It was a good convention, but I'm not sure it was a good Westercon. It was small. Very small.
We flew in early on Wednesday, and got into our hotel room in the lovely J.W. Marriott Resort Las Vegas. It was, of course, in Summerlin, a chi-chi north-west suburb. A good cab driver got us there quickly and a little under the estimated $50 rate the hotel guessed.
A lot of people complained that the hotel was too expensive, but $159 (+ tax) got you a large bedroom and a beautiful bathroom complete with a 2-person jacuzzi tub and a separate shower. It was expensive, but very nice.
The hotel was pretty much dead-empty. Not a big surprise being away from the Strip and Fremont Street. Well, the empty part wasn't a surprise, the "how empty" was. I don't think we saw anybody on our floor until Saturday.
Food was not up to high-end Vegas resort standards, but it wasn't bad. There were several options and price ranges.
We had some lunch, wandered around, booked spa treatments, and pretty much relaxed. We also picked up our badges at pre-reg. As we were finishing up dinner at the Irish pub, we heard the "sing-along" musician, one John Windsor, start his set. He was refreshingly good, so a few hours later we went back for some beers and to listen.
I didn't drink much, but I was definitely trashed in the morning, and just didn't want to get out of bed. This was a pattern that I attribute to the entire lack of humidity. There just wasn't enough lip balm and moisturizer to make things comfortable. The beds also weren't that great.
We did get up, though, and went down to the spa for massages. They were worth every penny. The spa also had this "water ritual" set-up, with steam rooms, "plunges," waterfall showers and an odd outdoor pool with little alcoves of strange water effects. We were going to return to take advantage of this, but ended up hanging out with friends, including a return to the pub to hear Windsor sing again.
It finally felt like the beginning of a convention. It felt like Thursday night at a convention, only Thursday night at a convention that started on Friday. Attendance and activity was very light.
We also got news of the car accident in which Bert Carlson was killed.
Friday picked up again, and we did the first of our
Three words: Fremont Street Whore
It was a blast.
Three words from the afternoon session: Kevin Standlee's Pants
(it turned into a whisper campaign for Westercon 2010, garnering 9 votes)
Saturday was a panel day for K, but a light day for me. I hung out in the fanzine lounge, attempted to download Journey's End (and failed), and did little else (except Irish pub dinner again). I delivered a little bit of tech to the San Jose 2011 bid party, found out that my download had failed, and caught up with K at the end of the masquerade. Then we went to parties. Reno, Seattle and San Jose were bidding their respective conventions, and Pasadena was celebrating winning their bid for 2010.
We did our last panel on Sunday, the last Match Game. It was fun, but a few of us were getting annoyed with figmo when she couldn't get off the "Kevin Standlee's Pants" riff from Friday afternoon.
We also took our second spa treatments on Sunday afternoon, and actually took the time to try out the "water ritual" services. I want one of those waterfall showers.
The gang once again gathered for dinner in the Irish pub, and we wound down from the chaos. Dead Dog was running in the consuite, and there was a Venture Brothers season 3 marathon in the Fanzine Lounge After Dark. Ed had succeeded in snagging Journey's End the previous night, so we went back to the room and watched it. Spoiler-less review: cheesy but satisfying.
As reports came back, we were so glad we didn't fly home or, worse yet, drive home Sunday. We had a fair amount of time to kill at the hotel, most folks were gone, but the airport was so much calmer when we got there. We had a bit of departure drama (the previous flight's departure was delayed, and then we had a cabin crew change) but nothing too bad.
So all in all, a good weekend, and not one that we regret taking. Final on-site membership counts were in the low 300's, well below El Paso, but above Conolulu.