• Member Since 18th Mar, 2012
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GaryOak


Writing graduate who loves cartoon horses and all manner of silly things. Occasionally writes serious stories. A divine Swedish woman drew this avatar.

More Blog Posts169

Aug
26th
2019

Oh, BronyCon, Where'd You Go? · 10:01am Aug 26th, 2019

You're all I've ever known.

This blog's been a long time coming. A very long time. Sorry about that. There's been a few reasons excuses for the delay, including general laziness, reluctance to accept that yes, it's really over, and procrastinating. I should probably preface this with how profoundly bittersweet the whole experience was. I was hoping this final BronyCon would be the best. Simply put, it wasn't. But did it suck? Absolutely not.

Tuesday/Wednesday

As per usual, I met up with Reia Hope and Horse Voice for our customary red eye flight. Reia's curse of getting horribly grilled by US customs officials continued, whilst I got off with a couple basic questions, which has been the trend for me over the past several years. We had to transfer planes at around 10PM in San Francisco, where I trolled Reia and HV by saying, “Oh, fuck, I forgot something in the airport! … my heart!”

What? Not funny?

The Bulk Biceps cosplayer we sat behind enjoyed it. We landed in Baltimore without a hitch, and were even able to check into our hotel at an ungodly early hour—something like 9 or 10 in the morning. Reia passed out while HV and I went to Poe's grave. After we did that, I grabbed some booze. It was around noon by this point, and Shakespearicles, his wife, and their girlfriend showed up. I've had the pleasure of rooming with Shakes and Shandy for the past several years, so I knew I was in for an awesome time, as usual. Skittles was a new addition to the room, but a welcome one. We all got along swimmingly.

But I decided to give Shakes a fitting greeting:

We cracked open a bear. Except for real this time:

I ended up discovering this beer when doing research for my latest story. I wanted to make the “cracking open a bear” joke, but wanted to see if I could make it funnier by referencing an actual brand of beer, so I decided to check if it existed. Turns out, it does. We spent the rest of the day drinking, meeting B_25, and going to our traditional Hooters dinner. We also hit up preregistration, with the first completely fucking insane line of many. I savoured my one and only privileged line skip of the weekend, in which it took me all of two minutes to get my badge thanks to the panelist line. Not much went down that night. For whatever reason, the party scene, at least as far as the writers were concerned, was slipshod and disjointed at best. I did have some pizza at Uno's with Reia and his friends. It was a great quiet get-together, and the food was awesome. I got to save about half of the pizza for lunch the next day. Bonus!

Thursday

The start of the madness. HV and Reia joined me for a breakfast at a place that was apparently good, but turned out to be solidly okay. This was coupled with an extremely long (nearly an hour) wait for a table. Oh well. Not much was going on early for Thursday. Shakes couldn't join us because he had to deal with My Little Assassin. His blog describes his horror show better than I possibly could, but the summary of it was that he was supposed to be on two different panels while taking sign ups for the event for all of Thursday.

As is tradition, I wanted a commission from Tony Fleecs. I annually torment the poor man with crazy commission requests that always turn out very fucking awesome. The problem was that the line to get into the vendor hall was a gorillian years long, the sponsors got a head start, he was only taking five full body commissions this year, and I had to be somewhere the second the peasantry were allowed into the vendor hall. Shit. Thankfully, Reia was a champion and took my commission request (I had the foresight to print them out) to Tony, getting me in his fourth slot! The beginning of the festivities was the comedy panel. This was the third time I got to host the event at BronyCon, and I can now say I have hosted every single “writing comedy” panel there ever was or ever will be at BC.

The panel was incredible. Horizon had to fill in for Shakes, due to the aforementioned Assassin fiasco, but it was still fucking awesome. Skywriter and Jaxie rounded out this awesome crew. Never before have I run a writing panel that wasn't 18+ that was crammed to the rafters. They were forced to turn people away at the door. Bear in mind writing panels are very niche, and usually have far more empty seats than full ones.

I had a last minute decision where I was all like

to Pen Stroke about 20 minutes before the panel. What happened, you ask? Well, as others have recounted in their blogs, each of us introduced ourselves as Pen Stroke, author of My Little Dashie. This has been a running gag for the past several years, started by Reia Hope. This got even funnier when the big man ROB himself got to say his introduction (I had him last on the panel on purpose). He said, “I'm Pen Stroke, and I actually wrote My Little Dashie!”

Then, of course, the real Pen Stroke burst out from behind the curtain. The audience was already laughing pretty hard by the time we were halfway down the line, but the room went nuclear when Pen made his appearance. The joke worked far better than I was hoping. Massive props to Pen for going along with it and being a good sport. Did anyone record the panel, by the way? I don't know if BC did an official recording for YouTube, and I'd really love to show this one off (and the other one I hosted, too!).

Riding the high from how great that panel was, I went off to line up for the vendor hall. Luckily, I found NikitaKitten in line, and she soon got a text from Dad. Turns out, the bookstore was constantly being overrun by rabid book-buyers, and he was in a panic to restock the shelves. He needed a few pairs of hands to help him carry the new stock into the vendor hall. I finally got to meet the legend himself, (literally) lend a hand to the bookstore, and skip a two-hour line. Fuck. Yes.

In the vendor hall, I bought Horse Voice's and Horizon's books (I would've bought Cold In Gardez's, too, but it was long-gone). I got them signed, of course. HV wrote, "Without you, this book wouldn't have been possible." Horizon put, "Hey, horsefucker, I've finally made good!" Then I talked to Tony about the commission, where we hashed out the finer details beyond what I'd written, and then I paid Sara Richard a visit. Sadly, she wasn't doing full-body commissions this year, but she was doing head sketches, as I found out from a quick conversation with her on Twitter. Her sketch list actually filled up, but she was extremely kind and generous and gave me a slot anyway.

By now, the opening ceremonies were on, and I didn't even try to get in. I knew it was going to be one of those cons, which ironically enough, had never happened at BronyCon until this year. It was always Everfree that had overcrowding and massive LineCon issues. I guess this is what happens when you've got double the people and half the space.

I was hoping to hit the bars, but as I mentioned earlier, the party scene was pretty off this year. I did get to spend more time in Quills and Sofas, which was awesome, at least. Later that night, we hit up Chipotle, because Jimmy John's was out of bread. Yes, you read that correctly.

Friday

This was another fairly quiet day. Well, quiet for BronyCon, at any rate. I hit up Creating Equestria with Shakes, and got great seats because we went early, then I dashed out to grab lunch with Horse Voice and AshadowOfCygnus at Uno's. That was a fantastic time, let me tell you. Amazing food, amazing company. Cygnus was a real joy to be around, and the madlad even treated HV and me! Afterward, I split off to go to Canterlot Director. That panel was a lot of fun, but I ended up missing the BarCast meetup, which is something I wanted to go to. You can't win 'em all, I guess.

Following that, I got my final Pennyroyal book autographed by Larson, and couldn't help but get the ultimate Larson experience. He even got a stamp of his signature, so I obviously had to go the prison tats route. What came after Larson? MORE LARSON! I went to the roast panel in Hall of Chaos, and it was, well... rather disappointing. Sure, the roasts had some funny moments, but it was rather underwhelming, especially because it started so late on account of the lines, and there was no audience roasts. Reia and I both had good ones, especially Reia.

I had an awesome dinner with RBDash, R5h, Skeeyoh, and Nikita, where I got the ultimate crab cake experience. But no crabs. I then linked back up with Shakes, as well as Clops (who is really fucking awesome, by the way) to go to one of his really awesome drunk tarot card readings!

We finished out the night in Quills and Sofas, where the BarCast was doing flash interviews. Mine isn't on YouTube yet, but you should check it out. I broke Anonpencil. She's not the first pencil I've broken, and certainly won't be the last. Wait.

Saturday

Every con, there is a day that is a complete clusterfuck, where I'm pretty much living in the main hall. That was today. So, BronyCon decided to switch up how entrance into the main hall went. Instead of entering through the rightmost doors, we now had to use the central ones and turn right. I didn't know this, and the usual doors were open. The security in front was talking with somebody, and I just walked inside. Nobody challenged me, nobody stopped me, and I got a front row centre seat to the Pony Origins panel with Bonnie Zacherle and Lauren Faust.

I also knew where they'd be putting the Q&A mic, so I got to go up and ask a question, as well as thank Lauren for everything she's done, similar to what I said to her in 2012. But success comes at a price. Oh well. It was worth.

What's better than sneaking into one panel ahead of the sponsors? How about two panels? Instead of filing out of the hall when they cleared it, I went to the bathroom and lingered for around fifteen minutes. I popped out, took a seat, and that was that. This was for the amazeballs script reading. Horizon is an absolute chad, and so was his script. Seriously. Just wow. If you haven't watched a recording of that panel, you really, really need to do so. Seriously, stop reading this blog, watch the panel, then finish reading it. It's that good.

After that, I got to catch most of Larson and Jayson's panel in Hall of the Sun. I think this was the point I took a break from things and then lined up for Lauren's other panel at 4PM. Now comes the tragic part of the con. The Chaos panels are always incredible, especially the Jackbox one. Sadly, the final writers' dinner was scheduled against them, and I couldn't miss that for the world. So, I went to the dinner. I did get to catch around half of the comics after dark panel, and holy fuck, it was amazing. Andy Price even made me hold up a sign in front of the whole hall in the middle of it. I didn't see any explicit porn or horsecocks drawn, but a few of the pictures came pretty close. If anyone has a recording of this or the VIP Jackbox After Dark panels, please PM them to me!

As always, the writers' dinner was amazing. I got to sit with the main village man himself, as well as Lise Eclaire, and Capn_Chryssalid. As the dinner was ending, I got to have a quick chat with someone who thinks I'm lovely.

Shakes and I hit up a bit of the bad fanfic readings in Chaos after the dinner until it was time to make off for Hall of the Stars for “It's In Our Hooves Now.” So, this panel was scheduled at the shitty time of 11:30PM, on the second to last day, while everyone was asleep or drunk. The attendance? Yeah.

They kept letting people in, too. Words cannot do this panel justice. I had the honour and privilege of running a panel alongside three friends who I've known for years and who also happen to be great panelists, both in terms of knowledge and stage presence. It's arguably the greatest panel I've ever done, right up there with Fifty Shades of Neigh and my screenwriting panel with M.A. Larson himself. This is the one I really want a recording of. Seriously, hit me up if you've got one. One highlight I will say is Pen Stroke was part of another gag. I did a parody of “congratulations, you're the new Rainbow Dash!” with him, except I called him the new Larson. I handed him a sharpie, and he signed my arm and gave me wings. The takeaway from this is that stage gags early in a writing panel work wonders.

I spent the rest of the evening bullshitting in Quills and Sofas, talking about panels, and drinking. I didn't mention the drinking, but I was drinking for almost all of the weekend, including during the day. If you ever saw me drinking Sprite, suffice it to say that it wasn't entirely Sprite. It also turns out that heavy day drinking pretty much prevents me from sleeping, so I had between 2-4 hours of sleep each night, despite allowing myself 5-7. That, or age is beginning to catch up with me.

Sunday

The end of it all. Forever. Dawn of the final day. Insert meme here. Yep. The end of an era. So, what'd I get up to that day? I caught most of the regular Jackbox game, which was funny, but obviously nothing compared to the 21+ version, then I somehow managed to show up late and grab a front row centre seat to Bonnie Zacherle's panel. She ended up selling short books of the presentation she gave about how she created ponies way back in the 1980s, and I grabbed one of about ten for sale. Score!

I didn't really get up to much for the rest of the day. The Meat Up was later that night, so I obviously skipped lunch. I watched the closing ceremonies from “Other Room” due to the whole main stage kerfuffle (no, not the three-legged waifu, sadly), and that was that. I wish they'd have sung the Friendship is Magic theme song at the end, because I would've cried like a baby. I nearly did, but somehow only got misty throughout it all.

Now's also a good time to mention that ROB wanted me to sign his copy of My Little Dashie. Big mistake.

As always, the Meat Up was a rousing success. I even ended up beating Shakes at the meat spigot, being the only person not to “tap out” with his meat card.

The last thing we did was hit up Trick Question's dead dog party. Several of us made some emotional speeches at the end of it, and it was in all a great time, including ROB being ROB (if you know, you know). It was also the hottest party I've ever been to. I blame Trick's choice of attire, which was appropriate for the occasion. After the party, I finished crushing my last bottle of liquor while Horizon gave more tarot readings. With Secret Shipfic Folder cards. Yup. I also briefly snuck into the BronyCon staff dead dog party and got some free swag, but missed Andy Price (dammit, Shakes). The final moment of the night was when I got a text from Tony Fleecs at around 2 in the morning to come to his hotel room to grab my commission. What a baller, staying up that late to finish it so I don't have to wait for shipping and pay an import fee once it arrives.

That honestly about wraps this one up. Reia, HV, and myself had an early flight the next day, so we packed our bags and headed to the airport alongside Nikita.

The End?

As cheesy as this sounds, it's time for a big healthy dose of retrospective. I've been to every major BronyCon, eight in total. That's every one them in Baltimore as well as the one in New Jersey. This is also the tie-in for the blog's title:

Before you groan, hear me out. In 2012, I had a crazy experience. I met wonderful people, got to personally thank Lauren Faust for ponies (which are the reason I'm writing in the first place, as well as helped me with some serious emotional trauma), and adventure around New York City, including meeting Skywriter on the roof of the Empire State Building. That song randomly came on my iPod while I was on the way back to the airport on the fourth of July, and I nearly just lost it on the train.

I haven't been able to listen to it in full ever since. So many great and crazy things happened at BronyCons. I've met too many incredible friends to mention, I met Shakes, and so on. The experiences were unforgettable. To name just a few:

  1. The Great BronyCon Fire of 2012.
  2. The NYC adventures in general.
  3. Having Maddy Peters, the voice of Scootaloo, actually read a story I wrote. She liked it and gave me a great big hug!
  4. My epic quest for an Andy Price commission that ended in success.
  5. “NO MORE DICKS!”
  6. Running and being on so many panels with so many brilliant writers.
  7. The bars at Fell's Point.
  8. Enjoying the great view at Hooters with Shakes.
  9. Actually signing the occasional autograph.
  10. The Meat Ups!
  11. Signing M.A. Larson.
  12. THE POSTER.
  13. Being on Fifty Shades of Neigh.
  14. Drinks with Jedi Master Ed.
  15. Hosting panels such as It's In Our Hooves Now.
  16. Meeting practically everyone there is to meet from the Fimfiction community.

I could go on, and on, and on if I spent another several hours on this blog. The act of finishing this up means finally laying these memories to rest. It's over, and it's never coming back. I know full-well that I will likely never see many of the incredible people I've met again. Many of our paths are sure to cross sometime, perhaps at other cons, but nothing's for certain. BronyCon was something special in my life, the major highlight of each year for almost a solid decade (nearly a third of my life!), and nothing can truly replace it. But it's not about the destination, and what a fucking journey it was. I'll never stop cherishing these memories. It's time to look forward to 2020, where I'll be going to Vanhoover Pony Expo once again, and possibly an American con (Babs? Everfree?) to make some new memories.

Here's to the future, my friends.

Report GaryOak · 1,027 views ·
Comments ( 13 )

What a long, strange trip it's been, huh?

Anyway go to Everfree! :pinkiehappy:

[raises mug of tea]
To the future, then!

This was a good recap, and it was interesting seeing this Bronycon added to the group of those that came before.

I'm not sure your imgur links are working, though? Maybe it's just me, but it kept saying they were set to private :twilightoops:

5111830
Yeah, the imgur links weren't working for me either.

re the image links:
...Huh. They seem to be working for me, at least the ones I tried, and another test just now.

5111852
they're all "https", just need to take the 's' out so they're "http".

There'll always be another con. None of them will hit the heights of BronyCon, though many of them should grow larger now thanks to a spillover effect. However, neither will any be as centrally located as BronyCon is either. I only made it to the last 2 BronyCons so I never got to see its halcyon years, but such is such.

Still, see you at VPE!

Also, I see myself in two pictures...should've leaned a little bit more over for the dinner picture! My long hair just tends to completely blend in where I'm wearing a black t-shirt, wow.

5111830
5111852
5111858
5111891

Yeah, or just directly copy and paste it into a window instead of clicking on the hyperlink. I think imgur blocks FIMFiction direct links if I remember correctly?

Such a cool guy to meet; glad I got to chat with you and then trade follows here! I'm always intimidated meeting anyone I consider famous (ie, known across a decent portion of the fandom), though I'm not sure why; all you popular writers have so far been really nice!

P.S. There was a fire at the first Bronycon?

5111858

The direct embed mid-blog works fine for me, but I don't have permission to access any of the linked ones. (Maybe that's the borrowed wifi?)

5111933
Ohh, I was copying and pasting anyway, so that would explain it; thanks.
Seems odd imgur does that, though.

5111965
Emperor in the comment I reply to above seems to have found an answer to this; apparently the links work if copied and pasted but not if just clicked on. Does that appear to hold for you?

ROBCakeran53
Moderator

Yes, I am quite the ROB.

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