Conglomeration was held over the weekend of April 5-7, 2013 at the Ramada Inn and Conference Center in Louisville, Kentucky. We headed down on Thursday, since we wanted to get an early start and avoid the traffic woes. We made good time, and we got checked in at the nearby Quality Inn we were sleeping at (after the Ramada screwed up my husband's request for a disability-accessable room last year, we didn't want to give them any further business).
Once we had our personal belongings in our sleeping room, we headed over to the convention center to see if we might be able to get loaded in early and make Friday morning setup a little easier. Although they had the tables in place, they didn't yet have the keys, so they couldn't guarantee security. That's a concern I can completely understand, having stayed at a hotel past midnight in order to make sure the dealers' room was properly locked at Anime Crossroads.
So we headed back to our sleeping room to take it easy for the rest of the day. I made some pretty substantial progress on a key scene for a novel I'm working on. We also got on the Internet and caught up on stuff.
On Friday we got up early to get the hotel's free breakfast before heading over to the convention center to begin loading in. We were able to get a good parking spot, a second cart, and some good help, so we were able to get everything loaded in and set up with time to spare. I also got my art onto the art show.
Once the doors opened to the public, I started seeing a lot of my friends. We ended up talking about my writing and the historical and narrative logic of some of the things I'm doing with my principal alternate history timeline. We also had some sales, although Fridays are always slow days at this con.
After the dealers' room closed for the night, we headed over to the con suite and hung out for a while. However, there were no parties, so we finally gave up and headed back to the Quality Inn and our sleeping room. I was a little disappointed, since the Xerps alien party used to always be held on Friday evening, and they always had great food. However, I later heard that they were sufficiently annoyed about having been shut down the previous year on a BS noise complaint that they decided not to come back.
On Saturday we headed back over to the convention center and dropped in at the con suite before heading over to the dealers' room to get our tables open for business. At first sales were slow, and we were wondering if we'd be able to justify returning in future years. But then things picked up and we became steadily more confident that we'd at least made expenses, so we'd be able to come back if there wasn't a conflict with one of the larger anime conventions.
While I was going to the con suite for munchies, I saw a classic Cadillac hearse rigged up as the Ghostbusters car, complete with a digital signboard advertising their party that night. So I was quite happy to know that there would be at least one party.
After the dealers' room closed for the evening, we headed over to the con suite to hang out until the parties started. I got out my notebooks and tried to sort out some notes on my novel. We also got drawn into a political discussion about the ongoing crisis in North Korea.
Sometime after eight, they brought in a bowl of snack cakes, including Moon Pies. Because they are mentioned in my short story "Tell Me a Story" (in the anthology Rocket Science , edited by Ian Sales), I had to have one. I don't think they're something I'd buy for myself, but given the connection to my story, I might eat them again if they show up at a con suite table.
About that same time we started to hear a lot of cheering from the pool deck just outside the con suite. Apparently the University of Louisville basketball team had just won in the NCAA tournament, and their fans were going wild. Of course there were some basketball fans here in sf fandom too, but it was interesting to watch the excitement of another fandom that we would usually consider to be mundanes.
Then we headed up to the Ghostbusters party. In previous years they'd have snack foods, but this year they just had the bar. We hung around for a while and talked with some of the hosts, then decided to call it a night and head back to the other hotel to sleep. When we got back, the parking lot was crowded, a change from the emptiness of the previous nights. However, it looked like a lot of people had booked rooms in the hotel to throw parties for the game.
On Sunday we had to get our stuff out of our sleeping room and get checked out. Then we headed over to the con hotel to visit the con suite before we went to the dealers' room and opened our tables for business.
Sales were fairly steady, although they were rather small. However, by the time we started packing, we were confident that we'd made money and would go home with a definite profit.
Once we got packed and started loading out, we were able to get some good helpers and get everything out relatively rapidly. I had some trouble when a couple of boxes didn't want to go in right, and then we had some quick showers come through as we were getting the last few items in. But on the whole we made good enough time that we were able to make one last visit to the con suite.
The dead-dog party was pretty low-key, but we got to hear some interesting stories from two US Marines who'd been in the sandbox during Operation Desert Storm. It came up as a part of a discussion about the failure modes of bureaucracy, and they had some doozies to tell, including tanks with fake armor and haphazard training that could've caused needless casualties.
Then it was time to head home. We went through a couple of areas of rain, but on the whole the trip was pretty good.
Copyright 2013 by Leigh Kimmel
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Last updated June 7, 2013.