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About vika838

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  1. Need Gluten-Free Food planning help :(

    I have a gluten allergy and am pregnant as well. I won't be at ACen this year because I'm due in about a week, but I understand how difficult it can be to have your already limited diet limited by pregnancy as well. A lot of people don't understand that being gluten free means eating foods that are almost the opposite of a vegetarian/low fat diet, and that cross-contamination can be a real issue. After 4 years of ACen attendance I haven't found ANY nearby restaurants that have adequate/safe gluten free accommodation, and you CANNOT count on a chef at a regular being knowledgeable about your diet when all the nutrition needs of you and your baby are on the line. That said, depending on the severity of your allergy, there is a chipotle within driving distance that can make a burrito bowl with veggies, protein, and dairy that can hit the spot. I would suggest lots of fresh fruit and veggies in easy to carry tupperware (low acid if you need it), and fruit and nut bars like Glenny's, KIND, or Larabars for snacks. Another option is Boost or Ensure which can get you through to a meal. I would have suggested peanut butter or other nut butter as well since it is a good source of protein (unless you already have a peanut allergy) which I was assured by my doctor will not cause the baby to develop a peanut allergy in utero. If you can get a hold of a fridge and microwave, great, that opens up a world of options like hot cheese sandwiches, a tuna melt (but only one can of chunk light/low mercury during your stay), tv dinners, yogurt, or dinty moor beef stew. That said I have tried for 3 years to get a microwave at the Crowne Plaza reserving one months in advance making clear it was an allergy/disability request only to be told tough they were all gone by the time I checked in. So I wouldn't count on having access to more than a cooler and coffee maker. The salad bar in the cafeteria across from the Hyatt can be sketchy but if you're desperate, it's there. Best of luck and congratulations on your pregnancy!
  2. Trigun Spoiler When Wolfwood dies in Trigun, I sob every time.
  3. Suggestions for ACen 2013

    Easy fix for events not getting filled using tickets. Either reserve space for a certain number of walkups, fill no show seats with walkups, or both. The most important part of this would be that line IRT and ticket staff desseminate this info as part of their spiel. "You don't have a ticket? Well at X time we will be filling unoccupied seats from walkups. Providing there's space you could still get a seat."
  4. Suggestions for ACen 2013

    Here's an idea for the Crystal Ball. My husband and I took one look at the price of a DJ for our wedding and decided to do it ourselves using his stereo equipment and a computer playlist. I suggest that ACen have interested staff dj the event, and that people who buy Crystal Ball tickets are given the opportunity at registration to make one song request. Provided their request can be found at ITUNES, their song can be easily purchased and put on a playlist ahead of time along with an assortment of other dance songs. Not everyone will like all the requests, and not all requests will have the time to be played, but at least staff dj's can pick from actual requested songs.
  5. Panel Programming Feedback Forms

    Very good, thank you.
  6. Where to get a good wig.

    I don't think they have a store location, or at least I couldn't find one when I looked. On the bright side, shipping from their online store was relatively cheap.
  7. Panel Programming Feedback Forms

    Would you also like feedback regarding cancelled panels? My group and several others waited for the panelists of the "It's Raining Wolves" panel to show up, which they never did, causing the panel to be cancelled. Major bummer.
  8. Smoking Outside the Hyatt

    Wow, they really suggested you wear a mask? That's really insensitive if nothing else. I too think moving the line of smokers would be a great thing! I tried to avoid being outside at all this year to steer clear of the haze that surrounds the doors, but despite being on time for all main programming lines we still had to wait outside for the masquerade when the entire line was shifted outside until the Iruma concert was over. This caused a major problem when the person behind me decided to light up, and I was forced to hold my breath with limited success until they were done smoking. IRT was busy with crowd control, otherwise I would have asked them to intervene. Perhaps in addition to moving the smoking area, IRT could use the card system that they use for bathroom breaks to direct smokers waiting in the main programming line to the new area until they are done? Thank you for your efforts Smokey, they are truly appreciated!
  9. New elevator policy for this year!

    Kudos to IRT, this was the best year for elevator accessibility yet. We were actually able to get on and off without issues. This was a great idea!
  10. Fire Alarm Comments

    As I was in the process of evacuating with my husband from the Masquerade, I also noticed several people on an upper level balcony of the Hyatt taking pictures of the evacuation. So obviously some people chose to ignore the evacuation. There were no lights or sirens in main programming, so that may have contributed to the sense of disbelief when the announcement that a fire alarm was taking place, many of us thought it was a joke and waited for the punchline. I would say that the evacuation of main programming was orderly, although it was slow going for a while until IRT knocked down the stanchions and directed people out the line of glass doors instead of just the revolving doors. This sped things up tremendously, although I feel sorry for the poor plants that we trampled on our way out the doors. Once out the doors, it was difficult to make it through the line of people who were outside lined up for the Soap Bubble. We ran parallel to them for quite a while before we could make it across the street. After that we headed into the Expoteria to warm up, which was extremely crowded to the point of being squished. We waited until we saw the masses returning in, and were funneled through the bottleneck near the main programming doors (keep on the sidewalk!) only to be shouted at for not moving quickly enough through the main Hyatt entrance. So while things were orderly there were definite issues in crowd flow, that might have been exacerbated if there'd been an actual emergency. Hope this helps.
  11. Masquerade 2012

    I also think having the dances all on one night is an interesting idea, and could possibly solve any number of issues. However...think of all the revenue that is generated from the people buying single day badges just to attend these events. If you lump all the dances into one day than that's that many fewer single day badges sold, and somehow I don't see anyone in charge being willing to make a major cut in the profits. Sad, but true.
  12. Masquerade 2012

    As one of the people who showed up on time (5pm) to line up for the Masquerade and waited patiently for a seat, I'd like to share a few hopefully constructive comments I came up with during my copious free time (please excuse the flight metaphors). 1. Think of Main programming timing as if you are planning a flight schedule. Allow a significant layover in between flights (programs). In all likelyhood you won't make it to a connecting flight if you only have a half an hour or even an hour layover. Even if you do your luggage probably won't. I took one look at the main programming time line this year and knew there was not nearly enough setup, teardown, and oh crap there's a problem time alotted to run even close to on time. 2. If IRT is having to show people to seats and people are not being allowed to chose a seat, at least fully seat the middle section first. Despite the fact my group was in the first 100 people in line, we were seated at the extreme far edge of the ball room and couldn't even see the stage which was the whole point of arriving when the line was officially opened. A member of our group who showed up 30 minutes later to the line than the rest of us actually got a better seat in the center section. It is unfair to seat in this manner, those who wait the longest should get the prime seats. Perhaps there should be "boarding groups" if not actually assigned seating to allow for this. Tickets or boarding groups would also have made it easier to readmit people for the Masquerade in the event of disaster like a fire alarm. There were many disbelieving people who didn't understand that they wouldn't be getting their seat back after that long wait. 3. Every part of the crew needs to understand the flight plan. At more than one point an announcement was half made to the crowd by IRT, only to be cut off mid sentence because circumstances had changed. This only creates chaos, the passengers know there is something wrong, and are bound to get restless and speculate. Periodic announcements need to be made even if it is only to give a status report. 4. Customer service and communication is key. No one enjoys delays, but I would say that the wait was borne with surprising fortitude by line goers. I also heard the chant of "This is Bull****" as I left the Masquerade, but who can blame the outdoor line goers who had been standing in frigid temperatures for hours outside for being upset? This was an incredibly mild and probably therapeutic expression of disapproval, it could have been much worse. Above all, an attitude of "us vs. them" should be avoided at all cost. This was not war, and sentiments were expressed in my hearing of "outsmarting the enemy" with reference to controlling the line of congoers. And yes, I do know the call sign of this person, and was deeply offended by their behavior. But I also understand it was a stressful situation, and I don't want to resort to name-calling so perhaps a customer service training could be instituted for front-line staff like IRT if not done already to reenforce proper guest-handling behavior. I must emphasize that I was treated with respect by a vast majority of ACen staff, but a yearly customer service training can only help. 5. Pack the plane to capacity. I know there were quite a bit more space and empty seats in the ballroom just before the Masquerade was about to start. I felt particularly bad for the people still waiting outside in the hope of getting in. The Masquerade is the premier event for ACen and every effort needs to be made to include the maximum number of passengers. I know this is limited by fire marshal capacity, but if we can pack them in for the Soap Bubble we should have at least that number of allowed in to the Masquerade. 5. Also could a member of staff explain what VIP guests to the Masquerade are? At one point it was mentioned that they would have to be given a refund after the fire alarm was pulled. Are special tickets already being issued for the Masquerade? (I'm not talking about press badges or masquerade participant badges). Thank you to the Masquerade staff for all their efforts. My experiences with them have been nothing but wonderful, and I truly feel for them having to experience the deep disappointment that was this year's masquerade. If not for an injury that made me cancel my entry, I would have been one of the cancelled skits. My skit for last year involved 8 months or roughly 300 hours of preparation. My deepest sympathies for the skits that did not get a chance to perform this year, you are wonderful and I salute your hard work. I hope these comments will provide some food for thought.
  13. A few questions about the rules.

    Hmmm...this had made me think. Would a metal soup ladle be considered a weapon?
  14. ACen Guidebook

    So by this Thurs. which will be the most up to date source to use, the APP or the PDF? I'm not sure which will be the best to use at the actual event...