Convergence began on Thursday, but we had only registered for a hotel room for Friday and Saturday nights. Based on our experience last year we were unwilling to pay for Thursday night at the hotel. This was a mistake: mia_mcdavid and carpe_noctum_93 went to a con party Thursday night and had to drive home afterwards. Furthermore, we have developed coping strategies that greatly improved the con for us.
Allowed us to book our room directly with the Hotel, rather than going through the ConCom's room allocation process. The latter imposes a layer of bureaucracy unknown in our previous convention experience. Furthermore, as mia_mcdavid noted, it was grossly abused by the ConCom this year. In the Financial world this is known as "insider trading".
Freed us from the elevator lines at the Con Hotel. This came at a price: We had to walk back and forth across the street to get to our room. However, that was a chance for a little exercise and solitude.
A better room.
Exposure to more and better dining options. Saturday night and Sunday morning we ate at one of the Sofitel's French restaurants. This raised our food bill, but that was far outweighed by the wonderful dining experience:
I cannot see any reason why we should go back to the Sheraton next year or later.
I still don't like the noisy and crowded party space around the pool. However, I found it did not bother me so much if I had a drink before entering the area.
Friday night I went to a great panel on Physics and Fantasy.
On Saturday morning there was a panel on costuming with Kath Dimich and Bridget Landry. I was not expecting much but was pleasantly surprised. They were very serious about historical costuming without being "costume Nazis". Kass McGann would have fit in just fine there.
I wore my Hunting MacIntosh kilt Friday night. Saturday night I wore my Davidson tartan kilt complete with jacket and fly plaid. I stood out in the vast sea of Utilikilts, Amerikilts, Alt.kilts, etc. and got a lot of complements.
Saturday afternoon I went to colgaffneyis recruiting party. I wore my full 17th century greatkilt outfit. This was a mistake. There is a fundamental problem with dressing for the Little Ice Age in the era of Global Warming :-)> I went back to my room and changed, but came back to the party for the dancing demo.
A couple other Gaeltacht Minnesota students were at the Con. One was wearing a shirt that read: Más féidir leat é seo a léamh rachamid a lui. I translated it there as "If we you can read this we might go to bed" (Conditional mood). After getting home I checked and found it was really the imperative: "If you can read this let's go to bed." She does not wear this shirt to Irish language events.
While they were starting the game I went downstairs to the bar. I got to talking with a guy who said he was not interested in science fiction (he was above such things) and was just there to look at the people. He did not have a badge, so he was restricted to public space (and so was literally looking from the outside. He asked me about conventions and fandom, and was astonished to learn that I had been to my first con in 1969: "You mean they had science fiction conventions back in 1969?" I told him that they were already very well established then.
I normally stay out of movies at cons, being unwilling to dedicate the necessary time. However, I did catch a few minutes of Mission to Mars on Sunday. It was being shown with a running commentary by Jim Kakalios and Bridget Landry. They were pointing out all the scientifically inaccurate parts ("Where did she get that angular momentum?") and other implausible aspects of the movie. They had plenty to say, and it was all hilarious. Since Landry is a frequent guest at Convergence and Kakalios is local (Physics professor at the U. of Minn.) I can hope to catch something like this in the coming years.