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Everything posted by alabaster

  1. In 1987 through the mid 90s, the bustling harbor place pavilions were packed every weekend and busy most weekdays. I even worked there over a summer or two. I say 1987 because that was my first real solo trip down there after high school graduation. Now, when I say packed, I mean every retail and restaurant space and then some was filled — all the shops, plus carts and temporary setups. One major cause of mall death across the board is obscene rent costs and rules that make it nearly impossible for anything but big stores to operate without losing money, in “tourist” areas li
  2. I have a copy of every program. I also have a copy of all the primary t shirts from 2000-up, except one I think.
  3. Short answer: some of the earlier ones are complicated by copyright issues, which we discovered when we tried to arrange something cool for our 10th. At least one of the early ones is probably not reprintable at all, if memory serves because it uses a character we don't have rights to. In other cases it's likely that either we don't have access to quality version of art, or don't have the correct agreement in place for reprint -- it was a few years before we got the hang of that stuff. But I've seen the odd shirt show up on eBay.
  4. The short answer -- and remembering I do NOT currently speak on behalf of the organization -- is that we've generally followed the recommendations and requirements of the venue, because what choice do we have? And the venue follows city guidance. Everyone does. Just like we're stuck with the required food vendors and security contractors, and required to scan bags and restrict costumes. (Further disclaimer: there are a LOT of Ota staff connected with health care, public safety, and government, and we're pretty vocal when such things are discussed. It would be impossible to "go rogue" for som
  5. We know the routine by now, right? They are almost certainly waiting until things are legally in place for them to cancel without being on the hook for the contracts. Like every other con.
  6. Flying Scotsman, there's a wine store about two blocks from Fleming's and Roy's, on that side of the harbor, that had a few decent beers and ciders. Not nearly the depth of some of your other suggestions, but it was a life saver and would be useful if he happens to be staying on the Aquarium side of Harborplace. I've also been impressed with two places on the west side of town: Jason's (Ellicott City) and Perfect Pour (175w at Rt 95 in Columbia). Perfect Pour's selection may actually rival Wells'. Does Beltway Liquors still have a good selection of beer?
  7. At 7-10pm? Hmm must have changed some then. Maybe three years ago, there was no line towards the end of the night. Hoping I can get there and get in line to get my pass, while also being able to get pizza and see a movie. ;p Nah, the line was pretty well petered out by the end. As always, the worst is hte first few hours -- we *mow* through that pre-reg line on Thursdays. Show up around 730 and there's seldom much of a wait. Absolutely no need to wait in line all day.
  8. Kaki, Southwest doesn't charge extra for bags, and neither does Virgin IIRC.
  9. I have been known, on occasion, to brew a vat of tea and then use water bottles to bring it with me. Just requires a bit of planning.
  10. Bottled, unsweetened teas are nearly impossible to find in the US. Such a pain in the butt.
  11. You must be flying ANA. You can get MUCH cheaper flights -- I've seen them as low as $800 in the last 3 months -- but I think it's probably worth a bit extra when you can afford it.
  12. I picked up two DVD's of Peach Girl from Big Lots for a dollar each and I can't say I was terribly into it. It just seems like they took a few episodes from a local station prime time drama and used it as the subject matter for an anime. If I was into that, I'd watch the WB on Wednesday nights. Wasn't Marmalade Boy the one about the girl whose parents do the wifeswap thing? I can't recall. Yup. Similar degree of awkwardness, but now with utter bitchery.
  13. Since i just got FIOS, I've been checking out their lineup. * Mushi-shi -- I'm really loving this one. Reminds me of creepy Irish folk tales more than anything else. Very different sort of vibe than the usual shojo/shonen crap. * Ouran HS Host Club -- enjoying it as a meta-commentary on teenage girl fandom. * Peach Girl -- have seen a few eps; a bit more slice-of-life than I am in the mood for, but not too bad. Liked Marmalade Boy better. * Hunter x Hunter -- so far so good: a bit formulaic, and I can almost foresee the endless tournament block of episodes coming. Enjoyab
  14. Hotel-based cons have options we do not when it comes to space. The Otakon dance has a much larger number of people to manage and for various practical reasons we need to be kicking folks out of the BCC by 2am. Heck, we kick most of our staff out by then. As the guy who, for two years running, was the last one out of the BCC at night (at 330 or 4am), I don't see it being particularly easy to extend that -- especially when most of the city shuts down at 2am. While some venues can stay open, we may well be up against city ordinances and noise rules. I'm sure that our planners will *ask* the
  15. I don't think it's so much we're against people hugging, we just had to ban the "Will Glomp for..." signs. Along with signs in general. Apparently Baltimore considers it "solicitation". And glomping people w/o permission is frowned upon. That's how I understand it, at least. Any other Staffer with better info, please chime in. Nope, you've got the gist of it -- see the FAQ on the website for more info, as well as the policy page. Hugs okay, pouncing and glomping total stranges, NOT okay. Offering sexual favors of any sort for any sort of payment? That is solicitation, as the BCP
  16. Pretty sure it was presented as a fire code or related safety issue.
  17. Dear God, that sounds hilarious. That'll make me get in line early just to see that Oh please. Rickrolling has been passe for at least a year now. Like "Chair", it stopped being funny about the third time it was done. Once your silly meme gets airplay during the Macy's parade, it's time to give it up...
  18. It's possible there will be something else to do thursday. No, I'm not saying anything more just yet.
  19. That's an acurate description of the 7Eleven that's 2 blocks away Once you guys are all gone, and the BCC is empty, we staffers have the chance at last to get real food and blow off some steam. Only one year we faced a real problem: we ran out of dessert before quite a few dedicated staffers arrived. So Alice (Volkmar, last year's Prez) and I hopped a cab and ran around the corner....and promptly bought out every snack food item in the (at that time) fairly new 7-11. It was obvious from their faces that they thought we were on drugs. Because who else lays out cash for a few hund
  20. Luckily that was the case for me. At least within Tokyo, there was no problem getting around or finding what I needed. Shopkeepers would often find a neighbor who spoke English, and in many cases they tried out their half-remembered school English on me. Which was only fair, as my Japanese abilities extend to politeness words and Berlitz tourist words. I can get by, and I understand more Japanese than I speak (which isn't much in either case). Of course these days I usually have some interpreter help for more important things like meetings, but it's still a very strange feeling t
  21. Yup, that's what I was saying earlier -- the one buried in the main hotel is bigger, but more likely to have issues. The one in the in-between building is almost ideal, but until you and I touched base this week, I was under the impression it had been booked by someone else. Sound baffling is possible with sufficient pipe-and-drape.
  22. Last year at Tokyo Anime Festival, we met an Otakon member who lived in North Dakota (or possibly some similarly midwestern locale). Finding a con member in Tokyo to begin with is odd enough, but to have them be from 2500 miles away.....
  23. Last year we had a mix -- most panels fit into a one-hour slot (so a 50 minute panel); a few panels and industry events went longer. I think Mer's comment was just giving an example.
  24. I'll let Panels Czar answer the more detailed questions, but there are a few general amenities that are standard in all rooms, and a few rules of thumb that may be helpful until he gets here -- since I have to provide this same info to industry and guests. * Typically, all our panel rooms have microphones, screen, table, 4 or more chairs. Easels and big paper pads are usually available on request. * The mics generally are FIXED and can't be moved, though sometimes the bigger rooms have wireless mics. Typically you won't see a wireless microphone in a room that doesn't have a sound
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