ConnectiCon is a medium-sized multi-genre convention held annually in downtown Hartford, Connecticut. Unlike other major New England conventions which focus almost exclusively on Japanese anime and manga, ConnectiCon also caters to fans of science fiction, fantasy, comics, webcomics, and Western animation.
For its eighth year, ConnectiCon continued to build on its multi-fandom theme, and benefited greatly from expanded programing and better organized staff. Major events included a Sherlock Holmes themed masquerade, cosplay chess, Anime Unscripted, Anime Dating Game, FMV contest, and Mookie's beloved Death Match. Despite ConnectiCon's growth away from being an anime-specific convention, non-webcomic guests remained mostly anime-related and featured Pokémon voice actors Bill Rodgers and Michele Knotz. Overall, the staff was more knowledgeable regarding the locations and times of events, and in my personal experience, more professional than several yelling staffers from the previous year. However, the convention still experienced and mishandled several issues, including an unadvertised registration glitch and a masquerade that is often more about the staff wanting to perform their own skits than giving the attendees a place to shine. The event also suffers from the spread out nature of its location which makes attendees feel as if there is little going on at any one time. Although I enjoy hanging out with my friends at ConnectiCon, I oftentimes find myself bored or at a loss despite the convention's size as many events are not well advertised. ConnectiCon seems yet to hit it's stride, and hopefully the con continue to improve as it grows.
Thursday evening Sketch and I arrived at the Hartford Convention Center to pick up our badges; unfortunately they couldn’t find my pre-registration, and come to find out PayPal hadn’t processed a whole bunch of their payments between certain dates and it never went through. As a result, the staff forced me to come back on Friday and register for the full badge price of $60 the next day when I had originally registered for $30. It would have been nice if CTCon’s staff had made an announcement or sent out an e-mail that they had problems with registration during the dates it occurred so those affected could have resolved these issues months ago, or at the LEAST offered me a badge for the original price I had paid. Suffice to say, they would not make it in the customer service industry and I was not a happy camper on Friday as I had to fork over money I had not budgeted for.
Dressed in my Lebreau costume from Final Fantasy XIII, I spent the morning passing out flyers with Sketch, Katy, and Ryan for the dating game and checked out Artist Alley and the Dealer’s Room. That afternoon, Sketch and I performed in Anime Unscripted with some of our favorite voice actors, Bill Rogers and Michelle Knotz. It was one of our better shows – a personal best for me – and I attribute a lot of that to our rapport with Bill and Michelle. After the show we filmed several humorous segments for the podcast about photo etiquette at a convention and how not to be “That Guy.” Bill Rogers was making jokes about punching people in the face, and after taking photos with a few of us, PatD bought the website BillRogersPunchedMeInTheFace.com. That evening I changed into my new Amy Pond costume from Doctor Who and watched the FMV contest and the dating game before hanging out at Vivo with the crew.
Saturday I decided to give my Padme Lake Dress a trial run. Bry-Chan helped me attempt the hairstyle and I enjoyed seeing what worked and what didn’t. We were wandering the con when the police blocked off our hallway and frisked us all for weapons before letting us out into the lobby; apparently a real ammo round was found on the floor and security had to assume someone had a live weapon. In actuality, someone had been wearing bullet holsters as part of a costume with spent rounds inside and one had fallen out. Still, it was poor judgment to use real bullets, even if they were spent. After that debacle, we headed over to Bill and Michelle’s panel; during the Q&A, Bill's wife whispered me a dare, which I accepted. After all the legitimate questions were over, I raised my hand. “I was just wondering if you could punch me in the face?” Bill and Michelle started dying and we took another photo of him wailing on me. Later I took photos of friends in the masquerade, and hung around to see the FMV winners before joining the crew at City Steam. All of our friends and the voice actors were there and we had a rollicking good time partying late into the night.
Sunday morning I changed into Amy Pond and went to my Doctor Who shoot with Ryan, PatD, and Gale. After the shoot we packed and Sketch and I got into our Sunnydale High School dodge ball uniforms before hitting up the Cosplay Chess match. After the show we settled into the gaming area for a few rounds of Couples Scattegories and headed to lunch at City Steam. PatD was at another table with Bill and Michele, and our tables started a little war. We were afraid we were driving the wait staff nuts, but they must have enjoyed it since they gave us ALL free cake and ice cream at the end of our meal, which they said was a "mistake in the kitchen." A great note to end the weekend.