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Costume-Con 25 Diary

(this is not going to be a serious name-dropping entry, or I'll never get through it)

The Costume-Con 25 trip was supposed to be pretty easy, but then K was invited to present at O'Reilly Media's Emerging Technology Confrerence. In San Diego. The same week. He got his presentation scheduled for Wednesday, the day before we left, so the packing schedule got moved up just a bit.

Thursday we were on our way. Flying to St. Louis was relatively painless. We scheduled our transfers to avoid spring-weather-prone cities, and at the Seattle airport met Jordin Kare, also traveling to St. Louis (but not to Costume-Con). There was a lavatory problem on the plane from Seattle to St. Louis, but boarding was only delayed about a half hour while it was fixed.

The car waiting for us at Hertz was a Ford Escape V6. Major improvement on last year's Chevy HHR, but still nothing exciting. Plenty of room for luggage, and pretty comfortable.

We drove down to the hotel (entirely crosstown from the airport, but pretty directly crosstown) with only one minor mishap. The directions (from Mapquest, the mapping site provided by the hotel's website) had us turning on Manchester Road to get from Lindbergh Boulevard to Kirkwood Road.

Lindbergh Boulevard is Kirkwood Road. The name changes at Manchester.

Fortunately the highway numbers didn't change, and it was pretty clear we weren't supposed to turn.

Getting in to the hotel was pretty easy. We ended up on the second floor at the end of a hall, in a relatively nice room. Our trunks were waiting for us, so after moving in we made our way to the consuite for a snack or two, and then to the hotel bar for a drink. The consuite was a touch small, but featured comfortable sofas and plenty of table space for snackage. There was a big TV set up, and while I'm not a big fan of TV in party space, they were using it to run Brazillian Carnivale competition videos and such, which made for nice background vid but nothing with a plot to suck peoples' attention.

Before going to bed we took a look at the "concourse." The decorating team had done a fabulous job that was almost eclipsed by large black banners that listed the major events with their times. The program kiosk was great, and it gave me a chance to verify my panel times and locations before I went to bed.

I hate flying east, because mornings are bad enough on Pacific time. Still, we got up early enough to make it to breakfast before the ICG meeting. With a few exceptions (mostly people forgetting or not understanding parliamentary procedure) it was smooth as glass. On the strange side, I realized that basfa actually follows procedure more strictly (over nothing), and it was a bit weird dealing with the slop.

After the meeting we found our Costume-Con 26 table. It was on the concourse, but because of the location of registration and the excellent "Now and Then" exhibit, traffic flow was nonexistent. A few folks who found "Now and Then" came by, but it was pretty quiet. agent_milw was serving bratwurst in the consuite for lunch, so I ran up and got a pair of veal brats (yummy!) and then sent K up to get some himself.

My first program item was at 2:00 (on "Equipping a sewing room"), and Sandy and I arrived to find the previous doll panel running long. Unfortunately, this was a pattern for the weekend. Program items ran long with no breaks scheduled between them, causing the next panel to start late and run long. The panel went pretty well, though, and we finished on time, as I had to relieve K at the table so he could do his 3:00 and 4:00 panels. I kept the table open until around 5:30, and then a bunch of us went over to Ruby Tuesdays for a quick dinner.

We were thinking of re-opening the table from 7:00-8:00, as it was right next to the entrance for the Friday night social, but we didn't get there until 7:30, so we changed our minds.

The social had a "Rock & Roll" theme which mostly worked out. "Rave" greeters in absurd clothes (and by that I mean clothes that west-coasters wouldn't recognize as ravewear) handed out lightstick necklaces. Music wasn't rave-y, but was pretty good. The "Air Guitar" contest was called on account of only one entrant, but that was OK. Back in one of the corners, a few swap-meet/garage-sale tables were set up with people getting rid of stuff from their stash; I didn't pay too much attention to it, as someone's fabric stash smelled of cat wee (and not in that "this sauvignon blanc smells of cat wee" wine-tasting way).

Everybody had a great time, though, and many folks stayed 'til the end. The social was followed by a gathering in the consuite where axejudge was serving tastes of several meads and unusual fruit wines. The tomato wine wasn't bad, but I'm not sure I'd go looking for it again.

Saturday morning we had a "Humor in Presentation" panel that meandered all over the place. I think we did a decent job of being funny talking about being funny. We also started and finished on time. Then it was back to the table. aramintamd's archive table had been moved to exhibit space, so we moved our table up ahead of registration where we would get more traffic. We didn't have electricity at the new table, so we had to run registration and slide-shows off batteries, but it was worth it.

Around 4-ish (I think) Dave Clark and I went up to the consuite to put up Evil Genius posters; Saturday night after the masquerade was our Evil Geniuses party. We got done a little after 6:00 and snagged dinner at Fuddruckers. I haven't eaten at a Fuddruckers in 20 years, and I've got to admit it' was pretty good.

On the way back in, Sheila Lenkman got me the last case of wine for our party, delivered to her house just that morning.

We made it back in time for the Fantasy & Science Fiction masquerade. The show ran very smoothly. When the presentations were done I went back to the consuite to finish decorating. There wasn't much to finish, so I was able to go back and see the "Match Game CC" half-time show. K was in seat 1, and was able to give the "celebrities" a quick intro; there wasn't quite as much prep as we had done for "Match Game SF" out here, so it was a rough start. Questions were excellent, though.

Awards ran. K got the ICG Lifetime Achievement award. More on that at kproche. I ran up to the consuite and opened bags of food.

We opened the party somewhere around 11:00. Rachael Hillen consented to staying up with us so we could run after midnight, but I think she was surprised when we ran until after 3:00. We handed out a bunch of Scharffen Berger chocolate squares, some chocolate-covered cacao nibs, and pinches of plain cacao nibs (which, to many peoples' surprise, weren't anywhere as bitter as they expected). We also poured about half our wine allotment (around a case) and most of the liquor. When people learned that the chocolate factory, the wineries and the distillery were planned tours surrounding the convention, they got excited.

Sunday morning we judged the Future Fashion Show entries backstage. We weren't hung-over, and weren't too exhausted, and I think we did a good job. We didn't see the show as we were finishing deliberating and getting plaques prepared. All of the entries were great, though.

We also did table again. Sold quite a few memberships. Retrieved decorations from the consuite. I did my last panel, "Meet the Archives" (which I'm assuming I was put on because I've offered a ton of input in the online archives committee and am one of the resident tech-heads). We did this panel on the concourse, as the panel in the room we were supposed to be in yet again was running over. We started only a smidge late.

We tried to do dinner at the sushi joint just 4 blocks away, but they were closed for opening day of the Cardinals' season, so instead we ended up at Longhorn Steakhouse. Not a bad exchange, after all. We got back in time for the start of the Historical Masquerade. The show wasn't really big, but again all the entries were great. "Best in Show" went to a first-time competitor who did a beautiful 40's popular singer.

Post-masquerade party was the CC27 (Baltimore) desserts party. Scott Abbot poured the rest of the wine. Don't ask me how it ran out more quickly than it did the night before.

Monday I slept in. We sat the table a bit more, but things had really quieted down. Many of the folks staying were off-site shopping at Jackman's, or ST Leather, or other spots of interest. At 5:00 we all hauled off to Los Margaritas, a fabulous Mexican restaurant with an unfortunate name. They graciously dealt with "table for 45." Service was a touch slow and confused, but that's not surprising in the circumstances. Margaritas were great as was the food.

Monday night was the Mousquerade, Costume-Con in miniature. Over a dozen stuffed animals presented. axejudge MC'ed the show. I ran sound (music randomly selected from my iPod). agent_milw operated follow-spot (a flashlight, with two colored plastic goblets for gels). Half-time show was a series of battery-operated animatronic musical animals (but no big-mouth bass). It was very silly.

Tuesday we cleared out. Luggage and trunks went into the car. Trunks were dropped at FedEx between thunder showers. Car was dropped off at the rental return during a thunder shower. Rental car shuttle dropped us at the airport between thunder showers. Weather only slightly delayed our departure, and we had plenty of time in Santa Ana (or Orange County or John Wayne Airport depending on where you see the listing) before our flight back to SJ.

All in all, a great con, with only a few irritations.

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