Gencon is huge. I mean, I thought Otakon was big, but this is easily 50% larger and, ironically, probably has the same amount of anime video rooms. Wow.
I got up this morning in a buttload of pain. I had inflated my inflatable bed, which apparently had a sizeable leak in it because it almost fully deflated about 3 times in the night before I just got tired of reinflating it. Apart from that, I actually slept pretty well, and we had enough "bleaaaah" time in the room to wake up. My back feels a bit better as I type this, but when I woke up, the way I laid on a deflated airbed left me crooked and my back was full of knots. I ate at the breakfast buffet at the hotel restaurant, but since the restaurant is a TGI Fridays, their buffet left a lot to be desired for $10.
I got to meet Paul, and MSD employee who is a Gulf War veteran who was seriously wounded in battle. He's really nice, but due to his various head injuries, understandably out of it a lot. He's also not expected to live very long, which is a shame because he has a wonderful wife and two kids at home. Paul's such a nice guy, and I hate seeing someone like him suffer. Paul does some of our back end work and gaming support, and I was really glad to get to know him.
Quote of the day, from a t-shirt, "I would be Goth, but I can't afford to shop at Hot Topic." Bwah!
I got to tour the exhibit hall, which is ginormous. Our table is dwarfed by the t-shirt vendor across from us, who has a merchandise display easily 20 feet high. They have to get some shirts down with a long pole. The table next to us is selling something that was "just released with the new rules," and when the floodgates opened at 10, already had a line that wrapped around their table and down the isle to get the new version of whatever they sell. On top of that, we're close to the rest rooms and refreshment stands, so we're on a highly-trafficked corner.
Kory still remains skeptical of sales, however. I plan to prove him wrong. He's never seen me sell, and there's a reason I kept winning sales awards when I did retail (I got both trips to Cancun for breaking annual quota). I am not a pushy sales guy, but I speak many "languages" to different people, and always have convincing arguments.
Those Lab Rabbit friends of mine at Looney Labs would be pleased to know LL has a huge booth, and there are also present fandom favorites like Out of the Box (Apples to Apples), Atlas Games (Lunch Money), and Cheap Ass Games (Give Me the Brain).
Sadly, most vendors take credit cards, and I suspect I will be regretting my spending this weekend for a long time.
Man, I wish I could write this live. Anyway, I haven't spent a lot yet, but I did get Beer Money, and since I paid in "exact change," the folks at Steve Jackson Games (where I got it from) all shouted "Hooray!" because... well, it's what they do. In fact, they not only shout, but they wave checkered flags (they are promoting a game called Cthulhu 500), and I got a free bartender's key that says, "Beer Money" on it. Hooray! I also got a 3' tall stuffed Jabberwok, because it was on sale for $30, down from $60 online, and I really wanted it badly.
I really wasn't going to buy anything, but when I called Christine, she shocked me by telling me she was envious I was going, and demanded I buy her cool games and shirts. So that's my goal.
Working the table has proven arduous. The company is nice, but the space in cramped, and often I have to spend long hours standing or sitting in such a way that my back is not supported, and my feet are still taking most of the weight (like sitting on a barstool). On top of that, I know less than 10% of the products. When Kory runs the table, I try and listen, and he's a great salesman. Heather seems to be tolerant of me. So I get really bored and frustrated because the salesman in me wants to jump up, babble about the products, and sell sell sell... but I don't know a lot about it. Kory tells me not to worry. "As long as you haven't murdered anyone, and haven't stolen anything, you're doing well." Then he put me on the "Plot Twists" panel.
That was an interesting adventure. First, the panel was during the "30th Anniversary of Dungeons and Dragons" party, which everyone said was a death knell to those who had programming against it. It was supposed to be in the courtyard across from the Crown Plaza Hotel (a former train stations turned into a train-themed hotel), but for some reason, they put it inside... which made for a... well, let's just say I didn't start out wanting to go to the party, but I got sucked into it.
I showed up about 45 minutes early for the panel, and tried to enter the hotel, only to be told "You can't enter through here, only across the street." Okay... so I went around the corner, and saw a line about 3 people wide and THREE CITY BLOCKS LONG. I kid you not. So, since this was my only entrance to the hotel, I shuffled along with a lot of other people for about 20 minutes before getting swept into the D&D party. Once inside, I had no choice but to drift with the shoulder-to-shoulder until I found a volunteer or a hotel person. "How do I get to 'Grand Central A???'" I'd shout over the blaring techno music and thronging fans eagerly grabbing for free tote bags, shirts, cups, posters, turkey legs, and ears of corn on a stick. "I don't know!!!" said most of them. Over time, I realized they shut off that wing of the hotel from the other parts to prevent people sneaking in. Great. Finally, I broke free of the mob, and carrying a tote bag with a tee-shirt and several cups (hey, when in Rome...), I managed to escape through the bar area back to street level (after finding a lost Moria looking for Matt). I went back to the other entrance (and found Matt looking for Moria... heh), and this time, they let me in. I still managed to get to my panel a few minutes early.
Chris R, who was supposed to be with me, was not there. Luckily, Kory had a panel right before that, and kept me company until Chris arrived 30 minutes late (his demo game ran long). The panel was pretty good, and the audience was great.
People now joke about me getting sucked into parties. "Sure you were, Punkie," they rib. Truth be told, I did kind of like the free stuff. But I swear I didn't mean to. I hope my pictures came out, because it was very dimly lit, with a lot of red and purple lighting.
Afterwards, I went back to the room, and crashed.
This entry was originally posted at http://www.punkwalrus.com/blog/archives/00000572.html