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The Engineer

The Life and Times of Donald F. Simmons

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I'm back!

It was an exhausting weekend, but the convention went really well overall. David has placed paying attendance at 4875 people over the three days. Counting staff, dealers, etc., we had over 5000 people. That's an increase of 2000 over last year. I guess the YTV ads really paid off.

Things started well on Thursday, we got a lot of set-up completed that day. The hotel has been pretty deserted running up to the con, SARS fears had business seriously off. Had some problems on Friday due to the sudden storm slowing down people getting to the hotel in the morning, not to mention the truck bringing our rental tables broke down on the way to the hotel and they had to send another. And I had come down with a cold as well, so I wasn't getting a lot of sleep. Set-up is one of the most nerve-wracking times of the con, once the Dealer's Room opened and we had opening ceremonies I started breathing a bit easier.

Registration was strong on Friday and nuts on Saturday. Thank God the good people of USS Hudson's Bay sent about a dozen volunteers to help with reg this year or my brother would have had to kill himself, he usually has a terrible time finding people to help out. But we had a lot of experienced people this year, and even the longest reg line-up shrank fast. Saturday afternoon was as crowded as I've ever seen the Regal. But the music videos started on time, and the Guest of Honor speeches started on time. We had a lot fewer scheduling problem this year than last. Even the Masquerade was only a half-hour later (show me a big one that wasn't) and run in two hours flat, with over 80 entries (and a lot of good ones). There were a lot of costumes around the hotel the whole weekend.

The only real problem was the autograph session, which was a lot more popular than we figured, with a lot longer line-up. As a result, some people didn't get autographs and were understandably mad at us Fortunately, we managed to add another session on Sunday morning which got us a lot of goodwill back. This is the biggest thing that gets re-worked next year.

I spent most of my time running around making sure things were working and trying to fix them if they weren't, or finding the person who could fix them. YTV did some live broadcasts and were very happy with the way things went. Our guests all had a great time as well, and we should get some very good word-of-mouth from them.

I'll post some con stories later, but I'm very pleased overall with how things went this year. We had many fewer operational glitches than last year, and the increase in attendance was beyond our dreams. We got 5000 of everything and ran out Sunday at noon (we got over 400 people on the Sunday alone). I'm frankly astonished we got things to work so well with that many people. Everyone worked their asses off and it paid off.