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Day 1

Silas got an early start with George Takei on Friday morning.
LOAF: I'd be in this picture, if I hadn't already met Sulu: he gave a speech at the Department of Agriculture that Joe and I went to. So, for those wondering what the government does with their tax dollars... it all goes to Sulu.
Tye: A lot of the celebs that show up and get stuck in the dealer room seem kinda down, but I saw George here running around a few times, and he was an incredibly happy, un-surly guy.

On to Chase Masterson, the hot Dabo Girl from Deep Space 9.
LOAF: I'd like to mast her... son? Dammit.

LOAF jumps in on the action.
LOAF: She was selling a CD of jazz music called, and I'm not making this up, The Thrill of the Case. Naturally, I bought one. I also bought a CD of ukelele music from Admiral Forrest (Enterprise). I have a weakness for secondary Star Trek characters who record music.

The rest of the crew starts to stir.
LOAF: This is the least smiling Chris has ever been.

The first order of business in Atlanta is the same as at home: jump into #Wingnut.
LOAF: That's one ugly-ass mIRC color scheme you got there.
Hades: Black and green is great. It's non-eye-straining.

Ooh, the CIC's been updated!
LOAF: Instead of a phone, CIC Mobile HQ has a copy of End Run with a reciever. No, really, look.
Hades: I think Chris is checking to see if the CIC updating phantom has visited during the night.

Rise, shine and into our ubiquitous red shirts.
LOAF: A g-g-g-g-GIRL!
ChrisReid: In 2004 we're going to have proper TCS Eisen red shirts.

Groups begin to form to adventure out for the day. Death wears his characteristic tiger shirt.
LOAF: ace is walking up stairs with his hands in his pockets? That sounds horribly difficult.
ChrisReid: ace is really talented.
Tye: Most waitresses in Atlanta look at you funny if you ask 'do you have Coke?' They also need a minute or two to understand if you ask for un-sweet tea.
Hades: Atlanta is apparently the home of Coke so I figured I should try to fit in. Or maybe I just brought horrible shirts with me. I'll do better next year, I promise :(

The first of many really great costumes: Uruk-hai from Lord of the Rings.
LOAF: What business does an elf, a dwarf and a man have in the Riddermark... again? Oh, man, I'm so Uruk-Hai right now!

The Wing Commander CIC invaded the 10th Floor Sky Lobby to host a public showing of the WC Movie and conduct a Prophecy Advance multiplayer tournament.
Frosty: They should've just put all those chairs there in the first place.
LOAF: Today on WingNut! I'll be talking to guests who hate the movie... but love Freddie Prinze Jr.! All that, plus the sonic stylings of aceHyphenOne.
Tye: It wasn't much of a lobby, and not much of a sky could be seen, either. It was sort of a 10th floor Crappy-Building-Next-Door-View-Hallway-With-A-Few-Chairs.

Things had to be rearranged to get power.
LOAF: Once you get the power, then you get the women.
Tye: Wow, I'm camoflauged again. And the camera doesn't suck this time!

It kinda looks like a Rapier.
LOAF: Rapier? I just met her! YES! FINALLY!

The gang has a diverse set of Game Boys.
Frosty: I lose!
LOAF: We learned an important lesson here: Raylight doesn't know that torpedoes aren't for blowing up fighters.
Tye: This was our very short WCP-Advance melee. The awkwardness of the controls keep it from being an elegant dogfight, and the nephilim craft are tough to get used to. My advice is to get whatever has the most missiles, because I beat ass by spamming the things.

LOAF: OH DEAR LORD! FROSTY IS WEARING MY CLOTHES! Now I have to burn my skin. And his. In that order.

The group splits up and breaks for lunch.
LOAF: Frosty has learned well that straws are a trick.
Tye: The food court here that was always hit for lunch has a staggering selection of international foods, as well as a staggering selection of people working there that don't speak a word of English.
Hades: My horrible British accent always confuses the hell out of the non-English speaking people trying to take my order.

A piece of the numerous DragonCon signage.
LOAF: Dragon*Con couldn't afford a real sign, so they just bought one of those forwarding ones. Get it? It's a joke about domain forwarders! Hah! Aww.

The lower dealer room in poor light.
LOAF: Is that Lara Croft or just a girl in a blue shirt? Eh, what's the difference.
Hades: I'm not sure what that table was selling. I think that's a cardboard Buffy cut-out though.

Adult DVDs on sale.
LOAF: You'd think that box was full of porn, but no. Just DVDs with adults in them. So, Attack of the Clones but not Phantom Menance.
Tye: That's probably the smallest pile of adult DVDs that was anywhere in the dealer room. Them nerds love their porn.
Hades: I can't buy porn for fear of getting stopped by customs on the way home. Not that it'd be a problem.. just awkward. Same goes for buying knives. Though I suppose that might actually be a problem.

DragonCon is also for comic fans.
LOAF: Excuse me, sir, but do you have any X-Men?

Many people were selling expensive working light sabres.
Frosty: Casualties were kept to a surprising minimum.
LOAF: I don't really understand the expensive lightsabres. I mean, it's neat to have a huge glowing rod (take it, Byydo!) but they don't look anything like the sabres in the movie.

More crazy DVDs.
LOAF: First you see bootlegged copies of The Ring, then you bootlegged copy of die.
Hades: Not only that, but Ring 2 and Ring 0. The horrible anime porn section is to the right.

Killer Bunny Slippers: $18.
LOAF: Aww, you just know they took a regular bunny and slopped some killer paint on it. Like I did with that Volvo.
Hades: They also do "live parrots". It's not funny without the Monty Python gang though.

The lower dealer room turns into the walk of fame.
LOAF: They say "Walk of Fame", but it's actually the Walk of Not Famous Enough To Be Upstairs.

There's also lots of weaponry on sale.
LOAF: If you ask nicely and tell them you're not a cop they'll sell you Weapons of Mass Destruction.
Tye: None of the shots of the dealer room seem to show it off properly, but the place is PACKED. Every bare spot of wall except for one is covered with dealers selling this sort of stuff, and there's an even bigger room upstairs filled the same way.

LOAF: Get your scantily clad teenage girl drawings! They've got boobs and everything! Five dollars!
Hades: It's great how Americans can hang that kind of thing on their walls and not be considered insane. You'd get very strange looks if you did that in Europe.
ChrisReid: Yeah, on Europe that stuff is just allowed on prime time television.

A piece of the limited walking space available.
LOAF: At Dragon*Con the answer to "Boba Fett?! Where?!" is generally to point in any direction.

LOAF: Hello, sir... may I interest you in VOLTRON?

Death's soul mate.
LOAF: You know what that same picture would work well with? Tiger *pants*.
Hades: I wonder why tiger shirts are so popular.

The sabres can range from $100 to $300 or more.
LOAF: Sure, we laugh now... but wait for them to come out with some kind of SuperSoaker Sabre. We'll have to pry it out of Chris Reid's cold, dead hands.

LOAF: Remember when Academy introduced the Reaper Cannon, and everyone was all "What?! A new gun?! That's crazy!". Yeah.
ChrisReid: I do remember that. That was crazy.

LOAF: Water, water, everywhere.
Hades: The really fat con people need plenty of liquids to replace the gallons they sweat. It wouldn't look good for people to die of dehydration.
ChrisReid: Water also washes down the barrels of cheetohs they walk around eating.

LOAF: In Atlanta even the water is wet.
Hades: So was the roll of toilet paper that someone had hurled in to the water.

Freaks in costumes.
LOAF: It'd probably be easier just to carry a big "I SAW DONNIE DARKO!" sign.

LOAF: The #WingNut crew protects their homie, a golden R2D2. Or it's a trash can, we never checked.

LOAF: Hah! What kind of sucker bids money on art? It's all about blowing stupid amounts of money on movie posters!
Hades: There are some really creepy weird pictures in the art gallery. Some including nudity. People bid crazy sums of money for them too. Sadly cameras are banned in the art gallery so we can't demonstrate, but that's one more reason to actually go next time.

LOAF: The hotel had a big monument to 1996 - the best year ever! (Wing Commander IV, Academy, Privateer 2...)
Hades: Atlanta is pretty proud of the fact they hosted the Olympics that year.

Some of us take a break to compare the loot.
Frosty: YEAH! Fooly-Cooly or something! Hardcore!
LOAF: In times of sorrow I find that reading passages from the WC:CCG rule book can put the mind at ease.

This is the line to talk to Margaret Weis.
Frosty: You can learn so much about other people's cats in the line to talk to Margaret Weis.
LOAF: There was a line to talk to Margaret Weis? What'd she do between last year and this year? Kill the pope?

LOAF: First you grasp them, like so.

LOAF: Frosty and Hades competed to see who had the biggest sack... of anime.
Hades: I won. Sadly I won't be competing in 2004 as I'll still be paying off 2003.


LOAF: We kept Hades in line.
Hades: I think we were listening to Monee talk about her cat.

LOAF: So we was wonderin', lady, if youse was gon' write more of dem dare Mag Force 7 novels.

LOAF: That's a WC:CCG rules manual, for those who aren't WC:CCG owners.

Everyone loves Mr. Kat.
LOAF: I'll admit, Mr. Kat was the card that sold me on the WC:CCG... and the one I used to sell my brother and friends on it.
Tye: There was some poor loser sitting next to her autographing some fantasy book he'd written, but the whole time we were there there was only one guy visiting him. Margaret, on the other hand, was stoked to see Mr. Kat.

She was very nice about taking a picture with the group.
Frosty: She was downright psyched to see us. DRINK COKE.
LOAF: She's a hero for writing the novel that spawned the game that the WC:CCG eventually copied the gameplay system from. We should probably bring a copy of that for her to sign next year. Or, you know, lots of Claw Marks.

After a short break, there's more waiting for elevators.
Hades: Going up in the elevators is fine. It's coming back down that's a huge problem.

This might be the highest concentration of Wing Commander customizable card game clothing in the world.
LOAF: Hah hah. Seriously, the actual highest concentration of Wing Commander customizable card game clothing in the world was GenCon 1996.
Hades: I should have worn this shirt when we went to see Margaret Weis, but I was saving it to show Don Perrin. Who didn't show up.

We spent a lot of time in the stairwells.

LOAF: TyeDyeBoy guys go down the steps like this... wum wum wum...
Tye: Every year there are pictures of us coming down the stairs, and every year I end up making some retarded face at the time. But then, going down 37 stories of stairwell will do that to you.

LOAF: ... but Frosty guys go down the steps like this! wang wang wang. *Boshek*.

LOAF: Come with me if you want to live.
ChrisReid: That's a creepy picture for some reason.

Frosty: I can tell you my love for you will still be strong, after the Hades of summer has gone...
LOAF: You just couldn't chalk in a 'K'tithrak' could you?

A few people decide to check out the infamous Dubs versus Subs anime panel.
Frosty: This, however, was not that panel. If it was, my wife'd kill me and... hehehahahaHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA..
LOAF: Once Frosty is locked on, there's no such thing as evasive maneuvers.

It was a lot more boring than it sounds.
LOAF: If Dragon*Con were some kind of seventies art film, this could be the promotional poster.
Tye: This wasn't dubs vs. subs, this was that one about making your own game where the retarded White Wolf people wouldn't SHUT UP about the copyright stuff. Worst. Panel. Ever.
Hades: We only went because Don Perrin was supposed to be there.

LOAF: Enter the Matchrisx.

LOAF: Hah-hah, you love a pillow.
Tye: Yeah, she sleeps almost as often as Chris does.

DragonCon is held in some pretty great hotel.
LOAF: Up yer shaft.

As it starts to get later, people begin suiting up.
LOAF: Death straps in, LOAF straps out.

LOAF: A portrait of the artist as a young man with an awesome fish shirt.

Frosty: Do not, under any circumstances, examine this photo closely.
LOAF: Hooooo-boy. 0______0
Tye: You don't have to examine it closely to notice Mega-Man has a cameltoe. Hey kids! Try image searching for that on Google! (but not at work or with your parents around)

For dinner on Friday we trekked a ways up from the main convention center.
LOAF: Lesson: never leave Champions. Champions is mother, Champions is father.

Who could resist a cheesy garlic loaf?
LOAF: Only the ladies.

A cheesy garlic loaf salad.
LOAF: This is, in fact, the salad bar salad I invented. It consists of ham cubes, cheese shavings and egg bits. Serve with crackers.

LOAF: You weirdos and your "normal", "healthy" salads.


As it gets darker and you get further from the hotels, storm troopers stand out.
Frosty: And nobody in Atlanta even glances.
LOAF: That's because Atlanta is populated entirely by deranged hobos and Civil War veterans. Or, in the case of Ted Turner, deranged hobo Civil War veterans.
Tye: Actually, I'm pretty sure the panhandlers don't fuck with the guys wearing all white with masks and... oh, I get it.

LOAF: It'd be neat if Chris was sentenced to death. Because that'd be one creepy, creepy execution video.

All pilots up, this is not a drill!
LOAF: You've got us: Dragon*Con was all an elaborate excuse to watch girls change clothes.
Tye: Like an idiot or a true fan (you decide), I was humming the scramble music from WC1 right here, and it kept going until several hours later.
ChrisReid: It doesn't get much cooler than suiting up in Wing Commander flight suits with everybody.

Everyone's excited to make an entrance.
LOAF: Frosty is squatting over my shoes!

LOAF: You can't tell from the picture, but I have an awesome fish wallet. I bought it at a surplus store. There's probably some third world country that outfits their entire army in fish-print BDUs.

Don't forget the pass.

Can you feel the excitement?
LOAF: I could see photoshopping Chris' grinning visage into everything as some sort of briefly popular internet theme.

Some finishing touches on the suits and we're about to go.

LOAF: Tye sprung a leak.

Accessories.. check.
LOAF: This brings up an interesting question, and by interesting I mean not interesting at all. Where the heck do the paintings in hotel rooms come from? And why?
Tye: This was a spur-of-the-moment decision to suit up and hang out at the big costume hang-out session, so Monee and I hadn't brought our red shirts. But that's ok, because the others will die first on the away mission.
ChrisReid: I like slight differences between the suits. If it's done right, it seems like cool customization.

This is our version of the dash from briefing to cockpit.
Tye: Still humming the theme here, and by now I've probably infected a few of the others with it.
ChrisReid: In 2004 we should film us running around and later add the music in.

Fortunately the futuristic hotel helps set the mood.
LOAF: That, plus singing the scramble theme. DUN DA DUN DUN DUN DUN DA DUN DUN DUN.

Elevators are slightly more forgiving in the evening.
LOAF: Elevator?! I just... oh, you know already.
ChrisReid: We need a fire pole or something.

LOAF: Are you eyeballin' me, son?!

LOAF: Brave Sir Hades of Nutboy.

Tye: Damn we're smooth.

Standing around, looking good.

Standing around, looking good, part 2.
Frosty: One of these things does not belong, one of these things needs some friggin' shades.

LOAF: Frosty is floating face up in his tank! Did you forget to change the filters again?

LOAF: I tried calling something like that the "Green Goblin" the other day, and my brother told me it was really... the Green... something else. The point is, fuck you Batman.

Frosty: The percentage of actually attractive females was low, but vinyl makes up for a lot in the mind of a comic-book geek.
LOAF: I think you're confusing comic books and S&M... again.

LOAF: I've got a big piece of neon tubing and I'm not afraid to use it! To pick up chicks!

Frosty: "Step off, yo!"
LOAF: I wonder if that fellow on the left is supposed to be dressed as Comic Book Guy.

Characters from The Matrix were pretty big.
LOAF: Hence the expression, "I need this like I need the back of some Matrix guys head."

You can tell where the hot costumes are.
LOAF: You can tell where James Marsters is.
Tye: This bunch was taking pictures of an equally large bunch, all in Lord of the Rings costumes. The massive amount of space the whole procedure took up kinda trapped us for about 15 minutes. Space is at a premium here. But it's ok, because I'm pretty sure I was in most of the shots.
ChrisReid: For some reason 2003 seemed a lot more crowded than 2002. They need to build a third hotel or enlarge the Hyatt.

Those Cobra guys looked a little bit too similar for comfort.
Frosty: "Hey, are you guys Cobra?!" No! STABBY-STAB-STAB.
LOAF: Is there some greater GI Joe mythology? Outside of the cartoon? I'll admit, the cartoon was awesome... but I'd have a hard time dressing as Cobra based on all the stupid crap they pull on the show. Note to Al Queda: don't you dare try turning American servicemen into Orca whales. It's been done.

Mr. Alien was very cool.
LOAF: Mr. Alien was my father's name - call me Xeno.

LOAF: Tribble.

The costume wearers' area was quite large. We troll a different floor for attention here.

Frosty: Colt 45: Works every time.
LOAF: Just the part of this picture with Frosty and a giant Cthulhu guy is awesome.
Tye: This was the evening where the best of Silas's 'Wing Commander Asshole' project took place, including, amongst other things, trying to scam a t-shirt out of some local radio DJs by telling them he's deaf.

LOAF: Friends fuck what?

LOAF: That's amazing: Chris' camera didn't turn Blonde's eyes red. Perhaps, like Wing Commander and deadly VX gas, it doesn't work on girls.
ChrisReid: Yeah, I'm going to do some red eye research to reduce it this year.

Frosty: Hey cool, they're gross but they got fishnets and wingies, fat old dude is in heaven!
LOAF: Fishnets and wingies, eh? I know what you're getting for Cridmas.
Tye: Yeah, this is mildly attractive, but there are a lot of women with a lot more body mass wearing a lot less that we didn't get pictures of.

Frosty: Silas trades a swig of cheap booze for a swig of unidentifiable maybe-poison.
LOAF: Poison if we're lucky.

Tye: Because the oldy moldy Stormtrooper armor is done to death, some of these people started coloring them. Most are lame, but the barrels on this guy's gun actually spun, which was pretty neat.

LOAF: "It'll be like a normal Storm Trooper... but red! We'll call it... the Red Trooper!" Brilliant, Mr. Lucas.

The short lived drum-circle wasn't much of a hit.
Frosty: That helmet would say otherwise! AHAHAHAHAHAHAH.. haha.. heh...
ChrisReid: The drum circle was kind of embarassing for some reason.
LOAF: And so I summon you, Sivar, god of Wing Commander, and ask that you punish Freespace for its sins.

Frosty wrote something here, and the rest of us felt awkward.
LOAF: Much the same as we did when he wrote his manifesto and forced the Washington Post to print it.
Tye: Frosty took a sign for one of the crappy bands, turned it around and wrote 'Guess who we are and win a pen' or something on it. Nobody tried, so he put it back.

LOAF: For Sale to Good Home: TyeDyeBoy. Includes water dish.
Tye: My Tyeder senses are tingling!

LOAF: *group*

The Uruk-hai return.
LOAF: To make this vaugely Wing Commander related, there was an Uruk Sector in End Run. Someone left it off the Universe Map

Yeah, the Alien really kicks ass.
Frosty: So smooth, so chill, xenomorph charm to the maximum.
LOAF: I'll give you this camera if you promise not to eat me!

Frosty: Darth Maul hits on cheesy schoolgirl: World ends.
LOAF: Hey, it's my two favorite characters: Darth Maul and Girl Harry Potter.

LOAF: Nut Boy Picture

Frosty: There is a law which forbids con girls made up as Chiana to be even remotely attractive.
LOAF: Girls made up as Chiana?

Lara Croft is so 1990s.
Frosty: Ditto for Lara Croft.
LOAF: What are you talking about?! She's a video game character... but she's also a girl! It's like having your cake and eating it, too!

LOAF: Put your hands in the air like you just don't care! Now just the wizards!

How many Neos does it take to lift a Trinity?
LOAF: Sadly, that's just the sort of question that kids today would find 'deep'.
Tye: Well if they're all the pale, friendless virgins that they seem to be, I have to guess four at least.

LOAF: The sad end to the "Are You My Mommy?" kid. (Or was that a steamshovel? I don't remember.)

Frosty: Little do our intrepid adventurer suspect that they are the next targets of the MAD BEER BOMBER!

A Battlestar Galactica Cylon.
Frosty: Cylons are great.
LOAF: In profile: the original Cylon (right) and the 2003 remake (left).

This lady is in for a Wing Commander surprise tomorrow.
LOAF: But look at the guy on the left! Is that a fish shirt? Maybe that's me from the far future! Maybe I invent time travel, but all I do is come back to the same Dragon*Con over and over and over...
ChrisReid: That girl has cool pants.
Tye: That woman is a MAN, baby!

Danger! Broken Glass.
LOAF: This just reminds me of how much I miss DALnet.
ChrisReid: Frosty alluded to the story earlier. Someone dropped a beer bottle from the 23rd floor and it almost killed us.

Elvis Storm Trooper.
Frosty: Elvis was great.
LOAF: Elvis Storm Trooper and the Amish storm trooper.

LOAF: Tye gets all the girls.

LOAF: While ace gets Frosty and Hades. Advantage: ace!

This is a classic shot.
LOAF: Frosty looks like one of the models for early eighties video game boxes. Buck Frostlighter wants YOU to save the galaxy!

LOAF: Remind me to post this in any thread where Tye uses the knife picture from 2002.
Tye: I think I've got my Evil Overlord Glare down pat.

Frosty: Not only is she a *good* Trinity, she is, in fact, *superior* to the *real* one.
LOAF: I don't think anyone has managed to find the real Trinity remotely attractive since Matrix 2 featured the worlds creepiest sex scene.

Frosty: Everyone likes Harvey!

Frosty: Chris let me mess with his camera a whole lot, and ace sent me on a sacred mission.

LOAF: Is that a lion in Darth Vader's chest, or is he just glad to see me. No, wait, it clearly is a lion.

Frosty: Oh snap!

LOAF: The guy on the left is about to fulfill his longtime fantasy by propositioning a storm trooper and catwoman.

Hades: THE HORROR. Chris was trying to take a photo when this guy walked in front and scared the crap out of us.

LOAF: Chris wears his sunglasses at night, so he can see you breathe. And so forth.

LOAF: I can't help but notice that from this point on, ace is usually pictured with Frosty rather than Blonde. WINK.

LOAF: Just another brick in the wall.

LOAF: Wait, on the left... that's my fire shirt! A year before I actually bought it. It stands to reason, therefore, that at some point in the future I'll travel back in time to Dragon*Con 2003.

LOAF: This is what something I don't know what it is looks like... from behind!

After a long night of being cool, it's back to our own hotel.
LOAF: ... which seems to be decorated by an array of big, light-up wangs.

LOAF: ... speaking of big, light-up wangs!

On the way Frosty proposed to ace. Sorry, he's already taken.
Frosty: Boy, he really looks embarassed. Cool.
LOAF: Ya see, Frosty.. when a boy and a girl like each other very much... ah, jeez.
Tye: Frosty and ace disappeared together a number of times, and at least once when they came backed they seemed to be flushed and a little sweaty. Draw your own conclusions.

LOAF: No ticket!

Frosty: I can't handle rejection.

But the night was still young and we had people to indoctrinate.
LOAF: You have no idea how hard it is to resist the temptation to make fun of this picture. Her shirt is too freaking awesome, though.

The girl on the right took the bait.
Frosty: She was nice, even though she clearly hated me/us.
LOAF: Must... resist... urge.

LOAF: AHHH! Okay, fine, Frosty is macking on Harry Knowles, yo.

LOAF: But... if Chris is taking pictures... who's photographing Chris?! It's one of those deep sociological questions.

LOAF: Frosty is still grinning, even as he collapses from exhaustion at Chris knees. At least we all hope it was exhaustion.

LOAF: Frosty is staring at a girl. What is ace staring at?

We found Waldo!
LOAF: Cheap D*C costume idea #257: Commander Keen. All you need is a pink shirt and a football helmet. How awesome would that be?

Finally it's time to work on the CIC.
Frosty: ace can't spell.
LOAF: Who wears short shorts? ace wears short shorts!

LOAF: I know, Thufir, I'm sitting with my back to the door.

It can take several hours to update the CIC.
LOAF: The key to updating the CIC is to come up with an awful pun or reference no one will get for the article title. After you do that, you're golden.
Hades: This was the first time we've been able to do a live CIC updating performance. It was especially great because it meant we could get ace to write updates.
ChrisReid: We recorded video of us going through the lengthy hours long updating process to prove it really does take a long time. Someday we'll get time to digitize the video I guess.

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