MediaWest*Con 36

Wednesday, June 1st, 2016 04:48 pm
lizvogel: lizvogel's fandoms.  The short list. (Fandom Epilepsy)
Had a very good con this past weekend. We did the commuting-from-home thing again, which in addition to saving money once again encouraged us to get out there and try more things that we otherwise might have skipped in favor of flaking in the hotel room. Went to quite a few decent panels (and the inevitable couple that required an urgent text message partway through), had several good meals with good company, and some kind soul gave me digital copies of a show I've been trying off and on for twenty years to see. (Which was cognitively dissonating; cloning tapes used to be a big part of the con back in The Olde Dayes, so my earliest fannish conditioning collided with the modernity of getting an entire series on a piece of technology so small I could lose it if I sneezed.) Also stayed up far too late two nights in a row playing Cards Against Humanity with the kind of sick and twisted people you want to play Cards Against Humanity with. ;-)

Having wisely taken Tuesday off for recovery purposes, we had a lovely day vegging out yesterday. The housemate is back dealing with the real world today, and I am back scrambling madly to get ready for the next con I'm going to, only a couple weeks away. But at least we're both doing it with a decent bit of sleep under our belts.

There were some minor issues, most notably that the panel organizers seemed to have utilized a random number generator in assigning panelists. (And they wonder why more people don't volunteer/offer suggestions.) However, everybody rolled with it and managed to have a good time anyway.

Looking forward to next year.

MediaWest*Con 35

Tuesday, May 26th, 2015 11:30 pm
lizvogel: lizvogel's fandoms.  The short list. (Fandom Epilepsy)
So, there was MediaWest*Con this past weekend.

It was a good con. We were commuting from home, which I think actually contributed to a better con experience. For one thing, I wasn't roaming the halls for hours looking for something interesting still going on late at night (MediaWest's attendees are increasingly early-to-bed types, as the years go on), which always leaves me cranky and disappointed -- if there was nothing left to do, we just went home to bed. For another, since we didn't have the hotel room to retreat to during the day, I think we went to a lot more panels and sought out more interaction during the day. So it was a good arrangement, as well as vastly cheaper and easier to manage with the ailing cat.

I think it may also have helped that a lot of the people whose first fandom is complaining have finally just stopped coming. So pretty much everybody there was willing to have a good time, which makes it a lot easier for everybody to have a good time.

The art auction was small but high-quality -- my goodness, there were some impressive pieces. The dealers room was pretty low-key, but I actually bought a new zine! Panels ranged in quality; the best was definitely the Cabin Pressure panel, and not just because I knew almost all of the trivia questions. (Brilliant!) Good meals with good company, interesting conversations in the hallways, and a rousing game of Cards Against Humanity on Sunday night -- works for me.


Thursday, May 30th, 2013 03:55 pm
lizvogel: lizvogel's fandoms.  The short list. (Fandom Epilepsy)
So, MediaWest happened. It was a good con, a bit laid-back, perhaps, but that's not a bad thing. Membership was down to around 500, which is a little low but did mean that there was plenty of elbow room.

It was bizarre being back in the old hotel. Just enough remained the same to make the things that were different really make my brain hurt. By Monday, I had almost sussed out the layout of the hotel (the function space was easy, but I spent most of the weekend bewildered by the rooms sections, despite the hotel-provided maps). There were some glitches with function layout, especially in the dealers' room, but some bugs are to be expected in a new venue -- and after 22 years, this definitely qualified as a new venue for organizational purposes! There are good ideas already in the works to address the issues for next year.

Except for the inevitable few whose first fandom is Complaining, people generally coped with the glitches and got on with having a good time.

The hotel staff were awesome, accommodating pretty much any request they could. The hotel itself is a little rough around the edges; the current owners took it over only a year or so ago, after several years of it standing vacant. But everything worked and was clean, and there were nice touches like the hotel waiting to varnish the new wainscoting until after the con so we wouldn't be bothered by the fumes.

Finances being what they are, I mostly sang the "hands in pockets" song, though there was some lovely stuff in the art show and the usual range of goodies in the dealers' room. I did score DVDs of a show I'd all but given up hope of finding. Had several good meals with a variety of company.

Panels... well, it's long been known that the panel organizers and I do not overlap much in interests. There was a pretty good Blakes 7 panel, and a classic Trek panel that happily wandered all around the show.

I spent a fair amount of the evenings running old spy shows in the room, especially Callan. Didn't get much walk-in traffic, but I enjoyed it anyway. I'm contemplating making my own fun by doing a couple of video parties next year, one for old-school spies and one for new-school; we'll see if the ambition survives. And if the hotel's updating extends to new TVs, and whether the aspect ratio is acceptably adjustable.

The contract's not signed for next year yet, but plans are to return to the new-old-whatever-Ramada hotel again. I frankly think it's a fine venue, and I'm glad to be back.

Hotel Follies

Friday, December 14th, 2012 01:26 pm
lizvogel: an old-school DOS prompt, with "Retro" in pixelated green italics (DOS Prompt Retro)
So, MediaWest*Con is moving back to the old hotel. Which isn't really the old hotel anymore, given that there've been any number of franchise & management changes (not to mention... 22 years? eep).

I'll confess to a certain visceral trepidation; I still have a strong somatic memory of holding panels in the pool atrium, and I wasn't even in the costume competition. But I also know that the con chairs have well-tuned bullshit detectors, and they wouldn't have done this if there weren't very good reasons. So I'll just pack my cognitive dissonance along with my spare t-shirt and a good book, and I expect we'll manage just fine.

MediaWest*Con 32

Monday, June 4th, 2012 06:56 pm
lizvogel: lizvogel's fandoms.  The short list. (Fandom Epilepsy)
So, there was MediaWest*Con.

We kind of did it as a relaxacon, and this proved to be a good choice. I deliberately did not do my customary thing of trailing around after certain people and sacrificing my own preferences to their schedule, and as a result I had lot of interesting conversations with people I've seen far too little of in past years, and generally had a very good time. In fact, my avowed intention to spend Sunday in the room writing was entirely derailed by people being interesting and fun to talk to all day. I also pimped Cabin Pressure to several people, yay!

The panel selection wasn't really geared to my interests, but I did manage to get to a few:

Burn Notice: speculation on the new season - which was only intermittently on topic, but lively for its size. Much smaller than in previous years; not sure if that's due to waning interest in the show or merely that it was the second panel slot Friday afternoon and folks were still revving up.

Saturday's panel on 60s Spies was great fun; good panelists, and a nice mix of shows under discussion. I also came out of it with a new/old show to look for -- why did no one tell me Garrison's Gorillas was not merely WWII, but WWII covert ops?!? This I must at least sample.

The mixed panel on USA shows was enthusiastic; also rambly, but the panel topic was sensibly wide open for just that.

I skipped the Holy Mother Grammatica panel, on the grounds that the last time I attended one, it got bogged down in examples of un-proofread fanfic, and not particularly amusing ones at that. I feel I owe an apology to the panelist who overheard me blowing it off, but there was also the issue of dinner to be addressed.

I stuck my head into Sunday's SGA panel long enough to identify that they were busy griping about Stargate: Universe, and promptly left.

The Old Skool and New Blood panel was another good one; some of the same panelists as the 60s Spies one, and neither as "get off my lawn" nor as "get with the 21st Century" as it could have been. May have gotten a door decorating idea out of it for next year.

So, four panels actually attended, none of which I walked out of; one not actually sat down in. Very nearly par for the course for me, but the quality of the few I went to was pleasingly high.

The hotel's finally done with remodeling. The beds once again brought to mind being eaten by a giant marshmallow and her brood of baby giant marshmallows, and the hallway lights really should control hidden doors to secret passages. We managed to get hold of the last remaining OEM remote for the TV, rather than the bacteriologically-sealed ones issued by default, so we could fix the aspect ratio, which was nice as it made it possible for me to actually watch the one episode of Sherlock we found time for. The new manager got off on the wrong foot with a lot of congoers by distributing a dire warning about not moving the furniture; not surprisingly, this proved to be due to his previous run in with a certain dealer who shall remain nameless but anyone familiar with the venue can guess who she is. I can only hope the general pissed-off-ness was reflected in her sales rather than in grief to the concom, who had nothing to do with it.

Oh, and we really must remember to be out of the room by 15 minutes before check-out time next year. Once again, the hotel computer automatically deactivated our keys at noon... except that it was running about 10 minutes fast. Note to self, don't bother getting a new key issued when this happens, as it won't work either. Luckily we found a helpful staffer down the hall, so we could get the last of our stuff out. Stupid hotel computer.

Not quite sure how else I spent the weekend; bought a few things, ate some meals, and generally hung out. Oh, and saw The Avengers movie, which was a blast. Whatever I did, I hope I do it again next year.

MediaWest*Con 31

Wednesday, June 29th, 2011 03:54 pm
lizvogel: lizvogel's fandoms.  The short list. (Fandom Epilepsy)
Sitting down to post about the con I just got back from, I realized I'd never done a MediaWest write-up. It's a bit late even by MWC standards, but what the heck.

Unfortunately, the only thing I made any notes about was the hotel. The renovations were very nice. They've done up the beds with fancy, poofy duvet covers and a truly ridiculous number of fat, squishy pillows. It all just shouts luxury, but given my preference for sleeping on a palette of bricks, it made going to bed each night rather like being eaten by a giant marshmallow and her brood of baby giant marshmallows. Classy, luxurious marshmallows, though.

As for the con itself, it was good. That's about all I remember, honestly. Well, and the tornado warning that had us all hanging out in the bathrooms and such, popping out to check the Weather Channel feed periodically.

The Burn Notice panel was once again full of sane people who'd mostly actually watched the show they were there for. Still a remarkable and refreshing thing.
lizvogel: lizvogel's fandoms.  The short list. (Fandom Epilepsy)
It seems we have a room for MediaWest. Nifty.

For those tracking such things, we were in the "middle third", and fairly middling in that IIRC.

It's nice that the con is stepping up to handle notifications. Not that I don't still think people should chill the fsck out on the whole hotel issue, but info is good.

MediaWest*Con in review

Thursday, June 3rd, 2010 12:49 pm
lizvogel: lizvogel's fandoms.  The short list. (Fandom Epilepsy)
Short version: Another good con.

This year, the fourth floor was out of commission for renovations. Fifth was done, very spiffily, though I was apparently allergic to something in the new decor; five minutes in a fifth-floor room, and I developed a splitting headache. Luckily we were actually staying on 2, courtesy of the charming [ profile] bentleywg. What with a quarter of the hotel unavailable, I would think attendance must have been low again, but it seemed much more energetic and well-populated than last year.

The door decoration came out very well, sort of a giant Burn Notice scrapbook page, with Michael's Spy Tips, Sam's Keg of Knowledge, and Fiona's Words to Live By, plus lots of yogurt and doodads. It didn't win anything in the contest (the fact that at least one of the judges had never seen the show likely didn't help), but fortunately that wasn't why we did it. We were pleased with it, and that's what counts.

It was the Con of the Interrupted Conversation: It seemed like every time I got involved in talking to somebody, somebody else who wanted to talk to me appeared. While one or two important chats ended up put off for a later date, overall I take this as a sign of a very good con indeed. ;-)

Panels seemed particularly off-topic this year; I ended up walking out of several because, while they certainly seemed to be of interest to some of the people there, they definitely were not as advertised. Pity, because some of the topics (like the show but hate the fandom; how to overcome writer's block) could have been quite engaging. Oh well.

The VHS-to-DVD panel was very informative; I must check out the recommended brand of VHS-to-USB player. And possibly get a degree in video production.

The Burn Notice panel was good again this year. Our fandom is still full of sane people; even the one person whose agenda was stronger than her knowledge of the show wasn't too annoying.

Rather than attending the art auction and having to sit on my hands, I set up in the room with the door open and The Sandbaggers on the DVD player. Had a lovely time watching and chatting with assorted folks, including one who to my surprise had never seen the show before. It was like a mini-Sandbaggers con in the middle of MediaWest; very fine indeed.

In line....

Friday, April 30th, 2010 12:46 pm
lizvogel: lizvogel's fandoms.  The short list. (Fandom Epilepsy)
MediaWest hotel waiting list notification are going out, at long last. We're 16th on the list, I've just been informed. Normally that would be next-best to guaranteed for a room, but apparently they're getting almost no cancellations so far. I'm not fretting yet; there'll likely be a spate of cancellations at the last possible minute. Fortunately for us, we can take advantage of an opening at pretty much any time.

HOWEVER: If you are holding a room you don't need, or know someone who is -- for fandom's sake, call the hotel and free it up, already! I swear, half the room craziness at MediaWest comes from people hoarding rooms unnecessarily. Fan up and follow Coyote's VIIth Commandment, people!
lizvogel: lizvogel's fandoms.  The short list. (Fandom Epilepsy)
Finally got around to calling the MediaWest hotel. Don't have a room as of today. Steve at the hotel says that they'll be going through the waiting list Saturday, so hopefully waiting list notifications will happen next week. Fortunately, even if we don't end up getting a room, for us it would be an inconvenience, not a catastrophe.

I love MediaWest*Con, but it does encourage a certain mellowness of attitude toward the prompt processing of things.
lizvogel: lizvogel's fandoms.  The short list. (Fandom Epilepsy)
Whattaya know, the MWC mailing list is not dead. Nothing particularly exciting, the con's happening as usual, the hotel's a bit confused (also as usual, unfortunately), but it's nice to see something official just on principle.

Want con. Want con now.

MediaWest in review

Friday, May 29th, 2009 01:32 pm
(Crossposted from LJ. I really need to get the "fandom epilepsy" userpic uploaded here!)

So, this is now several days post-con. Hey, by MediaWest*Con standards, this is timely.

The con got off to a slow start this year. It felt like attendance was down; I don't know the actual membership count, but there seemed to be fewer decorated doors and less general chaos. The housemate & I were a bit down as well, due to [profile] otterwort and [profile] coffeerainbows having to cancel due to illness and an outbreak of Life. We did thoroughly enjoy the luxury of each having a queen-sized hotel bed to ourselves, but we would've gladly traded the space for the company.

However, it was good to see other folks, and do the usual con things. Shopping was shopped; I picked up a couple of old zines I've been on the lookout for, and assorted what-nots. The biggest-ticket single item was actually a 16 gig flash drive at OfficeMax, ridiculously on sale, and not technically a con expense.

Art-wise, I behaved fairly well. I snagged a print in the dealers' room of some unpronounceable crystals, and two Nicole Pellegrini watercolors from the art show, an abstract/surreal piece called "Pathways" and a lovely cool alien landscape which could actually stay on the wall when we put the house up for sale. I love her work; being not full of pretty men (hey, it's MediaWest*Con) it doesn't tend to sell well, which I think is a shame, but on the other hand, lack of competition means I can actually afford to buy it.

The hotel was still pretty rough; I suspect they're finding two problems for every one they start to fix, as one does. The pool was closed. The fifth floor was a construction zone, which doubtless contributed to the perception of it being a smaller than usual con. The other guest rooms haven't had much if any work done. Hopefully next year they'll have everything all spiffy for us.

The hotel staff was great, though. The newer ones seemed a bit bewildered at first, but they got into it pretty quickly, and the old hands were having a ball. R the restaurant guy has moved to another restaurant, but was hanging out with the FOE and said he's going to get a regular membership next year.

I went to some panels.... )

Wow, that's eight panels. I think that's some kind of record for me.

I only stayed for a bit of the art auction; as the need to sit on my hands grew, I decided the better part of valor involved going up to the room.

I have totally fallen in love with having a laptop with wireless capability, even if the hotel's wireless was only slightly faster than home's dial-up connection. [personal profile] signeh had me pull up Susan Boyle's initial performance on Britain's Got Talent; holy crap, if you have not heard this, go listen to it now. Seriously, I'll wait.

[personal profile] signeh and I talked writing whenever we could fit it in. It was good to have a nice, long natter or two. If only we could have had the whole group together....

Wait, it's May *what*?

Thursday, May 7th, 2009 04:47 pm
lizvogel: Good / Bad (Good Bad)
I was going to post my pre-MediaWest*Con to-do list, but it's long enough that typing it up would constitute another item on the to-do list. And if I add one more thing to the list, I'm going to go stick my head under a pillow for the next two weeks.

In less stressful news, Season 2 of Burn Notice is scheduled to be out June 16. Squee!

(Crossposted to LJ)




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