Thursday, 31 May 2012

Transformers Collection updated

This isn't a complete update (which I need to do).  I just added a new set of shelves on the weekend for the new TFPrime series, and added in all the items bought in the last 6 months.

I now have 29 pages (shelving), and the ones that have been updated today are:
Case 26 - Moved TFPrime shelf out and added in this years BotCon/Club toys.
Case 27 - Move out the MOTU toys, making this the TFPrime & BotShots case.
Case 28 - Moved all Kabaya models here, & allocated shelves to various 2012 series.
Case 29 - Moved the MOTU toys to this new case.

And the main page, which shows the updated map & room photos.

A photo of the section that was included in this update (cases 26-28)...

Sunday, 13 May 2012

BotCon report now completed

It took a couple weeks, but the 33 pages and 600 photos of this year's BotCon adventure are all done and uploaded for everyone now.

Thursday, 10 May 2012

Cant go to work - am so bored

It's been 3 weeks since my appendix was removed, but since the Hospital was vague with their "4-6 weeks of nothing strenuous", my work won't let me back onsite for another 3 weeks... unless I get a doctor to say it is okay to come back earlier. (because it wasn't a work related injury, and they can't risk me inflaming the injury while at work and then claim that as a work related injury)
I really don't want to be off for another 3 weeks, draining all my Leave Hours... as I was looking to travel to Asia later this year (having an early BotCon gave more time to plan a trip, save up for it, and get time off work before the pre-Christmas busy period). But I may have to put that off until next year and hope BotCon isn't too late, or too expensive for me.

Most people go to a doctor to convince them to get time off work... I actually had to convince a doctor to let me go BACK to work.
So I gotta stay home for the next week and rest as much as possible, to make sure nothing happens to prevent returning to work then.  Which is sooooo boring.

Been working on my BotCon adventure/journal though.  I should have that finished in the next day or two, and then maybe start reading some books I've been sitting on for a couple years.

Sunday, 6 May 2012

BotCon 2012 - part 7 (the final part)

Well, the convention is over, and now it's time for the journey home.

After about 5 hours sleep, I was up Monday morning, with about 12 hours to fill before my flight back home.  The flight leaves Dallas at about 10pm, but since it was not an American airline, the check-in wouldn't start more than 4 hours before departure. And even though I had a heap of photos and reports to write up, I didn't want to be spending 6+ hours in the airport, especially if there wasn't any power outlets near the check-in desks. I could fill in the time with reading if necessary, but that would be a bit tiring and boring.
I had a few ideas of what to do to fill in the time, but first I had to double check that checkout was midday, not 10am.
I looked up their website, and it confirmed that it was a midday checkout, which at least used up 2 hours. (strangely enough, the internet was still working for me, despite me only paying for a 5-day block... which should have run out the night before)

The night before, I had an idea to go back to the Target store after Checking-out at noon, as it was only a short trip, and I wanted to see if they had restocked since last week (as an employee there had said when I was first there, that they get deliveries every day - and they were cleaned out enough on Wednesday to prompt a restock). I also figured that if they had restocked, there was little chance anyone else would have thought to check it out before leaving.
I rang up the store (got the number from the website) and asked about their Transformers toys.  The lady had a bit of trouble trying to describe what was there, which is understandable if you are faced with dozens of different toys and aren't a dedicated collector. Eventually she was able to tell me that they had received some new toys in yesterday, so I figured that it was only a $4 train ride, and worth the risk.  Even if there wasn't anything there, I was filling in another couple hours, and maybe buy a few "American" snacks as well.

So I finished up the rest of last nights dinner, showered up and changed, and watched some TV until just before midday... when I had to do some last minute rushing to get the boxes taped up and everything else in the bag.
Carrying the boxes and bag down to the front desk, I checked out (making sure the account wasn't overcharged - actually, since I was registered to something in the Hyatt Hotels system, the Internet was free).

I had my luggage stored away until later (for when I would get on the shuttle bus to the airport - which didn't need booking, as it stops at the hotel every half hour), and did an online checkin for my flight (the hotel has a computer & printer in the foyer just for that). I was able to get a good seat, right at the front, on an aisle, and with no one yet assigned to the other two seats next to me.
Not that I needed to save time checking in ahead of time, I did it more for the curiosity of it, and to see if it could reserve me a good seat.
I then went downstairs and walked over to the trainstation outside.
Keeping the nose closed to minimise the hayfever, the eyes were irritating within 5 minutes outside the hotel. It was like cutting onions... and I think the only way to prevent it would have been wearing a full-face gas mask.

The DART train at the station... front of the shiny hotel.

On the train, I saw this odd looking building, with a big hole in the middle.

I got to the Target store within 20 minutes, and unfortunately, there wasn't any new Transformers that I wanted.  One of the staffers there said that they got in a new case of BotShots and TFPrime Deluxes, but each was just wave 1, so nothing for me, or anyone at home (to pass onto others for half the price of toys in Australia).
I did however see this while walking through the store...

I don't know if it was wanting to come away with SOMETHING Transformers related, or thinking that it would be fun novelty item in the collection, I bought it.  It was $20, which wasn't too bad.

Over at the food section, I saw these.  It's a bit blurry, but those are 1.2Kg bags of M&Ms!

I found a few uniquely American items...

As with every Target store I've been to in America, this one had a food outlet at the entrance. Knowing that they have pretzels, and figuring that I probably wouldn't get any fresh ones, I bought a couple (theirs are pre-prepared, so aren't as nice as the real thing). A cinnamon/sugar pretzel & a regular salted one.

I went back to the trainstation and was back at the hotel by 2pm.
Getting my luggage out of storage, about 20 minutes later the next shuttle bus was there to take me and two others to the airport. One person who was also there for the convention, and noticeably British, was having some trouble with the pre-paid fare, so to help out a fellow foreign fan, I offered to pay for her, and gave her my email to pay me back by paypal later. It was only $25, so wasn't to bothered if it wasn't paid back, but sure enough, within a couple days, a payment notification came though.

On the way to the airport, we drove past the Burger King that was the closest one to the hotel, but would have taken about 40 minutes to walk to it.  And lucky I didn't try to, as it looks like it was closed for renovations...

The odd-shaped loop and wires in the background is actually a bridge... which looks really weird from a distance.

It musta taken about half an hour to get to the airport, because it was about 3pm when I got inside the terminal (and found an empty trolley for my luggage, preventing the need to pay to use one).
As expected, none of the counters had QANTAS signage up, so it was still too early to check in, but I wanted to see if anyone there knew which counter would be doing the checking-in.
I had a choice of American Airlines and British Airways... both are partners with QANTAS, but I went over to the AA section first, as it was their "home turf".
I was at the self checkin counters, as there was a lady there assisting people, but as she was only attending people who were in suits or dresses, I started to wonder how long it would take to have her ask if I needed any help.
For 8 minutes I stood  at a self check-in computer and getting in the way of people, the lady kept approaching people who were female or dressed in suits.  It was almost like I was invisible, as she was discriminating me just because I prefer to travel long-distance in comfortable clothing (t-shirt & shorts), and in this particular instance, I wouldn't want jeans or a belt digging into my surgical scars for 16 hours.
As much as I wanted to see how long this would go on, I was getting bored and tired, so I went over to the British Airways section, which had a customer service desk.  The person there told me that QANTAS would use a counter at the far end of their section, but not until about 6pm.

I had a look around and noticed seating in the check-in area, and better still, a power-point near one of the seats... so I got myself set up, and processed photos for the next 2 & 1/2 hours.
As soon as the QANTAS counter was open, I packed up my stuff and headed on over with my luggage.
As I had hoped, my bag (with backpack inside) was okay to carry onboard, while the two boxes were checked in as my two allowable items... once again, preventing me from needing to post back items at significant expense (ever since I've been doing that, from 2010, I've been kicking myself for not thinking about doing it in previous years, especially in those years that cost several hundred dollars posting stuff home and then waiting a week for them to arrive).

The timing of the check-in was rather interesting, because when I walked over to the security screening point, there was no one there waiting.  All the security people were just standing around with nothing to do... so I got the "full treatment".
Not really, but it was a refreshing change to be able to go through security at an American airport in under a minute.
(it was interesting to notice on the full-body scanner image, that they showed me, that three spots showed up on my abdomen, exactly where my tiny surgical scars were. It must be that sensitive)

Inside the airport, (after a quick leak, which I'd been holding onto for a couple hours now) I checked the map to see what food options I had left while in America.  As I looked it over, I realised that it was the same terminal that I arrived at, so struck out on the Burger King option.
I did find something on the map called "Fuddruckers", so went over to check it out.
It was a burger outlet, and had on the menu a "buffalo burger" so figured it would have to be a suitable compromise for missing out on BK (or Wendys for that matter - another favourite burger chain of mine).
I ordered up a 2/3 pound, cheese & bacon burger, plus a buffalo burger.  They were prepared and served as just the toasted bun, meat and cheese/bacon... everything else is self-serve.  You can add lettuce, tomato, onion, pickles, jalapenos and sauces, to create your own style of burger.
Here are mine...

After that, I headed up to the departure gate, stopping of at a pretzel place on the way... I had to have at least one proper pretzel.  Unfortunately I was pretty full from those two burgers, so only bought a single regular pretzel, and a serve of sugared pretzel sticks.

At the departure gate, there was very few people already there (being so early), so I managed to find a seat near a power-point and worked on my computer for another couple of hours.
The plane we were to board on was towed over to the gate while I was sitting there, and this was before it got to the gate...

Boarding started at 9.10, and with so few people in the waiting area, it didn't take long for everyone to be on. I was expecting to wait about 10-15 minutes before queuing up, but everyone was in within 5.
Since I checked in really early (online) I had a great seat... and with so few people on this flight, I was expecting to have one or both seats next to me be empty (to stretch out a bit), but when I got onto the plane, a pair of biggish latino guys were in those two "empty" seats.
Apparently seating patterns on half-empty flights are specifically designed to evenly distribute the load when taking off, so it was intentional to have people bunched together, while other blocks of seats were empty.
Now, since the plane was half empty, and the the middle section of four seats next to me was also empty, I asked the attendant if he knew if those seats were taken (so that I could move across to them). He said it was okay if no one else came on and sat there, but I had to wait until we were in the air before we could move to a new seat.
But as soon as the seatbelt light went off after take-off, this old guy in the row behind that set of four empty seats, jumped up and sat into the seat that he knew I was going for.
Since I was in the first row of economy, most of the other seats near the front already had 1 or 2 people in them, which meant that if I wanted to get an empty seat next to me, I'd have to sit halfway up the back of the plane and be cramped behind a row of seating (the front row had nice leg-room). When I did get up to have a look at what seats were still available, all of the 4-row seat sections had a single person sleeping across the entire 4 seats.
So I ended up just staying in the original seat, as it was probably as good as it was going to be. It would have been nice to stretch out to the side, or even relax more without leaning up against someone who was "filling out their seat" as well, but being up the front had advantages - first to get the meal of your choice, first off the plane, and, never having to get up to let out the person next to me when they needed to take a leak.
Luckily I was tired enough to sleep most of the way back - the direct Dallas to Brisbane is 16 hours! That's 4 hours longer than the usual East Coast to LA flights. I woulda gone insane if that was during daylight hours and I wasn't sleepy.

Speaking of that old guy pinching my seat - when we landed, he had gone back to the row behind to be with his wife for landing.  So when we were allowed out of our seats, I was a row ahead, but both him and his wife pushed past me while everyone was stuck waiting for the business class to exit first. They still had to wait like I did, and only got off the plane a second before me, and yet, forceably pushed themselves past me into a small space in front of where I was standing (remember, I was in the first row of economy) What is with that arrogant pushiness...??? And yes, he had an American accent.

I am still amazed that it is a direct flight from Dallas to Brisbane (and then onto Sydney), mostly because I thought the 14 hours to and from LA was the maximum safe range... but having an extra two hours onto that, makes me think that the margin of error would have to be pretty small (and no excessive storms or fronts to add to the resistance).
The other thing that still amazes me - direct flights between Brisbane and Dallas? Of all the American cities to have direct flights to/from Brisbane, Dallas is not one I'd think would have enough demand to warrant 3 flights a week. And judging by the half empty plane, I can't see it as being too profitable. At least if it landed at LAX for refueling, it could fill up the rest of the plane with passengers from there, before flying onto Australia.
If you consider LA as being a jumping-off point to Australia (people can fly in domestically from anywhere in the US to LAX and then board an international flight), I don't see the need for QANTAS to go in further to the US landmass, and if they did, surely there'd be other, more popular cities than Dallas.

The meals were better on the flight home. I guess their American supplier is better than their Australian supplier. And better still... we got snack bags!!! :p
The entertainment program was still the same as the flight over, despite it being a new month and should have been a new program. I ended up watching several episodes of Curb Your Enthusiasm, which featured the "reunion" of Seinfeld. There wasn't much else on that I wanted to watch, and wanted to sleep as much as possible to make the 16 hours go by faster.

So arriving at Brisbane at 4.50am, we were the first plane in apparently, as the baggage staff were only just arriving, and the customs hall was completely empty with staff there waiting to start processing people.
My two boxes were at the over-size chute, and since I had some snack food items, I was questioned as to the contents of the boxes.  Since the sniffer dog didn't react to anything, I was allowed to go through without being searched. (which seems to happen quite often, so I guess they rely on their dogs a fair bit)
Jumping in a taxi, I was home before 6am.

Unpacking my stuff, this was my total haul for this year...

Some of those items weren't from BotCon though (the Botshots, Gen1 Starscream, and a couple of United toys). 
And from above...

Well, that's it for another year.  On the Sunday evening in the hotel room I was thinking, "is that it", because it had gone so fast again this year.  More so for not being too active while recovering from the appendix operation.  But even now, almost a week later, it really does feel like it wasn't long enough... the whole trip that is.
It feels like yesterday I was in hospital dreading missing out on my trip, and now here I am, back home without any complications (despite all the food I ate).
Hopefully some of that was entertaining to the readers, both fans and non-fans... and for a more comprehensive coverage of the Convention itself, keep an eye on the updates at this address.
I've done most of the work now, and most of the photos are now uploaded, so with any luck I'll have it done within a couple days... before I have to head back to work on Tuesday. :(

BotCon 2012 - part 6

Sunday, the final day of the convention for 2012.
(these posts take a while, as I have to edit and upload all the photos first)

I woke up before the alarm again, at 6.30am, but spent the next 3 hours on the computer and then getting myself ready.

The mess of my room by Sunday, which would all need to be packed up before midday the next day.

The first panel was at 10am, so I wanted to get down to the Dealer Room and grab some at-show exclusives for some people first.
Since I got a big box as well (to pack my stuff in for the journey home), I had to go back up to the room, and then back again to the Panel Room (it was good to have a room on a lower floor, but would have been better to be in the main section of the hotel which had 6 lifts, compared to our wing's 2 lifts).

The Script reading was interesting, but was plagued with technical problems as most of the microphones were not working.
It only went for less than 30 minutes, but since it started 15 minutes late, it finished really early.
Activision had their panel, showing off a couple new TFPrime Vehicon designs, that hopefully make their way into the cartoon and toyline (a Tank and a Helicopter).

The next panel was Simon Furman, detailing the "lost" Dreamwave issues, as well as covering the new Regeneration One comic.
Since the previous panel finished about 10 minutes to the hour, I had to rush off to my room to send some PMs to people before they woke up (as the panel room was out of range of the wifi I was paying for - and I couldn't wait until after the convention ended 5 hours later).
Typically, that next panel was one of the few that started on time, so I ended up missing the first 5 minutes. (any other panel, I'd have been able to go up to the room and be back down before it started at its 10-15 minute lateness).
Jagex then did their panel on the upcoming MMOG, and when that ended, I went back downstairs to the Dealer Room for the remaining 90 minutes of this year's convention.
I wasn't expecting to buy anything, after spending most of my cash on Friday, and not having access to a quarter of my money... I was mostly there to bug official people with questions I had (and other fans back home had), to Hasbro, IDW, Activision, Furman, FunPub.  Most of whom I was able to track down, and get some decent answers from. (to be mentioned in my actual report - which will be up in about 5 hours)
I did however find a cheap set of the latest Kabaya models (the Protectobots), which I didn't realise had been out, or out long enough to make it to the convention. But that was the only toys I bought outside of Friday.
The Sunday "haul"...

That also includes the signed scripts from Simon Furman (from the Friday), the freebie items Hasbro was giving out at their exhibit (Kreo Jazz, Rescue Bots book), a Spychanger Mirage (it was free with the Kabaya models, and I already have it), the non-BotCon version of last year's BotCon comic, some free stickers from IDW, UK catalogue & Auto-Assembly sticker from Colin/THC, and a wristband & lanyard from Jagex. A very exciting haul this year... :p

I also took more photos of the dealer room and the Hasbro exhibit, including the updated Hall of Fame display.

The annual prize drawing (free entry and domestic flights to the next BotCon) was done at 3.15, and the convention closed 15 minutes later.
The final photo of BotCon 2012...

Since this was one of those years that I wasn't sharing a room, or meeting up with anyone after the convention ended, coming down from such an intensely fun & exciting, jam-packed few days, was a feeling of sadness that I hadn't felt for a few years.  It wasn't as debilitating as early years, but it was still a significant feeling of sudden emptiness, after being so emotionally charged for several days.

To help overcome that, I offloaded all my stuff in my room and headed off for some "food therapy"... :p

I headed back too the Sonny Bryans (from the first day), specifically to try their "cobbler" (something I'd heard about on TV, but didn't have a clue what it was until I looked up online later)... which is like an apple-crumble pie, without the pastry base.
I ended up buying a "sloppy joe" as well, since that was the feature item on "Man Vs Food", plus some deep-fried cheese sticks (a favourite of mine).

But I didn't stop there... Noooo... (voice of BW Megatron)  :p

As my last "meal" in Dallas, and no prospect of getting to a Burger King before leaving America, I went across the road from Sonny Bryans, to a Hoffbrau Steakhouse. (I wanted a giant steak dammit... even if it meant takeaway).
Inside the Hoffbrau Steakhouse I checked out the menu looking for the biggest steak they had... but got distracted by the "Chicken Fried Steak" - something that was recommended by someone at work... and again, something I was unfamiliar with until looking it up online. (it is steak, coated and fried like KFC - but it ended up being more like a thick veil schnitzel)

I ordered one of those, plus, another item that caught my eye - Dr Pepper Chicken.
It is chicken, marinated in Dr Pepper syrup (among other ingredients) to give it a richer, bitey flavour. I ordered that as a burger, which was cheaper (and hopefully
smaller) than the meal version. It still came with a serve of wedges, as did the Chicken Fried Steak... so I had myself well and truly stocked up for Dinner AND Breakfast.

And it was all so cheap too... although, a tip/gratuity is expected if dining in, which would add to the cost (I wasn't sure if a tip was required if you takeaway). But each of those 3 meals (and the cheese sticks w/ Cobbler) were $10 or less. Much cheaper than fast food franchises in America, which are the same or more than Australian prices.

On the way back to the hotel I stopped by the 7-11 once again, to grab a couple bottles of Diet Coke to help wash it all down with (it was on special, so I kept going back there).

I was feeling tired, so didn't plan to do much that night except eat and watch TV.
But as I looked at how much mess I had to pack up, I force myself to start sorting out things, so that it was easier to pack the next morning (to prevent last minute panicked packing - and to see for sure that everything would fit in the 2 boxes and bag I had with me).
In the end, my compulsion to not have things left half-done, I ended up packing everything before going to sleep, AND, I only filled the two boxes, leaving me with my big bag empty (which could now carry my backpack, leaving me with just two check-in items... which are free).  All I had to worry about was taping up the boxes and changing clothes before checking out.
Plenty of time... or so I thought.
I kinda got caught up watching a marathon of Law & Order on one of their channels, until about 3am. That meant waking up some time after 9am... to finish off the food from last night, and get cleaned up and finished packing by midday.

But the events of the Monday, and the return home, will be covered in the 7th and final part of the adventure... probably posted up later today.

Friday, 4 May 2012

BotCon 2012 - part 5

Saturday began fairly early, a little after 7am.
Down to the dealer room at about 9am (half an hour after it had opened, so I was a little later than I had planned)... I took photos of the art display, and more of the Hasbro display, as I knew that I wouldn't have much time at the end of the day (I would be in the panel room for the entire day, from 10am to 5pm).

Presentation panels for Saturday were:
- Gen1 Voice Actors Dan Gilverzan & Buster Jones.
- IDW comics
- Animated with Derrick Wyatt
- Voice Actors David Kaye & Garry Chalk
- Collector Club
- Hasbro products
- Peter Cullen (Voice of Optimus Prime)

Photos and info from those panels will be done up on a separate webpage here (not there yet).

The interesting non-news event for the day though was the Hall of Fame dinner and Casino/Auction night.

The main course (with a salad before, and a baked cheesecake after) was chicken with veges...

And the commemorative "plaque" card.

The dinner started at 7pm, and about 40 minutes later, the HoF awards were announced... starting with the 3 known robot inductees (Grimlock, Jazz, Shockwave), then the two human inductees (Simon Furman, Chris Latta), and finally the fan-choice winner - Wheeljack.

At about 8.30, the dinner ended, and everyone was now able to spend the next 2 & 1/2 hours "earning" casino dollars, to bid with at the Auction just after 11pm.

I raced out to queue up at the usual $20 "random prize" table (you pay $20 for a chance to win a BotCon exclusive figure, or extra casino-dollars), and after no success in previous years, I managed to win a toy - which is your choice out of whatever is left on the prize shelf. Since I'm not missing any BotCon toys, I looked through the pile for the most valuable one left... I found the Sweeps 3-pack, which I think was the best of the ones there.
So for a $20 fee, I walked away with a $200 set of toys.

I went back up to my room for a couple hours, as I wasn't too interested in playing any gambling games (and end up losing the "dollars" I now had - $4,200). I actually thought that that would be a decent amount for the auction, until Brian ended up auctioning off half the items to the 7 or 8 kids in the room of 300 people. As such, when the adults were allowed to bid on the remaining items, nothing went for less than 6,000 casino-dollars. (only a half dozen kiddie items were supposed to be restricted to the kids, but Brian just kept auctioning off all the toys, to such a saturated point, that kids were winning expensive items and Lots with just 200 casino-dollars.
There were a lot of unhappy adult bidders, who were prevented from bidding on on non-kiddie items they wanted, and then missed out on the remaining items because of all the Casino-dollars still in play for that small amount of items.

I was annoyed as well, because there were a couple items I was interested in, but didn't have a chance with the amount I had to play with. But if I hadn't won that 3-pack of Sweeps, I would have been really peeved.

Actually, before the auction started, the winners of the art competition were announced first, at 11.25pm, with the auction starting 10 minutes later.
The auction ended at 12.30, and I went straight up to my room, and pretty much went to sleep soon after.
One day left to go...and as usual, the convention was going by way too fast.

BotCon 2012 - part 4

The last couple days of the convention were so packed and hectic, I wasn't able to keep up a daily posting... so now that I'm back home and processing over 600 photos, I need to finish off the travel journal as well.
So, with Friday, Saturday and Sunday (and the journey home) left to talk about, here is part 4 - Friday 27th April.

I woke up at about 7am, which was pretty good (about 10 hours, thanks to no internet access the night before). It had me refreshed enough to make it through the rest of the weekend.

Breakfast was the cold pizza and calzones from the day before, which were still pretty good. (a great pizza is one that is just as good cold as it is hot)

Editing and uploading some more photos (so that I could post up Thursday's events on this blog), I ended up heading down to the convention about 90 minutes after it had started.

 The first event/panel at 9am was a return of the MST team doing comedic voice-overs of Transformers episodes (this time, the Dubbed version of some JP Headmaster Episodes). Since I'm familiar with their work, and their hit-and-miss humour, I wasn't planning to sit through the entire 2 hours, so arrived at the panel room at about 10.40am.
It ran late, so the film fest started 15 minutes late... which then finished 20 minutes late itself.
In the panel room, one of the new features this year was reserve seating for "Golden Ticket" holders. The front three rows on the left, and the first row on the right... amounting to 90 seats for 75 GT holders. (many of whom weren't interested in the panels to use the seats - even the most popular panel (Hasbro panel) had about 40 seats empty.

After a short lunch break, the Collector Club had their presentation for the members magazine at 1pm.
That took us to almost 2pm, which was the start of the 3hour session of the Dealer Room for pre-registrants.
The crowd was already packed into the small space outside the main hall, forming a confusing mess of lines.

Amongst the crowd, one of the first costumes... a mini Optimus.

When the doors opened, this was what we were greeted with this year...
(click on the image to see it in full size, or check out my full botcon report soon, for a heap of dealer room photos)

During the 3 hours, I took a heap of photos of the hall, the exhibits (not the art display - I did that Saturday morning) including Hasbro's toy display, watched a presentation by Activision of their new Transformers game later this year, and of course... shopping! :D

My priorities this year were TFPrime toys (to save money on what they will cost me back home - only found 2 though), Sth American TFs (only found one, but was on Sunday after I had spent all my cash), Motorvators (didn't see any), and anything Japanese (the regular two JP dealers were there, and as usual, I came away with some nice bits and pieces... albeit, small bits and pieces.
Probably my most exciting purchase this year, ended up being a GIJoe toy done in Starscream colours... which is kinda sad, but considering the amount of money I did spend this week, I'm not too upset.  Disappointed, but not upset.
So what did I end up buying on the Friday?
- TFPrime Ratchet & Arcee (wave 2 - I couldn't find anything other than these two and Wave 1 figures... really disappointed about that).
- SDCC GIJoe Starscream for $135 (this was sold at SDCC last year for $50... ebay prices are mostly $150-250, and other dealers were scalping theirs for $200-250 - so it was good to find one a lot cheaper, and no shipping fee, because it is a HUGE box)
- JP TFPrime Skywarp (in case Hasbro doesn't release it and the price goes way up).
- United Wheeljack (only really collecting the "early Gen1" United toys to go with my Henkei collection)
- Kero Starscream (green/yellow EZ/Legends Starscream (because it looks so dodgy and fake, I had to have it)
- JP Device Label Cheetor/Cheetus (a low priority loose end, so grabbed it cheap, while not having to worry about shipping - unfortunately, within hours of getting it, I dropped SG Optimus on it, and the jaw broke)
- WST Bumblebee on Gen1 backing card (another low priority, but something I had a fascination in - just never wanted to spend too much on it and shipping before)
- JP store bonus items (a couple Micron/Targetmasters, the Swords for Movie Optimus, and a couple translucent Optimus EZ/Legends toys... because I love the odd translucent toy).
- Chase JP Armada/Micron Legend SCF figurine pre-Earth Ratchet (the dealer mustn't have realised it was a chase figure as he had it on a table of regular SCF figurines, all priced the same, so now I only have 2 of the 4 chase figures left to find).
- IDW TPB Vol 7 (the final TPB before the 2 ongoing series starts)
- JP Generations 2012 Vol1 (a welcome surprise, as it was only just released in Japan, and is often difficult to purchase online at a reasonable price)
- Dreamwave poster book (a really random item I found in a comic "bin", which archives most of the posters that Dreamwave produced during their 3 or 4 years). I also bought the BotCon 2006 comic, thinking that it was the one I'm missing, but found out when I got home that I'm missing the 2008 issue.
- The two BotCon lithos, signed, which weren't available the day before.
- Simon Furman's unreleased Dreamwave scripts (not in the photo above)
- And two freebie posters from Activision and Hasbro (TFPrime team & FOC Vortex)

Aside from a couple items on Sunday, that was pretty much it for me in the way of "BotCon Haul" for 2012.  I didn't actually buy anything on the Saturday. I guess I was too busy in the panel room all day, and spent most of my money on Friday items (I didn't have a huge budget this year, and I lost a about a quarter of it because someone who owed me $330, thought it would be better to send it by paypal instead of directly into my account... so I didn't end up getting it in time to spend at BotCon).
In case I forget to mention it on one of the next postings, the other items I got this year:
- Sunday (the latest 9 Kabaya model kits featuring the Protectobots, & the non-BotCon edition of the 2011 comic)
- Monday (from the Target I was at on Wednesday - a plush Movie Optimus Truck)

When the dealer room closed up at 5pm, I went back to my room to upload photos and get myself ready for the "Golden Ticket Meet & Greet" at 7pm.

It was late to start (yes, there were a few late things this year, but not as bad as last year), and it looked like only 50 (two thirds) of the Golden Ticket holders were there.  Which isn't surprising, as one of the features of the Golden Ticket is to have access to 3 times the exclusives... so those who bought a GT just to make extra money from the convention, had little interest in the other features (this dinner or the panels to use the reserve seating)

I wasn't expecting there to be a buffet dinner, as the event description sounded like it was just an opportunity for this small number of people to talk to the guests and have photos taken with them... and maybe drinks.  The spread they put out was pretty decent, and a proper meal, as they didn't run out of anything... and more importantly, there was quite a variety of items - a roast, some Mexican, some Japanese and some grilled items, plus an assortment of drinks. (and a bar to buy alcoholic items)
The main feature of the night though, were the guests...

From left - Peter Cullen, Gary Chalk, Simon Furman, David Kaye, Dan Gilverzan, Buster Jones, Derrick Wyatt.
Peter Cullen left after about an hour, and I left about 30 minutes after that (filling up on some food and drinks before I left), as I didn't want to tire myself before the big weekend was about to begin.
As I left, I was given my bonus items from the event - a BotShots Optimus signed by Peter Cullen & an autograph sheet signed by everyone EXCEPT Peter Cullen (I can understand having him signing the toy, but the autograph card is spoiled by having everyone's name and photo, but not his signature)
For me though, being one who doesn't value or care much for autographs, this is a bonus I would otherwise not chase up... so it was a good thing for me to have someone else do all the work.

Back in my room, I was back on the computer and watching TV, until Midnight.
The alarm was set for about 7.30am (the Dealer Room was to open at 8.30am), but I ended up waking up about half an hour before the alarm.

But Saturday details will be in the next posting... as I'm still processing and uploading Saturday photos.