Yes, it’s the post you’ve all been waiting for: the Gen Con Online review! Before I get started, I want to apologize for this post going up much later than I’d planned. Between burning loads of energy on Gen Con Online and work ramping back up (in addition to general pandemic stuff taking a toll on my mental health), I didn’t quite have the spoons to write this up until now. Better late than never, though, right?
First off, I want to talk about this year’s blog coverage for Gen Con. You might have noticed there were only posts for day 0.5 and day 1, and then nothing. It’s not that I didn’t do anything on days 2 through 4 – I did a lot. With Gen Con held online this year, my brain wasn’t quite in the same headspace it usually is. Instead of spending the last hour of my day writing up a post, my mind was all “eh, we’re home, why do we need to write a Crafty Nerd post every day?” I was feeling bad about not writing on Friday and Saturday, but on Sunday, it hit me: this isn’t a typical Gen Con, and maybe I didn’t need to do my traditional Gen Con coverage. So, here we are, wrapping things two weeks after the convention!
Day one of Gen Con was a lot of fun! So much fun, in fact, that I didn’t have enough energy left after the Quilting 201 workshop last night to actually post this, so there’ll be two posts today! I doubt anyone will mind, though.
Day one of Gen Con Online was a lot of fun! I spent the morning excitedly waiting for the opening ceremonies, listening to music, and writing out questions for the folks I’m interviewing this year. While the energy was a little different this year, it was still exciting to watch the opening ceremonies. They even did the ceremonial charity dice roll! (It’s not Gen Con without the ceremonial opening dice roll.) I enjoyed the added benefits of actually being able to see and hear all of what went on this time – which isn’t always possible in person at the opening ceremonies, with so many people crowded into one space.
The online exhibit hall experience: The Looking Glass
Once the convention officially began, I spent some time browsing The Looking Glass, Gen Con’s creative way of replicating the exhibit hall experience online.
I love the way the folks at Gen Con put together The Looking Glass – I think it’s the closest you can get to replicating the exhibit hall experience in webpage format while making it easy for everyone to access. You can either scroll around through the field of logos for each vendor and click on one that catches your eye, or use the search and filtering tools to find a specific vendor. I’ve already done a little shopping thanks to The Looking Glass, and I’ll likely do more before the con is done.
Favorite Gen Con experiences still happening online
One of the things I wasn’t sure I’d experience this year was the fun of running into folks I know at the convention. While the Gen Con Discord server has a lot of people hanging out there, not everyone who’s participating in the con is on Discord. I wasn’t really expecting to see anyone I knew on Discord – so imagine my surprise when I ran into my friend Daniel! (He and Kasi and I ran a City of Heroes LARP together back in 2018.) We were both excited to bump into each other, and we talked a little bit about Gen Con Online and me possibly joining his Wednesday Dungeons and Dragons game. Sure, it might not be the same as running into my Kishar buddies while hanging out with my co-worker Rachel, but I’ll take what I can get!
One of my favorite things to do at Gen Con involves wandering around the Indiana Convention Center. Whether I’m checking out everyone’s cosplays or just enjoying the atmosphere, I love wandering around the convention center. And while I may not be able to do it in person this year, I was able to do it in Minecraft!
It might not have been full of people, but I was still so very excited to wander through the convention center in Minecraft. It’s an amazing and detailed re-creation of the convention center, and I won’t lie, I almost cried while walking through it – I miss the in-person Gen Con experience so much. My regular readers know this is the highlight of my year, and the online experience isn’t quite the same. I’m glad I got to enjoy a few of the things I love about Gen Con, though, even though they were a little different this year.
Quilting 201: I swear I’m going to finish this quilt during Gen Con
The event I was most excited about this year was Quilting 201 with Toni of Quiltoni!
While I didn’t get quite as far as everyone else did (I was running out of steam by the end of the workshop), I did get some of my quilt laid out and ready for piecing! (And ran out of table space in the process, haha) I had a lot of fun working on my quilt, and I’m going to try my hardest to get the top pieced together before the end of Gen Con. I really want to make this quilt, and I’ve finally got it started – I can’t let it sit unfinished now, can I?
And that, my friends, was my first day at Gen Con Online! I hung out online with fellow con-goers, bought a bunch of stuff, and even got some crafting done – I’d say it was a good day.
Happy Gen Con Eve, folks! Sure, this isn’t going to be a typical Gen Con, but I’m going to do my usual daily Gen Con coverage anyway. This is going to be a Gen Con for the history books, with it being entirely online this year, and I want to document it. (My inner Ëlinyr is coming out a little bit, with her need to write everything down, haha.) So, here we go with Gen Con Online, day 0.5!
Socializing with folks on the Gen Con Online Discord
One of the big things I’ve been enjoying this year has been the Gen Con Discord server. It’s no secret that I’m a huge introvert, and shy as heck to boot – which makes socializing in person difficult for me at times. With the Gen Con Discord, though, everything’s through text, which is much easier for me. I’ve been having so much fun talking with others on Discord! I’ve mainly been hanging out in the general chat, cosplay, and crafting channels and enjoying lots of great conversation. Plus, occasionally names I recognize will pop up in the chat — like when I saw Rubiee of Dryad Tea in the general chat last night. I totally had a fangirl moment, haha. (After all, I’ve rambled about Dryad Tea before!)
I almost cried when I saw your response. It means so much to me that people love what I do (and me, I guess? Lol)
Thank you for brightening my day 💚
With the Gen Con Discord making it easier for this nerd to talk to people, I’ve actually been brave enough to ask people for interviews. That’s right, this year I’m actually going to have some Gen Con interviews on the blog! Stay tuned for those interviews as part of my Gen Con coverage!
Preparing the house for Gen Con Online
I’m trying to make the house feel a little more like Gen Con — well, as much as I can without going too overboard. To make it feel a little more like Gen Con, I made a couple of signs to hang up around the house.
Welcome to Gen Con Online, hosted at home!
We’ve got quite the selection of games here in the Game Library.
And yes, we’ve even got our own press room.
I’ve also done some work on cleaning up my craft area since I’ll be participating in a live-streamed quilting event!
Plus, I’ve readied my home office for a couple of days of gaming and fun. My computer desk is Gen Con Central, haha.
And I’ve also got my new chief yarn tester on standby for craft supervision, too – he’s taking over for Steve since my living situation has recently changed.
What I’ve got going on tomorrow
Here’s a sneak peek of what I’ll be doing tomorrow!
Hanging out on the Gen Con Discord, of course – I’m Beth (The Crafty Nerd) (she/her) there, feel free to say hi if you see me!
The Quilting 201 workshop, which I am super excited for!
Flailing around when the Looking Glass opens, and Gen Con exclusive merchandise becomes available, like the super limited edition Genevieve plushie from My Little Demon.
Tomorrow evening I’ll post a summary of what I got up to, so keep an eye out for my next Gen Con Online post. Otherwise, that’s a wrap for day 0.5 – I’ll see everyone tomorrow for the first day of Gen Con Online!
Folks, there are only two more days until Gen Con Online. How did Gen Con sneak up on me like that? I’m usually so hyperfocused on Gen Con for the month and a half leading up to the con. If this were a typical year, I’d be vibrating with excitement right now, packing my costumes and snacks for the next few days.
However, this year is definitely not typical. (We all know that by now, though.) That doesn’t mean I’m not excited about Gen Con Online – it’s a tiny taste of normalcy in an otherwise ridiculous year. And I’m going to try my best to emulate some of my favorite things about Gen Con right here at home.
Curious about what I’m planning for Gen Con Online? Read on!
Nobody should be surprised that I’m planning on cosplaying at home. I mean, why not? All my costumes are here, and I’ll take any excuse to wear them. They may all be cosplay reruns, but who cares? I doubt J and Kasi or the cats will judge me for it.
This year, I’m planning on donning my Starfleet science officer uniform once again on Friday – but instead of going as Jadzia, I’ll just be a generic science officer. (After watching a lot of Deep Space 9 lately, I’m realizing I need a few more things for my Jadzia cosplay to make it better, so that’ll be my goal for next Gen Con.) For Saturday, I’ll be dusting off Ëlinyr’s stealth dress and wandering around as everyone’s favorite elf for a day! Sunday’s cosplay is one I tried a few years ago but couldn’t wear it because it was too darn hot. That’s right, I’m trying “Janeway on her day off” again! My hair’s nowhere near the right color for it right now, but I’m going to roll with it.
I’m signed up for a fair amount of events this year, especially since Gen Con is online and likely less draining than a typical Gen Con. I’m especially excited for Quilting 201 (I’ll finally get that Sailor Moon quilt started!) and the Dungeons and Dragons 5th edition game I’m signed up for. (Can you believe that I’ve never actually played a tabletop RPG at Gen Con? And this is my 7th Gen Con!) In addition to gaming and crafting, I’ll be watching a few live performances and watching the Costume Contest Awards Show.
Where to find me
For those of you who have been looking forward to finding me at Gen Con, you’re in luck! You can likely find me lurking around in the Gen Con Online Discord. Sure, it’s not quite the same as running into me in person, but at least you won’t have to deal with possibly getting swept away by the crowd in the Exhibit Hall or waving excitedly while dashing to an event. It’ll be hard to miss me on Discord – I’m on there as The Crafty Nerd (she/her), and my avatar is the blog’s logo. Feel free to message me and say hi! I’m always excited to meet blog fans in the wild.
Ahh, 2020 — the year of cancellations. Like most groups running big events this year, Gen Con ended up canceling 2020’s in-person convention. After all, the con typically brings upwards of 70,000 people to Indianapolis each year — and holding a big event like that in the time of COVID-19 is unthinkable. However, the fine folks at Gen Con didn’t leave us hanging! Instead, they’re moving the best four days in gaming online!
Gen Con from the comfort of your computer
I won’t lie, this introvert is actually somewhat excited about an online Gen Con. It’ll be different, that’s for sure, and I’ll definitely miss some Gen Con traditions, like:
picking up my press badge with Rachel on Wednesday, then watching the Will Call line grow as the day goes on
seeing friends from pretty much every part of my life all in one place — after all, where else can I run into co-workers, Kishar friends, and people I know from professional organizations all in one place?
browsing the exhibit hall and spending ridiculous amounts of money on all sorts of nerdy gear (like last year’s Toothless kigurumi)
helping J and Kasi run a LARP (I’m actually starting to get better at this!)
collecting ribbons for my badge — I even had some this year to share, and I’m sad that I won’t get to give them out
However, there are some benefits!
You can schedule back-to-back events and not have to worry about dashing from the far end of the Indiana Convention Center to LucasOil Stadium!
Nobody’s saying you can’t cosplay at home! (Plus, if my costume gets uncomfortable, I’m not stuck in it all day!)
There’ll be an online exhibit hall you can browse without having to deal with crowds!
So while I’ll miss being in Indianapolis for five days of fun, at least I’ll still have Gen Con in some form! Enjoying Gen Con from the comfort of my computer is better than no Gen Con at all.
About Gen Con Online
Here’s some basic information about Gen Con Online, for those of you who are interested:
What you can do: Play games! Attend workshops! Watch some of your favorite performers! All online, so you can even show up in pajamas if you want.
When: July 30th – August 2nd
Where: At your house, on your computer! Games and events will be hosted on Roll20, Discord, Twitch, Zoom, and more.
Cost: A Gen Con Online badge is free, but individual events may charge a fee.
For even more info, check out the infographic below:
While I didn’t get into everything I had on my wish list (which is nothing new), I did get into a few things I was really looking forward to – like the Quilting 201: Pixel Quilts workshop with Quiltoni! I’ve already got the Sailor Moon pixel quilt kit, and this workshop is the perfect way to actually get started with it. I’m also going to some musical performances and keeping my eyes peeled for some games to get into, since all my first picks for games filled up pretty quickly.
Another thing I’m thinking of doing is seeing what I can re-create about the Gen Con experience at home. I may not be able to have a cosplay parade, for example, but I can still cosplay! (And I will. After all, it’s me we’re talking about.) I’ll also be playing some games outside of Gen Con Online, and finding ways to do at-home versions of some of my favorite convention traditions. (Like eating pierogies. I may not be able to get them from the Pierogi Love truck, but I can make some at home!) I also talked with Rachel from The Five(ish) Fangirls, and she’s also going to Gen Con Online! That means we’ll be continuing our tradition of doing a post-con recap on the podcast. And as always, I’ll be doing daily recaps of the convention. They may not be as full of photos as previous years, but I’ll still be writing them.
I’m definitely looking forward to Gen Con online this year — and I hope everyone else is, too!
Oh, how optimistic I was two months ago when I wrote that post about what I’ve been doing, and how I was weathering the COVID-19 stay-at-home order. I thought, “surely I can write more blog posts. I’m home all the time and have no excuses!”
I was wrong.
I underestimated just how much energy I spent on dealing with what’s going on in the world, though. How hard it would be to switch gears from work-mode to relax-mode at 4 pm each day. Since I’m working from home for the foreseeable future, I have one space for both work and recreational computer time — which makes everything I do at the computer here feel like work even if it’s not. Whether it’s video games or blog posts or coloring in drawings, if it’s in front of my computer, it feels like work.
I’ve also been struggling with a lot of life issues at the moment. I don’t quite want to talk about them right now but suffice it to say; things are rough in my little corner of the world.
Plus, this is me. Even in a good year, I can never keep up posting regularly for long. I think 2019 was a record-setting year in that I posted almost weekly from the end of January to Gen Con in August. Long-time blog followers know I struggle with posting regularly. I ended up giving up on the Crafty Nerd Podcast because I recorded two episodes and then paid for an unused Libsyn subscription for six months. We know I have issues with following through on things, heh.
So, what have I been doing during the two months since my last post? To be honest, it doesn’t feel like I’ve done much — at least, not much that’s worth writing about.
I have been reading — a lot. I read through the entirety of Charlaine Harris’s Sookie Stackhouse novels. Well, re-read almost all of them is more accurate — I hadn’t read the last book until this most recent re-read of the series. I started watching True Blood back in March (since I never did finish it) and wanted to see just how wildly different the TV show was from the books in the later seasons of the show. I also tore through Patricia Briggs’s Mercy Thompson series, because I needed more easy-to-read urban fantasy in my life. Between those two series, I read 25 books over two months. (I’m a speedy reader, it’s kind of ridiculous.) Now I’m reading The Kingdom of Copper, which is book two of The Daevabad Trilogy by S. A. Chakraborty — and I’m enjoying it.
Another thing I’ve been doing is crocheting a lot. I finished the Trio blanket I started in May, and then immediately started two more projects. My startitis is flaring up again, it seems. I’m going to try to finish all the projects I’ve currently got going before I start something new, though. (I know, I know, easier said than done.)
You might have noticed that I mentioned coloring in drawings earlier — that’s because I’ve actually picked up drawing as a hobby again. I used to draw a lot when I was in high school and college, but ended up drifting away from it years ago. With some encouragement from my friend Kasi, I figured I may as well start drawing again.
So far everything I’ve drawn has been Kishar-related, since I really, really miss playing in Kishar. I’ll branch out to other stuff eventually, heh.
One exciting thing I’m working on is planning out what I’m doing at Gen Con Online this year! With everything being online, I can schedule events back-to-back and not have to worry about finding out I’ve scheduled myself to be in LucasOil Stadium immediately after something held in one of the connected hotels. I’ve got a whole post in the works about my Gen Con online plans, so stay tuned for that.
Even though I’m not officially attending as press for Gen Con Online, I was granted a press badge for Gen Con 2020 — and covering Gen Con is a blog tradition. (I need to see if the folks over at Five(ish) Fangirls are attending any of Gen Con Online — if not, I’m definitely going to miss doing the post-con report with Rachel like we’ve done the past few years.)
In addition to all this, the Blue Rose game Kasi’s running on Roll20 is still going, and I also got the chance to do some Kishar dress-up recently too! (although honestly, do I really need a reason to throw on Ëlinyr’s gear?)
… huh. Writing this blog post has helped perk up my mood. I went into WordPress this morning with the goal of at least writing something. This post started kind of cranky and self-deprecating, but after writing a bit I’m feeling better — despite the Grammarly tone detector indicating my tone is gloomy. (I will say, the sad-looking emoji hits me in the feels.)
Maybe I should try to blog more often, even when I don’t quite feel up to it. It’s definitely helped my mood today, that’s for sure.
Anyhow, that’s what I’ve been doing the past two months. It might not be all that thrilling, but it got me to weite a post, and that’s something.
This weekend, I went to the Indiana Toy and Comic Expo for the first time – and had a great time! I’ve wanted to go for a couple of years now. Up until this year, it was held immediately after Gen Con, which is when I usually end up experiencing con burnout. With it being in October this year, nothing was stopping me this time around!
Indiana Toy and Comic Expo focuses on precisely what the name says – toys and comics! It was held at the Monroe County Convention Center here in Bloomington, and it seemed like it took up the entire convention center. (Granted, the convention center isn’t all that big, but it’s still nice to see that the expo filled it up!) Events included a costume contest, a custom action figure contest, and a silent auction. Plus, there was a lot of space dedicated to vendors, so there were plenty of goodies to look at and buy! I ended up picking up the following:
a Sailor Moon Perler bead magnet
some cute bunny cryptid prints
a set of Star Trek: The Next Generation trading cards
an autographed photo of the actor who played Damar on Star Trek: Deep Space 9
There were a lot of folks in costume, and I also managed to grab some photos from the costume contest as well! (Some of them didn’t turn out so well, as my phone is a little slow at taking pictures and some of the action shots turned out blurry or awkward.) I especially enjoyed the Harry Dresden cosplayer pretending I was a demon and blasting me with his blasting rod. (I guess the Trill spots made me an easy target, haha.) I posted all my costume contest photos on The Crafty Nerd’s Facebook page – you can see them in my ITCE album here.
And before you ask, of course, I went in costume – Jadzia Dax got a little more time in the costume spotlight!
I also got to hang out with some of my nerdy blogging buddies – Rachel, Lizz, and Tony!
I also ran into another familiar face while I was there – or, more accurately, familiar droid!
One of the big reasons people go to Gen Con is to buy games – lots of them. And this year, I definitely bought some games! Not as many as some folks, but I did bring home a couple new additions to my game collection. Of course, I found some not-quite-game-related goodies too! My Gen Con 2019 haul is a little smaller than it’s been in previous years, but here’s just about all of it!
Seeing all the different cosplays at Gen Con is one of my favorite parts of the convention. Well, that and having the chance to do some cosplaying of my own! This post is all about the cosplay at Gen Con 2019.
As you all know, I brought two costumes to Gen Con this year – President Laura Roslin and Jadzia Dax. While not many people recognized President Roslin, plenty of people recognized Dax!
Apparently I did a good job with the Trill spots, as I got plenty of compliments on them. That made the 30+ minutes I spent awkwardly applying them while looking in the mirror worth it!
Now, I know you don’t just want to see the costumes I wore. However, with the LARP I was running on Saturday I didn’t have too many chances to get pictures of people on Saturday (the big cosplay day). Thankfully, Ross stepped in as photographer for me! He took loads of pictures of the costume parade, and here they are, in addition to the pictures I took while walking the con!
Much like last year, I kept up with what was going on at the convention via the Fans of Gen Con Facebook group. The group kept everyone up to date on will-call line wait times, helped reunite people with lost badges, and also helped people collect badge ribbons, among other things. There was also a fair bit of complaining about the usual things – backpacks in the dealers hall, the wait times in the will-call line, how long it took to get food at the food trucks… but others in the group did their best to help keep things positive, which was good.
A quiet Gen Con for the Crafty Nerd, sort of
This Gen Con was actually a little more subdued on my end, due to Ross being sick on and off through the convention. He’s been dealing with mysterious stomach issues, and due to that he didn’t cosplay this year (which you probably noticed already, from my daily Gen Con posts). I ended up keeping a pretty light schedule as a result, just in case Ross needed me. I still had a great time, though, and got to see a lot of great games as well as some fun traditions, like Cardhalla:
Until recently, I wasn’t sure what Cardhalla was about. People built card towers, knocked them all down at the end of the con, and somehow it related to charity – that was all I knew. Well, at the end of the convention, people toss coins at the card towers in order to knock them over, and all the coins are collected for charity! I love how Gen Con finds so many ways to give back to the community.
Overall, Gen Con was pretty good this year. There were more vendors to check out than I could actually visit, and I got to hang out with friends I don’t see often. I got to eat tasty cupcakes from The Flying Cupcake (like the butterbeer flavored Wizards Unite!), and enjoyed tasty food at downtown Indy restaurants. I got to dress up as Jadzia Dax! And, I got to help run a LARP too!
The Crafty Nerd’s Gen Con 2019 posts
To make things easy to find, I’ll link to detailed coverage of different aspects of my Gen Con experience here. (These links will become active as I write the posts!)