Nauticon 2013 — My Liver and I are Not on Speaking Terms

I have been told that it’s not the journey, but the destination…but I have also been told that it’s not the destination, it’s the journey. Often I have heard both variations coming from the same source, the duplicity of which has helped contribute to the foundation of my neurosis and sarcastic wit that lingers to this day. In any event, both the journey towards and the festivities of Nauticon 2013 contributed to a quite wondrous weekend of partying and drinking.

Well, what I can remember of it, at least…

Thursday afternoon was when my journey started, though we didn’t actually wind up in Provincetown, Massachusetts until the day after. I traveled up to Brooklyn to hang out with DJ Ranma for the day, and got to experience his own private Idaho for the first time. He had shown me pictures of his shoebox-like studio apartment, but I had imagined it to be a little bit larger than the pictures portrayed. Granted, with my current living situation I am in no position to judge anyone’s housing (not that I’m doing that now). Throughout the day I got some work done, including my hypothetical best Summer Olympics opening ceremony ever. Throughout the night, another friend came over and we all watched the last episode of Burn Notice before retiring and getting up early the day after. We were out the door and on the road by 7:00 AM; while I slept on the floor and it bothered my back more than a little bit, it was nothing a heated seat in my car couldn’t fix. We were bombing up the highways between Brooklyn and the very ass end of Cape Cod, making excellent time on the trip up (construction traffic and one-lane highways notwithstanding). Navigating around New York City wasn’t as big of an issue as people would make it out to be, but I chalk that up to not going straight into the heart of the city and having a reliable GPS system…mostly reliable, anyway. Out on the highways it was smooth sailing, but throughout the city it was all too happy to drop the GPS signal on a moment’s whim. “In a quarter mile, turn right onto—oh hey look a penny!”

Once we got there, we found the hotel, the Provincetown Inn, easily enough, though we decided to explore the town a little bit. I immediately took a liking to the place once I found out it had free parking. That’s just what I wanted to hear after being taken to the fucking cleaners after the last few cons. One thing both DJ and I noticed was that it was a very gay friendly town, as evidenced by the cavalcade of rainbow flags on many of the homes and storefronts—and by we both noticed, I mean I was just about to point it out when DJ beat me to the punch. One thing we learned was that the main activities of the convention didn’t start until 3:00 in the afternoon. Well…not that I was having trouble staying awake on the drive up (a rare imbibing of coffee on my part certainly helped), but the logic behind it was that it was a 21+ con, and that many were partying the night before and may or may not be hung over; they’re not going to want to get up that early to go to a panel or a photo shoot when they can’t even see straight. Sound reasoning, actually. So we found our room, unpacked, and dicked around for a little while.

The con had taken over the Provincetown Inn completely, though I did hear there was an overflow hotel nearby; numerous bed-and-breakfast establishments dotted the streets around the hotel, but other than that, I wasn’t sure which one specifically they were talking about. The game room was one of the smaller ball rooms set aside with numerous board and card games for perusal…though there weren’t any video game systems anywhere.

There were three arcade cabinets, and this one was the only one not broken. It's a Mortal Kombat cabinet. With Marvel Vs. Capcom deco. And Street Fighter II graphics. And the game on it is Tekken 3.

There were three arcade cabinets, and this one was the only one not broken. It’s a Mortal Kombat cabinet. With Marvel Vs. Capcom deco. And Street Fighter II graphics. And the game on it is Tekken 3.

Our guess was they couldn’t get anyone to loan out a system for the weekend. Instead of a traditional artists’ alley or dealers’ room, there was an “Artists’ Colony” in the “quiet” section of the hotel (i.e. the part where there weren’t any major parties scheduled to happen). People would turn their rooms into their booths, and sell things directly out of them. This was what the last Steampunk World’s Fair I attended tried to do…though they ran into considerably less trouble this time around. One vendor was selling glass beer steins with different designs frosted on them. As soon as I noticed the silhouettes of various Sailor Senshi, I asked where the Mercury one was. One $15 transaction later, I was carrying my new Sailor Mercury beer stein back to my room (DJ would later get one with Venus on it). There was a bar in the hotel as well, and they served a limited menu until around 5:00, but you could order drinks at any time—convenient, if you’re a philistine who drinks before dinnertime. The food they had there was good, though.

None of the panels started until 3:00, but the first thing we officially attended was the opening ceremonies at 8:00.

CAPTAIN ON THE BRIDGE

CAPTAIN ON THE BRIDGE

We recorded it for the site and our YouTube channel. After that, DJ and I wandered around town looking for some dinner. We eventually landed at the Mayflower restaurant, as he had a jonesing for a fabled lobster roll, but we wanted to find it on the cheap (without it being imitation lobster; thankfully we got both). The parking lot I parked my car in was a very literal supply-and-demand operation; parking cost us $5 in advance to park, but by the time we got there to leave, it was $20. Yikes.

There were special appearances by +2 Comedy, as well as Barfleet, a party troupe themed after Star Trek. Their room party was not only an official event for the convention, but their room was only a few rooms down from our room (I told you we were in the party block). They offered free little 8 oz. cups for drinking, but these looked like courtesy cups you’d get at a Wawa. You could also drop $3 on a 16 oz. plastic cup stamped with both theirs and Nauticon’s logos. A very sound investment, so I purchased one. They had several specialty drinks there, including one special drink called the Yukon Torpedo that gets you especially fucked up. I can’t remember for the life of me what was in it, though, only that it tasted good. There was another drink that was advertised as being Dr. McCoy’s personal stock, whose name escapes me, but it tasted like fruit punch and flat ginger ale.

The first actual panel I attended was at 1:00 in the morning, and entitled “Name That Drunken Injury.” At least, it would have been; when I showed up, there was no one in the room but a staffer, who wasn’t running the panel. I instead went over to the “YouTube Terror Hour Part Deux” instead. It was a barrage of mind-breakingly fucked up clips from YouTube that someone actually made and released to the viewing public. Aside from being horrors that man was not meant to know, I was good and smashed from the Barfleet party (as well as various room parties I dropped in and out on) so the breaking would only last for a few hours—days, at worst. At about the hour mark, they played something…evil that involved an infinite recursion into the mouth of Shrek, combined with some insanely composed cover of…something. I got up from my seat, went “Nope!” and walked out of the panel.

Also, it turned out that the Drunken Injury panel started late. So I could’ve saved myself the brain breaking. I spent the rest of the night drinking more and playing “Apples Against Humanity”, a fusion of Apples to Apples and Cards Against Humanity that our roommate put together.

I ended up waking up around nine-ish the following morning, surprisingly not hung over. I hardly ever feel hung over no matter how much alcohol I drink the night before, but I always feel surprised by it regardless. The hotel was offering a complimentary continental breakfast for the con goers, which I decided to partake of. They had mostly dry cereals, fruit, bread, bagels, and waffle makers of dubious reliability. It was alright, but then again, what do you want for nothing?

DJ and I decided to walk around town for a while to get some lunch, and while we did, we parted ways for a bit after getting some coffee. I took the liberty of exploring more thoroughly, my sights set on something very particular. See, one of the curiosities that struck my attention was a building called King Hiram’s Lodge.

Of course, I wouldn't put it past my brethren to try to drink me under the table.

Of course, I wouldn’t put it past my brethren to try to drink me under the table.

A masonic lodge, all the way out here? I had seen it the night before, but we couldn’t get to it. Today, however, I made it a point to check out the place as much as I could. The lodge’s door (located around the side) was open, and I tenuously entered. No one else was around, though I could hear voices coming from upstairs and downstairs. That’s when the master of the lodge came down to greet me. I told him that I was a brother of a lodge in New Jersey, and he took the time to show me around and give me the abridged history of the place—like how it was founded in 1795 and its first master was Paul Revere himself…and that masonic jewelry and emblems of officers were smithed

by him personally and that the lodge had one of only twelve full sets in the world. Their lodge was very beautiful, and they were very hospitable to me. I deeply enjoyed the visit to their lodge.

Well shit…now I don’t want to drink the rest of the weekend, because I’m worried I won’t remember a goddamn thing about the place!

Later on, I went back to the hotel, and DJ and I took to the pool. It was a 60,000-gallon puddle of surprise-sobriety, as that water was cold as fuck-all. Granted we only stayed in it a little while, mostly to say we did, and to chat up some others chilling by the poolside.

After some quick dinner, we found ourselves exploring the con more and more. I landed at the panel called the “Kara-uh-oh Animu Drink-a-long.”

B

asically, for about an hour, everyone in the room did Jell-O shots to the openings to various cartoons going back to the 1970s.

The Squid Pope gave this panel his blessing.

The Squid Pope gave this panel his blessing.

And these weren’t small, 1 oz. piddling little Jell-O shots, either; they

were made from those cheap little plastic sauce cups you get with your take-out orders…at least thrice the size of what I was expecting. I was doing them like a boss, as was half the room (they made a lot of shots), while the host was turning into a sloppy drunk while doing them. Of course just about everyone else was singing; I was not. See, I’m not all that big on nostalgia; while I admit they had lots of great shows’ theme songs to go through, they were taken from a rather unpleasant time in my life, and just hearing them was starting to dredge up bad memories. And since the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, I wasn’t about to unearth all those memories to sing along to a bunch of old cartoons. The truly bathos-laden part of the came at the very end, when they got to the first opening theme of Pokémon. Because of course they’d play that. DJ came to the pane late and recorded some of it. And with me in my Ash-in-Hoenn cosplay in attendance, he started pointing to me wildly, apparently expecting me to get up and lead the drunken revelry. As I told him afterward, I don’t know all the lyrics to “Gotta Catch ‘Em All!”; hell, I know more of the lyrics to “Mezase Pokémon Master.”

I’ll never forget the look he gave me at that remark.

Immediately after, the panel “Beer Pong and Cahd [sic] Games” was held. It was more of the same drunken revelry, but this time with bona fide drinking games! The three bigger attractions were beer pong (natch), bobbing for nips, and Battleshots. Bobbing for nips was like bobbing for apples, but instead of apples were these little single-serve mini liquor bottles. Duct tape was placed around the label, possibly to disguise the bad ones from the good ones. I got one that tasted horrible—I presumed it was Skyy vodka—so I decided not to try again. Instead I ended up playing not one but two games of Battleshots—daunting tasks, yes, even if it was on a gimped-out 6×5 board instead of a full regulation 10×10 board. I won both games, and more than one person got to tell everyone they got drunk under the table by Ash Fucking Ketchum. Good times.

I wound up at a few other room parties, including a return appearance at Barfleet. I ended up going to bed early that night, mostly because I had a long drive ahead of me the following day. I did stop at the “Taking Your Characters to the Couch” panel, which applied psychiatric principles to character development, as well as discussing which characters could benefit from counseling. After that, we chatted a little more with some other con goers before loading up the car and hitting the road again. The drive back was fairly fun, as my car ended up going higher and higher in its MPG reading; by the time I got home after dropping DJ off in Brooklyn, I was getting an additional mile to the gallon on my car…another bit of good news!

This was obviously the most I’ve ever traveled in a car to a convention (Metrocon a few years ago doesn’t count, as that was by plane). I have to say, the travel up there was very smooth, with almost no delays and no major incidents to contend with. It didn’t have the feel of a typical convention, not helped by the fact that there were so few panels period, much less ones I went to. An excuse to drink to our heart’s content and not have to worry about any underage attendees? Sold! I only had the one cosplay this year, but next year the entire group will be together, and more than one of us has the idea to dress up as Popeye and Bluto and/or Gilligan and the Skipper.

Hopefully my liver will be able to speak to me without being as condescending douche by then.

Ari Rockefeller

Ari Rockefeller

When he is not training Pokémon and being the very best, the Master of the Written Word churns out convention, video game, anime and movie reviews like clockwork. No one is more productive and dangerous with a pen and paper (or, in this case, a keyboard).

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