Thursday, August 11, 2011

July meetup summary

So~! Before we have this meetup in Cleveland, perhaps I ought to take a moment and write a bit about the last meetup we had back in July.

The officially announced meetup time and place was July 23, 3:00 PM, at Momo2 in Columbus. For those who don't know what this place is (probably everyone who wasn't at this meetup), it's mostly a big building with some pool tables, a few rooms for Japanese-style karaoke, and a couple of bowling lanes. They serve food and drinks, including remarkably bubbly bubble tea, there's a couple televisions here and there, and they play chill-out music. It worked out great for us because they have a lot of empty space and can easily handle a big group, and there was a fairly open area toward the back with couches where we could all gather, with a decent-sized blank wall to project onto, and a couple of tables to spread stuff out.

The big plan was that we were going to set up a projector, watch a whole bunch of ponies, do some crafts, and hang out. More or less, that is what happened, but even getting to that point was a bit of a challenge, because as of that morning, none of us had access to a projector Momo2 didn't have one that we could borrow or rent, and on top of that, none of us had a good set of speakers, either. So, we met up for lunch before the meetup, and then went on a projector hunt. We found one with little hassle at Micro Center, and watched part of Wall-E while the guy went on what was undoubtedly a harrowing journey through foreign lands because he was gone for a really long time. Fortunately, he came back mostly unscathed, and with a projector in hand. $500 later, and with some more time to spare, we went to Toys'R'Us to devastate their supply of ponies on the last day of their 2-for-1 deal, and then raced back to Momo2 to get the party going.

After a few false starts, with the purchase of at least two "jump ropes" (apparently buying extension cords is like... really hard), unboxing the projector and figuring out how to use it, we finally got Equestria Girls playing at ... 4:30. Not too far from 3:00, considering that most of the people there were mingling and showing off custom ponies. After a good dose of Pinkie Pie, Kitsula suggested that we start off at the proper beginning - with the G1 pilot, Rescue at Midnight Castle. After that, we moved on to what everypony was there for, Friendship is Magic.

$71.79, and all socks.
Around 6:30, we gathered some of the group together to head out to Target and buy ponies. First we stopped at the dollar section at the front of the store, where they had all sorts of notepads, stickers, and of course, pony socks. Then we went straight for the toy section, played with the talking Celestia, joked about Twilight's balloon, and discussed the accuracy of the toys. At some point we lost about half of the group to the next aisle, where a bunch of adult males played with light sabers, Thor's hammer, and various other toys in the adjacent blue aisle... with their arms full of ponies. Yeah.

Once playing with the toys got boring, we went around the rest of the store, stopping at the school supply section to see if there were any MLP backpacks, binders, or other neat stuff, but no luck there. Then we went to the checkout, where we all assembled in the same checkout lane. I think we were all expecting to get some sort of reaction from the cashier, but he seemed sort of disaffected. This led to what is quite possibly the crowning moment of the trip: The New Gray Mare (the one who does all the custom tote bags) decided to go back to the dollar section, came back with every single pair of pony socks, and dumped them on the conveyor belt. The cashier had managed to get through all the rest of us buying brushable ponies, notepads, and bubble-blowing Pinkie Pie toys, but when he looked at the huge pile of socks, he widened his eyes, twisted his head a little, looked around at all of us, and said, "Okay, I have to ask. What the heck?!" And that's how Equestria was made.

Silly Hasbro. That's Derpy's job!
Meanwhile, those who didn't go to Target were still hanging out and watching MLP. Our corner wasn't too far away from one of the pool tables, and a couple older men came over to play a game. Only, for most of the time they were there, they had their eyes on the ponies instead of the pool table. The Momo2 staff passed by a few times as well, presumably to use the bathroom, check on the karaoke rooms, or fetch some supplies from the back, but every time, they would stop for a second and watch the screen. Really early on, one of the employees had to walk past the projector to get into a corner room. When he came back out, we asked if he wanted to join us and watch. He said, "What movie is that?" We said, "It's a TV show actually... it's My Little Pony, and it's completely worth watching." He put on a slightly confused yet intrigued expression, and paused for a couple seconds to watch Rainbow Dash before going back to work. I would not be surprised if at least one of them looked up My Little Pony on YouTube after leaving work that night.

Once the whole group was back together, we played Winter Wrap-Up, and as is becoming customary for any brony meetup, gathered around to sing along... twice, in fact, and with a bonus interpretive dance by Sam the second time around. Later on, we also sung the manliest rendition ever of So Many Wonders. Trombe and PinFilly gave a presentation on making a custom pony - or at least, the disassembly and preparation steps. The New Gray Mare started cutting and sewing some of her hoard of socks to make cell phone / dice bags, and a handful of drawfriends kicked back on the couches to sketch ponies.

Pony hair removal
It's too bad, a lot of people started leaving around 9:30. (Apparently most Ohio bronies go to sleep at night! This came as a bit of a shock to us, since we're usually awake until two in the morning at least.) Once things had settled down, we talked to the manager briefly to thank him for being so cool about letting us all come in, rearrange all the furniture, set up a projector, and watch cartoons for six hours. In turn, he thanked us for being "the best group [they] ever had." Awesome! I think he was expecting us to start a fight, or bring in a huge sound system and turn it up all the way, or something. He was especially impressed that we put most of the furniture back and even picked up our trash.

By the end of the night, I'd met a whole ton of great and powerful talented bronies, including Prison, who you might recognize from Celestia Radio - and wow, I felt like such a dope for not realizing who he was despite his very prominent and legible name tag... and briefly lost composure when I was properly introduced to him. Derp. When I got home, I had a full set of brushables, an awesome Lyra tote bag, and a brain full of pony. This meetup really was big adventure and tons of fun.

Want more? Here's a YouTube playlist with a bunch of video clips from the meetup!

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