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AD2012 AAR

So I spent a week in Bloomington, MN, on account of Anime Detour 2012; went up early and came back late so that I could see friends outside the convention, unlike 2009 when I came up on Friday, left on Sunday and managed to miss most of the convention in between. :(






So how did it go?
Pretty well; it could have gone better but it easily could have been much worse. As in, I was seriously considering a visit to the local VA hospital's ER.

I arrived in the Twin Towns of Terror on Wednesday thanks to Southwest (IAD to MSP, change at Midway) and stayed for a day at the Thunderbird. That was okay; they've done some minor remodeling which involves replacement of some of the old logo with the Sprawl of America logo. Was supposed to meet a non-AD friend that night, but she had a migraine so that fell though. As it happens, stuckintraffik was coming back from taking his adorable Corgi to stay with his folks for the weekend, so he picked me up and I wound up helping with the loadout from the storage lockers into the Doubletree. Dinner ensued at Q. Cumbers and he finally dropped me off at the hotel around 2300 or so...

...and was kind enough to pick me up again on Thursday and not only carry me and my baggage to the Doubletree but allowed me to stash my crap in his and Lauren's room while I waited for jamestrainor to show up, since the latter hadn't managed to get me listed as staying in the room. No big deal; there was plenty to do, and I helped out some more. Did dinner with James and Dan Lee over at Friday's, dropped in briefly at the staff meet n'greet to say hello to some folks, and went to bed at a reasonable hour.

Friday was busy. I barely managed to get up, showered, bandaged, and dressed in time to grab a quick Whopper for brunch before meeting another non-AD friend in the lobby; she'd been curious about Detour and anime, so I'd bought her a membership and agreed to squire her around the convention on Friday and maybe Saturday. She showed up promptly at 1100 and we managed to get through registration with amazing speed, considering that the convention had hit its membership cap of 5000 back in January. I think it took us twenty minutes to get through the whole deal, including the time we spent waiting in line to execute the badge transfer paperwork. We then toured the dealer's room, art show, artist's alley, ate lunch (well, she ate lunch; I had a cup of soup) and hung out while getting caught up on what had been going on in each others' lives, since we hadn't seen each other since I'd left Minnesota in 2007. She went home about 1700, and I went about my business, which consisted of volunteering in gaming and operations until I went to bed a little after midnight.

Unfortunately, my friend was unable to return on Saturday; the flu that I'd contracted on Friday hit her very hard and she was smart enough to stay home and rest up. Me? I had a panel on East Asian History with Dan at 1030, which I was a little late for. James and I went to DQ for lunch after that (I was good and had a salad) and then I spent the rest of the afternoon attending panels before eating dinner (Subway with James) and doing the Politics in Japan panel with caitiebear. Like the East Asian History panel, this went well. Both panels were well-attended, and people actually thanked us for doing an educational panel at Detour. I spent the rest of the evening in gaming and then wandered around the convention talking with people; got to the rave just as they were closing down and decided not to gang around to see bam2 because it was late, I was tired, and yeah. Hit the rack at 0400. Thank God for Alka-Seltzer Plus and Tylenol, which (with copious fluids) were all that got me through the day.

Sunday morning I woke up and felt awful. Ate Tylenol and went to breakfast at Subway, came back and caught the tail end of the Anime Industry panel, which for a 10 AM Sunday panel was well attended. After that, the AMV Viewer's Choice Awards, which included this awesome mashup along with the rest of these. Wandered off for a bit, came back to see the (sparsely attended) post-mortem, then sat in on the Anime Fandom Nostalgia Hour for 45 minutes - because I'd been told I HAD to be at Closing Ceremonies. So I was, and it was very much worth it. Carrie Savage in an awesome black dress, Gifford in a somewhat less awesome blue wig and yukata, the Chris Ayres intervention (LOL), all the guests who love us...yeah. Everything I'd missed about closing ceremonies since 2008, although given the size of staff, I guess having them all come up on stage and bow to the membership isn't really practical any more.
After that, of course, the load out began, and due to an application of Human Wave Attack Logistics Theory, things were broken down and packed up in record time: everything was ready to load on the trucks (or had in fact already been loaded) by the time the staff dinner was to start at Khan's. This was kind of a weird scene, since apparently some of Khan's staff had been at the convention, and one of them was still wearing her kigurumi mask. Adding to the weirdness, they had one set of their TVs tuned to Spike TV, which was showing episodes of MXC.

Then followed the Dead Dog Party, which went on well into Monday morning. I was pretty burned out, having somehow managed to lose the rest of my Alka-Seltzer Plus, but it was nice to hang out and talk to people before Dan drove me back to the Thunderbird around 0200. I partially unpacked, rinsed out my compression stockings again, and eventually got to bed around 0300, planning to get up at 0700 to catch breakfast and head over to help with the load out...and that didn't happen. I slept in until about 1100 before managing to get up, get clean and get dressed. Kale texted me to let me know the after-party was underway at his place, so I caught the bus down to the Walgreen's at Portland & American Boulevard, stocked up on bandages, tape, drugs and cough drops, and then took a taxi over to Chez Ganann. Party went on until about 2000, including pizza, pop, return of Kale & Lauren's cute Corgi, and Summer Wars, which was a nice romantic comedy somewhat overshadowed by the attack of a rogue AI on an excessively cartoony rendition of the Internet as envisioned by Neal Stephenson in Snow Crash only with a lot more cute animal avatars and not so many Clints and Brandies. Requisite annoying young Japanese children, steel magnolia grandma, adopted child of dubious morals, and adults who act barely more sane than the children all made an appearance, but it was a good show. Headed home after that, ordered in a late dinner of shrimp, and got about six hours of sleep.

It wasn't enough. Felt every bit as awful Tuesday morning as I had Sunday and Monday, with the result that cleaning and packing and bandaging and dressing took way longer than it should have. Grabbed a quick Continental breakfast at the hotel, caught the shuttle to the airport and arrived at the Humphrey terminal too late for my flight. Fortunately SWA is cool about these things and rescheduled me for a 4 PM flight, which allowed me to do lunch at the Sprawl and get back in time to clear security and make that flight to Midway, where I ate dinner and caught the next flight to Dulles. Unfortunately, I had to wait over two hours for SuperShuttle to get me home via Fairfax, and by the time I finally got everything organized and was ready for bed it was 0300. Gah. Slept in until 1100 this morning and now feel only somewhat shitty. Back to the tax mines and the studying tomorrow.