing quite like watching vids in the company of large groups of people. I seriously wish I had a recording of the room as people watched Another Sunday, by jescaflowne. (I also wish I had a recording of everyone around me muttering, "barkley, oh my god, that's so obviously barkley" during one of the challenge vids. And, oh, lots of other things.) If you ever have the chance to go to a vidshow, go. Just for that.

    Lesson learned from this: I'm going back to VVC. Oh, yes, I so totally am. (Someone remind me I said this next year, please.)

  3. If you have hair that requires any kind of maintenance at all, by the second day of the con, you will have Con Hair. (Also known as "Oh, fuck it" hair.) Sensible people shave their heads prior to cons; those of us who can't do that just have to bring lots of ponytail holders and hairsticks. I suspect this is why they do Club Vivid on the first night, when we're all still capable of dressing up nicely.

    Lesson learned from this: Next time, when my clothes should fit again, I'm dressing up for Club Vivid.

  4. Naps are key. Going to a con is sort of like regressing in age a lot: you have snacktime, you have playtime, you spend all day with your friends and having fun, and then suddenly you find yourself deeply cranky and distractible and prone to bursting into tears. This is a sign that you need a nap. Take one. In other words, don't fall into the Disneyland trap, where you convince yourself that this is such a fabulous event that you must, must, must see and do absolutely everything. You can tell the people who think this at Disneyland: they're the parents with the sobbing kids and the couples who aren't speaking to each other. I didn't see anyone crying or fighting viciously at Vividcon, but then, most of us succumbed to the Need to Nap before disaster struck.

    Lesson learned from this: Next time, I'm going to try to plan to nap, so I won't feel awful for sleeping through the panel I most wanted to attend. Making a schedule for myself before I left that included where I should be during every moment of the day and yet did not include nap time - um, that wasn't brilliant.

  5. iPods are key. Because, okay, you may think to yourself, "I'll be watching to vids all day! What need will I have for extra music?" And, see, yes, precisely: You'll be watching vids all day. And it is inevitable that the song you like least out of all of them will get stuck in your head. In fact, it will sign a lease on valuable brain space (as in, you may forget your own phone number), settle in, and begin prospecting for a roommate. (You will not like the roommate, either, and you will really hate the mashup of them that appears in your head after they've spent some time together.) Only carefully selected music fully under your control can save you.

    Lesson learned from this: Next time, I'm bringing my iPod. Also, I might make a playlist called For the Prevention and Treatment of Earworms. Actually, I might not wait until next VVC to do that.

  6. Cons are noisy. Or, more specifically, large groups of women in small spaces produce a specific kind of noise; conversing over it is an acquired skill. If you talk a lot, don't expect to have a normal voice on the last day of the con.

    Lesson learned from this: Bring throat lozenges. Possibly just bring a whole bunch and dump them in the con suite.

  7. Everyone at the con will be smarter, prettier, and more talented than you. Or, to invert that concept, a lot of people are just as intimidated as you are. You will look at people's nametags and swoon. I thought I'd be surrounded by rockstars, and oh, I was. But these rockstars were, mysteriously, very nice to me. A lot of them seemed to know who I was. It was like attending an Oscar party and having people walk up to you and say, "Oh, hi! I like your posts!" (Only without the existential horror that actually being at an Oscar party and having someone say that would produce.)

    Lesson learned from this: Vidfans are awesome and surprisingly kind.

  8. In a con of 110 people, it is entirely possible to miss seeing 75% of the people attending. (I suspect this is more true when you spend half of your con time in the dark.) By Sunday, people had begun to doubt my existence; fortunately, I had marycrawford to swear that I a) existed and b) had existed right along. (I mean, at VVC. My mother can swear to my existence over a more protracted period of time.)

    Lesson learned from this: Next time, I'm setting up dinners and lunches in advance. I may also look into the purchase of a large light-up hat with glowing letters that spell THEFOURTHVINE.

  9. There is nothing quite as wonderful as the sight of fans having fun. Club Vivid was worth it even for someone medically forbidden to dance at the time (and aesthetically forbidden to dance always), and not just because jarrow dressed up in an actual pimp costume with a cape and everything. People were just - really really enjoying themselves. It was amazing, and it makes me smile every time I think of it.

    Lesson learned from this: Cons are fun. VVC is fun. And I mean that both in general terms and for me. I <3 VVC forever.
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