Emily, Emily, and I* hung out at Mile Hi Con this past weekend. Though my brain is running primarily on the fumes of creative passion and a giant caramel macchiato, I’m going to attempt to explain why it was worth every ounce of exhaustion.
Let’s begin with surface-level facts. First, nerds provide FANTASTIC people watching. Mile Hi Con focuses on sci-fi and fantasy, two linked genres that attract some of the most interesting people around. One minute sitting at a fan table can show you children in fairy dresses, teenagers dressed as anime characters, people in nerd shirts and brainwave cat ears, and incognito geeks dressed in street clothes. It’s right up there with playing “Who Are They Waiting For?” at the airport.
Second, Mile Hi Con is people-friendly. This is different from being family-friendly. Some cons are full of snobby jerks who just want to prove they know more about a fandom than you do. But at Mile Hi Con, entire families come to enjoy the programming, and no one would ever tell you that you’re not nerd enough to attend. There are some cons I’d feel obligated to dress up for, but Mile Hi Con doesn’t suffocate you with that kind of pressure. They don’t need you to prove that you’ve memorized every line of Battlestar Galactica or have Pokémon tattoos – they just want you to geek out with them.
That leads to my third and final reason to be a fan of Mile Hi Con: geeking out. Maybe I’m biased since it was a literary convention and therefore provided a lot of book nerdery**. My favorite panels were about writing violence/fight scenes and breakthrough technologies à la Star Trek (and other sci-fi flicks) that we can expect to see soon. I’ve been researching quantum physics, so it was awesome to hear a discussion of basic quantum mechanics and nuclear vs. chemical propulsion systems. My physics brain got SO EXCITED that, 24 hours later, I’m still enthusiastic about what I learned.
If you’ve never been to a con, and even if you think they’re weird (which is, incidentally, how I felt about them before I started attending with the podcast), I sincerely encourage you to try one out. The small ones can be a lot of fun if you go with the right people.
Yes, you read that right: Michelle is studying quantum physics. DID YOU KNOW that binary information can only be stored as a 0 or a 1, BUT quantum bits (“qubits”) can be both a 0 and a 1 AT THE SAME TIME? So, theoretically, if you can convert regular binary information into qubit information, you can TELEPORT it. They’ve already done this with photons and certain spins using diamond entrapment (electrons trapped in diamonds so you can measure and transfer the spin from one trapped electron to the other). It’s unreliable and mind-boggling but SO FRICKIN COOL.
…now you know how Emily and Emily felt all weekend while Michelle studied.
*I highly recommend collecting friends who have identical names. Not only do you get to have amusing exhaustion-induced realizations (“Oh, my gosh, you guys, together our names say MEE!”), introducing yourselves to new people is insanely easy (“Those are the Emilys. I’m the Michelle.”)
**TOTALLY a word, no arguments allowed.