ConBuzzkills – The dark side of #ConLife


Being all about the #ConLife means the TruBros are intricately familiar with both the 1-ups and Buzzkills of attending a #NerdLife convention. While we undoubtedly love attending conventions (as we wouldn’t put forth the time, money and effort if we didn’t), we’d be lying if we stated they’re all perfect. Like any event, conventions have many drawbacks and we’re acutely aware of them. We view the tremendous expenditure of our time, effort and cash Cons warrant as an investment, and more often than not they yield tremendous dividends in the form of #Exclusives, photos and memories. However, there’s still an opportunity cost of attending and below are some of the drawbacks we’ve experienced with living the illustrious and at times, aggravating #ConLife.

  • Lines, lines and more lines

I could weave you literary tapestry miles long attempting to capture the essence of lines at #SDCC and it would do no more justice than this simple phrase composed entirely in the vernacular: They’re really damn long. If you’ve ever camped out for Black Friday, attended a theme park on a busy day, tried to go to the most popular restaurant in town on a Saturday night or waited for a bathroom at halftime during a sporting event where the venue is at maximum capacity-imagine multiplying all of those experiences and tacking on a couple hours at the end-that’s kind of what the lines at #SDCC are like. At the very least, it’s what they feel like.


The first day of #SDCC 2014 I waited approximately four hours to pick up my badge in order to be one of the first to hit the floor. After grabbing the badge I waited another four hours to hit the floor-since I was one of the first I got most of what I was after (save for Bandai messing up the lines for the Green Ranger’s dagger and Lego constantly betraying me and my crew) and lines weren’t terribly long. We also waited overnight (a solid ten hours or so) to be one of the first to hit the floor the following days to try and grab the #Exclusive Lego sets-due to reasons beyond our control, I walked away with no #Exclusive Lego sets. We waited approximately two hours each day to grab the #Exclusive Lego minifigs available, a couple hours for a panel here and there…we were in line. Often. And they weren’t always short…but sometimes you get lucky.

  • Food

There’s a reason we use #BroFuel and not #ConEats or some other equivalent when we make a posts-the food is atrocious. Don’t believe us? Here’s an example from PAX South:


As if the picture isn’t telling enough, this is a microwavable pizza that you could buy at your local grocery store for less than a dollar. APNote paid four dollars for this bad boy and it tasted just like you’d imagine. I had a burger that was so moist the bread stuck to the “cheese” and meat-not exactly a delicacy you’d savor for years on end. If you’ve ever gone to a movie theater or sporting event hungry (and weren’t fortunate enough to have branded options available), you know you’re paying a premium for food which is anything but memorable. At most cons these are typically the only options available to you in between exploring the floor, camping for #Exclusives and waiting for panels. You’re better off packing some snacks (and in the next post I’ll tell you what I pack) to get you through the inevitably long day until you’re able to venture offsite to grab some real #BroFuel.

  • Close quarters…with everyone
Waiting to hit the floor at #SDCC2014
Waiting to hit the floor at #SDCC2014

Neither one of the Bros likes people in our personal space-it’s just our personalities.  We’re all about keeping our distance and even when we’re hanging out with one another, we don’t talk too much. When we speak it tends to be quietly-we aren’t the loudest guys around. When you’re in lines for panels, food, to see booths, to purchase #Exclusives, or you know, anything and everything, most of the time you’re packed in like sardines in a can. It’s always a tight fit and you’re going to bump into people more than you’re accustomed to. You’re going to be able to hear people’s conversations whether you want to or not and you’re going to be able to feel their body heat when you don’t want to at all. Isn’t much of a choice, which brings us to…

  • People
Hard to move when the floor is packed
Hard to move when the floor is packed

At a con, you’re surrounded by people; it just comes with the territory. Introvert or extrovert, if you want to live the #ConLife you’ve got to accept while in attendance you’re going to be surrounded constantly. You’re going to be spending a lot of time in line, you’re going to be hot (most of the time) and you’re going to be walking quite a bit. If you have to run around multiple places, you’re going to be worn out before long. When you’re coping with fatigue, discomfort, hunger and (potential) disappointment of not getting into the panel or landing an #Exclusive, few things stoke the fire quite like a group of people wildly yapping about, well-anything. People can be loud, obnoxious, annoying and just grind your gears if you allow them to. People make the Con what it is, but there are bound to be more than a few times you think to yourself they might just break it for you.

  • Money


If you’re all about living that #ConLife, eventually you’re going to have to pony up for travel since there’s no way you live in close proximity of all the best ones. Between travel, lodging, badges, food, #Exclusives…the expenses adds up. Even with budgeting and as much advance planning as possible (as the Bros do whenever a Con approaches), you’re still going to be out of pocket a decent chunk of change. Unless you’re fortunate enough to get the big expenses paid for by another party-which the average attendee does not, and this includes the Bros-you’re going to spend, and do so often. While this (possibly exorbitant) expense may seem unjustifiable to some, we do it because we love it and we know you do as well.

While we certainly love the #ConLife and the frantic pace that accompanies it, we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention some of the things which detract from the overall experience for us. However, nothing’s perfect and for us, this is one of the circumstances where the benefits outweigh the negatives. Next up I’ll show you what I deem to be the #ConLife Essentials. Until then, Bros!


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