John Heaton (jheaton) wrote,
John Heaton

  • Music:
Well, it's been a whole week now, so maybe it's time to talk about my trip to Tennessee last weekend.

As many of you know, I periodically travel out of town to attend "Buffycons." Buffycons are not conventions in the traditional sense of the word; there are no exhibits, nor panel discussions, nor keynote speakers, nor anything else one might normally find at a convention. A Buffycon is a very informal gathering of Buffy fans, most of whom have some connection with the Buffy forum at Television Without Pity. We've been having these gatherings for a little over two years now, and they never fail to be entertaining as hell.

Most Buffycons have cute and/or descriptive names, and this one was no exception. Since Teleri was hosting the con at her home in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, it was given the name Redneck Con. And while there were no rednecks at the con itself, I did see a few elsewhere while I was there.

My Redneck odyssey began very early last Friday. Some months ago, when I first expressed interest in attending this con, my fellow TWoPer and DC area resident Selannia invited me to drive down to Tennessee with her. Naturally, I agreed. But since we were facing a ten hour drive, we decided we needed to hit the road early. We left Leesburg around 7:30 AM. Yuck. On the other hand, that's an hour later than I usually leave for work, so perhaps I shouldn't bitch about it.

Ten hours is long time to be in a car, but we stopped every so often to get gas or eat lunch. We split the driving, and we kept each other entertained in our own unique fashions: Selannia pointed out the different kinds of recreational vehicles we passed along the way ("That's a Class A! Ooh, those are really expensive."), and I pointed out interesting shops advertised on billboards, like the Bible Outlet and pestered her about stopping at them ("How can you not stop at a Bible outlet store? Ooh, Elvis souvenirs!"). And we listened to CDs: Mike Doughty, Ben Folds, the Jayhawks, Sesame Street Sing the Alphabet.

The highlight of the drive down was when we realized that we had just gained an hour by crossing into the Central Time Zone. It was strangely exciting. I was also excited to catch a glimpse of the Sunsphere as we drove through Knoxville. Selannia seemed less excited about that one. And the fall colors were pretty too.

We pulled into Murfreesboro around 5:30 CST. KellyEMcA and xtmont ran out to greet us, and once inside we meet Blixie, Spuffy, and Spuffy's brother. (Thus ends the list of people in the order in which I met them.) Teleri and boliver were at the airport, where they would remain for the next several hours.

Back at the house, we settled in around the TV to watch an Eddie Izzard DVD Kelly and xtmont brought with them, and then, because Selannia had, incredibly, never seen it. Meanwhile, people continued to drift in. By 8:30, there were already 50 people crowded into the house, with another 25 yet to arrive!

OK, that's an exaggeration. There were 23 people there, with another dozen or so on the way. But golly, 23 loud people is a lot for one little house. Especially one little house in which we couldn't figure out how to turn on the ceiling fan. By midnight, almost everyone -- 35 people, by my count -- had arrived. By that time, the one large group had pretty much split into two smaller groups: an outside group, where much booze was being consumed, and an inside group, where slightly less booze was being consumed.

I don't remember much of that first night. I was tired and somewhat depressed, having by that time received the news about Paul. I remember talking with rustydog and shaming myself by asking her impertinent questions about herself. I remember telling blixie and nancydrew01 that I would go to the hotel with them when they left ... and that they ditched me! I remember watching the first half of Firefly before catching a ride to the hotel with DocHopper.

Saturday ... well, Saturday was kind of strange. NancyDrew, blixie, and I ate breakfast at the hotel, and got back to teleri's around 11:30 ... and were immediately drawn into plans to leave for breakfast. I of course had already had breakfast, but decided to go along to be sociable. We got our acts together and left for the Cracker Barrel around noon, and by the time we got the restaurant and were seated it was pretty close to 1 PM. Somewhere along the way we lost about half our group -- they didn't want to wait, so they went elsewhere.

After lunch, Selannia, jenelope and I went to Wal-Mart to buy snacks -- you can never have too much food at a Buffycon -- while the others returned to Teleri's. We eventually got back there ourselves, as did the group we'd lost at the Cracker Barrel. Meanwhile, other groups had gone, to buy more booze or snacks, or just to get away from all the people. By 5:00, though, we had a critical mass of people and were ready to launch into the first official large-scale Buffycon group activity: the "Once More, With Feeling" sing-along.

Such a sight has never been seen before. Upwards of thirty people crammed into one room, singing the Buffy musical at the top of their lungs. Truly, a magical moment. Spuffy said it was like being at a revival meeting.

After the musical, we tried to get organized to play charades, and we did in fact succeed at playing charades for a short while. But then people started complaining of being hungry, so once again we split into several groups and went to various restaurants in the area. Owing to a lack of familiarity with the area and a lack of any natives in among us -- Teleri had gone with a different group -- my group ended up back at the Cracker Barrel. Twice in one day! I think that was as many times as I'd been to Cracker Barrel in the last two years!

Once back at the ranch, people started making plans to go over to the bar at the Holiday Inn where most of the conners were staying. I, on the other hand, was in no mood to go anywhere. I had returned from dinner and, stupidly, sat down in front of the computer and read several articles about Senator Wellstone. This had the effect of making me severely depressed and wanting to do nothing but curl up on the sofa under a blanket with a stuffed animal. Which is what I did. Boliver and Selannia stayed behind too, for their own reasons, and we watched the end of the Firefly episode I'd watched the first half of the night before.

When people returned from the hotel, we somehow got into a conversation about Bruce Campbell, and ended up watching The Evil Dead, which I'd not seen in years. It's a fun movie. Granted, it doesn't have much to do with Buffy, but a connection can be made. (Xander addressed Spike as "evil dead" in the episode "Crush." And Bruce Campbell was the popular choice among fans to portray Uncle Rory, an oft-mentioned but until last season never-seen relative of Xander's. See? It's all about Buffy.) And then I went back to the hotel. Sleepy.

I arrived back at Teleri's the next morning in time to say goodbye to the people who'd driven up from Texas and Arkansas, and to say hello to them again five minutes later to get what they'd left behind. Selannia and I left around noon, and had an uneventful trip home. But we had fun cursing at the stupid truckers who kept driving in the left lane.

So in summary: I had a good time. The only bad thing about Redneck was that there were so many people there, and so many things going on at once, that there were many people I barely spoke to, and many more that I wish I could have spent more time with. But hey, that's why we keep doing them, right? I can see those other people at the next one!

Here's my Redneck Con photo album!

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