A few notes on Orycon 32:
The swag bag at Registration was a Powell’s Books cloth tote bag! If I understood correctly, Powell’s donated these bags to the convention.
Hospitality suite had things that a person watching their carbs could eat. When I arrived the first time, they had roast beef wraps with horseradish mayo that actually had some zing one could feel in one’s nose. There were vegetables, as usual, and among the cookies on Sunday were apple slices.
One of the restaurant/bars was open until 12 am, serving real food.
For the first time, I got to the Radcon party before the toxic waste ran out!
I met four people I communicate with on Twitter. No, five: I met Seanan McGuire, too, who graciously responded to my fangirl tweet when I started following her a while back.
During party time, I had fun sitting around the hospitality suite while a conversation I was having with two people somehow turned into an Old Operating System One-upmanship and Reminiscence session joined by almost every new person who walked into the room. Some of these people turned out to be concom – and were the first pleasant Orycon concom people I can remember interacting with in years. I should mention that the Registration people were pleasant as well.
I don’t know how I’ve been missing these people; the ones I wind up talking to have usually been shrill, surly, brusque, and/or almost deliberately unhelpful. I wish to add a caveat that my experience with this concom over the years may not be typical: YMMV. I may have simply been unlucky. My new acquaintances told me that they knew these people existed, but that they were slowly being weeded out by time and circumstance.
Although I didn’t do any gaming, I talked to some great people in the gaming area, one of whom told me about Metacon, a huge LARP convention that will be happening in the Portland area in March and where it should be fairly easy for a LARP n00b to fit in.
One of the PDX Browncoats also told me about GameStorm, which I had heard of but wasn’t very familiar with, and that it would be a good place for me to begin pencil-and-paper RPG’s, which I’ve always wanted to start doing. There’s a game set in the Firefly/Serenity ‘verse that we hope will be played; the problem with that and several other games is that it’s difficult to find a GM.
And speaking of the PDX Browncoats, they’re wonderful, they kept their well-stocked fan table open till the last minute, they had a fun panel; you should join them, as I finally got around to doing this weekend, or find the Browncoats chapter in your area and join that one. If you don’t have one where you live, ours is http://pdxbrowncoats.com/.
A couple of unfortunate things:
Technical difficulties eliminated the Internet café that was supposed to be set up. (Question: Why do some cons call them Internet cafés when food and drinks are usually prohibited in them? Call it Internet Base Alpha or the Internet Realm or the War Room or something else hokey and topical.)
Hospitality suite did not, that I noticed, provide bottled water. Fifth floor was a bit far to carry an open cup of water from downstairs, and there wasn’t much else to drink but soda and crappy coffee. (It’s not a negative reflection on concom that the coffee is crappy. They can’t help it. In fact, it’s sort of traditional. It’s a delivery system for caffeine, it’s free, and that’s all we should expect of it.)
I suggested to concom that they ask the hotel to set up one of those wonderful cold water stations near hospitality, the ones they place along the halls of the function areas, but I suspect that the hotel would or could not do so. Perhaps next year.
I was unable to find the Zombie Erotica Panel that featured the new anthology Rigor Amortis, because the only place it was listed was online. It was spread around the con the next day that we should check online for the most accurate panel listings. You know, online. Like, in…the Internet café? I did have my smart phone, but the Doubletree Lloyd Center has many Dead Zones.
But, in all, this has been one of the better personal Orycon experiences I’ve had. I miss the Doubletree (and before that, Red Lion) at Jantzen Beach, in which Orycon was held before Red Lion repurchased it and began renovation. That forced the con to relocate, and the only place they could find for a couple of years was the Marriott on the waterfront — and the less said about that, the better. The Doubletree Lloyd Center is far more con-friendly than the previous hotel. Doubletree has always seemed to Get It.
There may be more to be said, but I’ll end for now. I have to reset for LosCon in two weeks, which I have decided to attend at the last minute (it’s okay; I’m buying in on a hotel room with old friends, and it’s a con I used to attend regularly, so no overwhelm factor is expected).