So you think you’re going to Otakon. Or any con, really. No, you totally know you’re going. You booked your flight, or train, or are driving up on little sleep, You booked a room, hopefully with enough room for you to sleep on the bed (don’t fucking sleep on the floor, you’ll be miserable for the whole con). Most importantly, you pre-registered for the con, or have the money in hand to buy the badges at the door.
But whether it’s babby’s first con, or you’ve been to a hundred of these, YOU NEED TO READ THIS. THESE ARE IMPORTANT. YOU MIGHT DIE IF YOU DO NOT READ AND FOLLOW THESE.
Trust me. I got these from an inside source at Otakon, one of the head honchos themselves, and these are also from years of experience and terrible cons.
1. DRINK WATER. LOTS OF WATER. MORE WATER THAN SEEMS REASONABLE. You’re in Baltimore fucking Maryland, the humid armpit of the East Coast, in AUGUST. It is wretchedly hot and humid, especially if you’re coming in from a totally different climate (and if you’re coming in from the western half of the U.S., might I suggest Otakon Vegas for less of a climatological shock?). Even if you’re used to sweaty-sack-of-balls hot, keep in mind that you might be wearing layers of clothing or armor for your cosplay. Dude, even dressed as Envy from Fullmetal Alchemist, I thought I was gonna die. The point is, it’s super hot, and you’re going to be pouring bucketloads of sweat. Don’t get upset. Everyone sweats. It’s how your body tries not to die when it’s hot. The problem comes when you don’t replace that fluid with more water. Eventually you sweat so much you get dehydrated - irritable, desperately thirsty, your pee turns dark yellow or brownish, you can’t think, you feel dizzy - and dehydration is actually a medical emergency.
DEHYDRATION IS A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. IF YOU COLLAPSE IN FRONT OF SECURITY OR CON STAFF, THEY WILL CALL EMTS ON YOU. DO YOU WANT TO BE THE PERSON WHO PASSED OUT IN LINE AND GOT TAKEN TO A HOSPITAL? NO YOU DON’T.
1a. You know those people outside the convention center, just sitting with coolers or whatever and selling bottles of water (ICE COLD WATER, ONLY A DOLLAR)? Buy that shit. Buy like three of them every time you walk by. You will be supporting local businesspeople trying to make extra money, and it’s WAY cheaper than buying bottled water inside the convention center, or constantly buying drinks at Burger King or wherever. Support the community you’re visiting, and buy water from them. It’s just a dollar, and you’ll have more money for food and swag. Remember to say thank you.
1b. ALCOHOL IS NOT WATER. REPEAT. ALCOHOL IS NOT WATER. Alcohol actually dehydrates you by acting as a diuretic and making you throw up in large amounts, both costing you precious
bodily fluidshydration. You’ll also end up acting like an asshole, make cosplayers and anime fans look bad, possibly get arrested and thrown out, or if staff or security see you throwing up or passing out, they will swarm you and maybe take you to the hospital. You are already spending bank on a con. You can’t afford bail, and you damn sure can’t afford the trouble of going to a hospital. Plus, you’ll miss con events either way, and possibly be banned from the premises if you get arrested. Make life easier on yourself. If you have to drink, drink in moderation. Besides, being hungover at Otakon is a special kind of hell.
2. BUDGET HEAVILY FOR FOOD. BUDGET MORE THAN YOU THINK YOU’LL NEED ON FOOD. It is way too easy to think “whatever, I don’t need food, I’ll eat snacks at the con or something”. Firstly, the food inside the convention center is ridiculously expensive. I don’t know if they’ll have Japanese snack booths this year, last time I saw one though a cup of freeze-dried kitsune udon was like $5. That’s STUPIDLY EXPENSIVE. Burger King isn’t a very good substitute for this either, as it tends to be super unhealthy. A Whopper Meal, for example, is 1,180 calories, half of what you need in a day for just one meal when you’ll be hungry again in four hours, and almost 14 grams of sodium. That’s more salt for your kidneys to try and get rid of, so it’s going to dehydrate you further, and we already went over why that’s bad.
Think of it this way: you’re on vacation in a city you only visit maybe once a year. Some of you come pretty far distances to visit Baltimore just for this weekend. Take a break and cruise down the harbor for a while. Go eat at one of the awesome local restaurants. They have fabulous seafood you can’t find back home. Yeah, it’s more expensive than BK, and it’s farther away than the convention center, but you aren’t going to remember the con food with anything but regret: the restaurant food will be a highlight of your visit.
But if you really don’t want to spend the money on a restaurant, there’s a wide array of nearby chains available. These will all be enumerated in the Otakon Handbook you will get with your badge. Most of them are still healthier than Burger King, such as Subway and Jimmy John’s.
3. SHOWER AT LEAST EVERY OTHER DAY. USE DEODORANT EVERY DAY. USE PERFUME SPARINGLY. This gets reiterated at every con, but the last part is a big thing: a lot of people are sensitive to chemicals or fragrances, and perfumes can be a major trigger. I personally get migraines from weird smells. It’s cool to show off the neat thing you got from Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab, but don’t do it so much that a person walking by has an allergic reaction to the essential oils just by being nearby. Ask your roommates if it’s too strong, and if it is, wash it off with a little soap and water, please!
4. SPECIFIC TO OTAKON, IF YOU GET YOUR BADGE ON FRIDAY, BE PREPARED TO STAND OUTSIDE IN THE SUN FOR AT LEAST FOUR HOURS. WEAR SUNBLOCK OR BRING AN UMBRELLA WITH AN SPF+ RATING. This is a good time to get acquainted with the water-sellers outside, and make some friends in line. However, if you have disabilities or special needs that prevent you from standing in line, go inside to the special needs table with your companion, assistant, or aide, and you will both be registered and get a special sticker.
5. COSPLAY RULES AND REGULATIONS EXIST TO PROTECT YOU AND EVERYONE AROUND YOU. PLEASE FOLLOW THEM. You know all those horrifying mass shootings that keep happening? That’s the exact kind of thing we don’t want happening at ANY con, ever. Ever ever ever. But you know what’s almost as bad? Causing a panic because you’re dressed in what looks like body armor and a gas mask, wearing symbols that not everyone recognizes, and carrying very realistic-looking guns around. THAT SCARES THE SHIT OUT OF PEOPLE. ESPECIALLY PEOPLE WHO MAY HAVE BEEN WITNESS TO OR VICTIMS OF MASS SHOOTINGS. Similarly, waving around a very real-looking sword, even if it’s a display sword you just bought in the Dealer’s Room, is both scary as hell and very, very dangerous. Even a dull blade, even a foam sword, can be a blunt or pointy object and hurt someone. I have stabbed the shit out of mattresses before with dull “display” swords. You also never know if someone is going to be stupid, possibly drunk, or on drugs, and grab your prop to attack someone else with it, for which you can be held legally liable. PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, FOR THE LOVE OF FUCK, DEAL WITH THE STUPID LOOKING “SAFE” TAG IN YOUR COSPLAY PHOTOS AND GET YOUR PROP WEAPON VERIFIED.
Corollary to the above, DO NOT SWING YOUR PROP WEAPON AROUND OR PRETEND TO FIGHT WITH IT. You can assume a fighting stance for a photograph, and there are clear, sparsely populated areas for photoshoots with more dynamic posing, but mock fighting in a closely populated area is not only absolutely forbidden and may result in you being banned from the con, but if you hurt anyone, you could face criminal charges or be sued by the person you hit. That’s legal fucking liability, man, you’ll go to jail or have to pay restitution and civil penalties and that’s less money for fandom and cons. Don’t do it, and don’t encourage it.
Also, as a note, Airsoft guns used as props, and live steel anything ever (meaning: a metal blade with a honed edge) are banned at most cons. At Otakon, they are banned at the request of none other than the Baltimore Police Department. Take them out of your luggage now and find a substitute, because you can’t even bring them into the convention center, and you will probably attract police attention for carrying it around the city. Do you want to be known as That Cosplayer Who Caused A Police Standoff? No, you probably don’t.
Also, I knoooooooow your character wears skimpy or almost no clothing. I knoooooooooow your cosplay is hella accurate. I knoooooow it’s just a nude body suit, or body paint, or you’re totally sure you secured the clouds on your very accurate Sexy no Jutsu cosplay. BUT PLEASE REALIZE, THE RULES REGARDING COSPLAY ARE FOR YOUR SAFETY. THERE ARE CREEPER PERVERTS WHO GO TO CONS JUST TO TAKE PICTURES OF SCANTILY CLAD CHILDREN AND TEENAGERS. YOU ARE STILL LEGALLY UNDERAGE WHEN YOU ARE SEVENTEEN AND UNDER. IT’S HIGHLY ILLEGAL OF THEM TO DO IT, AND UNFORTUNATELY SECURITY AND STAFF CANNOT BE EVERYWHERE AT ONCE WATCHING EVERYONE. YOU WILL POSSIBLY END UP AS PART OF A PHOTO COLLECTION FOR A PEDOPHILE IF YOU DO NOT FOLLOW THE RULES. So please, please, on behalf of everyone trying to protect you, I beg that you please follow the cosplay rules and regulations.
Keep in mind, however, that if someone is creeping on your cosplay, you have EVERY right to go to security or staff and tell them and have the person removed. No one is allowed to harass anyone, and cosplay creeping is horrible. The staff wants you to be safe, and will throw out creepers.
6. SPECIFIC TO OTAKON: DISABLED, MOBILITY-IMPAIRED, AND OTHER SPECIAL NEEDS GUESTS, CHECK THIS OUT. You and your companion/assistant/aide will both receive special stickers on your badges. This sticker is awesome and will make the con much more accessible for you. With this sticker, you can go to the staffer at the door or checking badges anywhere and be allowed in without waiting in line, or afaik, your companion can wait in line for you while you rest elsewhere. Otakon is not going to force you to stand in line when you are physically unable to. In addition, for anything con-related, please do not hesitate to ask a staffer, any staffer, for what you need to be accommodated. i have worked with these people. They will move mountains to make sure you are taken care of and have the absolute best experience you can. They also do remember all incidents and work every year to make the con as inclusive and accessible as possible. Even if you aren’t sure, or it sounds weird or excessive, try asking anyway. You will likely be pleasantly surprised.
7. CERTAIN THINGS ARE PROHIBITED FROM EACH CONVENTION. READ THE CON WEBSITE’S FAQ CLOSELY, OR BRING IT UP ON THE FORUMS, OR EMAIL A STAFFER AND ASK, BEFORE YOU BRING IT IN. At the very least, vuvuzelas are banned from Otakon, and probably most other conventions, on account of them being extremely loud and sounding like bees. Yes, this sounds fun as hell, but keep them outside of the con, or it will be removed from you, or you may be kicked out of the con. In addition, carrying signs unless they are part of your cosplay is also forbidden, and dangerous. If it’s, for example, a part of a Metal Gear or Ranma 1/2 cosplay, that’s one thing. But, signs for “Free hugs/glomps/kisses” is actually considered solicitation in the state of Maryland, and probably a bunch of other states. They are also dangerous because, again, a lot of creepy perverts go to cons to get close to underaged attendees, and it offers a convenient way for these sleazes to touch or grope the person holding the sign. I know this from experience: it is absolutely disgusting and dehumanizing to get grabbed like that.
That said, IF ANYONE EVER CREEPS ON YOU, OR TOUCHES YOU, OR TAKES A PICTURE OF YOU, OR DOES ANYTHING WHATSOEVER REGARDING YOUR BODILY AUTONOMY WITHOUT YOUR CONSENT, FIND SECURITY OR STAFF AND TELL THEM IMMEDIATELY. EVEN IF THEY’RE PRETENDING TO BE FRIENDLY, EVEN IF THEY’RE PRESSURING YOU TO NOT MAKE A SCENE, EVEN, ESPECIALLY, IF THEY SEEM LIKE A “NICE PERSON”, GO TO SECURITY OR STAFF. THEY WILL TAKE ACTION TO REMEDY THE SITUATION. NO ONE IS ALLOWED TO HARASS ANYONE. YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO ENJOY THE CON WITHOUT CREEPERS. IT IS ILLEGAL FOR ANYONE TO TOUCH SOMEONE WITHOUT THEIR CONSENT. IN ADDITION, IT IS ALWAYS OKAY AND ALLOWED TO SAY NO TO A PICTURE REQUEST, JUST FOR ANY REASON, JUST BECAUSE YOU DON’T LIKE SOMEONE OR THEY GIVE YOU A WEIRD VIBE, JUST BECAUSE YOU DON’T WANT TO. IT IS OKAY. THIS IS A THING YOU CAN DO.
For you creepy assholes who planned to do this to get near attendees: don’t. You will be questioned and possibly removed from the con. They may even feel like pressing charges on you, especially with witness corroboration and examining your camera. Actually, nvm, do this. They need to thin the creepy herd.
8. REMEMBER THAT BIT ABOUT DRINKING IN MODERATION: If you are overtly drunk or showing signs of inebriation (slurring, red watery eyes, stumbling, dropping money, bumping into people, being belligerent or otherwise unruly), you will be escorted out of the convention center to sober up, or if it is late at night, you will be asked to leave until the next morning. No exceptions. No one wants drunk assholes shitting up their con.
Alternatively, don’t do anything that is considered illegal under Maryland state law. No smoking inside the building or near the doors, for example. No one wants to know how you got drugs on the plane/bus/train. But for the love of God and keeping you out of jail, don’t do them at the con, even if you have a medical marijuana card in another state, even if it’s legal where you’re from, just don’t do it. At all. No one wants to deal with someone who’s high, and they damn sure don’t want cops moving in and making a huge scene arresting you. I’m pretty sure you don’t want the cops taking your expensive drug collection and filing felony charges on you either. Save everyone the grief and leave the fun stuff at home, or use it in a hotel room SEPARATE AND REMOVED from the con.
Finally, if you’ve read all of this, give yourself a gold star and a treat, because holy cats it took me three hours to type it up. Good job!
Now go stay safe and have fun at the con!
Heads up guys. Body shaming doesn’t just happen to women. Recently, baseball player Prince Fielder stripped down for ESPN’s Body issue and here are the comments that accompanied. Now, I will acknowledge that these are all male contributes, but it’s still shining a light on fat shaming for men, and how athletes (and anyone who poses nude) are socially expected to be perfect.
I’m not going to downplay the amount of shit women get on their bodies, but I would like to point out that this made news today.He looks great people shaming him forget he’s a ducking baseball player his build is going to be a bit different than say a gymnast.
Of course it’s mostly men - it’s mostly women who shame other women. When you get down to it, the gender you’re trying to attract isn’t going to care. It’s the competition that wants to bring you down.
All of the commentary is important, but also *WOOOF* that is a sexy sexy looking human being right there.
Helen Keller, 1911
It really frustrates the hell out of me that the only public mention of Hellen Keller in any modern context is to poke fun at her disabilities. Keller helped to found the modern day American Civil Liberties Union, wrote extensively on the exploitation of the working poor (particularly those with medical issues), and was a member and contributor to the Industrial Workers of the World. She was a badass and a passionate socialist radical. I intend on posting a more in-depth background on her in the future.
Critics attempted to diminish the impact of her work by saying that her embracing socialism and activism was obviously the result of her “limits in ability and development”. All you are doing is participating in the perpetuation of that lie.
sexual education really needs to include hours of explaining how genitals actually work and showing pictures of how they can look and how there’s literally NO look that’s gross in any way. sexual education needs to bust myths that people actually think are true, for example that having a lot of sex makes a vagina “loose”. people should not be walking around thinking that shit like that is true when it’s the got dang year 2014.
- there is nothing wrong with going through phases while you try and figure out who you are
- there is nothing wrong with being confused about who you are. at any point in your life
- there is nothing wrong with saying you were x identity a year ago and today saying you are something else.
it does not mean you lied
it does not mean you were doing it to be trendy
it means you changed
thats what people do over time: they change
and that’s ok
Is there any setting or XKit extension that will make the new post notification STOP UPDATING when I’m not on the first page of my dashboard? It’s really obnoxious.
If you’re having a bad day here are a few baby animal pictures which surely should cheer you up! :D
I think I’m going to slowly start checking Tumblr again, but I’m setting a rule to only look through the first 50 pages on my dash if I’m away for an extended period of time. Otherwise I get super caught up in trying to read everything and I feel horrifyingly overwhelmed. Those 50 pages will begin after I’m settled in my bedfort, since I am in too much pain to remain sitting on a chair today.
Also gonna work on tagging things from here on. If there’s something in my old posts you want a certain tag on, please tell me because there is no physical way I can redo the 11k+ posts I’ve made.