Monday, July 9, 2012

Convergence 2012, or 4 Days of Mayhem

Ok, so this is not especially beer related, but since I did drink some beer this weekend I'll count it anyway. 

Every year thousands of people converge on the Bloomington, MN DoubleTree for a convention that defies all logic and explanation.  This is called Convergence and is one of the larger and crazier Geek/Nerd conventions around.  The goal of this con is to give a wide variety of people who are into Science Fiction, fantasy, horror, Manga, Anime, etc. somewhere to gather and share those things with others of like mind.  Visitors vary from newborns, to 80 year olds; from all social classes; from all genders and sexual preferences; all races.  Despite these differences, they all share a love of genre books, movies, comics, TV shows, games, etc.  Oh, and there is some serious crazy @#$% that goes on too.

I started on the path to geek back in elementary school when my mom  handed me amazing sci-fi and fantasy books.  I was reading Lord Of The Rings and Roger Zelazny before most kids were reading at all on their own.  Teachers questioned my choices, asking why I couldn't read Beverly Cleary and Judy Bloom books like everyone else.  I continued to love the field, seeing the Star Wars movies in the theater, watching Star Trek on our old black and white TV, and eventually picking up a red box filled with a fairly obscure game called Dungeons & Dragons.  Despite all these truly geeky interests I have always toed the line between my geek side and the "normal" side.  I continue to do this and only get to really unleash this side of my personality when around my old friends or at this convention.  It is quite liberating to be able to talk about rare books and odd imported TV shows with others who don't give you a blank look and desperately try to move the subject to "safer" territory.

At the con my wife and I went to several good panel discussions about various topics: the best genre movies of the year; writing strong female characters for novels; drinking with geeks; etc.  The latter was very fun, with the panel members getting passed mystery drinks and getting progressively more "fun" as time went on.  They didn't quite know what to do with the Rogue Voodoo Maple Bacon Ale--but did comment that it was like having sex with Miss Piggy.  Not a bad description...being especially funny because there was a woman dressed as Miss Piggy in the room!

There are bad movies playing all weekend in Cinema Rex.  There is a dealer room where one can buy books, rare DVDs, corsets, jewelry, blasters, swords, games and more.  The Harmonic Convergence room hosts story tellers and live music, some good some not. 

And the parties.  The two hotel levels around the pool are larger Cabana rooms and are all rented out by groups to throw parties during the evenings. The posters for the parties are sometimes better than the actual thing.

Some of the parties are lame..."hey we are just going to hang out in a room with our friends and watch bad movies."  Others are very cool such as the Mos Eicey Cantina and the  Zombie Party.  Many will serve snacks and strange liquors.  Zombie Snot is a personal favorite of mine.  Other parties are just kooky like the House of Toast:  toast, with your choice of over 100 toppings ranging from nutella to anchovies.  Pretty fun after visiting those rooms with the suspect cocktails. 

Lots of folks get dressed up as their favorite characters from Dr. Who, Star Wars, Bronies, and many strange fuzzy-eared manga characters that boggle the mind.  Where else can you share a drink with a Klingon, see 6 slave-Leias  and chastise a storm trooper for being a little too short? 

Beam us up!
When the weekend is through, it is difficult to return to "real" life, but at the same time you usually get so exhausted that the idea of vegging on your own couch is very appealing!

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