So. Back from AC. I’m all but expected to give a convention report, but I’m not all that good at such things. Short form, though, it was a great con. One of the best ACs I’ve been to in years.
Yes, the convention center was big, and they weren’t perhaps making the best use of space—although I don’t know how much of that really had to do with the convention center’s assignments and such. Finding a way to better utilize the skywalk between the hotel and the center would be a great thing.
Having gotten the requisite nits out of the way, it was just a helluva lotta fun. Random highlights, not all of which are directly related to the con:
The Sofawolf party, and hanging out with people I don’t see very often. This included the Germans who actually, like, remember my old stories and are still fans, and who also kept plying me (and anyone else who didn’t actively resist) with Jaegermeister. It was also amusing watching unclekage act as Crux’s de facto agent for a bit.
Getting badge art from Ursula Husted, one of the relatively few times I’ve (gasp) gotten a small comission done at a con.
Being subject to krdbuni’s “Iron Author” contest as a judge of horrifically bad stories, yet again. (Wait, this was a highlight?)
Dinner with jadedfox at Tonic, the surprisingly good restaurant and bar right across from the hotel.
A long random conversation with Wendingo, who I only know in passing online but who was pretty cool in person.
Being amused at how, well, visible the con was in Pittsburgh. Despite pot shots from a few bozos (I suspect mostly spurred by the morning bozo radio show that farix_arkwright heard), the considerable media attention was fairly positive, and some businesses stayed open just to catch convention attendees.
One of those businesses was a sandwich shop a block away from the hotel. In addition to having great food for the price, they have entertainment, sort of: while we were there a (non-congoer!) guy angry that the “restrooms for customer use only” was being enforced broke off the valve lever from one of the soda machine spigots. A clerk spotted this, shouted, and three of them chased the vandal onto the street and pummeled him as he fled.
Flying Midwest Express. Despite the godawful time I had to leave Monday morning to fly out, it’s the best airline experience I’ve had since, well, airlines actually had service. (Remember that?)
There are complaints I’ve seen that AC is just “too big” for you to see everyone you want to see. Yet you don’t have that frustration at a smaller con precisely because not everyone you want to see is there. I saw cargoweasel, animakitty, bluedeer and a few others entirely in passing (in fact, with Anima, I believe it was after he passed by that I thought, “Hey, that was Anima,” and I never saw him again!). My favorite smaller furry con has been Conifur Northwest, but since they screwed the pooch this year,* maybe I’ll consider something else—depending on budget, which is going to take a while to recover from the spending over the last month, though. (I’m spending money like I have it.)
On the plane ride back, I read an advance copy of ursulav’s novel. Not a graphic novel, but a prose novel. I’ll write more about that later, but for now I’ll just say I’m pretty impressed.
* While I understand they had difficulties with the hotel, they knew they’d have to switch from the 2006 hotel before the 2006 convention. Given that we’ve seen other cons in similar circumstances figure out something other than “damn, gotta cancel,” it’s hard not to suspect the con committee just dropped the ball on this one. (And let the ball roll under the sofa. Then set fire to the sofa.)