Tuesday, November 6, 2012

WFC 2012, or There and Back Again Part 2

One big thing I forgot to mention about WFC: they treat their attendees very well. Each person receives a bag of books I’d estimate weighed about fifteen pounds, easily worth the price of admission just there. The bags are assembled randomly, but if you got something you didn’t want, you just brought it down to the Trade Table and hopefully grab something more to your liking. I ended up with at least six books I really wanted and eight more I was interested in. That doesn’t include the twenty or so e-books you got. Suitcase space became my biggest issue.

Virtually any time of the day or evening you could get snacks or a meal at the hospitality suite. Nor were the meals just cheap pizza. Chinese food one night, roasted potatoes and chicken the next, and a good spread for breakfast every morning.

What I’m saying is that if you compare the retail price of the books and meals to the $175 price tag of the convention, you actually walk away with a profit. I was very impressed. Then, on to the Big City...

I’d never been to Toronto before, so I wanted to do some touristy things, and what could be more touristy than riding to the top of the CN Tower?

Toronto sure knows how to take your money. It reminded me of a gaming city that exists entirely on its ability to cadge dragon-gold from adventurers. I’m sure Toronto is in no way unique in this capacity, but it’s been a while since I’ve gone tourist, so the 24 bucks a head to ride the CN Tower elevator came as a mild shock. (That was the minimum. You could have gone much higher, with all sorts of bells and whistles, but I figured I was completely capable of absorbing the view without a video tour guide pointing out the line between “ground” and “sky” is commonly called “the horizon.”)

I will say it was pretty dang cool up there. Eleven hundred feet puts you well above the Toronto skyline, meaning the glass and concrete skyscrapers that look so dominating from ground level are suddenly transformed into little Lego bricks. I walked on the Glass Floor, where you can see directly down between your feet. My friend refused to stand with me. He didn’t trust human infrastructure. The reward wasn’t worth the risk, as his view from the edge was only slightly less imposing. It did occur to me, a thought I shared, that if the glass panel beneath my feet suddenly gave way and I plummeted to my doom, I’d have nearly nine seconds to ruminate on the error of my ways. Can you imagine the stupefied, stunned shock on the faces of the other people around me if something like that happened? That--and the inevitable lawsuit winnings my family would gain--would almost make my death worth it.

We stopped for lunch at a Vietnamese place, saw pigeon on the menu, and thought: Why not? We should’ve thought: Why? It wasn’t bad, but I won’t stand in line for it again. Having the head and claws still attached was a nice touch. Grisly, but nice.

After that I wanted to take in the ROM, but time didn’t allow. I didn’t want to zip through the Museum, so we went down to Kensington. This is a neighbourhood of quirky businesses all converted from houses, many of the owners living above their shops. It was really cool and extremely dense. Each store was stacked from floor to ceiling with goods. It would be the work of a lifetime to look at everything, but I did have enough time to at least absorb the basic idea, summed up in this odd decorating choice:

And that was basically it. Time went too quickly, and the airline wasn’t going to hold my flight for me (I missed my plane out of Winnipeg and didn’t want to repeat the process). Bye Toronto, hello Brandon. Not for the first time, I wished for teleportation as a super-power (that two-and-a-half hour drive from the airport to home is a real downer).

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