the_other_sandy: Compass pointing north (Travel)
Normally I post my LJ entries from the con at the end of each day, but this year [livejournal.com profile] winchestmidwest happened to be the same weekend as New York Comic Con, so when I wasn't squeeing about Supernatural, I was scouring Tumblr for Teen Wolf and Sleepy Hollow spoilers (because I am a multifandom ho'). It was kind of like attending two cons at once, and while all that squeeing was epic, it was also exhausting and left me with no time to post anything about [livejournal.com profile] winchestmidwest. I shall rectify that immediately.

Read more... )
the_other_sandy: Compass pointing north (Travel)
So I'm very late in posting this in that day 3 was actually last Sunday. In my defense, I drove directly from the con in Wisconsin to my BF's in Illinois for an evening of The Avengers on Blu-ray. I didn't get home until after midnight. Monday was spent paying many bills, running errands, and squeeing about Hawaii Five-0 because I am a multifandom ho'. ::nods::

Anyway, Sunday was a day of multitasking. I listened to many interesting panels while reading H50 spoilers and looking at pretty, pretty pictures of Chris Evans on my laptop.

Read more... )
the_other_sandy: Compass pointing north (Travel)
We started off the day with an episode by episode discussion of season 7. It says something about the season that I had to open my laptop and read my own reviews of the episodes to remind myself what they were about. It just wasn't a memorable season overall. There were maybe four episodes I didn't need prompting for.

Read more... )
the_other_sandy: Compass pointing north (Travel)
This is the first year the con hasn't been held a short drive from my apartment, due to the Ryder Cup people taking up all available hotel space in the Greater Chicagoland area. We're currently in Madison, Wisconsin. This is actually okay with me because I live just a couple of miles down the street from the Ryder Cup venue and my neighborhood has been a three-ring circus all week because of it. Too bad traffic on I-90 sucked so hard. There was a solid 62 mile segment that was under construction, followed shortly by a lane closure because someone had spilled something fluorescent yellow all over the road. The two hour drive took me four and a half hours. Hopefully, it won't be as bad headed home on Sunday.

Read more... )
the_other_sandy: Chicago skyline (Chicago)
I had planned to post my con reports at the end of each day, but I'm on Day 12 of the galloping crud my coworker gave me. I'm feeling a lot better than I was, but I tend to fall asleep if I stop moving for any length of time, which is where large chunks of Sunday and today disappeared to.

Saturday )

Sunday )

As usual, I had a fabulous time even if I did spend most of the con sitting by myself in the back so as not to contaminate anyone else with my death plague. Here's hoping there will be a season 7 just so there will be a WinchestMidwest 6.
the_other_sandy: Chicago skyline (Chicago)
I'm now on Day 9 of whatever galloping crud my coworker gifted me with. I have missed more days of work from this than from anything else ever, including the flu and surgery. But I dragged my hopefully-no-longer-contagious self out of bed and over to Schaumburg because today is the first day of [livejournal.com profile] winchestmidwest. I think this is the first time the con has met outside of a hiatus, so we all got to watch the show together.

We actually started with a video presentation that condensed each of the first five seasons down to about a minute and a half, then summarized the theme of each season and the recurring characters we met there. Then we were supposed to have another discussion with the show's art department via Skype (something we did at the last WinMid), but they were busy with an episode and had to cancel, so we watched "The French Mistake" instead, and then turned on tonight's new ep. I was taking notes in the dark the whole time, so we'll see if I can remember what these scribbles mean.

Spoilers )

The last event of the con tonight was a variation of pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey, which involved pinning a pie on a target of Dean.

I'll have more con reports throughout the weekend.
the_other_sandy: Chicago skyline (Chicago)
Today was the last day of the con. Boo.

It started off with a spoiler panel, which I skipped because I didn't want to be spoiled for the end of the season. After that, prizes were handed out for the scavenger hunt and the annual raffle. The big raffle prizes were an autographed picture of Jared, and a book of Jerry Wanek's set designs that was given out as a cast/crew gift, neither of which I won. However, I did win a very nice Jensen & Jared mouse pad, which my John Sheppard mouse pad says I can't hang out with unless it's there too. That was followed by the Reader's Digest Condensed Version of Supernatural, consisting of one important scene from every aired episode to date edited together in order.

After lunch, we were supposed to get the world premiere of the newest Plastic!Winchester Theater episode, but [livejournal.com profile] ant3ka suffered technical difficulties with the file so we couldn't watch it. This actually worked out okay because we were running about an hour behind and that put us back on schedule. We ended with speculation about how we thought the season was going to end and what we thought was going to happen in season 6.

We also posed for the annual group photo. Usually we just take one or two with everyone smiling, but after we took the smiley photos, someone wanted a really serious 'we're about to go to our deaths' photo like the group shot Bobby took in "Abandon All Hope." That was going well until someone in the back said "platypus" and we all died laughing. It then took about 5 more attempts before we got a successful serious shot. People kept cracking up a nanosecond before the flash went off. I'm afraid we're not actually a very serious group. We also posed for a mock angsty 'weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth' photo, which turned out well if all the giggling from the people who saw it is anything to go by. The photos are supposed to be posted to [livejournal.com profile] winchestmidwest later, which I hope they are so I can snag them.

One thing to be said about a con this small is that you end up on a first name basis with everyone there. I'm going to miss seeing everybody when the show finally ends.
the_other_sandy: Chicago skyline (Chicago)
Today was a really full day. Panels started at 9:00 a.m. with a review and discussion of the apocalypse storyline. That was followed by a presentation on Lucifer's representation in myth, religion, and literature.

Then we had the annual script-to-screen panel where we were all handed scripts and assigned parts. We read each scene, then watched it play out in the actual episode to see how things differed from the printed page. This year's episode was "Asylum." I played the rookie cop who fell under Ellicott's influence (after being volunteered by [livejournal.com profile] seesmooshrun), which made me happy because I got to die before the opening credits.

After lunch, we had a panel on what not to do when writing fan fic (we all seemed to have very similar pet peeves), which ended with a group round-robin fic writing exercise. Then we had an actual outside guest come in (all the other panels except the Q&A with the art department were presented by con attendees) and talk about various types of energies and how they affect us, from spirits to chakras to other people's feelings (I applaud myself for not giving off visible waves of skepticism).

The coolest panel of the day was the one I mentioned yesterday that I was looking forward to: arts & crafts. This is the first time I've done arts & crafts at a con. We were running super late by this point, so we didn't get to see the presentation on making LJ icons (it's now up on [livejournal.com profile] winchestmidwest), but we did spend about twice as much time as allotted either making tin hats or scrapbooks with supplies handed out at the con. One thing I learned was that glittery, textured paper may look very pretty as a background, but it's murder to glue anything to, even with the spray adhesive I borrowed from the tin hat group.

The final panel of the day consisted of video clips of classic rock used in the show. At that point, everybody split up with some people going out for dinner and a psychic reading, while others stayed behind to watch movies with some sort of Supernatural connection (mostly through starring Jensen or Jared, but there was also that crappy horror movie Kripke wrote). I've seen all the movies and don't believe in psychics, so I came home to watch the first 2 episodes of The Guard.

The Guard is a Canadian series about a search and rescue team with the Canadian Coast Guard. I mainly gave it a try because the cast includes Steve Bacic (Dr. Sexy, M.D. from "Changing Channels") and Gordon Michael Woolvett, who were both on Gene Roddenberry's Andromeda a few years ago. I love Gord's character, but so far the show isn't grabbing me. My main problem with it is that the 2 actors carrying the heaviest dramatic load (alcoholism and PTSD storylines) aren't very good. In particular, the guy with PTSD spends a lot of time doing the thousand yard stare o' trauma, but instead of looking broken, he just looks kind of creepy. I keep wanting to call Mulder & Scully or Sam & Dean to exorcise him or something.
the_other_sandy: Chicago skyline (Chicago)
WinchestMidwest is a small fan-only con held in the Chicago area every year. And when I say "small," I mean we average about 25 attendees (it's the only con I've ever been to where the entire con membership and staff can fit into one group photo). It's usually held in the summer, but [livejournal.com profile] anteka decided to hedge her bets and move it up this year in case the show got canceled à la Kripke's fabled 5 year plan.

We started out with some time to mingle, and then [livejournal.com profile] anteka did a slide presentation on the players in the apocalypse and which side they were on. We had some discussion on which side we thought some of the neutral characters would come down on in the end, and whether we thought either of the Winchesters would say yes to becoming a vessel and why.

That was followed by an hour-long chat with staff from Supernatural's art department (the guys who build the sets and the women who design the graphics) via Skype. There was some uncomfortable staring at first, but after a couple of questions, they warmed to their topics. The show was still filming, so every now and then someone from props or some other department would wander through and get shanghaied into talking to us. There could be anywhere from 2 to 6 people in front of the computer talking to us at any one time. And when they weren't on screen, people were screwing around in the background by flicking the lights on and off and such.

After a short break, we had a 100 episode party complete with cake, champagne (both real and non-alcoholic), and a viewing of "Changing Channels." We also got our supply kits for a panel I'm really looking forward to and will tell you about tomorrow.
the_other_sandy: Chicago skyline (Chicago)
Today was the last day. I think the con topped out at 20-25 people this year, which is only a few people less than last year, but you don't have to spend a ton of money to go to a con with thousands of people in order to have fun.

Today started out with a raffle. I won a Friday the 13th promo poster with Jared on it. I hadn't seen that one before, just the official hockey mask one. I may actually have to cough up the money for an autograph ticket at a con now so I can get him to sign it.

The first panel of the day was a discussion of angels and demons on Supernatural both in general, and the specific characters we've met (like Castiel and Alastair). Information came from the show itself and mythology.

The next panel was on making LJ banners and icons in Photoshop. I don't have Photoshop so it wasn't that helpful to me, but I did learn that Sell Your Soul is the official Supernatural font, which could come in handy someday.

Then we went over the basic character alignments from role playing games (lawful good through chaotic evil) and tried to apply them to various characters from the show, which led to some interesting discussions.

We broke for lunch early, but somehow I wound up staying behind to watch some songvids and some video footage one of the other con-goers shot of the Styx concert last Friday night. Here's a tip for anyone who has never attended an all-fan-all-the-time con: always carry a flash drive with you. Load it with some of your favorite pictures, vids, or interview clips to share with others, but leave plenty of room for snagging from other people. I was able to contribute to a very ::coughcough:: academic discussion some of us were having about Jared's Sam jeans vs. his Friday the 13th jeans with a picture I had on my flash drive. I also used that drive to snag two awesome songvids from other people.

We still had a bunch of time left after everyone came back from lunch, so we all watched "Monster Movie." I love that ep, but then I grew up watching those movies on UHF.

After lunch, [livejournal.com profile] anteka took the annual group photo. This is the only con I've ever been to where the entire con membership could fit in a single photograph, but that's one of the things I like about it.

Then there was a video tribute to the late Kim Manners, which consisted of clips from episodes of various shows he directed, behind-the-scenes stills, clips from commentary tracks by or about him, and a couple of interview clips.

The con was scheduled to end with an open discussion, but everybody was really tired and had been discussing the show non-stop for two days already, so after a little while we gave up and threw on "It's a Terrible Life" instead. Someone had the genius idea to pass around a sheet of paper and have us all write down our LJ names on it, then had the hotel make enough copies for everybody. I've already been friended by two people ::waves at [livejournal.com profile] asyouleft and [livejournal.com profile] wilde_moon::

If you're interested in attending future cons, keep an eye on [livejournal.com profile] winchestmidwest or the WinchestMidwest website for updates.
the_other_sandy: Chicago skyline (Chicago)
This was the long day. It's the only day of the con that literally has programming all day long. We started at 9:00 a.m. with a general discussion of where season 5 could go in regard to Sam, Dean, the brotherly relationship, the angels, and the demons. There were some really interesting ideas that built on what we already know. This con is very considerate about spoilers, so the spoilers were held until the very end and the spoiler-free people simply left the room and went on a potty or snack break.

The next panel was actually a presentation of "classic rock done right." Read more... )
the_other_sandy: Chicago skyline (Chicago)
I left for the con directly after work on the theory that I would be very early, but it would give me time to hunt up dinner before the con started. That turned out to be an excellent decision. I ran into [livejournal.com profile] agt_spooky in the hotel restaurant (this is getting to be a habit!) and we had dinner together. The floor show was provided by the fire department (which made [livejournal.com profile] agt_spooky very happy) when the fire alarm went off. None of the staff even blinked. We were very close to the door and didn't see any signs of fire, so we stuck it out. Our waitress said the fire alarm goes off all the time. Apparently the smoke detector in the kitchen is very sensitive.

After dinner, we headed over to the ballroom where the con was being held to pick up our registration packets. I have never been so instantly popular in my life. Everybody who had gotten there before us was playing People Bingo--you know, that game where you get a sheet of paper with a grid on it and you have to find people to sign off on the squares that apply to them? It's a 'getting to know you game.' Anyway, none of the people playing were eligible for the square "I am not staying at the con hotel." I'm not staying at the con hotel since I only live about 20 minutes away. As soon as the first person found that out, I was mobbed. :-)

The first scheduled activity was to troop out to the parking lot to ogle a fan's 1967 Chevy Impala. Yes, it's a two-door and black. The fan who brought it (John) let people climb all over it and take pictures, and he even loaded up the car and drove people around for awhile. I'm not that into the car, so I just chatted with people (I met some people in person that I had only previously known through LJ and Yahoo!Groups). Somebody had the idea to take a group photo, so [livejournal.com profile] anteka's son collected cameras from everybody and took group shots of all of us in front of the car.

The rest of the evening was taken up by a double feature of The Miner's pickaxe fu in My Bloody Valentine (the Jensen version) and Jason's machete fu in Friday the 13th (the Jared version). I'm not really into slasher movies. I like scary movies, but slasher flicks aren't scary to me, just really gross. It didn't matter though. This being a roomful of largely fangirls (and two guys), it rapidly degenerated into an MST3K experience. There's one scene at the beginning of My Bloody Valentine where The Miner is on a rampage and killing teens partying in one of the mine tunnels. The Miner heads off into one of the side tunnels to look for more victims, when a future victim stumbles across the previous victims and starts shining his flashlight down the side tunnels, where the flashlight beam hits The Miner square in the back. Future Victim promptly calls out, "Jason, is that you?," and I swear every con-goer in the room yelled, "Wrong movie!," at the same time. It was fun. The con even provided us with hot popcorn.

And now I need to get some sleep because I have to get up in six hours to go back.
the_other_sandy: Yomiko Readman hugging a book (WinchestMidwest)
Today was a short day. ::sadface::

We started out with a graphics panel on how to make LJ icons and headers, but it was for Photoshop again like the one at MediaWest. I use Irfanview. Photoshop lets you do more, but I just don't make enough icons to justify the expense.

After the panel, [livejournal.com profile] anteka got us all to pose for a group photo. I've never been to a con small enough for all of the con attendees and staff to fit into one photo before. I can't wait to see how it turned out.

The con wrapped up with a video montage highlighting the Impala and the use of music in the show over 3 seasons.

We couldn't hang around to talk afterward because the hotel needed the room back, so we all said our goodbyes and went our separate ways. ::epic sadface::

There's still a ghost tour scheduled for this evening that was a separate ticket from the con, but it ends very late and I have to be at work at 7:30 tomorrow morning, so I'm skipping it.

[livejournal.com profile] anteka plans to hold another con next year, so hopefully I'll get to do this again.
the_other_sandy: Yomiko Readman hugging a book (WinchestMidwest)
You know the cute little lanyard we got with our badges? In addition to the skulls and crossbones on one side, it also has little Impala silhouettes on the other side. How did I not notice this? ::headdesk::

Cut for length )
the_other_sandy: Yomiko Readman hugging a book (WinchestMidwest)
This is my first WinchestMidwest. It's a really small fan-run Supernatural con that just happens to be held at a hotel about 2 miles from my apartment. How could I pass that up?

Our con badges came on a black lanyard that says "*ROCK MUSIC PLAYS*" in white letters with little skulls and crossbones on it. It's very cute.

The con started with a meet-and-greet that gave everyone a chance to register and settle in. There were slides of Jared & Jensen and Sam & Dean playing at one end of the room. There were only 25-30 people there, but I was the only one who wasn't with someone, so I wound up playing with the Play-Doh party favors. I fail at talking to people I don't know.

After the meet-and-greet, we watched a video recap of seasons 1-3. Some enterprising soul edited together a sort of Reader's Digest condensed version of the show with each season distilled down to 15 minutes. I miss how much Sam smiled in season 1.

The video recap was followed by a very lively open discussion of the show and its fandom that also tended to veer off into discussion of other shows as well. In fact, I'm pretty sure we spent as much, if not more, time discussing other shows as we did Supernatural. It was fun anyway.

The evening concluded with a Guitar Hero challenge, but my video game experience is pretty much limited to puzzle games (I finally broke 800,000 points on Bejeweled 2 Deluxe!), so I took that as my cue to head home.

There are some interesting panels coming up tomorrow, so I'm looking forward to yakking about my show all day.
the_other_sandy: Chicago skyline (Chicago)
The poll was unanimous, as was the informal in-person poll I took of friends and family. Even my mother thought I should go to WinchestMidwest, so I bit the bullet and registered tonight. That'll be con #2 for the summer after MediaWest.
the_other_sandy: Yomiko Readman hugging a book (Lost Shoe)
I'm trying to decide whether or not to register for WinchestMidwest.

PROS

It's a Supernatural con
It's only $35 for the weekend (3 days)
The con hotel is so close to my apartment that I can see it from here


CONS

It's a very small con with only one track of programming
I'm only interested in about 1/4 of the programming on the schedule
I probably won't know anyone there


If this con were being held anywhere else, the decision would be a no-brainer, but I'm having trouble letting go of the fact that there's going to be a Supernatural convention right in front of my face. How can I turn that down?

So, here's your chance to weigh in.

[Poll #1157212]

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the_other_sandy: Yomiko Readman hugging a book (Default)
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