Con Prep is a new series of blog pieces providing tips, suggestions and other ideas as to help you prepare for convention season.
The second installment of Con Prep was written by Guest Contributor Mike James.
Conventions should be somewhere that everyone can have a good time and feel safe to be themselves. But if it’s your first time going to a convention it can be an unusual experience that’s quite different to anything else in the world. It’s important to understand convention etiquette so that you, and everyone else, can have a great time.
Things You Need To Bring
Let’s get started by looking at the things that you need to remember to bring to the convention. Firstly, possibly the most important item is a good, sturdy backpack. There are plenty of things that you will need while you’re here so you need a way to carry them. Remember you may want to buy things or pick up freebies.
Also remember to bring a charger for your phone – many conventions have charging stations, but you usually need to provide your own lead. And it’s also a good idea to bring along some anti-bacterial gel. Lots of people all touching the same things all day can make conventions a breeding ground for bacteria, so it’s best to have gel available to clean your hands every so often.
What to Wear
Comfort is key word when it comes to convention wear. You’re going to be on your feet for a significant amount of time so prioritise comfortable shoes over stylish ones. It’s also a good idea to dress in layers, so that you can remove or add if you get too hot or cold.
If you’re playing on cosplaying at the convention, this can be a lot of fun, but it may be best to have some comfortable clothes that you can change into if you overheat or get tired of the attention that outfits inevitably bring.
Conventions are often filled with both famous and talented individuals that you might admire as well as people cosplaying in fantastic costumes. As such, people taking photos is expected at many conventions. But that doesn’t mean you can just start taking photos of whoever you like, from any angle you like. Just as you would in almost any scenario; if you want to take a picture of or with someone, it’s just good manners to ask their permission first. At many conventions this is a rule, so be aware of what is allowed at the convention you’re visiting.
You might want to avoid the embarrassment of asking someone if it’s fine to take a photo of them, but getting caught trying to covertly take pictures is far worse. In most cases, as long as they are not too busy, most people will be delighted to take a photo with you. Just remember to approach them at a time that is convenient – don’t butt into someone’s conversation just to get a photo. And always remember that you are taking up someone else’s time, so be courteous.
Follow The Rules
If you are bringing a costume or anything unusual, it can be best to check the rules or ask the convention directly whether it is acceptable. For example, you might be tempted to bring a hoverboard to your next convention. These slick and stylish personal transportation devices might seem like the perfect way to take the weight off your feet, rather than walking around all day. But it might be the case that devices like these are banned at the convention you’re visiting.
Of course, you want to stand out from the crowd, but be careful that you don’t bring along anything that is against the rules.
Additionally, you should note that each individual convention will have their own rules about what is and what is not acceptable in terms of behaviour. You should definitely familiarise yourself with the rules if it’s your first time at this particular convention – what’s OK elsewhere, might not be OK here.
Get Permission First
This goes for almost anything you want to do. Whether you want to have a chat with someone, hug them, touch a part of their costume, or anything else, make sure you graciously ask if they are happy for you to do so. Even if it seems like something innocuous or something that that wouldn’t bother you, that doesn’t mean that it is acceptable behaviour for everyone. So respect everyone’s space and ask permission before you do anything. And don’t be offended if they say no.
Do you have other tips for con attendees? Let us know in the comments below!
“Stories, whenever they’re told, reflect their era.” – Regina Oglesby
What do Harley Quinn and the Little Mermaid have in common? Can Red Riding Hood’s wolf character be found lurking in a Captain America story?
These were the types of questions asked at my final panel of GGC ’16.
Made of members ofThe Geek Embassy, a learning community for new geeks, the panelists included Rhonda Oglesby, lead ambassador and teacher; Regina McMenomy, Ph.D.; Isabela Oliveria, tech editor, geek writer; and Jennifer Leaver, psychology teacher, expert in fairy tales, and newly into comics.
The focus of the panel was how, and what, fairy tales can teach us about superheroes. The panel opened the topic to the audience right away, asking them “What do you know about fairy tales?” The answers revealed a range of fairy tale knowledge including the notion that these were not tales meant to teach a moral lesson, to the more interesting revisions made by the Brothers Grimm. For instance, did you know that the Brothers’ changed a lot of the mother characters in their versions of tales to step-mothers, as they didn’t like the idea of mothers doing terrible things to their biological children? I sure didn’t.
As with any scholarly pursuit, it’s best to agree to specific conceptual definitions before diving in. After gathering the audience’s first assumptions and knowledge of fairy tales, it was time to bring out the definitions.
THE ELEMENTS OF FAIRY TALES
After vigorous research, the Geek Embassy team have defined fairy tales as “a genre of storytelling distinct from myth, legend, or nursery rhyme.” The characteristics that define a fairy tale are easy to identify.
Fairy tales, as opposed to their story counterparts, occur out of time. Although any storyteller can place Hansel and Gretel into a specific period in history, the story’s success as a narrative is in no way tied to when it takes place.
Additionally, fairy tales set themselves apart as they are generally flights of fancy, using larger-than-life characters and plots. There is also usually an element of magic involved.
For August’s Hey, Staffer! we interviewed Jill Lennartz. This is Jill’s first year with GeekGirlCon, but she has plenty of experience doing good for social justice. Check out our interview below!
Who are you and what do you do at GeekGirlCon?
I’m Jill, and I’m the Cosplay Contest Coordinator with GeekGirlCon. I make sure the contest happens! I do everything from finding talented cosplayers to be our judges and host, organize how the contest will be run, to running it.
What do you do for your day job/when you’re not being awesome as a GGC staffer?
I work for a tech company called CA Technologies, which is pretty sweet as a techie myself! I’m not a programmer though; I went to school for chemistry and climate science. So what am I doing at a tech company and not some research lab? The *awesome* answer is that big companies are becoming seriously responsible. I work in a department called Corporate Social Responsibility – we make sure that the company is being socially and environmentally responsible and work really hard to improving in these areas every day. Some people on my team work with organizations to bring STEM education to women and underserved populations, and others focus more on improving our environmental impacts.
Written by Guest Contributor Regina Barber DeGraaff
With all the excitement surrounding the film adaptation of A Wrinkle in Time, I wanted to discuss the ideas of diversity that the book explores and how the ideas of what is “different” and “normal” has affected my life as an academic in science.
Not long ago, I was an PhD astrophysicist who had never read A Wrinkle in Time. Madeline L’Engle’s book was beloved by many of my academic colleagues due to the physics references; however, literature that everyone else read in childhood was always a touchy subject for me. I remember being a sophomore in college when several fellow physics majors said to me “You haven’t read The Lord of the Rings? You haven’t even read The Hobbit?!” That summer I spent the entire break reading the Tolkien series in the Shire-esque landscape of the Pacific Northwest. Being a female, Mexican/Chinese American, first-generation college student in physics, I was already wary about my appearance and “class,” so I did anything to belong.
I did not grow up in a house with books for children or adults. My mother was always nervous about her English due to growing up in Taiwan and never wanted to read English books. When I would visit my father during the summer, he tried to encourage my sister and I to read, but he was self conscious about his own reading skills. I remember the crippling dread when teachers would ask me to read out loud. This is probably one of the many reasons I moved towards STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math).
The Gentlemen’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee beautifully illustrates a twist to the historical friends-to-lovers romance. Our protagonist, Henry “Monty” Montague, is a roguish and charming, high-society English lad who is deeply in love with his best friend, Percy—whose gentle nature serves as a fantastic catalyst to Monty’s bravado. Monty’s stern sister, Felicity, also reluctantly tags along on their grand tour of Europe, and uses her book smarts and savage one-liners to survive everything from parties to pirates. Although Monty is thoughtless and selfish, it’s impossible not to love him. His voice and perspective are perfect for fans of British humor—dry and sarcastic but still ridiculously entertaining.
You may have received a message today from GeekGirlCon regarding the resignation of some members of the Convention Operations team.
We apologize for any confusion and hurt this has caused. As a community, we are hurt as well. These messages do not reflect the organization’s position and were distributed on behalf of GeekGirlCon without our approval or notice. To clarify, GeekGirlCon ‘17 will take place on September 30 and October 1. The convention will go on as planned.
It is important to note that the Convention Operations team represents just a fraction of the many passionate staff members working to ensure a wonderful and inclusive con. Despite the resignation of 5 team members, we remain an organization of over 50 people, including many who have been with us from the inception of the organization.
As a volunteer-powered non-profit organization putting on our seventh con, we recognize that progress and change often come with conflict and differing visions for the organization. It is inevitable to run into disagreement. Despite these growing pains, we are committed to continuing our central mission of supporting women geeks, geeks of other underrepresented backgrounds and identities, and their allies. It is also important to understand that GeekGirlCon is still a very young organization, and over the last year we have made major strides in expanding our mission. Growth is necessary, and unfortunately not everyone will be in agreement on how that growth is implemented.
The accusations brought forth by the five individuals before their resignation were addressed by our Board of Directors. After these accusations were brought to the attention of the Board, the Board took steps to interview staff members, but were not provided any supporting documentation nor corroboration for the claims. In addition, the Board and our Executive Director have implemented steps to improve communication, transparency, and financial oversight. These improvements are ongoing as we continually seek to improve how we can best serve our community.
Our organization is led by Michele Carrico Domingo, a woman of color who has made it her mission to demonstrate transparency, integrity, and inclusivity. Her background working with both non-profits and corporations has made her exceptionally qualified to lead GeekGirlCon. The entirety of the GeekGirlCon staff supports Michele, and we are honored to be led by her.
We would like to reaffirm the guiding values and beliefs that unite us and act as a manifesto for our organization:
We are Geeks.
We savor the scientific, the logical, and the precise. We revel in the unknown, the fantastic, and the unimaginable. We exist in the-between, where ingenuity stretches possibility and transformation is born. We code, concoct, create and cosplay.
The imagination is our only limit and ours is limitless.
We are Girls.
And we are women, and femmes, and non-binary/gender non-conforming individuals, and we are allies. Our personalities are as diverse as our backgrounds and bodies. We are many voices and countless tales.
We are diversity and we defy expectations.
We are a community.
We break barriers and democratize opportunity. We provide safe spaces to do what we love: learn, connect, invent and challenge.
We are here to fearlessly and fiercely celebrate one another.
Welcome to GeekGirlCon 2017. Celebration of the Female Geek.
Again, we apologize for the confusion this has caused. We want to assure you all that we are committed to ensuring that this year’s Con will be as exciting, inclusive, and geeky as ever!
A photo from GeekGirlCon’s gaming floor in 2014. (Photo by Sayed Alamy)
More than 1,000 people recently liked and reblogged a post on tumblr titled, “What happened to the women that built the video game industry?”
The publication Mic posted the article, which explores the early adventure computer game industry in the 80s and 90s. The piece widely credits women as being designers, producers, and directors in the new frontier of hit software development — with games like Sierra Co-founder Roberta Williams’ King’s Quest selling over 400,000 copies and leaders like Electronic Arts’ art department head Nancy L. Fong.
But the article notes that some women designers started to lose interest as the hyper-masculine game culture emerged in the mid-90s.
The eighth edition of the Star Wars saga, The Last Jedi, is set to be released in December. So if you’ve got a Star Wars fan with a birthday coming up, why not treat them to a themed gift to ramp up the excitement even more? Here are ten super-geeky gifts to give to the Star Wars fan in your life.
Tauntaun Sleeping Bag
Who hasn’t dreamed of snoozing inside rotting corpse of a biped snow horse? This is the unfortunate fate that befalls everyone’s favourite moisture-farmer-turned-Jedi in The Empire Strikes Back. If you know a Star Wars fan who would love to recreate the experience, you can treat them to a Tauntaun sleeping bag. The attention to detail is superb; check out the lightsaber zip pull and printed entrails on the inside. Let’s just hope that haven’t been as meticulous in their work on the smell.
A plush Wookie hoodie seems like the ideal winter jacket. Chewbacca manages to stay pretty warm without the need for clothing, even on the ice planet of Hoth. It does seem doubtful, however, that the product is made using genuine Wookie fur.
How often do you get to shield yourself from the rain and make passers-by mistake you for the Dark Lord of the Sith? Now is your chance with the Darth Vader lightsaber umbrella.
Captain Phasma Hot Toy
You probably remember Captain Phasma. This suave silver Stormtrooper was one of the major talking points in the trailer, but only received about two minutes of screen time in The Force Awakens. Still, the whole visual appearance is pretty striking and she will probably make further appearances. Any Star Wars super fan would love a Hot Toy model. If you’ve never heard of Hot Toys they are collectible figures that take realism to another level. There are a variety of Star Wars options available, but Phasma has to be one of the most impressive.
Darth Vader Pizza Cutter
This pizza cutter is in the shape of Darth Vader’s lightsaber. And while you won’t be slicing your pizza with a concentrated beam of red light, the cutter does have integrated sound effects – so you can almost imagine it. Just make sure you remove the pizza from the oven in time, otherwise it might come out a little on the Dark Side.
William Shakespeare’s Star Wars
Now you can enjoy the story of Star Wars in the vernacular of Shakespeare. Sadly, these were not written by The Bard himself although at least this means that he wasn’t responsible for the creation of Jar-Jar Binks.
Add a dash of Star Wars to your chow mein by using these impressive light-up chopsticks. There are plenty of different options for you to choose from including Darth Vader’s sabre or Kylo Ren’s broadsword-style weapon. But maybe the best option is the glowing purple of Mace Windu’s lightsaber.
Kylo Ren Suitcase
How many times have you been at the luggage carousel at the airport and almost walked away with someone else’s possessions? Let’s face it – most suitcases look the same. That’s not a problem you’ll ever have again with this polycarbonate Kylo Ren model. There’s definitely something quite intimidating about the face of Kylo Ren staring at you from the front of a suitcase. You imagine it’s more than enough to scare away potential thieves.
Original ‘Revenge of the Jedi’ Poster
You might already know that the original name for the third instalment in the Star Wars saga was Revenge of the Jedi. The name was dropped in favour of Return of the Jedi because it was felt that the word ‘revenge’ was not something that should be associated with the Jedi. However, this title changed was decided after several thousand promotional posters had been printed.
Today, these original posters are real collector’s items. You’ve got to be pretty serious if you’re going to buy one though – genuine posters usually go for thousands of pounds.
If you’re not looking to splash that kind of cash, there are plenty of cheaper options to keep any Star Wars fan happy. These lightsaber pens are a great choice.
Mike James is an independent writer based in Brighton, UK, who specialises in nerdy stuff for work and geeky stuff for fun. When he’s not writing about cyber security or tech innovations, he loves Star Wars, Hot Toys and considers himself an avid Naughty Dog gamer.
For as long as I’ve been a fan of anything, I’ve been a fan of Star Wars. I have vivid memories of sitting on a friend’s couch watching The Empire Strikes Back and being completely immersed in the experience.
Princess Leia was my favorite character. She was a girl just like I was, and she was snarky, had great hair, and did everything the boys did. Years before I had ever heard of fanfiction, I was mentally writing elaborate adventures for Leia as she repeatedly saved the universe in increasingly spectacular (and improbable) ways.