Friday, June 25, 2010
And so Botcon 2010 began as usual with me showing up Thursday night to pick up my name tag and other special presents I get for "pre-registering", which is just a fancy way of saying I Respondezed-Si-Vous Plait. I waited so long to pre-reg that pretty much every living toy robots archaeologist did it before me, meaning the guys who paid attention when the call first went out for toy robots historians to come to Orlando got in line before me. My registration number was 2,101, which is so high it was literally off the charts-the email sent out telling people when to pick up their stuff ended with reg numbers up to 1,789. I thought I won some kind of Dio award for being last in line. So I just showed up at nine expecting huge lines and confusion because Pasadena was kind of like that last year. But it went really smooth! No Pasadenean four hour wait in line to pick up my registration packet or anything! The wait was reasonable like Botcons from a couple years ago but that didn't mean I was totally out of the woods. There was one very real and terrifying consequence to pre-registering as late as I did. I got lumped in with everybody else who registered late and 95% of those people are moms.
TOY ROBOTS TO THE LEFT OF ME SCALPER MOMS TO THE RIGHT
I was surrounded by moms and their pre-teen sons who wondered why I came to Botcon if I didn't know as much as they did about toy robots from the past ten years. For a second I felt totally outmatched by some kid I can only describe as Rainman of Cybertron. It's interesting to be told the unabridged galaxy spanning adventures of Optimus Prime and his transforming robot Volkswagen cohorts by some 13 year old filling me in on the past 4 million years in Transformer time starting after 1984 but I'm like dude I stopped paying attention in 1988 leave me alone. So far my most surreal Botcon experience has been when the kid's mom asked me for advice on scalping her box set and she got out the list of what the Botcon club store was selling and asked which of the attendee exclusive figures had the highest resale value potential on eBay. She was the embodiment of everything I think is wrong with the toy robots hobby today. If you have to sell the toys you buy at Botcon to recoup your expenses, then you cannot afford to go to Botcon. So just do the right thing and don't go and free up a slot for someone else who can afford it. I wish I would have told her to forget the con exclusives and invest heavily in Robot Heroes and Mister Potato head Bumble Spuds. I wish profiteering scalper moms would follow Dio's advice and don't talk to strangers. Most of all I wish I would have pre-regged earlier!