We had a good time at I-Con, despite the con. It was actually a larger organizational disaster than it was last year (which I really didn't think was possible,) but we had fun nonetheless. Still no directions, but the signs were better. Still no descriptions in the "pocket guide" of what any of the events were; still no useful information or updates on the website. Gotta tell you, if I hadn’t been going specifically to visit friends (the con itself was peripheral to me – it was merely the venue,) it wouldn’t even be vaguely worth the slog across the sound.
Friday we got to the ferry in plenty of time, and had a fairly rough crossing. I didn’t used to feel seasick. Ever. Something else to discover about being pregnant, I guess. It wasn’t too bad, but it really wasn’t fun. Got checked in at the hotel in a leisurely fashion, and headed over to check in to the con. That actually went better than last year, although fighting our way through to the "S-Z" line was a pain. The dealers’ room, which was scheduled to open at 6:00 actually opened at 6:10 or so. No big deal – I just hung out for a while. The part that amused me was that they were turning people away saying "it doesn’t open until 6:00"... at 6:10. We headed down and foundmerimaskgave her the news, and Bob headed off for his 6:00 Battletech game. I settled in to take up space, visit, and watch the show. The dealer’s room was open until 10:30, but we closed down at 10:00 so that we could get to the restaurant that stops serving at 10:30. I called Bob to get him over so that we could bug out fast... and the 6:00 game had just started. Only four hours late. He wasn’t a happy camper. But we piled in the car, headed back into Port Jefferson... and found out the waitress had misrepresented the situation. They had stopped serving at 10:00. Apparently *everything* in Port Jeff stops serving at 10:00. But we eventually found an Outback further up the road that was open until 11:00, and got a nice dinner.
After that auspicious beginning, I was curious to see what Saturday would bring. Bob dropped me off at the dealers’ room, and headed off for his game that was schedule for 10:00 or 11:00 (I forget.) I settled in. Do you know how exhausting it is to sit on your butt and do nothing? That always surprises me. But I think everyone was in a slightly better mood, so we were chatting happily – at least I was. I just never shut up. Bob stopped by at about noon, because the morning game hadn’t started yet. So we went up and visited at the SCA table, and walked the rest of the dealers’ room a bit. After an hour or so he headed back to see if things were starting to move, and I settled back in. This year I found the cosplay to be slightly more alarming last year. A lot of "too little fabric for body type." Let’s see, what else was there...
There was a girl dressed as Leeloo from "The Fifth Element." She gets my vote for "best use of a flesh-colored leotard." From a distance you couldn’t tell and my goodness did she have the legs for it. She looked good. And it was nice to see someone doing something other than anime.
There was a guy in a kilt with a really great (and real) red and purple mohawk. I took a picture of him and he winked at me. He was cute.
Lots of assorted anime and manga (is one a subset of the other? I don’t know...) Most of that was unremarkable to me because I’m entirely unfamiliar with the genre, but I know that Andrea was rather pained a lot of the time. One guy was dressed up as a character she tells me is a fifteen year old boy – but HE looked like someone’s creepy uncle. You’ll have to check out Meri’s posts when she gets home for a better run-down of this category. I just don’t know what they were trying to do, so I don’t know precisely the manner in which they stunk.
Lots of girls in "school girl" outfits as visualized by an adult toy store. Can I say that personally I find that really disturbing? I know that people tell me that its just a cultural difference, and that nothing actually ever happens over there, but I just find that the idea that little girls as sex objects is culturally acceptable makes me really uncomfortable. I guess I'm just really parochial.
One amazing bodice – laced together at sides and front. A one to two inch gap at each lacing join. Nothing underneath. She was... cylindrical. With cleavage running down the front under the lacing, but the cleavage was completely vertical because she was cylindrical. That looked really, really painful. We saw it last year too. Ow.
There was a girl done up as Ronald MacDonald. Clown paint face, red wig, bright yellow sheathe dress, red and white striped stockings, the shoes – all of it. The lip piercings really put it over the edge into "disturbing." This is why children are afraid of clowns.
The guy doing the really, really good Silent Bob was back. He’s fun, and always nice about having his picture taken. He’s really a dead ringer for Silent Bob, and he honest-to-God never talks that I’ve seen.
The Star Wars crew was back, although they didn’t have a wookie this year that I saw. Nicely done, as before. They look really good.
Then there was "it." I didn’t get a picture of it. I’m kind of glad. Think "Cirque-de-Soleil-style-clown-that-let-h
I’m hoping a few of my pictures will come out. I wasn’t using the flash, so you never know. If there are a few that aren’t blurry I’ll post them.
The dealers’ room closed at 6:30 on Saturday, so at 6:30 we closed to bolt for dinner. We wanted our lobster. I called Bob. He figured they weren’t going to be done with the round until 7:00 or so, and there was another one past that (because the 10:00 game started at 2:00.) So with his blessing we left him to have dinner at the cafeteria and headed off for our seafood, where Andrea and I promptly got giddy on lobster. It was very good lobster, and very fun dinner. Bob got back to the room sometime in the vicinity of 11:00 – it had finally wrapped up.
Sunday was more of the same, complete with the games running late. But after we closed down the booth at 5:30 I headed over and hung out with Bob until they shut down and then we all headed over for dinner. Very nice stuffed salmon (and this place has the best onion rings!) From there we just missed the 8:00 ferry. By, like, two minutes. The boat was still there but the ramp was already up. No big deal. The guy on the dock kept apologizing, even after we said it was okay. I wonder how many people yell at him on any given day? Frankly, the way the wind was gusting I was just as glad to have an hour or so to let dinner settle in. The only fly in the ointment was that on the Port Jeff side, the ferry terminal has those tables where the chairs are attached to the tables and on a swivel. My waist is just thick enough in front now that I couldn’t sit in one of them without touching front and back and being really uncomfortable. So I sat on the floor. It worked.
The ferry ride back was rougher than the one over had been. My plan was to sleep through it if I could. So I picked a booth close to the ladies’ room (just in case,) and put my head down to try to doze. I finally decided that I needed to rearrange myself – I had already gotten a crick in my neck, and my arm was going to sleep instead of me. Then the PA announced that all drivers and passengers should return to their cars to disembark in Bridgeport. So I guess I passed out almost immediately. Docking was interesting – there was a ton of jockeying back and forth, and it sounded like the captain was leaning on the pier as he did it. I was making student driver jokes, but you really have to wonder.
The cats were offended last night, but very clingy this morning, so I guess we’ve been forgiven.
I think that I-Con needs to decide what it’s trying to be if it’s going to claw its way back to being a decent con. Next year they’re not going to be at Stony Brook, so I’m sure that will create some changes. It’s highly unlikely that I’ll be there to see what they are. If they’re going to be a con for the students, then they need to change to an all-anime format (because that’s what the students are currently into) and accept that at least for a while they’re going to be just a student con. Given that I’m told there are other very good anime cons in Boston and such, I can't imagine that more than a very few people are going to do the slog to the island for the level they've descended to. Getting there is either a pain, or very expensive. If they want to try to get back to being a decent sci-fi/fantasy con, then they need to start presenting a more professional front. They need to get decent guests; the guests need to show up; schedules for things need to be posted and adhered to (things happen – but things shouldn’t run four hours late as a matter of course;) there needs to be a real website with real, updated information; dealer packets with things like hotel info should go out more than a month in advance; etc. I kept hearing over and over from tons of people about how good the con used to be. That’s never a good sign - that sounds like one that's going down fast. Maybe for a few years they really were "attended by over 6,000 people," but not recently. Not from what we’re seeing. Honestly, when you figure it’s almost $500 plus gas, plus food for the two of us to attend... you expect something a little better than the amateur hour that I-Con delivers. For that kind of money we could go do something in Boston.
However, we had a nice weekend away from home. Now it’s back to the grind.
But I have tickets for Cirque de Soleil to look forward to on Thursday. French clowns instead of scary one.