I went to a con…

This past weekend I went to my fourth RavenCon, the local science fiction slash fantasy slash gaming slash podcasting slash writing slash whatever convention. As I was getting ready to head over to the hotel for the first day, I reminded myself that there would be a lot of “attempts at conversations with socially awkward people” and I shouldn’t be too put off by this. As it turns out, there were far fewer of them than what I encountered at my first RavenCon, in part because I now have a “tribe” of folks that come regularly and with whom (for the most part) there are no awkward conversations.

In fact, I spent very little time participating in the con programming, and far more time talking with friends about anything and everything. So, I can’t really say whether this was a good RavenCon or not, except that for me, it was fantastic and more fun than I expected.

The Holiday Inn Koger Center renovated the lobby since last year, putting in a bar and lots of conversational seating groups. This became our default gathering space around meal times or between panels. At any given time, if I wandered out there, I’d see at least one person that I knew and wanted to hang out with.

I also found myself living the mantra of “where I am now is where I want to be.” Often when I am at conferences or conventions with many options of things to do and people to do them with, I will end up feeling like the option I didn’t choose would have been better, regardless of whether that is true or not. This time around, I managed to enjoy myself with most everything, at least, until the end when I was too tired to enjoy much of anything that wasn’t my bed and a darkened room.

That’s what I call a good con.

RavenCon 2008

RavenCon — it’s not just for ravens anymore.

General Grievous, Princess Leia, & nobleman of the steampunk era
photo by me

I attended RavenCon for the first time this year. It’s a relatively new con, with this being the third year of its existence. One of the reasons why I attended was because it was held here in Richmond, and because several podcasters I listen to but have never met were planning to be in attendance. Over the course of the weekend, I had a chance to chat with all but one, who ended up being unable to attend.

By now, I’ve figured out how these small-ish regional cons tend to run, so aside from doing the fangirl thing, I was prepared for mediocre panels and lots of dead spaces where I attempted to make friends with people who are quite happy to remain in their little cliques, thankyouverymuch. I quickly discovered that this con is different.

Maybe it’s because it’s so new, or maybe I just had better luck, but in the end, I have to conclude that this was the best con I have attended so far. 95% of the panels I attended were interesting and informative. While I did run into a few cliques, I managed to quickly locate the room party with the types of folks who like to talk to new people, and I was able to make a few new friends by the end of the weekend.

All in all, I’m glad I went. And, I plan to go again next year.

more photos