Much as I love going to the Dragon*Con fandom convention in Atlanta, the experience is such a sensory overload that I need about a week to recuperate. The convention ended Sept. 2, but I'm only just now able to walk past people wearing normal clothes without doing a double-take.
With about 3,500 hours of nonstop programming, there's no way to experience everything at Dragon*Con, but every attendee's experience is full of crazy encounters, many of them courtesy of the amazing costumes.
Here are four things that stood out this year:
1. The unlikeliest costume? Shawn Connery's outfit from "Zardoz." If you don't remember the 1974 sci-fi drama, you're either too young, or you've successfully blocked out Connery's gag-inducing ensemble -- a long, greasy ponytail, a porn-star-worthy black moustache, thigh-high leather boots and twin bandoleers snaking up from a red loincloth. For all that time has attempted to erase "Zardoz" from the annals of cinema, I saw way too many people at the convention sporting a likeness of Connery's questionable attire.
2. There's no such thing as a gender or age divide when it comes to pop-culture fandom. "My Little Pony?" Not just for little girls. Plenty of adult males were proudly walking the streets of Atlanta wearing strap-on magical wings, rainbow clothing and pony ears. Many women also were putting a gender-bending twist on almost every character, from Darth Vader to corseted versions of Wolverine and Thor.
3. Lando Calrissian has seen better days. The convention's annual parade always features special guests, and this year's included "Star Wars" celeb Billy Dee Williams, who at 76, was looking the worse for the wear. His moustache is on the other side of luxurious, and he seemed barely able to muster the energy to wave from his car.
4. Costumers are quick on the draw. A week after Miley Cyrus twerked at the MTV Video Music Awards, I saw at least one "Beetlejuice" cosplayer wearing a striped suit that was a dead ringer for Robin Thicke's awards show getup. As a result, he got way more attention than he would have otherwise, I suspect.
So, yeah, it was a wild and crazy time, and I'm counting down to next year. Only 351 days to go.
Contact staff writer Casey Phillips at email@example.com or 423-757-6205. Follow him on Twitter at @PhillipsCTFP.