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Botcon 2009: SilverfromOZ and Nurannoniel's Report:

Location: Pasadena, California

Dates: May 28-31


Saturday, May 23rd: Well here I am sitting in the luxurious Quantas Business class lounge in Sydney waiting for my 11:50am flight to Auckland, which will then connect me to LA and have me arriving at 10:30ish in the morning meaning that I will have travelled back in time somewhere along that trip Very Happy As I take another sip from the complimentary cappucino, which was given the added kick of some Baileys (also complimentary), I ponder the coming week and the shenanigans which shall ensue.... and how it is possible to travel back in time without a flux capacitor in a Delorian casing.

So flash forward about another 11 hours and I've travelled back in time to arrive in US and A at around 10:30am. I had my car, I had my bags, I had the location of the hotel. All is well right? Well, kind of. After getting considerably lost around California, I finally arrive at the Holiday Inn some time around 2pm. Mental note, always bring a navigator along for overseas shenanigans. I am proud to say that I got here without having to ask anyone, however I may have violated a number of road rules (some by mistake Wink ).



Last post, I had just arrived, and the "radio silence" (ooh I like that) is 100% due to the fact that we didn't freakin stop the whole time. Oh yeah, cruise around in a Mustang, wander around Botcon, pick up a few figures and go home.. Yeah right! Shenanigans afoot all over the shop. Through our endeavors we were able to conscript another whacky whatchamacallit to the BWint group and he seems very interested in joining. Jason and his girlfriend (props to her for being really supportive all the way through even though not a hardcore fan) tore around with us and it was great to have the Botcon virgin to show around this time round and me act all pro (SECOND TIME COUNTS AS PRO DARNIT! Very Happy ). Also we had two younger boys, nicknamed Wheelie and Armada and patiently escorted by their mother all the way throughout. So the total group was the newly recruited 5, my manic self, the award winning Nurann (grats again for the painting of awesome! Very Happy ), the all wise and powerful Beastbot, and mighty Baron (who spent most of the time wearing my clothes because of a luggage debacle Laughing ).

The Universal Tour was great fun as I got to run around with our new protoforms for a whole day, purchase a replica of Arnie's jacket from the Terminator (as well as get backstage access to the set and a chat with the actors for the T2 effects show), ride around, do silly things and hi five a guy who was dressed like Leatherface before he chased Wheelie out the Haunted House. The real amusing thing was when Jason was taken up on stage for the special effects show and "electrocuted". Within seconds, I had placed dibs on his Botcon set and the rest of us began dividing his collection up between us, when one of the announcers walked over and informed us that he had over 450 Transformers and was a huge fan. We informed him of Botcon and he vowed to rock up some time during the weekend. After that, the kids looked on in awe and Jason and I devoured one of the giant Simpsons donuts and a can of Duff "beer" and felt entirely ill afterwards. Cue Jurassic Park and Mummy rides and it was time to get our boxed sets. God bless prereg. Nurann joined the motley crew around this time and we got through the relatively short line and stole our boxes, whilst posing in front of Optimus Prime and Bumblebee statues. We rallied afterwards for a drink and discussions involving the awesomeness of Beast Wars, the good and bad points of Beast Machines and what parts of G1 were the best. Half a bottle of wine, a number of cocktails and the final acknowledgement of "Teen angst prime being not really all that bad." And we all went home for what little sleep we could get before the LA tour the next day.


Wednesday, May 27: While I was waiting for the van to leave LAX, realized that all 6 of us in the van were Botconers. Did one of us say "bah weep grana weep nini bong?" Nooooo…
After getting to the hotel around 3, I went to look around. Just across the street there was a mall with a fountain, an antiques mall, and some really nice looking restaurants. Up the stairs there were some wine lounges, a Mexican lounge, and a Chinese bistro. I was chatting with a Botcon staff member, and he told me that the autobot that Starath won and stuck on my head in '07 is a rare collector's item. Star, have I told you how much you rock lately? It was pretty sunny and I was getting crispy by that point, so I headed off to find a Starbucks for a green tea frappaccino to wait for the tour bus to get back with Silver. Wink
After chilling out for a bit, I headed off towards the convention center around 6:30. The bus must have gotten back a bit early because as I was walking up the block Silver, the tall and obvious figure that he is, could be seen from a block away. After catching up for a bit, he told me that he'd met up with a couple from Chicago and they had plans to go drinking afterwards. Awesome. So then Jason and Tina showed up and we went to one of the lounges across the street where we drank/talked TF for a couple of hours until it was time for registration. Jason still had some beer and Silver and I had half a bottle of wine left, so we snuck our drinks out and back to the convention center with us. After picking up our packages, Silver split off to go back to his mustang and Jason, Tina and I went back to the Hilton. At that point it was time to crash, because tomorrow we would all meet early for the Hollywood tour!

Thursday, May 28: We'd started out the day by standing around chatting for about 20 minutes waiting to get on the bus. Tina went to grab some food for her and Jason from the café across the street. It's a good thing the bus was loading slowly, because we got the call to get on while she was still inside. After teasing her to hurry up or she'd be left behind, we climbed on the bus and found some seats in the back.

Our first stop was the Hollywood Bowl amphitheatre. On the way, we got a long-distance view of an old bridge that was part of Route 66, Paramount studios, Disney Studios, and a giant billboard advertising ROTF. Very Happy At the Hollywood Bowl, we were told that the best view was from the top of the hill where the Hollywood sign could be seen in the distance over the hills. Everyone who made that hike up the hill should have gotten some sort of honourable mention Saturday night lol. After exploring that for a bit, we got back on the bus and headed towards downtown Hollywood. After driving around for a bit, we were dropped off and were led up to the Chinese theatre. We did a fair amount of photo-taking there, and then we were taken up the street to the Kodak theatre. During one of the quick exploration breaks we were given our small band went to check out Hot Topic. Of course there was some nice TF swag there, but we couldn't stay long; the tour was off and moving again. From the Kodak theatre we headed up the street to the Guiness World Records museum. There were displays on buildings, people, animals, toys, and a video on the biggest and longest running domino set up which would have run for a bout an hour. For some reason, everyone was hypnotised by that one 0.o. There were also some movie records, and a cool electrical holographic display that looked like the holo displays in Star Wars. Next we were supposed to go across the street to the wax museum, but Silver and I decided to go wander up and down the star walk instead. That was when we found the store that had Silver's awesome hat and my movie clip board. Next we wandered back up the street, stopping to take pictures of various star's names on the way. Silver and I stopped at a café for an early snack/lunch, but eventually it was time for scheduled lunch which would be at the Farmer's market.

While everyone else went in and got more food, I looked at some of the stores for a bit. It was pretty crowded in the narrow isles between the stalls, but we managed to find a table for all 4 of us. After lunch we spotted a candy stand with the most delicious-looking, gigantic caramel apples EVER. Our insanity got the better of us, and Silver and I bought the oreo apples while Jason got a reeses candy apple. Then we went exploring. Very Happy Lots of shiny things, like ceramic dragons, gorillas, angel dog figures that looked like Silverbolt, and of course a lot of fresh produce. We wandered up and down the street while we gnawed on our apples – squirrel! - before getting back on the bus and heading towards our next brief stop, Rodeo Drive. Parking was limited, so we only had 15 minutes to get off, go up the walkway, and get back to the bus. There were some really high-end jewellery stores that we stopped and stared into. At one point Jason and I stopped to reflect if the numbered tags under the rings were stock numbers or prices. Suddenly, Jason screamed out "holy s***!" Turns out the numbers ranging from 7000 to over 14000 were the prices. 0.o We joked all the way up and down the street that Jason should buy one for Tina as an engagement ring. All it would take is a house loan… We started to rush back to the bus thinking we were the last ones to get back. As soon as we were on, we headed off towards the Tar pits. That was when the tour guide announced that we had left someone behind at Rodeo drive, so we would be stopping at the tar pits for a bit while he caught up in a cab.
Just up the path in the tar pit park was a spot where the tar had bubbled up from the ground and was now gated off. The tour guide explained that at cooler temperatures, the tar would harden and then soften again when the temperature rose. At this point we all jumped on a squishy patch of ground that was just starting to soften after the cooler morning. A little further up the path was another place where tar had bubbled up; the little pit had filled with water and garbage. We all "eewww"ed as we walked past, then laughed at the very fresh tar puddle that was roped off with pylons an caution tape.

By the lake, Silver decided to wander off in search of interesting things such as Rhinox's shell casings. Waspinator pieces seemed a little more likely, but we followed anyways. At one end of the lake there was a display of a mother mammoth stuck in the tar pit with her mate and baby crying out to her. The edges of the lake had asphalt on the surface while all across the lake methane bubbled up from the fissures under the water. We stopped and took even more photos, and Silver took the opportunity to put his hat on a statue and take a picture of that. Soon the guy that the tour had lost caught up, and it was time to do a little more driving and then go back to Pasadena. We drove past a few more cool things like a fountain that has flames shoot out of it every 15 minutes and the Disney concert hall. Finally we got back to Pasadena, where we found Beastbot waiting in line to pick up his convention package.


We talked for a bit, and then since the rest of us already had our badges we went inside to check out the giant Bumblebee and Prime statues that had been set up some time that day.
The club store was also opening that night. Jason went off to get a good spot in line, while Silver and I went to find a tattoo place. We got lost for a little bit, but eventually found the place Silver had found a few days earlier. They told us they were booked solid that night, but there was free space on Saturday if we wanted to come back then. We thanked the lady at the desk and then went back to see how the club store line-up was going. We found Beastbot and his dad in line and talked for a bit. Armada found us around then, and was introduced to the amazing endless source of TF knowledge that is Beastbot. Silver and I left them talking while we went to sneak a peak at what the club store had to offer. We talked to one of the staff for a bit before Jason grabbed us and told us to join him in line. By that point we'd decided that there was some really cool stuff to buy after all, so Silver got some forms and started filling out shopping lists while Jason and I went to find and rescue Beastbot and Armada from the back of the line. Once we'd gotten everyone to a decent spot in line, everyone actually got their swag and got out at a decent time. After that we headed off to get some Mexican food and then go back to our respective resting places for the night. I'm not so sure about the others, but that would be the last night I would get any real sleep for the rest of the convention!


So, with the tour on Thurs, that brings us to Friday... what happened Friday? Ah, we sat in on a couple of panels, I got a fair few signatures on my hat and all the new kids nearly wet themselves when they saw the sales room for the first time. Ah! That's right! MSTF! How could I forget. That night the company Shout (which is responsible for the new release of G1 on DVD in a very shiny Matrix shaped boxed set) put on a bit of a show for us and showcased some features thanking fans for support. Then there were the fan movies (the best of which were/was created by Mr Ng and Dr Smoov and was G1 CG awesomeness). There was one movie that was called Megatron goes to Green and was an overly artistic rendition of what would happen if he went to Ethanol. The announcer claimed "You wouldn't have gotten that one if you had taken your drugs in the wrong order." So when this was announced in the voting, there were only a couple of cheers, so I decided to cheer, scream and pretend to catch butterflies which weren't there Laughing MSTF was great as always and I won't even try to recreate any of the jokes here, but strongly recommend it to anyone who has not been to Botcon before. After that there was a documentary put together by a fan but as we were all tired and he was getting all preachy about "how far he had travelled" #cough cough# Australian over here #cough cough# we decided to leave as there was an early start the next day to meet Mr Weird Al Yankovic.

More to Come....

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