Tengaicon 2013 – I’m Calling it a Sucess!

It’s just after midnight, so I guess technically I missed my daily blog deadline, but I’m still awake, so it counts. We just got home a little bit ago, and I was tempted to put off yet another post so I could crash. But I wanted to get something out about today, so here goes, with apologies if anything sounds off or wonky…I’m really tired.

I don’t think I’ve talked much about Tengaicon, so here’s some back story. It’s a local, one day gaming convention in MHK that’s been going on for close to a decade. It’s had its ups and downs, and last year it had a streak of bad luck.  In an effort to help get it back on track, I headed the committee for this year’s event. At the time I volunteered, I was in what I like to call “crazy planning mode.”  I figured I’d eventually burn out, but the goal was to make sure everything was ready before that burn out happened.  I wanted the end goal to be a plan of action that could be followed and built upon the following years.

For the last year, our committee has been organizing and getting things in place. There were several meetings at the beginning of the planning period, but eventually, as things came together, they tapered off. By the time we were a week away from the con, I felt that everything was on track. Sure, I let the ball drop a little bit. We could have done more marketing and PR, and there were a few details regarding food that missed the mark. But that was really all in hindsight, and I was cautiously optimistic that we’d have a good convention (and by cautiously optimistic, I was worried and stressed that no one would show up).

For our crew, the con stuff started last night when we met at the hall to set up.  Set up was quick, as we had a good volunteer crew. This morning we were back at 8 to put the finishing touches on the hall and to pick up some last minute things at the grocery store.  From the time the doors opened at 9:30 to sometime in the afternoon, we seemed to have a steady stream of people.

The day was fun! We had several local gaming groups attend, and they each brought in a good number of players. We also had casual gamers show up who found something that interested them. We had Tab Creations, a local game maker/company, come and demo a new game that’s going to be a Kickstarter project. We had our dice table, our silent auction to raise money for Child’s Play, paint and take, local artists, and concessions.  Everyone I talked to seemed to be having a good time. We got a lot of positive feedback and everyone was really nice.

Besides the demo, I didn’t do any gaming since I was trying to make sure everything was going well. I wanted to make sure all my volunteers had breaks, that all of our vendors and GMs  were thanked, and that the gamers were having a positive experience. I’m not sure if I was able to really talk to everyone, and I think I accidentally let a few people go a little long without a break, but I think things were okay and nobody seemed burned out by the end of the day (I did have a few flashbacks of my days as lead cashier at Glens, though).

Jon and I made it out by 11, sticking around to make sure the last few groups made it out okay and doing last minute hall cleaning. I’m grateful to everyone who helped and played. In the final counts, we ended up making a profit and I believe we had over 100 attendees. For a small convention, this was pretty awesome.

We still have a few things to do, like contact the silent auction winners who weren’t there to pick up their stuff when it ended, and set up a post-con meeting to recap and make a plan for moving forward. I also want to email everyone with thanks and put some notes and schedules down on paper to pass on to whoever my successor is going to be.  Because seriously, I’m so happy with how this turned out, and I want any future convention to continue to improve on what we accomplished today.

But those things can wait for tomorrow. I’m falling asleep typing this, so I think it’s time for much needed rest. I don’t think our double day of working out is going to happen tomorrow, as my back is killing me tonight. But we’ll see. And while I realize I’ve failed on pictures for this post, I think I’ve persuaded Terry to give me some of the pictures he got today in hopes of putting together a special Tengaicon picture post.



Who’s Goin’ Treasure Huntin’?

I’ve been wanting to try geocaching for awhile. I love the thought of going on a techie treasure hunt, but up until recently, I was too afraid to try it since it usually involves walking or hiking. We were going to go to the gym today, but a laundry malfunction threw us off, so we had to bring some wet clothes home to hang up to dry. We decided to go ahead and take a walk, and that just escalated into “Hey, let’s try this geocache thing out.”

WARNING: Apparently, geocache spoilers are a thing, so if you don’t want one, please don’t continue reading this post. Watch this video instead that has nothing to do with geocaching (if you don’t care about spoilers, you can skip the video or continue after you’ve watched it):



The cache we found was fairly easy to get to. It was a virtual one, so no physical log book, and I had to answer a question via email to the local caching crew so I could sign the logbook online.  But answer the question and sign the book I did, thus logging my first cache.

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The place where this was located is a place we’ve walked by many times, usually deciding against going up the stairs. The stairs aren’t bad really. They’re a bit uneven and stony, but we only avoided them before because they seemed so daunting.  I was still tired by the time I got to the top, but that could also have something to do with the fact that the tier is right there in the sun, and things have started to heat up again after our three days of cool and rain.

We were going to try another one but decided to wait. In finding the cache, we walked across a lot of grassy terrain. Most of my walking as been on level surfaces. Man, they are not lying when they tell you changing up the terrain will pose a challenge.  We wandered around the park a little longer, passing by the museum there. It was closed, but we got the info on when it’s open and it might be something we do this weekend since we altered our original plans a bit.

Other than that, it was a fairly uneventful day. I put away all the laundry when we got home, which is a pretty big achievement since I usually procrastinate a day or two on that.  I fluffed around online, watched some of the Crossfit Games replays, talked to my nephew, then finished this blog.

And with that…I’m off to shower and sleep.




A Veritable Smorgasboard

Plans for tonight changed again, and writing didn’t pan out, so Jon and I decided to go to the county fair. We were going to go this weekend anyway for something different, we just bumped up the “when” of the adventure.  The last time I remember going to a country fair was when I was a teenager. At the time, I didn’t care about events or animals. I probably cared about the fair food. I might have played some games. But for teenage Amanda, the fair was about the rides. It was that bracelet that gave you a pass to ride the rides over and over again for three hours. Of course, it was also a time when rides didn’t make me nauseous.

As an adult, the experience of the county fair was different, but there were lots of familiar moments. Like the smells coming from the food stands, the people standing in ticket lines, and the whoosh of the ride hydraulics.  The smell of animals is standard, as is people in all different manners of dress and lack thereof.  Kids ran around and screamed and cried. People pushed through the crowd. Others, like Jon and I, just shuffled along, figuring we’d get to point B at some point.  There is something fun about that whole cluster. I don’t think I would have said that six months ago, and maybe I wouldn’t agree on a regular basis. But today I enjoyed it.

We got there early, so we scored a good parking spot. Things weren’t scheduled to start until five, so we had some time to kill, plus we were waiting for my friend to get there before we had dinner. We started out by walking the fairway and checking out the booths and food stands. It’s kind of fun seeing all the deep fried offerings. I smelled funnel cake and was like “Yeah, baby,” but Jon smelled it and it made his stomach churn. At that point though, I was still planning on indulging in something by the end of the night.

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I don’t know what a cowboy cheesesteak is, but I want to find out.

We walked through the cow barn and browsed the 4H displays. I was never in 4H, so I didn’t realize all the hobbies one could do through them. Like Legos! Later we found a shady spot to wait. I was fearful of all the bees buzzing around the area. They apparently didn’t care about the number of people milling around, though. None of them stung me, and I didn’t hear anyone else crying out in bee-sting pain.

When S got there, we went ahead and had dinner. They were holding a Blue Valley Pork Producers BBQ, and for six dollars each, we got a pork burger, chips, baked beans, a drink, and ice cream for dessert.

It might not look like much, but it was pretty darn tasty!
It might not look like much, but it was pretty darn tasty!

I’ve always been pretty anti-bean, but I did taste them. They tasted good, but I have a problem with the texture. However, that pork burger was seriously one of the best things ever. They called it a pork burger, but it was maybe just a pork chop on a bun? Either way, I want another one. And sundae cup ice cream? I haven’t had one of those in forever.  Dinner was well worth the six dollars and probably the better option healthwise over the other offerings (someone said turkey legs aren’t bad, but I’m not entirely sold on those).

We wandered into the carnival area to check out the games but ended up opting out of playing any. About halfway around the circle, I got sick to my stomach. The only thing I can figure is that the movement of the rides messed up my equilibrium just by existing in my line of vision.  I felt better after a short rest, then it was off to see more animals and watch a sheep show.

Yes, those are sheep in what look like jazzercise outfits. I don't know. I didn't ask.
Yes, those are sheep in what look like jazzercise outfits. I don’t know. I didn’t ask.

We also saw some other people we knew, one of whom was getting a deep fried Oreo and funnel cake. By that time, the only thing besides dinner we’d bought was water, and we were okay with that. While the smells were still great, somehow both of us had lost that urge to splurge. And by both of us, I mean me, because Jon was kind of “meh” about it from the start.

I told Jon later that it really makes you feel like you’re part of a place when you go to a fair and see people you know.

It wasn’t anything wild or crazy, but it was a really good time and I’m glad we went.  I’ll have to cap the night off with some allergy pills to recover and prep for tomorrow’s big adventure (because you know we’ll have one), but that’s okay. Totally worth it!