Have you hugged a Tusken Raider today?

tusken.jpgSo, it’s 11:49pm and I’m sitting in a live recording of Wing’in It podcast blogging while others record. I’ve generally behaved very atypically at this meeting and not gone absolutely everywhere with my laptop. This means I haven’t been able to blog from absolutely everywhere. It also means that rather then simply letting events go in my eyes and out my fingers like a good journalist, I’ve instead gotten emotionally wrapped up in what’s going on around me.

And I have to admit, it’s been a transformative day.

Dragon*Con is the most amazing collection of freaks and geeks and intellectual family I have ever met. This place is strangely crawling in PhDs (I actually had a member of the press randomly comment on this in an elevator to me without realizing that he was commenting to a PhD). This place is crawling in amazing costumes (and yes, while their are people in costumes that really they shouldn’t be wearing, the majority of the people I have seen actually should be wearing their costumes). And this people is crawling in people who really are friendly and really do care.

This is a convention. I’m guessing the vast majority of the people here spent way more than they should have. Judging by the number of people eating nasty food because it’s cheap, I’m guessing they are here trying to save money. That said, this conference is systematically doing amazing charity work. There is a blood drive. There is a charity action. The podcasters are raising money in memory of a podcaster, Joe Murphy, who passed away 5 months ago. And everywhere people are assuming the best of those around them – starting conversations with strangers, sharing tables for meals, striking up conversations with people next to them in sessions. Everywhere I have seen people just trying to lift up one another while having fun.

I understand why people come here over and over and over across the decades.

Just sitting here listening in the corner, I am realizing there is an entire community I had only started to taste through my work with Derek and Swoopy, Phil, and Fraser. I need to get out of my safe science corner and experience more.

I will be here next year. And I’ll bring schwag (spell?), and hopefully Phil and Fraser.

And oh, yeah, I hugged a Tusken Raider today?

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