Finally I just got up and left.
I felt better that I wasn't the only one, but in theory, after the orientation, we had to go to separate classrooms to speak with each department, and I should have stayed, but there was no way. It would have gone on past 10 at that point.
So then we were finally on our way to Katsucon. We needn't have worried, because everyone was running late. Seth, our inventory dude (I forgot his real title), not only delivered stuff to the staff suite, but unpacked a few items, filled the coolers with ice, and put some of the drinks in them so we had cold soda and juices. That was so nice. Then Christine and I got to our room, and set up some of the "After Hours" place in the Presidential Suite, which would be my home most of the con.
Fans were already arriving, which isn't that uncommon for such a big convention. I love fandom. I really do. I love being in the elevator with some teens, and hearing their geeky selves say the same things *I* used to say when I went to cons back then. There is an air tense with happy excitement. Some of the "old guard" have already arrived and staked out their chairs in the lobby. A few stay alone, hooked to a paperback as a shield, watching through their brows, stealing glances at passing fen. Some immediately congregate near or at the bar to boast about conventions past and what they have been up to since they last met. Staff are running around, and you hear the barking speakers of walkie-talkies asking where to put something, where is so-and-so, and the air of a production hangs like a symphony tuning up. Cons are really a social event, and I love them for that. Hell, I never stepped a foot in a video room or a panel all con.
Like doing Rocky Horror, you don't go for the movie, you go for the audience.
I was pretty tired, but a lot of us stayed up for a while Thursday night into early Friday morning.
I woke up late Friday, but not late enough. The hotel was very dry, and it's always dry. Even Tad, our Chief Medical Dude, says every year, "Bring your own humidifier." Hotels are always so dry, but I didn't bring a humidifier, so I snored very loudly and had sinus issues all weekend. My own fault, Tad said to bring a humidifier!
Lunch, provided by the hotel, was pretty bland. It was a boxed lunch, and they didn't have roast beef like they had promised. So it was turkey subs, ham and cheese, and a veggie sandwich. I thought the veggie would be safe, only to find out it was baloney with a lot of tomatoes. At first, I thought it was tofu baloney, but when I pulled it out, no ... it had a rind and was definitely the run-of-the-mill baloney cold cut that kids got in their lunch. I hate baloney. Apparently everyone else got eggplant.
Anyway, I was planning Opening Ceremonies all that day, which wasn't hard, because I already had a plan, so I just needed to confirm the usual "who is going up?" and "do they have stage fright?" Good thing, too, because several people had stuff to add at the last minute. That's why planning OC is more like a guide than a plan: it always changes. For instance, we had a whole OC opening video with CGI and stuff, but a week beforehand, the hard drive it was on got corrupted, and all the work was lost. I have been given a copy of Flash as well as my own copy of Animation Master (I have to get the upgrade) to work on one for next year. I hope I can pull this off.
We got started late, which was partly my fault because I had no idea who was in charge of letting people in. I just made announcements over the mike of "Uh ... when are we letting people in?" Of course, no one knew, so no one answered. Then it took 5 minutes to let people in. We ended up starting 20 minutes late, which ate up all my "spare time" for people who spoke too much, plus took away an extra ten minutes. I had to tell everyone to speed it up, but we still ran 8 minutes over into the Megatokyo panel. But at least I got to meet Fred Ghallagher! He's great. I just happened to be wearing my "3v1l m1ni0|\|" shirt, too. Heh. I am such a fanboy.
Also, there was some confusion as to whether I was Emcee or not. Now, two years ago, I was told NOT to be Emcee, but apparently, this year, everyone (but me) assumed I was going to be Emcee, which does make being stage manager a very difficult job. So I sort of did both ... and did a bad Emcee job. Feh. So next year, I WILL be Emcee, and dress the part, as well as plan my stage management around that (it can be done, it's just more difficult). I will also note that longtime friend Brian Flannigan from the tech crew did a great job, and was very patient with me, even though we were mucking everything up.
Dinner, which was done by the hotel, sucked. I mean, the food was okay, but they tried to pass of Manwich burger meat as bouillabaisse, and from what they charged us, it was an awfully chintzy. It was a small salad bar, Manwich, noodles, and ... cheese tortellini.
Later that night, I had the rare treat of spending some quality time with my friend Andrew Iwancio, and sat by his table and hear him spin on some of his equipment. Andrew is like this street genius, an artist who has the humor of Chuck Barry (from the old Gong Show...? Anyone? am I that old?), and despite the fact he's in his early 20s (I have known him since he was 16), I have always been amazed at his talent and good nature. I wouldn't be surprised if he is an incarnate of the Dali Lama or something. Andy is one of the many friends I have made through FanTek.
I stayed up late again, and woke up late again on Saturday. I had this horrible nightmare that a plane from the airport next to us crashed into the hotel, just missing me, but killing everyone else. It was really livid, too, and I woke up with my heart pounding in my chest. I vaguely recalled also having a nightmare the night before, but I couldn't remember that one. This dream disturbed me so much, whenever the trains rumbled by (our hotel is right on the edge of a major train thoroughfare), part of me though, "Is that a plane going to crash into us?" From the Presidential Suite, you could see the whole Reagan National Airport, and I watched the airplanes land and take off a lot until I felt better. Airports are usually soothing to me, I guess since I spent so much of my first two years of life in them, but that was all shattered on 9/11. Planes look like bombs to me now. But the process of "being at an airport" did still calm me down somewhat. Weird.
Lunch was boxed lunch from the hotel, and I had a turkey sub that was pretty good. The hotel staff that delivered it to the Boardroom were actually very nice. In fact, all the hotel "underlings" were very nice, from bellhops to wait staff. Wish management was the same way.
I had already prepped all the "Whose Katsu" stuff the previous week, so I didn't have a whole lot to do in the afternoon. So I got sent with Louann to pick up stuff from my house (an extra Areobed and games) and Sean and Louann's house to pick up stuff from them. We ended up taking forever because of traffic and other various delays. I got to see Chance, Scarlet, and Keiran, as well as their new nanny, a perky girl named Miranda. When we got back, I had just enough time to change and go to present anime video awards.
I presented two awards for Anime Music Videos (my choice as well as Audience choice 2nd place), but the whole event was terribly confusing because the guy in charge of planning it just threw it together at the last minute because apparently his job screwed up the week he was working on it. Everyone got mad at him. I felt bad, because he's not a bad person, but no one knew what they were doing, or when to get onstage in what order, and no one could read his handwriting. Oh well.
I only had 20 minutes to wolf down dinner, again by the hotel, which had taco shells, flour tortillas, and taco meat that looked and tasted suspiciously like the Manwich bouillabaisse from the previous night. I really missed it when the Staff Suite served food, but the hotel would barely let us serve our own breakfast and anyway, the staff is so huge, that cooking for 300 people is now pretty much out of the question, both in cost and in logistics.
Then there was Whose Katsu, with Pocky, Rob, Kevin, and Sean. It went pretty well. Memorable moments included Pocky doing a press release for an all-nude review of Evangeleon, insults towards people who wear K-mart shoes, and just general silliness. The slides I did went well with tech, who howled with laughter as some of my ideas. I now know they can accept PowerPoint as a medium, which will simplify things greatly for K11.
I was exhausted by the end of the night, and went to bed by midnight, even though the parties were going on all over. I slept poorly, mostly because the diet of bad hotel food and junk food I had been eating. I had another nightmare where I got laid off, but in addition of work keeping all my stuff, they said, "Everything you have learned here is proprietary knowledge, and therefore, we will remove it all." So somehow, they sucked all of the knowledge of computers out of my head, and then I knew nothing about them anymore. I couldn't get a job in retail because I was overqualified, and couldn't get a job in tech because I didn't know anything about how computers worked. I couldn't even get on the Internet anymore or use a word processor to write my book! That dream, which sounds so silly in text, scared me so badly, it traumatized me... I am still reacting to it as I type this with a knot of fear that feels like I am falling into a deep hole.
I woke up Sunday out of this fear pit, and although I had suddenly been asked to do the art auction, I really wasn't feeling good, so I declined. I didn't hear what happened to the auctioneer, but I am assuming that he or she got the Katsu flu. A huge, fast-reacting stomach virus was sweeping the con. It knocked off half the tech crew, and sent one of them to the hospital. As far as I know, I don't have it, and probably won't get it because it seems like you catch it and react to it very quickly. All my stomach problems were definitely an issue with diet, since I have now gotten used to eating better. I gained several pounds, too (verified by scale), and boy, do I feel it. My stomach now HATES junk food, and is very mad at me. Sorry, stomach.
The elevators were so slow, that when I tried to get to the merchant's room, I waited 26 minutes. Three elevators came to the 18th floor, and they were packed so full, they couldn't accept any more passengers. People were sick of waiting for the elevators that were going in their direction, so they'd just get on any elevator with room, thinking, "This will go in the right direction eventually." Finally, I just walked down 18 flights of stairs. I was happy to see I could do it, but my legs felt like rubber afterwards, and are still sore right now. I really, really need to exercise more.
The merchant's room was the same as always. In fact, as expressed by my friend Cheryl years ago, and recently debated on the ACML, what I wanted I either already had or couldn't afford, and everything else I didn't want or need. I ended up spending a total of $26 for a graphic novel (Megatoyko Vol. 2) and two small stuffed critters. CR bought a hat that looked like a cat with money he got from a good report card (the best ever).
Afterwards, I cleaned up the presidential suite and packed for the trip home. I was so tired and my stomach hurt. I was also severely depressed due to the seasonal depression which was irritated even further by being indoors all weekend. I think the con was a great success, but I am definitely starting to feel my age. I had heard a lot of staff members around my age going, "I feel too old for this," and I sympathize. I get tired a lot now. I can't stay up as late as I used to, and just eat junk food, or skip meals, or any of the other stuff I took for granted. Also, all my timing was off. I missed seeing a lot of people, like I didn't get to hang out with JJ, Rafe, or Gail. I saw my friend Steve Moyer like once, and I wanted to spend more time with him, as well as Lije and Brian (Carpenter), but even though they invited me to breakfast, I wasn't able to make it. And while no big disaster happened all weekend, all my days were peppered with huge quantities of smaller, really petty and meaningless problems, that added with my SD, just made me slightly tired and bummed. I mean, for Whose Katsu, I had to pump myself up in my head during Cosplay, and I usually never have to do that. If I had to sum up how I felt about the con, it was just tired. I am very happy, though, that there was now snow like last year.
The evening ended with a dinner at Chili's, where I had some really good garlic shrimp alfredo, and great cheesecake. I felt better after I ate, so maybe the diet had something to do with being tired, too. The lack of a "substantial food" or something. They had a party with the guests going back to the Presidential Suite, but Christine and I had to pick up the dogs from Gay's house, and I had to get up early the next morning for work.
So, all in all. The con was good, even if I wasn't. There were a few problems, but most of mine were my own fault. The staff was great, the attendees wonderful as always, and I met and talked with many people I'll remember for a long time. A team of wild Ki-rin in Gundam battle armor couldn't tear me away from Katsucon 11.
This entry was originally posted at http://www.punkwalrus.com/blog/archives/00000388.html