This weekend I tried out some very early reactions to my brony observations before an audience at an anime con that I've attended several times (my daughter is a staffer). I was very concerned when I found that they'd put me in a huge room at prime time (10-11 PM) and warned to expect a full house. Well, it was a pretty full house, about a third bronies and two-thirds curious anime fans. Thankfully, they were all supportive of this doddering relic from the 20th century, and I did throw in a large number of funny memes that I'd found on a variety of websites like "My Little Brony." So it was a fun way to break the ice.

I was interested in the questions that I was thrown at the end: who's your favorite pony? (Derpy); what kind of pony are you? (Earth pony); what's your personal cutie mark? (Strawberry); what drew you to look at MLP/FiM? (Reminded me of how I and a bunch of web-savvy guys got drawn into Cardcaptors when it was shown on WB-Kids in 1999). It really seemed as if the really committed bronies wanted to see just how far I'd gotten in my grandpa-newbie way before deciding that I was OK. I'm very thankful for this wiki site, as browsing through it during the weeks before the panel gave me the basic info I needed to handle this kind of "entrance exam."

Truth is, it's actually difficult for me to watch the shows. I don't get HUB in my area, and the Friendship Express DVD isn't closed captioned. I have a severe hearing disability, which is worst exactly at the frequencies that the voice actors use to speak the dialog. The first time I watched the opening episode, I got the gist of the action, but only half to a third of the audio. Finding the transcripts here was a godsend: I rewatched it in one window with the wiki transcript open in another window beside it, and that time I got it all. (And the other 4 eps. as well.)

In my talk I quoted an academic definition of otaku (manga/anime fan), calling them "self-defined cyborgs." I like that, as I feel like between my sophisticated hearing aids and my reliance on the Internet for information and communication, I am now as much machine (in action at least) as human.