The time fast approached when we once again began our pilgramage to the holyland, the mecca of Transfandom...Botcon. This year, a new addition to our family: one huge van, so that we might transport ourselves and give praise at that most holy of holy alters...Botcon. Many friends went with us, as did many toys that we offered up to the almighty power of powers, in the name of Primus, please accept these alms as we prayed for a bountiful harvest at...Botcon.|
Fight! Fred's Super Robot Life Botcon Travel Experience!
Yes! Fred's Botcon 2000 experience, in full color! Like everyone else, this is wordy. I apologise in advance.
The adventure started right away with how we were getting to the convention. We used the Mystery Machine, a 78 chevy van. Why do I call it that? Because it was a Mystery to me as to how it made the trip! We had to travel a measley 350 miles. The van burns through a case of 20w-50 (12 quarts) approximately...every 350 miles. About one mile before Fort Wayne, at a stop light (and who the hell puts stoplights on a major highway?!) we blew out the brakes. So we coasted to a repair shop for the day. (Special thanks to Joebot who was kind enough to drive us to the hotel while it was being repaired, to the tune of 500 bucks.) We got the van back, drve to the hotel to unload...and the cargo-door latches broke, meaning it was duct-tape to the rescue if we wanted to shut it again. But we made it!
This was my second year in a row (and the last year, but more on that in a minute) that I decided to become an evil dealer (tm). I had it all planned out. Unload the boxes onto my cart, and roll into the hotel. I was so proud of this custom-built cart. It was designed to haul all my boxes in one trip, no fuss, no muss. Except for one problem...it was too-big to fit in the elevators, including the service elevator. Once I discovered this, I attempted to back the cart away...only to have the wheels collapse. So much for my cart. I unloaded it onto 3 of the luggage carts and donated the broken cart to the dumpster.
Speaking of dumpsters, Dennis Barger was there...set up in the Hamilton Hall for one night to sell TFs. I hear that Dennis represents MIB, and is banned from the convention for life. I heard that he took off his hat, and tried to sneak into the convention. I also heard that someone was arrested and removed from the convention for being a nuisance. If anyone knows if THOSE stories are connected, please let me know...it would be priceless.
I absolutely loved the fans this year...everybody stopping by for a chat. I was able to attach names to faces, ironically for people in my home state as well. There's a group of us that belong to Dairyland Transfans, and although we all exchange e-mails, some of us never met each other in-person until now. Rock on, DTF!
Many fans are spreading their wisdom to the 'next' generation. Sonicjay, for example (the fellow in the foreground), is immersing his child in all things TF:
Other news...after 9 months of waiting, Robowang finally got ahold of his minty Powermaster jet from me (ask him about his hubcap)...Particle Man got me a set of variant Defensor fists, and Joebot, as always, got about 75% of my Needs List wiped out in one shot. :-) I FINALLY got to meet and chat with Ravestrike in-person (the fellow who makes those excellent sticker sheets). Last year, I think he was hiding...couldn't find him anywhere. I had the pleasure of sharing a row of booths this year with Rose T. (of Twisted Transformer Theatre fame) and Supersarr, some of the loveliest women in transfandom. And speaking of lovely ladies, I finally got to meet face-to-face with Tut and Raksha for a spell, although not at the same time... Sigh.
Yheatrical showing of the movie? Awsome. Such sharp picture clarity brought a chill to my spine...or maybe it was the air-conditioning, I'm not sure. The video rooms running constantly? Awsome. PLEASE, let's see that again. With my sleeping schedule, it's nice to be able to wake up at 3 in the morning and be able to watch cartoons!
I was finally able to complete my decoy collection thanks to Mike and Bruce from Digital Toys. Rugby's sold me a Galaxy Shuttle from his personal collection, (thanks to BW Sidecutter for finding me THAT deal!) and the British guys netted me an AM Bombshell...and some glasses, and a Thunderclash boxed, and...etc. I finally managed to find the elusive second-issue lunchbox (has artwork like on the back of Jetfire's box, with Grimlock biting the Insecticon) not once, but twice! And in the correct color! So the red one went to me, and the orange one went to Joebot (since I owe him so much already). I also acquired another box of jumpstarters from everyone there! Thanks to all! My collection grows...
For the record, I liked the exclusives this year. The plate was nice, as was the comic. The convention toys? Well, neither one of those was my favorite in terms of recycled molds, but they did at least have some playability. Better color scheme than the regular versions of those toys, too.
And especially thanks to everyone who voted me to win a small portion of the art contest...I wasn't expecting to win anything, but you voted me to win the diorama competition in a sweep! Homer Simpson as Sparkplug is one of your favorites, along with the Minibot Battle Brigade, and...well, I'm not saying anything about the Legion of Jumpstarters. :-) Thank you! I think that I'll claim that Homer built Toiletbot...much better than admitting to doing that myself. If you want to meet the whole family of kitbash projects, from Canbot to Transmetal Garfield, they can be seen at my customs page.
I hate to admit it, but I was thrilled beyond words to get autographs from John and Venus. And pictures to boot! Of course, none of my pictures turned out (that's why there are no pics) so if you want to donate some to me... :-)
And I was happy to see Mark at Galvatron.com finally get that TransManual off the shelf and out to the fans. That book is the best! If you didn't pick one up, you need to do so NOW! Go to his site! Buy one! And keep watching! The next guide will be out soon. This book covers EVERYTHING! All the toys, all the variants, close-up scans of the weapons for each unit...This is every transfans dream. My dream was being allowed to help such a worthwhile project. Go, Mark! Let's see the next installment soon, OK?
Mark and I found a new way to entertain ourselves this year. When we weren't selling anything, we set packaged toys out on the floor of the dealer room, and when someone picked it up, we told them that (randomly pointing to someone farther down) that we believed it belonged to them. :-) I apologise to everyone who reads this who fell to that joke. But on the upside, some lucky people walked away with free Destroyer Droids, Prowls, Beanie Babies, Mcbeasts, etc...and you wondered why we gave them away...
Thank you to everyone who signed my Board of Shame (tm). This was another one of Mark's ideas, and it was a good one. Everyone I could corner had to sign the board. It now sits proudly in a dark corner of my basement. :-)
But alas...this is the end. For now. There is more, so MUCH more...but it will have to wait. Thanks to all! What an awsome year! Remind me to fly next time, though...the van will be staying home. Unless...no, never mind. They wouldn't DREAM of holding a convention THERE...would they?