I have a very specific set of rituals that go along with travelling to a convention. As I’m headed to fair Verona in upstate NY tomorrow for Scare-a-Con, I thought it would be nice to share that set with you. Before you go telling me this is some kind of vanity piece, you can cool your jets. It’s more a “behind the curtain” piece, and I like to find out about the inner workings of things, so some of you might too.
- Setting up the convention bag— One of the perks of going to the TFW show in Dallas was that I got a convention bag as part of the swag. It made keeping my recorder, DE business cards, Sharpies of various colors and autographs in one place so convenient. The only negative: It’s got an ad for that atrociously awful abortion PROM NIGHT remake on it. I’ve got it ready to go for Scare-a-Con. It’s served me well for 7 years, but it’s really time to move on to a new bag.
- My voice recorder and batteries— Need I tell you again that my favorite part of running DE is interviewing horror people? For fifty bucks it was the best investment I ever made for my blog. Tons of recording space, and the batteries last next to forever. I’ll be ready to put it to use this weekend.
- Of horror shirts and packing— I have about a hundred horror shirts. When going for an overnight to a horror con, I try to cater my selection to the guest list. And there’s always at least one Slayer shirt somewhere in the mix. Thank Andrew Brynarski for that one.
- A long night without sleep— Insomnia is Satan’s whore. I almost never sleep the night before a convention trip, and I always think there’s so much I need to get done in prep when there’s not. I’m not anticipating much slumber tonight.
- Queuing up the tunes— I’m in for a five-hour trip each way. So my iPod is charged and ready to go. I used to go straight up Slayer for trips, but a while back I fell upon the Rolling Stones. Now I tend to start off with the Stones. “Tumbling Dice” is my go-to tune and Goat’s Head Soup is awesome travel music. I always make my back to Slayer, and with their new album Repentless hitting my laptop on Friday, I have 12 brand new tunes to go along with the classics. Hell Awaits, baby, and it welcomes me back on my iPod.
- Company for the trip (optional)— I’ve gone to cons solo and I’ve gone with company. There are pros and cons to both, but I do prefer to have someone with me. Here’s the trick: It’s not really about the con, it’s about the experience. And when I go to a con with X or other great people, it’s a shared experience. X and I often spend the trip back dissecting the con and rating it. What interests me about this particular con is that I’m going with Mike Cucinotta. This will only be the second time we’re headed to one together. The first time was trip through the end of the world. I don’t expect rain, but I do expect a great time with a great friend.
- Super 8 is my go to hotel— People always give me strange looks when I reveal this. Look, I get it. Super 8 has the poor reputation of a low quality dive. But their hotels are clean, cheap and all over the place. The rooms are comfy, and they fall well within my price range. The apex of my Super 8 experience was in Texas for my one time attending TFW, when I found the continental breakfast featured a waffle maker in the shape of Texas! Sadly, the Super 8 in Verona is sold out, and I’m staying in the Quality Inn.
- Getting the lay of the land— When I first arrive at a con, after the preliminaries of checking in, I roam the place and get the layout down. Once I have it set, it’s time for business.
- Off to the races— It’s all interviews, autographs and fun from there. And there will always be a stop to eat on the way home. Always a delectable way to end things.
So there it is. Ritual is a part of my life, and I’m ready to go through mine again in a few hours. I don’t know if the con will be great, but I know the experience will be.