Discolor Online

Weblog of the sweetest person you never want to piss off.


Feels like midnight

We're reaching that time of the year when the days are growing ever shorter and my energy level crashes to match. A couple of nights this week I stayed up late (or got poor sleep) but surprised myself by staying up ridiculously late last night. An after-work dinner with visiting GAMA dignitaries turned into an evening of drinks and gab-festing, which lasted well into the night. Long enough into the night that on the way home I was hungry enough to drive out of my way to the only late-night drive thru I know of for greasy, cheesy burger. I can't remember the last time I did that but it's been years for sure.

When I did finally get to bed I did not sleep well and awoke tired and groggy for my 8:30am conference call. It was not a good day to have to be getting ready to go to Las Vegas for the Alliance show, either. I had too little coffee or food because I was trying to get a handle on a lot of silly little things and had an abbreviated work day since I had to drive Kate to her dad's. As of two days ago, I wasn't sure that he was going to keep her for the whole time I'm scheduled to be in Las Vegas, which had been weighing on me a little as well. Normally Kate and I have a continual game of Punch Buggy going on drive but today I was so dazed I didn't have the energy to count the few VWs I managed to spot.

Pramas and I need to leave for the airport tomorrow by 6:45am and I haven't packed, haven't planned, haven't researched, haven't prepped. It may turn out that I'll get home late Tuesday and have to turn around for another unexpected trip by Friday (and will have to figure out what to do with Kate if that's the case... which I won't know until the last minute of course). It's been a very long summer and more than anything I'm realizing that I'm tired. Very, very tired.

No rest for the weary, though. There are things that have to be in place before October's Green Ronin Summit! I hate looking around at 8:30pm and feeling like it's after midnight. Bleh. Hopefully no one will mind if I sleep through Vegas.

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My Welcome Home

I guess I didn't do a very good job of reporting in regularly from GenCon. I recovered from staying out too late after the Diana Jones Awards and was a good girl every other night, going back to my room to run credit card receipts instead of hitting the industry parties and getting enough sleep so that I could work my shifts at the booth every day without feeling like misery. The result was that I had one lunch with a friend, one dinner with another, and the rest of the con I was bouncing from person to person like a pinball... never having satisfactory time with anyone. Before I knew it, GenCon was over and I hadn't even seen the whole exhibit hall.

I found out after the fact that the hall opened to Very Important Gamers on Thursday, though that is a minor detail that the entire Green Ronin staff was not aware of at the time. Not that we could have gotten set up any earlier, with four of our seven staffers unable to arrive before Wednesday evening. Still, it explains why people like this commenter at Nikchick.com felt pissed off at my inability to provide service with a smile before the booth was set up and while the cash register wasn't functional. GenCon could have made it more clear that they were going to let gamers pay for early access to the exhibit hall... had I paid $500 for early access and not been able to buy things, I would have been more than miffed. As an exhibitor, I was not thrilled to learn that we would not have late night access to the exhibit hall to set up on Wednesday and was really struggling to get set up Thursday morning. I am even more unhappy now to hear from previously happy and loyal customers that I've lost their business because of the fiasco that was "VIP HOUR" at GenCon. Super terrific.

Thankfully, that episode and the blessedly brief bout of food poisoning from Champions' really gross salad (which I was really glad I didn't eat all of or I'm sure things would have been a lot worse) were the only low-lights of the con. Overall GenCon was a smashing success, the mood upbeat, the energy level high and positive. The ENnies were fun as always and I was personally very pleased with how the awards were spread out among big and small. I really wanted to see Hobby Games: the 100 Best take the Gold this year but I'm still mighty pleased about getting the silver. Everything went by distressingly fast and before I knew it, the convention was over and far to many of my industry friends had passed through and gone without my ever seeing more than a glimpse of them.

I returned home to live and happy bunnies (THANKS to Marc and Michelle for taking care of them!) and had some bunny cuddle therapy to help me come down from the unpleasantness of screaming children and the unbelievably foul gas attack of Stinky Fart Man (who had people groaning for aisles). This summer has been unusually intense as far as unpleasant plane trips but at least once we've arrived at our destinations it's been worth it.

Of course, all is not always sunshine and roses, even when we're not traveling. I arrived home to find that not only did the state incorrectly take Green Ronin's quarterly tax payment out of my personal checking account (something no doubt my own fault, as I was trying desperately to get everything sorted out before leaving the country and being on the road for two weeks but an unpleasant problem for me no matter the fault) but then yesterday I got to talk with some neighborhood police officers about the youths with guns running around in our neighborhood. There was a home invasion and at least two other incidents involving these thugs before they were caught, but they dumped their guns somewhere around the neighborhood and the police did not find those. I hope someone responsible finds the guns and not any of the youths or small children in the neighborhood! After the excitement with the police and the K9 unit, a couple different groups of kids showed up in the park for their favorite activity of pot smoking and bragging about the violent activities they were involved in. Could be just kids bragging about things they had nothing to do with to make themselves seem big and cool, or it could be that these kids really ar no longer satisfied with stashing pot and booze in our park and leaving behind broken bottles and graffiti but are moving up into bigger crimes. Not sure, but either way, it has put a bit of a damper on our homecoming.

Kate is home on Thursday, which means summer "vacation" is just about over. We're taking her to PAX over Labor Day weekend and then she'll start school while we head to Vegas for the Alliance Open House. Then, I think, convention season will officially be over.

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Ropecon ended

Hanged zombie
Originally uploaded by mrksaari.
I did not take this photo. I did not even see Hanged Zombie in person. But this excellent photo, of this excellent costume, taken at the honest to god live action Rock Paper Scissors tournament at Ropecon (and subtitled "Hanged zombie is quite unhappy after losing rock-paper-scissors battle.") well... it'll just have to suffice for those 1000 words I don't have time or mental energy to formulate between now and leaving for GenCon about 18 hours.

Ropecon is made entirely out of 100% awesome. I miss my Finnish brothers and sisters already.

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Zombified by New York

Got to NYC at 4:30am by my body clock and after two hours of screwing around (and a long-ass ride on the A Train) we arrived at the "old school charm" of The New Yorker hotel, where one could feel the cold wind whistling into the room around the window air conditioning unit, where the only window coverings were roller blinds, and where two people trying to stand up at the same time had to negotiate about where to do it. If that sounds like a complaint, I had a reasonable expectation about what I was getting into and being within staggering distance of the Javits Center was a boon worth paying for. I was less enamored of the location when I was jet-lagged and trying to take a nap in the room before setting up the booth only to find that every siren-wielding vehicle in the city was apparently required to do laps around our building... or at least that's what it sounded like when for two straight hours there were constantly sirens blaring. And not just regular sirens, either, but the NYPD and NYFD seem to have their sirens hooked up to a wah wah pedal and take joy in having scratching contests ("w'-w'-woo'-w'-w'-weeoo weeoo-wee-w'-w'...") interspersed with cabbies, truck drivers and other motorists laying on their horns. Ah, New York.

The Comic Con show hours were brutal. A red-eye flight and set-up the first day, eleven hours on the show floor the second, ten hours open to the public on the third. By the time we got to the last day, the mere seven hours plus booth break-down seemed almost luxurious. Having our booth just kitty corner to Miss Horrorfest where they were playing this video on a constant loop was bad enough (she screams twice in a three minute video, so I figure we got to hear her scream about once every 90 seconds on average) but she was there live on Friday and would occasionally make with a live scream while posing with fans on top of it. We were well and truly zombified by the end.

We had time for about one decent meal a day. I would have a quick breakfast, a latte at the convention center, a Cliff bar for lunch and then, finally, a decent dinner sometime after 10:00pm. I'll follow up with some restaurant reviews and post some pictures of our decadent meals as I have the energy to do so. Got home last night at 3am body-clock time (having adjusted to Eastern Time right away) and finally fell asleep around 1:30am. Had to be up at 5:45am to pick up a Flexcar downtown and pick up Kate in Lake Forest Park so she could get to school on time. Right now I'm fighting the need for sleep and wondering if I dare bust into the Brazilian espresso we brought home from Porto Rico without Chris. I just may have to...

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That's dread you're feeling, chick

Yep, nothing like a trip to New York to inspire feelings of, well, dread in me.

Chris lived there for nine years and loves it. We joke that New York is his mistress. Ray loves it there. Jess loves it there. All of Chris's college buddies who still live there seem to love it. Me? Not so much with the love.

I've made an uneasy peace with New York. I don't want to stab it in its filthy heart when I land or anything. I can appreciate its allure; the culture, the campiness, the subway. There's no Katz's Deli in Seattle. I know New York has its features, it's just that I don't really want a pedicure at 2am so the fact that I could get one if I wanted to doesn't give me that thrill it gives some people.

I just can't share the enthusiasm when I have to listen to all the starry-eyed New York lovers swoon about how gorgeous and wonderful and open all night and perfect the city is... like boys who have been won over by the pretty party girl and just don't understand why I don't find her as cute as they do when she toddles home hiccuping and covered in her own oh-so-adorable puke. There are no piles of garbage as high as my head on the streets of Seattle. No attitude of "Rudeness? Welcome to New York, that's just the way things are, rube!" either. My bus might not be as reliable as the subway but it also doesn't smell like pee. You can ask someone if they know what time it is in Seattle without being immediately greeted with The Scowl that trained New Yorkers have perfected, not just wary of the scam but fully expecting it. I'm just not smitten with this good-time girl and I know admitting that puts me squarely into the cretin category for the millions of people who worship New York and its Greatest City in the World mystique. Ah well, no hipster points for me then.

Of course, it's not just my generalized New York ennui that has me dreading this trip. Because I wanted to take a non-stop red-eye (no sense paying for more nights in Manhattan than you absolutely have to) we're flying on... JETBLUE. (This is the only flight they make from Seattle to New York!) Yep, the airline that's been completely screwed all week because they couldn't figure out how to handle a snow storm that didn't involve holding their passengers hostage on the tarmac for 6-12 hours. They're still canceling flights and trying to clear their backlog a week later!

Then there's the job I'm going to New York to do: work New York Comic Con at the Javits Center, floor hours for ten and eleven hour days. Nothing thrills me with dread like the prospect of working until 8 or 9 at night and then getting up to do it again the next day. A show like GenCon is busy enough that time passes swiftly but Comic Con is a tangential show for us, like the ALA show was. Time is not going to pass swiftly.

I'm consoling myself with the slim chance that I might get to see Steve Colbert. More likely, I'll just see Gary Coleman.

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Conquest NW

ConQuest blue

Chris and I and Katherine got ourselves together today to go out the Bellevue and visit with our pals at Avalon Conventions, the fine folks who put on the Conquest shows all along the west coast from LA to Seattle.

As I said to Chris, I can't believe it's been a year since we were out at the airport Marriott at Conquest's first Seattle show with just over 150 other people. This year had the show in a new venue, working in close conjunction with Seattle-area game associations and fellow conventioneers such as the folks who organize Dragonflight and the guys who run Enfilade. The show brought in over 400 people this year, and brought up Dave Arneson as Legendary Guest of Honor, which was really neat.

We arrived a little late in the day and I desperately needed coffee to offset the sleepy-high feeling from the cold meds, but even so we managed to get in a fun game of Ticket to Ride. Kate took second place fair and square. I was three cards away from making my 19 point LA to Miami ticket when Chris went out. I'm no James J. Hill, that's for sure, though I did totally own Duluth. Got to talk to the re-AEG-enabled Marcelo and Non-Legendary Guest James Ernest for about five minutes each.

The con is still going on tomorrow but we're heading to NY Comic Con on Wednesday, so there'll be no President's Day convention attending for me. Still, it's shaping up to be a good, fun little show and I look forward to seeing it grow even more. (Not to mention looking forward to finding out more about 2008's Cruise Con! I hear it's going to be a Seattle to Alaska cruise and I'm totally into that.)

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No Finland


A year ago, Chris accepted an invitation to be a guest at Recombination in Cambridge, so we've had to turn down an invitation to go to Ropecon.


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