Friday, January 04, 2008

Travel Day II / Ohayocon!

I woke up at 1 a.m. CST, showered, packed some cheese and sausage and coffee and cookies. Drive to Milwaukee and listened to the BBC almost the whole way. Barak Obama had won Iowa

for the Democrats and Huckaby for the Republicans. I couldn’t believe how many times they pointed out Barak was the “black” candidate.

I also heard a poem by a Kenyan speaking about his homeland (Kenya is in upheaval right now as there are protests regarding election results.) It was very touching, and then they stated that he lives in Madison Wisconsin! I had just driven through there. Strange world.

I put $2 of gas in the car to try to eek out the final 32 miles (had paid for gas in advance so had to use as much as possible before I turned the rental car in. Stopped at Pabst Farms again which is where I stopped for a Quizno’s on Sunday (coincidence). I remember the name because it’s so a load of marketing crap – it’s a dumb subdivision. Not a farm. Trying to envoke uber Wisconsinishness with a name like that is just cheesy (whoops.)

I saw a lot of shooting stars.

I returned the car, got through security no sweat. Had to catch a 6 a.m. flight to Detroit and then on to Columbus. Boarded the plane ok and made my connection in Michigan.

Jazz flute must be the least offensive music in the world since it plays at all international airports.

While riding the people mover from one section of the Detroit airport to the next (the airport is actually pretty cool – there is a long tunnel with a laser light show and cool new age music playing), I heard some highbrow douche waxing loudly about how the Midwest is filled with lower-functioning people because people in Detroit don't check his groceries out as fast as they do on the coast. And isn't it a crime that they are determining the outcome of the presidential election? I can't stand that kinda shit. Go fart in your wine glass and tell me it smells like Chianti ya jerk.

In Detroit I was told that the plane had to be worked on so I thought Great! I'll be able to get a breakfast sandwich. Well, I had enough time to txt my ride in Columbus to let her know I might be late and place the order at the fast food place right next to my gate, when they start loading! I had to be a demanding passenger and have them fling my sandwich at me - "I don't need napkins, thanks!!" so I could get on board before they closed the door. Turns out I think the crew was short a flight attendant, because the lady who served us had no clue what flight we were on and thought we were flying into Detroit, not out of it. Poor dear.

All in all, my flights were all smooth and on time. Yay Northwest. Except you really should re instigate no-charge snacks. Also, comparing a Northwest plane to one from Continental is very telling - the seats were old and worn and on one flight, no longer was able to be raised to its full and upright position. Continental has the youngest planes in the biz, and Northwest must be the retirement home.

I arrived in Columbus and lounged around the airport until Nicka, Jon, Thomas and Robin arrived from Wendi's (the person, not the burger chain) to pick me up. And we were off to Ohayocon, one of the first anime conventions of the year!

The fest takes place at the Columbus Convention center in Columbus Ohio Jan. 4-6. Not sure but attendance is usually around 5-8,000. The organization of the event itself left something to be desired, but I think most everyone was having fun so that didn't seem to matter. The one high note was registration. They had two lines (denoted by tape on the ground) and the shorter of the two was the prereg line. I was able to walk right up to a bank of tables, tell my name and show my id and get my badge (as opposed to other cons where I have waited for 2 hrs.). The group reg took longer (the other people I was with were all in a big group to get a better rate).

But really, that was where the good planning seemed to end.

There were no con "swag bags," no con books, no schedules and no map. We got in at around noon and had no idea what was going on. We wandered about, looking at costumes and through the vendor room (which was not as big as in past years), then decided that, since none of us had slept well the night before, all we wanted to do was go get our hotel room, unpack and sit for a minute.

Now although this doesn't have anything to do with the convention itself, it does have to do with the hotel's incompetence - when the person who reserved the hotel rooms finally got in, we were told by the front desk we could not check in until 3 (more wandering around not having any clue as to what was going on at the convention). When we did try to check in it was found that the bank of 4 rooms that had been reserved was spread across numerous floors! The people at the desk blamed their offsite registration (which Nicka pointed out, shouldn't matter. It's still their registration people!) and gave us one room on the 6th floor and told us we could wait until they figured their shit out and got us the bank of rooms. Well, we sat around, getting more hungry and more cranky until probably 6:30 when it was finally revealed that we didn't get conjoined rooms but at least we had a few on the same floor.

We did eventually snag a schedule, but everything was crammed into Saturday night (AMV, cosplay and Anime Hell) and we had missed anything interesting that might have happened on Friday before we found a schedule.

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