The Pros and Cons of Cons

Cons can be some of the most fun, exciting events on the planet. They can also be disappointing, awkward, or even outright depressing. They can be a place to find cool stuff, meet with like-minded people, and celebrate your fandoms — or they can reveal nerds at their most awkward, companies at their most mercenary, and the dark side of fandoms in general. And they can do all these things simultaneously. So my question is: Which of these is most true for you?

For the first time in seven years, I'm not attending San Diego Comic Con. I can't tell you what a blessed relief this is to me. I don't have to fight the crowds, wait in lines, fail to get exclusive toys, be disappointed at the lack of cool booths... but I recognize that this is partially because I've been so much (and am exceedingly old and bitter). Surely there are some of you guys who have never gone but are dying to go, or went for the first time last year and had a blast, right?

And that's just SDCC. I've been to cons where I went away cheering for my fellow nerds, and I've been to cons where at the end I wanted to go home and throw away all my comics and anime DVDs and toys and do nothing but read newspapers and watch professional sports for the rest of my life.

So what do cons mean for you? Do you think they're good or bad experiences, generally? Are they getting better or worse, and do you think there's some kind of pattern here? Let me know in the comments!