Hubs and I came into Sunday at the con with a revised plan. Instead of joining me for the Women of Whedon panel at 10:30 (featuring Jewel Staite, Emma Caulfield, that one chick who played Glory on Buffy who’s name I can never remember, and the amazing Amy Acker) he would sleep in and have a relaxed morning to himself. As I was exiting the excellent panel, I spied a chick about my age wearing the bear monster shirt — the real version — from my cosplay yesterday. I flagged her down and struck up a conversation about QC and we mutually bemoaned the lack of webcomics represented at this con. She gave me her card, I introduced myself to her quiet husband, and we parted ways so I could go meet up with husband. Yay for potential new friends!
I had a good chunk of Saturday set aside for the dealer’s room and Celebrity Summit. Taking lunch made getting a quick bite to eat so much easier. I made a beeline for the Black Pheonix Alchemy Lab perfume booth. They’re internet famous for having amazingly good scents that work with your body chemistry, unique collections and unusual product names. Hubs is very scent-sensitive and most of my floral perfumes are unacceptable, so I wanted to find something he liked that made me smell yummy. In this case, literally yummy. The very helpful sales lady picked out a couple of food-based scents and we wound up going for Detestable Putrescence, which makes me smell exactly like high quality vanilla ice cream. She also stuffed a bunch of other samples into my bag and I picked out a sandalwood-based scent for when I’m out and away from Hubby’s sensitive nose.
I got a fair number of autographs as well. My bestie lives abroad and requested that I get autographs for Jewel Staite, Adam
Tudyk, and Garrett Wang. I figured while I was getting Aly her signatures, I might as well, right? Boy, was hubs surprised, since that wasn’t Apparently something we discussed. He immediately insisted on an agreement that purchases over $20 needs to be discussed together, at least during the con. It’s a bit of a role reversal for us, since he tends to be the spendthrift and I tend to be Ms. Budget Watcher.
I made friends with a lovely couple in Alan Tudyk’s line, and we exchanged e-mails — perfectly lovely people around our age with two small daughters. I also got a pic of three brothers doing an amazing cosplay. The youngest (Hans Solo) was a medical student whose birthday was also this weekend, so we wished each other a mutual happy birthday.
We both got to meet one of our favorite authors, Jim Butcher of the Dresden Files, and Hubs and I came together to attend two of his panels. I made time to hit up his autograph session too. I got my badge signed and Hubs got one our hardbacks signed. I really wanted to ask him his take on the recent Hugo kerfuffle and the Sad/Rabid puppies — but I got a little tongue-tied around him. Who knew I was the type to get star-struck?
I also hit up the Wordfire Press booth, which is based right here in Colorado and was started by vaunted author Kevin J. Anderson. Several of the authors had been on panels I’d attended and I had to get copies of their books. I struck up a conversation with three of the authors, one walked me over to another publisher’s booth so I could hunt down Mario Acevedo for a signing (which I never got) and all of them offered words of encouragement. I got three books, much to my husband’s chagrin, since he wound up carrying most of them.
The last panel was a great one on mixing genres. More authors got added to the “to read someday” list and I got a lot of tips on how to get a cross-genre novel written and pitched to publishers. Although Mr. Butcher was supposed to show up for that one, he never materialized. The panel was informative and fun anyway, though one attendee who shall remain nameless nearly started an argument about Star Wars. We had planned on attending the cosplay party, but the lack of sleep and non-stop activity finally got to me, so we headed home.
Lessons Learned, Day 2:
- Budget and discuss celebrity autograph or photo op prices, decide who you want. Divide and conquer if you must. Spread it out over multiple days if you can.
- Base your shopping in the dealer’s room based on weight and how much of your day will be spent carrying heavy objects (like books). See if the dealer can hold your purchases until you leave for the day.
- Find out when your chosen celebs will be doing autographs. Get in line at least 30 to 60 minutes earlier than the scheduled start time to move through the lines quickly.
- Be kind to your line-mates. Not only does it open the possibility for new friends, but it might make the difference for someone else’s con experience. Say you lend some hapless guy carrying an infant your phone so he can call his wife, who so happens to have the family photo he wanted to get signed in her bag. Added bonus: you might get to hold the baby while they make the bag trade-off.
- Know where the nearest bathrooms and caffeine-pushers are in relation to your panel rooms. Most panels will seat you a little early, and you can totally grab a pee break or coffee after you claim your seat with a jacket or bag. This advantage is lost if you don’t know where to go, however.
- Take an extra devise to take photos or video. It cuts way down on the wear your phone battery gets throughout the day.
- Designate a basket or bin for all your loot from the con when you get home or back to your hotel. Even if you just dump it in the bin to sort later, at least you aren’t frantically looking for that super-cool Dresden Files shirt you got on Saturday five minutes before you leave Monday. It also helps contain the mess you create in your home during the con weekend.
- Set an alarm to remind yourself to go to bed at a reasonable hour. Even though I was exhausted, I stayed up too late Saturday night and thus got very little sleep on Sunday. I pooped out way earlier than planned and had too much coffee that day as a result.
- Find the gaming or media rooms and take advantage of them. Remember it’s not all shopping and panels and celebs that make up a con — there’s a lot of non-profits and small media/gaming companies that set up movie screenings or activity rooms.