This is going to be a long ass-post about my weekend at Crypticon. Here's the precis:
It was awesome. There were cool people. The Sheraton is neat. We spent money.
Here's the full-length version.
We left Winona by 3pm on Friday and made it to the Sheraton in Bloomington by, oh, about 6pm. There was wicked awful traffic once we got into the Twin Cities area, but we stayed cool and didn't experience too much craziness.
We checked into the hotel and Nick was astonished to discover that the Sheraton (not Sheridan, as he'd previously believed) is a rather posh establishment. The whole place was very shiny and prim, and it was damn amusing to see all the punks, metalheads, and downright scary scary people walking the shiny halls. Our room was on the 15th floor.
We were amused that there does not appear to be a 13th floor. As a matter of fact, when we were getting ready for bed at the end of that day, Nick dropped his shoes on the floor and exclaimed, "Take that, 13th floor!"
Now that I look at the picture, it looks like there's no button for the 3rd floor either, which is kind of weird. I do think there was a 3rd floor, and also a maintenance floor just above that one (3M) so things evened out. Really.
We went up to our room and marveled at the nighttime view. I tried to take a picture but totally failed at it, so you get nossing for now. But it was pretty cool. In getting settled in our room, we discovered that the very posh and shiny and expensive Sheraton Hotel did not include a mini-fridge in our room, which we'd pretty much expected, having stayed at other, less posh hotels and gotten fridges. This was problematic, as we'd brought not only sammiches for lunch on Saturday, but also a 12 pack of Killian's. So we did what anyone would do: we filled the garbage can with ice from the ice machine and tried to drink as much of it as possible as fast as possible.
The lack of a fridge was a point of contention with Nick for the whole weekend, though.
The beer situation settled, we headed down to the lobby to get our VIP wristbands to enjoy the con. As we walked, I casually asked Nick, "So, you got the tickets we printed out?"
That's right, he left the damn tickets sitting on the printer at home, three hours away.
I'll skip over all the crazy panicking we did, and tell you now that the Sheraton provided computers with free internets in the lobby, and free printing services too, so we were able to access the email that had our tickets pdf and reprint them, and all was well.
We walked around the dealer room, chatted with a few of the guests and vendors, and basically oriented ourselves with the place while trying to not spend any money quite yet. We made an especial effort to chat with Ricou Browning, who played the Creature in The Creature from the Black Lagoon films (he did the underwater work in the creature suit, someone else did the above-water work). And for one of the big highlights of the evening, we chatted a bit with Don Calfa of Return of the Living Dead! He's a very awesome guy. Ernie Hudson was there, but Nick hadn't worked up the courage to talk to him quite yet. I'd have teased him about it a little, but I was a little starstruck myself.
We went up to the music room (a new event this year) and checked out a few metal bands. Our favorite was Mommy S3z No, simply because they played a song called Zombie Bukkake.
At 9:30 we went to watch an independent film called The Landlord, about a guy with quite literal tenants from hell. It is a hilarious movie (complete with its own drinking game, which we've not attempted yet) and we bought a copy later. We then watched part of another movie called Terror Overload, which had lots of boobs and gore, which is always fun. But we got a little restless and decided to check out the hospitality rooms (another new feature this year). There was one room playing Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 and serving chili. The decor was pretty great.
And then we went to bed. Saturday had a whole lot of stuff planned for us, and we needed our rest!
We woke up Saturday morning to the sound of one of our neighbors having a loud phone conversation in his room. It was a little unnerving that such a posh shiny expensive place should have such thin walls ("And no fridge, dammit!" Nick muttered). The towels were also really coarse and cheap feeling, and Nick and I agreed that as posh and shiny and expensive the place looked, it was really just a money veneer.
We got dressed and I got fancied up (seriously - I wore makeup every day this weekend. Crazy!!) and I wanted to make another attempt at getting photos of our view. Success! It doesn't look as impressive in the morning, but oh well!
The Ernie Hudson Q&A was at noon, so we decided to hit the $10 breakfast buffet and see if the made up for the lack of an in-room fridge. And I'm not going to lie to you, Marge, the food was awesome and we completely stuffed ourselves. They even had fresh raspberries, which of course I went crazy over. Between the fresh fruit, the eggs, breakfast potatoes, the thick-as-whoa slices of bacon, and the muffins and pastries, and other foods that we didn't get a chance to cram into our faces, it was a damn fine $10 breakfast buffet. Because there were fresh raspberries, I forgave the Sheraton for its thin walls and coarse towels and stuff. Raspberries make up for everything!
Tummies stuffed, Nick and I headed to the dealer room to kill the last bit of time before the Ernie Hudson Q&A. Needless to say, we were thrilled to get a chance to hear him talk about his life and experiences and such, and I was personally glad that nobody ever asked him if he was a god, because I sort of expected it to happen but wasn't sure if I thought it would be funny or lame. Immediately afterward was the Q&A with Bill Moseley; it was pretty interesting in spite of the fact that neither Nick or I were especially well-versed on his films or parts.
Back on the Con floor, Nick started his shopping spree, getting autographs, pics, movies, and tshirts. We have yet to take full stock of all the hot swag we picked up this weekend, but it was good and plenty, let me tell you! We finally worked up the courage to visit Ernie Hudson's booth and professed our undying love for Ghostbusters. We got his autograph and a pic, and afterwards he hugged the both of us. That was a real highlight of the day.
We hit the Q&A with Ricou Browning, who talked a lot about his stunt work, and the animal training he did on Flipper. After that, none of the events happening really appealed to me, so I took some time to have a sammich (it was still good, in spite of just being in our little cooler and not a fridge) and a few beers, and reconnected with my much-missed internets. At six I joined Nick at the Return of the Living Dead Q&A with Don Calfa and Linnea Quigley, both of whom are cool as cool is cool.
We stuck around for the Sideshow Vaudville Burlesque show, expecting to see some boobies and dancing but instead got a pretty damn fun sideshow vaudville burlesque show - why we didn't expect exactly that I don't know. Probably we just saw "burlesque" and assumed there would be boobies galore.
Nick and I grabbed some food quickly at a nearby TGI Fridays (we'd never been to one before). I got myself a kitschy Cosmo poured over pink cotton candy and an appetizer. We went back up to our room, had a few more beers, and hit the music room for some more metal. This was where we were damn glad to have had the presence of mind to pick up earplugs before coming to the con, because even with them in the music was loud loud loud! Clearly, Nick and I are boring squares. The best part of the concert was watching a small group of teens, probably around 14 years old, headbanging right by the stage, and trying to form their own mosh pit. Nick and I were in hysterics watching them, and we both commented later how it was weird to feel ourselves lauging our asses off, but not be able to actually hear it.
After the concerts, we caught the last of the few short films playing that night, including an airing of an episode from the Twin Cities Ghostbusters. You may remember me taking a pic with them last year, and of course they were back in full force!
Then it was time for bed for us. Nick and I passed right out.
We woke up the next morning, cleaned ourselves up, packed all of our swag and gear and such and loaded everything into the car, quite thankful that checkout at the hotel wasn't until noon. So, of course we hit the breakfast buffet again and stuffed ourselves just as completely as the day before (mmm raspberries). We'd been seated next to where all the con staff was having their breakfast, and as we ate, Steve Dash of Friday the 13th 2 joined the con staff (he sat right next to me!). The con staff got up shortly after, and so we got to chat with him while we all finished eating. It was an awesome experience, and very cool to chat with him one-on-one in such a relaxed manner.
The Q&A with Margot Kidder was at 1pm, so we swept through the dealer room one more time, got the last of the things that we decided we really couldn't live without, and then headed up to watch her speak. It was incredible listening to her; she made a few allusions to her breakdown years and years ago, but she is really just a very charming and outspoken woman. Towards the end of the Q&A, she told "all the young women out there" not to be afraid of aging, because it was like a free pass to get to say and do and think whatever you want, and that it was terribly empowering and wonderful. It was an awesome thing to hear, and I think I got a little teary-eyed listening to her say that.
After that, we had still more time to kill until the Steve Dash Q&A (which we couldn't miss now that we'd had breakfast with him) and it was absolutely hilarious! He ripped on people coming in late, he ripped on other guys that had played Jason, he talked about his experiences as a stunt man, and was thoroughly entertaining.
And that's the end of the con. Nick and I got some sushi, and headed home, and crashed hard. I'm still not feeling totally recovered from it, and was a little worried this morning that I'd picked up one form of ConSARS or another (that post-con sickness that seems to plague con-goers), but I'm actually feeling pretty good right now. 100% pleased with myself that I'd had the presence of mind to take today off work.
I've posted all the pics at my Flickr page, so feel free to check them out there.