Be excellent

So last weekend we hung out with a whole bunch of crazy people.

We do that a lot. Most of our vacation are at conventions: general science fiction conventions, comic conventions, specialized conventions (furry, gaming, you name it). And last weekend we went to a local convention for fans of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic (also known as MLP:FIM, or just MLP).

Cons (conventions) are gatherings of fans. Some cons, such as Everfree NW, are aimed at fans of a very specific thing. It’s important to remember that the word “fan” is derived from fanatic. Which means we tend to be a bit obsessive about the thing we like. Some folks prefer the term “enthusiast” but I think its a distinction without a difference (though if you want to debate it, I suggest you first google “nerd vs geek” and read about twenty of the hits before you start).

I met my husband at a science fiction con. A number of my best friends, friends who I have known in some cases for over two decades, are people I met through various fan activities. So it would not be unfair to say that I am hardly an impartial observer at these things.

I enjoy hanging around with other fans/nerds/geeks/whatever-you-want-to-call-us.

I had a blast.

People were fun. I was particularly pleased with how many people brought musical instruments with them, and all the impromptu jams that broke out. Other people were in costumes of various levels of expertise. There was cool artwork and various other interesting and beautiful things for sale in the dealers’ den. I got to hang out with some old friends. I got to meet and put real faces on many long distance acquaintances (and move at least a few of them into the category of friend).

There were fun surprises, as well. Our friend, Joi the Artist has been making and selling rag dolls for a while. She arranged, even though she wasn’t attending this con, to have several of us receive pony dolls she had made for us. The Applejack at right was the one she made me. Awwwww!

Applejack as a Rag Doll
Rag doll of Applejack, given to me by the gracious Joi

In addition to an Applejack for me, she made a plushie of The Judge for my husband. This is character has appeared in only one episode, but he seemed to be friends with The Mayor. Since my husband plays the Mayor in an on line game, and I had bought a Mayor rag doll from Joi some time ago, The Judge was a perfect choice for a surprise gift for him.

A close up of the Judge
This pony, seen in one episode in the company of the Mayor, is often called The Judge.

There were a number of others. She made a doll based on a character our friend Sky draws in a MLP-inspired web comic. And she made a doll of our friend, J’wyl’s pony-dragon hybrid. As well as a Rarity for Jared, a Virgil (yes, the ancient Roman poet!) for Foalie, a Luna for R.J., and many others.

Ponies in battle!
My husband and Foalie acting out a silly duel between Virgil the ancient Roman poet, and Pinkie Pie.

We got a bit silly at dinner (or after dinner drinks for some of the party) the first night of the convention. I think the battle between Virgil and Pinkie Pie may have been the best. It’s hard to top anything that includes the line, “Et tu, Pinkie Pie?” Though the exchanges between the Mayor and Virgil were pretty funny, too.

The most fun I had was the second day. I camped out in the hotel bar all day with my laptop and the Applejack plushie (along with a pile of Joi’s business cards). I got several scenes written for my novel. A lot of strangers stopped to play with the rag doll and ask questions. I hope a few of them follow up and at least visit Joi’s online shop. A few old acquaintances also stopped by to chat. It was a fun way to do some of my own stuff while still at least peripherally participate in the convention.

My old friend, Darrell, was also there. The first two days he was accompanying his teenage son, who is a fan as well as a musician. The third day Darrell was able to bring his 5-year-old, and as far as I could tell, she had a blast.

At the end of the con, for various reasons, a whole bunch of us drove up to the AFK Tavern in Everett. More silliness of a mostly pony nature happened. And now a lot of folks from outside the local area know what a wonderful, nerdy-geeky-fannish little slice of paradise the AFK Tavern is.

It didn’t occur to anyone until a bit late to take a group photo. So while this is a big crowd, it isn’t everyone who joined us at the AFK. And, of course, this group is a tiny fraction of the attendees of the entire convention. But a great time was had by all. I’m glad we got to go.

And we’re looking forward to next year!

Bronies at the AFK
A few of the people who made Everfree an excellent experience.

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