June 1, 2010

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FanimeCon 2010 Wrap up: Part 1 of 5 – Friday

Originally my plans were to have a single Fanime wrap up entry for myself, and another from John (since it was his first con and all). That being said, I wrote a “journal” at the end of each day’s trials/tribulations/activities. The resulting “entry” would be better classified as a novella. It would be far to long for anyone to read. As such, I’ve decided to break down the con into one blog entry per day. As we were there for Friday through Monday (4 days) there will be 4 entries. On top of that I’ll post a conclusions piece. This might be Fanime overkill for those that don’t care, but if you really want the “inside view”, this is the best I can offer. So without further adieu… Friday.

== Friday ==

Got a fairly early start to the day (that’s anything before 10 o’clock in my book). Didn’t necessarily get underway expediently, but we do what we must (because we can). Actually got underway on the bikes by 1:30. Didn’t take that long to get down to San Jose, traffic was good — unless of course you were leaving the bay area. 580 East was a parking lot, for as far as the eye could see (both sides). 101 South was unpleasantly sluggish, but moving.

Since we didn’t get to the hotel till about 2:30, we could check-in (we requested early check in previously). We were staying at the Hilton which is attached to the convention center. It is a nice hotel for the most part. The place (especially the rooms) is decorated in a vaguely art deco style. Stainless steel fixtures, perpendiculars, that kinda stuff. Of course the real “tell” that we’re in the heart of Silicon Valley is the complimentary room magazine. In most hotels you get some random travel mag or maybe something generic like People or Time. Here? We got PC Today. That amusement aside, there are only two real complaints about the hotel. #1 — the elevators suck (they need reprogramming). #2 The in room A/C sucks. We set it to 60F and maybe got 70 out of it (too warm for my blood). As I type this, I’m sitting in the corner of the room under the “A/C” and next to the window that opens about an inch and a half.

Due to the popularity of pre-registration check-ins on Thursday and early this morning, we had almost zero wait (maybe 5 minutes) before we were registered. We got our badges with zero fight (their system has been pleasantly refined) and were off to the races. John thought the dealers hall had a “lot of space” in the rows, because gun shows typically are “one and a half persons wide”, but John just hasn’t seen what it’ll be like tomorrow. Saturday is NUTS day at Fanime, NUTS I say, but a fun nuts.

After some wandering and dinner, John and I attended the Fanime speed dating event. My first time doing anything like that, so I have nothing to compare it against. As it was their first batch on the first year they offered it… it had a bit of a rocky start. We were instructed to be there 30 minutes in advance, but they didn’t actually start registering anyone till about 10 minutes till. Of course with registration starting so late, we didn’t get started till about 20mn after the designated start time. This wasn’t a big deal in the grand scheme of things, but it did make for a bit of a wait initially. The main gripe I have is the amount of time allotted. I realize it is “speed” dating, but they set 3 minutes and as soon as the bell rang to shift locations, they reset the timer. There wasn’t any time in between to write down your notes or even get to the next location. Both sides wanted the time, so generally after the first one or two rotations, both sides spent the first 30 seconds to a minute writing. In the end it was amusing and a generally pleasant experience — albeit brief (only 8 ladies and 11 guys).

Last “event” for the evening was the swap meet. I went in their twice, once when it first opened and once later in the night when things had died down a bit. The first foray was a nightmare. They had people setup for swap along 3 of the 4 walls in the gaming room — and let me tell you — it was a BUNCH of sellers setup. In front of every square foot of seller was people at least 4 deep, some kneeling, some just pushing by, but most everyone looking. It was, as I said, a nightmare of people. On my return later that evening, it wasn’t quite so bad. Granted some of the stuff had sold, but a majority was still there. If you were looking for some cheap stuff, especially lovingly used manga and doujin — that was the place to be.

Friday signout — 00:15 (Saturday morning)