Afternoon InquisitionEvents

AI: Envy

Sorry the AI is late, guys! I was distracted by saving the world and watching Newsradio.

I won’t lie. I’ve got CON-envy. Added to it, I’m a complete CON-virgin. I’m not the nerdiest person… I don’t read graphic novels, I barely watch any anime, I could probably not name all of the cosplay characters in a given room if I tried. What I envy is the sense of community.

Despite the drama that goes along with being part of an inner-circle, social placement is important to most people. I don’t want to necessarily be well known, but to feel like I’m welcomed and accepted in an entire community of like-minded people is really very cool.

And I want to hug you all.

Anyway, one of these years I plan to attend a conference. I don’t know which it will be because they all get SUCH great reviews from everybody. So…

If you were to suggest a single conference for me to attend as a con-virgin, which would be your personal choice? What are you basing your decision on? Would you buy me a beer? No really. Will you buy me a beer? I need one.

The Afternoon Inquisition (or AI) is a question posed to you, the Skepchick community. Look for it to appear Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays, and Sundays at 3pm ET.


Chelsea is the proud mama of an amazing toddler-aged girl. She works in the retail industry while vehemently disliking mankind and, every once in a while, her bottled-up emotions explode into WordPress as a lengthy, ranty, almost violent blog. These will be your favorite Chelsea moments. Follow Chelsea on Twitter: chelseaepp.

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  1. I would go with friends to a con that they enjoy. Being alone in a massive crowd isn’t a good time. On the other hand the fun your friends are having can be contagious.

    This being said I’d rather be with those same friends for a nice meal or a hike. I find cons rather too overwhelming to be enjoyable.

  2. I don’t do Cons either, but I’ll buy a fellow skeptic a beer anytime. Let me know next time you’re in Portland, OR – we’ve got some great local brews to try :)

  3. Useful points to consider:
    1. Ran by fans verus ran by media corp; some like one type some like the other.
    2. Size: Comic-con San Diego is about 150,000
    Worldcon is 2,000 to 5,000 range depending on location.; Potlatch is about 150
    3. Focus: primarily literature or TV or movies or a bit of everything.
    4. Don’t worry about not knowing anyone when you get there; you will likely know people when you leave.
    5. Google “list of sf cons” as a starter.

    And have fun.

  4. I don’t know, because I am pretty much a conference virgin myself. I dislike large crowds of people, much as we may share in common. However, my dad and baby brother seemed to really enjoy TAM8 this year, so…perhaps that one?

    And yes. I would totally buy you a beer. Because you said you need one, and because you’re a Skepchick, and because I like having drinking buddies!

  5. I’ve only been to TAM VI and VIII so no con’s for me. However Ms Chelsea, I’d happily buy you a beer anytime, anywhere!

    I love SciFi but comics are an artifact of my childhood only, And as much as I enjoy SciFi novels and movies going to a conference along with tens of thousands or other fans sounds like a chore. I’ll watch Blade Runner again and enjoy a bottle of wine in the comfort of my family room instead.

  6. The only “con” I’ve gone to lately is one on Ethics in Research…

    I’ve never gone to the cons that you’re referring to and I realized this week of Comic-Con that I probably never will. I’m 39 years old, I’m just not fond enough of any particular comic and I am not a fan of crowds. I’ll have to gawk from afar (or Twitter).

  7. Vericon, Harvard’s scifi convention is a great con. It isn’t too large, which can be intimidating if you haven’t been to many cons before. The guest speakers and panelists are of a much higher quality than at many cons. Vericon was the first con I ever went to, and was then terribly disappointed to find out how much other cons didn’t live up to the quality level of panelists. Also, the small size means you get a chance to actually interact with the guests in a substantial fashion.

  8. I lost my con-virginity when I was less than a year old, and have been going to two or three a year since, so the concept is strange to me.

    I think you should go to Convergence in Minneapolis, MN. My reason is completely selfish, it’s the only con I attend with a Skepchick track. I had a blast meeting my co-bloggers and I’m certain I’d enjoy meeting you, too. :)

    Also I won’t have to buy you a beer (which I couldn’t anyway) because they’re free!

  9. I went to Comic-con in New York a few years ago. I mostly went because a friend of mine was going and had an extra ticket. BUT I also know a lot of artists who were in the Artist’s Alley and generally wandering about. It ended up being a mini art school reunion.
    I’ve also been to both NECSS conferences and they were a lot of fun, but being only one day, they didn’t feel long enough compared to what I’ve heard about TAM.
    And yes Chelsea, if we ever meet, I will immediately buy you beer. Because you’ve asked so nicely and sincerely.

  10. I’ve been to Dragon*Con seven times, and once each to Convergence in Minneapolis, TAM(8) and now San Diego Comic-Con. Plus many times to our local Phoenix Comic-Con and I worked that this year.

    SDCC and D*C are MONSTER cons with thousands of people. Not fun per se, unless you have a group to hang with. Convergence was a fun medium-sized con, not too crowded. TAM itself wasn’t really fun, but very informative. The after times were fun. Love that Del Mar Bar and the Skepchicks party.

    I’d say find a medium sized con to pop your cherry. Maybe Convergence because of the skeptical track. That way you’ll have people to hang with. Or come to Phoenix Comicon, we’re growing and @wilw loves it.

  11. Dragon Con!!! I’m not into comics either, but you don’t need to be. It is a crazy weekend of awesomeness, and I am there! (Along with lots of other skeptics and awesome people.)

    PS This is Liz btw…

  12. Skepchicon 2010 was when I busted my skeptic con cherry.

    It was great because I had never gone to a non-academic conference before, and it was really small, intimate, and not overwhelming (as I expect D*C might be for a first timer).

  13. My “con” hymen is still intact for similar reasons…maybe we should start a con-virgin-con?
    I’m afraid only cocktails are served at con-virgin-con.

  14. Don’t let the size scare you off Dragon*Con. It’s spread across several large hotels. It’s not like you’re constantly pushing your way through Mardi Gras (even with the costumes).

    Start in the Skeptic Track room, then venture out a short distance for talks you aren’t as interested in, then gradually explore farther and farther away. You’ll do fine.

    If you just don’t like people, though — that’s more of an issue :) Once you settle in to the track room, D*C feels a lot smaller than TAM.

  15. @Mark Hall “I dislike crowds, and hanging out with people I don’t know tends to make me nervous.”

    I’m pretty much the same way. I spent a lot of time at the last Dragon*Con hiding out behind Surly Amy’s table. I wasn’t the only one, either. It seemed to be the place for skepfolk to take a break.

  16. I’d suggest Origins for purely selfish reasons.
    One because it’s on my home turf (I’ve been avoiding travel until my daughter’s old enough to come with), and two because it’s nice to have company while I snicker at unfortunate cosplay choices. :)

    I’d certainly buy you a beer. There’s a good microbrew pub (Barley’s) right across the street from the convention center, too! So you could have Sauerkraut Balls with your brew – which is not a euphemism, FYI.

    Oh, and there’s some other people you might know that could attend as well – including one skepchick.

  17. Never been to one. They look noisy.
    I’m not sure what the difference is between a con and a tam?
    And if I ever run into you in 3D beer will be bought.
    Possibly even drunk.
    Mine will be root beer though.

  18. Do you like books? Wordstock, in Portland, is a great non-geek-specific convention.

    For the geekier end of the spectrum, I highly recommend the NW conventions–Emerald City Comic-Con, PAX, and Stumptown Comics Fest. All three are extremely beginner-friendly (even to the point of being great points of entry into their respective communities), minimally creepy, and diverse enough to cover a wide range of interests and points of entry.

    Come to any of those, and I’ll happily introduce you around and buy you a beer!

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