BotCon 08: When The Pigs Fly in Cincinnati...



Day 1 (Tuesday): I got up really early this time around at 3 AM and drove down the snow covered highway (it wasn’t as bad as the previous couple of days though). The service road at the airport (to where I work) still wasn’t as good though and I had to be more careful on it. I got into work, threw my stuff in a rental car and drove over to the Terminal. I only had my jean jacket on as I went inside the Terminal and was cold (-10C/14F to start the day) but I knew it would be reasonably warm when I hit the States so I didn’t want to haul my winter coat around all the time I was there either.

            I cleared security and customs without any problem–those strip searches are getting so much easier now! (The female security officers insist you get naked so they can make sure that’s a penis and not a weapon down there. Unbeknownst to them, it’s both!)

            I got on the tiniest plane in existence and flew my ass down to Denver. I hadn’t been there in nine years so it was kinda nice seeing the Terminal again (some day, I’d actually like to go see what the city looks like). I got off at Gate 60 and after two hours of waiting, it was the exact same gate, same plane and same flight crew that took me to Cincinnati.

            I was also glad to discover my wussy Pay As You Go phone’s roaming worked fine in Denver (last time I went to the States it didn’t–apparently they don’t cover Montana, though). Incidentally, it was 6C/43F in Denver (a significant improvement from Edmonton already).

            The Terminal we landed at Cincinnati airport was old and cruddy looking (you think they could’ve at least cleaned the bats and mouse droppings out before people came in there, but no). Seriously, United’s terminal is old (like from the 60s or so) and very uninviting compared with every other U.S. airport I’ve ever been to (including little Lexington, KY’s airport). Their entire airport is bigger then Edmonton’s but not as modern...

            I took a cab from the airport and got to downtown about twenty minutes later... the Cincinnati downtown looked like an interesting place and the spot where the hotel was located was quite nice and modern. After leaving Canada and -10C, it was 21C/69F in Cincinnati–and, boy could I feel it! Nice...)

            I checked in with no problem and the hotel clerk told me that he’d been working at the Lexington Hyatt when they’d hosted BotCon 06 a couple of years ago. I told him I’d been there too! We laughed and threw our arms around each other in a great big ole southern bear hug (real men aren’t afraid of looking gay!)

            After that, I went and put my stuff up in my room. I was in room 609 (note the fan in 611–sorry about all that noise every night. Those local hookers are cheap–and loud!)

            After I got settled, I checked out the Walgreen’s a block down and checked if they had any toys of interest (this particular one didn’t but I’ve gotten lucky once or twice before at Walgreen’s–and found a cool toy or two, too!)

            I took a cab out to Mason, OH (about 30 minutes away, roughly) and dined at a Mexican themed restaurant called Abuelo’s (we went to one in Lexington and I wanted to go back and sample some more of their food). I think the Lexington restaurant was very slightly better but this one was still fairly good too.

            I knew there were some shops nearby but I didn’t realize there was also a Wal-mart in the adjacent lot. That worked out well for me since I’d planned to track one down on my trip anyway... This was one of those absurdly big super centers that’s open 24 hours. Sadly, they didn’t have much of interest. Some Cyb movie recolors and other junk I can get back home anyway. I almost bought a cheap Wii game but had second thoughts (I think I might’ve seen it back home anyway so no loss).

            I was surprised to see that U.S. Wal-marts sell cigarettes (they wouldn’t dare in Canada). Sadly, though, they didn’t have the brand my friend back home wanted (now, he’s gonna beat me! Sob!)

            There also some kind of theatre there (outside in the next lot) but I didn’t pay it much attention. I went a bit further over and found Game Spot. They had one of the games my other friend told me to look for (he insisted they be new and sealed. I found one sealed–they had three others but they were used, so I passed on them). Metal Gear Acid 2 for $10, scored! (This friend won’t beat me now. Yay!) The girl that helped me in G.S. looked a little like an old co-worker from my old job but with shorter hair (and a different name). Just as cute though!

            I also checked out Borders but they had nothing of interest...

            The cab company I called for pick-up were idiots and took an hour or so to get me finally. Apparently, they couldn’t find the strip mall on their GPS (morons!) Finally I got the exact street name from the girl at Borders and they found it somehow... the cabbie’s english also wasn’t perfect so I had trouble understanding him when he called and kind of trailed off on me. Add to that, all the back and forth on the phone drained the hell out of my cell time.

            Got back to the hotel, kissed the ground gratefully and went up to my room. I had beddie bye then. Sadly, I had trouble sleeping that first night (sometimes, you just need a bottle of Bourbon and two comly young lasses–don’t pretend you don’t know what I mean!)



Day 2 (Wednesday)


            I didn’t get a lot of sleep but had enough to simulate being awake so I could fool most people. I showered, dressed, stopped and admired my handsome face in the mirror for a few minutes and then hit the hotel lobby. It hurt, but now the building knows who’s boss and that’s all that matters, isn’t it?

            Only four other TF fans were there to start with (I was about fifteen minutes early). Finally, everyone else showed up and we got this sorry show on the road. There were 38 people on the tour, including the BotCon staff. We all had our own private coach bus (they’d originally planned to use the city bus–but then realized that was stupid).

            Two fans that were waiting before the tour started were Matthew Griffin and a UK fan I met for the first time called Simon Barlow (somebody related to the website apparently). I hung out a decent amount of time with Simon on the tours (which is why I mention him).

            Peter Sinclair gave us a quick tour of downtown’s sights on the bus (three sport arenas? Amateurs!) We drove through the old, cruddy part of downtown (nice! Show the tourists what they’re missing) and he also pointed out the old Kenner building (abandoned now for Rhode Island).

            We dropped off at some little strip mall somewhere and went to a store front called Lazer Kraze. We practised for a few minutes to get used to our rigs then played four games of laser tag (one was a free-for-all round then three team games with varying rules). Some of the guys were really into their stats (which we’d get at the end of each game session). I performed poorly in the games (percentage-wise) but shot a lot of people and had fun–and really, isn’t that the American way? That last round, I used a new vest and the gun didn’t react as well as the first one did (which sucks). I got shot lots... :(

            The establishment also had an arcade in the front–full of mostly SEGA games. I played the Aliens shooter once before we left (I would’ve played it more but didn’t move to do it until we were just about ready to leave). Sadly, I left with $1.50 in worthless tokens in my pocket.

            We drove some more and finally arrived at another strip mall of sorts, complete with a mock water dragon monster statue (think Loch Ness) and some kind of incomplete mono rail above us. We stopped at the end of the facility and had lunch at a place called Rib City (Brian paid for us–which means we really paid for it earlier in our fees). They had a rep from Samuel Adams beer there who kept giving us free beer samples and asking us all what we thought of each (I hate beer. Period. Next...)

            I had a sloppy joe sandwich–but after I’d ordered it, forgot what it was I’d ordered at first (I just remembered it didn’t come with beans–which a lot of the meals did for some reason or the other. Americans like their beans? I dunno). I sat across from the lovely Brandie Tarvin and the even lovelier Kendrick Lu (I think was his name). I’d heard of them before (from somewhere or the other) and chatted casually about TFs with them while we waited/ate our lunch. I also talked to Simon a bit about his story ideas/something...

            After lunch, we were escorted politely out of the restaurant (nooo!) and split into three groups. After the fingerprinting and number tattooing was finished, our tour guide lead us down to the end of the mall and into a grocery store unlike no other.... Jungle Jim’s (insert thunder sound effects here).

            In short, Jungle Jim’s is an extremely large grocery store full of many cool props (horse and buggy, singing can of Campbell’s soup, Robin Hood, a boat with the Lucky Charms leprechaun and the Trix rabbit and many other odd things). They sell foods from all over the world–the United States, Canada, England, Australia and... um, whatever countries there are out there (I don’t get out much!) They have booze from everywhere too–and smokes! They have a post office, cell phone store, a chef school upstairs, meeting rooms for special occasions upstairs and the cleanest bathrooms in the United States (seriously. They won a poll on TV). They also possess one of fifty bottles of a special hot sauce that costs a mere $2000 a bottle (I’m not kidding–but somebody’s kidding somebody out there if they think it’s worth that much). They had soy peanut butter and other crazy things (pig head, chicken heads).

            After the tour, we were freed up for a few minutes (fifteen or so) to purchase groceries, if we wished (a couple of fans came back with bags of stuff). I went to the smoke shop and bought my friend three packs of smokes (Natural American Spirit. Ah! Refreshing...cough, cough, hack, cough!)

            It was about 25C/77F that day (I recall the heat very well, thank you). We took a detour after J.J.’s and went to check out a Wal-mart because some of the fans on the bus wanted to see if they had the TF: Animated toys in-stock (since Cincinnati was a test market for them–and BotCon was there just then. My, what an amazing coincidence!) Peter Sinclair checked but the store was dry (noooo!) So we tracked down a Toys R Us instead (ironically, it was on my list of stores to visit while down there so they killed two birds with one stone).

            You should’ve seen the stampede of fans from the bus into the TRU (I really wish I’d taken a picture now. No one ran but they walked real fast!) There was an endcap of TF:A toys there so they came and picked it clean. Personally, I’m not interested in them that much so I used the opportunity to pick up some GIJOEs instead and also check out the video game section (nothing of interest there, though). Simon found some game he wanted though, so that was cool for him.

            We went to the Earth Collectible Toy Mall later and looked around. Lots of cool old toys and other junk... didn’t buy anything but came damn close a couple of times. But my better instincts (read: cheapness) won out that time. Simon picked up an old Repugnus he’d wanted (it still sparked fine too). One block down was a comic shop (Empire Comics)–they had the new Grimlock Spotlight and I also found the last issue of BW Ascension there too.

            We returned home to the hotel and I went and found the adjacent mall... looked at the  electronics/entertainment store but found nothing of interest. I went down to the basement level and bought a sub at Subway and returned to the hotel with it (exciting!)

            I ate half my sub then went down and got a cab to check out the nearest Target store... they had nothing of interest to me, though. Next door was Meijer’s (my first!) They also had little of interest (some old JOES I already have on order anyway). I called a cab and got it without incident.

            I left for the Duke Energy Center a half hour early for the early registration. It was my first time there and I was surprised by how damn far away the convention area was (on the far corner from where we entered and on the top most floor–the fourth (counting the Skywalk level as the second). There was already a long line-up there... We were divided up by alphabet and I got my Convention Exclusive toys (yay!) I’d bought a boxed set; a loose bagged set and, of course, Ricochet.

            I returned to the hotel and eventually went to sleep.



Day 3 (Thursday)


            Got up real early (6:15 AM) to be ready for the day’s tour at 7:30 (we left a few minutes late ultimately after waiting for stragglers). There were more people on the second tour although most of the BotCon staff stayed behind (presumably to make the final arrangements for the show).

            The National Museum of the United States Air Force was about an hour away from the hotel, located on the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. We initially went to the wrong place (possibly the base entrance, proper) because they had some MPs there and they gave the driver directions on how to get to the museum proper. We turned around and went to the right place this time...

            It’s a big museum! It had three long hangar-like buildings plus an IMAX theater and an optional bus ride to see more planes on the base (I didn’t go–I was worried there wouldn’t be enough time) plus a “silo” area with old rockets, etc. 

            They have old turn of the century planes (the first Wright Brothers military plane replicas) to real F-16s, the stealth bomber, the stealth fighter, F22 Rator, Russian MIG planes (older and newer), cargo planes... you name it! (Curiously, no F35–unless they aren’t in production yet?)

            I saw the “Early Years” exhibit first and then the World War I/II exhibit before going to the IMAX show at 1 pm (we had tickets. The museum is free anyway but the theater charges a fee).

            We saw an IMAX film called “Fighter Pilot: Project Red Flag”. It was okay but a tad cheesy (USAF propaganda flick). Film ran 55 min. There was also a air cadet (or something) class there watching the flick. The movie was about NATO war games and one pilot in particular... I was especially impressed by one scene early on where the US Air Command mixes up two of the “enemy” forces (they don’t know which one is the UK fighters and which is the Canadians. That’s always a reassuring thought if they end up in a real war all mixed together).

            After the flick, Simon and I (with others) had lunch at the second floor cafeteria. There was also a school group (or six) that came in while we were eating. The place had really good chocolate cake, btw.

            I was worried that I might miss something if I didn’t move faster in the afternoon half of the visit, so I did my best not to drag my heels (my camera’s batteries also started to run low). Ended up finishing 1.5 hours early (at about 2:30 and we had until 4pm). Sat around, went to cafeteria again and was bored until bus finally showed up to get us (about 3:40 or so).

            The souvenir shop had a four pack of generic Transformable robots! The four combined to make two and it was only $8.30 so I bought them (the box also has other toys from this company–including Convertors Kos). I also bought an overpriced key chain ($5!)

            Simon and I discussed TFs on the bus ride home and his story ideas, etc.

            After I got back (5-ish), I went almost immediately to the convention center (I saw Simon Furman on the elevator on the way down) to get the souvenir toys... then stood in the credit card line for 1.5 hours (cash line went much faster). Saw Eric (don’t know his last name), Rose Ward and Tony T while I waited. Ben Yee was talking to some fans ahead of us too for a good deal of time. Matthew Griffin was behind me and we chatted the whole time (between us we came up with the cure for cancer too!)

            They had two t-shirts this year (I’d seen both earlier on FP staff). The yellow one was the better of the two, imo. I bought one of each anyway (they also had a blue kiddie shirt too–but I have no children so I don’t care). I also bought my souvenir toys and extra comic (for yet another friend) but skipped out on the limited edition prints and any other stuff for the time being.

            I got back later when the food court in the mall was already closed so I decided to order room service for a change (my first time EVER!) Needless to say, it was good for me...

            I didn’t attend the MSTF panel this night. For one thing, I’ve been to several in the past and every year is, essentially, the same thing. I mean, it’s moderately amusing but hardly essential either. Another reason I missed it, is because I kind of forgot about it. :)



Day 4 (Friday)


            I had initially planned to take a short detour from BotCon this morning and go over to check out the Union Station Museum (not too far from downtown). However, upon further internet inspection, it seemed like there was too much stuff going on there for me to just check it out in the morning. I figured I’d end up spending all day there (which would detract from BotCon) so I abandoned that idea.

            I did walk around the downtown though and got pictures of the Fountain Square (it was two blocks down from the hotel). I also got pics of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, the Great American Ball Park, the Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame and the Paul Brown Stadium.

            I also checked out the Radio Shack in the mall next door to the hotel. They had those TF movie racer car things (but I didn’t care) and they didn’t have anything else of interest.

            Finally, got over to the show and came in half way through the IDW comic panel. Marty Isenberg is doing a five part Transformers: Animated  mini-series apparently. They also showed some slides they’d brought with art for the upcoming All Hail Megatron series and the Revelations story running through the Spotlight comics. They also made mention of the Maximum Dinobots storyline Furman’s got planned to happen in a few months time.

            Also listened to the Cartoon Network panel as well. They had some interesting things to say–like how one of the staff is a big G1 fan and constantly sneaking in references. Nothing really important came of the panel although they are hoping to do a third and maybe even fourth season of the show (but nothing’s confirmed yet).

            Went over to the food court at the mall and bought a burrito at this restaurant for lunch (I didn’t attend the first Voice Actors panel) and I also bought a Ohio key chain at a local store (I Love Cincinnati).

            I came back to the hotel and slept for about an hour then killed time until I finally went to the Private Sales Room Preview.

            I saw Tony Tuski there while Rose was in her Soundwave costume nearby, posing for pictures. Another friend of theirs (Crystal, apparently) came as Blaster (cheaper costume but okay). I’d planned to get some pics later on but that was about the only time they were both there together (d’oh!)

            I moved about the dealer room (busy as all hell–like normal) and eventually settled on a Sky Lynx reissue and MP Starscream coronation add-on kit from BBTS. Later on, I saw Sky Lynx at another table for $20 less (double d’oh!)

            Later on, I went and got supper at a Japanese restaurant in the food court. I took it back and ate it in my room (where I was attacked by sexy female ninjas! I beat them off and then ate. They borrowed some of those cigarettes I bought earlier then left. Apparently it was good for them too).

            I went downstairs and put a small ad to sell my BotCon box set (I knew I would eventually anyway, so why not just do it now and save money carting it back home?) I put up my ad for $400 and later in the day, a guy came up and bought it from me (some of the other ads were offering the same set for $700! Others had all the BC toys for $1300-1400).

            I watched “There Will Be Blood” on hotel TV (it was okay but not as good/exciting as I’d hoped). But I’d wanted to see it anyway and had nothing else to do to pass the time until that night’s activities.

            I eventually returned to BotCon to see some of Faction Feud (dumb, because they always screw up questions or answers–and this session was no exception–and/or then repeat ones too). TF WIKI won it (yawn).

            Then the four show Fan Film Competition... the first two were best, imo. “My Little Transformer” and “MISB” (guy plays with two MISB toys in their boxes! Funny! Just... trust me. It really was. Really!)

            Next was a showing of TF:A ep 20 with Wreck Gar in it (Weird Al). “Garbage In, Garbage Out” it was called. Very amusing.

            Finally, was the Hasbro DVD movie commentary thing where the Hasbro guys showed the live action movie and talked about making the show during it (I stayed for about the first 10 minutes or so then left. Many fans left before it started. It was getting late and I didn’t care that much about the movie anyway).

            Brian also announced Saturday *would* have some souvenir toys left over... I hoped to pick up another set.



(Day 5) Saturday


            I got up early, got ready and went to the dealer room ASAP to try and get another souvenir toy set. There was a line-up of other greedy people–er, strategic investors waiting there and soon enough, the dealer room opened. We were lead in through a side door (so they could hide our shame!) so our line wouldn’t be interfering with the walk-in business that morning.

            I got two more souvenir sets of toys and brought them back to my room (with plans to sell them at a later date). Later on in the day, I heard them announce one set had sold out (presumably they all did eventually but I don’t know).

            I saw a little bit of the voice actor panel after that but didn’t really know what was going on (there was some kind of running gag going on with the actors but I didn’t know what that was all about ). I decided to go (so they wouldn’t see me cry! Sob!)

            I went over to the mall afterward and got a sub at the food court for lunch (could we even have BotCons without Subway? I think not....) Looked at the bookshop nearby after that but found only a Star Trek ship art book of interest (but didn’t buy it).

            I came back before the TCC Magazine and Comic Panel had ended and sat through it’s remainder before the Hasbro panel began. I recall them speaking about their ideas for the Shattered Universe continuity (doing further stories set in it) and also about Axiom Nexus. One of the guys said he hoped for more fan feedback (I can sympathise–I wish I’d get more about my fiction too).

            The Hasbro panel was interesting and revealed many new toys/plans for next year (new Hound, Roadbuster, Ravage, reissue original Optimus Prime, Legends G2 Megatron, TM Cyclonus, etc.) As always, this was the highest attended panel of the entire show...

            Went back to the hotel and gathered up my toys. I took them and had them all shipped off by the local shippers (PakMail) so I wouldn’t have to worry about bringing all that junk back with me on the plane.

            Looked around the dealer room, got a free TF:Animated/Cybertron DVD poster and went down to hear the IDW comic panel (new one). They did the slides first this time and I got up and asked whether or not Evolutions would return. They said they had no plans but it’s not cancelled either (this point was further confused when somebody afterward commented on how since “the decision to cancel that series was made” and the IDW guys reiterated that it wasn’t cancelled). Otherwise, the panel was a rerun of information from the first time around.

            The show closed, I came back to the hotel and wasted some time until it was time for the Casino Night/Dinner. The elevator down was taking a long time so I took the stairs instead (as did some other fans).

            The Casino was the same damn thing as the last two times FP did it. The dinner was better organized then BC 06 was though (that was chaos–this was laid out way better). After eating, I went to talk to Tony and Rose. They had to go back to the hotel and have her change from her Baroness costume because her heel was damaged.

            I went back to the hotel for a while (the casino thing isn’t really my cup of tea) then returned to see the Script Reading (which was lame as usual–fan service, dumb in-jokes, etc.). The TF fan awards were right after that (best artwork at the show, best websites, etc.) Then it was 10:45pm and I got tired of being there so I returned to the hotel (missing the auction in the process–but who cares.)

            I saw some of The Departed back at the hotel. It was good but the ending was a bit of a downer (it’s ironic that I departed the auction early and then saw the Departed after that, isn’t it?)



(Day 6) Sunday


            Got up early, killed a bit time by buying some junk food at the gift shop and eating it in my room (none of the restaurants around the area opened until 10 AM unfortunately).

            Met Simon in the hallway and we waited for elevator together. When it took too long to come, we just opted to take the stairs instead.

            We went over to the show. He went to wait for the panel room to open while I went up and waited about 15 minutes for the dealer room to open.

            Walked around dealer room and looked stuff over. Bought a two pack TF:Animated of Optimus and Megatron ($35). Also found a replica gun set for Brave Max ($20). Bought two ‘08 lithographs from the show as well ($10 ea).

            Went back to my room, dropped stuff off and got my show questionnaire (forgot it the first time–my bad!) Went to the Hasbro Cartoon Network panel (missed the first 20 min) and listened to it. Was starting to fall asleep by the time they got to showing the second Animated episode they’d brought with them (#26. Black Friday). It was a good ep with a cameo by Finback and Iguanus as Meltdown’s genetic experiment monsters.

            After that, I went for lunch at the food court and had Sbarro’s (I know, I know. Who cares, right?) I looked around Macy’s briefly too. As expected, nothing even remotely of interest to me.

            Went back to BotCon and was going to check out the panel room but missed the final one (Hasbro Design Panel. Oh well, no big loss). I went to the dealer room instead and looked around. I talked to Tony and Rose there (mostly him) and we chatted about work, TFs, conventions, etc. Tim Finn stopped by to say he was leaving (I’d seen him once or twice before during the weekend).

            Shortly after, they held the draw for the free trip to next year’s BotCon. I didn’t win... (no big surprise there). Lightning doesn’t strike twice...  The convention was over (but my report continues on!)

            Upon returning to the hotel, I bought two t-shirts in the hotel’s gift shop (it’s become a tradition for me on these trips to get them from places I’ve been).

            I decided to end my stay by doing one more thing that was fun... I went to see Newport on the Levy (which apparently had a theatre). It turns out the place is a small mall with a theatre on top, an IMAX theatre nearby (but it’s closed for renovations/something); an aquarium and several restaurants about the place. Newport is over the river and therefore, technically, Kentucky. Unfortunately, most of the place closed at 6 pm so I didn’t have much time (I arrived about 3:45).

            I checked out Hot Topic (some nice TF shirts but I didn’t buy one); some used video game place (nothing of interest) and also Barnes and Noble.

            I went to the theatre (AMC 20) and saw Forgetting Sarah Marshall (it was either that or Forbidden Kingdom–but my friend back home wanted to see it too so I decided to hold off on that one). FSM was awesome! It was hilarious!  :)

            I got out of the theatre and found the aquarium but it was closed at 6 (like most everything there. Only the theatre and a couple of restaurants were still open). I walked around the area a little more and took some pics then took a cab back to the hotel. The cabbie was another Kentuckian hillbilly (just barely over the state line and... gotta love that state! ;)

            Went to Champ’s Sports Bar (at the hotel) and had supper. It seemed like menu prices were actually higher the room service ones (inexplicably).

            I went upstairs, watched some TV, and just chilled, knowing the world was safe from danger and all was well then went to bed finally.



(Day 7) Monday


            I got up early and left at 7:30 as I was worried I’d miss the flight if I waited any longer (my flight was at 9:05). Fortunately, I got to the airport on time. While there, I saw a Japanese fan who was also flying to Denver (presumably to connect somewhere else). Didn’t talk to him, though.

            There was a cute flight attendant on the plane to Denver. I could tell she wanted a piece of me (I mean, really, what woman wouldn’t?)

            I got to Denver after a couple hours flight and walked around looking for a restaurant to get lunch at. I discovered a McDonald’s near the central part of the Terminal (bah-du-bah-bu-bah! I’m lovin’ it!).

            I also found a store with souvenirs and bought a t-shirt and some magnets there too (never had a Denver shirt from the last time I passed through there).

            I hopped the flight to Edmonton and flew back home. After three hours flight, I arrived home, safe, fresh and funky as hell. Aw, yeah! I returned to my work, got my car and went home.

(End transmission)



General Miscellaneous Comments:  I missed last year’s BotCon but I didn’t really hear anyone say this year how wonderful it was (how soon we all forget?) All in all, this year was a pretty good trip and I don’t have any complaints.

            This was my first time going on the tours and I felt it really added to the overall experience. If/when I go to a future show, I’ll likely go on them again. The toy hunting with other fans was fun–maybe they should add that to the roster in future years? :) Or, better yet, laser tag with the reward being new toys! :-D

            I don’t feel like I got much out of the panels this year. There have been years in the past where I was at practically every one of them. But this time around, I didn’t feel like I cared as much... we did get useful information out of some of them but I just didn’t feel as compelled to stay and listen to every word every person at every panel had to say.

            My roommate of years past wasn’t there this time around (he had prior commitments in real life) so the show was lacking a bit without someone to hang out with but I managed okay.

            Compared with Lexington, which was a boring place, Cincinnati was quite interesting. There were a lot of things to do there–so many, in fact, I didn’t get time to do them all. Still, I’d rather have too many potential things to do then not enough.

            I bought a Sky Lynx reissue; the BotCon toy set (boxed and also loose bagged); three sets of the souvenir toys; a set of four combiner TF KO toys; Brave Max repro guns; Starscream’s coronation parts of the MP Starscream; Optimus Primal (reissue from Japan); Storm Shadow (GIJOE); GIJOE two pack comic; Cobra Commander (GIJOE); two BC lithographs; the two BotCon t-shirts; TF:A two pack of Optimus Prime vs. Megatron; several souvenir shirts and keychains/magnets.

            I also learned that “When life gives you lemons, just say 'Fuck the lemons,' and bail.” Truer words were never spoken, my friend. (Quote from Forgetting Sarah Marshall, btw).

            Brian suggested maybe doing a BotCon in Disneyland or Disneyworld next summer to coincide with the next TF movie (although it doesn’t sound like anything’s set in stone either so maybe he was just thinking out loud?)

            The convention center was laid out well. The panels were close enough to the dealer room and they even had a video room this year playing episodes of the TF cartoons (BW and Animated that I saw). I missed the video room(s) from the good old days so this was a welcome comeback and I hope we get to see more in the future.

            I wish I’d gotten to spend more time with my friends... I say Tony and Rose intermittently throughout the two or three days of BotCon and talked to him at most for about fifteen minutes on Sunday afternoon there. Well, maybe next time I’ll plan something out better.

            After two BotCons at the Hyatt Regency I’m really beginning to dislike their chain. They charge way too much (these rooms are normally $180/night. We got $140/night for the convention). You get a pretty hotel but few amenities for the price (extra for internet, lousy TV channel selection, no shuttle to/from the airport, lousy restaurant menu, etc). If I go to another BotCon, I’ll try harder to find a cheaper and/or better hotel (assuming it’s another Hyatt).

            The art contest was a lot smaller this year then ‘06 was. I don’t know why... (the only other worse selection was 2005 when nobody came because of the hurricane).

            Peace out!


Hear the Thunder...


Tony “Thunder” Klepack