Every day I wake up and think to myself "oh man... one day closer to Dragoncon." Its one of the things I look foward to every year. If you are a sci-fi/fantasty/comic/anything nerd its one of the best places to be. Tons of interesting people, tons of things to do and its also in the middle of one of the most interesting cities in the US. I live here and I still cant run out of things to do here. The guy above me covered a lot of the basics. Ive been going for a looong time and I agree with him on alot. Get a room, dont use the elevators and try not to eat at that food court. The lines for that food court are ridiculous. Theres a 24 hour Mcdonalds near by as well as a hard rock cafe and a few other various places to eat. The best place ive found is right next to Sols Liquor store. I forget how to exactly get there but if you just ask anyone where sols liquor store is, they should be able to tell you. If I was standing on a street corner I could point you there ... anyway it has great wings and fried chicken but theres never, ever a line. Other than that, plan out exactly what you want to do, do it and then enjoy the rest of the con. I always try and go to something ive never experienced before or meet people ive never met. I usually go for the parties and the gaming though, so im sure most people get a lot more out of it than I do. Thats not to say it isnt ridiculously fun!
Speaking of humility, I have something to say. I wish I'd have said it then, but here you go.
"So what's all this about?" was a question that followed us in Montreal. I tried to be as succinct as possible in my answer to limit further questions. My answer went generally like this:
"You know that kid who was picked last in kickball? The one who was really good at science and math? The one who didn't get a lot of action in high school? Well, imagine that kid grows up and gets together with other pissed off kids like him on a humor site. We share in the comedy for our own reasons, but we laugh because we're wounded. Once a year, we get drunk together."
Explaining it got me thinking about goons. An old friend once said "It's a community for people who never had a community." and I feel she was dead on with that statement. We are the sarcastic, the critics, the jokers, the alienated. We are people who never shook the feeling we somehow just don't fit in. We don't quite belong to this world, so we retreat to others and sometimes sequester ourselves there. We find it in our own studies and fields of expertise, hobbies, projects, websites, books, games, music, comics, anime, cars, guns, or something else in which we can own and carve out a niche to find that comfort or balance we find otherwise lacking.
We're nerds. And some of us are a little further along that road of figuring out exactly what that means to us. Some of us still have a ways to go, but that's okay. It's okay because we're not alone in this, and that is the last immutable reason that keeps me coming back. Because I know I'm not alone here. I am surrounded by people just like myself, some more different than others, but with the same need to just feel all right. It's why we log in when we're having a shit day. Why we joke and discuss and share and scorn. To feel that commonality that exists between us as an awkward class of people.
When we get asked why do we participate in this, why we pack our bags, spend hundreds of dollars, take off work, explain our actions to parents, lovers, co-workers, friends, family, border guards and bar owners, and travel so far to meet people we've never met before we needn't feel embarassed or foolhardy for doing something so unconventional. It takes a lot of guts to take that step. It's courageous to depart from that isolated world we've concocted and one step closer to being that person we've always thought we could be.
It's all too easy to sit back and criticize the flaws and faults in the world around us and in other people. Moreover, it gets tedious. Sometimes you have to relax. Sometimes you have to take a risk and be brave enough to create something new. We forged new memories and friendships. We have stories galore of hookers and Brendan Frasier, of tam-tams and drinking and insects and the casino and poutine and deps and strippers and larping and clubbing and other encounters and endeavors. We celebrated in the streets of Montreal and lived our own lives, irreverent, unburdened and glorious.
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The Something Awful Forums are, by far, the greatest and most entertaining community on the internet. From the Comedy Goldmine to Photoshop Phriday, our forums are pretty much the lone island refusing to be engulfed by the sea of stupidity that is the internet. While sections like the Comedy Goldmine and Photoshop Phriday showcase the intentionally hilarious forum creations, we've failed to reveal the coin's flip side. The Great Goon Database is a depository of unintentionally amusing Something Awful Forum quotes demonstrating the darker side of SA. Special thanks to Goon "LittleJoe" for collecting and sorting these gems.