Pensacon: Reaching New Heights

Thaaaaat was a lot of people. A lot of people. Everywhere.

Polite, friendly, non-hostile people. But so many people. To the point stopping to look at anything was slightly awkward, and sometimes even hazardous.

It was, in a way, very Zen. Demanded utter and complete attention to the environment to move around and function. And not run eeping out one of the emergency doors.

(I’m… not good with large amounts of people. To put it mildly.)

The other thing I didn’t expect was the heights.

Not being a sports kind of person, I’d never been to the Pensacola Bay Center before. So I thought, you know, walk in, see the con….

Noooot so much.

Getting into the convention, once I got my tag, required… going up about 3 stories of concrete ramp. Seriously. At least that high.

I wouldn’t exactly say I have a fear of heights. More a healthy respect for the amount of damage done by the sudden stop at the bottom. I don’t like to be near the edge. Of anything. Railing or not. That railing’s too low, you know?

So getting in required climbing the ramp. Which was not, shall we say, physically arduous. Just… mental ack. A lot of.

But. Convention. Story research. Notes to take. Onward. In I went. Okay, doors, con’s through here….

Stairs this time. Steep stairs. Three stories down.

(I want words with the architect. Maybe with fireballs.)

In a way it may have been a good thing for my nerves there were so many people. Keeping more-or-less up with the flow and making sure I didn’t run into anyone did help with the screaming willies.

I wandered around the top ring first. Managed to actually find another local author I’d never met, L.A. Kelley, and point her toward the library that likes to put local authors on the shelves. (Have 2 of her books that looked neat, will read.) Also managed to find some prints that were pretty. (Which another table saw, asked who I’d bought them from, and perked up, ’cause apparently they hadn’t realized that artist was there….)

And then… I went down the stairs.

I can’t tell you much about down there because it was so crowded it took almost all my focus to not bump things. There were t-shirts. Cosplay items. Some video games and movies on sale. Lots of comic books, very few manga. Drat.

Outside of that I ended up going up and down stairs at least twice more, because asking “Which way is out to the 9th street parking lot?” got me something like 3 different answers. But I did, eventually, find the right way out – about 5 minutes before I would have said “screw it” and gone through a fire door.

(Like I said, not good with lots of people!)

I’m still recovering from those 2.5 hours, but I can tell you one thing: if someone dropped monsters into the middle of that mess it’d be a massacre. I don’t care how many fans might have combat training. There was barely room to move.

…Not that I planned to drop monsters right into Pensacon. Er. Exactly? Certainly not the RL one, at least….

Oddity: One artist I was speaking to thought they’d met me before in Atlanta. I had to say no, sorry, first con I’ve ever been to. Huh.

Anyway. I’ve been told I should get con t-shirts for the family, so I might be back on Sat or Sun. Depending on if I crash hard.

Thanks to everyone for the going to cons advice! 🙂

Added note on Sanzo and Invasion, and the Project Tatterdemalion AU in general: I have worked out in my head backstory on what the Arrancar are, what they want, and how that affects various things our heroes will stumble over. Lot of bio stuff. Anybody want me to put a post up on that, even though it won’t come up in-story for a while?


54 thoughts on “Pensacon: Reaching New Heights

  1. >…Not that I planned to drop monsters right into Pensacon. Er. Exactly? Certainly not the RL one, at least….>

    “Not my fault. Now we need to start chopping the monsters up before they hurt people.”

    “And what happened to trying to keep a low profile? I did point out those so-called ‘Project Bluebook’ people that are here. Remember how we wanted to avoid the military?”

    “They’ll all think it’s part of the show, besides Morgan and Alan already started.”

    Liked by 4 people

  2. And its the “All those //people//” fact that turned me off big cons, and tossed me right back into the smaller local ‘cons in my area. Both are held at hotels conveniently located off the local mass transit system rail line. So, no major heights to contend with, and no parking hassles.

    (At least at the cons. Parking at the Park ‘nd Ride stations, on the other hand, can be a mixed bag depending on the day/weather/phase of moon.)

    The down side of the smaller cons is that there are a lot fewer events. Which I’m guessing Pensacon doesn’t have a problem with?

    Check your con schedule before (if?) you head back tomorrow! There might be a few nice quiet panels featuring Anime VAs or artists you could (feed the bunnies with?) kill an hour in. Unless you’re chained to your vendor table, at which point I recommend you take NASA’s advice: Sit back and watchen der blinkerkin.

    Especially if there’s a cosplay presence! Dedicated cosplayers can pull some freakin’ amazing stuff.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Sounds like it was both fun and stressful.

    Feel you on the too-many-people thing. I’m introverted so I hit my people limit for the day pretty quick. (Introverts of the World Unite! Each In Our Own Space!)

    Maybe instead of dropping monsters into a Con, you can have your heroes trying to prevent someone from doing exactly that.

    The organizers are later confused by everyone’s compliments at arranging such a cool light show . . .

    (I want words with the architect. Maybe with fireballs.)

    I don’t blame you one bit.

    Maybe if we ask really nice, one of our favorite fire users will be willing to play flame-thrower?

    Liked by 2 people

      1. 🙂

        Lightshows is as good way as any to describe fire and lightning between tossed around.

        Though I suppose we do have to be fair and give the Fanalis something to punch and kick and Tiburon something he can kill . . . because depending on what happens, all of them might be itching with need to kill something and can’t.

        So maybe some of our heroes are dealing with the loose monsters, another group is trying to prevent more from getting into the con, and another is . . . detaining . . . the responsible party and giving them a stern talking to – or they will just as soon as they get done kick their behinds . . .

        Liked by 2 people

      2. 😉

        Because this one bunch that will yell at the others for not sharing if they hog all the monsters and bad guys.
        “Hey, we like to kick butt too! Save some for the rest of us!”

        Besides, we don’t want anyone getting bored. I think the very thought of a bored Simon is enough to give Ja’far nightmares/break out in a cold sweat. Because he might not be as reckless, he still just as crazy.

        Liked by 2 people

  4. I am really impressed. People, particularly crowds, are scary. And overwhelming. And really annoying to deal with. I’m glad my family gave up on making me go to events. Best of luck with the t-shirts.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. I’m okay with crowds of people, it’s the fact that no one I know and want to spend time with is interested in cons. And I refuse to be at a con alone. No. Not happening.

    Yes please to various Arancarr background! And hope you have a better time at the con tomorrow.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. I know how you feel. Went to Dragoncon for the first time last year. Dad came along. 6 feet to my 5 foot 4 inches and a very welcome security blanket. Because I have been told I have a mild form of social anxiety. And large crowds make me feel like I’m about to get a knife between the shoulder blades.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. That’s not “social anxiety.” That is “realistic expectations for human beings, on average.”

      Look, at one point my husband did security work at a football game– NFL type– as a fund raiser.
      A guy using the urinal was hit from behind, and knocked out…and there was NOTHING on the news. Zip. He got medical help, wasn’t hospitalized, but was beaten unconscious while using the bathroom and THERE WAS ABSOLUTELY NOTHING ANYWHERE ABOUT IT.

      People, on average, are really awesome. It’s the one in upty-whatzit that are an issue.

      Liked by 2 people

  7. Urk. And I thought job fairs in indoor arenas were bad. Seriously, that is not great planning by the convention committee.

    Thank you for not opening a fire door….

    I have a “twin” in the next city over. We do not look identical, but we certainly look similar. We have both done double takes at seeing photos taken from the side of “ourselves” in places we have never been. Maybe we are related back in the old country.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. After bootcamp, my mail started to go missing.

      And I started getting letters from ENTIRELY the wrong side of the country.

      One floor up and on the opposite side of the barracks, there was a gal…with my name… and the middle name I was SUPPOSED to have, except for a Beloved RElative dying a week before I was born… of the same height… and similar build….both with the “Been out of boot camp less than six months” hair cut… same brown-with-red-highlight hair….same blocky build and features….same taste in clothes.

      I am torn between wishing I’d gotten to know her better, and being glad I didn’t…..

      Liked by 3 people

  8. Congrats on surviving and nasty things on the architect, maybe they actually have better entrances on other sides? (I have bad knees. Stairs are of the evil, especially steep ones.) And it sounds like it’s one of the bigger ones. I’ve done DragonCon, but at least there there are separate rooms and floors that people can kind of shut away most of the Con. And I can handle people! As long as I get private time afterwards.

    If it helps, Sundays are usually the quietest days, Saturdays are usually the worst. So I’m hoping you don’t have to do a lot Saturday.

    And I love worldbuilding! If you want to share it, that would be awesome, if you don’t feel it would put you in a corner.

    Liked by 4 people

      1. Once they figure it out, someone is probably going to have that parent moment of “Remind me again, why I agreed to this kids thing?”

        I don’t have kids but I was under the understanding that is like any other family member in that you love them to pieces but they can and will stretch your last nerve to its breaking point. You know, the whole “They’re my family. I love them. Still sometimes, arghh!”

        Not to mention the whole wrinkle that some of them are probably going to be born with tentacles. And the adults in the Shinigami have difficulty controlling their tentacles and instinct to sting people who’d be good pack. Very young child do not have that kind of impulse control . . . . probably should get the little ones away from non-pack until they get big enough not to sting.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. (There’s also Uryuu Ishida, but he’s a bit more subtle. Ichigo’s the one who makes Yamamoto’s head hurt.)

        I bet he does. Couldn’t have happened to a nicer General. Besides he totally deserves to have to deal with someone just as bullheaded and stubborn as he is. Because once Ichigo has decided to plant himself somewhere or on some position, good luck getting him to move.

        Through if they really want to scare him, just mention that Kisuke and Yoruichi are thinking about reproducing. It doesn’t matter if they actually are or not, the very thought probably gives him the willies. Okay that thought kind of gives everyone the willies. Just for different reasons.

        Liked by 2 people

  9. See, large groups of people don’t bother me at all as long as I can move around freely, but heights… heights I dislike, for pretty much the reasons you mentioned. That layout sounds hideously disorganized, I feel your pain. (Doubly so, as I usually end up being the navigator whenever I go with my friends. Who knew reading maps could be so difficult?) The dealers room will pretty much always be a rat’s nest, at all times, regardless of which convention you go to or when you try to get in, because it is the place where everyone wants to be. (Would also be the best place to drop monsters for maximum damage)
    Sorry, I’m tired and my train of thought is more like a swarm of butterflies fluttering in every direction. Must sleep soon…

    Liked by 2 people

    1. The thought that I might be afraid of heights has always bothered me…because it wasn’t accurate. Being in a tall building and looking out doesn’t bother me at all. Being at the top of a short staircase, looking down, does.

      It was relief to finally figure out that I’m not afraid of heights I’m afraid of falling.

      Liked by 3 people

  10. Tho I have Aspergers, and tho it often includes trouble with crowds, I managed to avoid that problem. I find crowds to be perfectly fine, since I only end up with focus overload instead of sensory overload, and only if I relax and let my focus spread randomly instead of choosing something to anchor it to. Aspergers normally leads to problems with crowds because of either sensory overload, since there’s no “background filter” that minimizes sensory input for stuff that is “just there” while at the same time increasing sensory sensitivity, or because of focus overload because of lack of control of focus so that anything and everything that we sense catches our attention and draws focus. I don’t get “overload” on the sensory side, so only have to worry about my focus being split too many ways, but I can control my focus enough to narrow it down to one chosen anchor. I still sense everything else, but it doesn’t draw my attention.

    And heights are fun. When I was a kid, one of the games I liked was “tree tag”, where we played tag while climbing trees. I was the only one who would jump from branch to branch instead of climbing back to the main trunk to switch to the next branch. Sure, I’ve got a healthy respect for sufficiently high/unstable/etc terrain and don’t go casually leaning off cliffs like my brother, but as long as the terrain is stable, not too dangerously high, or there’s plenty of handholds/etc to catch myself with, it’s fine.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Crowds can be tolerated as long as I don’t have to give them full-on “social attention”. Moving through them is stressful but doable. It’s when I have to actually deal with more than one person at a time I start really running out of spoons.

      I will say one advantage of the setting was a lack of strong fragrances. Whew!

      Liked by 2 people

  11. I don’t like to be near the edge. Of anything. Railing or not. That railing’s too low, you know?

    *eyeballs railing* I am not as athletic as I use to be. And I can toss me over that railing if there’s a cow after me. So someone who wishes me ill can do the same. And then there’s crowd dynamics, where a dozen folks might give a tenth of what is needed to smash me over that, and never know it. NO. NOT LIKE HIGH PLACES.

    See also: water, healthy respect for the power of. Once saw a road– good, solid asphalt, normal cliff sort of road– VANISH in the half hour it took my folks to take us kids to the store, pick up a roast chicken and a bag of veggies, and come back to the route. At some point between us going to town (a quarter mile from the missing road) and us coming back, the rather small stream above it got blocked, and the water started coming down the hill…and it ATE the road away. Less than 30 minutes. GONE.

    Liked by 3 people

  12. *whistles like I’m not that person with my feet in the air and my torso OVER the railing of anything with significant height. Or doesn’t have “skydiving” as a bucket list item.*

    You hang back, I’m just going to be over here, enjoying the breeze and oh! What IS that below me?” *leans over more and hooks ankles on railing.*

    My first con was Dragon Con a few years ago. So. Many. People. So. Much STUFF. So many outfits! It was a bit overwhelming and I was very glad I wasn’t alone.

    I’ve been to local cons since, but there isn’t that much around my area. (I do have a 3ft stormtrooper signed by David Della Rocco that I got last year. He sang happy birthday to me at a local con. It was rather awesome.)

    As for worldbuilding- yes. Please. Always.

    Liked by 3 people

  13. Yikes. That building sounds like enough to bother me, and I LIKE heights. And yeah, big conventions are crazy. Definitely not the kind of place you want to yell ‘fire’ in.

    I would love to see arrancar stuff!

    Liked by 3 people

  14. I saw one or two people chiming in from the introvert side of things and thought – as a life-long con-goer – I might as well chime in from the extrovert’s side… Granted; this is the extrovert who’s been diagnosed with moderate anxiety and a spectrum disorder, but extrovert nevertheless!

    For me – while too much is too much and sensory overload is totally possible – cons, sports games, concerts, all those things… I tend to feed on the energy. I get more excited, more energetic, more hyped up. It totally sucks that the con-space itself definitely left something to be desired at Pensacon in your case (and I more than understand having difficulty with heights).

    I bring this up because part of your whole reason for attending was for the experience for your characters… and to me that’s a very important part of the experience. There’s a current in the air, a sense of shared community because everyone in the space is there for a shared passion, even if some are comic books fans while others prefer anime, and still some are just there for the sci-fi writers appearing as panelists.

    I imagine that most of your problems with the con crowds? Probably shared by Jafar. (Though, speaking as someone who’s been to a bazaar as well, those can be arguably worse, so Jafar almost certainly has some focusing tricks/techniques to help him along).

    Simon’s a different story.

    Simon/Sinbad and I are not cut from the same cloth (I – for one thing – am nowhere near that level of either confident or crazy), but I suspect here I can safely speak to something closer to his experience and sense. Granted, Simon probably hasn’t had a chance to be part of a con as just an attendee in quite a while. And being a guest/panelist is doubtless a different experience, since it’s less about being a part of the community or experience than someone who a healthy number of con-goers are there to see/recognize. There you’ve got more of the crowd’s attention on you… but Simon/Sinbad’s never had too much of a problem with that.

    What’s more curious… My experience is just as someone who’s an extrovert and easily excitable… In any verse where the Great Flow of the Rukh is a thing I imagine that current that I feel is a heck of a lot more real, especially to King Candidates and Magi.

    I have legitimately no idea how either Aladdin or Alan will respond. Though I could see Aladdin being reminded of the bazaar and markets of Sindria at the height of the trading time, and if Alan taps into some of Alibaba’s memories of Balbadd’s markets then that’d probably help him if he starts to have difficulty… But if he ends up getting caught up in the flow of the Rukh then I don’t even know if he would have difficulty…

    Just… some food for thought.

    Liked by 1 person

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