elfgrove: (dumb)
EBay Auction: WEREWOLF TRANSFORMATION SPELL~BECOME A WEREWOLF [FREE Shipping]
become a powerful werewolf
Item condition: --
Quantity: 5 available
Price: US $500.00 Buy It Now
or
Best Offer: Make Offer
Shipping FREE shipping US Postal Service First Class Mail
Estimated delivery within 4-7 business days.
text of auction under the cut )

Only 5 are available guys! ONLY 5! You better hurry!

I mean, the list of advantages/gained-powers has two #5s. And you'll be able to "BREATH UNDER WATER" just like a real wolf! Wait a... Nevermind. Look at #9! You get Spidey-sense! According to #10, I think we get to be a Disney fairy tale princess too. WHAT A DEAL!

Sorry. Too busy laughing for intelligent commentary.
elfgrove: (Default)
Well, since there was a recent post about convention behavior linked on (the Dragon*Con LJ community), and I'm doing the shared hotel room mambo again this year for two different conventions, I'm going to revise and publicly post what has become our Convention Tips/Rules e-mail that we've sent out prior to Anime Expo the past few years.

This is an advice and basic rules blog entry originally posted online at LiveJournal in March 2009. It was used as the base for a program book article at AWA 2009. This actually started back in 2007 as an advice email to my hotel roommates for Anime Expo who had never attended a convention before; we’ve been maintaining and updating this information between friends and convention roommates ever since.

I hope you find it as useful as it has been for myself and several others.

Last Modified: 07/09/2014

“Common sense is not so common.” – Voltaire (French Philosopher and Writer, 1694-1778)

General Convention RulesShared Hotel RoomsConvention Check ListOther Advisory Notes

This list was compiled primarily based on my personal experiences (and the experiences of my good friends) as someone who has attended a variety of conventions across the USA over the past (good gods) twelve years. I have volunteered a couple of times, been staff a couple of times, even a panelist on more than one occasion, and I am a regular attendee and costumer. The list is being updated occasionally, because there’s plenty of things that I just did not think of. Entertainingly, nearly every rule on this list has a specific story that prompted it.

Note: Please feel free to link to this post from wherever or to revise the shared room rules to match your own room and email them to your suite-mates. Just remember to provide a link back to here.

First, some of my own con-going advice. Some seem obvious, but they all exist because I’ve seen or experienced problems in the past that make it clear common sense is NOT common.

General Convention RulesShared Hotel RoomsConvention Check ListOther Advisory Notes

When people say the word “convention,” they are usually referring to large gatherings of the employees of companies and corporations who attend a mass assembly, usually in a big hotel somewhere, for the purpose of pretending to learn stuff when they are in fact enjoying a free trip somewhere, time off work, and the opportunity to flirt with strangers, drink, and otherwise indulge themselves.

The first major difference between a business convention and a fandom convention is that fandom doesn’t bother with the pretenses. They’re just there to have a good time. The second difference is the dress code–the ensembles at a fan convention tend to be considerably more novel.

“Proven Guilty” by Jim Butcher Book 8 of The Dresden Files

Read more... )

General Convention Rules

01) Con After Dark - I hate to be the one to say this for any still relatively new to the con circuit, but bad stuff happens at cons. Even the “family friendly” ones like Anime Expo and AWA. I’ve dealt with cases of near rapes occurring in the hotel lobby’s restroom at a “family friendly” con. (The police caught the guy, but that girl is mentally scarred for life. –This is why I believe it is naive to tag any con as “family friendly”.) So the rule is, do not wander the con by yourself after dark. And I mean “wander” in the sense of aimless roaming about or nighttime panel attendance, not I’m-making-a-run-to-the-ice-machine-or-the-Starbucks. After dark, for your own safety, please travel in packs guys.

02) Standard Bar Rules - Do not accept food or drink that you don’t see from the moment it leaves it’s package. We are adults and should know better than to accept candy from the man with the unmarked white van. Just because you don’t see the van, don’t assume. Conventions are the geeky version of Woodstock– and there are drugs in some corners. Addendum: Food in the Con Suite or at convention-run “cafes” generally has staff watching over it at all times, and thusly should be safe. All the same though, if it looks questionable, don’t eat it, and point the issue out to a staffer.

03) Eat At Least One “Real” Meal A Day - Its easy to pig out on Ramune, Pocky, chips, alcohol, etc the entire weekend, but don’t do it. I am no one’s Mother, and I’m not going to notice if you forget to eat something other than junk food all con and end up sick. And you WILL end up sick.

04) Keep Hydrated - Once again, your Mom ain’t here. And while your friends probably will go to the hospital with you when you keel over from heat stroke, they will not be pleased with you.

05) Drink Responsibly - No one wants to hold your drunk head over a toilet for 6 hours. Everyone’s at the con to have fun. Puke-drunk isn’t fun for anyone involved. Also, if your friend has had too much, do not let them leave with that guy/gal they just met. Regardless of how cute they are. Rape charges could come up the next morning.

06) Drugs - Illegal drugs are still illegal. Con doors do not preclude state laws.

07) Shower Daily - With soap. Con funk is bad. That’s it.

08) Perfume/Cologne - Perfume/cologne/Febreeze is not a replacement for bathing. Nor is it appreciated in large doses. Some people have chemical allergies or just sensitive noses. Be considerate of their gag reflex and your shoes.

09) Touching - Do NOT touch other people without getting permission first. Not everybody at a con is your new BFF, and different people have different personal space needs. Additionally, costumers spend a lot of time and money to create their costumes, and those parts may be either more delicate or pointy than they first appear. You do not want to “glomp” a costumer and either break their costume or impale yourself on it. If you’re getting “friendly” with a new acquaintance, the first “no”, “stop”, etc should also be the last. Do not overstep bounds. Laws about sexual harassment/rape do NOT stop at the con doors. There are a lot of other people at the con if things don’t work out.

10) Official Rules - Follow the rules and guidelines inside the program guide, especially those pertaining to weapons and safety. Also, any laws that apply in the country/state/city where your convention is held also apply at the con. This includes drinking ages, weapon laws, and laws regarding public decency.

11) Ask Permission - Ask for permission before taking a photo OR posing with someone in a photo. Someone in costume or at the Masquerade would probably love to have a photo taken, but be courteous in getting that photo. Grabbing a photo from within a large room to capture the scope of the attendance is one thing, but if you want an individual-specific photo, ASK. People in costume usually love to have their photo taken, but if they’re not ready, or missing people from their ensemble cast, its best to let them get ready. In fact, most costumers will take extra steps to help you get the best photo of them possible.

12) Mutual Respect - Treat people the way you want to be treated. A lot of people will say things online or at a convention that they would not dare under any other circumstances, or feel that it’s within their rights to mock a group or philosophy because of the convention atmosphere. Really, you’re going to be treated the way you treat others. Be prepared for the consequences there-of.

13) Do not stop in the hallways. - You will be run over by fourteen of your closest con-goers and yelled at by staff. This includes photographs. If you stop; you’re in the way. It’s as simple as that. If you’re stopped for a photo, please step to a side area out of the way. People tend to crowd en masse and everyone gets stuck for the next 15 minutes while camera shutters go off.

14) Don’t hover in the doorway. - This includes, but is not limited to stopping on exit, or sticking your head in. If you want to know what is in a room; go into the room. If you are leaving, leave. If you stop at the doorway, you run the risk of being run over by someone leaving. And you’ll probably be yelled at by staff too.

15) Panel Etiquette - This goes for both panelists and the members of the audience.

  • If you are on a panel you are obligated to prepare for it. This goes doubly for panel moderators.
  • Stay on topic. (This goes regardless of if you’re a panelist or an audience member asking questions.)
  • Do not insult the panelists.
  • Panelists, do not insult the audience.
  • Try to be on time, or enter/leave quietly.
  • If you think you might need or want to leave the panel early, please sit in the back.
  • Silence your cellphone/DS/PSP/etc. If it rings (or otherwise makes noise), turn it off. If you must answer it, leave the room.
  • If you are using your mobile device/laptop/etc to tweet, take notes, live-blog, or other relevant activity, try to be sensitive to others about it (in a darkened audience, sit in the back –screen glow is a bitch).
  • Do not listen to your iPod. Do not play your DS/PSP/etc. If you don’t want to be at a panel, leave and make space for someone who wants to be there.
  • Do not fall asleep. If you are about to fall asleep, go to your room or the Con Suite. (Note: Medical conditions are the exception.)
  • Come prepared with questions. The panelists will be thrilled.
  • It’s rude as an audience member to interrupt panelists. Raise your hand.
  • Do not raise your hand and keep it up for twenty minutes (starting before the panelists have even introduced themselves).
  • Don’t waste time on trivial comments. If you’re at the panel, it’s safe to say that <insert-big-guest-name-here> assumes you’re a fan, so keep your comments about how much you think <insert-fandom/actor/writer/artist/etc-name-here> is the best thing since sliced bread to a bare minimum and get on with your question (you’re cutting into other attendees’ question time).
  • Don’t waste your question on something you know they won’t be able to answer. These people are usually contractually obligated to not give out spoilers. No amount of cute comments/begging/insults will change that.
  • Don’t ask if you can go up and physically touch the cast. We get it. You love them. That’s why you’re there, but come on people, think rationally, that sort of request is just creepy.
  • Respect moderator requests to move on, especially if you have brought up an adult issue during an all ages panel, something illegal, or something which, while legal, might be an extremely triggering topic for the panelists.

16) Do NOT Wear the Same Clothes/Costume ALL Con. - Most conventions are 3 to 4 days long, and very crowded. It doesn’t matter how pretty your costume is or how awesome that shirt is– it does not eliminate B.O.. After a day or so of crowded, hot locations, you’re going to sweat on it. So unless you have a way to combat the stench, please do not expose the rest of the con-goers to you wearing the same outfit for 3 days straight. A few people swear by Febreeze to make a costume wearable two days in a row, but even with that magic elixir, three days is just pushing it. And without febreeze, it’s like normal clothing. You don’t wear the same shirt two days in a row at school or work, don’t do it at a con.

17) The World is Not the Con - Conventions are not a magical land of sugar and gumdrops. You are in a real place, in a real city, with real people. Things outside the convention will not cater to your every desire. Expect that.

  • Do not park your car somewhere that you would not park under normal circumstances. There are still car thieves, muggers, vagrants, and parking laws. Be conscious of that.
  • If it’s the first year or two in a new location for the con, expect the hotel staff will be a little shell-shocked by the influx of costumes and other gear. They’ll ask questions. Some will be weird-ed out; others will be excited and fascinated. Don’t accept rude staff, but be understanding.
  • Allow plenty of time for dinners out, and keep in mind that the poor waiter/waitress has been swamped by the influx of con-goers and is probably overwhelmed. The restaurant may run out of certain foods or just be understaffed for the crowds. Patience is a virtue. Planning ought to be.
  • TIP your waiter/waitress/bellhop. It may be a con, but they still survive more on tips than on their wages. They don’t get paid more just because several thousand people are at the convention center down the road.
  • It is still required to wear shirt and shoes in most public buildings, businesses, and restaurants. Please do. (Nobody cares if you are dressed as “L”, carry some flip flops and take them off for photos. If you are dressed as Kamina and going out to dinner, put a shirt on. Even if you DO look good without one.)

18) Take A Break - Big cons are usually held in big cities. If you get tired of the con, there are usually tons of things to see nearby. Visit the local historic district (great photo-ops for costumers), downtown, see Chinatown/Little Tokyo/etc, visit the beach/harbor, check out the zoo/aquarium, etc. Get on your hotel website, ask around the forums pre-con, or ask the concierge. They can usually tell you about non-con attractions that are close by. Take advantage!

19) Don’t argue with Security - The people that run security for conventions don’t make the rules, the convention, hotel, and/or local law enforcement does. Security is responsible for doing what they can to protect the safety of the attendees, guests, and the convention’s assets.

20) Staff Misbehavior - If you feel that security member, staffer, or volunteer is behaving inappropriately, find a(nother) con staffer and discuss it calmly and rationally with them. (The less cursing and screaming you can manage, the more likely the staffer will be agreeable to helping you resolve the problem. However, be prepared for the idea that you may be wrong and the con-staff was behaving according to the rules.) The faster you can let con staff know something is wrong, the faster they can get the message up the chain of command to correct it. Having the name and security/volunteer group of the person-in-question is extremely helpful. Large cons like SDCC may have as many as three different security companies and several dozen departments handling volunteers to run things.

21) Cosplayer Common Sense - See rules 9, 10, and 13. Due to recent(2010) incidents though, apparently more specification is needed beyond those.

  • Racial or culturally offensive behavior should be avoided no matter the day or location. The “Seig Heil” is not appropriate in any kind of public venue any more than putting a noose on an African American person or walking about in a KKK uniform.
  • If you are wearing a military uniform or have a country’s flag as part of your costume, be aware that these are symbols representing real people and real groups, and should be treated with respect to the people that they represent.
  • Be aware of where your props/prostheses are in relation to you. Try not to hit anyone with your staff/wings/gun/etc and avoid poses that risk rubbing your stage makeup off onto another person or person’s belongings.

22) To Parents - The convention is NOT a daycare. While they do have security of some form as a part of the convention staff, that is mostly volunteers that are there to keep the lines in order and to kick people that can’t behave off the premises. The convention bears no responsibility for your child, and no one is there is getting paid to watch out for them (or their safety). If you wouldn’t send your kid to a theme park or a bar without a guardian, don’t send them to the con without one. Similar atmospheres.

23) Stop doing the Free Hugs and High Fives - I'm not talking about the occasional hug with a delighted fan or hugs between friends. This is the person walking around with the "Free Hugs" sign or holding their hand up for high fives in a long line that snakes back and forth. You know the ones, they're touching absolutely everybody. The sooner we can kill this one the better perhaps. Are you familiar with Con Crud? "Con Crud" is common slang for the general cold and flu like symptoms many people experience post-con due to a combination of lack of sleep, lack of proper nutrition, crowded environments and exposure to a wealth of germs. The Free Hug/High Five people, if they don't start as germ carriers very quickly end up as them. They're having physical skin-to-skin contact with everyone and spreading those germs like a con crud patient zero. That's not even considering that you never know where some jerk along that line of contact didn't do so after sneezing, touching their genitals, not washing their hands post restroom, etc. We've all known the people that would do it. Avoid joining that infection chain guys.

General Convention RulesShared Hotel RoomsConvention Check ListOther Advisory Notes

Shared Hotel Rooms

01) Getting Suite-Mates - Whoever booked the room under their name has the final end-all be-all say on who can stay in the room. If something gets damaged within the room or someone flakes out, it’s the person who the room’s name is under that has to be responsible for handling the cost. This means that they get the say on who can and cannot stay in the room. If you did not book the room, don’t invite people to stay in “your” convention room, suggest they ask the person whom the room belongs to and talk to that person. While the room holder will generally get the okay of everyone in the room before adding/removing guests, the final yes or no is always theirs.

02) Room Keys - Most hotels will only provide a limited number of room keys. Therefore, make sure you always have a key or know how to locate a suite-mate that does.

03) Curfew - This is a room-by-room issue, but generally I don’t have a curfew. However, if you’re not coming back to the room until extremely late (determine what constitutes late with your suite-mates) it is generally polite to give your roommates a heads up so that they don’t worry.

04) Sleeping - This may vary from room-to-room as well. If someone is sleeping in the room at the moment, there is no partying. Please be respectful that not everyone has the same amount of energy as you do so if someone is sleeping and you are still in the mood to party, take it to the lobby or some other parts of the con. A lot of rooms don’t sleep much during a con, but some people do, be respectful.

05) Guests - As a general rule, guests can stay and party but cannot sleep at the room (everyone else is paying for the room split and space is probably already tight). If they get drunk at the shared room, they need to hop a shuttle back to their hotel. If they drive, please make them aware that guests are not allowed to stay so they limit their drinking. If there is some horrible situation where a guest is dislocated from their party and needs a place to stay, the decision for them to stay will have to be unanimously decided by everyone else. I know this is a little mean, but you do not want to get any of your stuff stolen or broken by random people.

06) Drinking & Smoking - Underage drinking is not allowed in the hotel room. Drinking is allowed however (given the room holder and suite-mates are okay with it), as long as you are legal. There are laws about providing alcohol to minors. In some cases, the people in the room may refuse to provide any alcohol at all to someone who is driving that same evening. Smoking is generally a rule set by the hotel. It is becoming more and more common for hotels to not have “Smoking” rooms available at all, so if you are in a hotel-dubbed “Non-Smoking” room, you must smoke outside. "Outside" is not sticking your head out of a window or covering up/tampering with a smoke alarm. If you are staying in a “Smoking” room, rules about smoking should be set between the roommates.

Addendum: No one is obligated to provide you food or alcohol even if you are a guest in the convention room.

07) Drugs - No illegal drugs in the room. No arguments.

Addendum: For my room, this includes marijuana. It is still illegal federally, and I do not permit it in spaces I am responsible for.

08) Personal Belongings - In general, try to keep your stuff semi-organized and out of the way. This is especially important in shared rooms with costumers. Rooms with multiple costumers make true organization impossible; however, generally, do not use the bed(s) or anyone’s sleeping spot as storage/table space for extended periods of time. This is more important in the evenings when there is partying or sleeping occurring than it is in the middle of the day. You’re going to rush around and leave stuff out –it’s a given. However, exhausted con-goer or random party-er should not be in charge of moving your stuff off of the bed before they can sleep or sit down. This is how stuff ends up broken, dirty, or lost. When possible, try to store stuff with your bags, in the closet, wherever is appropriate to the room. Under the hotel room tables or counters is often a safe space to use as storage as it prevents things being stepped on or tripped over.

09) Door Sign - Once you check in, leave the “Do Not Disturb” sign up at all times unless agreed upon by all of the roommates. You do not want cleaning people trying to straighten up con-crazy, and they probably don’t want to deal that mess either. You will most-likely lose stuff, something will get broken, stolen, etc after a hotel maid comes through. We’re all big kids, we can make our own beds. When you need towels, you can call down to the reception desk.

10) Bathroom - Con space is always tight, and you all have to share the bathroom. So if you’re going to need the bathroom for an extended period of time (taking your shower, complex costume, etc) let everyone know –we don’t need a why, just need to know it’ll be unavailable for a bit– so people can use the restroom quickly if need be before you have it for the next half hour or more. This also means that if you can do something like makeup or hair-drying in the main room, please do so.

11) Decency Check - Always check the room before bringing guests in. Make sure your suite-mates are conscious and “decent”. Someone might have been alone and is doing a quick change in the main area (bad idea, but it always happens). Or they might be ill or sleeping. This is not a good time for a stranger to pop in without warning. Especially ones toting cameras. Along the same lines, do a decency check before answering the door. Do not swing the door open to answer it while your roomies are in the middle of a clothing change. Also, sometimes roommates just may not want a bunch of people in their room, especially if they are costumers and have delicate bits out, or have brought along expensive personal items such as their laptop.

12) No Sex in the Room - Con hook-ups are not entirely uncommon. However, unless ALL of your suite-mates agree to have a policy otherwise, assume that it doesn’t matter if your suite-mates are in the room or not –- they could return unexpectedly. No sex within the shared hotel room. Do it at the other person’s hotel room or sneak into some dark alleyway and do it there. If you have a balcony, that’s off limits as well. The same goes for the bathroom. Convention hotel rooms are a limited, shared space and beds are frequently shared in a non-romantic sense. Be considerate of your suite-mates.

13) Keep In Touch - Day one, everyone in the room should have everyone else’s cell phone number, and the room phone number. This is so you can find each other if needed. Lost keys, unforeseen emergencies, etc. Keep in mind that texting is the most reliable method of contact at a con, and check your phone regularly to avoid missing things –like group dinners.

14) Visiting Rooms - Keep in mind that not every con hotel room is a “party room”. Ensure that everyone with a paid share in the room is alright with any guests that come through the door. This goes for if you are going to someone else’s room, or bringing people into your own.

15) Costumers with Heavy Make Up - If you’re dressed as a zombie or something with a lot of blood and gore, or any costume with heavy makeup or details that might rub off on cloth, walls, carpet, etc. Respect the wishes of those in the room to keep the fake blood and body paint off of their stuff. Generally don’t bring it in the room, or stay in a spot where your mess can be contained anytime the make-up is being worn.

Addendum: If you wash heavy make-ups off in the room, be sure to clean it thoroughly off any surfaces in the room. You stain the sink/counter and the hotel charges me for it, I'm charging you.

16) Costumers playing with Dye - In the hotel room? DO NOT. Handle that at home or go without.

17) Sewing Machines in the Room - While it is understandable that cosplayer deadlines are tight, any in-room sewing should be confined to hand-sewing. A machine generates too much noise and takes up too much space. If your costume is still that far from done, leave it at home.

18) Clean Up After Yourself - Clean up after yourself. (In my rooms) We're all grown ups and I expect you to be conscious of the messes you make and capable of using a napkin/etc to wipe up a mess and throw your stuff away.

19) TIP the Service Staff - Tip your bellhop. If you ask for towels or other things to be brought up, have a tip ready upon opening the door. Additionally, my roommates and I generally try to pool together cash to leave a tip for the cleaning staff on check out day.

General Convention RulesShared Hotel RoomsConvention Check ListOther Advisory Notes

Convention Check List

These are just advised things to bring with you, and directed mostly at those sharing a hotel room at the con.

General Items

  • Your badge pick-up info. (Most cons require photo ID and Registration number or bar code if you have pre-registered for a badge.)
  • Camera (Optional, but you’ll regret not having one)
  • Con bag to carry your necessities while walking the floor (Plastic grocery bags will break. I suggest a backpack, messenger bag, or similar.)
  • Drugs (Legal kind only.)
    • Prescription: Bring extra in case your transportation takes more time than expected. Check rules of your transportation provider – airline, bus, etc.
    • Over the counter medications: Tylenol/Aleve/Advil or the like. Stomach medication, allergy pills, sleeping pills, etc.
    • Vitamins and immune boosters: The con-crud is not something you want to come down with, and lack of sleep and alcohol will lower your resistance. If you can, start taking these a week before con to boost your immune system.
    • Especially bring your own medicine if you have allergies for certain kinds of medicine, bring headache, allergy, and stomach medicine that you CAN take –just in case, it’s possible you will not be able to find the right stuff when con food suddenly makes you ill. (I have a friend that is allergic to wheat gluten and cannot take most standard pills. I am going to glue a bottle to her hand if we do 3 years in a row of her getting sick without having gluten-free meds packed.)
  • Cash / ID / Credit Cards (Do not count on ATMs, they tend to run out of money at a convention.)
  • Cell Phone (AND charger)
  • Sheet protectors in a hard notebook (Optional — Great for autographed pictures, prints, etc.)
  • Contact Info (Optional — MooCards make new friends)
  • Swimsuit (Optional — Most host hotels have pools. It’s a nice thing to do one evening after prime-time con hours.)
  • Feminine Hygiene Products (The stress and bustle of a con can kick off your cycle early.)

Food

  • Snacks (use your own judgment, but remember–you’ll probably have NO FRIDGE)
  • Water (seriously –water bottle– HAVE ONE)
  • Etc. (You might want to bring a non-perishable breakfast food. –like Pop Tarts)

Sleeping / Hygiene Essentials

  • Sleeping Bag / Comforter (MUST HAVE for shared rooms)
  • Pillow (Good idea for shared rooms)
  • Toothpaste / Toothbrush
  • Hairbrush
  • Deodorant (For the love of all that is decent, PLEASE.)
  • Shampoo / Soap (hotel complimentary shampoos won’t cover for everyone if you have a large group to a hotel room)

Costumers

  • Emergency Sewing Kit (With thread colors you’re likely to need. Clear thread is an easy solution here.)
  • Small Magnet (Optional – to locate the sewing needle you WILL drop from your kit.)
  • Hot Glue Gun (and glue sticks)
  • Scissors
  • Make Up (including some to put in your con bag for touch ups)
  • Make Up Remover (especially if you’re wearing stage-grade make up)
  • Bobby Pins
  • Safety Pins
  • Tape (if applicable for potential repairs – I usually carry blue painter’s tape. This is good for broken props, costume slippage, and temporary repair of fabric rips. I use the painter’s tape because it does not do long term damage to/leave sticky residue on the fabric or prop.)
  • Clear Nail Polish (If anything you wear has pantyhose)
  • Wig Cap (if applicable)
  • Topstick (fashion tape)

Entertainment (optional, but a good idea for long lines)

  • Ipod
  • Nintendo DS
  • PSP
  • Book
  • Sketchpad & Pens
  • Etc.

General Convention RulesShared Hotel RoomsConvention Check ListOther Advisory Notes

Other Advisory Notes

Very KEY ITEM… A bag. Not a purse, and not a plastic or paper bag. A sturdy backpack or messenger bag. You will be carrying it most of the day, so make sure it’s comfortable and has absolutely only what you will need (at minimum: money, ID, room key/car key, and water bottle). Try to leave extra space for purchases. If you can, you do not want to carry your bag plus three plastic or paper bags of con goodies. This is less of an issue if you are staying at a con hotel, but still.

Check out the online schedule before the con if you can, but be sure to get your hard copy at the con, and watch the room signs for events important to you. Schedules and rooms often get switched during the con due to, well, Conventions == Organized Chaos(TM Michelle).

IF there are maps of the convention center online, (hopefully they will put these with the schedules, but not all cons do) look them over to kind of know how the con is laid out if not printing out your own copy.

If you’re with a group, have a default meeting place. This is a good idea so you can tell people just to meet at 5 for dinner or some such. It minimizes confusion and makes a default place to find your friends at if you’re in between events or panels.

Be sure to have a pen or pencil to mark changes important to you on your paper schedule. A highlighter is also useful when planning panel attendance. I usually try to remember to have two colors, one for must-see events, and one for maybes. If you’re attending costume photo shoots, remember to write these into your schedule!

For Costumers, have a regular change of clothes for every day. Just in case something occurs where you can’t or don’t want to wear your costume after X-hours. You never know, somebody might spill orange soda on your costume. It happens.

Consider coordinating with your hotel suite-mates on snacks. Stuff is cheaper in bulk, and different people can be in charge of different snacks.

General Convention RulesShared Hotel RoomsConvention Check ListOther Advisory Notes

Additional Reading:

- The rules for the convention you are attending. These will be posted on your con’s website. - RM’s Con Behavior: Clues for Free - Comics Oughta Be FUN!’s On A Serious Note blog entry - Girl-Wonder.org’s Convention Anti-Harrassment Project - GWMC’s SFCon Survival Kit for Newbies - Shrub Monkeys’ Etiquette for Meeting Your Idols

elfgrove: (interlac)
Okay, so I think everyone knows this already, right?

[LINK: Dragon*Con TV: What’s up with SyFy?]

SciFi Channel announces that it's changing it's name to SyFy.

Okay, let's be honest, they can't copyright/trademark the name "SciFi" and you know that has to bug the ever-loving hell out of the studio execs. Of course they want to change the name. And as Dragon*Con TV (and many other geeks have pointed out) it's been a long time since the "SciFi Channel" exclusively showed science fiction.

So understand, it's not so much the name change or the quality of the new name that people are all in a tizzy about.
Although the "changing its name to something that is phonetically identical yet spelled like a 3-year-old text messaging" is just really not helping your case SIFFY.

So why is a large percentage of the geek community up in arms over the name change?
From what I'm hearing, there are two main reasons.



REASON 1: Distancing Themselves From the Geek Demographic

It's not so much the fact that they want to do it, as it is that they listed it as one of the primary reasons for the name change as well as the way they worded that reason.
Dave Howe, president of the Sci Fi Channel:
"We'll get the heritage and the track record of success, and we'll build off of that to build a broader, more open and accessible and relatable and human-friendly brand."

Tim Brooks, TV historian who helped launch SciFi Channel:
"The name Sci Fi has been associated with geeks and dysfunctional, antisocial boys in their basements with video games and stuff like that, as opposed to the general public and the female audience in particular."

[LINK: Syence fyction: because geeks are inhuman], [LINK: Sci Fi Channel Aims to Shed Geeky Image With New Name]

I am a female geek. (Hey, look at that, we exist. Welcome to the 20th21st century.) I am a software engineer. I like the science fiction and fantasy genres. I am an intelligent and social woman.

And THAT? That was insulting. You want to get a more "human-friendly brand"? You might want to start by not insinuating that your current core audience is in some fashion less-than-human and beneath you.

It's not the new name we dislike. It's the reason you gave, and the attitude it came with.

I don't see "geek" as a bad word. Most geeks do not fit that stereotyped description you gave. In fact, most people with any amount of free thinking cell in their brains realized that was a minority of the "geek culture" rather than the norm sometime during the late 1990s.
As [livejournal.com profile] dqbunny said, "We're journalists, astrophysicists, engineers, financial investigators, physicists, historians, librarians, artists, writers, students, and many other professions. We're men, women, young, and old. Pretty much all of my female friends are geeks. We are not stereotypes, and don't you dare even begin to lump some of the most brilliant minds out there into one thanks to your pathetic, small-minded, pea-sized brain."
I still watch SciFi Channel occasionally. I enjoy shows like "Destination Truth" and "Ghost Hunters" from time to time. But they aren't science fiction shows. I do not watch them because of the network they're on. I watch them for the same reasons I watch "MythBusters". It's reality TV in an entertainingly geeky light, and you might get to see something that makes you think. Those two are just the paranormal side of the coin.

This sort of insult makes me want to actively boycott the station all together, just because the attitude it's being done with angers me. I really don't care about the name switch so much as the way they're phrasing it. But I know I won't, and it wouldn't matter if I did. (It's not as though I've turned it on in months anyways.)

The network executives might want to seriously consider apologizing for how they have worded this.

I am a geek, and I am not ashamed.



REASON 2: Credit Where Credit Is Due

This reason is not as wide spread from what I've seen, and perhaps less important, but you guys know me, It's the principal of the thing.

A lot of people recognized the name "SyFy" when it came out on Monday. For the past 10 years, there's been a major science fiction website known as the "SyFy Portal". A month ago, it mysteriously changed its name to "Airlock Alpha" citing that it sold the rights to the name to an undisclosed entity.

Now that the news is out, the owner of Airlock Alpha has confirmed that they did indeed sell their name to the SciFi Channel.

SciFi is officially saying that they "worked with the branding consultancy Landor Associates and went through about 300 possibilities before selecting Syfy."
They've continued to say they made up the SyFy name completely on thier own, and only bought out Michael Hinman (founder and site coordinator for SyFy Portal/Airlock Alpha) to ensure they had the rights.
"When the New York Times first announced the story, it stated that SciFi Channel came up with the name independently using internal employees and a marketing firm. When they were confronted with the fact that SyFy had been under the use and ownership of Hinman for more than a decade by Media Post's David Goetzi, NBCU apparently stuck to its story.

A representative told Goetzi that the network conceived the "Syfy" name "completely independently" of its current usage, and that any deals struck with Hinman were simply to clear up other usages of the name they developed." [LINK: NBCU, Hinman Grapple Over 'Syfy' Moniker]

One problem with that.

"I don't own any rights to the name at all now, and have no connection to it. But at the same time, I have been making it clear that there's no way the "Syfy" name was developed independently by NBC Universal -- especially as they have worked directly with us for years, and there's nothing wrong with at least giving creation credit where creation credit is due." [LINK: Web Explodes With 'Syfy' Origin Story]

They've worked with this guy for years. He's been on the sets. SciFi's VP of programming, Mark Stern, is a friend of Hinman's on Facebook. He's been a part of many conference calls for SciFi Channel shows. NBCU blacklisted SyFy Portal for several weeks at the beginning of 2009 because of their displeasure of our spoiler news model -- one we changed specifically for them and had our blacklisting removed. [LINK: Hinman: Why The Games, SciFi Channel?]

But now they claim they've never heard of Hinman and SyFy Portal before this. They claim that they invented the name on their own.

Hinman doesn't want more money, but as I said:
It’s the principal of the thing.
Give credit where credit's due.


(This post inspired by [livejournal.com profile] dqbunny's and the general outcry occurring on Twitter and various Sci-Fi/News blogs.)
elfgrove: (wtf?)
Entire states apart! Spread out over years!
But somebody spraypainted a smiley face with devil horns on a tree near one of them.
A regular smiley face was painted where we think that other drowned boy fell into a river 3 states away and 5 years later, but we have no proof of foul play on that one.
Sounds like a serial killer to me!
We have a case to solve! --To the Batmobile, Robin!


Behind the scenes investigating "the Smiley Face killer" - May 21, 2008 07:39 PM ET
Randi Kaye - 360° Correspondent

As a reporter, I've moved around a lot. Little Rock, Arkansas. Dallas, Texas. New York, New York. Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Some stories stick with you along the way, some actually haunt you, like the story I am reporting on tonight on Anderson Cooper 360°.

While I lived and worked in the Midwest for seven years, I reported on at least half a dozen college-age men who had simply vanished.

These men would disappear after a night of drinking with friends, and their bodies would turn up in the Mississippi River or some other body of water weeks or perhaps months later. Local police always wrote them off as drunk college kids losing their way and accidentally drowning.

But what was strange was that college-age women didn't disappear, and it only happened during the winter months, never during the summers when college guys, no doubt, were also out partying.

A few hours away in LaCrosse, Wisconsin, nine male college students disappeared in a decade. Strange, right? Some locals started suggesting a serial killer might be at work but police there never could find a connection.

Well now it turns out two retired cops from New York City say the bizarre drownings of at least 40 men around the country were not drownings at all, but murder.

They say they have evidence connecting them. And guess what? The evidence is, among other symbols found at crime scenes, smiley faces. They vary in size and color but were found painted on trees and sidewalks nearby where the retired cops think the bodies were placed in the water.

Of all the cases they're examining, only one has officially been ruled a homicide. I covered that one for years in Minneapolis, so it feels personal to me.

The victim was Chris Jenkins. I got to know his parents, Steve and Jan Jenkins, who feel their son “was murdered and thrown away like a piece of trash.”

They still visit the spot where his body was pulled from the Mississippi River on the anniversary of his death. They leave a dozen red roses, and one white rose for him.

It's been 5 and a half years and when I went to the river with them a couple of weeks ago, Jan Jenkins broke down in tears. Losing a child, she said, is something you never get over.

Chris was a senior at the University of Minnesota. He was out bar hopping with friends on Halloween in 2002 and simply vanished.

Chris was a good-looking kid. A smart kid who was co-captain of the lacrosse team. Chris's image stuck with me.

Then, four years after his death, a tip from an informant suddenly led Minneapolis police to rule his case was not an “accidental drowning” but a homicide. They haven't released details about that tip but that was what detectives Gannon and Duarte needed. This was the break that has helped them continue their crusade to figure out who, in their opinion, is murdering these college men and why.

They don't believe it's the work of one person. It would be too much for just one killer since the cases span 11 states and 25 cities.

This is personal for Detective Gannon, too. Turns out, in 1997 when he investigated the drowning death of Patrick McNeill, a college student at New York City's Fordham University, he made a promise to his parents that he wouldn't quit until he solved it. That was where it all started and he's still going.

Could all of this be a coincidence? Or is there a gang of Smiley Face killers out there targeting young college men?

The FBI told us they don't see any connection or give this theory any weight... What do you think?


Oh for the-- Did anyone else feel stupider for having read that? I did.
This is absurd. Drunk people do stupid things. I do stupid things while drunk. It happens.
Now, were some of them murders? Yeah, probably. It's possible.
Were all of them? No. P
Is there a band of "Smiley Face Killers"? Don't be ridiculous.

Have you paid much attention to local graffitti in your area? Smiley faces get painted everywere. Smiley faces with horns even. On trees, near rivers? Yeah I've seen it. I've seen guys do it too. Whether it's a hoodlum, pre-teens trying to be "cool", or some drunk guy and his buddies screwing around. No, it's not typical gang graffitti, but it is typical or more normal random/unaffiliated kids, teens, and near-adults.

Why do drownings happen more in the winter? Because your body goes into shock faster, you're less able to get yourself out of the freezing water, and if there are others with you--they're less-likely to jump into freezing water after someone.

Look at that-- Logic. You migh texpect that sort of basic logic from say-- a journalist. But whatever am I thinking?! Logic and Media? That doesn't make for good TV.

This sort of "Smiley Face Killer" talk borders on paranoid conspiracy theory. Get real America.



Of course, I might just be being pissy because the noise ofpeople tearing apart and rebuilding two cubes directly next door to me, and temporarily storing the wall pieces and tools in my cubicle.
elfgrove: (angry)
OMFG! LiteBrite == Bomb!!!!!!!1!!1!!eleventyone!

-- Oh wait... not really.
Ah, we look dumb... Let's ummm....
Get the infidels!
How dare they not imagine the depths of mass stupidity!
How dare they not realize that the bomb squad apparently can't differentiate between LED boards with 4 D-batteries and an actual bomb!

... Faith in John Q. Public to show signs of intelligence failing.
elfgrove: (Humans...)
15 kids just got expelled from college for doing something idiotic this past halloween. And I understand why. What i'm not sure of is... if it was right.

They made one dumb move, and are now marked for life... But then again... It was exceedingly dumb.
Yet at the same time... I'm angry.
If they had dressed up as native americans, or as muslims, or as chinese or japanese people and acted similarly... If it had been a black frat that had dressed up as hillbillys and run around being idiots... No one would have blinked.
I don't condone what happened in the least. I'm only angry because I know that the reaction would not be the same had it been anyone else...

I couldn't help but remember today...
Being the small girl who had barely become used to riding a bus to school in the past two years. Who didn't know she wasn't supposed to sit at the back. Who had bruises from being pushed down the bus steps and shoved out of seats. Because I was a white girl sitting in the wrong section of the bus, and I didn't understand why I had no right to sit there. I remember going to the school counselor in tears. I remember being told I was making up stories and over-reacting. I remember my mother trying to do something. I remember being told I was racist. I remember the counselor telling my mother she should do something about my lying and put a stop to this racist attitude I had. I remember being terrified of getting on and off the bus. Every day. I remember the only person who worked at the school who believed me and tried to help me and mom was the elementary school principal. I remember I was in middle school and Mr. Walker, the only black adminisrator being the only one willing to say something to the black girls on the bus who were a year older than me and pulling these stunts.

I remember learning what racism was was and learning the hard way what no one remembers.... It goes both ways....

I remember the fact that years later I was still scared of these girls. Scared they would get it in their heads to shove me down the bus stairs again. Scared they would get it in their heads to do something worse... I was a small kid anyways, and these girls were tall and a year older, one easily twice my size... And the three of them made me the bad guy. And I couldn't say a single thing in retaliation. Because that would be racist.

I... I can't condone racism. In any direction its wrong. What pisses me off is that no one would've given a shit if what had happened at that frat house had been anything but white kids being racist against blacks. And I would slap them if I knew those idiots. What in the hell was going through their heads?
I'm angry because someone's going to expect me to all but bow and scrape everytime a black kid gets the least bit offended. I've been there. I hated that. And it only upsets me because some people honestly believe anything less is racism. But only in that direction.
elfgrove: (Humans...)
They also wonder what I have against frats and sororities.
The frats? They seem to encourage blind following and rude crude, idiotic behavior.
Humanity? Everytime they accomplish something, no one believesit, it hasn't really be accomplished,or is ruined by people returning to it.

I hate that this:
http://www.stepshow.com/news/auburn/
happened.

I hate the lines it is going to draw on campus.
I hate that it destroys so much.
I hate that some of the people who are offended by this will likely group all whites into this category.
I hate that this is all over the news, and that people think this is typical of the university, of the South, of whites.
I hate that I will probably be scared to attend a black student organization event because of the hate this might stir.
I hate that the same feeling will be going on in the opposite direction.

And gods... I hate that it happened...
elfgrove: (Humans...)
AnimeNation's most recent newsletter. contained the following article...
Hayao Miyazaki Fans Unite!

In response to last week's news that the Disney Company has no intentions of releasing any further Studio Ghibli films in America, an internet petition and letter writing campaign has been formed by fans to urge Disney to reconsider its decision. A similar campaign to urge Disney to include a subtitled Japanese language track on the Princess Mononoke DVD gathered 10,000 signatures, national media attention, and ended successfully. This petition will need similar, if not more support to most likely be even partially effective. As devoted supporters of anime in general and the works of Hayao Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli in particular, AnimeNation urges readers to take a moment to read and sign the petition and write letters to the Disney mailing address provided at http://www.petitiononline.com/3104/petition.html


I'm obviously confused....

How can they be upset about Disney wanting to get out of the anime translation buisness? I want to see the stuff translated and produced as well, but I understand Disney's position. It's logical really. It's really partially the fault of these people who run around like chickens with their heads cut off, making petitions online. "Sign this petition against allowing such and such company to dub such and such anime!"
What do you expect to happen? Really...

When one gets national attention, okay so that one demanded a sub be produced, but the way it was gone about was equally rude. Of course after having to deal with that, it's not surprising for a company to pull out of translatng anime. It's a PR nightmare! Because everyone has to bitch and complain and generally be trolls about an anime getting dubbed... Really people. Most of you started in anime via the dubbed stuff. Personally, I like to see both subbed and dubbed. I can understand a dislike of either.

But if these whining and childish petitions contnue the way they have, it'll be a wonder if anime continues being translated....

And don't sit there glomping your loved fansubs saying you don't care... If there's no risk of an anime ever being contracted, do you think fansubs will remain free or at reasonable prices? Feh...

Anyways... just my two cents...

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