And man, I am hard pressed to know what to do with myself when this happens. Cheryl Evry once said to me, back in 1992 or so, "I wouldn't know what to do at a con I wasn't working at." I have always agreed. I think the last con I have gone to that I haven't worked at was... man, apart from Schmoocon (a hacker con)? I can't remember. I have been working FanTek Cons from EveCon 4 until it ended. I never attended a Katsucon I haven't worked at as a department head (I hit the ground running Registration since K4). Balticon? Panelist. Same with Gencon. I would have to say the last con I attended where I wasn't a working was... 1992? Balticon 20something. I was invited to a room party with Liska, Suzi, Cambion, Count Zero... and a few other people at the Marriott Courtyard Hotel across the street.
Last year, AMA had almost 3000 people. I have been so used to over 4000 people at Katsucon in a hotel and over 20,000 people in the Baltimore CC, for so long, I wonder how 3000 people would look like in a convention center.
But back to the question, "What do I do?" Well, anime cons have panels, video rooms, games, merchant's room, cosplay, and guests. I have been onstage with guests for years; I don't know who anyone is except for people who are personable, like Steven Bennett IV or someone like that. I don't attend panels because rarely is there any panel I find remotely interesting. Video rooms are good, but hotel chairs are so uncomfortable when you're fat, I can only sit in them for an hour or less. I don't really play video games, and anyway, all those kids are way better than me. I have kind of run out of things to buy at merchant's rooms. I have everything I need. Once in a while, I'll buy some more Jap Snax, and there will be a vendor I haven't seen before selling some new stuff worth a look, but that will take an hour, tops. I don't really do cosplay. After all those Costume Calls with FanTek where I was either emcee or judge, I kinda burned out. I don't know 90% of the references anyway, and most of the people doing skits I can't here.
Normally I co to cons to hang out with friends, make new ones, and generally lounge. But I won't know a majority of the people (although some of the staff will be wildly familiar). I wouldn't even know where TO lounge.
This (and money) have been the main reasons I have never gone. And Ed patiently invites me every year. I really should go to be polite, but not under some forced grin like when you're forced to attend your overdramatic little cousins grade school play where he screams out a monotone scene from "King Lear." I mean, "Oh no, I get to go to an anime con for free and not have to do any work, how horrible..." doesn't sound like a statement anyone makes (sort of like, "That's the banjo player's Porsche.") So it's kind of a challenge. If I can't go to a decent and well-run anime convention a friend of mine runs and have a good time, there's something really wrong with me.
I looked at last year's "tentative program" and saw some panels I have always wanted to attend at Katsucon, but never got to. Like Basic Japanese. Amateur voice acting. Ooh! Para Para lessons! And a dance. Hahaha... "Katsucon Recruitment Forum." I gotta attend that. "Your OC emcee sucks, what was with his shirt this year??!" Hee. Then there are some movies I think I can watch, because, ironically I joined Katsucon to see anime and how much anime have I seen since then? Maybe 40 hours more than when I started; 25 of which was at Worldcon in 1998 when I helped at the anime video room. How sad is that? I work with people who will sit through twice that in one sitting. More than half of what I want to watch comes from judging AMV: "That video sucks, but the anime they are playing looks interesting!"
I have also been interested in attempting some anime art. I mean, it may shock anyone who didn't know me in the 1980s, but I was once guest artist at conventions. I illustrated for various fanzines, did cover art for program books, I had art sold in auctions, and paid my way at various cons just selling artwork. Art I have done since 1993? Nada. Maybe a few Martians for Bruce's "The Castle" when it was still in publication, but nothing really meaty since I got married (which I don't think has any relation). I'd love to hang out in Artist's alley, but I don't want to take up a table and bump some decent yet starving artist from a slot.
So I shall have fun. I will make it a mission. Thanks for the opportunity, Ed, I'll try not to waste it.