Southern Exposure 2005 After-Action Report
Posted by Nathan P. on October 3, 2005
Warning: Long as hell. Also, I’ll be getting into some personal background stuff in order to fully explain events. This is more of a vent/rant than anything to do with theory or design. With that said, get comfy and lets head straight into…
Part 1: I Head South
aka “The Nightmare Begins”
As those who follow my blog with any regularity know, I was planning to attend Southern Exposure, a smallish Con in southern New Jersey, to sell, demo and play Timestream. This would be the first time I’ve ever been to a Con, so I’m nervous about that, as well as the first time I’ve ever tried to sell anything to anyone, so I’m nervous about that. Nevertheless, I try to pull my shit together. What with my school and theatre schedules, I didn’t end up getting my files uploaded to Lulu in time to get print copies for the Con, so I was going to bring my proof copy (which looks very, very pretty!) and give/sell the PDF package on CDs to customers. So it took a good deal of hours, but I got about 20 nice-looking CD’s burned, labeled and put in little cardstock-and-CD holder packages. I printed up character sheets on cardstock, prepared my demo (though I didn’t have time to put down all the info for the pre-gen characters, or transfer them to cardstock sheets, which was making me skittish as well), and scheduled my trip.
Now, I attend school near Boston, MA, and the Con was in Cherry Hill, NJ – about a 6-hour drive. I decided to leave Saturday night, stay with a good friend that I haven’t seen for a couple months in New York City (well, right across the border in NJ, but close enough), and then drive down in the morning on Saturday. On Thursday, I found out that a friend of mine from school was trying to get home to Brooklyn for Rosh Hashanah, (Happy New Year, those of the Jewish persuasion!) and I offered to give her a ride. Yay road trip! So. Plan = leave before 5 on Friday, get into NYC around 8 or 9, drop her off in Manhattan, pick up my friend and go to his house in Jersey, sleep, get up in the morning and drive to Southern Exposure.
Well, we left before 5, so that much went according to plan.
Part 2: Ch-ch-ch-changes!
aka “Well, At Least Everyone Is OK”
I’m on I-91 South, in the exit lane for I-95, right down in the corner of Connecticut, about 3 miles from the border with NY. It’s about 7 o’clock, and…
Wait. A quick digression: what the fuck is wrong with civil engineering on the East Coast? Who the fuck decides to make an EXIT LANE for a MAJOR HIGHWAY out of the THIRD LANE. Thats right. Theres the right lane, the second lane, the third lane, which is an exit-only lane, and then the left lane is another exit lane going somewhere else. All I can, say is WTF?
Anyway. Cars slowing down to merge onto 95, the lanes basically at a dead stop, I slow down and am going about 10 mph….and WHAM. Fucking rearended, smash into the SUV in front of me. She (a woman was driving) swerves off into the median between the third and fourth lanes, I coast after her and kill the car. Now, I’m shaking, making sure my friend is ok, making sure I’m ok, all that stuff. We’re fine, a little bit of a headache but it went away, so no worries on that front. Anyway, I get out, the woman yells at me, I explain that I was hit…etc.
To make a long and probably boring story short, some dude in a pickup didn’t notice that everyone was slowing down, slammed into the car behind me, which hit me into the car in front of me. My front end is crushed in and the radiators obviously lost all its fluid, so I get AAA to tow me, and they, very helpfully, dropped my friend and myself off at the New Haven train station.
It is now around 10 pm when we get a train into Grand Central Station. I’m carrying all my stuff – backpack, bag with computer and demo materials, plastic bag of demo materials and stuff that I didn’t want to leave in my car, another plastic bag full of CDs that I definitely didn’t want to leave in my car, a fucking painting (the painting of the cover for Timestream, was going to use it as an eyecatcher…) – and she has her stuff, and we feel like refugees. I’m making mad phone calls, trying to figure out my options, etc. We get into NYC at midnight, take a cab to her house, and call it a night.
Part 3: The Plot Thickens
aka “This Story Just Keeps On Getting Better”
You may be thinking that I obviously didn’t go to the Con, and you would be right…but probably not for the reasons you’re thinking about.
Next day, I get online…
Another digression. Can I just say how much I fucking love technology, specifically wireless and specifically Apple? I can’t count how many times wireless internet has made my life easier. Anyway…
I get online and check the New Jersey public transit info. Now, if I was willing to get up and go on the subway from Brooklyn to Manhattan at around 9 that morning, I could have, with a combination of buses and trains, gotten to Cherry Hill at about 2 or 3. I was definitely not willing to get up before I was ready to get up, if you know what I mean, so by the time I was making these calculations I wouldn’t get to the Con before 6.
So, I decided fuck it, I’ll change my plans and go tomorrow (Sunday). I can get a train at about 7 am, be there by 10.30, sell during the day and come back around 5 or 6. If I was really hardcore, I could get an 11:30 greyhound back to Boston that night and be back in time for class on Monday.
I call Kat Miller, leave a message on her phone telling her what happened, and take the day to do touristy things.
Now, as luck would have it, not only is my good friend free and wanting to hang out, my mom and brother are in the city on a long weekend from his school. So hey, I see him, we hang out with them, its good times and a party. I leave my stuff at my friends house in Brooklyn, but then decide to stay the night with my other friend in NJ.
Another thing you need to know is that NY is currently doing all it can to make getting around between boros on the weekend horribly inconvenient and difficult. And, damn it, but they’re doing a fine job of it too. Let me tell you, there’s nothing I love more than getting off a subway train, onto a shuttle bus, through traffic for 30 mins+, and then back on another subway train to get where I’m going.
I get to Brooklyn at about 6.30, and need to turn around and get back on the subway at 7 in order to be back to the Port Authority by 8.50. Whatever, but while I’m getting my stuff I finally get in touch with Kat – well, turns out I had the wrong phone #…
Last digression. As one who was expecting to spend much time in his car is wont to do, I brought my car charger, but not my wall charger, for my cell phone. So the whole weekend I’m trying to coordinate movements, tell people whats happening, and deal with insurance and crap in 30-second bursts so as to keep my cell alive as long as possible. Which is really not stressful at all. [/sarcasm]
Ok, so, I actually called Kats sister, who set me straight. Just another little thing contributing to the unreality of the situation. Anyway, I talk to Kat.
Who tells me not to come.
Now, I’m not mad, definitely not at Kat or the Southern Exposure people are anything like it. Apparently this was one of the wost-attended cons in years, and almost nothing was selling or getting played or anything, and it wouldn’t have been worth coming even when I originally planned too.
Its just so…perfect. For the overall story. It’s not ironic, per se, it’s just…damn. Just damn.
So, fuck it. I spend the night at my friends house in Jersey, with his amazing Russian parents (what, you finish the soup? Have some tomatoes. And some meat. And now its time for dessert, we have two kinds of cake. Eat! Here’s some tea. Etc). Next day (here’s your omelet. And tea. And fruit. Are you sure you don’t want me to make pancakes?), they give me a ride into Manhattan, I get a cheap Greyhound and get the hell back to Boston at about 5.
Part 4: Denouement
aka “The Nightmare Begins, Again”
So here’s my summary:
Actually, in the big scheme of things, it was a nice weekend. I got to spend a lot of time with various friends, saw some family and hung out in NYC during some just incredible weather.
I am fucking ready for a Con. I just need to make sure I don’t spill coffee on my shit, and my prep time for the next one is gonna be about 2 hours.
I got to see the movie Coach Carter on the Greyhound, which was something I’d been wanting to see but was never really going to go to any effort to rent it.
I sold another copy of Timestream PDF over the weekend, which has nothing to do with the rest of the story, but made me feel good.
Well, I have no car. And that sucks.
I had to spend a good deal of money just to get around and stuff. Nothing thats breaking the bank, but more than I was planning to spend.
I didn’t end up at the Con, so I didn’t get to meet the people I wanted to or sell or game. Which, apparently, I wouldn’t have done anyway (sell, at least), but still, bleh.
Now I have to deal with insurance claims and all that shit. Which, let me tell you, is damn easy when you’re registered in New Mexico, go to school in Massachusetts, and get hit in Connecticut.
So, the whole weekend was a crazy grab-bag of experience, ranging from complete ass-shit to totally awesomeness, and I’m still not really getting over it, but whatever. It’ll work out. It’s just damn, you know?
I’ll get back to the Theory soon, as well as some hardcore rewriting of Carry, which I’ve decided to focus on for my next big project. Thanks for reading. Peace out.