Originally, there was no way I was going to be going to Conifur, since I was going to be flying with my family to go see my grandfather, and that weekend was out of the question. So I didn't even bother booking anything to Seattle.
Then out of the blue, we have to reschedule the family visit to November, and
that weekend opens up, which was unexpected. Unfortunately, it's already September 23 by then, and the airfares are sky-high. You would think the airline industry wouldn't jack prices so ridiculously high if they wanted to actually make money and survive, but no, here's United and Continental asking $800 for a round-trip ticket to Seattle. You gotta be kidding. (Going from San Jose to Seattle Through Houston and Chicago, no less! What, are you guys on SMACK?!)
This is why I was looking at driving, but geez, 900 miles is too much do to on my own in one shot. I could do it, but it would take two days each way, and I don't have that much time off. No one wanted to drive with, though.
So after seeing the prices continuously go up, and with driving becoming more and more out of reach, I finally resigned myself to getting a ticket with Cattle Car Airlines (Southwest) for a mere $270. It sucks that I have to pay that much just to go to Seattle, but after doing the math, it's only $100 more than it would cost for gas to drive.
Of course, they're going to charge me $45 each way for my fursuit box, since it's a total of 79" (L+W+H), but just shy of the 80-inch limit. Fine. Screw it. Here's my plastic, gimme my ticket.
So then I try to book a room with the Tacoma Sheraton, site of the upcoming con.
This was about 8 PM, and when I ask for reservations, they switch me through to the national Sheraton call center, since the local reservations desk is closed.
I ask for the room rate at Conifur, and they say the cutoff date for the room block is September 27, and that they're not taking any more reservations for Conifur any more.
And here I thought they moved to a new hotel and were trying to book as many room-nights as possible. Oh no, it's not because the room block is full, it's becuase the arbitrary cutoff date that the Sherton decided upon had passed, and now they don't want my money. So they say the only way to get a room is to pay the regular room rate (considerably higher) and they won't take any discounts, not even the Triple-A discount that works everywhere else.
So I spend the entire evening and night pissed as hell, since this is the last straw. I finally bite the bullet and figure out the transportation angle of the whole thing just to get nailed by the hotel reservations people being snotty.
Worse yet, when I try to send mail to the Conifur Admins, they tell me there's nothing they can do since the Sheraton contract stipulates that the cutoff date is September 27, and they don't have to honor the room rate after that, even if the room block is empty.
That struck me as highly odd, I would think that the Con and the hotel would have a vested interest in filling up the room block and encouraging con-goers to be a part of it. If they say, a week before the con, "Sorry, no more reservations, screw off and go away", how does that help the hotel, or the con?
That was the final straw, and I decided that Conifur was off, as far as I was concerned. I had enough trouble just arranging the logistics of how to get there and back, and I sure as hell wasn't going to bother going there if I didn't have a place in the con hotel. Screw it.
So this morning I get up and just for the hell of it, call the Sheraton Tacoma's front reservations desk. This time I don't get switched into the national reservations office, but the local desk since the reservations person is now in the office. Just to make sure that this room block silliness is for real, I ask for a room in the Conifur NW room block, and to my surprise, the nice reservations lady gets me one. The difference between this and the experience the night before is like... well.. night and day. To my amazement, I get off the phone with her and realize... I'm going to Conifur.
This is just like the last time I tried to go to MFM, where they told me the room block was full and wouldn't let me in it, and then it turns out that the room allocation was a subset of the hotel's, and the room block opened up to a larger size later, after I'd already booked a room in a different hotel. I really hate such shenanigans, but it seems like it's all about who you talk to and when you call, since these organizations don't seem know from the right hand what the left hand is doing.
Hotels have had their biggest decline and more empty rooms (at least in California) since 1938, since they started counting such things. If they want us back, and want us to travel again, they really should drop the shenanigans.
I would think they'd roll out the red carpet for a convention that books out several hundred room-nights in their hotel, in light of the fact that no one is travelling any more.
Anyway, my Conifur saga is finally looking like it might actually happen. I have the room booked, the plane flight, and the shuttle bus. Now all I have to.. is pack all my crap. Good thing I'm not flying till Friday afternoon, it'll take me that long to get my stuff together.