Archive for July, 2019

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Okay, some of what I’m going to bring up may come across as a bit “Duh!” to many of you, but… I’ve been going to Dragon Con since 2006. In that time, I have seen and heard so many discussions where people talked about the things they missed or messed up and felt stupid for doing so. First, don’t feel stupid. Anything that’s a large undertaking requires at least a little research and/or a little bit of a learning curve. I’ve been going for 13 years. I still occasionally learn something from someone else that makes my preparation or my Dragon Con weekend easier and I know people who have been going for 20 to 30 years who can say the same thing. Additionally, it’s easy to make mistakes that seem embarrassingly obvious to you after you’ve discovered you made them, but a number of people- very smart and normally on top of everything people -who have gone to Dragon Con have made some of the very same mistakes I’ll be touching on.

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Where do you even start with a film like this? I’ll start with the man who was the film’s director, co-writer, and co-producer. This was one of a long line of low budget films by infamous schlockmeister Larry Buchanan. Buchanan, perhaps best known for 1967’s Mars Needs Women, made films that transcended bad and entered into a realm almost all their own. This is actually a shame as some of his films would have been pretty damned good if they’d only had better actors, better budgets, better script doctors, better FX, and a better director at the helm. Basically, they would have all benefited greatly by not being Larry Buchanan films. The Loch Ness Horror is a prime example of one of these films.

[Read the rest of this on The Assignment: Horror Blog]

[This article was originally written for publication on the Needless Things website in August of 2018. Unfortunately, it was a part of the archives lost in the September 2018 migration of the site to a new platform. In the case of this and the other ‘Around Dragon Con’ articles being published this month, the things covered here are still as contemporary and relevant as they were when these articles were originally on Needless Things. Enjoy this one and the others, and, hopefully, you’ll find something in the ‘Around Dragon Con’ articles that will make your time in Atlanta better than it’s been before.]

 

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Tucked away on the corner of 18th Street and Spring Street in Atlanta, Georgia is the Center for Puppetry Arts. If you’ve been to Atlanta but never visited the Center for Puppetry Arts, this or next year’s trip down for Dragon Con would be very good times to consider rectifying this oversight. Now, unlike the Georgia Aquarium, this isn’t a sight you can see with just a short walk down the street from the Dragon Con host hotels. It’s anywhere from a 45 minute to 1-hour walk depending on who is doing the walking. You can drive to it in about 15 minutes, but what levels of insanity would you have to be suffering under to cause you to consider driving in downtown Atlanta?

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The Assignment: Horror Podcast

Pit CoverIn this episode, we invite Michael Pederson onto the show to discuss a little bit about RavenCon and a lot about the Roger Corman directed, Vincent Price starring The Pit and the Pendulum. This was one of a series of Roger Corman films using the works of Edgar Allan Poe as inspiration, and many consider it one of the best of them if not the best of them. 

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[This article was originally written for publication on the Needless Things website in August of 2018. Unfortunately, it was a part of the archives lost in the September 2018 migration of the site to a new platform. In the case of this and the other ‘Around Dragon Con’ articles being published this month, the things covered here are still as contemporary and relevant as they were when these articles were originally on Needless Things. Enjoy this one and the others, and, hopefully, you’ll find something in the ‘Around Dragon Con’ articles that will make your time in Atlanta better than it’s been before.]

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If there’s one piece of advice that we- as in anyone and everyone giving advice about Dragon Con –beat like a dead horse every year when talking to you- as in anyone going to Dragon Con no matter how many times you been before –every single year, it’s that you need to shower and use deodorant. Sometimes, like, say, Saturday, you might even want to do it more than once depending on what you’re wearing and doing, and, no, Axe body Spray, Febreze, and/or Fresh Linen scented Lysol are not acceptable substitutes. Yes, I have seen people at cons try to shortcut matters by spraying what they’re wearing (even while they’re wearing it) with half a can of Fresh Linen scented Lysol. It doesn’t work. Ever. So, yeah, get a shower in at the start or the end of each convention day.

However, right behind that bit of advice is the other beaten like a dead horse bit of advice pertaining to the human body’s nutritional needs. You must eat, and, preferably, you should do it more than once a day with meals consisting of more than power bars, meal drinks, and/or beef jerky. Fortunately, the hotels have their own restaurants, quick grab places, and bars that serve food and Dragon Con long ago conquered the Peachtree Center Food Court and made it the official convention canteen. Not so fortunately, all of these combined are not quite capable of serving and seating the now 85,000+ attendees with the same speed and efficiency of service that they can when not slammed with Dragon Con attendees, football fans, and the miscellaneous others in town for the various Labor Day weekend events. This is especially true on Saturday. That can occasionally be an issue when you want to have a good sit-down meal while not having the time to wait in line for 45 minutes and then having the (extremely understandable) smaller delays as the staff has to juggle serving you and the small army of other people looking for a meal.

That’s where a little pre-planning can help you out a lot.

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[This article was originally written for publication on the Needless Things website in August of 2018. Unfortunately, it was a part of the archives lost in the September 2018 migration of the site to a new platform. In the case of this and the other ‘Around Dragon Con’ articles being published this month, the things covered here are still as contemporary and relevant as they were when these articles were originally on Needless Things. Enjoy this one and the others, and, hopefully, you’ll find something in the ‘Around Dragon Con’ articles that will make your time in Atlanta better than it’s been before.]

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Located in downtown Atlanta by Centennial Olympic Park- just a few blocks diagonal from the Dragon Con host hotels -is the Georgia Aquarium. Officially opened to the public in 2005, it was the largest aquarium in the world until the 2012 opening of the Marine Life Park in Singapore. Someone else coming along and beating it out for sheer size was no small feat. The Georgia Aquarium is home to several thousand species of saltwater and freshwater life from around the world living and swimming in over 10 million gallons of water. Just a little over 6 million gallons of that water can be found in the aquarium’s primary exhibit, allowing it to be one of only two institutions in the world to house whale sharks. You’ll also see swimming alongside the whale sharks some of the largest manta rays you’re likely to ever see, as well as more fish and more varieties of fish than you can likely count in one single day’s trip to the Georgia Aquarium.

What’s sometimes still a surprise to me when at Dragon Con is talking to my fellow con-goers and discovering how many of them have never been to the Georgia Aquarium. It’s even more surprising when they seem to not even know there is a Georgia Aquarium. Why? Well…

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[This article was originally written for publication on the Needless Things website in August of 2018. Unfortunately, it was a part of the archives lost in the September 2018 migration of the site to a new platform. In the case of this and the other ‘Around Dragon Con’ articles being published this month, the things covered here are still as contemporary and relevant as they were when these articles were originally on Needless Things. Enjoy this one and the others, and, hopefully, you’ll find something in the ‘Around Dragon Con’ articles that will make your time in Atlanta better than it’s been before.]

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Preparation, you ask? What, you ask, is this another article about getting ready for Dragon Con going over all that well-worn advice about how it’s important to have quality snacks to nibble during the day, vital to hydrate, the importance of getting sleep, begging you to shower and use deodorant, reminding you to eat a few proper meals every day, etc. that gets written about and talked about every single year as Dragon Con draws closer? Well, outside of that sentence, no, not really.

This year I’ll be writing several articles talking about what’s out there around Dragon Con and not actually inside the official Dragon Con footprint. So, no, no talk about how it’s important to have snacks, hydrate, get rest, shower, use deodorant, etc. while at the con or even about getting in some exercise before heading down to Dragon Con so that the (now five day) weekend doesn’t kick your butt. However, we will be covering some of the same concepts as well as a few others that, while perhaps too late to make them useful this year, may make future Dragon Con weekends a bit more fun.

Take one more look at that photo of just one small portion of Atlanta. That’s a photo taken from a high spot over by The Georgia Aquarium (which we’ll be getting into a lot of detail about later in the month) and Centennial Olympic Park. That’s an area that a lot of people who I’ve spoken to who attend Dragon Con never seem to get around to visiting. This is somewhat surprising given the opportunity the layout offers for cosplay photoshoots and, of course, this little thing called the Dragon Con Night at The Aquarium.

This is one of the things I’d like to see more people change about their annual visits to Atlanta. Why? Because there’s a lot of stuff in Downtown Atlanta that are absolutely awesome to see and experience. How awesome? Since my family changed how we set up our Dragon Con vacation and started seeing more of the area, I’ve seriously considered relocating. Of course, I then somewhat more seriously consider the fact that I’ve got seven more years to go before I can retire from my department with a full retirement intact, and, well, Atlanta does seem to frequently get its summer weather on loan from Hell and I absolutely hate heat. So, for now, it’s just staying my favorite vacation spot.

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