Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Con on the Cobb, day 3

5.11.06, 0845 (GMT-6)
Not hungry in the slightest , in fact a little hung over, I am done typing up things from some notes that I have been making. Peryton has decided to wake up without me kicking her backside. We are packing up our car by 1115am, only 15 minutes late this time, my significant other points out when I sigh heavily.

We spend most of time in the Dealer's room where we discover that an art auction has going on all week-end and that bidding ended ten minutes ago. I thought we started bidding at 1130am so there is some confusion, and though I am not making a fuss, someone recognizes that I am looking to buy a couple pieces, and the time is extended. I buy some pieces and get permission to republish the stuff for Peryton Publishing. And through this process we meet Meg Lyman, who is actually as excited as we are though Peryton and I are trying to look cool and professional. I so want Meg to illustrate my under-sea fantasy stuff. She has a nice knack for it, but it isn't her main motif.

Been playing around as the timer for an artists "Quick Draw." Four artists draw pictures in a set time limit after a topic has been agreed upon. A bit of fun and we conversate more with the people we have been chatting up all week end. Finally just before 2pm my appetite returns and Peryton walk over to the mexican place.

After finishing up lunch-dinner, I convince Peryton to pose for a cheesy picture with Meg Lyman holding the illustration between the two of them. Sadly though Meg is long gone. It's almost 3pm and I have to work the up-coming evening at 7pm. We decide to slip out the side door and are all smiles as we head back to Cleveland.

Con on the Cobb, day 2

3.11.06, 0645 (GMT-6)
Awake for a bit too long already, I do not feel like writing. I make my way to the lounge, the restaurant bar area I mentioned earlier, as I remember reading something about the breakfast buffet being open from 6am until 9am or some such. I meet a guy named Duane from just south of Cleveland, who is an early riser. I am not sure if i can be called an early riser, more of a "night shifter" sort I end up explaining. And about 745am we notice the breakfast bar still has not opened. Neither of us are really that concerned, but a bit tired of conversing so we move into the lounge area to access the electrical outlets for our laptops.

From out of nowhere, a guy who had been drinking at the bar with me some six and half hours or swoops into the room and exasperatedly explains to us that he has just woken up, and that there is 300 of us and one of him. Basically he feels we are rushing him. So Duane and I decide to check out what's going on in the convention area. The 8am games, some two of them are setting up, but the organizers aren't around. Not a whole lot is going on.

Moving back to the couches just outside the lounge, I see two women getting lectured by the cook guy. They stand their ground and explain to him that they are staying right where they are and whatever he can bring out will make do with. I hear the phrase "There are 400 of you all, and only one of me."

I get to a table that is next to an outlet, and am able to grab a cup of coffee, in the waiters' anteroom in the kitchen area, in a styrofoam cup as the cook guy explains to me that the ceramic cups are expensive. And by 805am there is some bagels and bread for toast set up. I am highly amused by the situation, and when a large group of families, a total of eight individuals, show up complaining about the lack of anything to really eat, the cook guy says, "There are 500 of you, and one of me."

By 9am, I decide to stop surfing and catch up on the news. I fix myself a plate of fried potatoes and am surprised at how good they are. I grab a bagel for Peryton who I need to wake up for our day ahead and slip out. The dining area has almost 30 people breaking their fasts. As I leave the lounge I hear, "There are 900 of you and only 1 of me."

I know the cook's secret recipe, two hours of bitching for 47 minutes worth of work. For some reason H.P. Lovecraft's town of Innsmouth comes to mind. I really am enjoying myself.

After printing up a bunch of character sheets for my Spacer's scenario, no one has shown up for my event. I feel bad for ending my last game too early and discouraging anymore participation with LAG, I figure. But there is a guy running a CoC game, where only two people have shown up. Tony is his name, and I watched him in the last session as I was setting up for mine. He's a good GM. Peryton and I slip into his game.

And what a great game it is. Before long, the players have turned into a group of college students who share a house and are drawn into the mysterious disappearance of a popular professor. And though we are rolling horribly, we are role-playing wonderfully. And through our own ineptness, willingness to commit felony breaking and entering, forgetting about the internet, we solve the mystery and actually survive. Only three cops and six civilians were shot while doing so. Our PC's have not learned a thing about the Cthulhu Mythos but we as a whole, if a bit on the lam, are breathing. Tony is impressed at our collective incompetence, and we have a beer after the game, his suggestion not mine by the way.

The T&T game I was to run was scheduled at 8am, though it says 1600 in the printed schedule. As no one has actually signed up for it, and I hear from the room coordinators no one was looking for me in the Am, I let the subject drop. No one is at the table where I have set up my stuff, so Peryton order a delvery dinner in the lounge and agree that a nap is order.

The room is warm, almost uncomfortably so. We decide to leave the door cracked as opposed to shutting off the heater. We fall asleep quickly.

I drag Peryton out of the room. The bands are playing again, and I want her to enjoy the after 9pm crowd. And by 0430 Sunday morning, Peryton has been giggling while playing a "Who is the Werewolf?" game, I have pissed off one of the creators of the Savage World RPG system, and we have been discussing Celtic languages in the lobby with a group of people. We wash up and slip into bed. Once again I am hoping to sleep in.

Con on the Cobb, day 1

Just after Halloween, November 2nd through the 5th, Andy Hopp's Con on the Cobb convention took place. Peryton and myself were able to make it Friday evening until Sunday afternoon. Here's my write-up.

Friday, 2.11.06, 1515 (GMT-6)
"The room's a dump" I say aloud after 5 seconds in the door of our motel room.

Outside the sky is bleak and the wind is one degree above freezing, with just a touch of wetness. We are looking out onto the Quality Inn's courtyard, which consist of a drained pool and pool-side bar also no longer in use. Peryton smiles meekly, but wants to give the room a chance, so she turns on the heat, and cold air rushes out. It's been a long morning pr preparation and about a 90 minute drive for us, but we're in high spirits.

'You're loving this, aren't you?" Peryton asks, plopping her bags on the king-sized bed.

"I feel like I am in Colchester." I answer. "Come on let's check out the convention and Mexican food place next door.

The convention is in the motel's main set of conference rooms, which are on the other side of a bar and very open restaurant area. Except for the conventioneers, not a whole lot of people are there. All I need is airplanes screeching overhead to help me feel like I am having a soccer week-end outside of Amsterdam. The people in the convention are smiling and somewhat friendly when we talk to them, as we are both from elsewhere, as well as Out-of-Towners, where ever we go, we don't expect broad smiles and warm embraces. We bump into Andy Hopp after checking out the activity rooms and the Dealers' room, he remembers us after a moment, and we slip out to the restaurant.

The motel is off of a State route, and is surrounded by hotels and other motels. I check to see that the two gas stations on the way to the restaurant are 24 hours, never know when you need beer after all. The restaurant itself turns out to be quite the surprise of a "good eats" joint, and the Dos Equis came in a large ass mug to top it off.

"I love the off-season." I smile at Peryton as the food arrives.

"The bar is scary." I say coming back to the gaming table where two people, Rob and Kali, have been so kind as to help me play test my Ruin Quest rules this evening. Peryton, who is also playing, laughs and comments that the bar must be rough for me to notice anything but the beer signs.

"Remind you of Russia or Germany?" She continues, playing off of my glowing wide-eyed wonder at the motel.

"Actually more like West Virginia," I answer then slip in, just before she kicks me under the table, "The Moth Man town we went to."

The game resumes after our little side performance for the audience. We play on for about an hour, I discover a major rule flaw, scoring a hit is way too damaging as the equation is set up. The character Types, or classes, are working very nicely though. A wave of weariness hits me suddenly and after a mass combat scene, I ask if we can wrap things up. Kali and Rob graciously agree but assure me that the time we have been gaming has been fun.

When we walk into the room, which has become much warmer if still a bit chilly considering the chill outside. Peryton is as weary as I am, but while I nap she reads and works on her hand-held before falling asleep.


I am wide awake. Been awake for an hour, and typed over two pages of notes up on Ruin Q from the session. Peryton is comfortable and too sleepy to get up with me. I get permission to rove around, and I tell her what time I should get back. The room is just about comfortable

I get into the lounge area and grab a beer, a Corona, because the place is Bud joint, and that is best that they are going to have. Over in the convention area, quite a bit of activity. Games in the games room are still going on with quite a bit of laughing and energy; a "band" is playing in another room; and groups of people are mving to and fro in the hallway. I slip in to the music area, and listen to a guy with his synthesizer, who is called Nerd Punk. It's "mock music" but there is talent there, and the guy is genuinely warm and open with the audience. He's had a couple, but it seems to enhance his performance.

When the performance is over, I slip into the bar and prepare for sit down session with the bar-tender, who has taken a shine to my company and I have to admit I think he's good guy from the joking we have been doing since 4pm, and his kith. Alas, I am only on a single beer and in a discussion with a couple from New Jersey when Andy Hopps appears beside me and drafts us all into a midnight game of "Extreme Duck, Duck, Goose." I grab another beer and head to the XDDG gathering place.

The game is some fun, though I have to admit, I have never played "Duck, Duck, Goose" and am a bit tipsy. Still I have met and gabbed with a couple of brothers from Washington DC, and a whole batch of people from Minnesota. Right before 1am, I bid adieu, announcing to a few very pretty women, "Oops, it's my curfew."

The room is comfortable for me. Probably still chilly to Peryton, but one thing about the motel, the blankets are fresh and thick. I slip into bed after a wash up, and hope to sleep late.