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BOTCON  -  GENERATION  2
(griffin's 2005 BotCon adventure)


- MONDAY  26th  SEPTEMBER -

8am - wake up after 3 hours sleep (from being on the computer between 2am-5am)
Downstairs for one last breakfast at the buffet, then back to the room to shower and pack all my non-toy things into my big bag and backpack.

Checking the weather channel every day because of Hurricane Rita that was supposed to hit during the weekend (but weakened and deflected to a different direction), I saw that today there was a strong front closing in on the city, which could cause delays at the airport. (fortunately it didn't... but it is worth keeping an eye on these things so that you can plan ahead if it looks like there could be delays or cancellations)

11.30am - Chris and I went down with our luggage and checked out of the Hotel.  We were both not required at the airport until about 6pm, so we both left our luggage with the Hotel (in storage) and went out for a few hours, going our separate ways.  I don't think I saw him again that day, or ever again, because he hasn't been to another BotCon, and seemed to drop out of the fandom within a year (which was really surprising for someone who still has the record of second-most attended Australian to BotCon).

I had pre-booked the Super Shuttle airport mini-bus back on the Thursday, for a return to the airport today, picking me up from the hotel between 2.20-2.30pm. (I wanted two hours for check-in and security for this unknown airport, plus 90 minutes for the 45 minute drive to the airport, in case there were any delays or road closures)
So with three hours to fill, I checked out the movie theatre to see if anything was about to play that I wanted to see (which would be 2 of those 3 hours).
But when I got to the theatre I found out that on weekdays, their theatre didn't open until 1pm!!!
I was really surprised by that (theatres open here at 10am) and annoyed, as that wouldn't be enough time to see a movie and be back to the hotel by 2pm for the shuttle bus... so I wandered around, buying some final American snacks, and headed back to the Hotel to just wait out the extra time.
Chris's flight out of Dallas was 2 hours later than mine, so he had an extra couple of hours in Frisco, and he told me later that he had time to see a movie before heading back to the Hotel.

It was about 1pm when I got back to the Hotel, and I was planning to just read something for the next hour, but a Super Shuttle mini-bus for the airport was already parked out the front of the hotel. I asked who they were there for and I was told that they were here for me... almost 90 minutes early.  I guess it was lucky that I returned to the hotel early if this driver had decided to leave without me if I wasn't there, as it could have meant waiting around after the booking time before ringing them up for one (or calling a more expensive taxi), and then waiting until one got here... which could have made me miss my flight.

So with the early pickup, a quick ride into the airport, and no hassles with checking-in and security, I now had about 3 hours of waiting at the airport until my 6pm flight.
Typical huh?
If time was tight, all sorts of things would have gotten in the way to make it worse, but when you have too much time on-hand to accomodate the unpredictable, nothing bad happens and you are left with nothing to do to fill in the time.

I managed to find an odd public lounge room with comfy chairs, and had a quick nap.

The flight back from Texas to Brisbane, via Los Angeles.

BT = Brisbane time
LT = Los Angeles time
DT = Dallas/Frisco time
Local time where I was, is in bold.

DT --------- LT --------- BT
15.00mo----13.00mo----06.00tu - inside terminal after checking in with American Airlines and going through security at Dallas-Fort Worth airport (already Tuesday morning in Australia)
18.00mo----16.00mo----09.00tu - depart Dallas Texas for a 3 hour flight, to a new timezone that was 2 hours behind Texas so my watch only went forward an hour.
21.00mo----19.00mo----12.00tu - arrive at Los Angeles at Terminal 4 - walk to International terminal to check-in to the QANTAS flight.  Luggage gets automatically transfered.
00.45tu-----22.45mo----15.45tu - board QANTAS flight. (now Tuesday in Texas)
01.30tu-----23.30mo----16.30tu - depart Los Angeles for Australia - 13 hours flight time... 11,660kms (7245 miles).
14.40tu-----12.40tu-----05.40we - arrive at Brisbane, get luggage, go through customs, catch train to city, another train to station nearest to my place, and walk home (probably 8.30-9am).

Since we cross the dateline and midnight during our flight back to Australia, it ends up looking like we lost a day by departing Monday and arriving Wednesday.
I ended up sleeping for about half of the flight, only watching two movies this time (Monster in Law, Flight of the Phoenix), while having a bolognaise penne for dinner and the usual hot breakfast a couple hours before arriving in Brisbane.
We were also given a snack box (not a snack bag this time) after the dinner service with snacks and a bottle of water, which I think they've completely phased out now (ten years later). For a while they would only give out the snack back on flights returning to Australia, but in this last year (2015) they didn't hand out any in either direction.  It's a nice novelty to have, especially for the kid in me, who likes the mystery-bag element of treats... like a showbag or christmas stocking.

I think this was one of the first years that I didn't have to open my bags at any point on the return home because of puzzling objects on the x-ray scanner.
Even back in 1999, I had to open my backpack so that they could work out what the x-ray machine was showing them (it was Gen1 Scorponok in robot mode filling my entire backpack).  This year, every checkpoint seemed content with me saying that my bags only contained 'cloths, toys and books', and believed me.
The things that I had packed in the box as one of my checked-in items arrived in relatively good condition this year, probably because I used my clothes as padding around the contents.  When I used a box two years ago to bring back my toys, some of the toy boxes inside got dented from other luggage and airline/airport handling... so the clothing-as-padding will be something I will do in future.

Something new this year was needing to take off shoes to be x-rayed by American airport security.

Since I wasn't able to get much time off work (I had only been full-time for about a month after being casual for 9 months), I had to be back at work the day I got back from America (Wednesday 28th), so after some unpacking, cleaning and other catch-up things at home (including the messageboard), I had to leave for work about about 3pm... a mere 6 hours after getting home... and over 24 hours since I had started the journey back from the Frisco Hotel.
Considering that I had been awake five hours before leaving the Hotel for 24 hours of travelling, and was now heading off to do an 8 hour shift at work, it would end up being about 44 hours between sleeps.
That was a long, exhausting finish to the trip.

Even though this wasn't my best BotCon, it was still good enough to want to do another one with these organisors.  At this time I was intending to go to the 2006 convention, but circumstances changed in the next six months, as I had wanted to host a Transformers convention in Australia, which would tie up my money and prevent me going to BotCon 2006.  It was the only BotCon I missed from 1999 to 2015 (the time this was written)... and it was one that I probably would have really liked too... more than this one at least, as there were some once-only guests that year, and the Hartmans were selling off half of their collection, with some great bargains.  It was also the most expensive FunPub BotCon set of toys to chase up on the secondary market.... costing me more than the flights and accomodation of most years.
That inflated cost was an incentive for me to not miss them in future, just so that it "saved" me money.

The next BotCon I attended was 2007 in Rhode Island (north of New York on the east coast of America), coinciding with the new live-action movie, and in the backyard of Hasbro's Headquarters.
Details of that adventure can be seen here.

Thankyou for reading.


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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, 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)
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BotCon website - The official Collector Club and Convention website
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To contact me --> griffin @ otca.com.au



Epilogue

First week of October 2005
Issue 5 of the Club Magazine hits American homes, and doesn't have anything from the convention because it would have been sent out the week after the Convention and written before the convention.  But the first page has a very short and vague paragraph to note that the Convention went well, so it would have been amusing if the Convention had been postponed or had to be shut down early if Hurricane Rita had hit as predicted, because the newsletter probably would have gone out unchanged... or redone and sent out late.

First week of December 2005
Issue 6 of the Club Magazine hits American homes, with four pages of BotCon coverage, as it would have been the first issue printed after the Convention. Three pages were a review of the convention submitted by a fan, while a fourth page covered the exploits of the Jerry Jivoin doll at the convention.

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