I got back from Loscon an hour or so ago. This was an interesting Loscon for me (Interesting in this case is close to Wash’s “Oh God, oh God, we’re all going to die?” definition).
Our original plan had been to leave mid-morning on Thursday, grab lunch in Oceanside, and arrive at the hotel mid-afternoon for some relaxation. However, this plan was put into jeopardy on Wednesday evening when Tara became very ill, apparently with something similar to what The Kid had nearly recovered from, which I’d attributed to minor food poising. By Thursday morning it was getting clear that she was in no shape to come up on Thursday. So I moved our reservation to Friday.
But, when Friday dawned, she was still in no shape to travel, and The Kid was still having lingering symptoms – not to mention that I’d be too busy to ride heard on him without Tara there as well. So, I packed the car in a hurry. Part of this rush packing included not having Tara help me pair down the party supplies I’d pulled from the SanSFiS locker, and included 7 12-packs of pop that I’d picked up on Thursday from Von’s when I was buying Tara some ginger ale. Somehow, with all of this, I ended up with so much stuff in the car (much of which, I didn’t really need) that there was no room for any other passengers, nor room for our flat cart in any place that it would not risk becoming a missile But, I at least got on the road about the time I expected to.
I arrived at the hotel in good time, not bothered by any Black Friday traffic jams. I was early enough that there was still self parking available in the garage – and I found a space very near the ballroom doors. This allowed me to unload most of the fan table supplies in short trips, and start setting up the fan table. It was during this unloading, I discovered I’d forgotten the Westercon Bid banners. Later, I realized that I also forgot my shaving kit – which is where I keep my medicine when traveling.
Around 3:00, I checked into the hotel, and brought my car up to have a bellman take the party supplies and my personal stuff to my room. At this point, they concluded that the self-parking was full, and checked my car into the valet. What I didn’t warn them was that once the stuff was in my room, I intended to leave shortly to do the main supply run for the “San Diego takes over the Con Suite” party and at least some of the food for the Westercon bid party on Saturday night.
This trip took me about two hours. My first stop was Matsua Marketplace in Torrence, which was a long(ish) drive (about 8-10 miles) for two items: pocky and wasabi peas. Next, I headed into Ingelwood where information showed I could find a Smart ‘n Final, a Ralph’s and a Costco all within a couple of blocks. I hit up Smart ‘n Final hoping to find Cheetos and small scones. I found the Cheetos, but no scones. I also determined that the Ralph’s was actually a Food for Less, and didn’t bother going there looking for scones. At Costco, I located other small pastries to use in place of the scones, and purchased the bulk of the pop. Thinking in terms of Con Suite, I picked up the full variety - getting both Coke and Pepsi colas, in both diet and regular, Dr. Pepper in both diet and regular, and 7-up. I got only one case of each (32 cans for the Coke and Dr. Pepper, and 36 cans for the Pepsi). This added to the 4 12-packs of Tab (for Comic Fest’s Tab and Moon Pies), and the 12 packs of Ginger Ale, Orange and 7-up. I also grabbed some milk to accompany the “Genuine Imitation Ovalkwik” and for the tea. Once I was to the car, however, I realized that I had forgotten to get the fresh fruit and veggies I intended.
I finished up the fan table, shut it down and then headed up to set up the con suite (having a bellman take up the party supplies and food). The party went well, and we all gave away a fair amount of information. Condor and the Westercon bid sold a decent number of memberships, and we at least gave away a lot of Conjecture / Conchord flyers. When we closed, we had a fairly good stock of pop (my purchases having been supplemented by many 12 packs of Mt. Dew courtesy of Gam3rCon and not heavily depleted – due in part to the competition from the other parties one floor down). Fortunately, I was able to stash it in the back hallway of the suite being used for the New Orleans and Kansas City Worldcon bid parties, so I didn’t have to schlep it down to the first floor where my room was.
I ended up leaving the con-suite about 1.5 gallons of milk and some of our extra pastries (which I could have kept if I’d been thinking about it)
Saturday, I was up reasonably early to get the fan table set up, and was able to stay away from it for much of the day. I spent some time browsing the dealers’ room, and took a quick pass through the Art Show and the new Make Room.
In the morning, when I made one last attempt to see if someone could swing by our house to get the stuff I forgot, I discovered that Adam was unlikely to be coming. So, I was left taking care of checking into the party room for Saturday night – not a big deal as this will be reimbursed from the bid.
It was about 2 when I went to see if I could get in, having been assured by the party liaison that the room should be empty as a result of our having given it up for Friday night. But, when I was checking in, I learned that the room wouldn’t be available for me to actually get into until after 3 because it was being occupied by a Platinum Elite hotel guest who had late checkout at 2:00. Once I did get the room, I took a quick look at it and then headed out to Costco to get the food for the bid party – ending up with the same small pastries as the night before, supplemented by some other cookies – and some more fruit, including some mango and pineapple to go with the somewhat absent “1916 Panama-Mars-California Exhibition” theme. Once the food was safely in the room, I spent the rest of the afternoon in and around con space.
We shut the table down about six, and I took stuff to my room (or the party room) and then snuck into the staff lounge (with permission of the person running the staff lounge) and grabbed a bowl of chicken curry – more because I should have been hungry than because I was hungry.
This turned out to be either a mistake or a fortunate happenstance, because I quickly began to start feeling rather ill in much the same way as the rest of my family had been. I was able to get some Pepto-Bisimol in the gift shop, which helped a bit, and tracked down someone who was able to handle setting up the food.
By the time the party was going, I was feeling better and concluded that maybe all I’d had was a migrane which decided to have most of the symptoms, except for the headache. I was actually feeling pretty good, when I grabbed a Coke and drank it, not all that quickly. However, within a minute or two of finishing, my body reacted badly – prompting me to rush up the stairs (remember, I have a bad knee – which was complaining about me doing too much standing, walking and lifting early in the day) to the public restrooms one floor up – I refuse to use the restrooms in a party room, even my party room, out of principle. After I had thrown up (not a lot, but some), I headed back to the party and informed people that I was leaving, and not to expect me back – and to do a minimal shutdown and I’d take care of it in the morning).
I spent the rest of the evening in my room, initially sweating and feeling quite warm, but eventually chilled. I ended up throwing up a couple of more times before I fell asleep. However, for numerous reasons, I only slept in fits and starts most of the night. I did, however, start sipping water in the early hours of the morning – due to feeling severally parched.
Today, I was able to get the party torn down. Due to the fact that we had more leftover pop than I could comfortably transport home – even with with other consumables I had transported up – or safely store at the house, I ended up leaving it for the con suite (which I did get criticized about claiming that it was wasteful – I contend my mistake was in buying too much in the first place, a lesson learned).
During the day, all I actually consumed was a couple of cans of Ginger Ale – until I got home – and did have some instances of feeling worse then better. I made a few more passes through the dealers’ room and make room, and did my share of SMOFing. I had hoped to be able to pack up and leave earlier, but ended up leaving the tables up until 3:30 – and it was after four by the time I actually got on the road.
Overall, the con was a good con. The Westercon bid had another successful promotion, and Conjecture at least got a lot of information out. I just hope that it turns into memberships (a lot of people were unsure if they could come, so didn’t want to make commitments 11 months out).
One thing I felt really bad about at one point, however, was when I realized that for numerous reasons, while I’ve been to 8 cons this year (not counting Comic-Con), including three outside of San Diego – and will hit SMOFCon next weekend – Tara only made three, and she was only at both Anime Conji and Comic Fest for one day.