Monday, August 06, 2007

BabelCon Installment 1: Top Ten Things I Learned At BabelCon

I just got back from BabelCon in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. I spent most of my time in the dealer room, hocking my book. I had a really great time—especially when I gave a talk on “Making Make-Believe Believable.” It was the first time that I’ve asked an audience how many of them have seen Star Wars and Galaxy Quest—and all of them raised their hands. These are my people! (I’m a closet Star Wars junkie. I don’t read the books, but if it’s about the original three star wars, I can tell you a lot.) A few things stood out in my memory, and I figured I share them with you over the next few weeks. (They would be too much for one blog entry, and I have to spend most of my time on Out of the Shadows, which is due at the end of the month. For now, here are my top ten things that I learned at BabelCon.

10. Kaplah (sp?) is Klingon for “success”—not “hi.” (Robert O’Reilly, i.e. Chancellor Gowron from Star Trek, told me.) (I’ll have a future blog on my new Klingon friends later.) By the way, if any of you who know the Klingon language are reading this, please let me know if I spelled Kaplah right. I have this horrid feeling that I butchered it.
9. Lee Meriwether (Cat Woman & 1955 Miss America) is amazingly gracious and kind—not to mention stunningly gorgeous. (Look at me go on the adverbs! I should mark up the whole sentence with red ink.)
8. Stunt women are sexier than actresses because they look healthy instead of like starved Ethiopians. (Of course, the stunt woman (Leslie Aletter) was Lee Meriwether’s daughter, so she has really good genes.
7. Chain Mail (which is actually called just “mail”—oh dear—was actually stronger than many scientists originally assumed, and it could repel most arrows. (A sword specialist guy told me about it, and he let me hold a few of his swords. That was cool. They weren’t as heavy as I thought they would be.)
6. Real leather looks better on a costume than vinyl.
5. Do not visit the USS Alabama during August. If you must (because it’s on the way home from BabelCon), use sunscreen and bring a lot of water. (A blog about the USS Alabama will follow later.)
4. No one ever dresses up like Yoda or R2D2 at these things.
3. Doing sword fight demonstrations outside in Baton Rouge in a full, Elrond-style costume can make you really hot. (Or so I’ve been told by my new friends in NERO.)
2. Storm trooper costumes actually have fans inside of them to keep the wearers from keeling over in the Louisiana heat.
1. I’m still afraid of Darth Vader and Storm Troopers—even though I know they’re just regular people in costume. (More to come on this, too.)

I’ll be writing more about BabelCon as the weeks go by. Right now, I must work on Out of the Shadows.

(This picture above was taken by my new friends, David and his son Jonathan. I'm holding Marvin from The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Please visit David's website at (You'll see a whole bunch of pictures of Marvin with the other guests as well.))

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