.

A  DASH  TO  DALLAS
(griffin's 2012 BotCon adventure)


THURSDAY 26TH APRIL


Today's BotCon events were a pre-Con tour to the Texas Mint & a Ranch, plus Custom Classes, as well as a 5pm pre-registration pickup for those not attending any pre-Con events, while the Club Store opened for everyone to buy all the at-show toys and merchandise.
 

After posting up an entry to the Blog and Messageboard at about 2.30am here, I tried to get to sleep... but once again I couldn't (despite having trouble staying awake while doing the postings).  So I started transforming all of my boxset toys before falling asleep at 5am.
I don't think it is jetlag doing this to me though, as my unusual sleeping hours back home would end up being close to the normal daylight hours here.  I guess after all the stuff going on in the last week, all the travelling, and the worry about if I'll make it to the convention or make it through to the end, had thrown out my whole rhythm.

I had the alarm set for 6am, so that I could get ready for the tour (in case I had to go, or see if I felt like going).
There is just nothing on the tour that I was too interested in, and it was just chosen to gain early bird access to the Registration and Club Store.
The $80 is indeed a waste, but would be negligible compared to the total cost of this week.
They can think of it as a donation. It is better wasting that $80, than being too exhausted or even injure myself, and waste the $600+ of the actual convention.

So I got up, got ready, and headed down to the meet-up point at 6.45am. I told the volunteer in charge of the tour that I wouldn't be able to go and he didn't seem too fussed about it.
There were several others that didn't show up, and I was told that that they do get a few people each year just buying the Tour ticket to be an Early Bird, with no intention of going on the Tour itself.
I said a quick hello to Simon (who's from the UK, and shared a room with in 2010), but had to head back to the room as I was feeling rather drained.

Again I tried to go back to sleep, but once again I couldn't, so just worked on the various photos I had taken.
Since the previous day had the Toyhunting, and I was still tired from that (and lack of sleep), the only thing I thought about doing today was get lunch/dinner from the Italian place I saw on my first day, and try to get in a nap before the 5pm opening of the Club Store (for Golden Ticket holders).  I also had to keep in mind that the house-keeping could be any time until 4pm... so I could wait until they show up (if yesterday was just late), or sleep early and leave the door unbolted so that I don't miss a second day.

So it was about midday when I was about to head off for the Pizza, when I heard a strange bumping noise outside the room... and no, not outside my door. The other side...
I went over to the window and found a couple guys cleaning the windows, working their way down rather quickly. With the hotel being one big block of glass, it'd be a big job. But probably easier than a normal building of the odd window and walls.

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Walking through the hotel lobby to get to the exit tunnel, I noticed that the Transformers fans were now starting to pour in, just by looking at the clothing. So many Transformers t-shirts were now everywhere in the hotel.
As I headed outside, I made sure not to breath through my nose, to minimise the allergies in the sinuses.  It couldn't stop the eyes though, which were stinging within 5 minutes in the open. Like I'd rubbed onions in my eyes.

First stop, the pizza place about 6 blocks from the Hotel.  They didn't have any Chicago-styled pizza, but did have stuffed pizza (the topping is actually sandwiched between two pizza bases), and some pasta dishes.
The real problem I had though was limiting myself to only half a dozen items, as I wouldn't be able to eat everything at once, and didn't want things to go off if I did take a while to eat through the rest (no fridge in the room).

On the left are a couple Calzones (a pizza base folded over the toppings/filling). One was chicken, the other was more Italian. They each came with some dipping sauce, which was a nice rich bolagnase sauce. At the bottom on the left is a bit of "pizza bread twist" that came with the lasagna on the right.
On the right are 3 slices of pizza. Note that the boxes are the size of normal pizzas here, so imagine how big the pizzas were based on the size of those slices. One slice was the stuffed pizza that I mentioned above.  The other two fairly ordinary varieties.

On the way back I grabbed a couple more bottles of sugar-free cola at the 7-11, plus a litre of milk for the cereals I bought the day before.
(now I had a problem - I had two perishable items to have to eat fast... and the milk would go off faster, so I didn't end up eating much of the pizza that day - something I wouldn't have done if I knew I was getting milk at the same time)

Heading back to the Hotel, I took another photo of the JFK memorial, from an angle that shows how it is a hollow 2-piece structure.

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And a sign next to it explaining why it was done that way.

And some of the wildlife nearby. I'd never seen squirrels before, and these were only a couple meters away, next to the footpath.

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Back to the room, I realised that I had to get some sleep, or else I may not get a decent chance once the convention effectively started tonight.
I ate some of the pizza, but since I bought that milk from 7-11, I had to use that up first with the Cereal I bought the day before.
The pizza could be eaten later... if I felt like it. (a great pizza is just as good cold as it is hot)

I managed to fall asleep at 3pm, but had to wake up at 4.30 for the Club Store opening at 5pm.
I got down there about 10 minutes before they opened for Golden Ticket holders at 5pm, and I was one of the last Golden Ticket holders in that exclusive line.

This was upstairs, where the registration packages would be picked up by people who didn't get theirs yesterday.

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Then downstairs, with the people from last night queuing up for the opening of the Club Store.

I lined up, but just 5 minutes before they were to start, they had to have all those people in the Credit Card line (people not paying Cash), to follow one of the Staffers upstairs because they couldn't get a signal with the Credit Card machine on the bottom floor.
Inside, the make-shift store for credit-card holders... which meant that we could only buy the 7 at-show toys. If we wanted anything else, we'd have to go back downstairs and queue up again to buy those items with cash.
Since I had limited cash on hand, I have to buy as much as I can on Credit Card. And I was worried that the Credit Card wouldn't work (one off mine sometimes doesn't work in America), which would mean having to go back downstairs (after standing in the queue for an hour) and using up all my cash, leaving nothing to spend in the Dealer Room this year. That's because I had to buy 3 sets this year (one for me, one for two other people I had promised), which cost $900.

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Next to where we were queuing was the registration pickup area, getting ready for the first batch at 6pm.

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Just on 6pm, they were let in (shows how long I was standing in line for).

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And people were being told what to do to for purchases at the Club Store (because of the Credit Card issue).

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After buying the at-show figures upstairs with my credit card (which took just over an hour), I then had to go downstairs to buy other non-FunPub items (a couple things for me, but mostly stuff for others).
At least the Golden Ticket got me in ahead of all these people who didn't have one, which would have meant another couple hours standing in line, and possibly missing out on some things.

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Inside, the club store. (I almost got into trouble for taking a photo, because I could have photographed the rest of the dealer room behind the black curtain)

The small set (Kick Over/Off & Gen2 Optimus) is US$95
The big set (Octopunch & Spinister is US$89  (yes - the bigger pair IS cheaper than the smaller pair because Kick Off/Over has a new head)
The Junkions 3-pack is US$99
(anticipated, but still surprising, is that the Junkions each have the 3 different heads released by Hasbro & TakaraTomy - which will drive up the price this year, as people are less likely to sell off 2 of the "duplicates" like in previous years)

Also available this year:
Soundwave Headband - US$5 (comes with a collector card - limit 1 per person, even GT holders)
Small poster prints of the program-guide cover image - $25 (only 100)
Autograph/collector cards (similar to last year) were available in two sets (with random chase cards), or as an uncut sheet (without chase cards) in VERY limited quantities.
The two lithos - only the unsigned copies were there.  The Artists hadn't yet signed any.
Plus, a limited number of Runamuck toys (this year's membership figure) and left-over Stunticon t-shirts (from when they had the Runabout/Overrun pre-order).


The items I bought for myself - a set of 7 at-show toys, the Soundwave headband, a collector card sheet, and a Stunticon t-shirt, just because I wanted something extra, and they didn't have any toys I was missing.
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A closer shot of the collector cards, and the Soundwave headband (a rubbery thing to sit over the head of SG Soundwave). It came with a collector card that actually appears twice on the Card sheet. Disappointing.

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The back of the cards.

The headband on Soundwave.

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The at-show toys.

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Underneath (I didn't get a chance to transform them, so at least wanted to show the colours of the robot bits).

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The three Junkion heads. Junkheap, Wreckgar, Scrap Iron.

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A closeup of the biocards

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The Golden Ticket may have cost a hefty amount, but the time I've saved so far is certainly a good thing (especially in my current condition - I was struggling to stand for the single hour I was there)... and if they keep the concept, it will be very useful in years that they have items in stock in limited numbers (BotCon items or even regular retail figures).
This year though, they didn't have a single thing I wanted that wasn't a FunPub item, which was a little disappointing.
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On the way back upstairs, the hotel map showing the BotCon areas now illuminated.


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I was back at my room at around 6.30pm, and since the internet wasn't working for me, I didn't do much other than taking a few photos of the stuff I bought (above) and falling asleep at about 9pm... with the alarm set for 7.30am.

The show was about to begin...
 



Go onto Friday 27th April

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***All pictures in this convention report are mine unless noted. Any that are borrowed, have the source credited/noted.  If you want to use/borrow any of my photos, all I ask is for you to please credit the source as well. I try to take as many of my own photos as possible, and usually only resort to using others if I failed to get something, or my photo wasn't clear enough.

OZFORMERS - The Australian (and Asia) Transformers Fansite for News and Interaction (started way back in 1996 - try to find a Transfan community that's older)
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BotCon website - The official Collector Club and Convention website
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To contact me --> griffin @ otca.com.au