May. 25th, 2012 10:09 pm
the_other_sandy: Compass pointing north (Travel)
Today is the first day of MediaWest, and for the first time since 1999, I'm not there. Part of me is sad, but mostly that's because I miss the way it used to be, not because I feel I'm missing out on anything now.

I need to find a new con.
the_other_sandy: Compass pointing north (Travel)
I did not actually manage to drag my butt out of bed in time for the first panel I wanted to go to this morning, so my day started with the Donald Strachey room party. We watched "Ice Blues" and attempted to pimp people into the fandom (Donald and Timmy are just so darned cute together).

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the_other_sandy: Compass pointing north (Travel)
It definitely makes me sad that this con keeps getting smaller and smaller, but one of the side benefits is that panels are starting later in the day. No more dragging my butt out of bed at the crack of dawn to attend an 8:00 a.m. panel, only to discover that no one else had managed to drag their butts out of bed at the crack of dawn and I was the only one there.

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the_other_sandy: Compass pointing north (Travel)
As usual, I started out with a pass through the dealer room. Like last year, it's one aisle smaller than it normally is and some of the mainstay dealers didn't come for various reasons. I'm sorry to see fewer dealers, but I do like having the extra space in the aisles. And there were still enough dealers there that I only made it 3/4 of the way through before the first panel. My new favorite T-shirt? "Steampunk--What Happens When Goths Discover Brown." [livejournal.com profile] jennetj makes little pins and magnets out of people's LJ icons, and she surprised me with a magnet of my "sod today" icon. My BF and I saw that sign outside a lawn & garden center last spring. My BF took the picture of the sign for me, and [livejournal.com profile] jennetj made the actual icon after I posted the picture to my LJ.

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the_other_sandy: Compass pointing north (Travel)
The adventure begins.

I had a reservation at the Dad's Inn (formerly Day's Inn South) where I have stayed for something like seven of the last eleven years. My first clue that there was going to be a problem this year was when I pulled into the parking lot and it was nearly empty. Granted, hotels do most of their business Friday through Sunday, but I've checked in on Thursday before and it wasn't this dead.

My second clue that there was going to be a problem was that all the signs in the lobby were sloppily hand-lettered in Sharpie. Again, the hotel is under new management, but it's been under new management for a year. If nothing else, that's more than enough time to learn how to use GIMP or something.

Clue number three was the room I was assigned. The wallpaper was peeling off the walls, there were cigarette burns in everything, and the bathroom light was approximately two candlepower. When I called the front desk about the bathroom light, I was told to come downstairs to be assigned a new room.

The new room was the middle of a set of three connecting rooms, and all of the rooms on that floor facing south had windows that opened onto the roof of the restaurant on the floor below (probably to allow access for maintenance). Not only did my window not lock, it wouldn't even close all the way, so anyone in that strip of rooms could climb in through my window at any time. I did not exactly feel safe. That's when I gave up and checked out.

I was a little freaked out about being temporarily "homeless" in Lansing, but the con had sent out an alert yesterday that the con hotel had reached the end of the waiting list and there were still rooms available, so I made that my first stop and lucked into a room.

So, I'm now staying at the Causeway Bay, which has been so thoroughly renovated that it's making me feel underdressed. I'm in room 472 if anyone wants to say hi.
the_other_sandy: Compass pointing north (Travel)
There weren't very many panels on offer Monday morning, so the BF and I headed straight for the art room where I got to wait in line for 45 minutes to find out I hadn't won anything in the art auction. Bummer. Then we made one more pass through the dealer room to make one more purchase before we headed out.

And so did the rest of the Midwest. I've never seen so much traffic on the way home! We couldn't even stop for gas before we left because there were lines at every pump of every gas station between the con hotel and the highway. Then it poured down rain for most of the trip, which only made traffic back up more. Our 4 1/2 hour drive home took nearly 7 hours. It would've been longer, but I couldn't take the parking lot that was the Borman anymore and bailed onto an alternate route I found a couple of years ago for just that purpose. At least the clouds and rain kept the BF and I from broiling to death on our way home because the AC in my car is broken.

The final tally on this year's purchases:

17 zines in 5 fandoms (2 Man from UNCLE, 7 Professionals, 5 Supernatural, 2 Stargate SG-1, and 1 Magnificent 7)

2 T-shirts (1 each for Stargate SG-1 and Stargate Atlantis)

2 baseball hats (1 each for Stargate SG-1 and Stargate Atlantis)

5 TV tie-in books (all Professionals)

1 button

2 key-chains (Bodie and Doyle from The Professionals, and John and Rodney from Stargate Atlantis)

1 magnet (Jack and Ianto from Torchwood)

Not a bad haul.

And now my flist is at skip=omg, so I guess I know what I'll be doing for the rest of the day.
the_other_sandy: Compass pointing north (Travel)
Today was the day where I wound up doing virtually none of the things I had originally planned to do. The day started off well enough with a Pros hurt/comfort panel. I came out of it with a list of stories to try, and I also ran back upstairs to one of the rooms that was having a big zine sale because I remembered seeing one of the zines that had been recced at the panel on sale there. So I now have yet another zine.

After that, I had intended to go to the John Barrowman panel followed by the Stargate rare pairings panel, but I somehow wound up at the Donald Strachey room party instead, where we watched the first movie, Third Man Out. Donald and Timothy are just so darned cute together.

Then I hit the art room a second time to fill out a ballot and place 2 bids. The items I bid on didn't make it to the auction, but that doesn't mean I wasn't outbid on them because I was the first bidder on both. I won't find out if I got them until tomorrow, because the line at the art room after the auction let out was still enormous at 11:00 p.m. I didn't want to wait in a line that long without knowing if I even needed to or not.

After a quick supply run and lunch, the BF and I went to the gen vid show. It was an hour and fifteen minutes long this year, which isn't as long as it used to be but was much longer than last year. I had to leave before the end of it for a Pros panel on where to find fic, vids, fan art, and whatnot on the Internet. That's the first time I've ever not watched the entire competition vid show.

Then I experienced panel fail. I intended to go to an A-Team panel, but the moderator didn't show up. I headed over to the Sherlock Holmes panel instead, but there was no place to sit, and everyone was talking at once so I couldn't make out what anyone was saying. So I decided to hit up the panel on TV remakes, but that room was totally empty. I tried to go through the dealer room again, but most of the dealers had left early for dinner. At that point, I just gave up and started reading.

After dinner, I watched a compilation of [livejournal.com profile] przed's older vids, followed by the second showing of the competition slash vids (sue me, I liked them). Then I went upstairs to meet the BF at [livejournal.com profile] jennetj's John Barrowman room party. It was already well underway when I got there, but I got to see a good chunk of one of his concert videos. Then [livejournal.com profile] jennetj offered up copies of any of her files to anyone who wanted them (that's what our supply run had been for--the BF and I both needed bigger flash drives).

And that is just about it for the con. We'll be stopping by the art room in the morning to see if I won anything or if someone won one of the BF's pieces, then passing through the dealer room one last time so I can say goodbye to all the things I didn't buy before we head home.

I just hope tomorrow isn't as hot as it has been the last couple of days, because the AC in my car died.
the_other_sandy: Compass pointing north (Travel)
The BF and I got to do a proper hall crawl today, which resulted in the acquisition (for me) of 2 Supernatural zines (new), 3 Pros zines (used), and 1 Man from UNCLE zine (used). There's still one person having a used zine sale that I haven't managed to catch in her room, so I'm going to try again tomorrow. Because it's not MediaWest if I haven't purchased my own weight in zines.

Read more... )
the_other_sandy: Compass pointing north (Travel)
This con seems to get smaller every year. There's a lot more room in the aisles of the dealer room than usual, both because fewer people are crowding in there and because there are fewer tables.

The hotel is mostly broiling hot everywhere except the atrium, but at least they've moved a number of comfy couches in there and they're sitting under the AC vents. I will probably get to make good use of one of those couches at some point. I've been sick since a week ago Thursday and between my cold and my cold medicine, I tend to do a face plant in the late afternoon.

Today seems to have been the day for things to go wrong. They couldn't find my badge this morning because it turned out they'd put me down as a supporting membership instead of attending. Then I tried to buy some Stargate T-shirts from one of the vendors, but the credit card machine couldn't get a signal (I was the only person all day this happened to for her). Then I picked up my zine pre-orders from one of the vendors, and they'd given me 2 copies of one of the zines and no copies of another. Fortunately, all of it was pretty easily fixable, even if the T-shirt vendor had to take her credit card machine out to the registration area to get a signal.

So far, I've mostly bought zines (what a shock) and attended panels. The count so far includes 4 Pros zines, 3 Supernatural zines, 2 Stargate SG-1 zines, 1 Mag 7 zine, and 1 Man from UNCLE zine. I also bought a button (FANOSAUR--been there, done that, bought the zine). And [livejournal.com profile] jennetj was kind enough to bring me 2 big binders of Pros circuit fic to borrow.

The first panel I attended was on House and whether or not the show had succeeded in ruining all the characters. I seemed to be the complete opposite of everyone else in regard to which characters I liked and didn't like. Sorry, House fans, but it wasn't the end of the world (or the show) for me when Cameron left.

After that was a grammar panel on words commonly used incorrectly. It was nice to let loose (with two 'o's, not 'lose' with one 'o') my inner grammar nazi for awhile.

Then I went to a panel on obscure, short-lived TV shows. Most of the ones mentioned were from before my time and that have not seen much (if any) syndication, but it was nice to know someone besides me remembers Adderly and Probe.

I finished up with my first ever Pros panel on the action aspects of the show.

The BF and I were going to do a hall crawl tonight, but there didn't seem to be very many people ready to open their doors yet and not very many of them were decorated, so we decided to call it an early night (we both had to get up before the crack of dawn to make it here by noon).

Hopefully, there will be more people here tomorrow.
the_other_sandy: Compass pointing north (Travel)
Who on my flist is going to MediaWest this year?
the_other_sandy: Compass pointing north (Travel)
Phooey. The con is over and I'm home already. There's nothing more depressing than arriving at the con hotel in the morning and seeing everyone lugging their stuff out to their cars.

There were only 2 blocks of panels today and I attended both. The first panel was on what it's like to be over 40 in fandom. I kind of cheated by being there because I won't turn 40 until July, but close enough for government work. None of us at the panel planned on quitting fandom before we die, but we kind of doubted there would still be cons to attend by then. When I started going to MediaWest 10 years ago, I was one of the youngest fans there. Ten years later, I'm still one of the youngest fans there. My generation of fan was the last to grow up without the Internet. The only way we could get together with people of similar interests was to travel to a central location to meet them in person and call it a con. Nowadays between LJ and Yahoo!Groups and other sites like them, you're never more than a couple of keystrokes away from like-minded people no matter how obscure your interest. Couple that with the fact that the next generation's only exposure to the convention experience is either through parodies like Galaxy Quest (trust me, they were laughing for different reasons than we were), or through a Creation Entertainment celebrity circus. They don't understand how we could go to a con that was just fan-only with no autographs or photo ops. Although to be fair, this panel was hosted by SF author Jean Lorrah (there as a fan, not as a celebrity guest) and her cat Dudley was happily posing for photo ops.

The second panel was on whether or not Torchwood Cardiff could manage as a 3 person team. The general consensus was no, that they needed a medical doctor at least, and while Jack and Ianto are pretty tech-savvy, it wouldn't hurt to have an expert. We'd also like at least one of those people to be female so that Gwen wouldn't be the only woman in the Hub.

After that, I took one last pass through the dealer room and managed to see something I'd missed before--a Capt. Jack/Capt. John Torchwood keychain. And here I'd thought I was done buying stuff.

I also thought I was done with the con, but when I stopped for lunch about 2 hours out of Lansing, I ran into [livejournal.com profile] agt_spooky and [livejournal.com profile] charityflint at Culver's and we wound up having lunch together. That was both unexpected and fun.

And now it's all over for another year. Phooey.
the_other_sandy: Compass pointing north (Travel)
I got to the con early enough that the first thing I did was take a run through the art room to fill out my ballot for the art show. It was really hard to pick something for Best Fantasy because there were so few fantasy submissions, while it was equally hard to pick something for Best Jewelry because there were so many.

Read more... )
the_other_sandy: Compass pointing north (Travel)
Today started way too early in the morning with a 9:00 a.m. panel on how we fans would improve the SciFi Channel if it were up to us. Obviously, it was not a business-oriented panel so our ideas may not be money-makers, but we would definitely like to see more actual sci fi programming on the SciFi Channel instead of wrestling or Z-grade monster movies like Mansquito. People also thought it was kind of sad that most of the innovative science fiction programming airing right now is not on the one station that specializes in science fiction.

Read more... )
the_other_sandy: Compass pointing north (Travel)
This looks like it's going to be another slow year. There are comparatively few room dealers and hardly any doors decorated. There are also fewer event rooms available due to hotel remodeling, so there is no dedicated video room this year. The songvids are still going, but there isn't a regularly scheduled video programming room. I'd been hoping to see some uncut episodes of Merlin.

I did go on my regular Friday shopping spree. Today's haul included 4 Supernatural zines (Blood Brothers 3, Brotherhood 8, Route 666 1, and Route 666 2), 2 T-shirts (one for Stargate Atlantis and one with the golden seal of the Guild of Radical Militant Librarians), 2 Stargate Atlantis paperbacks, 2 Man from UNCLE fridge magnets, a cross-stitch pattern of one of the opened space gates from Stargate Atlantis, and the Supernatural season 3 trading card set. Oh, and remember the notebooks Media Mugs made from pictures I gave them? I picked those up today. They exceeded my wildest expectations. The covers came out sharp and clear with perfect colors. They came out so great that I'm almost afraid to use them.

Since there were so few dealers, I was also able to start attending panels today. The first one was on grammar tips that covered homonyms (pear, pair, and pare) and improperly placed modifiers ('John tapped Rodney on the shoulder, who continued typing obliviously'). One woman's significant other is a published author who was recently told by his editor to remove all the semicolons from his manuscript and replace them with commas because no one knows what semicolons are for anymore. 8-(

The second panel I went to was on whether or not the McKay/Keller relationship worked on Stargate Atlantis. The room was unanimous in thinking it didn't, so after we discussed all the reasons why we thought it didn't work, we moved on to discussing who would have made a better girlfriend for Rodney. We concluded that no one on the show would have because the all-male writing staff on that show had no clue how to write women. We finished up with the traits someone would need to be a good girlfriend for Rodney.

The next panel was about e-book readers and how to format fan fiction for them. It mostly wound up being a comparison between the Sony and the Kindle. I read fic on my PDA with Mobipocket and I had hoped for more formatting tips. I have a lot of fic in Mobipocket, but I was hoping there was a faster way to get it there, and maybe a way to make it look a little nicer.

After a break for dinner and another hall crawl, I went to a panel on the pros and cons of canceling Stargate Atlantis. Feelings are still running a little high over the way the show was canceled, but the panel mostly discussed seasons 4 and 5 and what we liked and didn't like.

Agent With Style is running behind schedule, so I probably won't be able to pick up the zines I pre-ordered from them until tomorrow.

Time to go find a beverage and read some fic.
the_other_sandy: Compass pointing north (Travel)
I made it safely to Lansing in spite of all the construction. Michigan doesn't seem to believe in leaving one lane open during road construction. I hit two areas where the road was completely blocked and I got to go on a scenic tour of the countryside before hooking up with my route again. One of those road closures is between the con hotel and the hotel where I'm staying. Yayers. Fortunately I was able to find an alternate route

By the way, Chicago area peeps, was there anything on the news about a bus fire in the northbound lanes of the Tri-State this morning? I saw a burned out shell of a bus being hoisted onto a flatbed. There were emergency vehicles everywhere and traffic was backed up for miles.

Anyway, I stopped by the con hotel to see who was here. I've run into several people I know already. I also did a preliminary hall crawl. Not too many people are set up yet, but I found GriffinSong Press and bought a copy of Rooftop Confessions 4. Yes, the con doesn't start for another 14 hours and I've already bought a zine.

I also got to talking with the folks at Media Mugs. I wanted to buy a notebook from them since mine are all full, but the fandoms they had weren't ones I'm into. They said that if I had any images, they could make something for me. By some strange coincidence, I felt compelled to copy all the image files on my hard drive onto a flash drive this morning and bring them with me. I spent some time on my laptop picking out images, then I gave them the images I picked to see what would work best. I wound up buying 2 notebooks (they're only $5 each), one for each picture:

Other than that, I've been good. Mostly because Agent With Style and Ashton Press aren't set up yet.

The con hotel is under very new management and is doing a pretty good job of hiding the current remodeling, except for the central courtyard. The central courtyard used to have fountains and plastic chairs for people to sit outside. Right now, there's bare dirt with the plumbing for the old fountains sticking out of the ground.

And now I really need to head over to my hotel and go to sleep. I'm pooped.


May. 20th, 2009 10:01 pm
the_other_sandy: Compass pointing north (Travel)
I'm leaving for MediaWest tomorrow morning. The con hotel is under new management so I don't know if the Wi-Fi is still free. I know the Wi-Fi at the hotel where I'm staying isn't. I'm bringing my laptop anyway, and if I can find a free Internet connection somewhere, I'll be checking my email and posting from the con. If not, have a great weekend and I'll be back on Monday.
the_other_sandy: Yomiko Readman hugging a book (Compass)
BF and I made one last pass through the dealer room this morning, turned in our ballots for the songvid competition, and hit the road. My least favorite part of MediaWest is when it ends.

This was a really slow year for the con. There were way fewer door decorations, room dealers, and songvids than in previous years. There seemed to be just fewer people in general. It was kind of disappointing, but even a slow year at MediaWest is more fun than I have just about anywhere else.

In summary:

  • I attended 12 panels, the gen and slash competition vids, the movie trailer block in the film room, and 1 room party

  • I met [livejournal.com profile] jensenrick for the first time (the poor guy had no idea that I do most of my talking on LJ; I'm actually very quiet in RL), and got to talk to [livejournal.com profile] wraithfodder, Holy Mother Grammatica, and lots of other fans

  • I bought 16 zines in 3 fandoms (Stargate Atlantis, Stargate SG-1, and Supernatural) along with 1 crossover, 2 buttons I had made ("Its uncredible how well at grammer I am" and one of my LJ Drama icon, which I wore to all the LJ panels I went to), 1 Stargate Atlantis tie-in novel, 2 keychains (both of Jensen and Jared), the season 2 Supernatural base trading card set, 2 luggage tags (1 Jensen and Jared and 1 Col. Sheppard from Stargate Atlantis), 4 magnets (3 Jensen and Jared and 1 Jared), and 5 photo charms for my Italian charm bracelet (Sheppard from SGA, the Petrelli brothers from Heroes, the Winchester brothers from Supernatural, the Man from UNCLE logo, and the Due South logo)

  • I discovered 2 artists I like very much: Nigel Sade, who does amazing stuff like this, and Mimi-Na, who draws the most adorable Doctor Who caricatures ever (I especially love this one)

  • I had ridiculous amounts of fun

Counting down the days until next year.
the_other_sandy: Yomiko Readman hugging a book (Compass)
This morning, BF and I finally got here in time to see the movie trailers. Most of them were for insipid comedies, but I finally got to see the trailers for The Dark Knight and Hellboy 2. Hellboy 2 was directed by the same person who directed Pan's Labyrinth. The visuals were stunning (even if the main bad guy looked suspiciously like a Wraith from Stargate Atlantis but with better hair). Wanted had some spectacular stunt sequences, but I won't vouch for the writing or the acting.

The first panel I went to was a general Stargate Atlantis hurt/comfort discussion (with visual aids courtesy of [livejournal.com profile] wraithfodder's Sheppard and McKay action figures). Pretty much the same people stayed in the same room for the SGA season 5 spoiler panel. This post is spoiler free, but you can check out [livejournal.com profile] sga_spoilers for the latest news.

After watching the gen competition vids, I went to a John Barrowman panel. I knew he'd come from a musical theater background, but this was the first time I got to hear him sing. He's amazingly good. One of the panel's hosts, [livejournal.com profile] jennetj, hosted a John Barrowman party in her room after dinner. She had 21 GB (yes, gigabytes) of John Barrowman music, video, and interview clips that we made a good dent in over the course of two hours.

The other panel I went to was a discussion on where season 2 of Heroes went wrong. Personally, I think that should've been a two hour panel, but the audience was remarkably in agreement on what worked and what didn't, and what changes we'd like to see in season 3.

I also made one more pass through the dealer room and succumbed to one last thing. There's an artist here I haven't seen before whose work I really like. His name is Nigel Sade. I bought this print, but check out how cool this is. I can see myself buying a lot more stuff from this guy than I have wall space for.

Sadly, this is pretty much the end of the con. We'll probably make another pass through before we head back home tomorrow, but it's just about all over but the shouting. This is always the saddest part of MediaWest for me. It doesn't seem like three days have gone by, and I'm always sorry that it's over. I love this con.
the_other_sandy: Yomiko Readman hugging a book (Compass)
BF and I started the morning with the Holy Mother Grammatica panel. She didn't do a grammar quiz this year like she usually does. The first half of the panel was about writing good fiction and the second half was discussion of our favorite grammar pet peeves. I had a button made with the slogan on Holy Mother Grammatica's T-shirt: Its uncredible how well at grammer I am. I was disappointed that time ran out before we got to the fic bloopers. I love the fic bloopers. I'll be making my annual blooper post after I get home.

BF and I split up while I went to a panel about the general fannish experience on LJ. It was mostly enjoyable, except for the one woman in the back who kept piping up with comments like, "And you enjoy this?" and "Why do you spend so much time on this?" I totally get that LJ isn't everyone's cup of tea, but if you don't have an LJ and have no interest in getting one, why attend a panel on it to look down your nose at people who do enjoy it?

In the break between panels, I did the full hall crawl. It was very disappointing. There have been years where almost every door was open and everyone was selling something, even if it was just their own used stuff. This year, there were only 5 or 6 rooms on each floor with a room dealer. I finally managed to pick up my last 2 zines though: Brotherhood 4 and Brotherhood 6 (both Supernatural zines). That should do it for me for the weekend. I also did a first pass through the art show before heading back into the panels.

Late in the afternoon, I went to a panel on making LJ icons. Unfortunately, it was all about PhotoShop (I use Irfanview). I still got some good tips on adding text, though, which is something I'm not very good at yet.

My last panel of the day was on how LJ is changing fandom. Unfortunately, people only seemed to want to discuss the wank. There were also a few people who knew nothing about LJ and wanted it all explained to them (which is cool, but there was actually an entire panel on that exact topic where they could've asked questions), and the same woman from the earlier panel continued to profess her bemusement at our interest from the back.

After dinner, I spent some quality time with my laptop until the slash competition vids. It was a really short show this year. Only four vidders entered and the entire show only ran for 35 minutes. It's usually much closer to an hour, sometimes longer. Half the vids were from The Professionals. I've never seen The Professionals, but I have seen so many vids for it over the years that I suspect I've seen every frame of the series, just not in order (and without dialogue). ;-)

Time to call it a night.
the_other_sandy: Yomiko Readman hugging a book (Compass)
I usually do the driving, but my car is ailing this year, so my BF took over the driving duties. We left at oh-dark-thirty and managed to squeak into the con hotel 15 minutes before the con started.

Read more... )


the_other_sandy: Yomiko Readman hugging a book (Default)

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