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  • rsts11 3:34 pm on March 21, 2014 Permalink | Reply  

    DON’T PANIC: The new era of Gallifrey One? 

    On April 28, at noon PST: https://www.facebook.com/gallifreyone
    is where to look for the hotel discount codes/links while they last.
    THEY WILL SELL OUT FAST. DON’T PANIC.
    If you don’t get a con block room, check my hotel post for more suggestions.


     

    tl;dr: Gallifrey One 2015 tickets are all sold out.
    Ticket transfers open in October, at face value.
    There is no shortage of hotel rooms.
    Guests to be announced in the summer
    Gallifrey One will not be expanding.
    And what’s with the kidneys?


     

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    Today at 10am Pacific time, Gallifrey One sold 3200 tickets to the 2015 convention in seventy-five minutes.

    Think about that, I’ll give you a moment.

    DISCLAIMER: While you’re pondering, I’ll remind you that this is an unofficial site not affiliated with Gallifrey One, and I’m just a guy who’s been to six Gallifrey One conventions and likes to try to help folks who are attending or want to attend. 

    That’s 7/10 of a ticket every second on average. Let’s round up. One ticket a second, for a show with no guests announced, no special events or new features announced (compared to 2014), nothing other than the word and track record of the all-volunteer Gallifrey One staff that they’ll do their best–as they always say–to make next year even better than this one. 

    So as many predicted, there were:

    • Hundreds of people hitting reload on the registration page for 5-10 minutes before the cutover, even keeping the Gallifrey One staff from being able to update the page with the link;
    • Lots of people who’ve been talking about the ticket sale for weeks complaining that they didn’t have enough warning (they did);
    • A few people letting everyone else know they know how to run conventions better than the Gallifrey One staff do after 25 years (they don’t);
    • Lots of people exuberant over getting their tix (including me), and at least a few who are still wishing for a membership before February 2015.

    Well, for those of you who don’t have tickets and haven’t gone off to start your own convention across the street from Gally, I’m here to tell you what you probably already know.

    All hope is not lost.

    Gallifrey One 2015 is still approx. 329 days away. Transfers will be available beginning in October, for people who no longer need their tickets. Put it in your calendar now, to check back on Twitter, Facebook, and GallifreyOne.com for the details.

    Transfers will allow you to sell a ticket you don’t need, for the original cost of purchase ($90 adult 17+, $45 teens 12-16, $10 children 3-11). There will be a specific facebook page for transfers, beginning in October, and you can go there if you have an extra ticket or need one.

    You can upgrade a ticket one step, from child to teen and from teen to adult (but not child to adult), for the difference in ticket cost, paid to Gallifrey One after transfers open.

    Memberships are capped? Can’t they just admit an unlimited number of people?

    20130915-190532[1]In a word, No.

    There are safety, fire code, security, and comfort factors.

    Remember how crowded the elevators and escalators got after the Masquerade? Imagine the entire convention floor being worse than that. Is that what you want? It’s not what most of us want.

    Why don’t they just scrap the current location make the “easy” move to a bigger venue?

    First and foremost, because they’re not going for biggest convention in the world. They’re going for best. And that means a place that’s safe for all ages, affordable for most attendees, with enough space for four or more tracks of activities ranging from Katy Manning’s Dalek impersonation to NASA explaining the technology of space flight and everything in between. 

    On top of that, as anyone who’s ever tried to coordinate a multi-day event knows, “easy peasy, just find a bigger venue” is not easy at all. They’ve spent years working on the relationship with the Marriott and making the convention work as it is.

    But anyone who wants to try to start a convention in a larger space is obviously welcome to do so. Some folks seem to think it’s easy and they can do it better. If you can, and do, people will show up in droves, I’m sure. Keep us posted.

    Gallifrey One is as successful as it is because of the track record of the organizers, and the trust they’ve earned from attendees and guests alike. They wouldn’t have that level of trust if they didn’t pay attention to quality, and focus their efforts where they make the most difference. Sure, if they put on a crappy convention, there’d be a lot more room, but that’s not what most of us want either.

    So what about hotels? Did Gally build new floors on the Marriott for us yet?

    Again, no. Let’s cut this one off at the pass too.

    A year ago tomorrow I wrote a post about hotelling for Gallifrey One, after the convention hotel blocks sold out pretty quickly. If Gallifrey One got every room including suites in the Marriott, and every room including suites in the Renaissance, that would be fewer than 1500 rooms. And Gallifrey One does not get every single room, just a whole heck of a lot of them.

    With guests and their entourages, members, staff, and so forth, there are about 3700 people at Gallifrey One each year these days.

    So absolute best and impossible case, if an average of 2.5 people occupied each and every room that exists in both hotels, we’d be covered. But that’s not going to happen.

    My recommendation is thus:

    1. Don’t panic. Hotel registration details and official convention rates will be announced in April on gallifreyone.com and the other usual places. There will still be rooms even in January 2015.
    2. If you have big costumes, dealer room supplies, health issues, small children, or any special need or desire for proximity, by all means go for a room in the convention hotel (the Marriott).
    3. If you don’t need the Marriott for whatever reason, there will probably be an overflow hotel with a similar rate (around $100 based on past history).
    4. If you don’t get one of the 1k+ rooms in the official hotels, there are at least half a dozen hotels within 10-15 minutes walking distance that have affordable rates even if they’re not official.

    I stayed in the Sheraton Gateway for only a few bucks more, and it was very comfortable. There are the Embassy Suites, Four Points, and a few others within a couple of blocks. Get a package that includes breakfast, and it’ll cost about the same (and as an aside, the satellite hotels probably have less crowded restaurants–the Sheraton’s breakfast never had a wait for us).

    What if I don’t want to do any of this stuff?

    That’s your choice, of course. There are other Doctor Who events around the country… most of them are great events and may be a better fit for some Whovians. There are events in other countries, and even the Sci-Fi Sea Cruise that will take you to the Caribbean in January 2015… plenty of chance to get your Who on, as the kids are saying these days (or are they?).

     
    • rsts11 9:46 pm on March 21, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Reblogged this on rsts11 – Robert Novak on system administration and commented:

      Since a number of my blog followers are Doctor Who fans who might be interested, I’m doing a rare cross-post from #gallyhelp.

    • Recovered Baptist 2:02 pm on March 22, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Well said!

    • karllembke 12:39 pm on March 23, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      It should also be mentioned that Gallifrey One doesn’t like ticket scalping. Memberships in Gallifrey One are not to be sold for more than the seller paid for them. And they keep track of badge numbers; any badge found for sale on ebay or any similar venue will be canceled.

  • rsts11 11:16 pm on February 17, 2014 Permalink | Reply  

    We survived 25 Glorious Years – What did you think? 

    This is a quick catcher post… as we all recover from the past weekend and think back on what we wish we’d known a week ago…

    What do you think you’d want to remember, or advise a new attendee next year, about the Gallifrey One experience?

    Did you have a noteworthy experience with your choice of hotel, or some food-related experience, or forget something you wish you’d brought? Make a comment here and I’ll integrate it into this year’s updates to Gallyhelp.

    And as another regular reminder, this is still an unofficial resource, just run by a guy who has trouble keeping up with forums. I’ve been to six conventions, so I have a lot of thoughts of my own, but I wasn’t up past 2 any day this past week, and I came pre-equipped with roommates, so many of you have different feedback/experiences on those items as well as others I can’t think of at the moment.

     
    • Jane 7:10 am on February 19, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      1. Manhattan Beach – If you arrive early and want to visit a beach, you can buy a ticket for a shuttle to Manhattan Beach at the Marriott reception desk. Takes about 15 min to get there, depending on how many more get on. (It makes a few stops but you don’t have to transfer.) Round trip ticket is $5. Surfers, lovely biking trail and pier, not crowded, some shops and restaurants (Italian and fish taco places). Bus stops at a strip mall on the way back if you need groceries.

      2. Cheap room service option – Marriott offers Kids Meals with fruit or salad in the $9 range. The quesadilla was certainly an ample dinner for an adult. P.S. Check the receipt. Service charge is included on small orders, so you don’t need to add a tip.

      3. Housekeeping – Some leave a tip at the end, but I prefer to leave a few dollars each day in case a different maid does the room.

      4. Trader Joe’s will call a cab for you if you walk that far and don’t want to lug your supplies back.

      • rsts11 9:23 am on February 19, 2014 Permalink | Reply

        Thank you Jane. Very good points; I’ve suggested #3 before since getting into the habit myself just a year or two ago. It’s just a little bit for me but if everyone left a dollar a night, the staff would probably make more than I do. :) And I don’t have to clean up body fluids at work (so far).

    • Jerry 10:07 am on February 19, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Two words: duct tape. If you’re going to collect more than a couple of feet of ribbons (and who doesn’t?), I always say that your strip is only as good as your weakest ribbon. Always reinforce the back of your ribbons every now and then and you won’t look down to see a good chunk of them missing. Plus, offering tape to others makes for a nice conversation starter when you’re killing time in lines.

      • rsts11 11:25 am on February 19, 2014 Permalink | Reply

        Hi Jerry, thanks for the excellent two words. I always think about this when I’m on site (and was even shopping for little tear-off “pads” of duct tape last April).

        I think the costume repair desk ran out of tape the first full day, and people with duct tape became very popular. :)

    • Clarissa 7:40 pm on February 19, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      I had a fantastic time again this year. We tried some new things (like the guest brunch) and did some favorite things again. Good times! And I still think this project of yours is totally awesome and useful. <3

      Here is a massive assortment of thoughts with no sorting to speak of. :)

      Bring food that you don’t have to refrigerate till open. (The Marriott has fridges.) If you hit Costco, Trader Joe’s, and even Whole Foods, you can find a huge range of stuff from soy milk to crepes to cheese to freeze-dried fruit. (But think realistically about how much you will be eating in your room.)

      Bring some food with fiber and other nutrients, because you will probably end up eating fried junk food from the Marriott or fast food, and you want to recover fast/avoid con crud!

      Bring bars of some kind to eat when you realize the line is longer than you thought or there’s no time for proper food before a big event. Check for higher protein and lower sugar to help you keep going longer!

      If you’re staying at the Marriott, try the Hilton. They have a deli/cafe (which I haven’t tried) and a bar, Landings, which is similar in price to the Marriott’s food but higher in quality.

      The Marriott breakfast buffet is similar in price to room service breakfasts, but with a lot more food.
      If you stay at the Marriott and parked your car, keep one room key when you leave your room. You need it to get out of the parking lot.

      Start a file on your computer or phone to collect your cosplay and ribbon ideas during the year.

      Bring a USB hub and/or power strip so that you can share.

      If you tend to get overheated, bring a hand fan.

      If you don’t like lanyards, bring a badge clip.

      Taj India Palace isn’t very far by car or taxi but they are willing to deliver. It’s VERY good.

      You can find other delivery places on Yelp or Grubhub.

      I know everyone who has extra time loves to go to Disneyland or a beach, but why not try LACMA, the Griffith Observatory, Koreatown (excellent food), Little Tokyo, The Iliad Bookshop, Dark Delicacies (they have BPAL), the Page Museum at the tar pits, etc. And we always make a special trip to Porto’s Cuban bakery for dulce de leche cookies (for everyone we know!)

      For new people: If you have no idea what to go to, stick around in the main hall (A). Or go to one of the guests’ panels at random. You’d be surprised. Also, consider the kaffeeklatsches (included) or the guest brunch (extra). It’s really fun and you get to hear some amazing stories.

      Arrive Thursday so you don’t miss anything, but if you can’t, don’t fret. Just enjoy the time that you have.

      Finally, the Masquerade audience line isn’t as bad as it looks. Just go trade ribbons and hang out.

      Also for socially anxious people or people who don’t like crowds: Get a room in the Marriott so you can go hide out when needed. Check out the gaming room, the art show, and other lower-traffic areas.

      Do the kaffeeklatsches and/or the guest brunch, because the socializing is taken care of for you in a nice mellow setting.

      Finally, keep in mind that if you’ve ever been unhappy in the chaos at SDCC, Fanime, etc., Gallifrey One is NOTHING like that. It’s small and tightly managed. Even people who hate cons in general tend to love Gally.

      Tweet with #gally1 if you need anything from other attendees.

      Do not use the back third of the main ballroom (or any other room!) as your living room. This goes double if you’re just waiting for the NEXT panel. Be quiet and let other people actually listen to the guests.

      OK, that was overkill. :)

    • Michelle 10:06 am on February 20, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Gally was fantastic! And even though it left me exhausted, I can’t wait to do it all over again next year. Okay, so, random helpful thoughts from a 5 time attendee:

      try to arrive as early as you can. Lobbycon starts whenever more than one Whovian sits in the Marriott lobby. This year’s Thursday night gatherings seem to have gone over really well so they’re probably doing the same thing next year.

      don’t be afraid to socialize! Ribbons are a great icebreaker, as are costumes, or even geeky t-shirts. A simple “hey, I like your costume/shirt” can do wonders for interaction. Remember that you’ve already got one shared interest with everyone at the con. It shouldn’t be hard to start off a conversation, and you might pick up a new friend or two along the way.

      Food. Unfortunately, the area around LAX is a food desert if you’re seeking out healthier options. The Greek restaurant attached to the Super 8 Motel is two blocks from the Marriott, and I’ve never had a bad meal there, but service can be kind of slow. Keep that in mind if you’ve got a tight schedule. Otherwise, having transportation opens up food options exponentially. Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods are less than 2 miles away. Actually, once you leave the LAX/hotel bubble, there’s a lot more restaurant options. Check Yelp/Google for info. This year, I found a decent Japanese/Korean place less than 2 miles from the hotel.

      Though sometimes the hallways felt a little crowded, I never found it overwhelming. Ducking into the Video Room or into one of the smaller panels was a great way to decompress. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Labs had a nice offering of panels discussing their current and future missions, the rooms were never crowded, and I learned a lot about what’s going on with Mars. :) Also I ducked into the Cosplay Hall during the pre-Masquerade meeting and it was nice to have a place to sit with no one else in the room!

      And finally, I found a great resource for staying at a hotel and helping out housekeeping: http://yuite-dio.tumblr.com/post/59077693847

      • rsts11 10:47 am on February 20, 2014 Permalink | Reply

        Thank you Michelle. Very good advice, and I like the housekeeping link. I learned a year or two ago to tip daily, and I usually leave a dollar or two (more if they fulfill a special request like extra coffee).

    • danncer 10:45 pm on March 12, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      This was my first Gally, and it was as awesome as everyone had told me it would be. Here are a couple more observations that I haven’t seen anyone else mention:

      In-N-Out Burger Run on Thursday evening — Highly recommended for anyone who wants to have a fun, inexpensive dinner and meet a whole bunch of fellow Gally attendees before the organized activities start. Plus, you get an exclusive ribbon for attending. Several cars stopped at Ralph’s supermarket to pick up snacks and drinks before going back to the hotel. The burger run is organized on the Gallifrey Base forum. To find the thread on the main forum page, look under Inner Worlds, then Argolis · DW Conventions and Events, then North America, then Gallifrey One.

      It’s Too Darn Hot — Due to a problem with the air conditioner, it was very warm in the convention area this year. In fact, while waiting for the karaoke room to open with 50 other people in a crowded hallway, it got so hot that I fainted (a first for me). So, I highly recommend (1) drinking lots of water throughout the day and (2) wearing layers in case it gets too warm (or too cold if the air conditioner works too well next year).

  • rsts11 4:32 pm on February 12, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Gallifrey Base,   

    It’s the last midnight… before Gallifrey One for 2014 

    Just a quick note to say howdy to all of you arriving, or already having arrived, at the epicenter of the Doctor Who Universe in Los Angeles.

    Registration, badge pickup, membership transfers: Thursday 2/13/2014 from 2-6pm and 8-10pm. If you’re planning to attend the Thursday evening activities, you must have your badge before the party begins.

    Quick link to the Gallifrey One schedule is here. You’ll also get a copy when  you check in.

    The conference is sold out. You can’t buy a membership/ticket at the door. There are no one-day, just an hour or two, quick peek at the dealer room, or fondly caress the 8th Doctor TARDIS console passes. Kids can’t get in free without a membership/ticket/badge.

    If you are still looking, you can try to find someone looking to make a last-minute in-person on-site-at-the-Marriott-during-registration-hours transfer. Either try the Facebook event page, or appropriate threads on Gallifrey Base. I’ve seen a transfer for three orchestrated this afternoon, so it’s possible, but it’s not guaranteed (or even necessarily likely) to be possible. Good luck though.

    If you come up with any suggestions, discoveries, questions, recommendations, etc… feel free to post them to this page, and I’ll try to answer them and/or incorporate them into the site for next year.

    Speaking of next year, Gallifrey One for 2015 will be February 13-15, 2015, at the Marriott Los Angeles Airport Hotel (same place as this year and the past several years). Tickets go on sale Friday, March 7, at 12pm Noon Pacific Time (3pm Eastern/8pm London). Expect tickets to sell out in under a week. Hotel blocks will be posted after that, watch GallifreyOne.com for all the official details.

    See you in Los Angeles in about 24 hours!

     
  • rsts11 12:16 pm on January 28, 2014 Permalink | Reply  

    Two weeks till Gallifrey One 2014! Some Recently Asked Questions (and Answers!) 

    So I’ve seen a lot of interesting questions coming up on the Gallifrey One 2014 event page on Facebook, and figured I’d collect the most useful ones here for folks who may be looking for those answers. It’s hard to keep up with the page sometimes, and not everyone goes through all of gallifreyone.com, so hopefully this will help.

    Last update: 2014-02-01 3pm Pacific time (Gallifrey One “Big Convention Updates”)

    My previous update is at 75 Days until 25th Gallifrey One. Feel free to check it out as well.

    Disclaimer

    As most of you know, this is not an official resource of Gallifrey One, ISL, or anything else. I’m just a 5-time (so far) attendee who is trying to be helpful (and save the convention organizers some energy). So take this as my own thoughts and assessments, and don’t blame anyone else for them. Don’t blame me either, of course, but if you have to blame someone…

    And note that I don’t have any ads on the site. You may see some show up at the bottom of a post, but those are put here by WordPress (who provide free hosting). If you’d like to send a thank-you to me for anything you see here, feel free to shop through my Amazon Affiliate link at the right. Or save a ribbon for me. :)

     Table of Contents

    • Disclaimer
    • Contacting the Gallifrey One staff before the event
    • Contacting the Gallifrey One staff at the event
    • Ribbons
    • Can I still get a membership/ticket/badge?
    • How does parking work?
    • What if I get hungry during the convention events?
    • May I block the view of the people behind me by taking video with my enormous tablet?

    Contacting the Gallifrey One staff before the event

    First of all, remember that the Gallifrey One staff are very busy these days, something about a huge convention they’re running that starts in two weeks. Make sure you’ve read the FAQ page and the colorful bits at the bottom of the “Contact Us” page.

    If you can’t find your answer there, you can ask on the Gallifrey One: 25 Glorious Years event page on Facebook. Other attendees may have an answer for you, and the Gally staff will be reading the page and responding when they can. But most of us would rather they be able to focus on the convention itself (and taking care of guests, facilities, and other arrangements).

    You can also tweet to @gallifreyone if you’re on Twitter. Same caveats as above apply.

    If after all of those options you do need to reach the convention staff, the “Contact Us” page is probably the best official way to reach them.

    But remember that they’re trying to take care of at least 3200 convention members, logistics for a hundred or so guests, and supporting the vendors and exhibitors, so be patient. I can’t stress this enough. These fine folks are volunteers, not BBC employees or paid convention organizers, making Gallifrey One happen for YOU. 

    Contacting the Gallifrey One staff at the event

    Gallifrey One staffs a “Member Services” desk — It’s probably going to be at the booth windows in the middle of the main hallway. This is where you can likely buy memorabilia for the convention itself (playing cards, tee shirts), ask questions, see updates to the schedule, and so forth.

    There is a Convention Operations office behind the Member Services desk–on the hallway to the right as you face Member Services. If you need help after hours, or if Member Services is unavailable, go there.

    Gallifrey One has convention staff, many of them dressed in paramilitary UNIT-style gear including handheld radios, in past years, monitoring the premises. If you have an emergency or immediate concern, stop one of these folks for help.

    See the Gallifrey One Convention Policies page for convention policies, including the code of conduct, courtesy policy,  recordings, weapons, and how to report any harrassment or violation of policies.

    If you have any concerns, report them to the convention staff as soon as possible. They are there to help, and are eager to make Gallifrey One the best environment possible for ALL attendees. Complaining weeks later in public forums will not help anyone.

    Ribbons

    You don’t have to order/bring/distribute ribbons. If it’s your first time at Gallifrey One, you may find it more comfortable not to deal with picking ribbons, just collect a few (politely) and plan for next year. It’s a voluntary thing, not officially part of the convention, and it’s perfectly okay to skip the ribbons. You’re still welcome, and there will be plenty to do even without them.

    You don’t have to collect ribbons. If you do collect ribbons, be polite, don’t demand them, don’t ask for ribbons for other people, and don’t get mad if someone doesn’t give you all their designs/ribbons. Some people have special ribbons and (probably) nobody brings 3200+ ribbons of each design, so let the folks who paid for the ribbons decide who gets them.

    If you do order ribbons, there’s no perfect answer for “how many should I order?” Get what you can afford, and no more. 100-150 is a good number to start with, but if you can afford 50, that’s a good number too.

    If you haven’t ordered yet, it’s not too late. You will probably have to pay for expedited shipping depending on what company you order from, and where you (and they) are located. For example, today was the deadline for getting my ribbons from Marco Promotional Products on the east coast, to me on the west coast, with a day to spare before the convention. The last two years, I ordered a week or so in advance and paid for 2-day shipping, and got them in time. Contact your ribbon provider for specifics for your order and location.

    Can I still get a membership/ticket/badge?

    Maybe. You can still do pre-convention transfers through the Registration Transfer Page until 12 noon Pacific time on Saturday, February 8th, 2014. Watch the Facebook page and the Gallifrey Base forum  for people trying to transfer their memberships.

    If you find someone after noon on February 8, you’ll have to meet them at registration at the convention to do a transfer. Obviously this only works if they’re in/near Los Angeles, California, USA. So look around soon if possible.

    You will have to pay the original membership rate, which is $80 for adults 17+, $35 for youth 12-16. Don’t offer or ask more or the membership may be invalidated.

    Remember that kids ages 4-11 need a kids membership even though these were free during registration. The memberships are required (and quantity controlled) to make sure the convention is safe and the facility is not over capacity. Kids 3 and under do not need a badge or ticket or preregistration).

    And remember that your membership is for you only. It’s not a “bearer” pass, it’s for the person whose name is on the badge. Don’t try to sneak people in or you might not be allowed to stay either.

    How does parking work?

    You pull your car into a space, put it in Park, turn it off, and get out of the car. :-)

    On February 1st, Gallifrey One posted the updated parking details. $13/day at Marriott (daily visitors can pay in advance or get a white ticket validated by Member Services, overnight visitors can use their hotel key after checkin), $13/day at the Renaissance LAX overflow hotel (same as above mostly), Park Air Express next to the Marriott (similar price and similar convenience) , and other airport parking offerings nearby.

    You may also wish to take advantage of your hotel’s airport shuttle, and only get a car for the days you need it. There’s a Hertz rental counter in the Marriott lobby (between the Fedex Office and Starbucks), and you can rent from other companies at the airport.

    What if I get hungry during the convention events?

    Lots of onsite options, for starters:

    The Marriott is again providing prepackaged lunches for sale downstairs from 11am-2pm Friday and Saturday. Note that this is not a cheap option, but it is convenient. Expect to spend $10-12 (or so) for a sandwich, chips, and a drink. And expect to pay cash only.

    Thursday through Saturday nights, there is a cash bar downstairs for the late night Gallifrey One events (alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages available).

    The hospitality suite is on the first floor again, offering free soft drinks and snacks to badged attendees. There is usually at least one TARDIS cookie jar or other receptacle for donations, so if you take advantage of the suite and can afford to, please leave a buck or two (or whatever you think your snarfages are worth).

    All of the above options are probably going to be cash only (there are ATMs in the lobby and at nearby hotels/banks). If you need to spend some money on plastic (credit/debit cards), you’ll want to consider the following options.

    There are three restaurants and a Starbucks in the Marriott lobby, as well as a convenience/souvenir store that has snacks, beverages, small bottles of liquor, and toiletries/analgesics. Latitude 33 offers a breakfast buffet, lunches, and dinners, during normal meal times. JW Steakhouse is more aimed at lunch/dinner time frames and may be a bit more expensive. Champions Bar has a full service bar and bar-type food (open till 1am). Starbucks has usually been open something like 8am-6pm, and may not take Starbucks cards (since it’s a licensed facility, not a Starbucks-operated one). The convenience store has usually closed at 10pm.

    There are also several options within walking distance if you choose to leave the hotel. Visit my 2011 Food Stuff posting which, while not much updated since then, is still useful. There’s an AnimeLA guide to shopping and eating in the area on that page too!

    May I block the view of the people behind me by taking video with my enormous tablet?

    No. Please, by the Eye of Harmony, no. 

    Also, if you have large headwear (costume or not), please don’t block the people behind you with it when in the program sessions or panels. If you must wear large headwear, please stand along the walls. More people can see you that way anyway.

     
    • C.J. 10:09 am on January 30, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Many generous fans post their photos on Gallifrey Base or send them to the Gallifrey One convention site album after the con. My point-and-shoot can’t reach the stage in the main hall, but I have some nice keepsake photos of panels there taken by others.

  • rsts11 3:33 am on January 19, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: atm   

    Hints for International Travelers 

    It’s been a while since I added a new category here, but a Twitter conversation with @quarridors inspired this. As with much of the rest of Gallyhelp, I’m counting on people with different experience from mine to contribute, and I’ll summarize. Leave a comment if you like, and if your advice is specific to a certain origination country or continent, please note that for other readers’ information.

    Getting At Your Money

    Banking can be odd in the US, especially with ATM (Automated Teller Machine/Bank Machine/Cash Machine) access. Generally if you use an ATM from any bank other than your own, that ATM operator will charge you a fee (ranging from $1.50-5.99 in my experience, depending on location) to withdraw cash, and sometimes to even get a balance inquiry. The bank that issues your credit/debit card may also charge you a transaction fee and/or a currency exchange fee. Some banks will refund the “foreign ATM” fee or a part of it, but I’m not sure how common that is for international transactions.

    There are two ATMs in the lobby of the Marriott (host hotel of Gallifrey One), and as non-bank-owned ATMS they are likely to charge everyone a fee for transactions.

    My first year at Gally, the ATMs ran out of money early in the weekend. One of them has broken at least once in the last couple of years during the convention. However, there are a number of other ATMs (at least 10 locations within a mile). If your bank, building society, or other financial institution participates in any international networks, or if you just want to find a nearby ATM, consider checking your financial institution’s “locations” or “find us” web page, MasterCard US, Visa Worldwide, or Co-op ATM (the credit union network in the US).

    Other tips

    I don’t have any other tips yet, but I’d welcome contributions. Leave a comment here (quickest), or tweet me at @gallifreyan, and I’ll try to get your suggestions added.

     
  • rsts11 9:42 pm on November 30, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags:   

    75 Days until 25th Gallifrey One – Welcome back to #GallyHelp 

    Hi everyone,

    We’ve got just about two and a half months till Gallifrey One comes back around. I have some summary advice as I start to look at ways to spruce up #GallyHelp for the coming year’s conference.

    Disclaimer

    As most of you know, this is not an official resource of Gallifrey One, ISL, or anything else. I’m just an attendee who doesn’t have the attention span for forums most of the time and wanted to gather the information that was useful for me and might be helpful for others. So take this as my own thoughts, and don’t blame anyone else for them. Don’t blame me either, of course, but if you have to…

    And note that I don’t have any ads on the site. You may see some show up at the bottom of a post, but those are put here by WordPress (who provide free hosting). If you’d like to send a thank-you to me for anything you see here, feel free to shop through my Amazon Affiliate link at the right.

    So on with the quick update.

    Quick Update

    For the latest official news on Gallifrey One’s 25 Glorious Years, go to gallifreyone.com. They’re also on Facebook and Twitter. There’s even an event page for the 2014 convention on Facebook if you’d like to join the virtual event. You still need a membership to get into the actual event though, and they’ve been sold out for months.

    Getting a membership

    Update: As of 2014-01-15 8pm PT, transfers are closed except for on-site the day of the event.

    Update Redux: As of 2014-01-24 Noon PT, according to Gallifrey One on Facebook, transfers are again open.
    Due to overwhelming popular demand, as well as internal discussions with our Board, we’ve decided to REOPEN PRE-CONVENTION TRANSFERS as of right now until Saturday, February 8 at 12:00pm Pacific time.

    If you want a membership but don’t have one yet, don’t give up hope. You may still be able to be on the receiving end of a registration transfer from someone who can’t make it anymore. The convention has a Registration Transfer Page which explains the process. You can check the Facebook page as well as the Gallifrey One subsection of Gallifrey Base’s forums for people looking to transfer their memberships. A lot can happen over the year, and some people’s plans change.

    Transfers are only allowed for the original ($80 adult, $35 youth 12-16)  membership registration rate, so you won’t get people demanding a premium. And if you find someone with a youth membership, you can upgrade it to an adult membership.

    Gotta sleep somewhere

    As many of you know, the convention staff work hard to get a reserved block of rooms at a special price at the convention hotel (the Marriott LAX Airport hotel), and this year they got an overflow hotel very close to the Marriott, the Renaissance Los Angeles Airport next door. However, as I mentioned in my DON’T PANIC post a few months ago, that comes to fewer than 1426 rooms in the official hotels, so some people will need to stay elsewhere.

    Luckily, there are at least five other hotels within half a mile, and several others within easy driving distance. Check out the convention Hotel Reservations page to see what your options are. Feel free to try getting a room with the convention codes (note that they’re different between the two hotels, and may be different from codes you used in past years), as some people cancel their reservations when they either change hotels or change plans altogether.

    You may want to shop around for hotel rates… sometimes the hotel chain’s website will have the best rates, or a best rate guarantee at least; other times, aggregators like Booking.com or Expedia will have the best deals. Sometimes if you find a good rate on an aggregator site, you can get the hotel chain to match it and get your miles or points anyway. 

    What’s with the ribbons?

    For the first time ever, this year I’ll be ordering my ribbons before the first of February.

    There’s a thread about ribbons on Gallifrey Base, if you’re wondering what the deal is. The short form is that it’s a convention tradition for some people to get ribbons printed with catchy phrases or artwork, that they give out for other people to attach to their convention badges. Sometimes they’re themed, for example for certain groups (Gallifrey Base members, subscribers to a given podcast, people cosplaying Ursula Blake in concrete), and other times they’re just memorable bits of Whovian history.

    You don’t have to buy ribbons, or collect them, or wear them. But if you do choose to get involved in the ribbon subculture, check out the details at the convention site here, especially the etiquette notes. Remember that you’ll want something somewhat unique if you’re making ribbons, and “Allons-y” and “Geronimo” are not all that unique anymore. Also remember that it’s a family convention, so ribbons that are overly graphic or not kid-friendly should be kept private or (better yet) not chosen.

    I’ve bought a couple of times from Marco Promotions. Other than a shout out on Twitter, I’ve gotten no consideration from them for mentioning them. So you can choose any ribbonmaker you like, but I’ve had good experiences and good pricing/delivery time with them in the past. Note that their per-ribbon price is based on total ribbons ordered in one order. For example, I got 125 of my “Dalek Bumps” ribbon last year, and 125 of my “Sofa of Reasonable Comfort” ribbon, and paid the qty 250 price, plus the $10 per design setup charge.

    How many ribbons should you order? Depends on how many you want to give out and how much money you have. I think I started with 100 my second or third year and still have two or three of them left. Consider setting a budget and going with that… you can do 250 (2 designs) for about $75 if you plan a couple of weeks in advance and get free shipping.

    Can I use my cell phone?

    Short answer: Maybe to probably.

    In the past, people with GSM phones (i.e. T-Mobile, AT&T) have had better luck with reception in the convention area, which is deep within the bowels of the hotel basement. People with CDMA phones (i.e. Verizon, Sprint) have had suboptimal to abysmal service within the hotel. There is wifi in parts of the hotel but with about 5000+ devices trying to use it, don’t count on it.

    The management at the Marriott told me that they’re working on improving Verizon service (and possibly others), when I mentioned this detail in a TripAdvisor review. But if you have a major need for Internet access during the event, plan to either step outside, or consider a prepaid/pay-as-you-go GSM phone or hotspot device if you’re not already on TMO or ATT.

    And as a general clue that I hope everyone reading this will already have… don’t ruin other convention-goers’ experience by blocking other people’s view with your phone, phablet, or tablet taking videos. Check out this video to see what it feels like for those of us not shooting with an iPad. (No endorsement of Nokia Lumia phones intended.)

    So what do you suggest?

    If you’ve been to Gallifrey One before, what did you find useful during your stay? Feel free to comment in the comments on this entry, or check out the other themed posts on my site.

     

     
  • rsts11 3:47 pm on March 26, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: cell phones, data, Electronics, internets, tweeting   

    2013 Cellular phone/data access survey 

    Hi folks,

    There are usually two places my cell carrier gets no service… on a plane, for obvious reasons, and in the convention floor at the Marriott Los Angeles Airport. :)

    I’m wondering if those of you who tried to make phone calls or use data service could comment here on your carrier, device, and any caveats you might have run into.

    Over the past couple of years I’ve tried a couple of different top of the line Android devices on Verizon Wireless… they sometimes work in the main hallway, and usually pick up when I get out onto the lower patio. Great 4G in the hotel rooms, but live tweeting from the hotel room is not as pertinent as it is from the convention floor.

    And I remember in 2009 (I think, maybe 2010) someone brought one of those ZBoost cellular extenders, where it acts as a cell “tower” inside and runs to an antenna outside. Unfortunately, I seem to recall it keeled over even we only had 750 people there… with 3500 people many using 2+ devices… no way it would work.

    Thanks in advance for your feedback on this.

    By the way… I don’t have ads on this blog, but if you found it useful and were going to shop at Amazon.com anyway, check out the Amazon link to the right. Your purchases will help with my travel accessory budget, and they don’t cost you any extra. :)

     
    • dkompare 7:45 am on March 27, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      I have an HTC Evo 3D with Virgin Mobile (via Sprint networks), and the service was pretty terrible within the footprint of the hotel. I was able to text OK in the lobby, but internet access was very spotty. On the con level in the middle of the day throughout the weekend, I often got nothing: no 4G, no 3G, no signal.

      I would guess it’s well beyond the Marriott’s control, especially with that number of people. I would imagine that the simple geography of the LAX area makes all wireless communication (beyond air traffic and emergency response) iffy. Loads of people only passing through the system, but a fairly limited number of towers and nodes due to the airport and ocean.

    • rsts11 8:29 am on March 27, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      Thanks Derek. I do believe you’re right, at least about the Marriott not really being able to solve this.

      I’ve heard a couple of success stories with GSM (AT&T in particular) at Gally, and I know a few people were able to tweet from events… so it might be something with EVDO/LTE in that area.

    • Patrick Bishop 3:29 pm on March 27, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      iPhone 5, AT&T. Had no problems Tweeting, uploading short videos to YouTube while on the convention floor.

      Never tried calling out though so cant comment on that.

  • rsts11 1:32 pm on March 22, 2013 Permalink | Reply  

    Hotelling for Gally 2014 

    2014-03-21 Caveat: This post was written a year ago, in 2013, right after the Gallifrey One hotel blocks sold out. I’ve re-promoted it so you have an idea of how to deal with the rush for April 2014’s hotel grab. In short, DON’T PANIC. There are thousands of rooms within half a mile, you can get two if you want. 

    So my original hotel post on http://gallyhelp.wordpress.com/2011/01/29/hotel-hints/ is a bit outdated, but it is still useful at times.

    And as a reminder, this is an UNofficial site not at all related or affiliated with Gallifrey One / ISL / anything else. I’m just a five-time (now) attendee who doesn’t have the attention span for forums anymore, and wanted to set up a more concise advice site for new and returning Gally attendees.

    But on with the topic.

    This year, there was an official overflow hotel in the Renaissance (also a Marriott property, for those of you in Marriott Rewards), in addition to the LAX Marriott that is the “convention hotel” for Gallifrey One. Based on Marriott web pages, there are a total of 441 rooms at the Renaissance, and  985 rooms at the Marriott. That’s total. Gally discount block is probably a bit fewer. But obviously no more than about 1500 rooms because, well, physics.

    With 3200ish registered members, unless everyone has 1.1 or more people sharing a room with them, this wouldn’t be enough for everyone to be in these hotels. There was a lot of annoyance and sour grapes on Twitter this afternoon about this fact (see also: physics).

    If you have your Gallifrey One membership but didn’t get a room under the discount rates, don’t fret, don’t panic. Or in slightly larger letters.

    DON’T FRET. DON’T PANIC.

    1. Rooms in the block will probably open up between now and then, as people who have to back out cancel their reservations.
    2. The Gallifrey One team are working on expanding the Renaissance block.
    3. There are at least five hotels within half a mile of the LAX Marriott. (Four Points Sheraton, Crowne Plaza, Hilton, Embassy Suites, Sheraton Gateway.) Not as good if you have reasons for needing to be in the hotel (kids, stuff for sale, accessible needs, allergy to hotels not named “LAX Marriott) but quite suitable for many people. There are more a bit further out. Here’s a map.
    4. See #1.

    So if you didn’t get in on the rooms when the discount code went out, you can still get a room for a reasonable price if you have the flexibility with your arrangements. There will also be room share things posted on Gallifrey Base (feel free to mention them in comments here too, or link to your Gallifrey Base post).

    As an aside, if you didn’t get your membership yet, transfers begin this summer, and as about 10% of last year’s memberships were transferred, don’t be surprised to see a fair number of people making their tix available between summer and the end of January 2014. There is still a non-zero chance that you can still go to Gallifrey One next February even if you don’t have a membership or a hotel room yet. Keep an eye on Gallifrey Base, the Gallifrey One facebook and @gallifreyone twitter accounts, and maybe even this page…  more news when it happens.

    If any readers have comments or suggestions regarding hotels around the convention site, please leave them as comments here for other attendees. And as always, thanks for reading GallyHelp.

     
    • dkompare 1:41 pm on March 22, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      I’ve stayed at the Crowne Plaza the last two years and it’s been perfectly fine. The rooms are actually a little bit nicer than the Marriott’s, and the price is very comparable (though it’ll be a few months before they’re booking February, and it pays to look for deals on Expedia, etc.). It’s only an easy 5 minute walk from the front door of the Marriott. I walked back circa 1:30 am every night (Thurs-Sun) without incident (Century Blvd is blazingly well-lit and fairly busy, even at that time), but if people staying there could coordinate a bit if people would feel safer in groups. Since I had to miss the Marriot-Renaissance hotel room grab today, I’m fine with staying at the CP again.

      That said, no idea about the food quality there, aside from the Starbucks knock-off in the lobby!

      • rsts11 1:54 pm on March 22, 2013 Permalink | Reply

        Thanks for the feedback on this hotel. Crowne Plaza still had rooms available an hour ago for the whole Wednesday-to-Wednesday period. Prepaid from $124.40/night , $137.86/night without prepay, $139.40 prepay breakfast package. Google’s hotel search didn’t go that far but I found the rates on the crowne’s page itself.

        Sheraton Gateway had rooms for $109/night without prepay, I believe… it is about 4 city blocks away, so not for everyone, but looked like a very spacious and comfortable hotel. All of my business travel involves Starwood/Sheraton hotels, and I’ve been very happy with them (and their food tends to be acceptable at least).

    • Amanda 1:57 pm on March 22, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      We stayed at the Embassy Suites for our first Gally this year. If you need to feed a lot of people, this isn’t a bad option because there’s an enormous free buffet breakfast with made-to-order eggs, bacon, sausage, etc. The room service menu has family sized combos for things like pizza, salads, and sandwiches. There’s also a fridge, microwave and a safe in the rooms which some hotels in the area don’t seem to have. It is in the $140-$150 a night range, but I’d stay there again if we didn’t get in a hotel block.

      • rsts11 2:41 pm on March 22, 2013 Permalink | Reply

        Very good info… free breakfast is good, as is at least minimal food handling options in the room. Do you remember what the in-room coffee is like? That’s one of my obsessions, and why I bring my own coffee gear to the Marriott. :)

        • Amanda 3:48 pm on March 22, 2013 Permalink

          You know, we didn’t ever try the coffee in the room. There must have been a coffee pot, but I can’t remember anything about it. I don’t blame you for bringing your own coffee supplies. We packed bagels and frozen cream cheese packets in our checked bag for similar reasons. :-)

    • Steph 2:08 pm on March 22, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      I stayed at the Hilton this last year. It’s just a short stagger down the street (past the parking lot), and therefore not particularly troublesome to get to/from. The rates are Hilton-normal, which means it’s just a wee tad pricier than Marriott, but still something mere mortals can afford if you’re sharing the room/costs.

    • steve 2:14 pm on March 22, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      This year wasy first Gally. I got in the Marriott Friday and Saturday.night and the travelodge The rest of the nights. Miraculously I’veanaged to book Wednesday to Saturday in the Marriott today. And booked Sunday night in the travelodge. Can’t wait to do it all again next year for a 2nd time. :)

    • Beth H 2:17 pm on March 22, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      Last year I stayed at the Wingate by Wyndham LAX hotel. It is a bit further from the other hotels – but we were able to walk there in 10 minutes (at night I took a taxi for around $8). The rooms were great – I got a deluxe room with a HUGE bed and it had a couch with a pull-out bed (so you could comfortably sleep 3-4). Free breakfast, 24-hour fitness room, super clean, microwave, mini-fridge (empty – so you don’t have to move around all that over-priced junk). I only paid $89 per night – much lower than the hotels near the Marriott (so it was worth being a bit further).

    • Paul N 2:25 pm on March 22, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      This is my first year and was lucky to get Tuesday to Tuesday at the Marriott. Looking forward to going. Anyone tell me more about the Gallifrey Base?

      • rsts11 2:40 pm on March 22, 2013 Permalink | Reply

        Gallifrey Base is a Doctor Who fan forum site with lots of stuff, including the “official” forums for Gallifrey One. I can’t say how official “official” is, but membership transfers happen there, discussions about ribbons and stuff, and who knows what else? I look in now and then (I’m thetasigma92 over there), but alas am not a regular per se.

        Check it out, it’s free, they don’t spam you, and, well, lots of Doctor Who-ness there.

  • rsts11 8:14 pm on February 17, 2013 Permalink | Reply  

    Another Gallifrey One is over… and we have just less than a year until the 25th Anniversary of Gallifrey One.

    Note that this is an unofficial site for people to share advice, not an official place for feedback to the convention organizers. If you want to make comments and suggestions to the Gally team, go to http://www.gallifreyone.com and look for the “Contact Us” link to send them a message through the website.

    But if you went this year and have advice for future attendees, add a comment here or to the appropriate category page. In the coming weeks I’ll be trying to edit comments into the summary pages, crediting folks who’ve made the suggestions. I’ll continue to update this site over the coming year, and I’ll hope to see many of you at next year’s Gallifrey One convention.

     
  • rsts11 11:47 pm on February 5, 2013 Permalink | Reply  

    Have you taken kids to #gally1 before? 

    This is a somewhat selfish post, as I’m trying something new this year.

    This will be my fifth Gallifrey One convention, and my sweetie’s third. We’re both pretty used to it, but this time we’re bringing the little one (she’s 9).

    She loves the show, mostly seen the post-2005 stuff but borrowed my Key To Time series for a couple of weeks, and will probably be overwhelmed by the event.

    If you’ve brought kids to Gally before, what advice would you offer to first time kid-bringers?

     
    • Roxy Saunders 1:45 am on February 6, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      We’ve taken our kids each time we’ve gone. This year is our 4th: We did 2009, took a break in 2010 since our baby was 2 weeks old, did 2011 and 2012. We love the Children’s Room that is available on Saturday. It’s fun for them to relax. We do a lot of walking around meeting people in costume and talking to them. We also have them dress up in whatever we have available though this year we’ve spent some on costumes. We parents take turns going to the workshops we really want. We just take things relaxed and don’t worry about what gets done. The fun is just being there.

    • twillian 6:52 am on February 6, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      I think it really depends on the kid. I’ve been bringing my daughter since she was 12, and she’s always had a good time, but she’s the kind of kid who can sit quietly in a panel and enjoy it. The first year I took her, she poked her head into the kid programming room and decided that she was too old for the activities there. That year she pretty much stuck with me, but she definitely enjoyed it enough to want to come back again.

      Starting the next year, she always has brought a friend or three along, and now that they’re 16, they’re pretty independent.

      On the other hand, my son is 12 this year, and I still don’t think he’s ready to go to Gally. He woud get bored in the panels, and would probably just want to stay up in his room and play video games, so he still stays home with dad.

      I know there are a couple of families who regularly bring smaller kids, and I think they seem to have a good time, but I would expect that you and/or your sweetie would have to miss out on some activities because the kid may not be up to sitting through them.

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