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Raising a Pint to Our First Decade (Let’s Kill DragonCon)

Raising a Pint (or two)

Even though it is a few months past our 10th anniversary I wanted to thank all of my nerd friends for a tremendous decade together. It’s been quite a madcap voyage and I couldn’t have done it without each and every one of you, even if I can’t remember your individual names. I refer to you as a group as “Harvey” and sometimes “Mabel”.

So listen Mabel, this isn’t a lead-up to the announcement of the end of PiratePalooza as we know it (that unfortunate event will occur in 10,329TT due to an unfortunate miscommunication at a combination stationery and hand grenade vending machine). No, this is intended to be a review of our last decade together and an attempt to understand where we stand today as a nerd community… and by “we” I mean you.

Last night I found myself dining with pirates of recent legend and snapchat lore*. We solved many problems, created several more that were much worse (including the invention of the “air comma”**), and gave terrible counsel to a young scullery maid regarding her life decisions – she later gathered her things and announced that she was “off to buy some drugs”. With that failure in mind, please read the remainder of this write-up with the poison control hotline on speed dial.

Your generation of pirates (fans, nerds, whatever you would wish for me to call you) is growing up, finally, many of you sliding up into a new decade and declaring yourselves “old as dirt”, which you 30-year olds most certainly are not.

Still, a person can only be called “sir” or “m’am” so many times before they begin to look in the mirror to determine exactly what their friends have scrawled on their forehead whilst they were passed out on the deck, beside a drained bottle of rum. Can you recall the surprise you first felt when you discovered that your face was in fact free of graffiti and instead graven with creases and ridges and wrinkly things referred to (unsurprisingly) as “wrinkles”?

Looking older is the first step toward feeling older, and it’s happening to more and more of you that I call “people that I know”. Why, even my fine young Cabin Grrrrlz are complaining of being both “fat” and “old”, of which they are patently neither – but the fact that they are feeling this way is making me panic more and more every day because I’m growing increasingly concerned they will stop sending me naked photos of themselves*** and that they will stop dressing in sexy little dresses and sitting in my lap at DragonCon.

And yes, I’m glad that you brought up DragonCon because that thing has definitely grown so large and unmanageable that someone must be brave enough to kill the damned thing, and sitting here in my cabin listening to the water softly lapping outside I realize that I can deliver to you, my nerd friends, the very means of ending the frantic crush of non-fans who have turned your nerd party into a qualitatively less enjoyable experience. I’m not kidding here, I can tell you right now how to bring back the convention that you loved so much as recently as six years ago.

Before I tell you the answer to saving DragonCon from the snarl it has become, you need to know that only this week one of my convention-loving friends slyly announced that he and his shipmate were considering the heretical idea of skipping this convention at which they’ve been a fixture for a great number of years.

And the thing is, they’re not alone.

A lot of the people who have provided me with a glimpse into Atlanta’s “cool nerd scene” are growing older and finding more reasons to skip some of their beloved events. From growing children to aging parents, big job changes, enormous relationship changes, and the ever present shifts in popular culture, from music to movies to the internet communities to which they belong.

Seven years ago most of the cool nerds lived on a website called “LiveJournal”, which provided a quaint way of sitting down in front of their computers at the end of the day and updating their circle of friends about their lives. More online communities have lived and thrived and died in this galaxy than you can imagine, so it was no wonder to Yours Truly when Facebook came along and stole you away from your plushly-adorned LiveJournal pages and taught you to post your most inane thoughts without the filter of time.

Today these nerds find themselves burned out, with nothing new to share with their friends when they’re in front of them, so they stare at their clever telephones instead (devices that remain inferior to my inventions, the rPhone™ and rPlank™). The small cadre of holdouts I’ve known who remained steadfast to LiveJournal have recently moved to Facebook and with that departure has come great sadness for an era which defined a great deal of these nerds lives, the majority of whom have not even captured these digital memories for posterity.

But listen, killing DragonCon isn’t going to solve your restlessness.

Yes, I’ll really tell you how to do that in just a minute, but one last thing.

It has been a distinct honor to experience this past decade with you, the finest of crews and may I say “friends” (mostly because I want to marry Rachel, from Friends, and believe that using that word a lot may summon her, magically naked). From 2005 to 2015 we were truly a cohesive bunch moving through nerddom together – with you my drooling, wall-eyed guides. We have enjoyed many inside jokes, plenty of capers, several larks, a smattering of escapades and at least one incident of which I should never speak (but she totally let me try).

You are the funniest, the finest, the most delightfully talented and rousing bunch of ruffians whose company I should ever hope to enjoy, and for that I thank you most sincerely from the bottom of my space pirate hearts.

Now, about this DragonCon business.

You seriously want it back to the way it was before?

This is going to kill me, because I love it dearly, but you’re going to have to end the DragonCon parade. HA! You thought I was kidding about having a solution, didn’t you. No, I am serious as a Thundercat. Retire the parade – it’s a beacon to looky-loos who invariably follow you back into the hotels and decide to buy tickets so they can walk around and make fun of you (I mean, you ARE funny looking nerds after all).

Mind you, it will take 3 years for the removal of the parade to effectively reverse the controversial crowding problem that DragonCon’s organizers have failed to effectively manage. But who am I to tell them how to run their ship? Pirate have to make money, m’hearties, and I respect the rule of the C-note as much as the next guy.

Well I have to go now. I should have remembered that since I actually captain a pirate spaceship I shouldn’t be hearing the gentle lapping sound of water. If any of you know how to fix a space toilet please transmit the information to me via SpaceJournal – man I can’t wait for you guys to get over Facebook and that whole “world wide web”… it’s embarrassing.

* thanks to Captain Matt of The Pirate Ship that restaurant will


be the same again!

** part of a system known as Grammair™, being patented by Joseph “Foe” Davis

** my Cabin Grrrrzl have not actually STARTED sending me naked photos of themselves, but one can always hope!


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