phi (totient) wrote,

chronology of a party

3:30 PM, Saturday March 19: I arrive in Newark by Amtrak from Philadelphia, where I have been soaking in the museums and stuffing myself silly with excellent food. The next train for Secaucus Transfer is not for 45 minutes, so I hop in a cab. He asks for $40 for what would have been a $35 fare if he had turned on the meter, and since he's stiffing his cab company I don't feel bad about not adding a tip.

3:45: The hotel front desk has several different ideas about whether the party room is checked in, but none of them involve my name being on the room. Now I need Skip Morris (or possibly a convention innkeeper, except I don't think there is one) to get into the room. The logistics of this mean that it's hotel food instead of sushi for dinner for me. Fortunately, I'm still stuffed from all the incredible food I ate in Philadelphia.

4:05: I get a badge and a pocket program. Skip is not on any of the 4:00 programming, so I can't stalk him on his way out at 5:00. It does not occur to me to try to stalk him on the way *in* to a panel item.

4:30: Skip has three rooms, and although they are not supposed to do that, the front desk have let slip the numbers of two of them: 2008 and 2012 (the third one, which they have successfully kept a secret, will later turn out to be an unsurprising 2010). The con suite is on 20, as are most of the other parties. The hotel nevertheless seems to consider 20 to be a quiet floor. I put Arisia down on the party board as running from 9 to 3, and listing the room as "20??". Meanwhile I run into most of the people who have signed up to take one-hour shifts working at the party, and convince a few others that they can feel free to drop in without being guilted into working for hours. Our party crew is looking like it's going to be a large and diverse group -- an interesting party even if no one else showed up.

5:15: Bridget Boyle helpfully suggests that I check the 5:00 programming, and Skip is in fact moderating a panel then. I try to go to it but it's standing room only and I've been doing an awful lot of standing today.

6:05: With Skip's help, I am checked into room 2012. All of the furniture is on wheels, which is incredibly handy as the layout of the room is dreadful for traffic flow. I hide all of the hundreds of small hotel tchotchkies, adjust some of the lighter furniture, and set up my laptop for music.

6:30: I run into Warren Mayer in the elevator and we retrieve the perishables from his room. I leave him filling the bathtub with ice, and head off to update the party board with the actual room number and find Rick Kovalcik and the tote of nonperishables that came down from Boston on the truck.

6:45: I return with the tote, and Warren and I move the furniture in the room to improve its flow. One bed goes under the window, and the other is turned 90 degrees so that its head is against the wall to the bathroom. Both are braced against soft goods to prevent their frames from putting holes in the walls. We also swap the chairs around and move the desk and bedside table slightly. Warren points out a way that we can hang the Arisia banner from some sconces in the hallway outside the room, and it looks like this will actually be stable.

7:00: Warren heads downstairs to put the flyers from the tote into the flyer racks and then work on the Masquerade. I finish putting out everything that won't go stale and get the stuff that will ready to be put out. We don't have a lot of stuff in reserve, and it's looking like I should have asked Warren to pick up double the amounts of hummus and carrots.

7:30: The room is basically ready and I head out to forage for some dinner.

8:30: I return to the room, make a few final adjustments, get the music going, and set up the perishables.

9:00: I put up the banner in the hall and we open our doors.

9:01: The first elevator load of people arrive from the Masquerade. Within 45 minutes we will sell seven memberships, which is about five more than I was expecting for the whole party.

9:30: We get a visit from the head of convention security, who points out that our banner-hanging method is not as stable as we thought it was. I move the banner into the room and hang it in the window using a tried-and-true scheme.

10:15: We get another visit from the head of convention security, who is apoplectic that we have moved the beds in the room. Apparently, the hotel contract specifically says that we are not to do that. He wants to shut the party down immediately. This being Lunacon, I immediately surmise that I am looking at a staff member who is a loose cannon when he has gotten sleep, and whose sleep deprivation has by this point in the con begun to verge on clinical psychosis. I have two options: I can agree to close down the party (possibly to later escalate within the concom), or I can throw my badge in his face, kick him out of the room, and deal with the (probably much more reasonable) hotel myself. The former option is much better PR, so I shoo everyone out and close the party doors.

10:30: Eight or ten senior Arisia staff are gathered in the room, and we decide to dispatch Skip and Carsten to appeal to saner heads, if such can be found. Meanwhile, the masquerade awards are over and the second wave of partygoers have arrived on the 20th floor. The buzz we're generating in the hallway is palpable even through the closed door of the room: "OMG, can you believe they shut down the Arisia party?!"

10:45: We get a phone call: Skip has figured out who is actually wielding power and gotten the head of security (but not the hotel rule) overturned. We put the beds back (the hard part of this is getting up off of them) and reopen the party, which is immediately mobbed.

11:30: I take a quick tour of the other parties. Montreal is doing well, which is nice to see.

Midnight: I stop pestering people to buy memberships because random enthusiasts in the party are doing a better job of it than I am.

12:30: Tech has finished with strike and we get another wave of party attendees.

1:00: We shut down the swipe box so it can be returned to the art show. By this point we have sold fourteen memberships.

2:00: It is once again possible to traverse the length of the room without tripping over anyone, and we no longer need two people working the party just to be able to see everything that's happening in the room.

3:15: I shut the doors and shoo out the three or four remaining partygoers. Skip stays behind and we smof for a while. This was not exactly my idea of who I wanted to have stay behind in the room once the doors were closed, though it's certainly an interesting conversation.

4:00: I manage to kick Skip out and go to sleep.

We have used one bottle each of Coke, Diet Coke, Barqs, Sprite, raspberry-lime soda, lemon seltzer, and apple juice. We have used a pound of carrots and a pound of hummus, about a pound of assorted sweets, a container of salsa, and three bags of chips. We have used forty or fifty cups, six or seven bowls, four or five plates, two spoons, one trash bag, and one paper towel. We have used two and a half boxes of Girl Scout Cookies. Had I been thinking, I would have brought a case of them and had it be the theme of the party. Maybe next year.
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