Monday, November 20, 2006

The Ides

...yeah. So, long time no post. There will be three posts in rapid successions. I hereby title them:

Post the First: How I Spent My October Vacation
Post the Second: In Which I Talk TV
Post the Third: In Which About Other Things

Let us commence Post the First.

So yeah. Back during the summer I'd put some serious thought into attending the 2006 International Camarilla Conclave in Milwaukee. Yeah. I know. Milwaukee. Anyway.

Well, Mumsy gave me an early Christmas present of $500 to finance the trip, so I was off to the races. And jeez louise was it fun. Holy shit. This was like the Paradise Con, CAiNE, and GLARE all rolled into one.

Our sojourn began with Fox and myself arriving barely on time for the 10pm Greyhound out of Toronto bound for London, ON. Trip on the bus was good, Fox and I talked a lot about a wide variety of things as I tried to find a comfortable way to sit in a seat where I was squished in with a staff, a cane, a tophat, and my pack. We arrived in London around midnight or so, and were picked up by Indie at the Greyhound station. Indie was graciously giving Fox and me a lift down, since she was going anyway and this way we split the gas money. We went back to her place for an hour or two, then headed out on the road. Unfortunately, the MapQuest map that Fox printed off lest us awry. Duty Frees are well lit and there is a lot of signage, it should not have been hard to find. Yet somehow we got lost on the bad side of the Duty Free (the side where there are fences, and barbed wire, and security cameras).

We did, however, manage to find the Duty Free, and raided it for Smirnoff Ice, Keith's, rum, and vodka. Then we hit the border, where Fox, Indie, and I sat around for about 30 minutes or so while Homeland Security (they own the border police now!) checked us out to make sure that we weren't hiding Jihadi beards or emergency supplies of the Quar'an. Finding no evidence that we were attempting to defect to the US, nor attempting to blow it up, they let us go with a friendly smile and jokes about Mountain Dew. Y'know...I've been to the US a lot over the years, and I STILL haven't drunk their crazy super-caffeine Mountain Dew yet.

Trip down was supposed to be relativly uneventful, until some weirdo nearly ran into us coming out of a tollbooth on the I-96 (might have been the I-94), and we spun around a bit and ended up against the meridian, staring back the way we came. We righted the car, had a bit of a wobble and some scratched paint, and lost two bottles of Keith's. I was dissapointed with Fox...TV tells us that Nova Scotians are supposed to go NUTS when even a drop of Keith's is wasted (Kelsi explained to me that this is not the case last night over dinner, and that in fact Nova Scotians don't care too much about a few drops being lost from the beer that flows like water there).

After that rather eventful incident we got to Milwaukee without too much harm. My leg was killing me and I was on the stick for a few hours until my knee limbered up enough to upgrade its status from "cane" to "shamble", and after another hour or so in the nice warm hotel and stretching my legs I was fine for the rest of the weekend.

I'm not gonna summarize game by game, but suffice to say the weekend rocked. We went to the Safehouse, a spy themed bar, in Milwaukee on Thursday after arriving, and I had my first decent meal since I got off work at 9pm the night before. I was almost dead on my feet by that point, but the food reinvigorated me. We got back to the hotel in time for me to change for Mage, and I was off to the races. I met my now very good friend Ashley, and we hung out for most of the weekend as the Cam's two token tee-totalers (readers will know that while I drink occasionally, I never drink much and thus the difference between a tee-totaler and myself is the difference between the taste of Diet Coke and similar as to be virtually indistinguishable).

Friday was good, possibly better than Thursday thanks to having some actual sleep in me, and eating food over the course of the day. I got three new books on pre-release from White Wolf (Tome of Mysteries, Pandora's Book, The Pure), which were slated for staggered release in November (The Pure still isn't out yet), and "ummed" and "ahhed" over the wonderful selection of hand made wands at the Gilded Quill's table, a shop owned by fellow and Mystagogue player, Ammie Hague (who I've known for a while online since I started playing my Mystagogue, The Templar). I didn't BUY a wand till Sunday, though, and by that time the ebony one I'd been eyeing had already been taken, but I got another one I'd had my eye on (bloodwood with a hollow hand and a brass and bone cap).

Friday was also "Vampire Prom", and I took most of my photographs that night (which can be seen on the Camarilla's photo site here). It was like going to actual prom. The women were all dressed up in some real beautiful stuff, and the men in their suits and tuxes. All very, very nice, and very well done. There was even dancing and liquor!

Saturday was Changeling, and easily the best game of the weekend. I just...god. BEST CHANGELING GAME EVER!!!!!! Lesley Packel and Caitlin Bailey are two of the best frickin Changeling STs out there, and the ICC game was just oustanding. It was everything a Changeling end-game should be...and its still not ever yet! Woot.

Saturday night after REquiem was over was the Canadian Party, which is a tradition of ICC dating back to its inception. All the Canadians bring large amounts of Smirnoff Ice (in the US its a malt beverage...who knew?), and the Americans bring booze as well. And everyone gets smashed.

Well...except me and Ashley, who spent the night exploring the non-euclidean nature of the hotel. The Four Points Sheridan is a WEIRD building. I mean, its just deranged. I have a quicktime video of Ashley pointing to one sign that notes that its the 3rd floor landing, and then running over to point at an empty alcove that says "2nd floor ice machine". Then ranting a bit, and its a pity my camera doesn't take audio captures becuase it was just hilarious. Anyway, yeah...we hung out and explored the hotel. What a weird place. Didn't end up getting to bed until 6am, and I just slept in her room rather than haul myself back to my own.

...then we got up at 10am for Opening Ceremonies. Oy vey. Sunday was...emotional. A lot of hugs and tears for bidding farewell to people who you won't see again in the flesh for months or possibly even years. But I guess that's the way of things at these big international conventions. I'm glad we stayed Sunday, though, and went home on Monday. I needed the day to decompress from the weekend.

As a few number notes: ICC 2006 attracted 773 Camarilla members from Canada, American, the UK, and, IIRC, Australia. We raised, through raffles, auctions, jail'n'bail, and the like, $28,600 for Shriner's Hospitals and Cystic Fibrosis research. At the start of the convention, the organizer, Rick, had stated his goal to raise $20,000 for charity. We only raised half again that amount. TWENTY-EIGHT THOUSAND DOLLARS! For Charity! In 4 days! I was just floored.

Sunday night was the Dead Dog Party, where all the undrunk booze was disposed of. Hopefully in people, occasionally on the floor (at least for a few bottles when a table collapsed under a bad joint or bolt or something). I have pictures over on my Flickr of the booze at the party. It was...impressive. Especially when you realize that its the leftovers from pretty much three nights of straight boozing already. The Dead Dog was fun, though, and was a chance to really sit back and be informal with other Cammies and a few of the higher-ups (including club director, Kelley Barnes-Herman).

Sunday was also the night of generosity. One Cammie, Crystal, had just found out that the person she had given a lift down, who was supposed to pay for her gas, had bailed on her. This left her up the creek without a paddle. But the Cammies came together! Rob grabbed Kelly Pohl's "Storyteller!" baseball cap, and passed the hat around. Within 2 minutes we'd put over a hundred bucks in the hat. And people kept giving Crystal money all throughout the night. I was REALLY impressed by that act of charity.

Fox graciously gave up his bed to a pair of Cammies who had lost their room for one reason or another (I think becuase the people they were staying with had left early). They were a great crew, Kim and her husband, whose name I can't remember off hand. Kim and I stayed up for a while talking about Awakening games, and I talked about some thoughts for solutions to the Awakening game in her Domain, and in general we talked a lot about the Cam, and the old chronicle (jeez, I feel old...I've been in the Cam for nearly 4 years hasn't been that long, but there are new members out there who never played in the oWoD, or who came in just at the very end).

Monday was the drive back, and it went nice and smoothly. The car ride was the final decompression, and Fox, Indie, and I talked a lot about plans for Requiem and Awakening. It was a lot of fun, and I didn't want it to end. But eventually Indie drove us into Toronto to Yorkdale station, and we took the TTC home.

Fox likes to say that ICC renewed his faith in the Camarilla, but for me it GAVE me faith in the club that wasn't present before I went. I saw some amazing acts of generosity, friendship, and kindness that weekend. I saw some great roleplay and costumes, and met people I've known online for over a year. I took over 300 photos of the con, almost half again as much as anyone else. I made friends who I hope to continue to keep in touch with.

I am, by hook or by crook, going to get to ICC 2007 in Nashville, Tennesse. I don't know exactly how, but I'll find a way. And CAiNE 2007 is coming up in Vancouver, which Mom and I are talking about getting me out for as a birthday present. I look forward to it. Its going to rock.

Next post will be about all the new TV shows and books I've been watching lately. That should be posted later tonight. Now I must return to essay research. I have two papers due this week, and I am about ready to start writing, but more research must still be done.

I will be updating Chasing the Muse more frequently now, I think. I should. Its here for a reason.

Until next post, excelsior.


Anonymous Frank M said...

fun times and thanks for letting me read the creeped out embedded monster mash lyrics :p

3:02 p.m.  

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