CONvergence 2012

Wed/Thu | Thu/Fri | Fri/Sat | Sat/Sun

Convergence came at the tail end of a very crazy month. In no particular order, it involved some banking business with Geek.Kon (part of the internal structural stuff within conventions nobody ever thinks about), some car maintenance that got a little more involved than anticipated, and the long process of closing on a condo purchase. It was a good thing the preparation for this con was minimal and the payoff was excellent. The Hogwarts room party was returning and I would be working it with my new girlfriend. She even bought me a proper wand for Draco.

While it wasn't hassle-free, this con did not have the subplots and adventures of last year. I was okay with that.

Wednesday/Thursday

Yes, Wednesday. The original plan, heading up Thursday morning as per usual, was shelved when I realized that Wednesday was the 4th of July and I'd have off work anyway. Rather than wake up at the crack of dawn, I could pack and prep Wednesday morning, leave at a reasonable hour and arrive in the early evening. It was sort of like prepping for ACen or Geek.Kon.

The little prep I did Tuesday night was very different, however. Since the expansive, functional con suite meant I didn't need snack foods or soda, prep work consisted of three steps. One was a haircut to better accommodate Draco. Two was cutting up Geek.Kon quartersheets for freebie tables. Three was finding some sort of entertainment for the five hour drive up. The local library has a nice collection of audiobooks, and I hit the mother lode when I found World War Z. It's written as an oral history anyway, and the production took advantage of its medium by using a star-studded cast. So we've got stories about zombies being read as first-hand accounts by the likes of Alan Alda, Carl Reiner and that Indian guy from Office Space.

This little treasure made the drive up easy. My only main stop was in Tomah, where I covered lunch, a cash withdrawal and masking tape. Convergence is very funny about its tape for postering. Not because it demands a specific tape, but in its choice of it. The con mandates tan masking tape as opposed to the blue painter's tape that every other convention in the area uses (and thus always in my con bag). You'd think this isn't such a big deal, but Geek.Kon's contract with the Marriott is explicit about blue painter's tape.

I pulled into what was now the Doubletree at about 6, just as Mark Hamill wrapped up his story of being on the front lines during the first American conflict with the zombies. Advantage number one of arriving on Wednesday- there's still parking available! I met up with Simone and we sauntered in, quickly getting swept up in the set-up for the room party.

Given that the buckets are all filled with cement, it was not a picnic hauling these bad boys up.

When the hotel transformed into a Doubletree, it got a new paint job (and some stubborn new furniture that we won't get into). It was not a very good paint job, and I was on photo duty documenting proof that we didn't do this. We finally gave up and had a rep come in to vouch for the room's condition prior to its transfiguration.

And then actual decorating happened.

Along with flattening the rolled-up vinyl posters of the four houses. Fun job, that.

By the time we got the preliminary set-up done, it was already 10:00 and some of the gang were sneaking upstairs to watch fireworks. The rest of us just wondered where the time went?

Oh.

Rather than catching the fireworks, Simone, Sylus (last year's Other Draco) and I snuck off to Perkins. Because there would still be parking when we got back tonight.

Since we had idle time when we got back, I threw up a bunch of Geek.Kon posters. Simone worked with the oddly colored masking tape.

It was at this point that the packing arrangements became an issue. With storage space limited, we were asked to pack in storage tubs rather than actual luggage. Since I needed four days of clothes, this made bringing something like Apples to Apples (which had been requested) impossible and I didn't think to grab Let's Kill or something small like that.

So, in short, we were terribly bored Wednesday night and ended up doing silly things like wearing scarves and riding novelty broomsticks.

Thursday morning, we got up bright and early to check in at registration, only to find that they didn't open until noon. This left us time to do some more room prep and more postering, this time for the room party itself.

All of our posters were Potter-style wanted posters, stained to all hell to look more natural. We tried to put them in thematically appropriate spots, like Lupin's next to Bad Wolf.

Yeah, I've got one too this year (the advantages of not being tossed into this at the last minute). Tony, who designed them, was even nice enough to produce extras for everybody. This may end up somewhere on the wall of my condo.

After that and a lunch run at Burger King, we settled into the registration line and waited for noon. Pre-opening reg lines are always a crap shoot, because if a con's reg department is competent, the line burns through so fast that you're better off arriving fifteen minutes after it opens and seeing no line at all. If they don't... you better get in line early. Alas, Convergence had their act together (as if there was any doubt) and after 40 minutes in line, I ended up with a badge ten minutes after noon.

Since we were in the mood for unnecessarily hitting spots as soon as they open, Simone and I went to the dealer's room. It's very crowded in there, but the selection is nice and diverse. I ended up picking up Settlers of Catan... finally. Since the room was pretty well set until near opening and there wasn't much going on yet, I ended up back at the room punching out all the cardboard pieces. Didn't quite have enough time to get a full game going though.

The calm, serene Thursday afternoon crowd. This is the quiet side.

I wanted to swing by a panel our guest head Sari was running as I hadn't seen her since last Geek.Kon and without direct influence there was no guarantee I'd see her in this madhouse. We ended up talking for about two hours. It was awesome.

It also meant that by the time I returned to the room, we had just enough time for a dinner run before final prep.

Our new Hermoine, with time turner.

Setting up the table. No butterbeer last time after we purchased every bottle of cream soda in the Twin Cities metropolitan area last year. Pumpkin juice and pumpkin bars were the offerings (why we did two pumpkin-related dishes I will never know).

With the food ready... it's showtime!