My better late than never thoughts on Hal-Con

Greetings all,

It’s almost that time of year, the holiday season. While I wouldn’t consider myself a Scrooge, I certainly don’t get as excited for Christmas as I used to (which is natural I feel). I think Christmas is most enjoyed by children and well people other than me Winking smile Seriously though while I may do a holiday post for now I’m finally ready to look back at my experience at Hal-Con from last month (Nov ‘13 if you’re reading this at a much later time).

HalConParade

The best parts:

I love costumes, I’m not much for wearing them (or certainly making them) but I love to see cosplay and Hal-Con had some of the best costumes I’ve ever seen in my life. They were nothing short of incredible. Many of these pictures I didn’t take, I’ll note the last few that I did (I didn’t bring my camera *doh!* and could only use my iPad). My hats off to everyone who made and wore these, incredible jobs!

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HalConCostume1

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And my own pics (I should have asked people to pose):

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As you can see just amazing and a great variety too. The other thing I love about conventions is the people. I met lots of great folks (just one actor, David Nykl, who was really nice and interesting) I was glued to my table most of the weekend and was fortunate to get to walk around at all. From the woman who came to my table 3 times to chat (and did buy a comic near the end), to another lovely young girl who wanted to talk about art, comics and showed me her entire sketch book (she was really talented), to my table mates Matthew and Ellen (who happened to also be from Newfoundland and writers as well from Engen books), to another woman on my other side who was there to support her sister (who in turn was their with her husband an amazing artist Robert Bailey).

I’m terrible with names and I can’t remember hers but we had some great conversations. As people who know me would agree I love to argue and have discussions, so I did with this thoughtful, friendly and very interesting woman. I’m a strict vegetarian and animal activist, I make no bones about it and since 90% or more of people still eat meat…well it can get interesting. We also had great talks about writing, art, human nature, religion, Canada, the weather (It’s a love-hate kind of relationship for me) and lots of other things. She had great insight and told me things that I still think about, like “you’re a spiritual person” and she didn’t mean religious (as I’m not). She said I’d always be a teacher (and I used to be one for about 3 years) and that I should write non-fiction, in particular someone’s biography. Strangely enough it’s something I’ve thought about, I think I’m a good listener and I’ve done interviews before with other jobs (and continue to do on my blog). She certainly made the con more enjoyable for me and I hope to see her again someday.

I did buy a couple of things (just some comics), sold $100 worth of comics myself, had a successful talk on vampires the first night, sold 5 copies of my books (The Newfoundland Vampire and Killer on the Road) and won $150 at the casino (I’m not a bad poker player). The hotel (Delta Barrington) was excellent, we went to a great restaurant called “The Press Gang” and got meet some really friendly taxi drivers.

The not so good:

Aside from disappointing sales (which can happen at any con), the crowds were insane. Hal-con made the big mistake of selling an unlimited number of tickets on Saturday so that the fire marshal and the police were called and people weren’t allowed back in. For me I was there anyway and the only real effect it had on me was making it harder for me to get my lunch (luckily my wife brought it to me) and I had to get through a huge amount of people to get to the bathroom several times.

The part that bothered me more was the fact that when I arrived Friday night I had no writer/vendor/guest badge (I was an invited guest), no sign up on the wall with the other vendors and in fact not even a table.

I went back Saturday morning only to find I still did not have a table (it was set up while I waited after speaking with several people) and found out that my sign wasn’t coming. I’m not putting all the blame on the people of Hal-Con, I know they had a difficult year and that they are all volunteers. I also realize that somehow by me not sending a high quality image for the booklet in turn screwed up my table, banner and not being included in said booklet. I’ve developed a thick skin as a writer but still I have to say this hurt my feelings a little and was a huge nuisance. I had to tell people several times (convince one or two) that I was a guest and not just a visitor and the fact that I wasn’t even in the booklet did make me feel left out.

Final thoughts:

I want to thank everyone involved with Hal-con and I do appreciate being invited as a guest. Everyone I spoke to was friendly and helpful. I was given several apologies and I do forgive them for forgetting about me.  I would love to come back but the truth is financially I don’t know if I can. With the plane tickets, hotel, food and taxis I lost big time. If Hal-Con can afford to pay more of my expenses (even the hotel would be a big help) I’d be happy to, it’s a great con and I know they will fix the issues they had this year. Well I better get to work, next post will hopefully be long delayed Thor 2 review. Until then I am, as always…

 

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