Trip Start Jul 20, 2002
Trip End Sep 05, 2002

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Flag of United States  , Indiana
Saturday, July 27, 2002

One of the great things about the road trip was that Ellie was a school teacher, meaning she had the summer off but was still collecting a paycheck, and I was a freelance writer, meaning that I could take jobs as they came and work on them during my down time. My most consistent employer was Toyfare magazine, a journal dedicated to the world of action figures and the grown men and women who should know better than to be buying them. While my friend and fellow University of Florida School of Journalism graduate Stephanie was busy working on the assignment that would net her her first (or what will undoubtedly be many) Pulitzer, I was writing articles about He-Man toys and who was more awesome: Starscream or Destro.
Anyway, Ellie is a Transformers collectors, and when she learned that BotCon, the annual Transformers convention and marketplace, was going to be happening right along our prospective road trip route, right at the time we would be passing through, attendance became a done deal. We went to the previous year's BotCon as well, and as it is largely a dealer's room where people fork over cash for a wide array of Transformers merchandise, I was the odd man out, not being a collector of such things. But things were different this year, and I was able to turn my attendance into a paying gig, albeit pay of like $35.
There isn't a whole lot to say about the convention. As far as these things go, it's pretty sedate. It doesn't even come close to the sheer insanity and geeky glory of a sci-fi or anime convention, which is both good and bad, depending on how you look at things. There are a few people in costume, and where as anime cons are overstuffed with young women in skimpy costumes, about all the pervy photo hound shad to photograph here was one chick dressed as Arcee, the Smurfette of the Transformers universe. There were panel discussions with voice actors and artists as well, but the focal point of the weekend is dealer's room, where people pick through merchandise both old and new, including stuff that was exclusive to other countries (usually Japan), and CDs featuring the inspiring hero metal of Stan "You've Got the Touch" Bush.
And then there's this fat dude who wears a cape. We saw him the previous year, too, and I gather he's something of a BotCon legend known only as "Cape Thing."
All in all, BotCon isn't my thing, but its fun, and I like watching Ellie geek out over it the way I do horror and sci-fi stuff.
From Ft. Wayne, we turned due south for a couple days of free lodgings with my folks in Louisville.
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