Sunday, September 12, 2010

Pirates and Zombies and Storm Troopers, Oh MY!

Right, so I know everybody and their mother has already done a blog about Dragon*Con and all, but I’m a slowpoke, okay? Besides, it was the first week of school, and I was busy and junk. Without further ado...

I was seriously close to calling the whole Labor Day weekend of Nerd Heaven off because I was going to have to go it alone, until my Super Friend of Awesomeness, a.k.a. Kerri, decided at the last minute that my going it alone was entirely “unacceptable” (her word) and that she would gladly come along. May I say, that one of the gajillion reasons we became fast friends is because we both understand and appreciate the power of new experiences. So, she most enthusiastically got out of bed at half past sunrise ON A SATURDAY, to join me on my quest for all things Nerdy. Thanks, Kerri!

Our first stop on our trip to Nerd Heaven was to park in Decatur because that’s where the Decatur Book Festival was going on... and parking was FREE!  But before that, we were headed out to the Dragon*Con Parade in Downtown Atlanta. We took MARTA into downtown and before we even got halfway there, we got our first glimpses of exactly what we were in for.

You see, Kerri and I were both Dragon*Con virgins. I had SOME idea of the Nerdfest we were in for, but there was no way I could ever have possibly dreamed or imagined the magnitude of Nerd AWESOMENESS that IS Dragon*Con. We caught a shimmer of brightly colored robots against the drab beige boringness that is the MARTA platform and squealed with pure excitement. Then, Kerri shouted:

“My Dragon*Con cherry has been popped!”

It was a thrilling moment to be sure. 

Shortly after that, a crew hopped on dressed in bright yellow tutus with yellow and red striped tights and other various hair accoutrements. Not only that, but they had all sorts of musical instruments. It was a Nerd Band. SQUEEE!!!!

The excitement was palpable in the air, and it was growing thicker by the minute. 

Once we made it to the Peachtree Center station, there were even MORE costumed people blending in with the rest of the crowd. Kerri asked me if one lady in front of us wearing a calico print dress was going as Laura Ingalls Wilder. 

“Maybe if we were back at the Book Festival,” I said,  “but something tells me this isn’t the Little House on the Prairie type crowd.”

We watched Wonder Woman and Master Chief walk by.

Then we had to go up THIS escalator....

We followed the rest of the crowd out towards Peachtree Street and before I could turn to Kerri and ask, “Which way?”

The Joker appeared right in front of my face. 

I don’t mean near my face... I mean IN my face. I don’t even know what in the world he said because it was SO random. If the dude hadn’t been as round in the middle as the Penguin, I might have actually thought he was for real and had to turn around right then to go back home to change my pants. 

Thank goodness he kept on walking... 

That was only the beginning.

On our way to find a prime spot to watch the parade, we ran into the Caribou Coffee Caribou. Seeing as how my dear Hubby always asks for Caribou Coffee whenever I go to the store, I was super psyched to run into the Caribou. I knew Hubby would be SO jealous. I think I was the MOST excited person that Caribou met the entire day.

After I met the Caribou, we promptly spotted Slave Leia. 

Now, let me just say this one thing. I’m glad that those of you who decide to dress up as Slave Leia feel that you have the bodies to pull off this costume, because I CERTAINLY do not. However. If you decide to wear this costume, please... PLEASE check the weather report before you step outside. If there is ANY wind... even a HINT of a BREEZE... this is an inappropriate costume to be wearing OUTSIDE.  No one has ANY desire to see your naked bony ass blowing free in the wind. The one and only Leia hiney we ever want to see this way is Carrie Fischer’s as she strangles Jabba the Hutt with a big chain.

Seriously. Please. Just. . . don’t.


Moving on.

We managed to find an awesome spot to watch the parade right between Dumbledore and a Princess Buttercup with the Dread Pirate Robert. Before the parade started, we were lucky enough to meet up with my bud Laura and her adorable kiddos who were just as excited about the parade as I was. I told them to look for Professor McGonagall and turn left to find us.  

I don’t think Kerri was quite prepared for my level of pure Nerdiness, because I was naming every character that was gathering in the crowd of onlookers around us. Even when most people around were wondering why that woman was dressed as a hooker, I knew she was LeeLoo from The Fifth Element

Finally... FINALLY the parade began!  I cannot even begin to describe how much fun it was to watch what craziness was coming around the corner of Peachtree Street. It seemed like it all just kept getting better and better. At one point, Kerri nudged me and said, “You realize you keep saying ‘SHUT. UP.’ every time something cool goes by.” 

Apparently I was totally mesmerized. Here are just a few of my favorite pics from the whole thing:

The Nerd Band!!!

I'm sad I didn't catch a shot of this dude's face. He was the BSOD. Only ultimate Nerds will find that as hysterical as I did!

This little Chihuahua wasn't IN the parade, but he went to all the trouble of getting dressed up, so I HAD to take his picture. He was handsome and KNEW it (as all chihuahuas do).
It was the BEST parade I’ve ever witnessed. And that includes the Disneyland parade I saw when I was three.

After the parade was over, we took a stroll through the streets and I ran into a zombie. I had only noticed him from the back, and he was super creepy all painted up and such. I’m sure it’s a really good thing I didn’t get a solid look at his face, because I don’t know that I would have had my pic taken with him... from that close anyway. Oh, yeah, and at the very moment Kerri raised the camera to take our picture, the zombie dude snaked his arm around my shoulder real slow like, and snuggled me. SNUGGLED ME. I’m SO sure he was thinking how delicious my brains looked and how hungry he was. 

After that, we decided to stroll through the lobby of the Marriott Marquis. We found some awesome Storm Troopers and had a photo op with them. My hubby was jealous again.

Once we’d had enough of the crowded crowd we headed back up to Decatur for Nerdfest Part 2: The Decatur Book Festival.

It was book heaven. There were books everywhere. There were writers everywhere. There were t-shirts about books. There were even books ABOUT books. Oh, and there was FOOD too. Lots of it. But not as much food as there were books. But for real. I hope there is a Decatur Book Festival in Heaven, because I will spend eternity in pure bliss!

Kerri and I got a quick bite to eat, and sat and chatted for awhile, seeing as how we had been standing for hours and hours at the parade. 

Then we went in for Michael Knight’s reading of his new book The Typist and Josh Russell was also there reading from his book My Bright Midnight. They gave a talk about dudes and books and when the moderator ran out of questions to ask and things got awkward, Michael looked right at me and said, “Sarah. Ask something.”

You see, Michael Knight was my writing professor back in the day at good ‘ole University of Tennessee. GO VOLS!

It was totally awesome. Like being back in workshop all over again. Yay.

I spluttered something about “How do you meet and/or get to know your characters?” and got things going again. I guess you might say, I sort of saved the day. Kind of like Wonder Woman. And isn’t that the ultimate goal of all nerds everywhere?

You’re welcome, Michael.