Friday | Sat/Sun

When you're running both the Events and Publications departments of a convention, packing is a tricky process. I had to make sure to bring all of the signage for the convention, the badges, badge holders, program books, assorted signup sheets and so much stuff that I wouldn't have room for minor accessories like Evan (he arranged transportation for himself and his con supplies). I also had to deal with stuff for the three panels I was on, Geek Show, and the AMV Contest (particularly troublesome after my DVD burner stopped working and didn't let me consolidate our entries). Add our clothes, dress shirt for hosting the masquerade and the Nerima Daikon Brothers disc we needed for a director's commentary panel, and there was a lot to keep track of.

The ride down was probably the most harrowing part of the weekend. Heading into Madison, we encountered torrential rain, the kind that has backseat drivers going "it's raining, pull over!" Some did. I didn't. I probably should have: someone spun out in front of us and another cut us off and if not for my anti-lock brakes holding up, would have made an accident resembling the one I got into last September. And it got worse as my two possible routes were the main highway during rush hour or downtown during rush hour... which may be under water. It sucked, sucked, sucked.

The one oasis was stopping at Staples on the way to finish copying room signs (my ink cartridge performed bravely, but died just shy of the finish line). The copy guy there looked at our Viewings schedule and asked how he had never heard of this convention. We enlightened him real quick.

It wasn't until I got to the convention that I noticed I didn't bother to bring my camera.

This wasn't the end of the world for me. Besides, I wasn't sure about what angle to take for this recap. I did the whole "convention from a staff perspective" last year, and it's awfully hard to be neutral when I've got a hand in so many things here. My first thought was to forgo the recap altogether, or at least jot down a few disjointed notes like Otakon '03 or Anime Milwaukee '08 (and that I should have made for OddCon '10 and saved from No Brand '03). No pics or long-winded tales of every minutiae from my Friday floor manager shifts. Just the highlights.

My friends had other plans.

The 1stAgent Convention Recap
As Interpreted By KORfan

1st Agent worked hard as Events Coordinator

Yeah... um... while we had this awesome convention going on, KORfan seemed to spend most of the weekend taking pictures of me. Some of them I was aware of, some of them I wasn't. It wasn't until he posted them in a Facebook album that I realized the breadth of the damage. Each picture had his own annotation to it, and most of them involved the same self-serving exaggerations that I tend to use... only it sounds really weird written in the third person. So naturally, this recap will use only these 21 pictures, with his captions in italics.

1st Agent soon learned that being on staff meant he was almost always listening to a radio

Argh, the radios. As Events Coordinator, I was to be on radio whenever possible, but the way the headset brushed against my glasses got irritating real quickly. Yushi, while chipping in as Floor Manager, got the worst of it when the headset jabbed at his ear piercing.

Early Thursday, we were told the radios made us look like Backstreet Boys. Late Thursday, that had been downgraded to "the ShamWow guy."

1st Agent made sure that things were ready for opening ceremony

Great, I'll talk about Opening Ceremonies later. I'd rather address the spiffy t-shirt design (and program book cover art), created by our guest John Kovalic, Munchkin illustrator and creator of Apples to Apples. Asking him to do the program book cover was something that came about during the weekly post-meeting dinner between me, Sarah and Evan. I'm thrilled that it became a reality, and it ended up on the t-shirts because it was just that cool.

One last check to see if anything was needed

Ah, Opening Ceremonies was a fun challenge as Randy (who spearheaded it for the last two years), Evan and Sarah B. all had neat ideas that we tried to coordinate into a cohesive show. It seemed to work pretty well this year, particularly Sarah's "2010: The Year We Made Contact" parody and Evan's spoof of tear-jerker memoriam videos.

1st Agent works so hard on Geek.Kon that he can't even stay for opening ceremony, he's off to prepare for more events!

This statement is blatantly false. I also really want to crop/resize this image, but these imperfections are what I signed up for.

Actually, I was running audio in the back of the room for seating music (something I wanted to implement this year, to some success), the MC intro music and the bed for Evan's In Memoriam video. He asked me to find some weepy instrumental music and I scrambled for about five seconds before remembering that I owned a Kare Kano soundtrack.

At the time of this picture, I thought KORfan was taking my picture just for posterity, and would then resume using his camera's flash card for something important.

But he was able to return to solve problems during the ceremony

There really weren't that many problems during the ceremony, other than telling Randy not to hold the mic so close (his was on the hotel's audio system, which we didn't have volume control for). Once my engineer work was done, I ran up to get a better seat and say hi to the guests.

1st Agent practiced his ninja skills

Um... yeah. The staff t-shirts were originally supposed to be gray, but Guardtroll's supplier didn't have enough quantity in stock. So we switched to cream color, which went a little too swimmingly with my pants. I was beige-tastic all weekend.

1st Agent listened intently to the guests as they discussed Tiffany Grant

Although she was never mentioned during Opening Ceremonies (or the Con Horror Stories, which is an exceedingly good thing for her), Tiffany Grant came up twice over the weekend, both involving our two anime guests. Chris Ayres tagged along at our post-con dinner and got a call from her so they could dish on their various conventions that weekend. Apparently, she loves Wisconsin conventions. So do I. Now Chris does too.

The other was Friday night. With all our work done, I joined Sarah, guest head Sari, guest head's husband Brian, guest head's really cool friend that I never got the name of, and Eric Vale for drinks at 1 am. During which, I mentioned my moral aversion to collecting autographs and Sari filled in the Tiffany Grant story that started them all. Eric promptly signed a coaster for me. The next day, he signed my infamous squeaky burger from last year's America cosplay. It was Just Too Perfect (and technically Sarah asked for it). I was half-tempted to present him with it, but it's serving a nice function now scaring the hell out of my cat.

1st Agent even checked on individual con goers in the audience!

At least ones named KORfan and Cheesus. Strangely, I don't remember this picture being taken or being blinded all weekend from a point-blank camera flash.

In the hopes that KORfan has pictures that aren't from Opening Ceremonies, we'll go to Page Two.