Adventures at Connecticon – The Convention itself (Part 2)

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Part 2 of a two part (fun stuff that happened at the convention) post

In the interest of brevity and sanity, I’ve isolated a few of the more exciting events from the weekend below:

Hypnotism is Scary

Part of my volunteer work involved hanging out by the “panel operations” booth and making sure all the panelists had what they needed. Good practice for giving my own panel, and I made a lot of friends at the same time. But, unfortunately, that also meant that I had to help out the panelists with some time-intensive tasks… like playing cameraman for a hypnotist.

I had offered to help the hypnotist out on the assumption that I’d have backup – specifically from a cool woman I’d met named Emily. Unfortunately… she seemed to have other plans, and thus I got left to the wolves – alone at the panel running the camera, with no hope for relief or backup.

To be honest, the whole idea of hypnotism kinda weirds me out – the whole idea that people are so suggestible that they can be, effectively, controlled is just strange. And scary: am I that suggestible? I hope not… my entire persona is built around the idea that I am myself, and that I’m in control of my own brain.

But the show itself was rather entertaining. A few of the “volunteers” were obviously faking it, but some of them were quite impressively controlled – you could tell just by looking at them that they were 100% in thrall to this guy. The best portion was when he brought their friends up, and then gave the subjects X-ray vision… Seeing your best friend naked is bad enough, but then he switched their genders. Strange stuff, but entertaining none the less.

Overall, I enjoyed myself… but I don’t think I’ll be seeking any hypnotists out anytime soon, thank you very much.

Also, as a side note: there was a guy confined to a wheelchair at the panel.  He had an arrow in his knee.  This was one of the best “I took an arrow to the knee” references that I saw the entire weekend.

The Art of Storytelling

When I first got to the convention and picked up a schedule, I was a bit saddened – nothing really leapt out at me. Sure, there were a lot of semi-interesting panels going on that Allison and T told me about, but nothing was speaking to me on a personal level.

Nothing except for one panel – The Art of Storytelling. I didn’t realize it at first, but the panelist was the same guy that T and I had seen last year when he ran a whole discussion on the history and science of brewing. The guy’s a smart one, and this panel was looking to be just as amazing.

Unfortunately, I arrived more than a little late… 30min late to a 90min panel. I’ll freely admit it – I was distracted by snacks and naps in the hotel room. But once I did decide to head over for I made record time across the river – always an interesting thing to burst into a room, sweating and panting, where they’re telling a story about a dark sorcerer who’s trying to take over the city.

What?

The panel leader was teaching via the “trial by fire” tactic – people were getting up and talking. Talking about… anything, whatever came to mind. And then they’d sit down, and everyone else would critique it. Rough, for people unused to criticism, but the best way to do it in my opinion.

I didn’t get to stand up and take a stab at it, unfortunately, but I did come away with a huge number of little tips and trick that I used during my own presentation. The interesting thing is that we didn’t focus at all on the content – instead we only looked at the presentation of that content. How we spoke, our tone and pacing, and even our body position while speaking.

It was awesome, and I am 100% convinced that it was worth it… even though I did miss out on a nice long nap.

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