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C2E2 Prologue: The Calm Before the Storm

Hello there. How is everyone? It's been a while since I've posted on here, I know. But since I'll be working at C2E2 (Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo) for the weekend, I thought I'd do some reporting. You know, some real buried-in-the-trenches-heart-of-darkness journalism.

Part 1: Getting my ass to Chicago

Mother Nature was against me when I left my house Wednesday morning. I had planned on taking the bus to the Amtrak station. There I was, standing at the bus stop when it starts sprinkling. No bother, I thought. I can stand a little rain. Scant moments later, the light misting of rain turns to a downpour of hail. Mind you, this is not a covered bus stop. I ducked behind a building and turned back to watch the fucking bus speed past me. Then the rain stopped. 

The train leaves at 5pm. It's pushing 4 when I swallow my pride and call for a taxi (waiting for another bus would put me at the station at 5:30). It's 4:30 when the cab pulls up. We make it to the Amtrak station with ten minutes to spare.

I live outside of Pittsburgh, and the train to Chicago leaves at midnight. So, I had about four hours to kill. Thank god for Facebook and my friends in Pittsburgh, or I might have been Brenda in Adventures in Babysitting. Do you remember that movie? Poor Brenda.

Anyway, I hung out with my friend Sam. We played some Borderlands (nothing like some video game violence to clear my mind of the awful morning) at his apartment until it was time to board the train.

Part 2: Kurt's guide to sleeping on a train, also, I make it to Chicago

So, when I ordered my train tickets, I noticed an option for the train to Chicago. "Lower Level Seat" it said. Essentially it was a smaller cabin with fewer seats and more legroom. I was super-excited, as the cabin was empty, until the woman with two toddlers sat down a few rows in front of me. If you haven't guessed by now, I hate kids. I hate them so much. Thankfully they were well-behaved and fell asleep soon after we left the station.

Kurt's Tips for Sleeping on a Train:
1) Bring some headphones to drown out whiny children.
2) School of Seven Bells is good music to fall asleep to. And I mean that in a good way; it's dreamy and beautiful. Also Delerium and Conjure One.
3)Bring a pillow. There is no conceivable way to rest your head comfortably without one.
4)Bring a blanket. It got so fucking cold on that train. I wish I had brought one. I thought I was going to get frostbite.
5)Move around. I didn't and when we got to Chicago, I walked like I had a debilitating limp. It reminded me of Catherine O'Hara in Best in Show. And if you haven't seen that movie by now, I don't think there's any helping you.

I took a taxi to the hotel (The Hyatt Regency, if you must know), which is connected to the convention center. I never really took taxis before this trip. There was the one in Italy, where I thought I was going to die, but this one was thankfully peaceful. 

As much as I don't want to turn this into a hotel review, I must say I love the Hyatt. It's fancy without being pretentious. My friend Brianne and I spent a few nights in the Cleveland Hyatt this time last year, and it was equally as nice (we went to see the New Pornographers and The Rural Alberta Advantage, in case you were wondering). In this Hyatt, I have a king-size bed and an awesome view of the city. Plus, I don't have to go outside to get to C2E2. Oh, and there's a Starbucks. THANK GOD.

The view from my hotel room. The convention center is on the left.

Part 3: The Calm Before the C2E2-Storm

Those letters are giant. Nice type, too.
 So, I found the C2E2 Crew room after walking around aimlessly. It's such a strange feeling, strolling around a Con of this size before it opens. After I got my badge and super-fashionable canary yellow t-shirt (hey, I can make anything work, I am gay after all), I decided to get the lay of the land. 

I mean, come on! Nerd boys, watch out! I'm coming for you!

This is really only one portion of the show floor.
 The show floor is HUGE. Tons of dealer booths, and lots of moving vehicles zipping through the aisles. I thought I'd get run over on more than one occasion. I did a quick walk of the Artist Alley, where I'll be stationed for the majority of the Con. Just a sea of tables. The sheer size of it terrifies me as much as it excites me. 

Just one segment of the Artist Alley
Later in the day there was a Crew meet-and-greet, which was less so for me because of my crippling fear of meeting new people. I know, I know, "Well then why did you sign up for this, Kurt?" is what you smug bastards are saying. Because I want to meet new people, as apprehensive as I am about it. And I've never experienced a Con of this magnitude (POP POP!) before.

So, enough of that. I did a walk through with Mike, our Artist Alley manager, and I got to meet some artists and got a bit of advice on how to deal with them.

After I walked around the show floor and Artist Alley about three times over, I went back to my room, bemoaned the time zone since I couldn't watch 30 Rock or Community (Central Time, damn youuuu), and crashed out. As I type this, I'm also getting ready for my first shift. I'm all caffeinated up and ready go! Wish me luck, and I'll have my official C2E2 Day One post up later. Now, how to best find John Barrowman....


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