Monthly Archives: June 2012

Lazy Dad’s Guide to BronyCon or The End of Civilization As We Know It

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Since busy daddy was, well, busy this afternoon, I flew solo and took the boy and his pal Ben to BronyCon by myself. Since we’ll be going back to BronyCon with busy daddy tomorrow and I don’t want to bias his opinion about the event, I recommended to him that he should probably wait until tomorrow to read this post.

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OK, so my immediate first impression of BronyCon when we arrived at the Expo Center was, White folks be cray. Seriously, I’d guesstimate that 93 percent of the attendees were white (not that there’s anything wrong with that), while the remaining 7 percent were a mix of peeps of color and others of indeterminate species of origin. The organizers warned that the place would be packed, and gosh, it was a major cluster fudge of cosplaying weirdos enthusiasts and basement-dwelling fanboys hopped up on Too Many Skittles.

Naively, I thought it would be more family-friendly than it actually was. In fact, the average age of attendees appeared to be north of 27-years-old. The boy and his pal Ben were easily the youngest Bronies in the joint.

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I’m not sure what I expected. I mean, I’ve been to a ton of business conferences and trade shows, but this was my first consumer expo. I guess I thought it would be more professional and stuff. Instead, it was like a trade show for an array of “artists” who create sincere, MLP-inspired crap fan art of dubious artistic merit. The pricing schemes were weird and all over the place. You could buy buttons for a dollar or posters for $10 to $20 or hats and t-shirts for $25 and beyond.

You know how when you’re at Disneyland and you’re starving and you get to the random food stall and it’s, like, $30 for a bottle of water and a hotdog? But you happily buy that shizz anyway? Yeah.

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I’m pretty sure the organizers piped atomized Ecstacy into the exhibit hall. That, or everyone was just really happy to see each and be among their fellow Bronies and Bronnettes. I was just really thirsty the entire time and kept asking the boy to hold my hand to make sure that I was still there.

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Pretty much everything could be made on-demand. And why not? All you needed to be an exhibitor was an inkjet printer and a button-maker, and you were good to go. Sheesh, I’m making the rave BronyCon sound like it was a complete freakshow. Really, it wasn’t. It was fun! I’m just crabby and stuff because my glo-sticks ran out of juice halfway through our visit.

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Hand-made fleece hats were big sellers at BronyCon. You could pretty much find a fleece hat designed to look like any number of MLP characters. Did I mention it was, like, 100 degrees in the suburbs today? Despite the wicked heat, the de rigueur head gear for BronyCon attendees was a damn fleece hat. I haven’t seen as many people wearing fleece hats in the summertime since I accidentally stumbled into a Grateful Dead concert in San Francisco when I was high on Ecstacy the summer before grad school. I’m kidding! I’ve never been to a Grateful Dead concert, silly!

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The boy and his pal Ben both got rainbow tails, which they wore throughout our visit to BronyCon. Because, um, rainbow tails are obvs the only appropriate cosplay option for five- and six-year-old boys.

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Did I mention that white folks be cray? And what’s with the fleece hats again, sheesh. It’s 100 degrees out! I was sweating just looking at all of the Damn Fleece Hats.

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Maybe I’m too cynical to enjoy this kind of stuff. To me, the whole otaku-ness of it all kind of creeps me out. I suppose it’s nice and completely normal for nerds fans to express their passion for something, even if it’s My Little Pony. I dunno, I just don’t really want an adult man dressed in a furry unicorn outfit to be hanging out with my kid. Unless it’s me dressed up like a furry unicorn, natch.

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I asked the boys what their favorite part of BronyCon was, and they both agreed it was the part when they bought stuff. I said, But we could have bought this stuff at Target or the dollar store or made it ourselves. But they both insisted that spending $30 on a yard-and-a-half of rainbow-colored fake fur fashioned into a pony tail was epically fun and totes worth the price of admission.

Tomorrow, I’ll have busy daddy do a guest post on his impressions of BronyCon!

i regularly check up on your blog, and today i realized how weird it is that i’ve found myself so interested in a family i’ve never met. probably as weird as it is for you. but whatever. you guys rock.

Hi yourpandabear! Thank you for your nice note, I really appreciate your feedback! As an unabashed fanboy-slash-blog stalker myself, I completely get where you’re coming from. There are a handful of Tumblr blogs I follow that are written by people I will never meet and have never messaged (and likely never will), and yet I look forward to reading their stories every day.

What’s honestly weird to me is that anyone who isn’t related to me would be remotely interested in the mundane, day-to-day shenanigans of my silly little family. But I’m grateful for all of my readers, and I thank you for following. It’s very nice of you to put up with my ridiculousness, and I really appreciate it!

The boy and I had a jam-packed day. We capped off our Friday adventures with a quik-e trip to Target to Buy a Bunch of Things We Don’t Need But We Totally Want. I think the boy was pooped by the end of our day. I know I was.

It’s rare that I get to spend an entire day alone with my kid. I can’t remember the last non-weekend, non-vacation day that I got to eat all three meals with the boy. You know how full-time work and stuff get in the way of being a full-time dad? Yeah.

I don’t live other people’s lives and I definitely can’t (and don’t want to) judge others, but I’m always puzzled whenever I hear parents say that they need “a break” from their kids or a break from being parents. For me, I can never get enough time with my kid. The time we spend together is already so brief. It wasn’t so long ago that the boy was a wee baby, and now he’s a full-grown boy. It won’t be long before he’s a teen, and then a full-grown man, and then he’ll have a family of his own.

I can count on one hand the amount of times my dad spent a full, uninterrupted, undistracted day with me when I was a kid. On those rare occasions when it was just me and my dad, chances are good that he simply parked me in front of the TV or in front of some toys, while he read a book or the newspaper. By the time my dad wanted to have an actual conversation with me about actual things, I think it was probably too late.

I guess I’m trying to get my son into the habit of spending time with me and let him know that he can talk to me about stuff, that he can ask me questions, no matter how silly. I want him always to know that I love spending time with him, that being his dad isn’t a chore, it’s a great honor. Hopefully if I can train the boy to enjoy spending time with me when he’s five, it’ll be less of a stretch for him when he’s 15 or 25 or 35.

The boy asks me all of the time, “Dad, why do you take pictures all of the time?” I’ll say, Because I want to remember. And the boy will ask, “Remember what?” And I’ll say, Everything.

The boy and I ended up having Japanese food for dinner, too. You know, I realize that whenever the boy and I are together and busy daddy isn’t with us (he had to work late tonight), we end up eating All the Japanese Food We Can Find. Busy daddy doesn’t really care for Japanese food, but it’s the boy’s favorite. So I end up taking the boy to eat as much Japanese food as he can stuff into his face hole during a single day.

Yeah, it was nearly 100 degrees in the suburbs today. So I took the boy for a swim at the pool. The place was packed, but no matter. We had a great time playing together!

After what felt like mid-day in Hell an eternity at BronyCon badge pickup, I took the boy to the Japanese market to grab a late lunch at the food court and pick up some random Japanese products.

The market is usually a zoo on the weekends, so it was really nice to have a leisurely, uncrowded lunch with my kid. Everything was yum!

The boy’s nanny took the day off to attend her son’s graduation from law school, so I worked from home this morning. I’ll tell you what, telecommuting can be awesome. I was able to get in 45 minutes of squash and a quik-e workout at the gym before 7:30 AM. After a some work calls and a few rounds of e-mails, I took the boy to get our hurrs did.

Before leaving the house, I did two loads of laundry, and then the boy and I headed out to pick up our badges for BronyCon, which kicks off tomorrow. The organizers recommended picking up badges today, rather than waiting in the long lines tomorrow, but it was still a cluster fudge of fanboys at pre-registration. Apparently there are more than 4,000 peeps registered for this thing!

Not to sound like Judgey McJudgerson, but I think Bronies are a bit … gosh, how do I put it nicely … unique. The boy and I arrived at the Expo Center early, and we still had to wait more than an hour to pick up our passes. While we waited in the blazing heat, the crowd, which was comprised of almost entirely teenaged boys and 20-something men, sang songs from MLP, a few of them were dressed in costume, and most were talking to each other using quotes from the show.

Turns out the anti-social, gay, tattooed dad with the Brony son was the least conspicuously freaky person standing in that line.

There was an older woman from New York standing in front of me and the boy. She told me she was there to pick up badges for her 17-year-old son and his friend. She said, “I don’t really get this Brony thing, but at least it keeps my son out of trouble!” I said, My Little Pony is really popular with boys these days. Then she said, “My son’s not gay or anything, but he really loves the show!”

And I said, Well, I’m gay and I don’t really get it either. And then she sort of gave me a double take, looked at the boy, and then back at me, and said, “Oh, ha! Ha? Um. OK… So is your son a Brony?” I said, Yeah, and so is his other dad. Then she said, “Well, you should go to Comic-Con, too!” And I said, “Um, OK!”

Forgot to mention: last night in the car on the way back home from the gym, busy daddy told me—apropos nothing in particular—that he has a 20 percent discount through his credit card on Canon products, like cameras and printers.

Busy daddy said, “I need to buy a new DSLR for the studio, so I was considering the Canon Rebel T3i. What do you think?” I said, Whatevs. And busy daddy said, “I can’t ever remember if we’re a Canon family or a Nikon family.” And I said, Are you kidding me? Then busy daddy said, “So we’re a … Canon family?” And I said, That’s like saying we’re a PC family or we’re a Pepsi family. You might as well as say that we’re a Communist family. And busy daddy said, “So we’re a … Nikon family?”

I said, Let me break it down for you, busy daddy: For point-and-shoot cameras, Canons are fine. But if you want a real DSLR, then it’s Nikon all the way. For micro-four-thirds systems, it’s Panasonic. Basically, we are a Nikon and Panasonic family. Busy daddy said, “Point taken. You’re not going to mention this on your blog, are you?” And I said, Probably, I don’t know. And busy daddy said, “Oh boy, you’re going get a ton of hate!” Then I said, BRING IT!!!