Trip to Denver and World Sci-Fi Con, Part 1

18 08 2008

Clearly I am not a real blogger. The World Science Fiction Convention (also cringingly known as “Denvention”) has been over for days. All the real bloggers were on their laptops uploading photos and blow-by-blows in real time. Not me. But just in case there’s any interest left on the insta-net, here’s how it went.

Day 1-2: The drive from Portland to Denver
This is our first road trip with the dog. We bought a rooftop cargo box for the Mini so that the back seats could go down and Teagan could have a large space to nest. She uses it sporadically, mostly sticking to her in-town driving position; back feet on the edge of the back seat, left front paw on the emergency break, right front paw on the passenger seat/passenger’s leg. She never fully relaxes in the car but does okay. Except when we drift over the rumble strip, which terrifies her.
We stay overnight at the Comfort Inn, which is an awesome hotel if you’re bringing a dog. Unfortunately Teagan remains tense, and Marcie stays awake all night to keep her from barking. The next day we determine that the dog bed in the car makes a passable human bed as well. We take turns driving and napping, and pull into Denver mid-afternoon.

Day 3: hiking in the Rockies with my Dad, Marcie, Teagan, and Tycho and Casey (my parents’ dogs). We went up a gorgeous valley near Mosquito Pass, checked out an old abandoned mine. Tycho taught Teagan to hunt for marmots. Good times had by all.

Day 4: We visit the art museum with my folks. Last time we were in town it was still under construction. Rumor has it the crazily angled architecture makes some people seasick, but we all dig it. After that we go to the convention center for early badge pick-up. Practically no lines at all, a big switch from Anime Expo or ComicCon. The guy who hands me my badge is amiable and nerdy, giving me a warm welcome feeling. These are my people. We are here to celebrate my brother Erik’s 40th birthday, which technically was back in April, but we can delay the festivities to accommodate the roaming international science fiction convention, back in Denver after 27 years.

Day 5: Wednesday. We get this party started. There is a panel on giant monster movies in the first time slot, and obviously I am obliged to attend. Marcie and I find seats a few minutes early. Did I say these are my people? Waiting for this panel to start, I begin to feel like I’ve strayed a little too far into the nerd underworld. We are surrounded by PhDs in B-movie folklore, and they are trading arcane trivia about Ed Wood, Roger Corman, and some guy called Newcastle. One woman is spinning raw wool into yarn while waxing poetic about Ray Harryhausen. What have we gotten ourselves into?

Much of the panel goes like this:
Audience member: I think I saw this movie on tv when I was a kid with a giant chicken…?
Panelist: Oh yeah, that’s Guilala in The X From Outer Space, 1967, Shochiku Studios.
There’s also an interesting discussion about Cloverfield, and whether 9/11 killed the daikaiju genre. Which it couldn’t have, since the whole thing started as a response to the bombing of Hiroshima…okay, clearly I do belong here.
The most shocking revelation of the panel (and possibly the whole convention) was Pulgasari. Apparently, when Kim Jong Il was just a young tyrant-to-be, his father kidnapped a South Korean director and imported a Japanese crew so that L’il Kim could make himself a monster movie.
Sound too stupid to be true? Look it up.

Next time: galactic empire, genre-bending, goggles.

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