In the darkness the trees are full of starlight (henwy) wrote,
In the darkness the trees are full of starlight

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Gencon...the day and night before

So the day before gencon did not begin on a very good footing. For one, I had a crap load of work to finish before I could even leave and that meant that at 12:00am wednesday morning I was at the lab busy trying to write and edit a couple of papers. One was from the grant I had written while still working with humans and involved nicotine patches and alcohol drinking. The other was the first study I finished in my current lab and was all about metabotropic glutamate receptors and amphetamine sensitization. It might sound interesting and all, but not in the middle of the night. By the time that dawn had rolled around I had more or less put the two papers to bed and was just killing time until John and Richard came to pick me up at noon for the trek to Indy. What I should have anticipated was that richard was running late and since he was late, I was sort of obligated to go to the weekly lab meeting that I was hoping to have avoided. What this meant is that once richard and john did make it down to hyde park, I was stuck in the lab meeting with no hope of escape. In the end, I don't think we managed to actually set out until something like 2:30 am. On the plus side, richard has just got a new van and there were nice seats to sit in instead of the floor or god knows what. His last van was starting to look like a disaster. The number of passanger seats in the back changed from time to time and there was all sorts of random clutter hanging about.

I had been planning to take a nap on the trip down but that was never really going to happen. I only managed to doze for a bit. Once the adrenalin of an anticipated trip hits, there's not going to be much sleeping for a while. That ended up being quite a theme for the entire convention actually. The drive down was pretty uneventful. We did stop for gas once and at the convienance store I grossly abused their free cheese/chili machine for a pair of hot dogs and some nachos. I hadn't eaten since early the night before and I was up all night after all. Apparently at some point we also passed a bunch of geeks also heading down to gencon. John had a self-made sign in his window that said something along the lines of 'gencon or hades' in what I assume was a modification of gencon or bust. A van full of geeks passed by and started franticly waving their 3rd edition player's handbook at us. Reminds me of last year when Frig and I were driving back to chicago and kept passing gencon people on the highway.

Anyway, upon arriving in Indy, john and I checked into the westin. Well, really john checked into the westin. My reservation wasn't due to start until thursday. I hadn't been planning to head down a day early, mostly because of the dire hotel cost, but had changed my mind because of a pre-con party called the forum stink. The gencon website had provided a forum for people to post about events, ask questions about the con, and just generally socialize months before the event. A few industrious individuals decided to take the oppertunity to throw a party the night before the convention started complete with swag and other goodies. It sounded like it would be a fun time and frankly, I was never all that keen about my idea of driving down to indy at like 4am in the morning to make my first event at 10am. So instead of that I would spend the night in john's room and then check into my own room once the con began.

So here was the hotel room. Nice eh? Considering it was 150 dollars a night it certainly should be. This year around we all decided to get convention hotels...that is, hotels connected to the convention center by habitrail-esque walkways. The previous year I had gotten a room at a Super 8 or something and had to drive 10-15 minutes to get to the convention center. Now, able to compare the two and the 110 dollar difference in price per night, I'm still torn about which was better. It was wonderful being able to roll out of bed 10-15 minutes before your event and still make it on time, but the cost was truely astronomical. I had been hoping to find a roommate this year but all the people who said they were interested just fell through on me. The entire trip cost me something like 800 dollars as near as I can figure including food, souvineers, events, etc and 450 of that was the hotel cost. I just keep thinking about all the games I could have bought if I just found myself another Super 8 somewhere. Even with parking at around 25-30 a day, it would still have been pretty sweet. Maybe if friends going next year get convention hotels with free parking I can take advantage of that while still commuting in and save even more.

Look! There! In the darkness! It's weird bondage man! Dum-dum-duuuuuummmmmm.

Here's john rummaging through one of his 18 bags that he brought to gencon. Well, maybe not 18 but at least 6 or so, I shit you not. He had to take one of those baggage carts whozits just to fit all his crap. As I recall I think he had 3 different pieces of footwear and god knows how many changes of clothing. He also brought along what was a cornacopia of fruits and vegetables. He could have been some kinda greengrocer with the sheer volume of crud he dragged along with him.

So after settling in we left for the convention center to try to find the forum stink party. To my surprise the place was already swarming with gamers. I spent a few minutes feeling sorry for the regular residents of indianpolis as this geek hurricane descended down upon them. It must be sort of a surreal experience to walk down the streets and see slut goths, trek geeks, and giant sized people wearing t-shirts that said 'I beat anorexia'. I got the impression that most of the population just ducked and covered, cowering in their homes for those few days until we all left. Who can blame them, really? Even the larps wig me out a little. Thank god that there were no furries around that I could see.

So we made it to the forum stink, which was taking place at the equivalent of the touchdown club for the indianapolis colts. It was a nice venue with plenty of comfy chairs and tables. Upon arriving those of us who registered to attend ahead of time were graced with swag! There was a nice canvas bag which said something like Gencon forum stink 2004, and a unique embrodered image on the other side. I ended up trading my canvas colored one for the black one later on. There were assorted swag odds and ends inside but it slips my mind what exactly. We proceeded to mingle and wander around. John had been far more active on the forums than I fact I think I only posted a couple times tops. Richard and I more or less followed him around for a while as he tried to make the link between forum id and the people milling about. I had the misfortune to bump into some star trek fangirl that placed second in the most annoying person in the world contest I was running in my head while at gencon. I got to meet the first place winner on saturday to my misfortune. John had worn his leather kilt, he was going commando, and had strapped along a flogger on one hip and a whip on the other. He managed to demonstrate his whip skills, causing a deathly silence after the gunshot-like crack. He also managed to accidently whipe himself in the back as I recall. Anyway, after some more chitchat, it was time to all gather for the forum awards and more swag.

So this is spicer, lord and high master of the forum stink. He and a couple other people organized the whole party, tracked down groups and companies willing to donate swag, and basically helped put together a hell of a good time. I was quite pleased with the entire night.

So first were the forum prizes. There were little statuets for some of the people as you can see, and other swag for those who posted more than 300 times and whatnot. Pity they didn't let that leak out ahead of time. Given the amount of posts I have on sissyfight, if I put my mind to it I could have knocked off 300 in just a couple days even without resorting to one word sort of replies. Still, something to remember for next year I guess.

So this was one of the award winners....I think she recevied the greatest distance traveled to be at the forum stink award. Norweigians. Go figure. You can also see john's giant shiny head taking up the left side of the picture. I only took sporadic pictures of the award presentations. It's not like I knew any of these people and not having followed the forums, I didn't have the context to figure out who they were nor why they were getting something. The first few trophies they handed out were actually bowling trophies that someone had stumbled over at a garage sale or somesuch and had relabeled. The remainder (and I think that's all I have pictures of) are little statuets of the gencon mascott.

I'm pretty sure this is the wife of the gencon owner getting an award for providing a good chunk of the swag and giving us such a nice convention. I'm sure that ass kissing also played into this but that's only to be expected.

Here's a nice little group shot with a couple of the little statue whozits.

So after the awards it came time for the swag. We were all given little raffle tickets when we walked in and they proceeded to read them out for all sorts of prizes including, believe it or not, a karaoke machine that someone didn't want and seemed to have a bass knob stuck at 100%. Now, I'm not saying the fix was in or soething but it seemed like the same darn people kept getting called up and numbers were constantly being called sequentially! Suffice to say, I didn't win crud which always makes me bitter.

Richard however won a book. Feh. He wasn't even registered to come and as john's +1 for the party. John made the arguement that this meant the swag rightfully belonged to him. This led to some good natured muttering and wrangling and an end result of the swag staying where it was. I'm not even sure what the farg that game book is for, nor what system it plays on but I wanted it too. Swag is swag.

So I'm not sure if the norweigans brought the actual dice iwth them or just the idea but the followup to the party was to be Norweigan Dice Throwing. To that end we were provided with these two giant 6-siders carved out of some sort of rough foam. As the swag ran out, I took the oppertunity to get someone to snap a picture of me iwth the thing.

Remember when I mentioned the gencon mascott? This is the ugly son of a bitch. Apparently in its four arms it's holding dice and gaming books and god knows what else. It's also wearing farging goggles for some reason. Maybe people were worried he would be attacked by a swimming pool. Suffice to say it's one of the ugliest things I've ever run across and I'm not sure what degenerate decided this would make for a good mascott. There was even a contest to name the ugly atrocity. I didn't end up submitting an entry but I can guarentee you if I did the name I would have picked would be full of 4-letter words. Still....I would have liked to have had one. Like I said, swag is swag and owes allegiance to no man nor thing. As long as it was free I was willing to snatch up just about anything. I can always sort it out once I lugged it back to chicago. As it was, I looted all the free pop and bottled water I could carry in my swag bag. That water came in very handy over the course of gencon and likely saved me a lot of money from the concession stands or time searching out a water cooler.

So we made our way upstairs in the convention hall to the office dice throwing arena. Here we see spicer explaining the rules which were some semi-complex amalgamation of distance times the pip that came up on top. I think the prize was to be a t-shirt or some such and of course we all rushed to get into line to throw the thing.

It took me a while to actually get this action shot of someone chucking the die. This was probaly the 3rd or 4th thrower, but even by then you could see the die wasn't doing very good. It was leaving small pieces of itself on the carpet after every toss and it wasn't long before the inevitable happened. After one toss the thing just split in half and that was pretty much the end of dice throwing. They tried to tape it back together with duct tape....only no one had duct tape. About halfway through the great duct tape hunt I decided to leave with John and Richrd and meet up at the Ram Brew Pub. We wanted to arrive early and snag a table

We ended up sitting with rogue2 (if I caught his real name I've long forgotten) and his friend. Here's a picture of John with him as we squished ourselves into the circular booth. I don't know about anyone else but at this point I was starving. It had been a very long time since those gas station hot dogs and it looked like the Ram had gone all out for gencon. Not only did they create a brew specifically for gencon, the Screaming Knight Ale, but also had t-shirts and giant mugs with the knight mascott.

They also had a specialized menu based entirely off of ravenloft. I'm not sure if anyone can read this but they had things like Vecna's fingers (breaded and fried pickles) or the heroes feast (giant tray of appetizers). At this point I would have eaten just about anything but the ram more than surpassed my expectations.

Here's a shot of richard as he's perusing the menu looking for what he wanted. As for me, I got the Stradh Stake Through the Heart Burger.

And here it was. Man was it good. So good in fact that I ended up eating all my meals at the ram while I was at gencon and barring one night where I went for the fish and chips, I had this burger every time. I'm not sure if it's the lack of sleep or the lack of time but I was doing the one meal a day thing while at gencon and this was definitely a meal that could hold you for an entire day. It was monstrous and yummy. Actually, thinking about it now I could really go for another one. Damnit. Oh well. The best part was the breadstick stake through the middle of the thing. Theme is everything.

Here's a shot of me with my giant burger looking quite pleased. You can also see a game spread out before me. Rogue2 and his friend had brought along a parody version of settlers of catan, or as Oatmeal likes to call it, the wood and sheep game.

It was called the Vicelords of Catizzle and it was a laugh riot. Instead of the normal resources of wood, stone, sheep, wheat, and clay the board provided whores, money, drugs, thugs, and guns. The entire night you were hear things like, I've got drugs for whores! I need whores!, which of course brought a lot of attention to our table. The robber in desert was replaced by The Man in the police station. Instead of towns and settlements you would build hoods and inner cities. It was a lot of fun though I'm sure the people at Mayfair would swallow their tongues if they ever got a look at this. The amount of time it must've taken to put this together is amazing. I would love to get a copy of it but I'm sure they're keeping it lowkey and are unlikely to distribute it for fear of corporate wrath.

And of course, no night is finished unless john gets his chance to whip and flog someone. This was just some stranger who wandered up to us as I recall. Then the waitress came on over and flogged him for a bit. Crazy wankers.

So that was basically day 1 of gencon and the convention hadn't even started yet. There was more fun to be hand and more floggings to be dealt. If you actually want to hear more about the trip I encourage you to comment since I'm curious if anyone is actually bothering to view this anymore.

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