• Canterlot Gardens Retrospective: Calpain

    Cloudy skies hung over the greater Ohio area as I busily prepared for what would be my second convention, pony or otherwise. Unlike BronyCon though my mind was awash with the responsibilities and promises I had made to others concerning the convention. With gifts to deliver and fellow bronies to transport to the event my pockets were filled with enough lists to make Twilight proud. But despite this I was excited, not only to experience the convention but to also meet new people and to meet my friends.

    Driving off from Athens that cloudy Friday afternoon, I had no idea what to expect. All I knew was that pony lay ahead and that one heck of a weekend was promised to most certainly occur. And what a weekend it was.

    If you're interested in a certain science pony's experiences as he got sucked into the hustle and bustle of the convention, then read on my good folks! You can check it all out after the break.

    As with BronyCon, part of the adventure was getting to the convention itself. Unfortunately for me, that journey didn't start until noon on the first day of the con. After hopping out of my last class it was a mad rush to pack the last remaining things for the trip and then head out to pick up the first of my three passengers, a brony at my university named Kabra who wished to catch a ride to the event.

    It was incredibly nice to talk with another pony fan from the area and we spent the entire time talking about everything from the show, EqD, and about Ohio life in general and what we wanted to do at the convention. Time quickly passed as we made a beeline to our next destination on the outskirts of Columbus where we were to pickup our next passenger.

    Pulling into an apartment complex, Kabra and I went inside (after getting lost for a little while) and knocked on the door of our next passenger: Octavia. The EqD commenter extraordinaire greeted us warmly and quickly gathered his belongings to be packed in the car before we were off to meet our final passenger in the very heart of Columbus.

    As a country boy I was never one to understand city driving so it took us awhile to get to our destination, thankfully in one piece. Waiting amongst the tall buildings at the city center, cars and people busily passing us by as we waited in a parking lot listening to pony music we were finally greeted by our last companion, the ever talented WillDrawForFood.

    With friends secured and ready to travel we started our trek to Strongsville in earnest, quickly leaving the bustle of Columbus behind for the open road ahead... or at least it would be open if it weren't for construction backups. Taking the back roads to avoid what construction we could we finally arrived in Strongsville after making our way through hazardous Amish country!

    Ohio road construction... Reminds me of home
    Exhausted, I bid my passengers goodbye and made my way up to the room EqD and a couple friends would be sharing. Halfway down the hall to the room one of my best friends, an artist by the name of AceSential, poked his head out and after doing a double take quickly came to hug me. Soon the room poured out into the hallway where I once again met my good friend Hypermark, who had spent the night at my place the previous evening, our lovable robo-pony PK, and our Blog Princess Phoe whom I was meeting for the first time in person.

    After settling in we made our way to a nearby restaurant to eat and then spent the rest of the night chatting and having fun. The stress of the past week lifted as I experienced what I had truly come to the convention for: my friends.


    The next day dawned and appeared the same as my mood: bright and sunny. The clouds and rain that had plagued Ohio for most of the week had drifted on and left us with ideal convention weather. The day could not have started better. Donning my lab coat along with my badges and pins, I was ready to hit the convention floor running! There was a lot to do that day and I was determined to fulfill what promises I could while I was there.

    Hitting the 1st floor of the hotel I was immediately greeted with a huge line and knew immediately it had to be for the first autograph session for that day. Carefully squeezing past the line I was halted by an oncoming procession consisting of con staff and some police and forced to hunker down close to the wall. Soon enough my curiosity about what all the hubbub was about was satisfied as a line of VAs along with writer Meghan McCarthy passed by to use the elevators I was standing near. Giving them a sheepish wave I then made my way to the nearby lobby with a smile on my face where I waited until my companions from the room made their way down.

    There was a lot to do and it was hard to make up our minds on what to explore first: one of the scheduled panels, artist alley or the game room. Ambling about we finally decided to join the line for artist alley which stretched down half a hallway, but was thankfully moving briskly. As soon as we entered the room I had flashbacks to BronyCon as my eyes were greeted with wall to wall merchandise! Everything from hats, shot glasses, mouse pads, plushies, artwork, and oh so much more could be found amongst all the vendors.

    After nabbing an AJ card for my sister and lightening my wallet a bit on some merchandise, we made our way to the game room to see how that was all coming along. Entering the room we were greeted with the flash of many screens, pony fans gathered around them as they played their favorite games on a variety of consoles. Dead center in the room though was the main attraction: a setup for Fighting is Magic being projected on a large screen! It was cool to see the game in action and while it still has a long way to go I was really impressed at the love that had been put into it so far and it even made me, who isn't too into fighting games, want to give it a whirl.

    Fighting is Magic was certainly one of the main draws to the gaming room
    Not only was Fighting is Magic showing their stuff off, but the Legends of Equestria team was as well! I paid them a visit and wished them the best of luck on the project. It looks really promising and the crowd around the table seemed to indicate that there was certainly interest in the game.

    The Legends of Equestria Team. Awesome meeting you all!
    After leaving the game room it was time for me to set off on a personal mission. I had promised some fans of the show before I left for CG to deliver some very important items to the guests of honor. I wasn't about to let them down so I proceeded to try my very best to do what I could for them. The items in question were a variety of gifts such as a custom sculpt for Andrew WK and a large gift package consisting of journals meant for a large number of the VAs. For several hours I chatted with convention staff until I finally received the ok to deliver the journals and the sculpt to Andrew as well.

    Guided through security and in through the backdoor of the autograph room I was told I was meeting Andrew WK first, the others would have to wait for later. With the box containing the sculpt in hand I was led up to the man himself, just as energetic and friendly as I was led to believe from reading about him. I shook his hand, told him I was from EqD and that I had a present from some fans that couldn't be there to meet him that day. Thankfully I can say he loved the gift he got thanks to Omgwtflols customs and iStricer and it was certainly a pleasure to meet with the party king himself.

    Party on!
    As I was heading out of the autograph room I was caught up in a group with Lee Tockar, Andrew Francis, and Cathy Weseluck. We chatted for awhile as we made our way down the hall towards the lobby where I parted ways with Cathy and followed Lee to the Artist Alley as he wanted me at the auction that was about to take place. The room was just as crowded as I left it and Lee was soon joined by Peter New and Andrew Francis once again as they made their rounds from booth to booth, commenting on the merchandise for sale. Soon after, the trio made way to a spot in the room and called attention to everyone that the charity auction was ready to begin.

    Now let me say, these three are fantastic as auctioneers. Full of energy and enthusiasm, they really got the crowd going as they auctioned a great number of things! It may not be the best video, but check out a small example of the whole affair below.

    It was only after the auction that I was able to return to the autograph room and deliver a portion of the journals I had been tasked with giving to the VAs. I had never met them in person before and I must say they are quite an amazing group of people to encounter if you ever have the chance.

    Exhausted, but happy that I was able to fulfill my promises I retreated to bed after a night of food and fun with the others. The final day awaited us and I was determined to make it a fun one.


    Sunday promised not to be as busy as Saturday so we had more time as a group to split off and do what we wanted that day. As I had to leave early that evening in order to get back home before classes on Monday I spent what time I could talking with friends I met at the convention and getting to know those who I didn't know. Despite the convention winding down, there were still plenty of people to fill the various rooms and the lobby, dressed in all manner of pony apparel!

    The only major events of the day were talking with Lee Tockar, answering some questions for a documentary that had contacted us and to pass out the remaining journals we were given.

    Meeting with Lee for a sit down was a very enjoyable experience and I appreciate him taking the time out of his day to talk about some of his upcoming projects, primarily a really cool endeavor artists are sure to be happy with that we'll be eager to report on once we get more details!

    Passing out the rest of the journals and then meeting with a documentary that wanted some questions answered about EqD rounded out our day before we went on one last outing at a local restaurant. Afterwards, I began to pack up and called my passengers to see how their packing was coming along. It had been a fun weekend, but all good things must come to an end at some point! With the car packed and my passengers ready to go, I hugged my dear friends goodbye and wished them a safe trip home.

    Five hours later, I was at the door of my apartment. My throat sore and body aching from what would eventually develop into Con Crud, I made my way to my warm bed and fell asleep almost instantly.


    It wasn't until the next morning that I could reflect on what had happened that over that wonderful weekend. While the panels, the merchandise, and the games were fun it was truly the people that made the whole event a memorable and truly amazing time. Between seeing my friends and making new ones I'd have to say it's the best time I've had since BronyCon!

    As I bid my final friend (and his Fluttershy) goodbye, I could think of nothing more than the next convention I could attend. And when I would be able to see my friends once again.

    Fluttershy says goodbye as she leaves with my friend Hypermark on Monday
    To my very good friends! PK, Phoe, AceSential, and Hypermark, I'll miss you all! (Art by AceSential)

    Finally, I want to thank everyone that signed my coat this time around! It was a pleasure getting your signatures and I must say that space on the poor thing is quickly starting to dry up! Hopefully I can squeeze some more on there when I meet you all at the next convention I attend.

    So many sigs!
    Also, thank you pony merchants that showed up to the convention and allowed me to purchase your wares. You guys rock! Also a huge thanks to a wonderful Brony named Dave that gave me a plush Calpony! I did not expect such a generous gift and it almost floored me when he showed it to me. Thank you ever so much!

    Artwork by WillDraw, Acesential, UC77, PixelKitties, and RedPear. Awesome Calpony and Twilight Sparkle cutie mark pin and button from Dave! Twi plush from Ponyplushies.