Thursday Blog: Dragon*con Part II – Seared

This year Lena and I stayed at the Hilton. There are now 6 massive hotels directly involved in the Dragon*con festivities, and they all tend to sell out within minutes of opening up their rooms for the con. The Hilton used to be the last hotel you wanted to stay at, before they built a special connector that lets guests walk from it to the Marriot 30 feet over street level. Now getting a room there is like getting last minute tickets to see the Rolling Stones perform at a country club you don’t belong to. Anything is possible, but it sure ain’t likely.

The Marriot is the most popular, both because it is a central hub for many of the con’s most popular events and because they don’t ask for a deposit when you make your reservation. We like it however, because of Seared.

Seared is the primary restaurant in the Marriot. I would tell you the food is good generally… but I don’t really know. I only eat there during breakfast. But oh what a breakfast. (I suspect it is good generally though.) The restaurant also benefits from the typically awful food at the Hyatt, which has always been kind of inexplicable to me. It’s a great hotel surrounded by good places to eat… they just didn’t seem to try there.

There is an enormous buffet line at Seared that stretches most of the length of the place with all manner of delicious hot breakfast foods, with cooks ready to whip up omelets, pancakes, and waffles. There are also tables of baked goods, cold items (such as lox, cream cheese, capers, and other yummy bagel toppers) and condiments.

Of course, we don’t go there for the food.

No, we go to Seared in order to indulge one of Lena’s stranger obsessions… watching celebrities to see what they eat. Edward James Olmos eats oatmeal, as does David Prowse. Gil Gerard (who is friends and sits with Lou Ferrigno at breakfast) gets the buffet and makes ample use of it, while Lou eats very healthy. (Neither is surprising.) Virginia Hey is a vegetarian, Jewel Staite isn’t, and if June Lockhart catches you taking her picture eating a turkey sandwich she will yell at you and demand $40 for it. So be careful.

When we started going to Dragon*con there were about 20,000 attendees. This year it was just north of twice that. Atlanta has finally gotten into the swing of things and begun acting like a real host city, putting up signs everywhere and making people feel welcome instead of strange. Bartenders in about a two block radius of any of the con hotels can be found in varying degree of costumery, from fuzzy antennae to full-on Andorian slave girls. We got there a day early and spent several hours sneaking about the High museum furtively stealing photos of the amazing paintings and sculpture there. Later we found out that they fully allow photos to be taken (except for special exhibits which we didn’t actually want pix of anyway) and we were running around like spazzes for nothing. You know the guards were laughing up their sleeves at us the whole time. Still, I suppose getting caught and tossed by a museum guard would be preferable to some of the other dangers presented by Dragon*con.

Because you know June don’t play.

44 Responses to Thursday Blog: Dragon*con Part II – Seared

  1. You say celebrities, I have never heard of any of those people 😳 😕

    My family used to run a chain of food places in London, and there we had various people, such as Rowan Atkinson (Tuna salad sandwich), and Steve Davis (BLT), and since the shop was built next to a magic shop, we also have various magicians come to get food. This was a while ago, so I was a little too young to remember all those people who I have had brushes with fame with.

    Edit: also, that ‘Places’ link seems to go to a page with nothing on.

    • Seriously? *None* of them?

      Let’s see if I can help you out here:

      Edward James Olmos – Admiral Adama from the recent Battlestar Galactica series re-make. He was also Gaff in Blade Runner.

      David Prowse – you know him better as the guy who wore the costume, but had all his lines stolen by James Earl Jones (ie: Darth Vader).

      Gil Gerard – Buck Rogers from the 80s.

      Lou Ferrigno – Played the Hulk in the 80s TV series.

      Virginia Hey – was in the series Starscape (I admit I had to look this one up, because I never watched it, but in doing so I did notice that she was in The Road Warrior).

      Jewel Staite – Kaylee from the series Firefly.

      And June Lockhart has a career in TV and film that spans all the way back to 1938, having been on such shows as Lassie and Lost in Space.

      • It’s Farscape, not Starscape, but hell, even when half the crew of Stargate: SG-1 was made out of Farscape actors they made a joke about its obscurity(episode “200”, which was, uh, the 200th).

          • Her not being one of the muppets is still undecided…You haven’t seen her with all that blue makeup plus hundreds of “stalks” coming out all over her body.
            I have to say she was one of the more boring and annoying characters there, probably for getting the “wise&spiritual old woman” role. The puppets were better. Well, at least Rygel(little “frog” with whiskers) was.
            And I really liked the original theme music, like in this link, they kinda ruined it with the remixes for later seasons.

      • Hmm, I guess I do know some of them as roles, but not people. It doesn’t help that I don’t own a TV…

        Edward James Olmos – Admiral Adama from the recent Battlestar Galactica series re-make. He was also Gaff in Blade Runner. – Still no.

        David Prowse – you know him better as the guy who wore the costume, but had all his lines stolen by James Earl Jones (ie: Darth Vader). – Oh… Also, how would you recognise him?

        Gil Gerard – Buck Rogers from the 80s. – Ok.

        Lou Ferrigno – Played the Hulk in the 80s TV series. – Nope.

        Virginia Hey – was in the series Starscape (I admit I had to look this one up, because I never watched it, but in doing so I did notice that she was in The Road Warrior). – Still no.

        Jewel Staite – Kaylee from the series Firefly. – Not seen firefly.

        And June Lockhart has a career in TV and film that spans all the way back to 1938, having been on such shows as Lassie and Lost in Space. – had a look at, and still don’t recognise her.

        Sorry 😥 😳

  2. maybe they are comic / webcomic celebrities or something?

    would it be harassment (and jailible) to take lots of pictures of someone just to spite them if you knew they flip like that?

    if I ever accidentally took a picture of someone and they made such a ridiculous demand, I would so start spamming pictures, after making sure the flash is on of course.

    cuse that would be fun

    (does a quick wiki)
    AH I see, shes SENILE! lol

    and really freaking full of herself, buncha small roles save a few…

    um how is she still alive? o.O?

    • She can demand $40 dollars all she wants, but I’m pretty sure in this case the law is on Kevin’s and Lena’s side, since she was in a public place where she would have no reasonable expectation of privacy.

      Or maybe she was just trying to be funny.

      • The person taking the pic was actually shooting someone else, and June was visible over the person’s shoulder. (Sandwich in mouth.) Things got immediately heated from there.

  3. Olmos is a respected and known actor, his most well known role was as that weird gibberish(Chinese-English-Russian mix?) speaking guy alongside Harrison Ford in Blade Runner…And incidentally, some of you might recognize him from a little known TV series of the past few years, one Battlestar Galactica, where he played an obscure role as Commander/Admiral William Adama. Also, he disapproves of your failure to recognize him.

    Jewel Staite is a little known cutey whose most recognizable role is probably as that of Kaylee in Firefly(also some doctor in Stargate Atlantis, but we won’t hold that against her too much). I only wonder if she ever ate any strawberries on that breakfast, and if you’ve got pictures of her doing so for my, uh, inspirational needs. 😉

    Some of the rest I recognize or have an inkling of their existence, but I just wanted to point out these two who have played in 2 series most of the people here have probably watched, and in notable roles.
    That said, I admit I’m not really the fan-type and rarely remembers too many of their names, not to mention I just haven’t watched TV in at least 3 years, and only sparingly before that. The(very) little I do bother watching is courtesy of torrents.

  4. Argh, I’ve tried adding another link to show a pic of Jewel Staite to the comment above but it said I was marked for moderation. The censure program probably crashed due to sheer cuteness on Jewel’s part.

    • I expect it has more to do with the overwhelming number of links you post. I’ll check it out though. Lena added a whitelist, I’ll see if you’re on it.

      (Edit) Okay, you already WERE on the whitelist. Maybe it has tolerances or something. I dunno. I okayed your post though.

      • It might’ve been something about the “overwhelming”(2) number of links, but I prefer to think it was Jewel’s cuteness that messed up the program, as it seems the far more likely explanation.

        BTW, is there a difference between posting “unchanged” links and using the “a href” tags to “disguise” them as part of the sentence? I think I recently posted 2 links in one post without it interfering, but those were “unchanged” ones.

        • I only meant that you post by far and away more links than anyone else here. The software observes trends.

          I couldn’t say if it makes a difference between posting a “naked” link or tagging it as text. My guess is that it doesn’t.

          (I personally don’t really mind the links… except that I then have to go “clear you out” of the filter. Post what makes you happy and doesn’t insult anyone else here.)

          • I saw the word naked in reference to Jewel Staite’s pics and I got excited for a moment. Then utter disappointment.

            Thanks Kevin.

            *goes off to sob in a corner*

        • Oh, and Jewel did not eat any strawberries, though Peter David mentioned it about a dozen times during the meal. (He had waffles with lots and lots of butter and syrup.)

  5. It is pretty amazing what has developed in the last six years or so. *cons used to be regarded by the fanatical such as trekkies and star wars freaks (i say that lovingly), but lately the *cons themselves have started marketing out to everyone and not just the weirdos of the world. Now you do see celebrities, there are more display booths that actually show interesting things to a larger audience, things to buy, people to meet that you actually want to talk to.

    Unfortuneatly this also means that there is less of that original uniqueness and more ‘shopping’ going on with the old time booths being set to a side rather than in the middle where they once were, the middle now you could consider shops. This is not a bad thing you just need to actually know where you want to go, as wandering around can take a very long time.

    It is no more odd to go to a convention than it is to go to a music festival, which is really very exciting. So are we all getting ‘cooler’ or is the world just accepting its’ geekness? 😀

    • Being a geek/nerd is considered “in” now. Even people who have no geek cred at all are claiming to be geeks.

      What we need is some kind of geek qualification test to accompany all convention registrations.

      Stuff like: “Explain THAC0.” or “Who is Christopher Pike?”

      • I had to search to see who this Christopher fellow is, and I still don’t recognize any of the stuff on his list.
        He’s probably only really known to North American audiences at best.
        And as to THAC0, that’s more of an “old geek” thing. I mean, I’ve played a little D&D when I was in 2nd grade that still used that system, and beside it being the “reverse” to the current D20 system I can’t tell you anything else without looking it up.
        The problem is that systems and games change, and all those terms many subcultures invent, there are many countries and audiences who never get to “enjoy” whole swaths of cultural references, or only do so very belatedly. What’s true for the USA and it’s Canadian province(hehe, that’ll rile them canucks) isn’t necessarily true even for the other closely related(hey, it’s all relative) countries like the UK.
        That’s why there’s a site like Urban Dictionary, to(badly) explain all those multitude of euphemisms for different sex acts/derogatory ways to call someone a homosexual. And they also have some gaming-related terms too, or so I’ve heard.

        • THACO is “To Hit AC 0,” also known by the alternate euphemism, “Pain In The Ass”.

          Christopher Pike was the original captain of the (first) Starship Enterprise, with whom they shot the pilot episode, “The Cage”. The actor left the series before any more episodes were shot and another pilot was made with James T. Kirk. (Where No Man Has Gone Before) Later they took footage from that first pilot and combined it with new to make a whole new episode of the regular series called “The Menagerie”. They disfigured Pike for the “present day” scenes so they could use a different actor.

          You can turn in your geek credentials at the post office.

          • I’m not even sure how Armor class works these days…used to be the LOWER your AC was, the better, and even the Gods rarely had an AC of -10.

            Now it works the other way around (though for some reason AC still starts at 10) and in DDO you regularly see guys running around with AC of 50+ (presumably about the equivalent of an “old AC” of -30 or so)

            There must be a LOT more bonuses to hit these days if that’s a “normal” armor class.

            • AC 50?! I bet they just expanded the range for the MMO version so you’ll have lots of “steps” to climb until you get to the Ultra-Super-Mega sets…And then the Ultra-Super-Mega+1 set comes out in the next patch.

            • Armor Class in 3.0 and up is a lot easier to understand. If your attack roll with all modifiers is greater than or equal to the target’s Armor Class, you hit.

              DDO uses the 3.5 rules as it’s basis, but it does not adhere to them 100% and there are many differences, but I do recall that even in pencil & paper 3.5 you could get some very high Armor Classes in the higher levels (and equally high attack bonuses to match).

              • Right. My 12th level 3.5 wizard could (for short periods of time) sustain an armor class of 40 or so on top of a pile of resistances and immunities, and I wasn’t even seriously trying to game the system. I imagine that in an online situation where people spend time in discussion forums doing nothing but working out min/maxing schemes for DAYS… they’d be able to come up with some extraordinarily broken combinations.

                • My level 18 paladin in DDO has an AC of 52 and he still gets hit frequently, I’ve heard of people running around with 70 AC. Not just for one fight on a temporary bonus, that’s what they have constantly because buffs last the entire quest, (or can get refreshed to do so.)

                  As far as I can tell they didn’t mess with the 3.5 rules much to achieve that. Most of it is just min/maxing and being able to farm for +6 stat items and +3 to each stat tomes both of which you can make in PnP, although most people don’t. Although I’m not sure how Eberon’s action points are supposed to work.

                  • [Warning: 3.5 ahead]

                    I forget the exact formula, but the rule of thumb for AC was something along the lines of (keep in mind I forget the exact formula) {Your Level x2} + 20. As a bare minimum.

                    In other words, in regards to AC, it is generally considered that you either min-max that stuff, or ignore it. Otherwise you will be hit too often to make a difference, and the investment in your AC was a waste. There are all sorts of other mitigating factors (for example: DMs who tone attack bonuses down) but it is, for the most part, good advice. I know I’ve heard of ACs well over 100 (over 140 in some examples), and I know when I min/maxed a halfling AC tank for ECL8 I made it so most ECL10 monsters still needed a natural 20 to hit me. Exceptions still existed.

                    In other news, there are all sorts of better ways to mitigate damage than AC. Concealment or other percentage based miss chances were far and away a better option, damage immunities (or effective immunities via DR) are often easier to get than the required ACs, and wizards/codzillas still win at everything forever.

  6. Oh gods, I just heard(via Red vs Blue’s webcomic, but still) that Lucas is gonna make a 3D version of Star Wars, is that true? Is there nothing he will stop at and milk the cow until only skin and dry bones are left?
    Can’t he just die already? He’s looked ripe for a heart attack for at least two decades now.

    • well sometimes its still good. the game Star Wars Old Republic sure was good, (cept the sequel)

      and the upcoming MMO? thats probably gonna be awesome considering whos making it =D

  7. It’s true orald. And even as a huge star wars fan who will probably end up buying said 3D version, I think it’s a terrible waste of time. And you’re right, Lucas just needs to stop already. Make some new shit if you want to keep Star Warsing the peoples. Don’t just rehash the same thing over and over and over. It’s getting old.

    • And I’m not even a big fan of it. The originals were fun, and are the only thing I’ll bother watching, and only the original cut, not the “remastered” one with tons of new CGI inserted in.
      It’s the sheer greediness of the man that rankles me. How much more can he possibly want, and how much more will people agree to pay for it?
      And how do I get in on it?

      Speaking of watching, I’ve just started the 2nd season of Life On Mars(UK version, not the American knock-off I’ve read was made), very amusing, very well done. Highly recommend it. And Liz white is cute.