40 Days of DragonCon (Day 11) – Rox’s Survival Guide: Log Entry 003 – The Unique Geek
Dragon Con Survival Tips by Rox of Spazhouse
Log Entry 003: Stuff You Should Carry With You
I am guessing you will be toting a backpack of some sort with you. Everyone does, it is all the rage. Here are some handy items you might want to think of taking with you.
- A Sharpie, a Pen and Pencil. You never know when you might need any of these. Most guests have these with them. Sometimes on the off chance or circumstance a guest may not have one. Here is your chance to shine. It is also handy to use in obtaining info and notes from your friends or new friends. NOTE: I use an iTouch as a PDA. I have found that sometimes when you enter new contact information on the iTouch it does not always back up to your computer. I still go the old fashion route and use paper.
- A Small 3 x 5 Spiral Notebook. See above note. A plus to have when a guest might mention a story on a panel that you know you might forget later on. Something to write on comes in handy for all sorts of reasons. I had one with me at the Forrest Ackerman panel and I was able to spend time jotting down some of the stories of the people he had met over the years. He had so many nifty stories I knew I could not remember all of them. This was before I bought an iTalk and not everyone has a recording device.
- Aspirin (or Other Pain Reliever). Nothing ruins a day as much as having an overload headache. So much is going on, you are not hydrating enough, (See survival guide number 002) you may not have eaten (see survival entry number 001) or there is too much noise and sensory overload that your head is rebelling. Having pain relief medicine at the ready is very handy.
- Small Amount of Snacks. Granola, a candy bar, licorice (for me anyway), small packet of cookies, or portable fruit (apples mainly, bananas have the tendency to mush up in a back pack) would prove handy if you do get the hunger pangs in the middle of the day. There are quick/fast food joints all around, but when the line is 30 deep, “fast” they is not. Having a small amount of snack food should tied you over until you can get some “real” food.
- An Audio Recording Device. I bought an iTalk for my iPod some time back and have able to record some panels that I attended. The iTalk makes a good enough recording for you to pass on the mp3 to a friend who could not attend the panel. NOTE: iTouch recordings are not great quality for podcasting. But my sister enjoyed some of the recordings as she was not able to go to Dragon Con last year.
- Camera (a given). Make sure you have your batteries juiced up. Nothing like getting the battery exhausted message before you can snag a photo of the Princess Leia group. A good rule of thumb is to have a juiced up backup battery on hand. [Ed. Note: You might also want to consider packing a mono-pod – they collapse to fit nicely into a backpack and will help stabilize your shots – you can get them cheap at WalMart for $10-20]
- Phone. The handy device to find your friends. IMPORTANT: Please turn your phone off if you are in a panel room. I have seen Harlan Ellison give the total stink eye to rude people who take calls and talk loud while Harlan was reading. DO NOT BE THAT GUY! [Ed. Note: I suspect a good majority of folks will have AT&T due to the iPhone. Unless AT&T rolls in a tower truck don’t expect the best reception… not that you ever do – your on AT&T after all]
- iPod (With Good Sound Cancellation Earbuds) or Ear Plugs. I suffer from tinitus and I actually invested in very high end noise canceling earbuds. Some of the heavy traffic areas in the hotels can be deafening and cause fatigue. The Band Concourse at the Hyatt and the Marriott bar area have heavy sound reverberation. By just wearing the ear buds or small plugs you can knock down the decibel levels. You can still hear people, it just cancels some of the ambient noise. NOTE: Remember to take them out when outside. Crossing some of the streets in Atlanta can be sketchy.
- A Portable Gaming Device. Lines might be long this year to get into some of the rooms. You might be waiting for some time. If you have a multiple function device such as an iTouch/iPhone or Blackberry or Palm device. Load it it up with entertainment of some form. E-books, video, games what have you. This would help if you do not want to talk to the person next to you. A DS or PSP would be good, but remember to bring a game or games that would entertain you.
- Nail Clippers. Hang nails spring out when you don’t want them to mainly when you are not at home. Once they spring out and they catch on something that is it. Your day is spent trying to get rid of it because now it catches on everything. I had to venture over to the gaming area once because I had one and I knew the guys who play miniatures would always have an Exacto knife on hand. I did not really need to spend 15 -20 minutes to go over to the gaming area hunting down a sharp blade.
- Mints or Breath Spray. No real explanation there.
- Throat Spray or Cough Drops. There might be a time when you are hit with a dry throat or a coughing fit in the middle of a panel and you can’t get to the water jug because you are in the middle of a very long row and you forgot your water bottle. Throat spray or cough drops should help stop some of the coughing until you get to some water.
- Eye Drops (If You Suffer From Dry Eyes). The hotels are cycling cool air, also the lighting is usually dim and you might experience eye fatigue.
- Ladies: Always have some of your feminine products on hand. I am just saying. If the need arises you can always help someone else out who may not have packed their own.
- Business cards. These can be from your work or you have your own made. I have always made sure to have some handy to pass out, not to people in general but to new friends or Track Directors or whoever. Because of tight scheduling it is easier to pass out a card instead of standing in a busy hallway trying to get someone’s information. The con is, sometime away, you can make up a simple contact information business card using an Avery business card template. Nothing fancy just the contact information you are COMFORTABLE in giving out to people.
- Pocket Spy Glass and Sonic Screw Driver. Well, they are always in my back pack anyway.