Correction to Part 1: I somehow neglected to remember the movie night is now FRIDAY so keep this in mind as you read and plan.
Part 2 focuses on the rest of the con.
FRIDAY – THE CON STARTS
You might not want to party too hard Thursday night/Friday AM as the next day starts early with the annual parachute drop. I must admit, this year’s 12″ CG Paratrooper looks like a win, which is remarkable considering the horrid streak the club has been on with us 3.75″ collectors. Rest assured Joe fans, if there is ONE thing the club can do without fail is 12″ stuff. In the past you must sign up and sign a waiver to be a volunteer to throw the parachute figures. They have taken us to the top level of an hotel’s atrium/lobby and they have taken us to the top of buildings before. There is no telling where they have picked for us to throw from. It is a fun experience nevertheless. Looking at the GIJCC pics from their ’01 con there, they went to the roof of the hotel and were TETHERED by harnesses anchored by a steel chain. Good Lord, someone had liability concerns!!
Typically in year’s past the volunteers have received a free figure after the throw (to prevent pocketing and scheming – looking at you “Ray Shawn”). I have a feeling the throw will be handled much like Atlanta when we threw the 8″ Sigma shtuff (not a typo). In Atlanta, some figures were snagged on the way down by people hanging outside their rooms, but most made it to the floor. From there the club picked them up and put them for sale in the club store. I guess they did not want a hardened 8″ piece of plastic to plunk a child on the head – and who could blame them? I am guessing that this year will be about the same.
Following the throw, one of two things happen. Either the sales floor opens up to attendees or the first of the seminars/roundtables start. This year’s schedule has the floor opening at 2pm CST. This is where the mad rush to the Hasbro booth occurs to see the new stuff. Normally by now, several sites had agents inserted in the sales room during the dealer setup the night before so to much of the online Joe world, everyone but those in attendance know what is going on.
When not on the sales floor, you should make it mandatory for yourself to attend the seminars of the honored guests of the convention. Con regulars such as Larry Hama and Kirk Bozigian will be definitely interesting for the first time goer. I have skipped out on Larry and Kirk in the past since their presentations were pretty much identical from year to year, but I will be sure to be in attendance for Larry’s this year. I hope he plans to give us some of his thoughts on the movie. I would also like to point out two other speakers I think would be of interest to the community, Greg Berndtson and Greg Horn. Berndtson is to the Joe line as the Skunk Works was to the US Air Force. Berndtson was on the Hasbro design team in the 80’s and among the projects he worked on was the USS Flagg. Meeting one of the “Fathers of the Flagg” sounds kinda cool. Horn is a talented comic artist who did the artwork for many of the Modern Era comic packs and the convention exclusive comic/program. I like his work and I would like to hear any thought he might have on the comic pack line. I also encourage you to give a nod to your roots and sit in on one of the 12″ related seminars too.
The most attended roundtables are that of Hasbro and the club. Hasbro had two different roundtables last year. One to talk about the remainder of the year and another to talk the year and beyond. This is where you will get to see stuff that was not shown at SDCC or Toy Fair. Please please please, do not ask Hasbro when they will remake the Flagg.
The club roundtable is always interesting. This is typically the one and only time the club gives us to interact as a group. The time alloted for the session is never enough. Several hot items are on the fandom’s mind this year, specifically the Dr. Venom vs. Adventure Team 3.75″ set that was announced over a year ago. Will we ever see the good Doctor in figure form, or was the club just pulling our leg? We shall see. Anyone care to wager?
On the sales floor, you will be able to get the autographs of the honored special guests. Feel free to bring some extra autograph materials. Have an extra copy of Marvel #1 or #21? Have an extra copy of the convention comic? Maybe you can have Larry or Greg sign those for you. Hey, while at TRU next week for their 2 for $10 part deux sale, grab a couple of extra Heavy Dutys’ for Adewale Akinnuoye to sign. COME PREPARED, otherwise you will have to buy these at a premium from the sale floor.!
Following the closing of the sales floor sees the beginning of the Club’s Fan-Film night and GI Don’t Know GI Joe Game Show. If you have never been to a con, I recommend going to these once. I hold little interest in these as I go to more of these, but if you are looking for a reasonable fun time, you are sure to enjoy. Typically I do not like to waste my evenings as Friday evening may be the first and last chance you all get to share a nice dinner with all of your friends in attendance. When I think back to previous conventions, the times spent with my friends are the ones I cherish the most. Undoubtedly, Friday night, with your friends, will be a highlight of your weekend. EDIT: DO NOT FORGET ABOUT THE MOVIE!
SATURDAY – SECOND VERSE, SAME AS THE FIRST, aka HANGOVER MORNING #2, aka THE MID WAY POINT
Saturday is a tough day. Your body is probably recovering from its third consecutive late night. Getting up early becomes harder and harder. From 8:30am to 5:00pm it is more of the same. Sales floor, seminars, lunch, etc. At 10:30am, the sales floor will be opened to the general admission people. These folks are typically people within driving distance who want to get into the show. So throughout the day, more collectors will be reuniting with each other as the locals come in. Keep an eye on the sales floor around mid day as some of the dealers begin to drop prices so they do not have to transport as much back home.
At 7:00 the Casino Night Awards Party starts. There is food there, but I recommend sharing another meal with your friends as for many of you, departures start Sunday morning. Casino Night is not a bad time. There is a cash bar – which helps to compensate our senses when we see someone in a wacky Joe costume walk past. The game tables are your basic casino games: blackjack, hold ’em, etc. There is a bingo room for you non gambling types. At registration time, everyone is given a amount of “casino money” to act as your seed to start the night. If you are NOT a gambler, give your money to someone else. It is not unheard of for people to pool money together. After the end of the games, the auction starts. This is where you use your winnings to bid on auction items. Last year my wife and some guys from JoeCustoms pooled their winnings together to win one of the sought after Fuschia Crimson Sets. My wife is a pro when it comes to gambling, so ladies and gents, if you are looking for a closet problem gambler to add to your team, I suggest you look no further than Mr. Gary’s wife.
Following the club sponsored events of the night, there is still one last official piece of business to attend to – the yearly CFB meeting. OK, I got to shill here for a second for all those wondering what the heck the CFB is. Go to this link. The CFB is an INFORMAL gathering of collectors – open to anyone – to meet and discuss the more strange aspects of the 3.75″ GI Joe line. Every year, members independently nominate characters, figures and vehicles from the history of the Joe line and induct them into a hall of shame so to speak. Debate, banter and laughs can last for a few hours. Drinking is allowed – fun is mandatory. Keep your eyes and ears open for when and where the meeting will take place. The CFB meets only once a year and it is at the convention.
If you are lucky, the party and hours more of laughs continue into the night with room to room trading (and drinking). Hopefully you brought your digital cameras and handicams to take blackmail photos and videos of your experience to share with your respective boards and on YouTube. As the night wears on, you hope it never ends, but like all good things……the end quickly approaches.
SUNDAY – Goodbye for another year!
After 4 days of partying, laughing, BSing, taking in the excitement, and near sleepless nights the con is nearing its end. For me, “get away” day is depressing. The day operates much like Saturday with seminars and autograph sessions. For the last couple of years the club has got a “Pack ‘n’ Ship” type company to have a table at the con so people can ship their convention haul home. With today’s Airlines charging us by the bag now, this may be a good alternative for you to explore. If the club does not have a shipping company there, some hotels can do this for you as well (i.e. Disney). If all else fails, just do the old “bag in a bag” trick when you fly out to KC. Bringing an extra suitcase or carry-on bag to transport your goods home is not a bad idea. Don’t worry if the TSA guys ask you to open your bag. It won’t be the first time that security has asked a Joe fan to do this.
Our friends peel off one by one as the day moves by. At one point there were many of you, and now it is whittled down to just a few. At 3:00, it is over.
Before leaving, make sure you have taken time to fill out the convention survey and turn that into the club table on the sales floor so you can be entered in the drawing for the free trip to the 2010 con. Allow me a moment to lobby here a little……A couple of suggestions to put on the survey.
1. We want to know ahead of time what the convention souvenirs are.
2. Please return the con to New Orleans.
3. DO NOT ever put the con in Indianapolis.
4. DO NOT remake Operation Anaconda in the Modern Era construction.
5. PLEASE, for the LOVE OF GOD, upgrade your forums!
Did I miss anything??
Yeah, I bet that did not win me any fans down in Ft. Worth. Sorry gang, just abusing the bully pulpit. Ah well, it wouldn’t be the first time I was accused of abusing power.
Anyway, it is back the the grind. Time to go home for another year of waiting so we can meet all over again – whereever that may be.
So there you have it. I hope this answers a lot of questions and everyone enjoys themselves! See ya there and don’t be a stranger!