Tuesday, September 18, 2012

On DragonCon Hotels

I got a question about DragonCon hotels for first-timers and I thought I would post my answer here, in case it's helpful to anyone else. Please feel free to post your own hotel advice in the comments. This is just my own opinion.

I always used to stay at the Marriott, but the last few years they've enacted something called "Passkey," which is a system you have to use to book rooms for DragonCon now. Basically it was the case that if you didn't get on Passkey and book a room the second they went on sale, you probably wouldn't get one.  However, several things have changed for next year which can affect this. One is that now Marriott rooms have a non-refundable one night deposit. The rooms are also apparently non-transferrable.   So this might make it easier to book a room at the Marriott, since less people will be reserving multiple rooms. However, you run the risk (if you can't go) of losing somewhere around $200 bucks.  And since you have to reserve so far in advance, who knows what can happen in a year?  I'll also add that the Marriott used to be pretty quiet, but now it's very busy with an active bar on the top lobby floor, and the white noise from all the people can be heard up in the rooms, even if you're up pretty high. This didn't bother me much, but it's another consideration. Also, it can be really hard to get elevators there, especially on checkout day.  I'm not sure when Passkey reservations open up for DragonCon 2013.


I don't have experience with staying at the Hyatt.

The Hilton also has a one night non-refundable deposit.  And I've heard it's already booked up.  (Though, it might still be worth calling to make sure this is true.) After last year, when I couldn't attend DragonCon 2011 because of a serious, last-minute health issue, I ran into problems with the Hilton reservation I'd made.   So never again will I take a chance on a non-refundable deposit room.

The Sheraton will charge you a one-night deposit, but it is refundable up until a few days before the Con. (Or maybe even less, not sure exactly.) The rooms are quiet, and you can catch elevators without a problem.  I used to think it was off the beaten path, but DragonCon has spread out so much, that it's not really. You'll have to pick up your registration at the Sheraton and BritTrack and TrekTrack both have panels here. The Sunday night Yule Ball (sponsored by the YA Lit track) is here as well.  

The only disadvantage is that you have to walk outside to get to it, there aren't tunnels like there are for the other hotels.   (You might have to go outside to get to the Westin too, but I didn't end up going there at all this last Con.) However, the tunnels are so crowded (especially Saturday) that I found it was a relief to be able to walk outside.  So that's not a big deal unless there is rain, or you are in a delicate costume.  But you may have lots of indoor walking to do regardless of that.  Tunnels connect the Marriott, Peachtree Center Mall and Hyatt, and now the Hilton, but it can still be a lot of walking.

So based on all that, I booked a room at the Sheraton again for this year.  I didn't have a problem going to friends room parties or hanging out with them at the Marriott. There are lots of people walking back and forth at all hours, so I never felt unsafe walking between hotels, even at night. (At least, no more unsafe than you'd feel at DragonCon in general.) And my fears about  being really far away were pretty unfounded. The Sheraton is already taking reservations.

Sheraton Pool

Friday, September 14, 2012

A few more Star Trek

Love these two pics Janine got!

DragonCon 2012

Janine finished her annual DragonCon video - this one is so fun, full of Big Bang Theory and Avengers goodness. If you watch (or even fast forward), be sure you see the very very end!


Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Family pics

My mom found this pic of my great-grandmother and great-aunt from 1919. It's a little blurry, but still fun!

Edited to add - many thanks to Kevin for doing a restoration job on this photo and fixing it up for me!

Monday, September 10, 2012

18th Century curtain-along!

A bunch of places like Lowe's, Amazon, and Joanne's have fabric and/or curtains in a beautiful 18th-century-esque pattern. Jen Thompson is organizing a sewing curtain-along since several people are making 18th century outfits with this fabric!

Check out her blog entry here for more details and examples of clothing with this sort of Indienne print fabric: http://www.festiveattyre.com/2012/09/the-curtain-along-is-go.html

I bought some of the creme color-way, though I really like the blue (but it's way more expensive).

Jen also has a bunch of pins of blogs and in progress pics on pinterest.

Here's the graphic from Jen's page - head over there for more!

P.S. Loren pointed out that a bunch of us have gowns and petticoats made from cotton embroidered Target curtains - clearly my curtain petticoat needs to be worn with whatever dress I make out of these Lowes curtains!


My mom did another mini costume painting, this one based on my Arwen costume!  Thanks, Mom!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

A few Star Trek buys

David Skirmont got these great pics of the Star Trek group from DragonCon. I thought they were really fun!

No, the other left!

Not the redshirt!

I also wanted to note that I bought these insignia for Doug's NuTrek costume - I like them better than the ones I bought on ebay a few years ago. Science: Star Trek Starfleet Science Division Badge Replica
And to go with my Original Series costume a Tricorder: Star Trek Star Trek - Electronic Tricorder

DragonCon - Sunday!

Sunday I actually ended up waking up fairly early (I know, it's weird).
The Sheraton pool during the day. It's really pretty!
And since I was up, I thought I would throw on some clothes and try to make the 10am Doctor Who panel, which was with GWho/Torchwood propmaster Nicholas John Robatto. It was in my hotel and I was nearly 40 minutes early for it so I figured no problem. Nope, huge line. And no cell reception. So I couldn't reply to texts inviting me to brunch or make sure Doug got my text that I'd gone to this panel (he'd gone running). So I entertained myself my reading Janine's book on my phone and hoping I would get in. And it ended up being no problem. And I even got a decent seat.
Baby Eleven:
Robatto with the ray guns he makes now.

Friday, September 7, 2012

DragonCon - Saturday!

So, for the first time since its inception, I actually went to the parade. The first year I went to DragonCon was the first time they did it. It was very hot and early and I never did it again. Mostly because we stay up late and I don't like getting up early and missing sleep. I'm always sorry to miss the parade, but I also generally don't get sick after DragonCon.

Anyhow, we decided to go with Jen & Raj this year and we got to sleep at a decent (for DragonCon) hour. We had intended to try and get a spot on the balcony of the Atlanta Grill (Raj had a reservation) but people had camped out there from 5:45 on, which is nuts!

So we ended up standing right below it.

But guess who else was on the balcony?
Katee Sackhoff! More on that later.

And some shots from the parade.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

DragonCon Thurs/Friday


We started out the trip with the 10th Doctor on our flight. I literally almost bumped into him and recognized the fabric first. I looked up and he looked at my t-shirt (Doctors crossing Abbey Road) and I said "Nice suit" at the same time as he said "Nice shirt". It was very funny. And then I worried that the Doctor was on our flight since nothing good happens when he shows up, right? :-)
We stayed in the Sheraton this year, which ended up being quite nice. Hardly any waits for elevators, just a block or so from the Marriott (and frankly it was often a relief to walk outside instead of through the crowded tunnels), and relatively quiet. Plus the Marriott changed their policies this year and rooms are non-refundable (1 night) and non-transferrable. Lame. Especially when you have to reserve a full year out. The Sheraton is still refundable. And this was the view from our room - which was adjoining with Raj and Jen's room, which was awesome!