I spent that evening at erikadoor and Gene's new place. I pulled Asano Rin out to de-wrinkle and continue pseudo-obi improvements, but the more I looked at the funky bow, the less I wanted to dress up. I was feeling burned out, and the effort of cosplay was becoming increasingly unattractive. The thought of just hanging out was much more appealing! A-Cen 2006 thus holds the distinction of being the only con I have not donned a costume at. I swear, I get less and less involved with con events at every A-Cen I go to. When was the last time I attended a panel, for example? A-Cen 2001.
erikadoor and I arrived on con grounds the next afternoon. We somehow managed to go right on in Artist's Alley without a badge, and were able to meet up with etoileeyes, whom I spent Saturday night with. I had no weekend pass and little incentive to buy one, so I tried to be like Gene, who can go wherever he wants, whenever he wants. I'm definitely no smooth liar, though. I'd say my "Plan: Waltzing In at Random" success rate was about 75%. I'm not very good at looking non-committal when I know that something's up, so whenever I got asked to show my badge, I would immediately turn around and do something else for awhile. I finally hit upon the idea of using the environment to my advantage, and used cloaked and head-banded Narutards for cover with good results.
I wandered off from this area, but at six or so, I had a sudden urge to purchase a badge, an act I've not actually engaged in since 2004. This required backtracking through a very long, narrow passageway full of disturbing, watery murals. The challenge of this path was further compounded by an unexpected mass exodus of con-goers in the opposite direction. I braved the tide only to discover that the A-Cen had closed registration at five. Five. I couldn't remember this ever happening before, much less on Saturday, the biggest day! My crazy get-a-badge urge immediately evaporated.
Since I am either in costume or behind the camera and thus have very few decent pictures of myself looking as I normally do, etoileeyes and I took a few shots. We are both artsy, so this soon turned into a much more effort-intensive endeavor than I had originally anticipated. I could not climb out onto the roof, but I could easily make it onto the windowsills and ledges! That is all I will say about that, at least until she sends me copies of the pictures. Hopefully I won't look like a total dork in all of them ... holding modern dance poses on a narrow surface is more of a challenge than you'd think! I hope it pays off.
We eventually tired of our artistic pursuits (and we were running out of climbable windows). So, what to do, what to do. Given my long-term and possibly unshakable disgust with the horribly juvenile behavior of the A-Cen masquerade audience ... oh wait, no badge, no problem there! Why not do what I always do at cons ... find people to talk to? Surely a few souls would not be in the masq! lionboogy had long since dived into that deep abyss, but I did find Al hanging around outside the big hall. I also discovered an ericglass, Mel & Eron and Co., and somehow managed to be around in time to meet awakesoon!
This turned into a late-night McDonald's run through the cold Chicago night and snakes. Yes, snakes. Perhaps inspired by the fake Anthrax scare of Katsucon 2004, we attempted to start a rumor that there were snakes in the elevators. Those slithery reptiles then migrated from elevator to hotel to limo! They were everywhere! (There was even a stray fire hose just hanging out on the street, which seemed to provide substantial evidence of our claims.) Twenty geeks, laughing and somewhat chilled, entered the Golden Arches and encountered several prom goers out on ... dates? Yes. It appeared so. One of our fellows commented, "Baby, you can get anything you want on the menu! You can even get two things!" Speaking of two things, we brought double the requested amount of food back to Al and Lionel! Oops!
My Saturday ended around two a.m., and Sunday commenced with the timeless "I wonder what's in the Dealer's Room?" I am never going to find that second Arslan artbook ever again, it seems. I did, however, locate and obtain two soundtracks that I did not know existed, but that I am thrilled to now have! One has very nice Engrish.
"Arslan, the star that shines above
and the favorite of Goods The place where you are
Is the Continent's battlefield of scattere sweat and blood
When in war, you are the man of the profoundest faith
and devotion And risk you life for the person you devote to
and for the heart you belive The crossed sentiments of a genuine nature
Become the gruceful song that echoes in the wind
Crowned with a golden helmet, you are the man
of the most sublime composition."
But other than that, Sunday was a bit of a bummer. I have never been told that I am in the way so many times before! Nor have I ever before been told by a rather disturbing Kingdom Hearts fangirl that I am an idiot. Or did she call me stupid? I'm finding it a bit difficult to remember, as I was attempting to tune her out. I had to leave earlier than I wanted to, and since time was so short, I didn't get to say good-bye to everyone. The flight back was a bit irritating as well. I hate the automated check in machines! I don't know why Chicagoans are all proud about their Billy Goat burgers. They're fast, but that's about it. Those things are frankly awful! They are thin and do not taste of much. The best burgers I've ever had have been made by my stepfather, or from Lunkers in lower Michigan. It's been a long time since I've had interest in fishing, but damn, did those outdoorsy people know how to cook or what!
On my way home, I did not want to talk to anyone. So of course, people talked to me! There was a miserable 87 year old man, freshly wounded from the loss of his driver's license, who stared off down the street and kept asking me the same questions. What can I say when I agree with the doctor's decision to remove driving privileges? There was a fellow who attempted to hit on me in broken English, but alas for him, excessive background noise plus accent equals me looking confused and not much more. He wasn't that cute anyway! Finally, this guy sat down next to me on the bus and kept on talking about his former careers and payscale (80k!?). They were all nice enough, I suppose, but I was so cranky that people kept on blabbering away when I really just wanted to sit in silence and think.
The hill seemed so much steeper with luggage in tow. I have to admit that living here has been great for teaching me how to pack light!