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The FiranCon Experience

Disclaimer: This is also posted at the InvisionBoard for Firan. So, if you read it there, I'm sorry that you get to see it twice, but well... not everyone I know reads Invision for Firan :)

Thursday

Thursday started with me bouncing around the office at work, proudly and excitedly saying 'It's Thursday!'. They knew that I would be going away for a luxurious 5 day weekend and that I was very excited and very much looking forward to coming to Con. After work was over, I dashed off home to get a few last minute things and then dashed off to the hotel.

I checked into the hotel, easily enough, and tried to make certain they didn't mess up my reservation since I'd added a day on two weeks ago. They nearly gave me a heart attack and made me think that they'd lost my reservation, but all was good and I brought the things for that night in. I also waited for Caggles (Wendos) to get in, since we were sharing a room together for that night. Lilana was picking her up from the airport and then they were going to go off sight seeing for the evening. The silly girl was going to sleep at the airport, but we made certain that she wouldn't have to do that!

I regret that I didn't spend much time with them before needing to go off, but I was in the middle of getting ready for an evening out in Baltimore. I was meeting a large group of other pre-Con-goers for our traditional staff dinner at Legal Seafood, and then I talked myself into going to a club with the others after dinner. It was not a sort of establishment I'd normally go to, but I didn't want to be the lone man out on Thursday night. I can say rather firmly that it was an interesting experience!

When I got back, I crashed. I wanted to be fit for the next day when everyone would be getting in, plus I had lots of things to do in the morning since I'd only packed for Thursday night.

Friday

Friday morning I left fairly early to return the stuff I was using for Thursday night to my apartment and to pack for the rest of the weekend. I soon found that I kept forgetting things and so after my very first run to a liquor store to pick up a few things I know I'd like to drink at Con, I ran back to the apartment and got some other stuff. My brian is a sieve sometimes.

The rest of my stuff was already cleared out the room when I got back to the hotel. I should have left a note stating that I'd be back, but all was well as it was moved upstairs to the con floor where I'd be. I checked on the new room and was told I'd absolutely have to wait until 3:00 to check in and then went upstairs to the 5th floor to hang out with those who'd already made it to the hotel.

Soon it came time to open up the Con room and I went downstairs to greet SarahScott and see where I could help. It was discovered that the hotel, in their keen attempt of to accomodate us, had us spread out through 5 different floors and with the quick and keen thinking of SSB we were able to get that straightened out so we were all on the 5th and 6th floor. The hotel manager, Tanya, is an amazing, wonderful woman who did everything in her power to accomodate us. I only marginally felt sorry for the one non-con person that was there on Friday night.

SSB cast several shinies for us to make necklaces with and brought along string and many, many beads to choose from. Some of us sat around the table, while waiting for others to arrive, making necklaces, before SSB and I went to put door tags on the doors. We were very confused by one particular door, where we know we put a tag, but it mysteriously disappeared. We soon found out that Jonas (Derik) was the very tricksy person who confused us, and he came in search of us to find out whether or not it should be on the door. That afternoon Ronti gave me my first kiss from the list of those who signed up on Invision.

Friday night was fraught with the usual warm, welcoming faces and the accompanying hugs that go with it. It was amazing to see those people who missed the past cons come back again and to see those who were there last year to return. And, all the wonderful new people who got to come this year!!! I spent most of Friday night wandering the hall and going back and forth between rooms visiting with as many people as I could. I made Friday an early night, crashing around 2:30 or so (yes that is early!) so I could be fresh for Saturday's full day.

Saturday

Saturday proved to be as busy as the previous day, but then that's because we'd had a planned schedule to follow. Noon we had dinner. I got up early enough to get ready, but didn't count on breaking my costume at the last minute. I held up a few people while Claire (Zakaria) put me back together and stitched me up again. She is no doubtly the costume fairy, which I got many compliments on. She did very wonderful work and I was excited to finally see the finished product.

I caught a ride with David (Jalil) and Claire to the restaurant because I've had incredibly bad luck with cars and didn't want to run it again since I'd already been to Baltimore once with it. It caught fire last weekend, and well, I'm being overly paranoid about everything with it. Misty, her husband Chris and Pakeera rode along with us. We chatted along the way and got caught in some horrible toll traffic after us.

Dinner was great. The OC table was up to it's usual antics, and like they do every year they started to hide food and silverware as people went up for their main meals. Our table struck a bargain with the Cockatrice table and we guarded one another so nothing was stolen. Our table stole the OC table's water and put sugar in it to "poison" them. They ended up drinking it as a matter of principle. The staff came to our aid, and told us that after our table was served they were going to hide all the food and tell the OC table that there was nothing left for them, which we found incredibly amusing.

Steph's key note address to the staff and players hit several key notes for me. Firan really is a family and we prove that every year with each passing con. It's really amazing how much of a tight knit group we are and how much we look forward to visiting with each other every year. Faces light up and hearts soar when we see the first person we recognize or we get to meet, and honestly I think it helps us grow as a community on the game because we get to see that there really are people behind the anonymous screens. I can't say enough good things about everyone that was there that I had the opportunity to see again or meet (though I might try to do so in a separate post).

I tried getting pictures of everyone for the player prizes, but soon gave up after my camera was not cooperating with me. It doesn't take still shots very well when people are constantly moving. Bleh. So, I decided to just survive with the ones that I'd gotten and to move on. Mike and Ana were up for the kissing contest this year. This year I decided to enter. Really, who could pass up a chance to kiss Mike? That was my second kiss for Con. So far, a good start! SarahScott won for the girls and Adam won for the guys.

After all the festivities were over we got our character sheets for the LARP and it was back to the hotel again. I read mine on the way back to the hotel and think I exclaimed I was gonna kill Steph and Adam a few times for the items that were presently there. Many, many surprises were included in the LARP this year! But, Kudos to them for an enjoyable event.

Paul made a cameo appearance before the LARP. It was very good to see him again, and to see him happy and smiling. He wasn't there long, but it was great seeing him again. He arrived just as things were getting started. I remember squealing and jumping up to give him a big old hug. Con really isn't the same without him there to tease and taunt everyone.

The LARP was absolutely amazing. I cannot say enough good things about all the hard work and effort that Steph and Adam put into creating such a memorable event. Murder mysteries work. Very well. We all thought we killed Donos when those of us who thought we did it really didn't. My character, Taleena, however, kept trying to kill Amenik and kept getting foiled around every corner. I had fun plotting with Razesh and Marsalos during the game and found out just how scarily we mesh together. Watchout world!

After the LARP everyone wandered upstairs to get pizza and then we divided up into sordid groups here and there, hanging out. I managed to wander up and down the hall aimlessly a few times before settling myself in Mike's room. It was the happening place to be. Mike had the music going and people were bebopping everywhere. It was very fun, but somewhat exhausting. I believe Steph mentioned something about the sign up for kisses and so I received my third from Nick. I did not retire for the evening into well into the wee hours of the morning, but I don't regret the lost sleep one bit!

Sunday

Sunday was supposed to be the sit back and relax day. I had no pictures to take at noon and no chicken responsibilities, and so I really didn't have to worry about too much, but it turned out to be a busy day anyway. I sat in on part of the military discussion panel that Jesse held that morning. It was good and very well presented. It was interesting to hear people bring up various concerns that they had with the various aspects of the military and I think several good suggestions came out of it. Afterwards, Adam had his Verge game. I sat in on some of that, but only briefly. I had to go through all of my ShadowRun stuff to pick out an adventure for later that evening. I was running a game at 7 pm for various others.

I found a module in the Quick Start guide and started to prepare after getting some breakfast, but there was a knock at my door and I was easily distracted for some of the afternoon. I did eventually go back to preparing and felt much better after I'd finished reading the adventure for the evening. I'd put off creating one myself since I was nervous about GMing and talked myself into doing it somewhat reluctantly. Right before the game started, Jon/Petulos approached me about the kiss I owed him since he signed up Invision. I asked him to wait until after the game.

I have absolutely no regrets about running the game, and had a wonderful time. Sadly, this also means I have no excuse not to run ShadowRun locally for several friends here. Jesse, in particular, has been pestering me to do so for the last year or so (or so, I think!). My test group has been telling everyone how well I've done, and so that's enough to get me to look through my many books and to get more motivated to put something together.

We didn't finish the game until much later than I'd expected, sometime around 1:00 am. We didn't want to stop though because they were so close to being finished! The party prevailed in the outcome of what they wanted to achieve and we moved on to other things afterwards. Sunday I had a bit more wanderlust than I had any other night within the Con. I was feeling somewhat lost, and very uncertain about where it was I wanted to be. I kept wandering the halls until I finally decided to just sit. Others joined me, which was very nice. We started talking about various game things that have happened in the past, while nearby a rather rowdy game of "I Never" was taking place in Mike's room. A game, I might add, that lasted for well over 7 hours somehow.

The party moved from Mike's room, where it coagulated (is that a word?) again for the second evening in a row, to the Red Festival Con Room, because people wanted to let Mike sleep. He woke up after they all left and joined them anyway. Several people blocked Amber out of her room as she was trying to go to bed. Somewhere in the blur of the evening I gave Jon his promised kiss (making the tally 4 for the Con).

What happened after... well... was interesting. The "I Never" Game turned into a massive kissing experience. Jon mentioned he never kissed more than 6 Firan Wizards and then amusedly enough others started counting how many wizards were in the room and went around kissing them. I think I got three or four more kisses from that experience alone: Marsalos (twice), Zaridos, and Jalil (twice). Most of the girls then formed their own kissing circle, and well - details can be spared :) When the guys were told it was their turn, they ran for the hills and outside to smoke. That's when Adam and Claire came in, missing the debauchery, and starting chatting with us. Adam claimed his kiss - and I think that's where I lost count -- but I think he was the last on the list who'd signed up.

Unfortunately, the evening was killed when a mysterious awful smell returned with them into the room. Little did we know that they had accidentally stepped on dead baby birds and tracked them into the room. It wasn't long before we went down for breakfast, to get away from the smell, and then back upstairs again to clean out the Con room for the next day and to find out what the smell was. Once we were certain that everything would be alright for checking out on Monday, we all drifted to bed.

Monday

Monday was a horrible ugly day. No, really, it was. It was the day that we all had to go home -- or a majority of us had to anyway. I kept telling everyone that they were not allowed to go home, but they did not listen to me. Next year, I shall have to come prepared. I shall have to come with duct tape and tie them up and stuff them in a closet somewhere so they miss their flights or their trains or busses and cannot go home. Mondays bring sadness because that means it is all over and Con is not allowed to ever be over, because that means all of the new friends that we make go off to their real lives. Everyday should be a Con day, because we really are that huge family that Steph says we are.

After checking out of the hotel, we went to Arundel Mills to grab something to eat. Usually, Mondays we have this huge brunch so we can say our last good byes and break bread for the last time before everyone goes off. I regret that I didn't get to talk to many people for the last unofficial con event of the season, but I am glad that I did get to say good bye to almost everyone before they left, even if they wouldn't listen to me.

The event wasn't yet ending for me just yet though, as I had to transport Amber and Jeanne to Steph and Adam's house since they had one more day before they were to leave. We hung out there for the evening, and crashing there. A few others joined us but left early for the evening. We watched a rather surreal movie -- and after that most of the others left, just leaving a scant few of us behind. We went to Edo's for dinner, rented more movies, and I know for certain that I ended up just crashing. It was clear that I could not hold out any longer.

My con ended officially on Tuesday after lunch, when the final few of us officially parted ways. Steph and Adam took Jeanne and Amber to the airport and SSB and I parted ways and went home.

I would not ever miss Con for the world and for anyone who's ever hesitant about going, it's a wonderful amazing experience and it's highly recommended. Even those of you who are very shy and very scared of people will find yourself easily feeling welcomed and engulfed in the warmth that we all share and feel during Con. Once you attend, you'll never want it to end.

If you were not mentioned in this post, please note that I intend to do another post with further con memories. These are just the ones that I had off the top of my head and wanted to get down. The other post will include more personalized messages to people that I got to speak and hang out with.

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