Nauticon 2014 – I was Drinking When I Wrote This, Forgive Me if I Go Astray

There are few things I love more than going to conventions, be they for anime, video games, miscellaneous geek stuff, or, like this one, partying and drinking (which occurs with the aforementioned types of cons, but not always as the focus). And while I love the concept as a whole, there are things I don’t necessarily like or could do without in regards to them. And my weekend going up to Nauticon in Provincetown, had these…as well as plenty of good things, don’t get me wrong.

My excursion started on Friday, the first day of the con. I had managed to do some very crafty rescheduling and trading of shifts with coworkers that resulted in me having off Thursday through Sunday. I mention Thursday because I was under the impression that we would be driving up Thursday—at a relatively leisurely place—and be rested and ready for Friday (even if they do start the events in the middle of the afternoon on Friday). One- and possibly two-day cons notwithstanding, spending the first day of the con traveling to said con always feels like it takes away from the experience. I did that for an Otakon one year while being particularly strapped for cash, and even that felt like a two-day con. And speaking of strapped for cash, I took special care to squirrel away my money from my bank accounts on the off chance that some greedy/entitled/overreaching creditor decided to go into my account and clean it out. Again. I’m not particularly proud of this practice, but I’d sooner break every bone in the hands and fingers of these money grubbing shits than let them take even a penny of mine that they aren’t entitled to. I got up early, around 7-ish, finalized my affairs on the home front, and then left for the weekend at around eight. I actually putzed around for a while, considering I was told to arrive sometime after ten, and the way I drive the Night Writer, I would’ve made it to DJ’s in about an hour and a half, maybe. I’m that good. We ended up leaving sometime around eleven, after having packed and settled affairs up in NYC. Before too long we make it out of the city and to the roads leading out and further into New England.

Complain all you want about the toll roads in New Jersey—and people do—but I spent nearly $20 on three separate toll booths just getting out of New York state.

While I was struck with a sense of familiarity as I drove through the New England area, I still had on my GPS the entire time. What struck me as especially useful was how it would occasionally suggest a shorter (read: less time) route just when it looked like it was getting more congested. I don’t know if my phone was scanning local traffic reports in the area or if the satellites were reading something I wasn’t, but I found the feature incredibly helpful. Of course it did lead to me driving around some of the urban and/or back roads areas of Connecticut and Rhode Island, which, should weather conditions be poor, looked like the perfect start of a Stephen King novel. We made good time, but got sidetracked thanks to a combination of shopping for food for the con, booze runs, and lunch for ourselves. We managed to get plenty of food for the weekend, even with a surplus, for less than $20 between the two of us. Of course we made a mistake by not remembering there was a liquor store within walking distance of the hotel. Whoops.

Like I said, events didn’t start until after 4 PM, but we didn’t arrive until after 5, though it didn’t bother us either way. We got the room, which was a cape view room (the back opened out to the cape as opposed to the ocean), and quickly settled in. The Provincetown Inn was small, but comfy for a con like this. Again, the “quiet” rooms and the Artists’ Colony was located in the main building of the hotel, and there were plenty of nice things for sale, including people I remembered from last year. One vendor, whom I purchased my Sailor Mercury beer stein from, also had the mana and Ravnica guild symbols from Magic: the Gathering. I stopped in there on a whim and found a Boros guild symbol shot glass. Yoink!

Friday afternoon was spent putzing around the con, until Opening Ceremonies, DJ and I walked around town looking for dinner. A lot of the places in Provincetown weren’t open as late as we liked, mostly because it wasn’t the peak season (yet) and not everything had adjusted to the summer schedule yet. Sadly I didn’t get to get at the Then, later that evening, I found my way over to one of the officially hosted parties of the con, the Kill la Kill (My Liver) party, run by the Debauchery Keg Party Krew. Only a small part of me was concerned it’d be fully Kill la Kill-themed; turns out they just really liked the pun. It was fun, with plenty to drink all around, and for whatever reason I didn’t even get a hangover the next morning.

In fact, the following morning, I awoke at a relatively decent time, and wasn’t fatigued at all. I can only imagine people pointing to a psychological problem with me that I have some of my best night’s sleep after getting drunk as fuck-all the night before. But that’s neither here nor their. Of course, I didn’t plan on driving anywhere regardless, so I partook of the complimentary a la carte breakfast buffet that morning. It was the typical spread, breads, cereals, oatmeal, fruit…the only “hot” item was the waffle irons. Which sucked. The iron didn’t always cook them fully through, and if you didn’t use enough batter, you got some half-formed waffle scaffolding. Very unappealing, and left a foul taste in your mouth. Other than that, and the dodgy timer on the industrial toaster, it was alright.

I didn’t do much of anything for the morning except wander around the hotel and chat up a few people in the main lobby, playing some 3DS stuff and an occasional board game. On noon on Saturday, I attended my first official panel, “Anime/Live-action Wrestling.” Seeing that, I immediately thought that it would involve either wrestling anime, professional wrestling and anime crossing over in uncomfortably familiar (for me, anyway) fashions, but it wasn’t any of that. It was a debate on what kind of entertainment was better—anime or live action programming. It was severely underwhelming. Also, there were enough people in attendance to count on one hand. And for a while, I was the only one in attendance, and there was (very forced) audience participation. It was super-awkward.

I did eat at the bar afterward, getting a snack and something to drink. Later on, and in that same room, I went to the Cosplay Vogue competition, mostly because it sounded interesting enough—a combination of cosplaying and Madonna Vogue-style showing off. The host, Ebro, really got everyone into it, both on the stage and in the audience. The winners got free passes to visit Nauticon next year. So good for them!

Later on, I visited a panel called “Geek’s Guide to the World of Kink.” It was about bondage and kink play, and on the surface, it sounded really informative and interesting. Unfortunately the people running it couldn’t go more than two minutes without talking about his own derailing stories and anecdotes. It was very distracting. I only stayed for about fifteen minutes before getting out of there.

In the main lobby there was a long table set up with a very elaborate black-and-white line-art drawing, covering two tables. All throughout the weekend, con goers were welcome to sit down and start coloring it in at their leisure, and from what I understood, they actually got it down by the end of the con. It was also a good place for handheld and some board gaming to take place, and I and a few other actually got a good game of Monopoly going for a while before they had to leave to pursue dinner or other con activities.

That evening, DJ and I attended other parties offered up by other con goers, including the Barfleet-hosted party. They put on another impressive display again this year, even though rumor had it that their famous Yukon Torpedo drink won’t be the same, as one of the key ingredients used to make it is no longer available. On the bright side, DJ got made into the newest member of their fleet. So good for him.

Sunday was a day of winding down and more recovery (mostly; I again didn’t have a hangover). While we did get all packed up in good time, we were also invited to eat lunch with Barfleet. We landed at a place called Russ & Marie’s Marconi Beach BBQ and Seafood Restaurant. You could smell the place from about a mile away; the massive smoker smoking a whole pig out front would do that. Everyone ate like kings and queens, and I had a masterpiece of a sandwich called the “Porkinator.” Sliced pork, pulled pork, sliced ham, and bacon, piled on a roll with cole slaw (forgot to ask to have it without it, stupid me) and two massive onion rings. The sandwich was nearly a foot tall and came with a big knife skewered in it to keep it in place. I was tempted to eat the thing sideways, like an ear of corn. That was the last true con-related thing we did, as we finally packed up and departed, finally getting back to our respective homes late at night.

I love going to Nauticon. Ever since I was turned onto the con last year, it’s been one of my favorites. Not just the 21+ nature of the convention, but having the run of the little hotel was always fun, and believe it or not we (the collective attendees) were respectful of the venue. That said, the issues I have with it are that a) it’s far; it has a huge commitment in travel, and being on the absolute end of Cape Cod in Massachusetts, it leaves only one real driving option…and god forbid if they ever make that Route 6 a toll road. And b) on the off season—which the con was scheduled at the tail end of—there is almost nothing to do in Provincetown. It’s a nice place, don’t get me wrong, it just has little going for it otherwise. And the ferry from Boston is another hour on a boat (which doesn’t allow cars on it, from what I heard), and another expense I don’t need to get out there. But all things considered, they do make the place incredibly fun for the three days I was there. Perhaps next year we’ll arrive on Thursday, to better enjoy the convention weekend.

And you know we’ll be back, because on that Sunday they announced the theme for next year. It’ll be Greek themed—togas, gods, all that good stuff. DJ and I both turned our heads to look at each other slowly when we heard that. I’m not implying we’re gonna be doing our own little Animal House Delta Tau Chi setup in our room (I’m explicitly stating it), but click here for a look into my future.

See you next year!

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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