Dragon*Con 6

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Wouldn’t you know it, of the 5 glasses in that bag, the ONLY one that broke was a) the one I wanted most and b) the one that was the best wrapped. I mean, not even the plastic cup on top, devoid of any wrapping, cracked. The 2 glasses from PittyPat’s Porch? Fine. The shot glass that was inside the broken one (with lots of paper between)? Fine. Only my Trader Vic’s glass, the anniversary one with the Mai Tai recipe on it, the one the waiter swapped out the rest of my drink into a regular glass so he could wash the one I’d been served because they didn’t have any, otherwise, to sell was the one that broke.

But! In the defense of Hilton management, they got the restaurant manager to come over once we got downstairs, he took the pieces, I explained precisely which glass it was (again, the not-available-for-sale part) and gave him my address and he promised to replace it. There was some confusion but, eventually, I got my glass. It’s not the one I was served, mores the pity, but it is the anniversary glass with the Trader Vic’s story and Mai Tai recipe and that’s what counts.

And, of course, I’d originally packed the glassware in the suitcase but took it out to make sure it didn’t get crushed. Figures.

Dragon*Con 4

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Yeah, I know, my mental pep talk went to the sappy side of things but it’s totally true: if I hadn’t stumbled upon The Devil’s Panties several years ago I wouldn’t be doing this comic. So there. But I was too bashful to say any of that, so I bought a couple of things from her and asked her to sign my monkey. Which she did, she drew a monkey on my monkey’s back, and he sits on my shelf with his arms wrapped around the shot glass I bought that day!

Dragon*Con 3

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And this would be why I only made it to 3 panels all convention. Lots of naps happened.

Now, those who were around the blog last Fall might remember that I had my gallbladder out the week before Dragon*Con and that the trip only happened because Todd was willing to do all of the driving and heavy lifting (literally… I wasn’t supposed to carry anything heavier than my purse!). I was off the pain killers (talk about mind-numbing, they didn’t knock me out so much as put me on ‘pause’) and had dome some last-minute shopping pre-surgery for loose clothing but I had 0 stamina.

Of course, the fact that it was August in the South didn’t help. I had a list of panels that I would have liked to go to but, frequently, the Art track was hosted in the Hyatt, we were in the Hilton, and I just didn’t feel up to the trek. I’m looking forward to having a bit more energy for my next trip to D*C!

Dragon*Con 2

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I didn’t make it to many panels this convention but the ones I did had a disturbing trend towards Q&A instead of moderated discussions/presentations among the panelists. And it’s not just me, I heard this from a few others as well. Maybe I’m just not down with the whole panel thing? Not sure, but give me a presentation or discussion BEFORE going into Q&A, please!

For precisely the reason illustrated above, of course. I swear, for a panel titled “We Don’t Need No Superheroes” the talk (totally Q&A, of course) was entirely ABOUT superheroes. It was _supposed_ to be about other comics genres and so forth, and there were a couple of attempts to steer the convo that way, but when every question is “why are superheroes so pervasive in the United States markets” and others (I recorded the panel so the above example really was the last question asked) it’s tough to stay on track.

Dragon*Con 1

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So, this was my first Dragon*Con and my first BIG Con of any sort. A group of us had been planning to attend the previous year (07) but life happened and plans fell through and it just didn’t happen. This year (08), though, I was determined! I booked the hotel at the beginning of the year (after 2 of the 3 hotels had sold out due to some football things going on the same weekend) and registered not too long after.

Now, by the time Todd had decided to come with me (which was a good thing since it turns out I wouldn’t have been able to make the trip on my own–more about that later) they had switched to doing pre-reg through Ticket Master instead of the PayPal form they had been using. Apparenty a LOT of people registered after the switch, maybe more than D*C expected, even. At least I HOPE that’s their excuse for having only 1 line open for folks who ordered memberships through Ticket Master. It took me, literally, about 15 minutes to pick up my badge and booklets; Todd finally got out of there after 2 hours!

But, hey, what can you do? Badges procured, we were finally ready to explore D*C.

Random Appetites: Trader Vic’s Mai Tai

And back to the booze! Well, sort of…

While at Dragon*Con 2008 Todd and I had dinner at Trader Vic’s. Let me tell you: it was phenomenal! What we had:

Shared Appetizer: Cosmo Tidbits (BBQ Spareribs, Cha Sui pork, Crab rangoon and crispy prawns)
Shared Starter: Bongo Bongo Soup
Todd’s Entree: 20oz Ribeye
Jenn’s Entree: Pancetta Scallop Skewers
Todd’s Dessert: Banana Fritters
Jenn’s Dessert: Trio of Creme Brulee (mai tai, coffee, and coconut)

Holy Cats! but that was a good supper! There really wasn’t anything that we didn’t like and we both took some of our dinner back up to the room because it was just a lot of food. There was only one little thing that struck me as odd: The Cosmo Tidbits appetizer is meant for 2 and while it is 12 pieces, there’s 3 of each thing. Now, we’re really good at sharing, lol, but it seems like it would make a lot more sense (and this goes for a lot of shared dishes where there’s a definite quantity) to have even numbers of each item to make it that much simpler to split. But it’s a minor complaint and certainly didn’t impact the experience. And I totally need to find or create a recipe for the Bongo Bongo soup.

And, of course, there was drinking. Again, if you’ve never been there: the drink menu alone is massive! So many options that by the time I read through it I had totally forgotten what I’d read at the beginning! Todd ordered one of the various punches (I’m having trouble remembering which one he went with) and I had to order the special of the house: a Mai Tai. I wasn’t really sure I’d like the Mai Tai, so I also ordered (we only had to take the elevator to the room, not like I was driving anywhere!) a Samoan Fog Cutter. Wouldn’t you know it: I like the Mai Tai best! Todd and I worked on the Fog Cutter together (it was a big drink, very citrusy).

Now, I have three different bar books in front of me and none of them have the exact same recipe for a Mai Tai. Trader Vic’s is where the drink started so I trust them–wouldn’t you?

The Original Mai Tai

2 oz. 17-year old J Wray Nephew Jamaican Rum
1/2 oz. French Garnier Orgeat
1/2 oz. Holland Dekueper Orange Curacao
1/4 oz. Trader Vic’s Rock Candy Syrup
Juice of 1 large lime

Hand shake and garnish with half of the lime shell inside the drink and float a sprig of fresh mint at the edge of the glass.

Pretty specific ingredients there but I think there’s some wiggle room. The key seems to be that the rum be a golden Jamaican variety and the Orgeat syrup. Since the syrup might be hard to find, I did find a great recipe for making it at home (that I haven’t tried yet, but plan to). In fact, the entire “Art of Drink” site is phenomenal for anyone interested in cocktails and mixology.

Remember how I said the entire dinner at Trader Vic’s was phenomenal? Well, as dinner was nearing an end I asked our waiter (I wish I could remember his name! Kai? something like that…) about purchasing the glass that my Mai Tai came in: it was the 60th Anniversary glass with a quote and the original recipe on it. Well, turns out they no longer stock those for purchase but he transferred what was left of my drink to a regular glass, washed mine out and wrapped it up for me! Also, since there was so much of the Fog Cutter left, he asked if we were staying at the hotel and then put the majority of the drink in a plastic logo-cup so I could finish it later.

Alas, the porter managed to break my Mai Tai glass as we were leaving the hotel. Of the 5 glasses in the bag, that was not only the best wrapped on but the only one to break. Just my luck. The hotel made good on it, though, and in a couple of weeks I had my replacement so all was once again as it should be. Anyone want to take bets on how long it’s going to take me to frame and hang the cocktail art I bought at Dragon*Con?