The
DRAGONMEET aftermath

First off, sorry about
today’s cartoon going up late at Dorktower.com. Even though it’s been
three days since we returned from London, both Judith and I were hit
hard with some variant of the common cold that’s leaner and meaner
for the new Millennium.

It seems to be fading
at last, but my mind’s still a little muddy. On the other hand, what’s
new?


Dragonmeet
itself was magnificent.

The flight over was fantastic,
and the convention itself couldn’t have gone any better. WHAT an experience
it was.

I arrived at Kensington
Town Hall around 9:30 am last Saturday. The new location is fantastic,
and I believe it’s already been booked for next year’s show. It’s
a nice facility and allowed the convention to grow by at least 50%
without any pains whatsoever. It has room to grow still, a good thing
since I’m sure next year’s Dragonmeet will be even bigger.

I had shipped about eight
boxes of product (many thanks to both Esdevium Games and Hogshead
for getting the items there without any headaches or hitches, by the
way), and was rushing to set up my booth by the time the doors were
scheduled to open. They were late, however, which was a good thing
for me, as I just finished getting things in order when, at 10:30
am, the line at the booth began to form.

And form.

And form.

Honestly,
in all my days, I’ve never experienced a response to my work like
this. The line lasted for — get this — five HOURS. Yes, hours. Five…straight…hours.
I sat down at my booth at 10:30 am, and didn’t stop signing things
until 3:30 pm. It wasn’t until the early afternoon that I actually
had a chance to even simply take a drink of water (thanks to Matt
Goodman
of Heliograph
dropping off a bottle in the morning, by the way.) It was just incredible.

EVERYTHING sold. By the
end of the day, I’d sold out of Chez
Dork
, Warhamster
Rally
, PokeTHULHU
and Munchkin.
By lunchtime every single copy of Dork Tower 15 was gone. The
smaller sizes of the t-shirts sold out first, but then people started
buying the sizes that didn’t even fit them! The only t-shirt left
by the end of the day (a XXXL “Warhamster”) I gave to Hogshead Games
superdude James Wallis as too, too small thanks for one of
the most amazing days at a convention I’ve ever had.

And the crowd was absolutely
one of the greatest I’ve ever had the pleasure to meet. Some people
had brought British junk food. Others brought Belgian beer…all the
way from the continent! People had come from Denmark, Sweden, Norway
and the Netherlands, giving the con a nice international feel. But
everyone was pleasant (even though some people had waited in line
for an hour or more), and it was wonderful meeting so many great folks.

By 4 p.m., I got my only
chance to wander around the hall. The gaming tables were full, and
folks seemed to be having a grand time. I was able to hang with gaming
luminaries and all-around good guys such as Don Perrin, Matt
Goodman, Clockworks Games
Aaron Rosenberg, Ground Zero Game‘s Jon Tuffley
(Jon and I will have a really neat announcement out soon, by the way…),
Profantasy‘s Simon
Rogers
and many others.

As you may have guessed,
I didn’t get much of a chance to actually buy anything, but I did
check out the English edition of Apples
to Apples
if having a separate English edition seems a bit
strange, you obviously haven’t seen the need for cards like “The Jarrow
March,” “Delia Smith” and “Cilla Black.”)

But if the day itself was
incredible (there was a rush on the booth at the end of the show which
was almost as crazy as the line at the start), the last two functions
of Dragonmeet for me were just fabulous.

First off was the charity
auction, in which the original artwork for the Dragonmeet t-shirt
(plus some sketches of earlier designs for it), sold for just over
$300 (many thanks to Andy
Beck
for getting them AND giving a goodly amount to a fine
cause). I heard that the first set of PokeTHULHU
miniatures
went for nearly $150 (more sets will be in stores
in February, according to Steve Jackson Games), and a few bottles
of wine I signed went for nearly $100. (Next year I promised to supply
wine from my own cellar, and maybe even brew a special beer for the
auction).

The Guest of Honor talk
was really the cherry on top of it all, though. Many folks waited
patiently and with good humor for it to start as the auction wound
down and I arrived fashionably — if rudely — late. But the audience
was fantastic, politely listening to my incoherent ramblings, and
the room was standing room only. In all honesty, the people at Dragonmeet
couldn’t have made me feel any more welcome if they’d tried.

That night Judith and I
also got to spend time with my sister (whose 30th birthday it was),
my parents and some of my sister’s fab friends, overlooking the Thames
from the South side. It was a beautiful night, and capped a nearly
perfect day. Tower Bridge looked every part the magical Victorian
piece of whimsey it is, its lights sparkling in the crisp December
night like a giant Christmas ornament over the Thames.

Once more, I’ve just got
to say to EVERYONE involved with Dragonmeet, organizers and attendees
alike, thank you SO much for a day that I can honestly say I’ll never
forget. I just can’t say enough about it.

And next year, I’ll even
remember to try and get a drink of water during the show.


In other news, printer
woes continue. Pages left out of the second printing of Dork Shadows
mean the entire press run has to be scrapped and redone. No news yet
on when that will happen (it was a mistake at the printer, so it won’t
cost us anything), but I hope it will be within a week or two. Also,
because the printer is swamped, it looks like Livin’ la Vida Dorka
may not make it into stores until mid-January.

The GOOD news is that the
third printing of PokeTHULHU
is now shipping, and should be in stores soon. Dork Tower #15
is already in some stores, and should hit the majority of the remainder
this Wednesday.

Also, Dork Tower #16
may be in stores early, so look for it in January.


Lastly, my friend and chocolatier
par excellence Markus Candinas
writes to downplay his importance in the creation of the Campari Margarita.
"My contribution was to try it and say ‘This tastes good,’"
he noted. I dispute this and want to make sure he gets co-credit.
However, I did neglect to mention the pivital role of Meg Hamel in
the drink’s creation. So in honor of her, the drink formerly known
as the Camparita is NOW known as the Megarita.

MEGARITA
1 oz. Campari
1.5 oz Tequila
1.5 oz Triple Sec
1 oz Fresh Lime Juice
Shake together. Serve over ice

The day after Dragonmeet,
I was in a pub on High Holborn Street when James Wallis created another
pleasant drink. In honor of the splendid con that had gone on the
day before,we quickly dubbed it the Dragon Mead.

DRAGON MEAD
1.5 oz Gin
Top up with Red Bull
Serve over ice

Now, the ingredients may
seem strange, but the result is tasty indeed. And given the heady
nature of Dragonmeet, with its light-headed exhilaration (did I mention
I didn’t get a chance to eat all day?), Gin and Red Bull seems an
admirably fitting combination


Reasons to be cheerful,
Part III:

The Rushmore movie soundtrack.

Elvis Costello’s "Get Happy"
The Tick live action show, Thursdays on Fox.
The Play What I Wrote .
Memories of Morcambe and Wise.

– John

 

PS: I’ve finally
archived the strips that ran while I was in Britain, and a few that
I’d missed before. They’re now at :

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