(Edited 2011-08-23 to fix the name of Vixy and Tony)
I ended my last trip/con report sometime on Friday evening. Alas, the rest of the con is a bit of a blur…
We started out in the Klingon Black Hole party, where Tara and I admired the decor – and the work that it took to pull it off. We’re pretty sure that the Klingons had removed most of the room’s furniture, including the bed or beds, and covered over everything else to create a klingon bar with plenty of floor space. In this party we ran into Larry and Lindee from Chicago/DuPage County and spent a lot of time in that party – and the next couple – talking with them.
We next spent a few minutes in the London in 2014 bid party before moving over to the Kansas City in 2016 not yet a bid party. That party had some pretty memorable food, including what I described as distilled pizza margarita – A cherry tomato, a large chunk of mozzarella cheese and a leave or two of basil on a skewer. I did notice that the fresh basil plants that gave most of their all for our enjoyment were still sitting in the suite. Before we left cookies by Kansas City’s favorite fannish baker also showed up.
The final party we spent some time in was Randy Smith’s birthday party in the evening Fanzine lounge.
Saturday started with the Site Selection Business meeting. To nobody’s surprise, Texas won the bid and promptly announced that Lone Star Con 3 would be held in San Antonino Texas over Labor Day weekend in 2013. Guests of honor and conversion rates were also announced.
The meeting ended well before 11:00, so I was plenty early for the Christian Fandom meeting. The Christian Fandom meeting was pretty typical – except I ended up explaining more than once why sometimes events move between the printing of the program guide and the actual convention. The Christian Fandom meeting had moved, I later learned as part of a major movement of panels to allow for one to run two hours.
After the meeting I went to SJ Tucker’s concert – which she announced was really going to be just the beginning of a three-hour long concert that would morph from SJ Tucker, briefly to Tricky Pixie, then to an Alexander James Adams concert and eventually into a Vixy and Tony concert. But all five of them put in appearances before I left an hour later.
The concert was still undergoing sound checks – actually monitor checks – when I came in. I don’t know for sure, but it looked an awful lot like the Allen & Heath board they were using in that room allowed for at least the monitor levels to be adjusted remotely with a tablet (which may or may not have been a special dedicated tablet).
I had to leave to work a shift on the Chicon table. I ended up there until nearly three for various reasons, so never returned to hear the Vixie and Tony part of the concert.
I had a shift in Prog Ops starting at 3:30 which ended up running nearly to six. The main highlights were listening to various discussions among people who have been working on Worldcons much longer than I have, and setting up the PC for one panel – which required me sneaking into the Q&A session of the panel after it – which had overrun into an empty time slot.
After my shift, I briefly met Tara in the main Hall, but we decided that Texas had closed their membership table for the day – so we’d need to get our memberships on Sunday instead. After that, I headed back to our room and put on the nice clothes I’d brought in case I needed them – deciding that if I’d brought them I shouldn’t waste them. I then headed over to the Peppermill for the Hugos.
I made two tactical errors on the trip. First I walked all the way over to the convention center stop – only to find the bus mostly full of people who got on at the Atlantis – I’d assumed that the Atlantis stop started later. Second, when I got to the Pepermill still needing dinner, I misread the multiple outlet menu board in the lobby of the Tuscany tower, and thought that the buffet had a $14.00 dinner, not a $29.00 dinner and headed there instead of eating at the restaurant right there. By the time I found the buffet and my error, and returned the wait for even one diner was 25 minutes, which was about as long as I had before they opened the house. Since I was afraid of the house filling before the awards, I decided to postpone dinner.
The Hugo Awards ceremony was a good mix of silly and not. MC’s Jay Lake and Ken Scholes did a good pair act, and the awards went smoothly. At the beginning a video made by Japanese fans thanking fans in the rest of the world for their help after the earthquake and tsunami, to encourage fans not to be afraid to come to Japan, and to announce the winners of the Seiun awards.
Next, Dave Kyle gave the Forest J. Ackerman Big Heart award to Gay Haldeman. After the awarding of the Campbell award for new writer, we moved into the Hugo Awards proper.
The best acceptance had to be Chris Garcia after The Drink Tank won for Best Fanzine. Chris, who is normally able to approach any situation (at least in my experience) with humor and energy was left speechless and reduced to tears over winning (after many years of loosing).
There were other good acceptances. Tara O’Shea after Chicks Dig Time Lords won as Best Related Work, was also nearly in tears (in part for a similar reason as Chris Garcia – both lost a parent before winning the Hugo), but had the composure to start her speech with “Hugos are cool” in just the correct rhythm and intonation to be clearly quoting The 11th Doctor.
One expected result is that after winning the first Three Hugo Awards for Best Graphic Story, Phil Foglio withdrew this years installment of Girl Genius from consideration next year. Since Phil had previously done this after winning several consecutive Hugo Awards as Best Fan Artists.
I was quite glad with the winners in both Dramatic Presentation categories. Inception was the most deserving long-form nominee, and I think the best Doctor Who episode won. After seeing the clip of the nominee I won’t name (and I think George R. R. Martin didn’t want to name), I will stick with my ranking (below “No Award”), not only because I was unhappy with its name having to be on the ballot, but seeing that it was simply a music video (not a speech like I’d kind of thought), and one without any obvious SFnal content – I don’t think it qualified as a top dramatic presentation. (I’d used similar arguments to vote Metatropolis down there a few years ago, as an audio book, it didn’t reach the level of a good dramatic presentation, and I think I’d heard other audio books from the same year that were better as dramatic presentations)
After the ceremony, I headed back to the Atlantis, got a late dinner at the 24 hour coffee shop – after being unsure two other restaurants were still serving – and headed to our room to remove my coat before hitting up the Lone Start Con 3 party for a few minutes.
On Sunday, Tara and I dressed to attend the Firefly themed ball, and then headed down to the service officiated by Randy Smith and Father John Blaker. This year they ended up being joined by two other clergy – a pastor from a Missionary Baptist church in the LA area, and a newly ordained Church of England deacon (who would have brought her vestments if she’d known about the service). There were some post-service discussions that indicate these other two may be added to the service officially in future years. Having two extra protestant clergy also helped Randy serve communion without having to rely on lay help.
After service, Tara and I spent some time in the Firefly ball and then headed into the main hall to convert our memberships, and so I could confirm my time at the Chicon 7 table. After misreading the time (or more correctly reading Saturday’s time), I ended up waiting for a while for a shift I didn’t have. Since the clothes I was wearing were getting a bit hot, I made a quick run to our room and changed into more normal clothes before heading back.
As it turns out, I didn’t work my shift since the hall closed before it. Instead I went to closing ceremonies. During the ceremony, I was asked to sit in the front row with the other Chicon committee members – even if my position is still “utility player still be be assigned.” I also stood with the other people who worked on the con – even though I was not official staff, I did my share of the work.
I spent a bit of time helping with packing – mostly getting some Hugo Awards wrapped – before heading back to our room to do some of our own packing and get dinner.
At my suggestion we headed over to the Black Bear diner. I was very happy with my trout and my blackberry cobbler, Tara and The Kid liked their dinners OK, but were overwhelmed and unimpressed by their cocoanut cream pie – which is an entire bowl (just like the cobblers).
After that we dropped by the Dead Dog, mostly to steal a few cans for the road today. Then we went back to our room and finished packing.
This morning we got up and moving early, finished packing and got on the road about 6:30 or 6:45. We stopped at an IHOP south of downtown Carson City, and then headed out.
We could see where the fire had burned very near the road near the state line. The drive was fairly uneventful, except my car still is unhappy with climbing – especially at high altitude. This made it use more gas than I’d like (even though I think it was getting better milage than in the city). Yet another think to dislike on my car – which has been loosing its charm must faster than any of its predecessor’s – possibly with the exception of my Mom’s VW Dasher that I drove for a while in High School and College.
We got lunch at the Mount Whitney diner in Lone Pine – Tara had the Elk burger.
There was a fire in the Cajon pass that was mostly blocking the northbound lanes of I-15. Speculating on this, it occurred to me that if the two wildfires had swapped when they inconvenienced us we would have been in more trouble. However, I also concluded that if we’d had advance warning (not likely since we didn’t have any news on), early enough we might have been able to detour around using CA-210/I-210 and CA-14, but with a lot of added time and distance.
We got home about 7:00 this evening to a pair of animals that tried to tell us they’d been abused and abandoned – even thought we know that they were well cared for, and may have even gotten a visit from a favorite pet sitter – my niece had picked up some of her stuff from our garage.