Kevin Standlee (kevin_standlee) wrote,
Kevin Standlee

Brave New OryCon

I got in to Portland last night, and Lisa collected me from a light rail station near the airport as is our usual practice. (Lisa does not like driving into airports these days, as she feels that if anyone is going to be stopped and have their car dismantled by Fatherland Security agents, it will be her.) After getting dinner, we headed downtown to the new OryCon hotel. We were able to find curbside parking (no charge after 7 PM) so we could go check in without the pressure of being parked in the hotels' forecourt. I'd said to go ahead and put me on a party floor, so I'm on the fourth floor near the elevators, which is okay with me. We then went to a Safeway a few blocks away and bought a small amount of groceries. Lisa has a small electric cooler -- it looks like an ice chest, but runs on 12V current, for which she also has an inverter so it can run on 110V AC -- so we can have milk and juice in the hotel room.

Returning to the hotel, we unloaded all of our stuff onto a cart and Lisa stayed with the van while a hotel staffer -- not a bellman, actually, but one of the front-desk staff -- and I went up to my room. I felt like I should tip him $5, but felt odd tipping the front desk staff; however, he accepted the tip, so I guess he wasn't management. Lisa and I then drove to a parking garage a block away (and connected to the Marriott by skywalk) that is cheaper than the hotel's $15/night (discounted; normally $23/night) rate.

The hotel has high-speed wired internet service in the rooms for $9.95/day, but I didn't sign up last night because they measure "days" as "noon to noon," and I didn't want to waste half a days' connection charges, so I put it off until this afternoon.

After getting everything put a way, we went down to see about registration. Advance reg pick up was being done out of the con office on the ground floor, where we quickly ran into Lisa's friend Scott Sanford, who took up up to the Green Room/Program Ops Office on the 16th floor, where program participants (me) and their guests (Lisa) registered. They gave us our badges, program books, and pocket programs with no fuss.

With nothing to do, Lisa, Scott, and I started chatting until they threw us out of Program Ops. Scott gave me the tour of the site, including the Hidden Art Show, which is located in a converted portion of the hotel's parking garage off the Lower Lower Lobby. There were the makings of many art show flats, but the zip-ties needed to finish setup had not arrived, so we went up one level to the Lower Lobby. After a little while, a hotel person asked us to go away, because the Intel computer conference that was using the space that evening was concerned about industrial security. Sigh.

With not much else to do and nothing obvious we could do to help -- and me being tired from having been up so early on Thursday so I could leave early -- we decided to turn in for the night. Boring, I know.

This morning, we were able to have breakfast in the room thanks to Lisa's forethought on bringing the mini-fridge. Since mmy first panel isn't until 4 PM, there was no pressure to get up early, so we didn't. After breakfast, we went downstairs, where it appears the computer conference is still using the areas that would be obvious for convention registration and t-shirt sales (the area Lisa often volunteers to run). A queue of people stretched out of the con office on the ground floor. Again, I didn't see any place were I could be of use, and I'm not running a fan table of any sort here -- for the first time in a long time -- so instead of obsessing over where my table was and trying to get moved in, Lisa and I went back to the hotel room and played British Rails.

That carried us past noon, which gave me the change to get online and collect my e-mail. Lisa went off to see if they needed help with t-shirts, and came back a little later, having learned that OryCon this year has outsourced t-shirt sales, but that nobody seems to know where they will be. She points out that they're missing a lot by not being set up to sell shirts now, as this early period with a lot of people wandering around with little to do is a good time to sell lots of shirts. Watching someone else use the computer is boring, so she's going to go swimming, as the pool deck is only one floor down from us.

Learning to work in a new hotel when you've been using the same facility for many, many years is difficult. And having worked on so many conventions, I am not in the mood to criticize a case of new-hotel jitters. I think a lot of the dislocation I feel around here is because of that, and because everyone working on the con has the same "new facility" feeling. I presume everything will pull together soon. What I wonder is whether anyone will show up for my panel at 4 today.
Tags: orycon

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