Andrew Trembley (bovil) wrote,
Andrew Trembley

A Westercon survived...

...but, like BayCon, a convention that left me sick for two days afterwards. I'll lay some of the blame to myself for over-committing and exhausting myself, and some to environmental conditions in the hotel. It's not like I always come home from a con exhausted and sick.

jorhett canceled his race plans for the weekend, so we decided to share room space (we had the space in the suite), and he helped us with move-in. I had to work Friday, and K needed help getting two car-loads up to San Mateo. We got everything packed and ready to go on Thursday night, K dropped me off at work Friday morning, and I just kept up with messages on how things were going. When I could finally escape, I caught the DASH over to Diridon Station and rode the train up to the College Hayward Park Station right near the hotel.

Of course, I hadn't looked at a print map, so I had to guess which way to go. I guessed wrong, and walked a few blocks into down town San Mateo before turning around, making a few phone calls, and getting it right. I did get into the hotel, though, in time to get the last of our move-in taken care of.

Now there was an open secret floating around regarding Westercon 60. It was very short-staffed, and it was very last-minute. With BayCon's hotel shift, a lot of the "Oh, we can do a convention in this hotel in our sleep" went out the window. BayCon had to warp itself into the space in about 8 months, and Westercon (which had signed the hotel last June) came in with no venue experience to build on. A lot of folks working both events (being most of the non-Westercon-specific departments) could barely think about Westercon before BayCon was over. A lot of the regular BayCon folks weren't working Westercon (for various reasons). A lot of the non-BayCon convention regulars weren't working Westercon (for various reasons). There was a lot of willpower taking the place of necessary people.

We were in a pretty good position; we could pretty much replay a lot of what we did for masquerade at BayCon for Westercon. A masquerade is a masquerade, and what we did would only be compared to BayCon in terms of logistics: did it run on time and keep the audience amused? We lost about half the crew we had from BayCon, but we gained new crew. Other departments weren't so lucky. The committee and staff were a bit crispy.

But back to the event.

We got a stash of stuff from dinogrl and dave_galaher for the vintacon party we suggested, and got the party suite (the magic number was 3099) decorated and ready while they were finishing dealers' room set-up. There was a bit of hotel chaos, but serendipity was with us. When the house man showed up with the fridge that we didn't ask for, and without the ice and table we did ask for, Sabre (vice chair and auxilliary hotel liason) was in the room. Things got fixed. We got our ice. We got our table. We finished decorating.

The party opened somewhere around 9:30; the only thing happening besides johnnyeponymous' fanzine lounge and the consuite. We had a lot of people come through, Spring sold a few memberships and gave away lots of "V for Vintacon" ribbons. Spring and Dave went to sleep midnight-ish (they had set-up to finish in the dealers' room) and we kept the party going until about 2:00. Well, we shut down at 2:00 but we were still talking with folks until around 4:00.

We didn't open our masquerade desk until noon, and that was a good thing. We got some breakfast, found out that our table didn't exist, and opened up on time when the missing table had been set up.

So Saturday was mostly taken up by the Masquerade desk, with a bit of time spent on final decorations for the ahwahneecon party. The Ahwahneecon party was a definite success. We had a lot of people come through. K and I went to sleep around midnight, though. We had a desk to open at 9:00.

We could have probably waited to open our desk until 10:00; that was when the first panel in the ballroom was. Still, we were awake, got breakfast, and open on time. We got a few more entries, and ended up at 12:45 with 7 entries in competition and three exhibition pieces. Not bad for a Westercon, particularly when we didn't extort friends to come in and fill out the slate. Our entrant meeting went well, K got to work on paperwork, I did the last Green Room shopping, and we met the judges for dinner.

We also caught up with kiteless_dragon and the rest of the furcon crew that we were sub-leasing to on Sunday night. There was a smidge of chaos involving getting the room for them (as in it took two tries to get the maids to come in and vacuum), but they got in, decorated in furry Asian style, and ran a friendly party.

In many ways, the masquerade came off better than at BayCon. We didn't have dance pressure to work against, we had much more experience with Albert and his tech crew, and we had the best masquerade crew ever. At some point I hit the "I just look like I'm going crazy... I'm running on adrenalin for no particular reason" stage and just stood back to let folks do their jobs. If I was needed, I was reachable, but I didn't want to get in the way.

We held the show, at the request of the con chair, for 10 minutes. To let the audience finish arriving. Seriously. The entrants were ready, tech was ready, crew was ready, judges were ready, photos were done, but the audience was still showing up at 8:05.

The show ran like clockwork. Presentations ran just under 20 minutes (I think). We sequestered the judges and the half-time rolled.

johnnyeponymous made very good use of the two weeks before the con. He rolled a SF version of "Says You" that just rocked. I'm not sure if I want to be a researcher or be on the panel the next time it plays. Judges finished shortly before the last round, and we were over and done before 10:00pm. Not half bad.

We made it up in time for the tail end of the furry party (get it? "tail end?" come on, I've been sick for three days), and then moved along to other parties. They closed up at 11:00pm because most of them had to work Monday morning. They left the room in great shape for us; good enough that after midnight when we decided the rest of the parties were lame, we could re-open and drink the rest of the wine left from Friday night. It was another 4:00am night.

Monday we did what was supposed to be the "Masquerade post-mortem" panel. It kind of meandered. Then we went up and decorated for the League of Evil Geniuses party. It was definitely a party. We opened on the "ish" of 9, and ran until 4:00 am.

Tuesday was mellow. We cleared out the party, hauled it home, and came back for the Dead Dog Gnome party and Mythcon's Party at The End of the Journey Con. We hung out for a bit, and finally got around to watching Last of the Time Lords.

Wednesday we packed out, relaxed a bit more, and spent some time in the ConSuite and at kevin_standlee and Lisa's "Last Gnome Standing" party. Albert pulled out the trusty liquid nitrogen and made chocolate ice cream for everybody. At about 9:15 we went out to the front balcony to watch the Foster City fireworks. They were pretty good, and the view was reasonable. Then we drove home and crashed.

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