Actually, I think I am going to wander around a bit. Not just the merchant's room, but maybe see a little of Indianapolis. I have never been there, nor anywhere in the state of Indiana, for that matter. All I see that might interest me is a Zoo, but their hours are only 9-5 (most of those hours I am working), and it's not free like the DC Zoo; you have to pay $13 to get in. Plus, there doesn't seem to be a way to get there that doesn't involve a car, and it's $5 for parking. There's the Indiana State Fair, which led me to think, "Uh oh ... same week as Gencon? Good-bye parking..." It's only 5 miles away, and costs about $6 and ends at 10pm on weeknights. I might try and gather some interested folks. Yee-haw.
Oh, at the con itself? Well, I think I'll visit the Atlas Games booth, and try and mooch freebies. They make the game "Lunch Money," and are promoting their new expansion packs, "Sticks and Stones," and "Beer Money." Looney Labs also has a booth, and I know some of the people who work there, so I'll go say hi. But the trouble is, each event requires a separate ticket. True, most events start off at a price of only $1.50 per 2 hours, but still. I am used to going to cons and noting badge = all access. Maybe pay extra for a LARP, but it seems a majority of events require tickets. I think. They don't exactly make it clear, but I think any tournament requires 1-2 tickets (depending on length), all the major events and talks require a ticket, and the rest is hard to guess. That whole thing kind of bums me out, because what if I go to a talk, and the person is boring? I recall one Philcon where Timothy Zhan cleared a room with his monotone drone and constant interaction with one or two fanboys arguing over his Cobra series.
David Carradine (from the TV Series "Kung Fu" and, of course, the recent blockbuster "KIll Bill") will be there for signing autographs. In fact, they have an unusual cavalcade of stars, including Linda Blair. The most surprising thing about this is that Gencon claims the guests are not being paid (thus, will charge $20-25 per autograph), and I am surprised for not being paid, and as famous as David is right now, that he has such a brutal signing schedule! I mean, like almost every day, with two 3-hour shifts a day. I doubt he needs the money. Maybe he just really likes the fans.
I thought I'd volunteer, but they only have "programs." You have to commit to 16 hours (more than I want to do) or 32 hours (yikes!). But at 16, your badge gets reimbursed, and at 32, you get your hotel room paid for, which is kind of cool. Now, here's an interesting sidenote for their volunteers.
At the conclusion of the convention, volunteers should turn their completed and signed time sheets to the customer service desk. You will be required to fill out a W9 form.
A W9? For getting paid nothing? And submitting my SSN and personal info to essentially a bunch of total strangers? Ah ... no. No, no, no. Sorry, Gencon. Speaking with my Balticon insider pal Seth, he brought up a lot of liabilities they would now be under, like Workman's Comp and so on. Then, technically, you'd have to pay taxes on your refunds. All I can think of is that Gencon isn't a volunteer-run convention (in fact, it used to be a TSR-sponsored event in the olden days, IIRC), and fall under some employee law in Indiana. Totally weird.
So... I wonder what the room parties will be like? Kory knows a lot of industry people, so I have a feeling if we're not too tired, we'll be attending a few after-hours social events. He already said he'd introduce me to "the real creator of D&D," Dave Arneson. I have already met Gary Gygax, but he is always under some dark web of intrigue and accusations of past tomfoolery which I don't really want to touch. All I know is D&D gave me a social life and a ticket out of my childhood hell. It's D&D's 30th anniversary, by God, and I want to toast my inner child for choosing the right path.
We shall see. I am looking forward to next week with both anticipation and trepidation.
This entry was originally posted at http://www.punkwalrus.com/blog/archives/00000563.html