July 12th, 2016

Kero Power Tie

State of the Gneech: AnthroCon Report

Well, only two weeks later, I can finally write up my thoughts on AnthroCon this year. Although it's tempting to blame age for the increased time it takes me to recover from cons these days, I am prone to put it in the words of Dr. Jones, who said, "It ain't the years, honey, it's the mileage."

Given that I have been operating on poor sleep, trying to bang out content as quickly as I can while coping with moving (again) and a broken toe, AnthroCon went quite well. ^.^' It was great as always to see Sirfie, Andrew, Kamau, Inkblitzer, T'Chall, Tieran, Zia, Spiritwolf (briefly), and all my other usual con besties, plus meeting new folks. Sales were strong on Friday, dead on Saturday (probably a symptom of the out-of-control parade), and decent on Sunday. The Play of the Game badges were a hit, which is a good thing, because a fair amount of the sales I made were for post-con commissions of them, rather than stuff at the table. If I'd stuck to my usual policy of "no post-con commissions," it would have been another year of lackluster numbers.

I'm not sure where that puts me in terms of future cons. I'm making mid-2000's money with mid-2010's expenses, which means I'm still slightly ahead of the game but travel takes more of a toll than it used to and as fewer of my old pals go to cons, the less of a party from start to finish it all becomes. Plus, there is a definite generational shift: the time of the internet being a haven for techy people and ham radio nerds from the Radio Shack era is over, and a more mainstream audience is moving in. When Gilbert and Sullivan references and jokes about object permanence go over the audience's head, it's a lot harder for me to relate. It's not "You kids get off my lawn!" so much as "Wow, I need to figure out how to get with it."

Look at me, adulting all over the place.

Anyway, here are a few more random notes from the con for my own future reference:

  • Needed more business cards. Usually people don't want 'em. This time I ran out. Go fig. I also need cards WITH THE COMIC ON THEM.

  • The more "general geekdom" buttons moved better than the furry ones. Again, go fig. Gaming jokes and the snarky buttons were the order of the day.

  • As issues and button designs build up, table real estate is becoming a real issue. I was seriously encroaching on Sirfie's space this time, even tho he was very gracious about it. Is there some kind of vertical display option for the buttons? And I need to take that magazine rack.

  • The "beachy decor" effect of the crates is lost when they're just covered up with signs and displays anyway. Some kind of lighter and easier-to-tote display is required.

  • Standing poster! Instead of the full-size Tiffany banner, free-standing poster displays are more effective and probably easier to schlep around, while still creating a high-impact look. Smaller banners that could hang on the display (a la LizardBeth's banner) are also a good option. The chalkboards/whiteboards are still good options as well but will need some way to be mountable. (The velcro works on the crates, but will it work on wire displays?)

  • How do I improve my at-the-table art so I can charge more? I'm almost never happy with my real media work and feel cheesy charging rates that make the time invested worth it. Short of taking laptop, tablet, and inkjet printer to the con to do digital art at the table, how do I address this?

  • AnthroCon's dealer room has become so immense and diffused. I get lost in the crowd! Would I do better at smaller cons?


BronyCon and... Blugh!
Usually after a con I tend to have a period I refer to as "con bounce," where I'm all excited and energized and I want to Do All the Things! This time, alas, not so much, or at least, what there is, has been delayed. The week immediately following the con was largely spent recuperating, which I blame mostly on the heat, bad sleep, and gimping around Pittsburgh on a broken toe. I was mostly better by Friday, but laurie_robey came down with a nasty stomach bug and was incommunicado while a very kind fan came over and dropped a crazy gaming rig on my head.

On Saturday, Laurie was feeling better so we headed over to Baltimore to do a bit of ghosting at BronyCon. I have somewhat mixed feelings about "brony" fandom generally, but I gotta say I was much more impressed by this one than by the last one I attended. Nevertheless, the trip was draining for both of us– Laurie because she was recovering from her stomach bug, and me because... well, I was coming down with her stomach bug. -.-

Sunday's activities are best left without elaboration. Suffice to say it was not a good day, and now I need to eat some yogurt. ¬.¬

Do All the Things!
So yesterday and today are all about recovery, and reclaiming my con bounce. And just in time, too, 'cos I have to do All the Things. Look at all the things I have to do!

  1. Play of the Game Badges: RJ, Salen, Snowdrift, Jell-O Blue, Gryphon_2.

  2. Other Post-Con Commissions: Lia, Redliox

  3. Write issue five

  4. Continue marketing Sky Pirates (six rejections down, ____ to go)

  5. Come up with and start writing another book

  6. Get my medical insurance sorted (again)

  7. Get followup x-rays on my toe

  8. Find some way to get D&D happening again

  9. Mail Kamau's power strip back to him


...And that's just Tuesday. ¬.¬

Okay, I exaggerate, some of that can go to Wednesday if it has to. ¬.¬

Point is, I've got a lot to do, and I can't do it if I'm a) lying around listening to my insides gurgle, or b) moping. So that con bounce is badly needed!

Where My Ponies At?
A vaguely-related thread to some of the points made above is a seismic shift taking place in the TwitterPonies and pony fandom generally. Every fandom has a life cycle, and as the show "finishes" more and more threads, a certain sense of "winding down" becomes inevitable. I have many thoughts and feelings about this, which I am going to have to let brew for another post, I think. But I will say that one of the reasons I have been cultivating other interests (e.g., Overwatch) is that I think we are nearing the point where MLP is going to return to its pre-FIM status as one of the many quiescent-but-everpresent "background fandoms" like Lion King or Sailor Moon, except a little more prominently than its previous standing... at least until the 2021 reboot.

C'est la vie!

-The Gneech
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