Every year at memorial day weekend, I have to choose between 2 trips to 2 conventions that I like. On the surface they both appear similar but both have their own unique twist, charms, and drawbacks. The 2 conventions I choose from are MediaWest and Balticon. Balticon is closer an inexpensive drive for me from Virginia and for my Love from New Jersey. It's a larger convention with at times some big name guests (I met Neil Gaiman at the convention a couple of years back and got one of my favorite quotes from him when I asked him a question), but the hotel is more expensive (nice new TVs though this year and I got my room at AAA rate instead of convention rate which was $118 instead of con rate $130) sort of a mini Dragon*Con, but size does hamper some of the flexibility and personal touch that MediaWest has. MediaWest is a smaller more friendly convention that suffers from growing pains in the form of it can't the hotel is completely sold out for the convention, even before the con ends from the previous year, so they have a room lottery system, which brings the source of my not being able to go this year, the hotel hadn't sorted through the reservation lists before I had to make a decision on which one to go to this year, so with the souring gas prices making driving a bad idea, and plane/train prices being high (no I wouldn't consider Greyhound after my Frolicon adventures using them), so after checking multiple times I pulled the trigger and choose Balticon this year even though I had pre-reg for MediaWest. Nice things about MediaWest is the small size works well for it with dealers selling from their rooms as well as the dealer room most attendees having open room policies sort of making it one big party, and extended programing functions off the schedules for folks hosting in their rooms, real cool. But this year the hotel room uncertainty and costs of travel, clinched it. The funny thing was I had a room at MediaWest but the hotel never contacted me until yesterday to confirm the reservation. Despite the fact that I called them a number of times to find out what the status was. I avoided the temptation to keep on driving to Michigan, by reminding myself how much gas would cost me and the fact that my lady and a friend of ours were sharing the Balticon room, that was also in my name. Called the hotel and said thanks but no thanks.
The final comparison is length of the conventions, they both state that they go from May 23, to the 26th but in reality MediaWest's small size and semi informal activities works to it's advantage since most years con goers and dealers start filtering in on Wednesday and the community starts up at least get together before the official con starts, Balticon: not so much I may be missing folks but it's pretty dead here before the convention launch time (I did catch the Chronicles of Narnia, Prince Caspian at the movies last night).
Well my roommates sodyera and sailgersor have arrived from their adventurous journey from New Jersey. Unfortunately sodyera 's mandolin suffered a bit of damage on the journey (it seems that the proximity to the Hunt Valley Marriot and it cause issues the last time she was here it suffered too, though much worse), my lady sailgersor has made it here whole, her current rounds with her doctors, and get to take her prescriptions now that she has arrived in one painful piece. Well looking ahead to the official Balticon convention start tomorrow after a visit to some local instrument repair shops, and maybe a visit to the movies tonight for Indy 4.