Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Dragon*Con 2009 Post-Mortem, Me as Professor Awesome

Dragon*Con this year was unfortunately short for me. I arrived much later than expected Friday night (around 11PM), and then had to leave shortly after lunch on Sunday. Even though it was short, it was still a good time, and we got to do some medieval literary geekery.

Let's start with the medieval lit geekery. The other scholar in my session didn't make it, so I was the star of a one-man show. The session was well-attended; I counted just as I started, and there were forty people at that point, and more than a dozen people came as the session went on, filling the room completely. Prof. Matt Brown did an excellent job of promoting the academic track at the convention. The Q&A session went on for about 45 minutes, which is unbelievably amazing for the session on a Saturday night when the drinking has begun.

The star of this year's Dragon*Con was, without a doubt, Adam Savage of Mythbusters. He was going around in a costume that obscured his face, and so was offering hints through Twitter as to who he was. Everywhere I went, I heard the same conversation: "Do you think that guy over there is Adam? What about that guy over there? Oooh, that guy has a lot of silver buttons ... wasn't that a clue?" Great PR!

On the (sort of) medievalist side, Felicia Day of The Guild and Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog was the woman everyone wanted to see. For the moment, she's the queen of fandom geekery. Myself, I wouldn't consider The Guild medievalist, but there's an argument to be made for it. Steve from Blue's Clues told one of my minions she looked like Felicia Day, and I have a good friend who's in love with her (Felicia Day, not my minion), so I got an extra dose of the lovely and funny Ms. Day.

I was happy to see Dragon*Con was a lot more family-friendly this year. In past years, I've seen a lot of topless women in public area. This year I saw only one topless woman. I didn't see any concerted effort to keep the Con cleaner, but it was. Perhaps next year I'll take my kids.

One other thing about the Con is that I'm giving up correcting people about Professor Awesome, Ph.D. I invented Prof. Awesome to be an evil alter-ego, the kind of professor whose favorite subjects upon which to pontificate are those he knows nothing about. In Professor Awesome, PhD I've been able to poke fun of the excesses of my profession.

Before Dragon*Con, though, I started to get e-mails and Facebook messages addressing me as "Professor Awesome, PhD."* When I correct people, they seem to get confused and not understand how Prof. Awesome, PhD could both be me and not be me. So, I give up. I'll be Professor Awesome, PhD, and just find some other way to poke fun at my profession.

Finally, I met lots of interesting people at the Con, and regret not being able to stay longer. One of the more interesting people I met was Allegra Torres who is working her way through college as -- get this -- a chainmail model. Yes, an English major chainmail model. Sorry guys, she's already got a boyfriend.

Allegra Torres. Image is a bit blurry, but you get the idea.

*Interestingly enough, the only person to ask for my autograph at the Con did not come to my session, and when I asked if he wanted me to sign it with my real name or as "Prof. Awesome, PhD," he didn't seem to have heard of my alter-ego. One lovely young woman asked for a copy of my paper, which is a much more academic thing to do. I don't mind signing autographs; it just seems weird for a professor.


  1. Tammi Brown5:46 PM

    Is it just me or is Allegra Torres in your hotel room??

  2. Yes -- unfortunately, her boyfriend is just to the left of the frame.

    Actually, she was pretty cool, regardless of the chainmail bikini & wings.

  3. I never made anything with wings, but I have made a few chainmaille bikinis in my time. Would be nice to get back into that some day! Also made several head dresses similar to what she is wearing. Those were the days!

  4. It is wonderful to be here with everyone, I have a lot of knowledge from what you share, to say thank you.
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