During the past couple of conventions, and as a part of blogging on them, I did a post or two on "best and worst of the Convention." When I stopped paying for bloghosting a couple of years ago, I had to download all but one blog, and now I can't find where I put the downloads. So I don't have a model of what I'd done in the past. But I'll do my best.
There were almost no tschotskies this year. The AFM provided a nice bag to delegates, complete with travel mug, thumb drive, luggage tag and lapel pin, all of which were appreciated (I'm still wearing the pin). Given the basically uncontested nature of the elections, candidates didn't do much this year by way of tschotskies. Bruce Fife did a nice water mug, and was asking delegates to take all they wanted by the end so he didn't have to take them home. Sam Folio had green M&Ms with little slogans on them, which were quickly eaten (though not by me; I was too late). And that was it.
There really were no "best moments"; just a Convention filled with great moments. There were some bad moments, at least for me. Once again I broke my solemn pledge to myself not to talk so much on the floor of the Convention. And some of my jokes fell very flat (although a few others didn't).
I had a very bad few hours on Tuesday evening, when I was informed by the relevant committee chair that not only was a resolution that directly affected me very negatively was going to be recommended by the committee but that I wouldn't get a chance to testify on it, as testimony had been taken before the Convention started. But that all resolved itself pretty quickly.
The worst thing about the Convention was the venue. I'd been coming to the Riviera since 1995 (and the AFM had been there since one or two Conventions before that). It was always a dated venue, with the limitations implied by that. But it had a certain charm because of its history, and was emblematic of the Vegas of the 50s (in fact, the movie Casino was filmed there.)
Unfortunately, sometime between 2010 and this year, it had fell over a tipping point and become untenable. The coffee shop was closed, the alternative breakfast venue was tiny, food in general was an issue, most of the shops had been replaced by slot machines - in short, really not a venue fit for a convention any more.
I went to my room on Tuesday night (two nights after checking in) to find it reeking of cigarette smoke, possibly from the vents outside. No response to my phone calls, and I found a long line at the desk when I went downstairs. So I moved immediately to a small boutique hotel I found online, Rumors, which was very nice (and cheap, except for the $30 round-trip cab fare).
As I left the hotel for my new hotel at 11 PM on Tuesday, my cab driver took one look at me, my suitcase, and my destination and said, in a very thick Eastern European accent, "Riviera is DUMP." He got that right. It's really a shame; not only is it an authentic piece of Vegas history, but the most famous musician to hail from Local 8 - Liberace - made his base there for years and years. I wish the owners were treating it as other than a profitable plot of land waiting for a large implosion.
Oddly enough, the convention immediately following us was the World Rubik's Cube Championship. I'd love to read some significance into that - the AFM finally solved the puzzle of how to be a real uni0n? - but that'd really be a stretch. I got to see some of the kids (and they were all kids) warming up in the hallway. Pretty amazing.