Geek on Wheels: CONvergence part 2

Sitting with legs tucked, RMN gear, & smock holding a lightsaber
May the force be…with the Royal Manticoran Navy? (I was badging and a guy cosplaying a Jedi asked me to hold his lightsaber so he wouldn’t break it in the restroom…I said yes if he would take my picture)

For Part 1 of this adventure, click here.

I made sure to not sign up for any particularly early badging shifts on Saturday so I could attempt to get some sleep (no sleep equals more pain & balance issues).  Unfortunately, extra sleep did not end up equaling a smart and observant Casey as I managed to lose my own badge on the way to a badging shift on the gaming floor (I disconnected it at the volunteer’s table to get my updated volunteer ribbon, then forgot to reattach it)!

As getting my badging hours in was my primary concern, I didn’t go to any of the panels I was hoping to go to…but that meant that I was able to see more of my Minnesota friends, so it paid off in the end.  I also had a chance to badge in several different areas (gaming floor, dealer’s room, consuite, party rooms) which made badging more fun and mentally engaging.  It also had the bonus perk of people saying that there seemed to be Royal Manticoran Navy people volunteering everywhere and con staff.

That evening was the RMN awards ceremony.  The neat part is that last year’s ceremony was what prompted me to finally join the organization after seeing them year after year around the con.  It was really neat to be a part of that, with all of our black, green, and white berets and black shirts or uniform tunics.  Although my partner (who is also my XO) was my only crewmember at the ceremony, we were able to talk with a lot of people that we wouldn’t normally get to hang around with.  We also saw several members that we knew on Facebook get various service awards (although the acoustics were absolutely awful, so we couldn’t understand anything being said…I had to ask my partner if he was having trouble too because I thought I was having a weird med side effect).  Unfortunately, I can’t find many photos of the ceremony as they haven’t surfaced yet.

After the ceremony, the three of us were famished and decided to head to the hotel across the street from the con to eat (it’s become an annual thing as the food is stellar).  The hills and ramps involved are utterly terrifying while riding a wheelchair.  The slopes might be barely legal at least on the ramps, but the pavement has cracks and holes and in some spots isn’t actually flat.

Uneven pavement on a ramp
That’s the top of a steep ramp…it has a 1-2 inch lip and is NOT safe. Had I not made my spot check, I would have fallen face-first.

Here’s another pic to show the slope of the ramp (if you look closely, one of the other ramps is visible in the background…it has a sharp ninety-degree turn at the bottom right before the road).

Picture of a steep concrete ramp with black handrails
Steep ramps of steepness

I jarred my spine several times in this hellish maze of up and down ramps and crappy curb cuts and steep parking lots, but I refused to risk the shuttle this year (last year it didn’t follow the route and got me separated from my people for 45 minutes, then had the shuttle driver try to chew me out for not walking across the street despite my crutch in hand).  I was a bit cranky and in pain, but managed to push through to do my badging shifts.

The night ended with me finally seeing a friend of mine cosplaying Maleficent (for a Leukemia & Lymphoma Society fundraiser she’s doing) and then hanging out in the RMN party room with my fellow Manticorans.  It ended up being a pretty good night even though my partner and I were volunteering so much that we didn’t see each other much.

Since I’d finished my 25+ volunteer hours plus a long drive in the evening to Duluth, I

During one of my badging shifts, I babysat a deactivated robot (someone's costume so he didn't have to haul it to his room).
During one of my badging shifts (and being silly as usual, I babysat a deactivated robot (someone’s costume so he didn’t have to haul it to his room).

decided to keep Sunday as lazy as possible.  We spent time in the Dealer’s Room (I’ve been staring at a certain leather bodice with a hood for years now…one of these years it will be mine!), the Artists Alley, and ended our convention with the TARDIS Tea Society’s tea party.  I had a last chance to see some of my Twin Cities-based friends, which is always bittersweet but I’m thankful that I have CONvergence available to see so many of them so easily.

Part three up soon…it will likely be mostly pictures of Duluth, Minnesota where I finished my bachelor’s degree.


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