I've said a few times in other places that sometimes it seems like you don't go to double exposure cons to see friends, because for the most part, you can see your friends whenever you want. You go in order to bask in the abject idiocy of your enemies. Nothing hones a person's misanthrophy like spending a few days trapped in a room with retards and people munching on AssBurgers. That being said, things were actually pretty spiffy this time around. What had framed my negative opinion was the fact that last dexcon, it was like a whole fleet of short buses pulled up outside and disgorged a pack of mental midgets. You can look back a year ago in the LJ archive, but I got into a variety of small slapfights with a few of these defectives, one of which threw a fit when he thought I referred to him as 'she'. In addition to that, we were completely understaffed and caught a staff member cheating at one of the boardgame championships among other things. I was also a bit down on the whole con for the simple fact that I'm a lot gimpier now than I was a year ago. I was almost completely out of commission for chunks of Spring Gathering and there's no way for me to predict ahead of time how functional I'll be. So with all of that in the background, I headed off for the first night of Dexcon a week ago.
Really, in an odd sort of way the first night of Dexcon might be the best overall. Right off the bat it means that you're not sleep deprived. It also means that during the opening ceremonies you're fed and watered (though at outrageous prices) and you spend time only with those you want to. We've had our small group of friends established for quite a while now and it's always a pleasure to spend time with them. The Bills, Matt, and Joyce all decided to skip it, which wasn't a bad decision given the extra cost and the fact that they brought out a 'comedian'. I'm getting ahead of myself though.
So at the opening ceremonies, I was at a table with Steve, Murph, June, Matt, Randy, and (unpictured) Madelaine and Sharon. Lori joined us a bit later after she got stuck in traffic. The whole thing started with an overpriced buffet ($20 per person) which it seemed few decided to participate in. As far as I was concerned, you're not paying for the food as much as you're paying for the company in a case like that. We spent the first hour chatting about random things and digging through our bag o' crap.
Now, I've seen some shitty swagbags before, but DE bags always seem to take the cake. You're never sure what sort of miserable crap you're going to find in there but the only certain thing is that you'll be amazed it even exists as a product. Last year we all got bottles of Bawls, some sorta energy drink and this year it was even worse.
The name sorta says it all, dosen't it? There was one of these toxic MF'ers in every goody bag and based on the reactions of other people I had seen eating it, it was not going to be much of a commercial success. I decided to put mine aside as an after-dinner horror. At some point, I took the oppertunity to look at the ingredients and found frozen eggs and parmesan cheese. Not exactly the sort of things I expect to find in something that's supposed to be raisin flavored. Upon opening the package, I found an ossified and foul smelling block of crap. The only thing I could be sure of is that it would likely never go bad since it smelled like it had past that point a few decades ago.
We call this the 'after' picture. I took a single bite of that bar and after a few chews had to spit it back into the wrapper. It was vile and the aftertaste stuck with me until I drowned it in iced tea and equal. Not even Mikey would have liked this crap. On a sidenote, one of the first items to be raffled off was a box of these these rancid shitbars. I don't recall who won them, but they should ship them to China as some sort of retalitory strike for that tainted pet food a while back.
After dinner, the opening ceremonies began with a video montage of the past dexcon which I ignored. After that, it was the presentation of the dexcon flag with accompanying Olympic theme music, or the March of the Geeks as it is better known.
(Going to pause for the night. I'll get back to this sometime tommorrow)
This was like the 3rd attempt to get a picture of Steve in the middle of his lemon-eating bohnanza. For some inexplicable reason, he must've scooped up enough lemon slices to equal 2-3 lemons and was scarfing them down one by one. It reminded me of Matt's story about Alex hoovering the table clean when they went out to dinner with Ruth and Eddie. I think Steve's sticks to lemons though since I didn't see him drinking any marinara or melted butter.
The opening ceremonies were pretty assinine. It basically entailed calling people up from each of the various 'tracks' at the con for a few words of ad libed wisdom interspersed with raffle ticket draws. Since I never got a raffle ticket, there wasn't anything to hold my attention other than my general contempt for humanity. While I had no chance to win diddily squat, I am happy to report that Madelaine picked up a couple fo Duel of Ages the board game (she won an iPOD nano the year before) and Randy got a free pass to I-CON. He latter swapped the pass for a box of the discontinued CCG Racer Knights of Falconus with Linda.
The game lasted less than a year and I've still got a few unopened packs that I picked up last year either at origins or gencon. In the Wizkids' Pirates theme, it allows you to build your own little plastic racecar with weapons and whozits stuck all over it. The cars are supposed to be customizable so you can change the wheels or the armor or whatever. The one downside is whereas any idiot can put together a Pirate ship in quick order, you practically need a degree in mechanical engineering to put together one of these farging little cars. I thought about doing one for fun but ditched the idea after Randy passed me an isntruction sheet that unfolded to a piece of paper 2'x2' with 6 pt font front and back. Fuck that.
The most painful part of the evening was when they brought up a 'comedian' with which to entertain the crowd. I've often thought that the one necessary attribute to be a stand up comedian is a complete an utter lack of anything approaching self-awareness and shame. Most self-styled comics are God awful and their 'jokes' induce cringing more than laughter. Now imagine that you have a 'geek comedian' who tries to do nothing other than jokes about roleplaying and world of warcraft. Ya, the jury rests. It was hideous. I took a picture of the guy just to memorialize the amount of shame I felt on his behalf. The funniest line, as far as I'm concerned, was when he ended his set with telling us that if we liked his stuff, he had cd's avaliable for purchase in the back. Ya, right. I'm sure those sold like hotcakes, buddy. No rent money for you this month.
At some point during the ceremony they got to Boardgaming and announced the two senior staff members, Carl and Ruth, and the 'On-site coordinator', Randy. I told Randy that it was verbal gaffe. They said 'on-site coordinator' but they really meant fuckpuppet. You'd think that right before snapping this picture I told him to gay it up, but this is pretty par for the course. At least he wasn't wearing a prom dress along with the tiara. Surprisingly, he also left his chaps at home. That's usually standard attire for him.
So that was it for the opening ceremonies. I will say one thing, I'm sorta pissy I didn't get to snag cookies from the buffet. I got distracted with one thing or another and the other gamers hoovered them up. That's always one thing you have to watch out for amongst gamers. All of us tend to two-fist food and if you aren't fast about it, you're going to miss out. It reminds me of what Tracy Hickman said at Killer Breakfast last year. 'Medium?! Do gamers even come in medium?' Gamer medium is an extra-large I'd imagine.
I didn't do a hell of a lot after that. I played in one game of Alhambra in which I came in second and then went on home, deciding not to stay for the midnight slot. I figured I would have more than enough oppertunities to miss out on sleep during the rest of the con.