Home » PreCONceptions: LibertyCon After Action Report, Part 1

PreCONceptions: LibertyCon After Action Report, Part 1

lclastyearSo, it all started like this.

Last year, I talked about going to LibertyCon. Lissa wasn’t all that interested since she didn’t know anybody I was talking about seeing, and I had a grandchild’s birthday party Saturday evening, so I wasn’t planning to go for the weekend, but I thought about driving down Saturday morning and seeing a few people before heading back home. I live about 2 hours away, so it wasn’t a completely insane thought.

As the weekend approached, Friday evening, I decided I would do it. I picked out a couple of geeky shirts I wanted to wear and showed them to Lissa, saying, “This is what I’m planning to wear to LibertyCon. What do you think?”

Now to me, included in that statement was notification to her that I was going to go to LibertyCon. Not so much.

I got up at about 7:30, took a shower and hit the road, arriving in Chattanooga around 10:15. I registered, got my badge and program, and went to a couple of panels. I met Chuck Gannon, Stephen Simmons, and Martin Shoemaker, got a couple of books autographed, and then my phone buzzed. I checked my Facebook feed and saw the message clipped to the right.


I called Lissa, and let her know what was up, and that I had told her last night that I was going. She remembered my shirt comment, but thought I was talking hypothetically. regardless, I spent another hour at the con, then headed home to go to the birthday party and to make amends with my wife.

So this year, I planned an entire campaign. In August, I started showing her posts from Sarah’s Diner on Facebook. Anytime a Dinerzen would post a cat picture, a knitting or crafting post, or something snarky, I’d show it to her. After several weeks of this, I got her to join the Diner. She started commenting on posts, and posting herself. AS she got to know the people there, she became more open to the idea of going to LibertyCon. In January, I told her that I was planning to go, and would like for her to go, but it was up to her. In February, she said, “Why not?” and we pre-registered.

Around March, Lissa thought it would be fun to do what several others were doping and make us some shirtstorm shirts. She found a supplier for the fabric, found a pattern for herself, featuring half naked patriotic men with washboard abs, and dove into making the shirts.

She was well and truly hooked.

Meanwhile, I had offered to bring some pulled pork to the con. At first, I was just going to bring enough for a small group, but logistic concerns made that impractical. However, the con logistics worked fine if I brought enough for a larger group, say, 200 or so! And that’s how I wound up volunteering to bring 4 pork butts to LibertyCon.

Well played, Vonn Gantts. Well played.

I started the butts on Tuesday, putting on the dry rub and setting them in the fridge overnight. Wednesday evening, they came out of the fridge and got a second coat of rub, then went into the smoker for about 16 hours. Thursday afternoon about 2, they were ready. I pulled them out, wrapped them in foil, and we headed out to Chattanooga.

We got to the Choo Choo around 6:15 or so, checked in and got to the room. While Lissa cleaned up and got ready for the wedding, I took the butts to the ConSuite and stashed them in the fridge.

Lissa and I then walked out to the gardens to attend a wedding for people we had never met before, which is kind of an odd thing. Sure, we’d commented back and forth on Facebook or blog posts, but we didn’t really know the folks getting married or any of the other guests. But it was an open invitation, and strangers are just friends you haven’t met yet, and there’s not much stranger than getting married in front of an old locomotive by jumping over a sword.

Needless to say, Cedar and Sandford’s wedding, along with Sarah and Dan Hoyt’s 30th anniversary renewal of vows, was a wonderfully unique occasion. It was the first wedding I’ve been to where the audience was encouraged to heckle!

After the wedding, Lissa and I went off property to grab dinner at the local brew pub, and Thursday night was done.

Friday, before the Con opened, Lissa went to get a pedicure from her daughter, while I went over to the Con Suite to meet Vonn and pull 20+ pounds of pork. When Vonn saw me, she swooped in with a gigantic hug for both Lissa and me. Up until that point, I still felt a little on the outside looking in. Most of the people there already knew each other from previous cons; Lissa and I were the new kids, still looking at how to fit in. Vonn fit us in, and that was really cool.

Lissa left to get her piggies played with while I played with piggies of my own. Two hours later, my back hurt, I was covered in sweat, and five shoulders worth of pork were pulled. Yes, I said five. Another con attendee had brought two shoulders of his own, but only one was pulled and the ConSuite folks figured that since I was pulling four, what was one more? Hard to argue with that logic, right?

It was about 3:15 when I finished, and Lissa got back around 3:30. We got our badges and the Con began.

Stay tuned for the next post, CONsummation for people and panels and Social Justice for the Undead!

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