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Introduce yourself and tell your Eternal Member origin story!

Offline Eternal Zan

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Introduce yourself and tell your Eternal Member origin story!
« on: November 09, 2014, 10:06:23 PM »
My name is Zan and I've been an Eternal Member since 2005 and a Dragon Con attendee since 2003. I am not an employee or representative of Dragon Con, I'm just a regular fan. My goal is to bring the EMs together both online and at the con. The Eternal Members are a small group and always will be. What we lack in numbers we make up for in enthusiasm!

Below is a little about myself, some of the text has been repurposed from https://www.facebook.com/groups/DragonConEternalMembers group that I founded.

Here is my Dragon Con origin story...

I went to DC the first year I learned about it. It is the only out-of-state con I go to and it is a 10 hour drive for me. I heard of DC by chatting with someone at a local con and they just went on and on about how great DC was. I asked them if DC was really worth a full day's drive - was it that good? I had recently moved to a new city and didn't know anyone. Why should I drive a long distance just to attend a con where I'd never see the people the rest of the year? They assured me it was worth a chance.

That first year I drove up by myself and stayed in a cheap hostel that used to be a brothel. I didn't know about MARTA so I followed a printed map to the hotels. I didn't own a cell phone and smartphones barely existed then. I walked over a mile uphill (in the heat!) to get there, then took a cab back at night. It was just the Hyatt and Marriott. The habitrails didn't exist yet, so I spent a lot of time walking up and down stairs and getting confused about where I was going. By the time I knew where I was going the con was over, but I knew I'd be back next year. I'd been going to sci fi cons for half my life and this was the best one I'd ever been to!

The Eternal Membership wasn't on the website back then. I learned about it by chatting with someone in the registration line in 2004. They said they'd heard a rumor they were going to stop selling them. Clearly that information turned out to be wrong. In 2005 I made it to the registration line 15 minutes before it closed and bought my Eternal Membership. I remember wondering if I'd ever be able to go enough times to pay it off. Would I be able to get off work? Who knows what the future holds? I liked the idea of a party with celebrities though. Maybe just that would make it all worth it.

It was a lot of money to me at the time, but it was one of the best decisions I've ever made. In the years since, I've never met anyone who regretted buying their EM but I've met a lot of people who regretted not buying it sooner. That said, all entertainment is a luxury. I'd never encourage anyone to buy something they can't afford. Becoming an EM is not the right choice for everyone.

THE ETERNAL MEMBER COMMUNITY

Dragon Con has grown over the years. It used to be that I would just run into my friends. We didn't have to plan meetups. But now DC has grown so huge that it takes planning to do what you want. The crowds increase and cell phone coverage is spotty at best. In recent years all kinds of fan resources have begun springing up. They help make the con feel smaller again.

Other than the Thursday night party (the location is on the postcard they send us) there haven't been any official gatherings for EMs at DragonCon. I always wanted to meet more of us. For years I kept looking for an EM group online, somewhere, anywhere, so I could join. I could never find one. DragonCon is a huge and varied community and many attendees are active in several online communities.

Finally I created a Facebook group and started reaching out to other EMs. I quickly learned that some of them felt the same way I did. But not everyone wants to use Facebook. There are some EMs already in the forums. I've been a part of the forums for a while and it is a great resource for information and inspiration. The most helpful post I've made is about how to transfer a hotel room reservation. http://dragonconforums.org/get-me-there!-%28now-also-with-roomshare!%29/how-to-transfer-a-room

So far the EM community on FB has come up with several great ideas for things to do next year. I've already started researching some of them, but right now the holidays are coming up. I plan on throwing out some more fully-fleshed ideas in January.

I'd love to hear your origin stories and ideas. How did you become an EM? What do you want to do as a group?

- Zan
- Eternal Zan (rhymes with "fan")
Eternal Member, attendee since 2003

Offline wfl

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Re: Introduce yourself and tell your Eternal Member origin story!
« Reply #1 on: November 24, 2014, 10:05:49 AM »
I am one of the older Eternal members (probably by age and year of purchase), I suppose - unfortunately I can't remember the details as well as Zan (partially because of a stroke, but mostly because my story goes back almost 25 years.)  I bought my Eternal membership in approximately 1995. 

My first convention was either Liberty Con or ChattaCon in the summer of 1990.  I think it was Liberty, but it was a long time ago.  My friends from the science fiction club at Tennessee Tech (Alpha Psi Phi) convinced me to go.  The con was exciting (back then, before the Internet, dealers' rooms were magical places where you could find things you couldn't get anywhere else) and frustrating (someone smashed my car window and stole my radar detector).  Sunday afternoon, just as we were standing around in the lobby before leaving, I saw the poster for Georgia Fantasy Con (which was not exactly a Dragon Con, but basically the same people).  The headline guests were Michael Moorcock and Harlan Ellison, who are my two favorites.  I said something to the effect of "I wonder if Moorcock would let me run my fingers through his beard for good luck if I gave him $20".  At that point, Ed Kramer, who was standing there, introduced himself and started telling us about all the stuff that was going to happen, and the panels he had planned for Moorcock and Ellison.  Many years later, in light of well-known events, that moment is not a charming as it seemed at the time.

So, we went to Georgia Fantasy Con, and had a great time, and started going to Dragon Con.  The year before I bought my Eternal membership, a couple of us decided to work the con to save on the admission fee (back in the day, considering pre-apocalyptic hotel prices, the fact that we stacked so many people in a room, and the possibility of getting most of our nutrition from the consuite, the admission was a big chuck of the cost of the weekend). The year I bought the Eternal, I had already signed up to work again, and I was planning to, but I had a terrible case of bronchitis and really had no business being there at all, and spent most of the weekend in coughing my guts out. 

Back in the earlier years, before registration became the notorious disaster that it was before they got serious about it, my friends would often get through preregistration faster than I got through Eternal registration, which they teased me about a lot.  Once, they had time to run through the dealers' room, and one of my friends bought a couple of books.  He told me they were giving them away in registration, and I got all huffy about not having any in the Eternal registration.  He let me steam a couple of hours before he told me it was a scam.

I suppose this is as good a point as any to talk about the "perks" of Eternal membership.  I knew at the time, and my opinion has not changed, that the only significant benefit to me would be never having to register again.  We used to get first-class mailing of the fliers (which was actually very nice before we had the Internet on computers, as Homer Simpson would say).  They would give us first crack at freebie stuff when they only had small quantities of it, but I haven't noticed much of that for years.  The Thursday night reception in the green room is nice, I guess, but it's only for the first night, and I've never seen any big names there (I know plenty of people have).  The spread of food has always been very impressive.  Unfortunately, now that I have a wife and son, for whom we have not bought Eternal memberships, I feel guilty leaving them in the room while I run up my blood sugar hoping to catch a peek at someone famous.

Since then, I've been to more Dragon Cons than not, but having gotten married and had a son (who's 9 now), it's gotten harder to make it every year.  It just doesn't work for us if we can't get in a host hotel, and that's been a psychotic lottery for - what?  ten or fifteen years now? 

If I could add one benefit to being an Eternal, it would be some scheme where we could get a room in a host hotel.  I understand that the odds of that happening are roughly equivalent to the odds of my jazz band opening for a Led Zeppelin reunion tour, but hey - a boy can dream...

Offline Richness

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Re: Introduce yourself and tell your Eternal Member origin story!
« Reply #2 on: April 08, 2015, 03:34:29 AM »
Hi. I'm Richard, and I'm a Eternaholic. My first DC appearance was in 1995, but I was there for the STARFLEET International Conference that was being co-hosted with them that weekend, and not DC. I didn't return to DC until 2009. I don't recall what prompted me to return in 2009, but I did, and I've been back every year since. And yes, I'm kicking myself for not having kept up with DC in those interim years, and not having got an EM then. However, I think the events that transpired at that IC may have sullied my overall DC experience.

I didn't become an EM until I was bitten by a radioactive spider. OK, no, that isn't what happened. I sat in the long registration line on Friday afternoon, and said *)@# that )$R*. Plus, after the 2009 con, I heard all these horror stories that the per-registration line was even worse. Therefore, I ponied up for an EM  in summer of 2010 at the unholy rate of $1000. And for two or three years, I enjoyed not having to deal with a per-registration line. Granted, that isn't as much a problem now that they automated the process with bar-codes.

Still, I suspect (almost hope) that they will eventually have to cap registrations. So when getting tickets becomes a death match rivaling the one for SDCC and for hotels, I'll be happy I got my EM still. Granted, it probably won't be "paid off" until 2020 or so, but that's fine.

As far as these forums go, I don't monitor them regularly. Heck, I don't even monitor most of my DC Facebook groups that closely, and I practically live on FB. So forgive me if this ends up being my sole post to this EM Forum. It's nothing personal, but there's only so many hours in the day to do the things I want to do.

Re: Introduce yourself and tell your Eternal Member origin story!
« Reply #3 on: June 05, 2015, 09:54:38 AM »
PJsLife.  I became a EM in 1997. The membership was a gift from my BF who is now my husband.  We have attended every year since then.  5 years ago, I started volunteering for the convention as a Fan Track Director.

We joined because we loved attending Dragon Con.  Our love has languished in the past few years due to the overwhelming crowds.  The biggest benefit USED to be not having to wait in the registration line.  I fell like I miss out on a lot of the official and unofficial events simply because I am not aware of them.   

My time during the convention is limited due to being a Track Director.  I try and make the party on Thursday nights but I am not always successful.

I look forward to some suggestions of things I might be missing.  PS the Endless Prove you are not a robot stuff will limit the amount I post here.