Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Origins 2006 Post mortem report

Yesterday turned out to be one of the longest workday in a long time. Not only did i carry the entire load at my delivery job, but there was a massive amount of cylinders to break at the lab yesterday. As a result, when i arrived at home i fell into a coma. This became a problem because i woke up later that evening to watch "Blade: the series" on Spike and then could not get back to sleep easily. At least, it gave me a chance to over-pack (as per usual. I promise. I'm going to lick this habit.)
So i wake up on thursday with about 4 hours of sleep under my belt. Ah well, REM sleep is over-rated anyway right?
I clean out the car, Re-organize the tools that were strewn all over the back of it and then pack my bags into it, say my goodbyes to my housemate and my sweet kitty and i hit the road.
No "check engine" scare like last year thankfully. My original plan had been to go to the con and then visit my buddy Chris Foster on the way back but he's not going to be in town on my way back. So i visit on my way up.
Chris Foster and I were at Undergrad together at NKU studying theater. He went off to Louisianna after grad school and taught theater for a while before getting fed up and coming back to Northern Kentucky. Over the last few years, He's earned a black belt in Karate and when he returned to the area, began teaching Karate to kids.
So I visit his lovely school and we go off and have a bit of lunch. Wish i could have stayed longer. Chris is one of those sorts of people that make me want to be a better person and I kinda like the person that i am around him.
While at the school I ask him about a wooden bokken, that i was thinking about purchasing, and he gifts to me, Which makes me go all warm and gooey.
So now i have a katanna styled, wooden Bokken (Sp?) made of white oak that is, let's face it, cooler than hell.
Too short a visit, but i need to get back on the road. So i bid my fond farewells, and head towards Columbus.
Having had back trip mojo in the past, I am looking with a weather eye towards God trying to stop me from making it or having any fun. But as i am cruising along the highway, i am listening to a playlist of The Crystal Method, when their cover of "Magic Carpet Ride" comes on. At that exact moment I am passed by a fella on a motorcycle. I take this as a good omen.
Miss my Kitty already. :(

Sascha en Repose

Time passes and i find myself at a dead stop 20 miles out from Columbus. that lasts for about an additional hour or so. But things thaw out a bit and we get moving again. 71 north is dotted and scarred with ongoing construction like 75 that never seems to stop. I don't actually get to see what the blockage is but once we're clear of it, traffic picks up it's pace. I arrive in Columbus with little fanfare. I spend an additional hour, looking for my hotel. Mapquests information is incorrect and I discover that nobody who works downtown seems to know where anything is. I ask 5 separate people and get 5 separate sets of directions. None of which are, in fact, correct. Finally i remember that the Hampton people helped me find the place i was looking for last year, So i pull up and ask the valets. True to form, the Hampton valets help me out and in 5 minutes i am in front of my hotel.
The Hampton people are BUST-ASS. Wish i could afford to stay there. Maybe next year.
I arrive at my hotel. I discover an ugly truth. I had chosen the hotel based on the fact that according to the Origins Website, did not have additional charges for parking (Valet service really.) The main reason why i couldn't stay in the Hyatt is not their room prices. I can come up with the scratch for that. It's the 21$ a day just to park that i have trouble with.
Unfortunately, The Courtyard by Marriott, does indeed have valet parking and it's an additional 15 bucks a day. That's 45 bucks i end up paying out of my pocket that i had expected to spend elsewhere. Man did THAT suck. On the other hand, My stay at CbM was utterly pleasant otherwise. The staff was friendly and courteous, It was only two blocks from the convention center as advertised, The breakfast bar was damn good and was highly exploited by yours truly. The pool and whirlpool area were well kept, and both mornings that i stayed there, i had them entirely to myself. Sybaritic pleasure pure and unapologetic. There is nothing quite like getting up early, having an enormous breakfast, going down to the indoor pool and quietly floating in the hot whirlpool while sun streams down on your from the skylight. Other than the parking thing, I loved my stay at the CbM, and i'd recommend them to anybody.

Cthulhu chilling in his Rl'yeh crib...Bizatch!

I make it in to the con, Pick up my pre-reg package, with no muss or fuss. Find instructions to get to the Cam Larp and make my way over. I pick up some dinner first (One of the food court outlets, so i got hosed a bit.) and then headed in.
I had built a character on off-the-shelf points according to the MET book and prepared to be told no, and be handed a dull pre-gen. This did not happen. in fact, they told me that if i wanted to bring in a built character, that would have to add 50 points of exp...


So, i sit down and re-tool the guy, change his clan a bit, put a little meat on his bones and away i go. I'll talk about the larp in a separate post. I want the reportage to be correct. Suffice to say here, that i had a very good time at the Camarilla Larp and it seemed to me that a lot of the horror stories that i had heard about them seemed to be in little evidence that weekend. Maybe ongoing larps are a different story, but we'll see. Met some good people. Feel like i made some friends. Put the old "Pete Sears" patented stamp on things and then made my way back to the hotel.
Oops, Almost forgot, stopping in at the big bar on 2 before retiring and seeing Bull and Mr and Mrs. Metalian from RPG.net. Didn't see anybody else i knew. Got tired and went back to base and didn't see them the rest of the week.

A lovely day. Abused the breakfast bar, Swam. Long leisurely shower. Dressed and went to the Convention center. Not too hot, Not too humid, a bit too sunny for this poor third shift worker.
Arrived at the Con in time for a bit of shopping and then the World of Darkness Tournament.
Bought an Origins Travel Mug,
Bought a Cthulhu T-shirt,
Picked up a new copy of the Silicon Valley Tarot Deck for 2 dollars. (Apparently the Steve Jackson games guys take great delight in buyers with exact change.)
Cruised around the White Wolf booth a bit, but could not buy. I'll pick up the new stuff this week though. Made a point to meet as many of the staffers as i could. I'm a groupie. Sue me.
Bought a button or two at the "Order of the Stick" booth and got to meet Rich Burlew too.
When i ran out of money, i started collecting business cards and may post some links later.
Got some nice swag from the Gencon booth too. A con-badge/wallet looking thing that is UTTERLY perfect for larpers., a nice gencon hanky. (excellent for allergy sufferers like me) and a Gencon meshback cap.

I am so turned on right now. It's wrong. I know.

I went to the Tourney, The game was Werewolf: the Forsaken, naturally. A game i was completely unfamiliar with. But oddly enough, I had fun and I died a heroes death. Tourney games can be good for that kind of thing and it's oddly cathartic. I was named as an alternate for the Final of the tourney. May have to look at Werewolf again. Was told that the last game of the tourney was going to be Promethean. This was a carefully crafted piece of disinformation. But more on that tomorrow.

Afterwards, had a moment of mental paralysis. Ended up paying 11.25 for a burger,a small bag of doritos, and a cold 20 oz of Mountain Dew. Don't know why I went ahead and paid. instead of throwing a fool fit.
The real work at the Convention is trying to figure out ways to eat on the cheap. Subway on the food-court has been a real godsend. Columbus is a cool city but it seems that it's main ability is the way it hoovers my wallet clean. Maybe that's just convention area.

I am so turned on right now. It's wrong i know...

Later that night i returned for more larping action. Again, i'll handle that in a separate post.
I was however told by a couple at the larp that if i had travelled one block down from the hotel i would have found public parking in columbus that would have only dinged me for 6 bucks a day.
There is much wailing and gnashing of teeth.

Started to feel a bit blue. I don't travel with anyone because i am territorial like a wolf. I have trouble sleeping when anyone is near. I imagine, it'd be a different story if i were sharing a bed with someone of my own. At least, with that situation, i'd have someone to share the trip with and the expenses. and of course, the hot nasty hotel sex. (because hotel sex, even in a NICE hotel is always nastier than at home.)
One of the other reasons why i travel alone is that i want to protect the possibility that i might meet somebody and then not have to negotiate some "Alone time" with her with 4-8 other people.
So it gets a bit lonely at times. Especially when you don't realize until you go to the con that most ladies, even most geek ladies rarely go to the con, to pick up fellows. Most of the women I saw at the con were paired off already. So maybe, i'll have to amend my habits in some way to make this sort of travel more possible. Either that or find a lady who interested in traveling to cons with me and some hot nasty hotel sex. Ah well.

PlayVamp Presents Girls of Ordo Dracul

On saturday, I get a chance to play in the end of the White Wolf tourney. I am under a Non-disclosure agreement vis-a-vis the game. But i can tell you a few things.
1) I Met Rich Ranallo from RPG.net, who had the best idea of the game.
2) I also met Corey Atwill and Ann Doyle, who also seem to be involved in the industry.
3) Our GM was none other than Will Hindmarch, (Line developer for Vampire)
4) Hindmarch is an EXCELLENT GM. with a keen understanding of pacing.
5) He got us hip to a basic idea of development that i think is nothing short of brilliant and which White wolf will be trying out. And it kills me that i can't talk more about it.

Saturday evening i get involved in the Cam vampire larp again, Giving the Firefly larp a miss. I'm already embroiled, and they want 10.50$ to play in the Firefly Larp. Not for me. Not tonight.
Had a good time. Made some friends. Garnered some recognition and came within a hairs-breath of winning the Old Vampire Chess set which White wolf still has a few of. Would have liked to have won that, but it was an honor to be nominated. Truly.
Was also exposed to an interesting idea by the fellow playing the Carthian Prefect Oilver Hearst. He pointed out that when you are exposed to some sort of social discipline (like Dominate or Presence) that if you fail to resist it, then you should at least ham it up. Those people paid real points for that stuff. Might as well help them get their money's worth.
I like it. It gives me yet another excuse for some over the top acting. Which is fun.
These people seem to "get It."
Also: figured out that in a Con larp, one BIG plot is preferable to the ten little plots that i usually like to have floating around. This is not say that you can't have ten additional little plots, but you should have the one big one.

I want the woman i marry to wear this to bed on our wedding night. I make no apologies for this.

Got up. big breakfast, gave swimming a miss. Packed my gear and had them bring the car around. (Hey, I PAID for Valet service.) Got in and headed home. Stopped at the first place i could get gas for the trip home and cried bitter tears of anger at the price of gas on 4th of july weekend. Gah! Drove home in full clench mode, convinced that i would not have enough gas to make it.
But i was lucky. I also carved off about 30 miles on the return trip by dint of driving through Cincy on the Interstate. Forgot that although driving in and around Cincy makes me crazy, it is still a very pretty city.
I make it home without incident. Lots of police on the road so I take it easy. I'm glad to be home. Good to see my kitty. who i missed.

Will i go back next year?
If i do no other thing next year. I will do that at least. I also hope to manage Archon as well this year. Wouldn't it be sweet if we could do a real con here in lexington? I could dig on that real hard.

Sono Finito.


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