I’m writing this from my hotel room in Austin, Texas, where it’s currently 36C outside and I’m betting it’s not that warm back home. A quick check online says it’s 27C in St. John’s, so hey, that’s not that bad actually, but still.
I came here for RTX, the annual Rooster Teeth convention. It did not disappoint, with the exception of Friday (we’ll get to that in a bit). While I know I’m looking at a small slice of the city through the lens of someone on vacation, I really had a great time here.
The trip started off on my arrival Thursday afternoon, following a slight delay from the Houston to Austin short hop connection flight. The heat smacked me in the face as soon as I walked outside, and, rather than mess with apps such as Uber or Lyft that were new to me, I just took a regular cab to my hotel. It was a little more than $25 USD, which I’ll compare to the Lyft ride I’m going to take back now in a little bit.
It was a laid back day, as I simply just checked into the hotel, went and got my badge at pre-reg in the Austin Convention Centre, then picked up a few things for the next few days – bottled water and granola bars for long days at the con – and had some of Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken for supper, which was easily the best fried chicken I’ve ever had. It was an early night then for me, especially because of the 2.5 hour time difference.
Friday started out with a good lunch at Whataburger, which I’d heard about and tracked down one with the help of Lyft – seriously, this app made travel very easy and inexpensive during my stay here, and I highly recommend it. The meal was pretty good, and then it was off to the con.
Friday was the most frustrating day con-wise, because they had to add metal detectors for people to go through in order to enter the exhibition hall. This, sadly, is for a good reason, given what happened in Phoenix back in May this year, but the problem was they only had 2 detectors at each entrance. This made for incredibly long lines to get in, which was bad enough, but this was also the first full day of the con. This meant anyone who couldn’t get to pre-reg on Thursday also had to line up in a humongous line just to get their badge to get in period, let alone into other things.
I was lucky enough to get here on Thursday so that was one less long line – it took me about 2 hours to get mine on Thursday, some people reported waits of 3-4+ hours on Friday – but then it took me well over an hour to get into the exhibition hall when I tried at around 4pm. The exhibition hall closed every day at 6pm, mind you, and on Friday the con started at 12pm, though registration lines started at 8am. Still, not a lot of time. Some people who only opted for a Friday pass were unable to attend many panels and the exhibition hall because of this, which really sucks. The same went for weekend pass people if they didn’t get their pass on Thursday, so they could’ve missed out on autograph sessions as well.
I had the weekend pass, so it didn’t affect me nearly as much, long wait aside, but I can see why so many people were and still are pretty upset. I was still able to catch a few panels, get my autographs in with the Kinda Funny people – I posted the video they made for me here, fyi! – and get in to pick up some swag, but others weren’t so lucky.
The good news is Rooster Teeth listened and fixed it for the rest of the con, adding several more metal detectors and putting them all in one hall with several lanes for people to line up in instead of one huge line with only two. This made my entry time to the hall on Saturday less than 5 minutes or so, and likewise yesterday. Too little too late for those poor Friday folk, but they did fix it and unfortunately that’s all they could do.
Friday night’s supper was a good feed at PF Chang’s before heading back to the hotel with a headache. Not sure what caused it as every day I prepped myself with sunscreen, drank lots of water, made sure to eat, etcetera, but there you have it. It was a nice, quiet night in at any case so it’s all good.
Saturday was a great day for a number of reasons. I didn’t want to see anything until after lunch so I took a Lyft to a nearby mall for the morning, which was a nice break from having nothing accessible near the hotel and no little stores or pharmacies near the convention centre really. I was there for lunch and then went back to the con.
It was mainly great, however, because I got to meet two years-long friends in person for the first time, Alex and Sam. Alex and her boyfriend went to RTX as well, and Sam currently lives here. I got to attend some of the panels with Alex and her partner, and it was a great day in general, especially with the Kinda Funny panel and the RT Podcast being amazing. After that I got to hang out with Sam, and we had fun playing board games at a local spot called the Emerald Tavern Games & Cafe, which was such a cool place. We have something similar to that in St. John’s now I think but I wish we had more places like it, or that I’d had access to that kind of place when I was a kid, wow.
Sunday was the last day of the con sadly, but it was great. The RWBY panel kicked ass, and even though there was a long wait before it started there was an energetic crowd and a lot of fun was had in the waiting. I took a video of a Bohemian Rhapsody singalong but Facebook made me take it down for copyright reasons, bah. I saw that with Alex as well, then her and her boyfriend left to go home. I stuck around for another panel and then the hall for a bit before going to try some bbq at Cooper’s, which was great (I tried using a fork and knife at first before a worker encourage me to just dig in and yum!) then picked up snacks and went back to the hotel.
I capped off Sunday night with a trip to the Alamo Drafthouse to see Spiderman: Homecoming, which was great by the by, and while waiting for the doors to open I went to a neat comic book store named the Dragon’s Lair nearby that was also awesome and had people playing games in the back too. They were the only people who knew where Newfoundland was when I told them where I was from, haha.
And today I only ventured out for lunch, having some In-N-Out Burger to see what it’s all about. It was ok, but gotta say Jack in the Box was better – I had that at the Houston airport during the wait to get here.
And now it’s almost check out time, whoops! So off I go, a whirlwind end to a whirlwind weekend in Austin. So much fun, I’m going to miss it, but I can’t wait to see my wife and cat again. 🙂