Capricon XXIV was held over the weekend of January 29-February 1, 2004, at the Sheraton Arlington Park in Arlington Heights, IL, one of the north-western suburbs of Chicago. We arrived early on Thursday after having stayed with family the previous night. The drive up to the hotel was prety hairy, with almost continuous snow to make the road slick and uncertain.
However, when we did arrive, the dealers' room was set up and we were able to start carrying things in almost immediately. However, the snow in the loading area soon turned into a nasty slush that was truly unpleasant, getting on everything whenever we climbed into the van. We tried to keep it from damaging any of the merchandise, but it wasn't easy.
Once we got everything in, we started setting up our tables. We got a corner space, which was rather interesting to work with but actually gave us a fair amount of backspace. For a change we didn't have to take any of the boxes back out to the van to store.
Once we got our tables set up, we went to registration and got our badges and packets. I also took my art to the art show and got it set up before the dealers' room actually opened for business.
Sales were slow to the point of being non-existent. We had some people come by and look at stuff, but only one actual sale. We finally ended up closing a little early, because it was cold and nasty out and we had to drive back to stay with family for the night. At least we were able to get down there without trouble, but I was not exactly pleased to see a time-and-temperature sign reading zero.
Friday morning started bright and early as we headed back up to the hotel. It was even colder when we set out, so we had to let our van warm up before we could take off. The drive up was a little more difficult because it was busier, but we got up to the con without too much trouble. The first thing we did was get checked into the hotel and get our personal belongings into our sleeping room. After that we went down to the dealers' room to get set up for business
Unfortunately, sales were fairly slow. I actually had time to do some writing. The period was marred by a complete prick who took it upon himself to bawl me out because of someone else's stupidity. When I tried to explain that I had taken all reasonable precautions and the person in question had acted under false pretenses, this twit jumped my case about "making excuses" in an obnoxious "listen to me, little girl" tone that I found massively offensive. I do not want to have to become totally paranoid about ferreting out lies, because then everyone starts looking like a potential liar, and pretty soon the customers get disgusted with having to put up with that kind of treatment and shop elsewhere.
In the late afternoon they had a pizza party in the con suite, which we were able to make our supper. Then we closed up our tables and headed to the hot tub for a good long soak.
In the evening we went back to the con suite to get some more munchies. While we were there, we saw the guy dressed up as Lobot from Empire Strikes Back (the con suite had a Cloud City theme). His costume was very well done, right down to the electronic headgear.
After that we went to the various parties. We made a point of visiting the Convergence party to try to find out what the dealers' room situation would be. We also dropped in on several other parties, including the General Technics suite, where I got into an interesting conversation about laptops and computer problems. Then we turned in for the night, since we were fairly tired.
Saturday morning we got up and headed down to the Con Suite for breakfast. They had bagels and cereal and all kinds of good things. Then we went up to the dealers' room and got our tables opened for business. Sales came in bits and spurts, which was rather frustrating. I even got a short story out and did some rewriting.
After the dealers' room closed, we went down to the con suite for supper. They were serving sandwich fixings, and at the door they had a ham sculpted into the head of a Mon Calamari, with a sign warning that it was a trap. It was rather funny, since one of the sandwich meats was ham. There were some cannibal jokes among the people standing in line.
After supper we went down to the pool and soaked in the hot tub. We also went to the sauna, trying to bake out the con crud we'd picked up.
Then we made the round of the parties. Duckon had ice cream, and we were able to talk to the person in charge of the dealers' room and verify that we should have no trouble getting tables. We also dropped in on Convergence again, and the General Technics suite, who were also serving ice cream. We ended up turning in for the night early, since we were both tired and miserable and figured we needed all the rest we could get.
Sunday morning we got up painfully early after mediocre sleep (the new beds the hotel is touting are simply too soft for anyone with an iffy back) and gathered up our stuff to get out of the hotel room. Then we went down to the con suite and got our breakfast. After that we went to the dealers' room and got our tables ready for business. Sales continued to be annoyingly slow, although at least the snowstorm was tracking farther north this time, so we didn't have to do a frantic pack and load out and sacrifice last-minute sales.
However, sales were pretty pathetic, so we still broke down and loaded out early. When two of our friends found out we couldn't get any volunteers to help, they pitched in and told the gopher co-ordinator to figure it out later. So we got loaded and on our way home fairly quickly.
Copyright 2012 by Leigh Kimmel
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Last updated October 21, 2012.