Tag Archive | cons

Someone who loves the same books as me…

“Happiness is discovering someone who loves the same books as you do.” lastlemon.com

“Happiness is discovering someone who loves the same books as you do.” lastlemon.com (Click to embiggen)

This was a very busy weekend. Seattle’s Pride Parade was Sunday, the Locus Awards Banquet was on Sa turday, and there were many other things we either needed to take care of or wanted to do. I’ve never attended the Locus Awards weekend, before. I actually hadn’t really realized it was a thing, despite having followed the Locus fanzine for years, and having each year looked forward to seeing which books, stories, zines, and so on would win the award.

I should pause here, in case you don’t know what the Locus Awards are. Locus (The Magazine of The Science Fiction & Fantasy Field) was founded back in 1968 as a fan produced news magazine and to promote a WorldCon bid. The ‘zine has continued for decades since, printing news about fannish and pro activities in the SF/F realm. In 1971 Charles N. Brown, the founding editor, decided to have the readership nominate and vote on deserving works in the field, in order to help the Hugo awards. Think of it as an organized recommendation list. Readers and contributors to the zine recommended books and stories and editors and so forth, and voted on them. The Locus awards has different categories than the Hugos, and since you don’t have to have a membership at WorldCon to participate, in theory the awards may draw on a more diverse crowd.

What I like about them is that they have multiple novel categories. While the Hugos just have Best Novel of the Year, the Locus Awards separate Science Fiction novels from Fantasy, and also have a separate category for Young Adult novels and first novels. Anyway, the recommendation list that is generated in the process alone is a wonderful resource for finding good things you would have otherwise not heard of.

Even though I have been reading the list of winners every year for a long time, it somehow never occurred to me that there was an award banquet, and even more important on a personal level, I didn’t know that the banquet has, at least for the last several years, been happening right here in Seattle. I found out because a woman mentioned it at a panel at NorWesCon, and handed out fliers.

The event is like a miniature sci fi con. There are a couple of Readings by pros the night before the banquet, followed by a party, then on Saturday morning there are a couple of panel discussions. There is an autograph session and a bookseller is there ready to sell you books by the authors who are signing, and there is the banquet. In addition to the awards, there’s several silly activities that have grown up as traditions around the event, such as a Hawaiian shirt contest (Charles Brown, Locus’ founding editor, was famous for his fondness of loud Hawaiian shirts).

We both have been having worse than usual hay fever lately, so neither of us have been sleeping well, and we both wound up taking naps Friday afternoon after work that lasted late enough that we skipped the Friday evening activities. Saturday, we made it to the event and had a great time.

First, no one told me that there would be free books. Apparently the publishers of books that make the shortlist often send boxes of the books to the event. So those (and other books) are set out in little piles on each banquet table. And a bunch more are on a give-away table in the back. We brought home free books whose retail prices definitely exceeded the cost of tickets to the event!

It was also just a fun event. There were a lot of familiar faces there (since I’ve been attending Northwest sci fi conventions for nearly three decades), but it was a smaller crowd, and a much higher percentage of the attendees were pros.

The event also overlaps with the first week of the Clarion West six-week summer writing workshop, and we wound up sharing our table with three of the students from the workshop. They were really nice, and were a diverse group: one guy was from Chicago, a woman was from Wales, and another guy was from India.

I knew our new acquaintances were “my kinda folks” when the young woman from Wales picked up one of the books in the free pile and said, “I should not pick up a new book that is this thick when I have no free time for the next several weeks” then, a second later she gasped and said excitedly, “It has a map!” and the other two immediately stopped their banter to add comments about how books with maps are temptations one can never resist.

I had been about to make a similar observation. Having written about it before: “Some of my favorite books have maps…”.

Whenever I go to a con, I come back feeling excited in new ways about my writing. Some of it is from hearing authors at panels talk about their own troubles and triumphs writing. Some of it is from learning new things or finding new stories that inspire me. Some of it is because I almost always wind up sitting in a corner somewhere with my laptop or iPad or a paper journal working on one of my stories in progress, and being out of my usual routine makes me look at the plotholes and so forth differently.

But a big part of it is simply the joy that comes from meeting other people who love the same kinds of books I do. Shared joy multiples. Chatting with another person who loves something you love, explaining to each other which bits made you squee and so on, increases that wellspring of delight inside you.

That remembered elation can help carry you over the rough spots in your next round of revision.

The co-opting of the Nerds

The Great Nerd Summit (also known as San Diego Comic-Con International, or SDCC) of 2013 has just happened.

I have only attended once, back in the mid-80s when attendance was a mere 6000 people. Yes, I said “mere.” Last year’s attendance was more than 130,000 people. I don’t believe that official figures are out, yet, for this year. While the convention (called the Golden State Comic Book Convention when it was founded in 1970) originally was about Comics, and the word “comic” is still in its name, it had expanded far beyond that realm to embrace sci fi/fantasy books, movies with any sci fi or superhero connection what-so-ever, and gaming back when I was there.

Of course, comics is a style or medium of storytelling. I grew up reading both Donald Duck/Uncle Scrooge comics and X-men and the like, so even I knew that as a child. Yes, I said grew up. My mom was an X-men fan in the mid-sixties. I have mentioned before that I’m a second generation fan, right? My point being that you can conceivably tell any kind of story in comic form. And there have been the extremely interesting and well done examples of memoirs, biographies, and other kinds of story that don’t fit the comic book stereotype.

That said, SDCC has gotten to the point where it is the trade show for just about the entire entertainment industry. I understand why there are events highlighting upcoming movies such as sequels to The Avengers, Captain America, and Thor, as they’re all based on comics. And I understand why there are events rolling out teasers for My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. It’s a cartoon, not a graphic story (there are comics, but those are spin-offs, and the official MLP events were all about the cartoon), but animated cartoons are an allied artform of comics. I even understand all the video game stuff that happens at the con.

But, much as I love Benedict Cumberbatch and the current BBC Sherlock series, I think that Sherlock events at SDCC is stretching the definition a bit. Whereas the fact that there were events for How I Met Your Mother, Veronica Mars, and Community is just insane.

The official SDCC award (as opposed to Awards sponsored by other organization which are simply presented at SDCC), the Inkpot, is given out for “outstanding achievement in the Popular Arts industry.” Which makes me think the event should more properly be called the San Diego Popular Arts Con.

I’ve gotten into arguments with fellow nerds about why Sherlock Holmes, as in the original character and stories by Arthur Conan Doyle, has often been included in science fiction events. I have defended the inclusion because Holmes could be argued to be an archetype of a particular kind of nerd: hyper observant, possessed of encyclopedic knowledge of a vast range of topics, an uncanny ability to find relationships between the most minute details, and infamously incapable of relating to people empathically. Serious articles have been published in psychological journals debating (pro and con) whether the fictional Holmes had Aspergers syndrome, for goodness sake! The Holmes stories may not be sci fi, but both the character and the methodology by which he solves his mysteries are highly identifiable to a significant portion of the fan community.

While I have made that argument, and will continue to do so, I’m also the first to admit that all it provides is a reasonable rationale for stretching the envelope to include Holmes as an allied creation. It’s a stretch, and I admit it.

A sort of similar argument can be made for the specific television show, Community, because its ensemble includes some nerds. But it’s a much more tenuous connection to make based on a couple of supporting characters, as opposed to the main character and his primary activity.

I can think of even more tenuous (and ludicrous) arguments that might be made for shows such as How I Met Your Mother, but all of them would be a smoke screen. The truth is that, as I mentioned, SDCC is a trade show, not a fan convention. Its purpose is to advertise, generate buzz, and fan the flames of enthusiasm for any popular art property that can shoehorn itself into the convention. That isn’t a bad thing, per se. Certainly no one is forcing fans to get online at a particular time on the final day of the convention so that the entirety of the next year’s memberships can be sold out in less than two hours. No one is forcing people such as myself to track down stories and videos of the events to get some ideas of what movies and shows I should be looking for in the future.

If you want to fan the flames of enthusiasm, there is no better place than the heart or mind of a nerd or geek. We’re more politely called fans, which is short for fanatic. The one trait that most distinguishes us from the mundanes is how incredibly, obsessively enthusiastic we get about the things we like. So even though some of us are primarily enthusiastic about science and science fiction, if you can get us interested in your show— even one that doesn’t have any discernible science-y aspects—we’ll talk about it. We’ll set our DVRs to catch your premiere. We’ll mention that it’s coming out to our less nerdy friends. We’ll make and post fan art or create and share silly memes based on photos from your show.

We will be your viral marketing campaign. And because tens of thousands of us are willing to buy memberships at SDCC each year, that means some of us are paying for the privilege.

Apart from other branding considerations, I think that’s why for the foreseeable future they won’t be replacing the “Comic” part of the name.

“So, why isn’t your husband here?”

I’m sharing a table at the vendor’s room of EverfreeNW, a My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic convention.

I love going to conventions. I love going to conventions in order to spend time with friends who I don’t get to see as often as I like, to see and occasionally buy cool and odd things, to get away from mundanity for a few days, and sometimes to learn new things. Because I am a big introvert, I don’t really do well at the kinds of convention activities where one is required to interact in an open-ended way with a lot of strangers.

Oddly enough, I have discovered that the best way to see all the cool costumes, nifty artwork, and so on, while avoiding too much stranger interact is to staff a table at the convention and try to sell stuff. This may sound like a contradiction, but the structure of the dealer’s den means that generally I am only interacting with strangers in a limited number of ways. I am usually simply answering questions about the merchandise at the table. I’m not a hard-sell kind of guy. I will try to make eye contact and smile or greet people who are looking at the merchandise, but then I let them make the next move.

It is easy to spend the time when people aren’t asking questions writing. The last many years I usually have either my Macbook or my iPad with a bluetooth keyboard. Previous years I would have a notebook and a pencil. I wrote the first draft of one of the funniest, horror/epic fantasy/Christmas ghost story cross-over pieces ever entirely by hand in a dealer’s den in Chicago one con, for instance.

I got a lot of writing done on the first day of EverfreeNW.

I also had a lot of cool conversations. One of things I’m selling are a bunch of our duplicate 2-inch vinyl pony toys. We bought several extra boxes of them last year to do our pony-themed Christmas tree. So I had a box full of them which people were picking through looking for their favorite characters. One woman kept holding up some of the obscurer (“background ponies”) characters and asking me their names. I had to confess that I don’t recognize a lot of them, either.

At one point I said, “I’m sorry. My husband knows the names of most of the background ponies, not me.”

“Why isn’t your husband here, then?” she asked.

I pointed to the enormous line of hundreds of people waiting for registration. I had been hearing stories all day that people were waiting in line for hours to buy their memberships. I said, “My husband is on registration staff. I don’t know when I’ll see him again.”

“Oh, yeah, you may not see him again until the con is over.” She went back to looking at the ponies. “I must say, even though they’re being slammed, the people who waited on me were all very nice and helpful.”

She bought about half a dozen ponies.

Several other fun conversations were with younger kids about buttons. My husband has recycled a lot of the packaging material for some of the pony toys by turning them into pin-back buttons. The buttons are popular with lots of folks, but the kids seem especially enamored of the buttons. Most of the conversations centered around which is their favorite character, and what the best picture of said character was that we had on a button.

I noticed that the younger kinds most liked the inch-and-a-quarter size. Though the slightly older ones would pick the small buttons, then realize that the price was the same for a big one, and go looking for a large one with the same character. Because the buttons have been made by cutting out pre-printed packaging, we seldom have the exact same pose in both sizes.

One girl tried to talk her younger sister into switching to a bigger one of the same character. “No! This one’s better!”

Can’t argue with that!

That’s MISTER mad scientist to you

This ought to be my fourth day at the con report. Except we were barely at the convention at all today. We slept in a bit. We packed out the room. We met some friends for breakfast. We walked around the dealers’ room one more time (and picked up one thing). And then we headed home.

This was my 25th NorWesCon—in a row. Obviously I enjoy going to this convention, and I enjoyed myself this year. This was one of the years where I attended almost no actual convention activities, so all of my enjoyment was due to time spent with friends also attending the convention and all the writing I got done at the con. Read More…

I need the cat murder app

The third day of NorWesCon I was out and about a bit more.

I slept in, but this time nowhere near as late as Michael. I did some more writing in the room (intrigue! deception! plotting!), until the fourth or fifth time a friend texted to find out if we had done breakfast yet, which is when I decided to hop in the shower and go get lunch/breakfast. The upshot, I ate my first meal of the day at about 1pm.

Julie had planned to host a nail painting party in her room Saturday afternoon, while Auntie was doing her annual “Seattle Opera Trunk Show” later in the day. Sky and I had lunch and hung out at the restaurant talking to whoever randomly walked by for a bit. Then we walked up to Julie & Mike’s room, where Julie and a cool artist named Kat were painting their nails. Kat painted one Tardis on one nail over each of her hands. Julie did an homage to van Gogh’s Starry Night on one thumb nail.

It was awesome to watch them work, and I took way too many pictures.

Then Sky, Julie, and I headed over to the panel room where Auntie was doing her big panel. For those of you who don’t know all the background: I am a godparent, and my co-godparent is a fabulously talented artist and costume person who works for the Seattle Opera in the costume department. She does a number of costuming panels at NorWesCon every year, and one of those panels every year she brings some samples of costume pieces from the opera’s stock, along with pictures and background information on how the costumes were made, how they are used, et cetera. It’s always a very well-attended panel and a lot of fun. For me, much of the fun is seeing this person I hang out with doing other activities with getting to show off for a crowd.

 

I got there well before the panel stared, but still wound up in a seat off to the side. Her theme this year was wings. She brought a wide variety of costume wings, including some adorable angel wings meant for a small child. And a small child in the audience ran up and volunteered to model shortly after Auntie pointed out that none of the people helping her were small enough to fit in the harness.

Auntie preparing to show the magic

 

Afterward I chatted with a few people at a couple of the fan tables, did another run through the dealer’s room, and then headed back to the room do to more writing.

I kept getting caught in traffic jams in the hallways, or stuck behind people who would just stop right in the frikking middle of a hallway for either no reason, or to start a conversation with someone, completely oblivious to the fact that they were blocking sometimes HUNDREDS of other people from moving at all. Good thing pocket disintegration rays don’t exist, or a lot of people would have vanished today.

Anyway, once I got to the room I put my headphones on and first listened to some very unchallenging music while I tried to get my brain back into a writing space. Then I listened to silly dance music while I wrote some good scenes. Chapter 8 and Chapter 9 have made a lot of progress today.

By this time people were pinging us about dinner, so we gathered things up and headed down. We had a table over in the side restaurant this time, rather than the middle of the super noisy bar. And our waitress seemed much more able to deal with more than one person. I had a rather larger number of cocktails and buffalo wings.

Then most of us retired back to our room, where we talked about things we’ve done, TV shows, and a lot of other weirdness. Probably more weirdness than I remember.

I did not manage to get a photo of Julie’s Mike’s creature created by hyridizing several plushies. I will try to remedy that. I also failed to get a picture of Mark’s painted fingernail. Or the cool jewelry.

On the other hand, we seem to have managed to cajole Mark into getting a twitter account. He followed several of us right away this afternoon, and his second tweet was, “I have 0 followers. I will give candy to the first of my friends who notices my account.” Julie noticed first. I was second.

I should try to finish that next scene before I go to bed.

Writing and drawing

I spent most of my second day at NorWesCon in my hotel room, writing. Sky was also here doing some drawing, and even did a livestream of some vectoring of one of his sketches.

How I wound up spending the day in the room instead out out in the con begins with parts of the first evening I didn’t cover.

I bought a few things in the dealer’s den. Then several of us snagged a booth in the bar. Sky had just texted that he was leaving Bellingham and would not be stopping for dinner, so I only ordered an appetizer and beer while we sat, chatted, and waited for Sky. After he arrived we had dinner, and then retired to the room where we played at least four games of Give Me the Brain. One went exceptionally long. Juli won twice, Mark and I each won once, and Keith never one. Juli only did the “I win! I win!” dance after her second win, however.

Every body headed back to their own rooms. Sky, Michael, and I chatted for a while. Then they both crashed. I did not feel the least bit sleepy. I had composed yesterday’s blog post, then I tried to write. I couldn’t compose a decent sentence in any of the stories I tried. I would write a sentence, hate it, delete it. Or I would write a few words into a sentence, and already see that it would just end in tears, so I deleted what I had and started over. I tried reading for a bit since, as mentioned already, I was not in the slightest bit sleepy. But I couldn’t seem to concentrate on anything for more than a few paragraphs.

Finally, at 3:30, I shut down the computer, put the remaining light out, and crawled into bed. I lay there, in the dark, still not sleepy. After an eternity, I rolled over to check to clock. 3:32. I grumbled silently to myself, and rolled back over, trying some meditating. After another very long time, I checked the clock again. 3:35.

The last time I remember checking the clock was at 4:31, so I think I finally drifted off to sleep then. I woke up briefly sometime later to see Sky quietly getting dressed. I think I talked to him. But it is possible I just dreamed it. A bit after that I woke up again and went to the bathroom, then collapsed back into bed.

At about a quarter after nine, Julie called to see if we were up and interested in breakfast. Michael and Sky were both up doing things on their computers. I thought it might be a good idea to get moving. I think I even got up and talked about it with Sky and Michael. The phone rang again, at nearly 10 (oops), and it was Keith and Juli (not Julie, but Juli, they are different people), who were thinking about breakfast.

Eventually we got out of the room and headed down to the little breakfast restaurant. Everyone else we knew was not there, so we got a table. We hadn’t yet ordered when Darrell showed up and asked to join us. Had a nice breakfast. Then, since Michael hadn’t been in the dealer’s room, we went with him and wandered around there. While Michael checked out the art show, Sky and I chatted with Jeri Lynn and Jeff. Soon we were joined by Keith and Juli and Mark and Darrell. We had a large crowd there for a bit. Julie joined us briefly, then some people went to get food, others to panels, and we retired to the room.

The novel that I have finished, but is now in revision, had a plot problem. There are these two supporting character, both monks, who die during the course of the story. One originally died in a scene that I had removed after the first draft (because the scene was redundant both in terms of the action, and what happened with the emotional arcs of the characters involved). But because I had removed the scene, that meant that one monk had simply vanished from the story sometime between chapter 5 and 8 without any explanation. The other problem was that somehow the monk who had been elderly and thoughtful changed into the middle-aged bombastic one.

So I went through finding all references to all of the characters until I found the scene in chapter five where I seemed to have switched their names. I went through all the subsequent scenes fixing the names until I reached chapter eight. I rewrote the ambush in that chapter so that both monks appear and both die in that scene. So that’s one problem fixed. I also fixed a couple other bits so there is a better foundation laid for some things that happen later.

Having gotten all that sorted, I got back to work on the novel currently in progress. I have been stuck trying to get Chapter 8 going for a while, now. Today I finally got a scene written, and have a much better idea of the the shape of this chapter and the next. It is quite a bit clearer what needs to happen next and how all the arcs are moving toward the narrative climax. So that’s good.

Michael had gone out wandering for a bit, then decided to lay down for a nap. That sounded really good, so I did, too. Sky apparently couldn’t resist the idea, because just after I dozed off when my phone started chiming as people texted me, me was out cold in his bed, too.

Folks were trying to coordinate dinner. I didn’t feel up to playing relay, so I shared a bunch of contacts with Julie and went back to sleep until Keith called to see if we wanted to join them for dinner at a big table they had snagged.

We wound up with 12 people at a long table. Things got a bit chaotic. Some food for another table was delivered to ours, the upshot of which was that a couple people in our group wound up with two dinners. And my order was messed up, so I didn’t get my dinner until after everyone else had eaten. Kehf and Auntie joined us as some of us were having dessert (most people don’t think buffalo wings are dessert, but it’s one of my convention traditions).

Some of us retreated back to our room, theoretically to play some games, but some people had sewing, other people had other projects, and we just wound up doing a lot of chatting. Oh, and a few pony episodes were played for those what were interested.

This is not the first convention I’ve gone to where I spent much of it in my room instead of going to events. Some years all I want to do is see as much as I can. Other times I prefer to dip my toes in the convention only a little bit here and there, while doing other things. It’s one reason staffing a club table ofter works for me, since I can do all the people watching and have random conversations during much of the day, while either writing in-between that, or scanning the schedule to find interesting panels and events to go to.

I’m happy with the writing progress I made today. While it might be argued that I could have just stayed home to do this, there is something about getting out into busy places with odd juxtapositions of genres and themes and notions and people that can clear logjams in the mind.

And I think I know what happens next, so I should go write it.

Let me get this straight…

We got the car packed earlier than usual and were on the road to the convention before noon. We also lucked out at checkin, even though we are early, a room very close to all the events was ready. And then we found a perfect parking spot very close to the hotel.

I should have known something big was going to go wrong.

I ran into our friends, Keith and Juli, while standing in line to pick up my badge. We had a fun conversation as the line moved quickly. I wanted to go find our club table so we could start setting up, but Juli saw a t-shirt she wanted to check out.

While we were browsing the t-shirt table, the lady selling shirts noticed my Doctor Who shirt and showed me an awesome polo shirt with an embroidered Tardis. I agreed that it was a very tempting shirt, but noted that just last week, while we were cleaning up in the bedroom, my husband had pointed out we both had way too many t-shirts and such.

A kid, about seven or eight years old, I think, standing nearby said, “What? You have a husband?”

And I said yes.

“But… but… you’re a man.”

“Yes.”

“You’re a man… and you have a man?”

“Yes, I do.”

“You’re a man who has a husband?!?”

“Yes.”

“You have a husband.”

I held up my left hand and pointed at my wedding band. “Yes, I have a husband.”

By this point his mother, who had been some distance away looking at another part of the t-shirt display, had made her way through the crowd to grab her son. “<name>! Don’t be rude!”

“But he’s a man who has a husband!”

“Yes, he is. That happens.”

“But—”

“Come over here and stop bothering people!” And she drags him away, never making eye contact with me.

I was merely amused by this, and turned back to find Keith and Juli. I then noticed a t-shirt whose design I really liked. I decided I wanted the shirts, so I grabbed that shirt, and went back to get the polo. The saleslady says, “If you buy a third, we pay the sales tax.”

By this time I’ve noticed a few more shirts that quite tempt me, so I start looking some more (having totally succumbed to the superior jedi mind trick of the salesperson). I had narrowed my choices down to three, when suddenly I feel a tug on my shirt. I look down, and the kid is back.

“Now, let me get this straight, you’re a man and you have a husband.”

“Yes, I am.”

“Where’s your husband at?”

“He’s back in our room, unpacking.”

“Do you really have a husband?”

“Yes, I do.”

“Where is he?”

“He’s back in our hotel room.”

“What’s his name?”

“Michael.”

“What?”

“His name is Michael.”

“Michael? Really? But—”

And his mother appeared from out of the crowd, looking quite flustered. “I told you to stay with me and stop bothering people!” Again, without making any eye contact or otherwise acknowledging my actual existence, she grabbed him and dragged him away.

We went looking for our table. Almost all of the club tables were labeled, but none said “Tai-Pan” on them. After checking several times, we wind up in the con office, where multiple attempts are made to get the person in charge of the club tables on the line. Eventually another staff member (one I’ve known for a long time) comes to help us. He takes my cell phone number and promises to find out where our table is.

Eventually the table person calls me, and tells me that we don’t have a table because she has no record that we ever requested one. I tell her that I applied for the table and received an email confirmation a few months ago. She says no I didn’t. If I had, she would have a record of it. She not only has no record, she has no outgoing messages in her email program going to me.

I asked her which address she was looking for to see if she had any to me, since I hadn’t told her my address, and I wasn’t sure if she even knew anything but my first name, but she talked over me and said that she had nothing about us in any email. I started to describe the form I had filled out and tried to remember the date I sent it. She interrupts me to explain that they have a new process with a form, so if I didn’t fill out the form… so I interrupted her to say that I was just describing the form, and the new policies, and so on.

Michael says I remained calm and polite, but I was feeling more than a bit irritated.

She said, “Well, if you can show me the email I… um, well, I don’t know what I could do at this point, because we don’t have any tables.”

My problem is that I did all of this from the editor@taipan-etcerata account. Which is hosted on a service that doesn’t support IMAP, so I have it set up as a POP3 that downloads all the mail to my desktop computer.

My desktop at home.

I am very, very certain that I have three emails from them regarding this year’s table process. The first replying to my inquiry about when we could apply for tables, telling me that there is a new process and a form would be sent, soon. The second containing the form. The third acknowledging receipt of my completed form. However, I can’t prove that without driving back to Seattle and checking my files there. And they have pretty much said that they can’t give us a table even if I find the emails.

One of the problems with this convention is that it outgrew this hotel many years ago. If you take your car out of the parking lot once the convention gets going, you might wander for an hour or more trying to find a place to park when you get back. So I don’t see the point of the aggravation I’d have of leaving, finding a spot, only to not get a table, anyway.

I’m fairly certain that this is just a mistake. I had been pestering the club table people asking about table applications before they had announced (because usually the information is available on the web site earlier), and it was clear from the early communications I got that they were still working on the process. So  maybe this is just an honest mistake.

But I keep finding myself wondering how she can be so certain there was no outgoing message to me in her Sent box when she didn’t know my email address…

A slurry of crazy before vacation

I am now officially on vacation for a few days. Michael and I are going to NorWesCon where we will get to goof off, browse the dealer’s den, hang out with some of our friends, and geek out. This is my 25th year in a row to attend this convention. I almost always have a great time. Though I find I spend less of the con actually going to convention events lately. So we have been discussing the possibility of giving it a pass one year. But not this year.

Because of the change in my work schedule while my boss has been on maternity leave, my last day of work before vacation was also a work-from-home day. Which is nice if for no other reason than not having to spend part of the evening getting home from work. On the other hand, it was a little frustrating because I kept seeing things that I should be packing or cleaning or otherwise dealing with, because we’re leaving tomorrow, but I couldn’t really take the time to do. Michael had taken the day off work, ostensibly to spend some of the day getting ready, but mostly so he could sleep in and get some more mental space away from work before the busy-ness of the convention got in the way.

Problem was, we both woke up feeling very run down. It is a rather high pollen count day, so most of mine could be hay fever, but it’s hard to say. I was feeling so out of it at the beginning of the day, that I thought it would be the least productive day of the year.

But several unexpected things came up, including some good news about some of the problems I’ve been wrestling with on the new content management system. It was a little weird. A bunch of things we had been waiting on (some for a long time), suddenly came in today. Often with things like, “can we meet tomorrow to discuss this?” Except that no, I can’t, because I’m going to be on vacation. I guess it’s an instance of Finagle’s Law. But they were all good developments. And after a few hours of work, some conversation with people, and a few big mugs of coffee, I was feeling much better than I had when I’d started the day.

The weather was awesome, and I had worked a bit over the last couple of days, so I was quite amenable to a longer-than-usual lunch. Michael needed to shower and get the rest of the way awake, first, but then we walked up to a local diner. This particular place we almost never get to because they are only open until 2:30 in the afternoon. They just do breakfast and lunch. Until sometime very recently, they also only took cash—no credit or debit cards. Michael wound up having a big breakfast, while I had a salmon burger and salad. It was nice to walk around out in the sun.

Michael napped the rest of the afternoon, while I finished things up on my work day.

Now I need to pack and otherwise get ready for the con. I’m going to attempt not to stay up all night long getting ready for it. I say that every year. Will it finally happen?

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