I needed to get all the “negative” stuff about the weekend over and done with first, because I didn’t want to be brooding over it all when I came to write about the “positive” things because I feel I’d probably have ended up overshadowing the good with the bad and no one wants that when I start on the “OMG MISHA COLLINS IS LOVE” parts, right? ;)
Okay, so… let the bitching commence!
Friday, 29 May; Registration:
Check in was a complete and utter disaster. Not only did it open two hours late, but there was no organisation to it whatsoever. Seriously. There were 1,500people to get through and by the time I got to register (after queuing for something ridiculous like four hours, I was led to AN EMPTY REGISTRATION TABLE WTF!?
To better explain, the registration desk was split into three parts, (i.e. 1-500, 500-1000, 1000-1500, or something like that). They then got everyone to queue up (there were like four or five queues throughout the hotel because there were too many of us to stick into one big queue) and, logically, started with the people at the front of the “first” queue and let however many at a time step up to the registration desks, get into the right queues there and get registered. It made sense. It was a great, if somewhat slow, process, but it was working just fine.
But… oh wait, what’s this? Oh! They then decided to shout out groups of numbers (ie, anyone with numbers 1-50 please step forward). Confusion, chaos, disorder, people surging forward, queue jumping, general “wtf-ery”. They then had to stop all those numbers surging forward at the one time so they ended up shoving them infront of the “front” of the queue, someone would then should out for a different group of numbers, to which those numbers responded by surging forward and clamouring to get through to the desks and then slotting into the front of the queue and BY GOD ROUGE EVENTS HAVE YOU NOT A SINGLE FUCKEN CLUE ABOUT ANYTHING?!
The best part of it, the people not in the “first” queue had no clue what was going on because we were shoved up the back of the hotel, around corners, out back doors, and left in the dark, sweating like pigs in a hotel with inadequate air conditioning and ventilation. How do I know all this was going on? Oh well, I was in a queue right beside the first queue until we got moved to the back of the… third(?) queue. The three people I was with were lucky to have their “groups” of numbers called before me and so go to skip to the front. So I had a front row seat for most of the shenanigans.
You want to know what’s even better than the “best part of it”? When I eventually reached the “first queue” my group was called and, oh-oh, wait for it! I was led to that empty table I mentioned earlier! Oh yes, I kid you not, it was an empty table. A table with no one else waiting in line to be registered. A table where the crew manning it were having a great big chat with each other because NO ONE WAS WAITING TO BE REGISTERED AT THEIR TABLE ::facepalm:: FAIL ASYLUM. FAIL.
So, things weren’t off to a good start for sure. But you know what? That was okay. Honestly. I understood that there was quite a few people to get through, and that even though their methods were retarded, everyone wanted and would be registered before anything else started and bla-bla. So I was fine. No bitching or moaning on my part (at the time) about it.
And then I got my registration pack. Oh look, I appear to have stuff missing! Okay, so what do I do? I checked at the time with the registration people and they were completely clueless about what to do, so I had to move on and let other people get registered. We later found out that EVERYONE was missing something from their packs, namely any "extra" autographs or photographs they'd paid for after the paypal disaster. Again, FAIL. Because this meant, once someone finally decided to let us know what was what, we now had to join ANOTHER queue in order to get all missing items sorted. ::headdesk::
I was all “screw this!” to that suggestion, because after being registered I had to join a different queue for the “Friday Autograph Session”. I was of course missing my extra autograph tickets. Humm, what to do? I’d joined up with a friend who was in the autograph session with me (and also missing her extra autograph tickets) and we hunted down a crew member who after telling us that though the Friday autograph people would not be getting priority in the “missing things” queue, we would be able to sort it in the autograph room providing we had proof of purchase to show the girls at the front desk who could then provide us with the “tickets”. Great stuff, that worked for us.
Friday, 29 May; Friday Autograph Session:
We then proceeded join the queue- pretty darn close to the front which was somewhat surprising considering everything- waited in line for a couple more hours. (Made some great new friends I feel inclined to add- nothing brings girls closer than a good ol’ bitching session for sure). The time for the Autograph Session to begin came and went. We waited some more. And then- FINALLY!- we spotted some of the guests (MISHA!!!) heading into the autograph room… and then back out again O_o… (MISHA! COME BACK!!) before things finally got started.
Not started in the “you can go into the room and get your autographs” sense. HAHA guys, don’t be so SILLY! Rouge Events wouldn’t dream of making it that simple. Jeez. When I say things got started, I mean they had a crew member run around the queue with post-it notes, taking down everyone’s registration numbers to make sure we were in fact the “300” and not just trying to sneak in early. Which, yes, you’d think was a good idea, except that it wasn’t because instead of just reading out or (better yet) crossing us off the printed list of registration numbers as they let us in, the crew member with the post-it notes would write our number all down. Give the post-its to someone in the autograph room who'd check all the numbers. And then, when they eventually let us into the hall, he'd check them all again as we went in and cross them off. WTF!? FAIL ORGANISATION. FAIL.
Now, I would just like to state that here that the Friday Autograph Session in itself was FANTASTIC though. (MISHA!!!) And totally made up for everything. We did miss Jensen and Jared’s autographs because they weren’t in the same room as everyone else and had a whole other queue you were supposed to join and by the time we got out of the first room they’d signed off for the night. Fair enough. It was something ridiculous like 8/9pm by the time we were “done” for the Friday. Decided to skip the “School of Rock” disco (which looked dead anyway) in favour of chilling out and getting some sleep.
I told myself the first "day" as it were was bound to be problematic, especially with 1,500 people in attendance. All trying to get registered. All trying to get their missing things sorted. All trying to find out which queue they were meant to be standing in. ETC. Everyone was in the same boat, bla-bla, and it's certainly not Rouge Events fault that their printers failed and so registration was put off for the first two hours of the convention (though, doesn't anyone else think they should have had the basics all done weeks in advance?), etc, etc. It was fine. I could deal with that. I’d told myself that the Saturday was bound to be better.
After all I had my “Winchester Squeeze” and Jensen/Jared/Misha photo shoots and the J2 autographs’ to get, and was confident I’d get to see most of the talks. Things were looking up!
… Oh, how very wrong I was! Optimism, why have you forsaken me so?!
Friday, 29 May; The Winchester Squeeze:
Now, everyone on my flist knows how damn psyched and excitable I was at the prospect of “The Winchester Squeeze”. Aside from meeting Misha Collins, this was one of my highlights of the convention, one of the things I was most looking forward to.
It ended up being the biggest disappointment of the whole convention for me.
If I’d known at the time that I would NOT be getting “squeezed” by the boys, or at the very least have Jensen and Jared stand next to me (perhaps an arm around the waist? Is that too much to ask?), I WOULD NEVER HAVE FORKED OUT SIXTY FUCKEN QUID FOR IT.
It was false advertising at it's greatest. Not only was there a "no touching" rule imposed, despite Rouge Events stating that they had no such policy in place when people inquired before the event, they had the boys sitting down on chairs which were MILES apart! They boys made brief eye contact with some of the people getting their photos (I thankfully got a smile from Jensen) but it was pretty much- rush in, stand there, smile real quick, rush out. They were rushing as many of us through as possible so most of the time they the boys were faces forward and straining to smile.
I did see them share some banter with each other at one point whilst I was in the queue but apart from that it was like… they may as well have been cardboard cut outs. I came out of that room feeling so disappointed and cheated. This was JENSEN AND JARED. I've been dying to meet them for years. To touch them, damnit. I… it just didn't feel like it was real, like they weren't real. Just… it's was such a horrible feeling. :((
((Now I did hear the rumours that the boys were sitting because a) standing for everyone would have been too tiring, and b) one of them was molested at a previous con and sitting stopped any of that sort of thing happening again. I’m not contesting either of those points. If the boys are uncomfortable with contact, fine. If they don’t want to stand, fine. But don’t tell me I’ll be getting hugged by them when I damn well won’t be! Don’t get my hopes up, make me pay a ridiculous amount of money for it, and then take it all away from me. I don’t care if I sound like a sulky little brat because I AM SULKING about the whole thing. I wanted what I paid for and I didn’t get it. I’m entitled to be upset about the whole thing!))
Saturday, 30 May; Jensen and Jared Autographs:
These happened at separate times, involved a lot of queuing and rushing as I’d quickly deduced was the norm at a Rouge Events convention.
Jared’s autograph went brilliants (got a hand-shake, eye-contact, big grin and got to exchange a few quick words- awesome!)
Jensen’s on the other hand was, ugh. Just. There were rushing us so fast through his session that there was a very high possibility many of us would have come out of it with whiplash trying to take a peek of the man himself before we were lobbed back out the doors again. We were even told in the queue we couldn’t talk to him, he had too many people to get through, and were quite understandably upset. We did understand why but it didn’t mean we had to like it. We were being deprived of meeting Jensen Ackles. A man I’ve been half in love with since I first started watching the show years back. And I wasn’t allowed to talk to him. I could have cried right there and then. Thankfully, I’m made of harder stuff.
((The reason the guests had so many autographs to do was because what Rogue Events do do is allow everyone to purchase up to a maximum of three autographs each. Which, fair enough, I’m game for that. I got two myself. However, they operate four different event packages two of which get two free autographs included and the other two which only have one. I saw quite a lot of people implementing the “up to three” part of the autographs, if everyone had done that the guests would have had to sign something around 4,500autographs over the course of the weekend. No wonder there wasn’t any damn time! Jeez.))
I got to the front of the queue soon enough and there he was! I said hello whilst he signed my picture, but he didn’t even lift his head to look up at me. Thankfully, I was getting another autograph signed and, knowing it was my only chance to get some form of response, I pointed down at the other picture and said, “yeah, that one’s mind too,” and he did look up then and gave me this sheepish grin. I gave him a huge big grin in return (because dude a, it's Jensen Ackles, and b, it so wasn't his fault they were rushing us through like lambs on slaughter day!) He gave me another big smile and a thank you when handing me the second auto back and I grinned like a loon and thanked him very much, I then walked away feeling way better about the whole thing.
Seriously though, all we fans want is some eye contact and the opportunity to exchange a few words with these guys if we can summon up the coherency to speak in front of them. We want to feel like we've actually met them, and we were deprived of that over the whole course of the weekend. I still don't feel like the whole experience of meeting J2 was "real" it's like… I dunno, like watching youtube videos of them or seeing pictures, that's what it felt like at the con, like they were not really there because they were too busy to just be themselves and enjoy it :((
Sunday, 31 May; General Rant
The Sunday was pretty alright in that I didn’t have to get any autographs or photos done so my only expected queue for the day was the one to get into the main hall where they held the talks.
((Because, Rogue Events fail on this point too and I quote “like to have different things going on at the same time”. F---OFF is what I have to say to that. Some people ended up missing ALL the talks because of this as they had to queue for hours getting their other stuff.))
Got up at 5.30am, was down for 6am, was in the first fifty of the queue to get into the hall. The plan: the get good seats and not move for the rest of the day. It was a good plan. We got good seats. We were told we could stay in the hall through lunch. We didn’t have to move. Nope. Na-uh. Not one inch.
Until they decided that some kind of “technical” fault meant we all had to vacate the room, start another huge-ass queue to get back in and those really good fifth-row from the front seats we had? Yeah, GONE. Like a puff of friggen smoke. Because everyone who was at the back of the hall was now at the front of the queue and just GRRR. I was up at the crack of dawn for good seats, damnit. We ended up somewhere in the middle with like two rows of abnormally tall people in front of us. FAIL.
((Because, Rogue Events “do not operate a preferential seating policy”. Which I really think they should, because even through I know I’d have had seats at the back of the room if they did having booked rather late on, at least I’d have known where I was sitting. I’d have been able to sleep in instead of queuing. Have breakfast even, (because lord knows my only proper meal of the day was at dinnertime!) And knowing where you’re sat stops you, and those around you, bitching about everyone who’s pushed in front of you, who has better seats than you, etc-etc.))
Also, everything was running behind schedule the whole weekend, so the morning things didn’t start for between half and an hour after they were supposed to, which made everything else run late and just GUH.
The whole thing was pretty much a disaster from the word go. And, of course there were highlights, and parts that made even the endless amounts of queuing worth while, and I am glad I got to go and meet these guys because I do love them for the show, but at the same time, too much went wrong-
((Something I found out in the queues, this sort of "disorganisation" has happened at the last two Asylum events too. :O Are you shitting me?! You'd think they'd have figured out how to make everything run more smoothly before deciding "oh I know! Lets invite and extra 500people this year!" What could possibly go wrong that hasn't already, right? Maybe if you'd stop seeing money signs for a minute and, I don’t know, planned this whole thing better it'd have run alot more smoothly. Just a thought. Unless, perhaps, they like the chaos? All those grumpy fangirls queueing for hours on end and getting ready to rip them all to shreds. Who knows, eh?))
- and, thanks to my experience this weekend, I have no plans to attend another Rogue Events convention. I forked out way too much money for something that kept me disappointed and unhappy more times than it made me squeeful and happy.
I reserve the right to change my mind depending on whether Misha Collins returns or not.