Otakon 2013: Hotels!

All right, so the weekend was pretty busy and although I did get the wireless to work somewhat (I wound up connecting to the 3rd floor’s wireless instead of the 4th floor’s to get it to work) I found myself unable to find enough time at the hotel to actually do any pertinent updates besides…

“Going to bed, I are teh sleepiness!”

…or…

“Oh god, the Cheesecake Factory has poisoned me with deliciousness!”

This should be the Cheesecake Factory's motto.

This should be the Cheesecake Factory’s motto.

So instead of an actual update/review of Otakon itself, let us first talk about Hotels.  I went for a simple little hotel called the Rodeway Inn on St. Paul Street in Baltimore.  It wasn’t a very fancy room but it had all of the amenities you need on a trip: Comfy bed, several power outlets, a shower, a toilet, towels, a coffee maker (which we didn’t even use), and a few non-essentials that we enjoyed such as the forlorn Wi-Fi internet and a complimentary continental breakfast every morning.

I paid roughly $250 for four nights.  If you don’t include the sleeping we did in the room, we spent a total of about six hours in the hotel in those four days.

A few friends of ours who also went to Otakon were being organized by one of their group, we’ll call him Tom.  Tom has different motivations than I do.  My motivations are very utilitarian: I need a place to sleep, shower, and poop; if I get food and internet out of the deal that’s extra-fantastic.  I don’t care if the room has its own kitchen, or if the bathroom has a tub, or if the hotel has a pool that I’m never going to use.  I want the cheapest assembly of the things I need, with a minor emphasis on my hotel being within walking distance to my destination (i.e. the Baltimore Convention Center).

Tom, on the other hand, has very different motivations in mind.  His motivations are very materialistic and egotistical.  Tom’s motivations in life are material goods and esteem; in other words he wants nice things and the admiration of his peers.

He got a two-room suite, with a kitchen, in a hotel that had a pool, a fitness center, laundry services, and a sauna.  He also skipped half of the convention to practice his routine for the Masquerade: Something where he would be up on stage in front of everyone.  And after the fact he acted rather coldly to us when we managed to find some time to get together because we had decided to go to something else we found more interesting than the masquerade; so we didn’t get to see him and slather him in the attention he so desired.

Now I told you about Tom to make you understand his motivations in Hotel choice.  He stayed at the Embassy Suites on St. Paul Street.  He stayed in a room with three other people, and each person paid $150 for three nights.  That’s a $600 room for three nights.  I paid $250 for four nights.  We both had complimentary breakfast and Wi-Fi (that didn’t want to work), we both had 1 bed and a desk, we both had two chairs in our room, but he had a pull-out sofa.

Tom is also a totally different personality than myself.  I plan things out, everything I do.  I pre-registered for Otakon and got my hotel in March, I got my bus tickets in June (and that was just because I had to arrange my schedule with somebody else to drop me off at the bus station so I didn’t have to park my car in a $13 a day garage).

Tom waited until a couple weeks before Otakon to book his hotel and didn’t even pre-register.  So he paid $80 a ticket, $600 for a room, and then skipped half of the convention; he also paid $45 for a one-way Greyhound bus ticket to Baltimore.  I, for the record, paid $70 per pass into Otakon, and $48 for a round-trip bus ticket on Greyhound.

He paid for a fitness center he never used, a sauna he didn’t use, and a pool that he didn’t use.  If I wanted to work out I would have just walked to the convention center instead of taking the free shuttle buses that went right passed my hotel (Charm City Circulator, a wonderful thing for tourists!).  If I wanted to swim I would have paid a taxi to take me to a local neighborhood public pool (and still saved money).  And if I wanted a sauna…I would have just not used the AC in Baltimore.

~RCS

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Otakon 2013: Day Zero

Sorry for the lackluster update on this. We wound up being more than 2 hours behind schedule because of a huge accident on I-70. Then once the hectic day was over, we go back to the hotel to find…the wifi is not working. Only for us though.
Called down to the front desk and got this response, “I dunno…it’s working for me, it’s working for everyone else. I don’t know what’s wrong.”
Stay tuned for another update, hopefully tomorrow and hopefully not typed on a phone.
~RCS

Tekkoshocon X Review: Day 1

Well, Tekkoshocon 2012 is over and I’ve had a day to recover (and of course the site takes off while I’m away and can’t do anything).  It was a pretty…decisive, we’ll call it.

There were a handful of good panels, a couple of great ones, and a few bad ones.  We’ll hit everything in sequence, but first let’s discuss what Tekkoshocon is, for those who don’t know.

Tekkoshocon is a Japanese and English portmanteau of Tekkosho (Steel Mill) and Con (abbreviation of Convention), since it is held in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

It’s a fairly small anime convention as far as conventions go, with a high water mark of 4,300 people in 2011.  Compare that to Baltimore’s Otaku Convention which had 31,348 people in 2011!

But here’s the summarized highlights, I’ll cover a new day each day this week.

-Thursday-

We weren’t really interested in much happening Thursday morning, but we had a pretty full schedule for Thursday evening.  We got to the Wyndham, where the convention was being held around 2 in the afternoon.

We hit a panel about making video games, being run by a flash game developer.  It was good stuff, informational, sadly most of the stuff he went over I’d already researched on my own.  But it was nice to see an actual developer divvy up the details on what to do, how to do it, and he even used an awesome new term, Nerd Wrangling, which should totally be on Urban Dictionary soon.

We roamed about for a bit and went to a Legend of Zelda-related panel that my fiancé missed out on for the most part, since she’s never really played one of the games.  I missed out on the grander scheme of it, because I’ve only played part of the series…I missed out on Ocarina of Time and the likes, since I never had an N64, and I never played any of the handheld versions or such.  Needless to say it was interesting panel, nonetheless.

Next we went to a panel held by David Fielding, it was called Acting 101.  David Fielding is the face and voice of Zordon, the guy in the tube who commanded the Power Rangers during the first season or so.

We roamed through the artist alley and decided to get dinner, since we had a couple of hours to kill before the panels we were really waiting for came to fruition.  But right before we did, we paused for a bathroom break.  I walked into the men’s room and walked passed a bald gentleman.  I undid my pants and glanced to the side to realize…I was peeing beside David Fielding.

Imaging pissing next to that!

I peed next to Zordon!

I watched the Power Rangers pretty heartily when I was a kid when it first came out, but after a year or so I fell out of it.  Needless to say it is a huge part of Nerd Culture and took up a big part of my thoughts when I was a kid, so peeing next to Zordon was a token fanboy moment for me.  I managed to keep my composure, though, and didn’t spazz out and start talking to him at the urinal, or anything creepy like that.

Then came the evening panels and we went to a panel called “OMG!  WTF did I just watch?”

Here is where shit started hitting fans.  The two people running the panel showed up about 5 minutes before it was supposed to start.  And they had tech problems when they finally showed up.

We were all finally let in about ten minutes late, to find they were still not operational.  There were two panelists, completely aloof to how cords and cables worked, two Tekko staffers, and a Tekko Tech staffer.  None of the five of them could get anything to work.  apparently they were trying to run a DVD off of a DVD player, but it wouldn’t sync up with the projector the con was utilizing.

Finally a guy about a row behind me walked up to them and said, “Why don’t you just get a laptop and run it from there.”

He was met by blank stares from the panelists and the associated staffers.  Suddenly the tech staffer jumped on his radio and called for a laptop.  Lo and behold, they bring down a laptop…we are now twenty minutes late for the panel to start.

They put the DVD in and everything works…almost!  Again we have 5 people trying to figure out how to work this laptop, including a tech staffer, and once again the hero a row behind me groans and walks to the front of the room.

He makes a subtle motion with his hand and everyone backs away.  Two keystrokes and a click and everything is working.

Now, thirty minutes late, the panel finally starts.  It was a good panel once it started, though; very funny stuff and run by a man dressed like Rainbow Dash with a Jay Leno-quality chin.

Finally it was over to Anime Mythbusters to test events that happen in Anime and see if they are physically possible, or at least mildly plausible.  That was interesting, education, and entertaining, so it was a success.

And then we went home and got a short turn around of sleep, because Friday started at 10:30 in the morning…

~RCS

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