Monday, June 07, 2010

So, A-Kon was this weekend.

And that was a mighty barrel of laughs, indeedy-do. It always has a kind of "high-school reunion" feel to it, but I think that might be because I went to high-school with a couple of folks who used to be something over there.

Friday night was a lot of wandering around, saying hi, drinking.

The hotel also had a couple firepits on the patio at the newly opened (well, it was closed last year) bar. I thought it would be nifty to roast marshmallows in them and bought some for Saturday night. And bamboo skewers.

Ah, Saturday night. Where to start?

Dan comes over and we make a run to a liquor store. Back at the house, we figure out how to get his netbook running with a projector. It takes some fussing, but we now have that worked out, so that's one down. The technical problems should be okay after that, right?

No, wait, that's at 9 PM. The show isn't going to start until midnight. A lot can happen between then and now. I mean, this is A-Kon and there's going to be some egos involved. It's not technology that's going to fuck us; it's logistics.

The room that's been assigned to Anime Hell is occupied when we get there. Dan had requested a thirty-minute set-up time, but at 11:30, the guys in the room are far from done. As a matter of fact, they're turning over the laserdisc when they're supposed to be clearing out. A laserdisc. Of Project A-ko. A laserdisc.

Namesake be damned, we've got a line.

We've got a line that goes down the wall, around the corner, and starts to loop back. A line of people who want to see Anime Hell. A line of people who expect that shit to start at midnight, as was promised.

Fifteen minutes after twelve o'clock, the room starts to empty. We now start the set-up.


We don't have a table and have to ask for one. The AV guy checks the microphones and then leaves to go run the hentai room. No one has a VGA cable (insert cable/tentacle joke here). The provided projector won't detect.

This is why Dan asked for thirty-minutes.

While Dan is trying to get the projector to get a signal, some random guy (someone on staff) hops up and says, "Let me show you a little Windows magic."

Quick aside. I deal with dual-monitor displays on a daily basis. The way it usually works on laptops is right-click the desktop, properties, settings tab, advanced button, Intel graphics media accelerator driver tab, graphics properties button, display devices tab, and then select multiple monitor display, extended desktop.

Daily basis, yo. Over the phone. To bankers. I think I can do it when it's sitting right there in front of me.

So I'm watching "Windows magic" guy and he's just sitting there on the display properties settings tab and "just can't get it to detect". This is frustrating and it's eating up time. I go up there to get it set up and now there's three guys trying to show me how to do it. (I am vaguely reminded of the people whose cars run on shame; they don't have any horsepower until I pass them.) No one was interested in this until I started working on it.

Did I mention this is all happening in the dark?

Yeah, the control for the lights is in the next room, where the rave is going on.

Con ops is now dreadfully interested that we get the show up and going because the huge-ass line I mentioned earlier is still standing out there, waiting to get in. They've been waiting since 11:30. It's now 12:45.

Thirty minutes after we got in the room. Funny that.

OK! We have sound, we have video. Wonderful Katie has been handing candy out to the kids in line, who are being wonderful sports about the whole thing. We get them in the room. In the dark.


At some point during the show, Dan has to slip out of the room for a drink of water. We don't have water in the room, but there's a cooler just outside the door (five steps, tops).

I've got to say that I do appreciate the amount of water that was available for the con. I think this was provided by the hotel and mad props to them for that because it was 100 degrees Saturday and keeping hydrated is insanely important down here.

And it even had ice in it!

So Dan walks five steps: one, two, three, four five....gets drink of water and turns around: one, two three, four, five... to go back into the room and run the show.

And the door-nazi asks to see his badge.

Wait, let me back up a bit here. Neither Dan nor I had badges. Three separate people were supposed to get them, but that didn't happen, so whatever. We did wait twenty minutes for an elevator to the third floor where con-ops was, but con-ops (who knew who I was when I said we were from hell) said they didn't have badges for us because we were "exceptions" and "exceptions" was closed.

Now, I did get a badge from Ed, who was running karaoke, but that was because he was in the bar getting Eileen drunk after their gig. It was actually Eileen who gave me me her badge, but that also had the best misspelling of my name I've ever seen, which is doubly hilarious because I wasn't even working the karaoke room this year.

Back to our story. Dan is standing outside the door, arguing with the door-nazi about how he's running the goddamned event and needs to be let back in. This is when Ed comes by and says, "Hey, he is the show," and the door-nazi takes Ed's word and lets Dan back into the room to the event that he fucking runs.

By now, Dan has just about had it. The show was pushed to midnight, it started late, we're running against the hentai show, there's a rave going on next-door, we've gotten no help from anyone, his ankle is hurting, we didn't get our badges, he just got badged, and the door-nazi didn't recognize that he's the one running the event.

Enraged, Dan comes back into the room, rants a bit, and throws fist-fulls of candy at the audience. "I'm not taking this shit home! We have a table of prizes! I don't get paid to do this!"

Yes, a person can angrily throw candy.

The rest goes pretty smoothly. Contests include a Hard-Gay pose off, a Heino-imitator-imitation run, and seeing who can do the Camay girl walk the best. I promise a prize to anyone who can provide a spoon because we have some "Tick" figurines to give away. Interestingly enough, someone does. I throw candy cigarettes.

At three in the morning we are DONE with the show. There is an eerie quiet in the room.



While collecting our things, we discover there's a passed-out audience member in the stands. He's completely unresponsive and con ops has to be called in to ask him who he is and if he knows where he is. Someone says, "I can call his parents."

The girl who's been sent in to reset the AV equipment has a Nokia 1100 phone (the one with the flashlight!). I used to have one of those and I miss it at times. I hope the soldier who got it appreciates what a fucking fantastic phone that is.

"That's the best phone ever," I tell her.

"I know," she says.

"Don't ever get rid of it," I tell her. I still have the marshmallows and bamboo skewers in my bag. "Here," I hand them over. "If they ever get those firepits at the bar restarted, you have to go roast these."

"There is a god," she says.


Tohoscope said...

Thanks for posting this, Dr. Mila.

Matt Murray said...

I'm reminded why I don't miss A-Kon one tiny bit. One of their security jagoffs pulled that same "where's your badge" crap with me after I'd left it in the dealer's room at our table, when he knew damn well who I was from the day before, and knew I had a badge. You start suspecting they have some running contest for who can be the biggest jerk for the weekend.

Palhinuk said...

I have to be honest, I think you guys, and Friday night's Rocky Horror showing, made my A-Kon for me. Between waiting in line for the elevators, waiting in line for the panels, or waiting in line to wait in line (fucking Dealer's Room...), I was dead stupid come Saturday.

In fact, I nearly ragequit the line because Con-Nazis kept coming and bitching at us for "blocking" a perfectly accessible door (one guy in front of a door does not make it blocked). Which doubly pissed me off because we were only blocking the door because they postponed the event long enough to create a line that, could only be described as, Six-Flags-in-the-summer long.

And you weren't the only guys with badge issues, I was at one panel and staying around to go to a panel in the same room right after it, but I got kicked out of the room for no reason, then managed to get kicked out after waiting in line because I didn't have a staff badge, and "the only room left was for staffing". How many staff does it take to run a goddamn panel?

But you guys made my day, and for that I thank you.

Dr. Mila said...

Thank-you, Palhinuk, for having the sticktoitiveness (using the German word-making rules here) to see the show. We've been told next year will not be like that and we're always looking to improve the experience.

But I did like that most of the doors the line could have possibly blocked were to THE ROOM WE WERE TRYING TO GET INTO.

Tohoscope said...

Palhinuk, your comment has made my day.

Kubu-kun said...

Hey, at least they should make good on their word to make next year much better. Besides, every version of ninjaHELL! has to have at least one bad show happen every now and then, right?

Tohoscope said...

If it was only the exception and not the rule.

I do 3 local shows every year, 2 out of 3 are cock ups. And they're cocked up on the Con side of the equation. Those are some lousy odds.

We always aim for a great show, even when the Con is stacked against us. The A-Kon HELL still turned out to be a good show, but it could've been SO MUCH BETTER had the Con been working with us instead of against us.

At least I get a chance to do my Jack Rebney impersonation...