Tracking tip #4 – Ravens, crows and blackbirds in abundance will indicate some stage of decay. They do not congregate unless to gang up on the hurt or wounded. “Flock of birds”, “murder” of crows, “unkindness” of ravens; you get the picture.
What I learned at Phoenix Comicon, year 3.
1 – Strollers can be used as battering rams to clear spaces in crowds. My kids got off easy when they were babies.
2- Don’t sit in the back for many reasons. I haven’t yet wanted to leave a panel, I can’t always see and hear, and most of all, it is very distracting to watch a woman play with her hair the entire panel. Not just twist a lock but every five minutes brush out with fingers (the whole head) create a part down the back and bring hair forward over both shoulders. Yes every five minutes, I timed it.
3 – Cell phones don’t always work in the basement. Not even texting.
4 – It is very easy to get lost in the exhibitors hall (gets bigger every year.) Or at least lose that booth where you saw the thing you had to have, left to find an ATM and now you can’t find it again.
Ok seriously now (though all the above stuff DID happen).
My third year I already knew the panels were awesome so in my brief time spent outside of panels, I started noticing more of the people. First, there are two kinds of people to go to Comicon. The first are people who go strictly to shop or just look around and then go home to tell everyone “Oh I’m such a geek, I went to Comicon” when in reality if it hasn’t been a major motion picture, they would have no idea what it was. (BTW we call those Fake Geeks, see below on how to spot them!) Most people would be taken in by this, but not the ones who go for more than the superficial layer. Those also shop, yes, but they are primarily there to pay homage to these fabulous worlds where imagination and wonder has no limits. These are the true geeks who respect and honor the fact that somehow this stuff is a part of their life, whether it is to create and wear costumes, become a fan-fiction writer, discuss the finer points of a TV or Movie series, or realize that their lives were influenced/helped by these wonderful creations.
But the most important of all, I realized that these people who were on the panels, the actors, authors, artists and fans, these people were HAPPY with their lives. They truly loved what they were doing and I envied them. I resolved to pick back up where I was derailed and become an author. Not for the fame, not to be on panels, not to be admired by fans. I wanted to be as happy as they were, doing something I loved. And if I touch another in the process, so much the better!
How to spot a fake Geek:
1 – Dad with young daughter: “Don’t run off! Remember this is Comicon, full of weirdos.” Hey if you thought that, why did you come? Also, we may be weird but most are a hell of a lot nicer than most folks. We wouldn’t call you weird because you are wearing a striped shirt with plaid shorts. Ok maybe we would.
2 – People trying to find the exhibitor halls: “What are all these rooms for?” One looks in, “Oh just a bunch of people sitting there.” Good, don’t come in. Don’t want you chatting during the awesome panel.
3 – “What’s with all the gray people with orange horns?” And all the variations on this question.
4 – Wearing a batman or superman t-shirt. Ok it’s a start but when it looks like the shirt has been sitting in a closet since 1980, not so much.
If you have any, please feel free to let me know. I am sure to think of more.