Geek.Kon 2009

Friday | Fri/Sat | Saturday | Sunday

Leave a Comment

I joined Geek.Kon staff last December. It was the local con, they were out on their own and sure to need some help, and I entered the ranks to see if I could do any damage from the inside. Although I was welcomed, I didn't have much to do, save for AMV Coordinator Sari asking if I wanted to help judge the contest. No problem, but that wasn't going to eat up a whole lot of time.

Along the way, the decision was made to add a variety show to the programming and needed someone to head it up. I threw my hat in there and called it Geek Show. What the hell? I wasn't doing anything else.

Then we needed assistants to run various video game tournaments. I volunteered for DDR. Heck, I ran a couple DDR tournaments in college and won Geek.Kon's inaugural back in '07.

THEN... oh, you get the idea. By the time October hit, this was going to be a hell of a weekend.

The only staff-ish thing I've actually done at a con is ferry a voice actor around, yet I was assured I wouldn't need to do that this year.

Shifting Up

The con actually started Thursday night with some initial set up, tying cords to badge holders and a volunteer training meeting. One of my additional duties inherent in the "you get the idea" part was scheduling volunteer shifts. I had spent the last week trying to fit names into a spreadsheet on Google Docs, all the while heeding requests while random passers-by watched me play Tetris with human bodies. More fun that it sounds, according to sources.

Another extra duty that cropped up Thursday was the unveiling of the badges. A month prior, they invited everybody to throw in possible designs. Curious to see how strong my Gimp skills were, I gave it a whirl. One meeting and one vote later, I had a bunch of changes to make to add some of the flourishes from Sarah's design.

All the effort really seems to pay off when you hold the things in your hand.

Friday, Sarah and I got down to the Sheraton at a little after nine.

Consider this a calm before the storm. Not just for the con, this is probably as neat as the staff room would ever be.

At 10:00 am, the con officially began. A few congoers start trickling in (even though we really didn't start anything until noon) and we are underway.

Everybody to their first stations, which in my case means Bemani room assistant.

Not that we had a Bemani room at this point. It didn't open until noon either. Other than a copy of Pop'n Music that a volunteer tried out, it was sparse.

Tony here came in with a nice Rock Band set, which I would have loved to set up had I known anything about setting up Rock Band sets. I managed to get everything out of the bags and neatly arranged so Tony could do the actual set-up when he returned with his A/V cables.

With little work to do and Video Game Coordinator Chief temporarily unavailable, the staff quickly found another task for me. Soon after registration opened up, we realized that we were missing some essential office supplies. Clipboards, markers, tape... stuff like that. Since I had a car available and not much else going on, Bemani Assistant Adam transformed into Runner Adam and made a run to Staples to pick up some things.

Upon my return, Chief was there and wondering where the Bemani Assistant had run off to. So I transformed back into my mild-mannered alter-ego and... well, I managed to assemble a couple DDR pads before my shift was done.

Shift #2: Floor Manager! Apparently one of those clipboards I bought had magical powers as once the con chair handed it to me, my job became a bit more crucial. I even got a radio. We're through the looking-glass now.

The floor manager's job is to make sure the con isn't broken. That volunteers are at their posts, events are running smoothly and there are no fires to extinguish. Granted, as it was still noon on Friday, there still wasn't much going on. The most exciting thing that happened was helping get another table into Tabletop Gaming to hold all the sweet board games Pegasus Games brought in. And even then, coordinator AJ did the heavy lifting. So it wasn't exactly stressful.

I did make sure to photograph the proof that Langland beat Mike Tyson's Punch Out in the video game room.

Also got Yushi and Ken working the registration table. People were slowly trickling in. That pace would change later in the day.

And yes, even nabbed a cosplay photo while I was on the floor.

My shift ended at 2:00, giving me an hour to relax. Or, because this is still a convention and we still have to attend to all the other crap that goes with it, get into the hotel room. Sarah and I were rooming with fellow staffers Erin and AJ. It was a chore carrying everything in from the rain, but we were settled in just in time for shift number three: Registration.

Now Registration detail is fun: welcome people in, take their money and hand them badges we designed. It's one of the first experiences people have at a convention, and essential to not turn it into Line Con (especially for us as any registration backlog would end up down the stairs). Best of all, when there's nobody trying to get in, it's a chance to chill out and hang with partners John and Natalie.

Not that we had many opportunities as the Friday night rush started to arrive and fill up the joint.

After two hours, I had another break slotted, just in time to dine on the pizza in the staff room.

Natalie models the pizza. It is good.

The food and the break was a nice recharge before a second registration shift. This time, I nabbed a quick pic of some of the Steam Century gang as they arrived.

There were a few hazardous spots. One of the booths in Artists Alley had music going that's best described as twenty minutes of good geek music followed by Caramelldansen. A few times, a group would surround the table and dance- a bad thing in an unavoidably crowded hallway.

This makes up for it.

The final shift of the day was assistant floor manager. While the floor manager makes sure the con isn't broke, the assistant is more geared to making it awesome. That means attending to programming needs, tech support and scoping out some of the panels to get a feel for what's working.

This included Fermata, a local acoustic band with ties to the steampunk community. Steam would be saving the world all weekend.

 It also included one of Evan's grand ideas- a listening session of the original War of the Worlds broadcast, played through this old radio in a darkened room.

At 10:00, the shift was over and Sarah and I were all clear for the rest of the day. It was time to scare up a little fun before tomorrow's schizophrenic to-do list.

Onward To Friday Night!