Megacon 2005
Or, "Unexpectedly Awesome at Every Turn"...

 This was kind of the convention I didn't think I'd be able to go to. And wow, am I ever glad I was.

I still don't exactly have photos up yet, because I need to devise a way to keep my negatives from curling up on the scanner. That's right, the imagery's all on Kodak Tri-X 400TX film. Heck yeah I'm just that old-school.

Anyway, as previously posted to my journal elsewhere...

I didn't think I'd get to go to Megacon until practically the last minute, when all signs pointed to "w00t!" So, Thursday night I made reservations with Amtrak, and Friday morning I got on Metrorail and went off to the station. The walk between the Metrorail station and the Tri-Rail station had to be the ugliest four blocks I've ever walked, seriously. I was glad to leave that landscape behind...

The station was kinda odd. It looked very 1970s-modern, as in, made to look all futuristic back in the 70s, and to look all horribly dated in the '00s. I spent about 30 minutes of quality time (HA!) there watching cruddy CNN, then got on the train when the boarding call was announced. It took an hour for the train to actually get ready to move and do so... which it did at about 0.01 Snail Per Hour. It took 25 minutes just to get out of the yard and merge onto the main line!

Now, those of you who ride Tri-Rail will know that Tri-Rail often gets slowed down because they have to follow an Amtrak train on the line. .... I think the one I was on demolished, singlehandedly, a few thousand commuters' timely arrivals. Random stops were made here and there, station stops took anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes, and... did I mention RANDOM stops? One of them was in some area called Okeechobee, which apparently consisted entirely of an *ABANDONED* Amtrak station and some junk yards! The train was scheduled to get to Orlando at 3, and got there at around 6:30... but I just thought it was so cool that I didn't care that it took so long. I was riding coach, which is about like first class on an airplane, AND THEN SOME! I wouldn't call the space between seats "legroom", I'd call it "enough space that you could put a little folding chair there and have someone else sit facing you with few space problems at all". Each pair of seats had a 120v power outlet next to it, which I was under the impression that the trains didn't have, except on the Metroliner/Acela cars. I wonder what first class looked like?

I made the mistake of getting a sandwich for lunch in the cafe car. Only after I exited the train at Orlando did I realize there was a real dining car up ahead (about EIGHT CARS ahead). D'oh. The frozen/reheated Gardenburger, I declared it to be the ultimate metaphor for a government subsidized transportation service, but I can't remember quite why I likened it that way. Oh well. I ran into a spot in it that was still frozen solid right as something that looked to be the last Tri-Rail station zoomed by at 79 mph.

Incidentally, for anyone who hasn't tried this before - walk down the middle of a train as it's moving at 79 mph, while looking out the windows. The feeling of my mind visually determining that I was walking at 82-83 mph and screaming daisies from fourteen miles away was just utterly amazing.

Once I got to Orlando I had the wonderful privledge of sitting in many hours of Miami style traffic. Once I got to where I thought I was going, I had dinner at Denny's with Mel and some other people, then went on to a hotel other than the one I was staying at, and then to one where I actually was staying for the night. Or was that the night we went to Universal?

I can't remember which night we went to Universal Citywalk, if it was Friday or Saturday. Hrmm. That was a strange trip - we went there to go to a jazz club, called City Jazz. We parked in the King Kong section, and I associated the random passage "Remember, King Kong died for your sins" to it. (Said random passage being from the Principia Discordia). They were only letting people who were 21 and up into Citywalk for some reason, even though the whole place doesn't serve liquor... my guess is it was a crappy anti-mallrat measure? Anyway, we managed to subvert their system for those of us who weren't of age, and went in. I somehow managed to use my FIU student ID which does not list my date of birth to get in... but I guess my feeling of "I should be here" was indeed strong enough. When we got in there, the club was playing crappy ghetto music off a CD somewhere, and had no live entertainment as they claimed they would. Apparently, their last jazz performance was TWO YEARS AGO! We left, but only after getting a refund of the cover charge! (Hopefully this will convince them to change the name to "City Ghetto", as that would be more fitting. They could have at LEAST been playing monotonous trance.) They had instruments on stage, and I was tempted to try to convince our group to just go up and actually start playing jazz with said instruments. That would have rocked, really. Hrmmm... I know tewibewi could have played one of the two keyboards, someone could have played drums, and I probably could have handled playing bass on a keyboard even though I have no clue how to... *evil grin*

Sadly, I missed the independent film thing that I wanted to see Friday... but Saturday was pretty neat. I went around talking to random artists and other people, buying stuff in the dealer's room even though I had told myself I didn't want to buy stuff, and generally having a good time. I also got to talk to uzu_uzu and merlekitty for a while. Yay. Meanwhile, stuff happened elsewhere with cows flying through the air and stuff, but I had a great day.

Sunday, I woke up late. Then the bus didn't come on time, and it was raining. I did the usual silly thing of turning on the TV, and found that there were traffic accidents blocking EVERY possible major roadway into downtown Orlando. Then I found out that ahohesensei was in the hospital after having an allergic reaction. I wasn't really worried about how I'd get home, but I was quite concerned about how she was doing... fortunately, she was out after about six hours of observation and an intravenous blast of Benadryl. I reminded myself that my mom's had these same sort of episodes with allergy related asthma attacks, and she does just fine in such cases after she gets the appropriate medication and has some time to recover. As for getting back, I knew I'd make it somehow, so I just sat back and relaxed, thinking of what I'd do for the rest of the day. At the absolute silliest, I could have gone off and taken a nap in the airport or Amtrak station until Monday morning's trains came along. Fortunately, ahohesensei had a space in her car. (This turned out to be "space" in the sense of the "space" for a third person in the back of a Honda Civic, but it worked, in a compressed manner.)

I randomly (by definition!) won Select Start's raffle, and they gave me a CD player. I bought their CD and used it as a nifty alternate soundtrack for the rest of the afternoon. I hesitate to think what would have happened if I'd used something amazingly bouncy as an alternate soundtrack... with the amount of sugar that was in me from various interesting snack foods, I probably would have brought about DESTRUCTION PANCAKE upon the entire convention center. And stolen one of the maintenance peoples' Segways.

I didn't go to the concert Sunday, and kind of wish I had... but, oh well. *shrugs*

We went to dinner Sunday night at a really awesome, albeit expensive, Japanese restaurant. I want to try making some of the nifty stuff we had there at home... time to find out how to make tempura and how to use that sushi rolling mat, I do believe. Oh, and how to avoid getting sticky rice stuck to everything in existence all at once. Wait, that's rather amusing, especially when you stick it to the Pope's nose. Or the surface of the Sun.

Anyway, I made some future plans based on this weekend. First, I've decided I seriously want to get my artwork out there into the world somewhere... comics and whatever else. I guess I should work on a portfolio, more or less. There were actually people there at Megacon from comic book publishers who were looking over people's work, interested in publishing!

Second, for future events of this sort... I want to go to Metrocon now, and not just because merlekitty and uzu_uzu want to hang out with me there. It sounds like they've got some really cool stuff going on, like the human chess game, among other things. And it's in late June, when there's practically nothing else going on, aside from a hurricane. or two. or three. or MULTIBALL MAAAAAADNESS~...yeah.

Third... for Otakon, I'm definitely quite fond of the idea of taking Amtrak, but I'm going to bring some additional stuff like a pillow and blanket, and some materials of monotony breaking of one sort or another. I'd also like to be able to do something interestingly artistic for that event... hmmmm.

And, furthermore, I'm very fond of Terry's plan of getting a used Flxible Metro (from some agency that actually MAINTAINED theirs, as I understand if you buy a used bus from MDTA, you most likely have to take delivery of it via flatbed tow... or very large bag that makes rattling sounds when shaken). D said she wants to paint on it if such comes to be. We could so totally have the most amazingly spiffy bus in existence. Would that not be awesome?

And that's the fun madness. Enjoyed it? Heck yeah. Anyway, I plan to be at Jacon, and this time around, I plan to actually show off some of my artwork... I'll be working on improving such in the meantime, until I'm actually proud of it and ready to show things off to the world. Until then, peace, love, and exploding toilets.