Whether you're a skeptical person or not, atheist or not, carbon-based life-form or not, if you have ever in your entire life gone to a convention/conference/seminar/large meeting, you want to go listen to this week's Geologic Podcast. Particularly the bit that starts at 26:25.
George Hrab was the MC for TAM this year. He kicked off the conference with a little musical medley, and the bit at 26:25 was my favorite part - "Make sure that your question's a question." The essence of this little musical ditty should be squeezed into spray bottles and handed out to moderators and MCs at every convention. Or perhaps it could be crafted into a branding iron with which to mark the worst offenders. Or maybe George should just be personally sent to every convention ever, and he'll be able to soon retire on the proceeds of just being paid to sing this song by grateful attendees the world over.
I understand that there's a real desire to engage in dialog with the (at least locally) famous people on a panel, and impress them with the wit and thought behind your own opinions. Goodness knows, I've had my more psychotic moments where I've imagined that, if I could just make it into a Presidential Townhall, I could totally straighten every policy in the goddamn country out with the 1000-watt beam of my scintillating political thought.
But then I punch myself in the face until I stop hallucinating, and it's all better.
Seriously. No one else in the audience wants to hear your long-winded and grandiose story of personal experience that normally culminates in a question that sounds like, "Having said that, what's your favorite color?" Most of the time, it just sounds sad and tacked on, like you desperately wanted to tell a story to a large (and ever more hostile) captive audience and just had to come up with a question at the end so you didn't feel completely dishonest.
That's what blogs are for. With a bonus of not even needing to come up with a faux-question for the end.
Also, since audience members aren't the only ones that can bogart a microphone and make innocent bystanders contemplate the possibility of crafting some sort of hangman's noose from the pages of the program book, there's this too: About conventions, panels, and bad panelist behaviour: a rant
Looking back, I wonder how much I was guilty of this sort of awful behavior at anime conventions. My ego is particularly ravenous, and that can lead to all sorts of unfortunate conversation topics that absolutely no one but me gives a shit about.
And this blog. Hey. All I can hope is that my boundless reserves of sarcasm provide some kind of cushion for times like that.
So if you were ever at an NDK or Yaoicon or AnimeFest where I bored you to absolute tears, I would like to take this opportunity to apologize. And I hope that some day I will have an opportunity to show off just how much I've grown as a person and a writer since those days. My ravenous ego demands it.