Kevin Standlee (kevin_standlee) wrote,
Kevin Standlee

Chicon 7 Day 0

For us, the Wednesday before Chicon 7 started was a day to "sleep in" (i.e. get up at 8:30 instead of 6:30 AM) and get acclimated to Chicago. Since my 24 hours of internet access would expire this afternoon, I spent more time than usual online trying to get things done, but consequently we were relatively late getting moving, and we hadn’t even had breakfast.

First off was getting our convention badges. Fortunately for us, there were people behind the registration desk who knew both Lisa and I, so the Holy Government-Issued Photo ID wasn’t necessary; however, one of the people at Reg was about to insist that it was. I said, "I’ve seen people I have personally known for twenty years insist that I must show photo ID to collect my own membership badge."

She said, "Well, I’ve done that to lots of people I know."

Exasperated, I said, "That’s just stupid! The purpose of a 'show photo ID' badge policy isn’t to prove that the person has a government-issued photo ID with his name on it; it’s to make sure that the person who bought the membership collected the badge." She looked a little blankly and uncomprehendingly at me. I fear for our society and the automatic assumption that a piece of laminated paper from an Official Government Entity is more important than one of the best possible forms of ID, that being personally vouching for someone whom you actually know.

Despite my exasperation with the person who mistook process as being a substitute for policy (which is like mistaking precision for accuracy), we did collect our membership materials, which we took back to our room because we planned on spending most of the day off-site.

After a stop at the front desk to deal with some bookkeeping matters like getting my Hyatt number added to the hotel information and asking them to clean the filthy air intake on the air conditioning in our room, we set out for breakfast. We ended up eating at the Corner Bakery down the street from the hotel, which is okay (there are no Corner Bakery stores on the west coast, and I do like their pecan-raisin bread). After that, we picked up a CTA Day Pass from the CVS/pharmacy and headed for the Loop to catch a train south toward the Field Museum.

Yes, I know that there’s a bus that runs from in front of the hotel to right by the museum. We wanted to ride the train, and didn’t mind the extra walk from the station to the museum, although I admit that the walk back after logging about 14K steps was a bit less fun.

I’ve been to the Field once before, but Lisa has not. In general, she wasn’t hugely impressed. There were individual high points, starting with Sue the T-Rex, but the over-simplification of many of the displays left her dissatisfied. She felt much of the experience was dumbed-down and she didn’t enjoy it. She said that, given a choice, she’d rather go back to the Anthropology museum at the University of British Columbia. And she did enjoy the Museum of Science and Industry when we visited it three years ago. In retrospect, it’s possibly disappointing that we didn’t go to the MOSI where Mythbusters: The Explosive Exhibition was playing, but other hand, Lisa can now say she’s seen the Field, and feels that she’s checked off a bucket-list item.

travelswithkuma Seemed underwhelmed by the experience, although we tried to show him fishes (some of them very big) and also other bears (also very big), including a bear that was Kuma’s coloring, which was described as a Cinnamon Bear.

Although we’d stopped for a snack mid-afternoon at the Corner Bakery inside the Field, we hadn’t actually had lunch (having had breakfast so late in the morning), and by the time we rolled out of the Field just before 5 PM, I was really starting to drag. We walked back over to the El and rode it back to the Loop, getting out on the far side away from the hotel and looking for something relatively fast and inexpensive. We ended up at Curries, a fast-food Indian restaurant. Lisa has been concentrating on protein (and eliminating dairy) in an attempt to deal with some digestion problems that appear to be dairy-oriented, so we got her a small dish of fairly mild tandoori chicken bites, while I had a real cultural mash-up of tandoori chicken mac, which is basically macaroni and cheese with chopped tandoori chicken. Person of low taste that I often am, I really liked it.

Having bought a day pass, there was no real reason for a couple of train/transit fans like us to ride the trains a bit more other than it was starting to get a little late. We rode the Brown line (because it was the first to arrive when we went into the station) out a few stops and then back in again and around the loop. We were able to get in to the first car so we could watch at the front and admire the complex signaling and switch-work. There’s one spot where there’s three-quarter s of a Grand Union [INSERT REFERENCE], for instance, which you don’t see very often.

Returning to our origin point at State/Lake, we trudged back to the hotel, stopping at the CVS to pick up some sugar-free cough syrup for me. I can feel the cough that started with Lisa building in my chest. I hope I don’t get it as bad as she had it, and I hope I don’t pass it to others while I’m here. We’re avoiding touching any of the party food and we’re using hand sanitizer liberally.

Back at the hotel, Lisa decompressed in the room for a few hours while I went in search of free internet and also checked out the room in which the Business Meeting will be held to confirm that there was a place where we can set up the camera. I also scoped out where the WSFS MPC Meeting will be on Thursday, which is the Wright Room on the Silver Floor of the West Tower, which is quite out of the way. I was happy to find a way to access that level by stairs (the stairs are to the left of the first entrance to DaddyO’s Irish Pub in the West Tower). Then it was back to the lobby to see if the promised free internet would work.

There is indeed free internet for hotel guests in the lobby on the HyattGuest network, although you still have to “buy” it for $0. But unlike working from my hotel room, the work goes quite slowly because so many people I know come by and I do want to talk with them. Among many others, Linda Deneroff came by to discuss WSFS MPC matters as the committee’s Secretary, Don Eastlake III passed by with some matters regarding the recording of the WSFS Business Meeting, Randy Smith stopped for a chat, and Chicon 7 chairman Dave McCarty was able to spare a few minutes of what I know is a stressful time for him to talk about some projects and for him to fill me in on some things to come with Chicon that I won’t write about here because I think it’s right for people to be surprised in the fullness of time.

Eventually, however, I got my e-mail answered, which was the main reason for checking in. Composing an LJ entry down there with all those distractions was out of the question, however.

While in the lobby, I learned from Linda Deneroff that there were parties on Night 0 on the 29th and 30th floors, so I went back to my room on the 33rd floor, put my computer away, and Lisa and I walked down (the stairwells open from the inside, thank goodness) to the Boston in (Christmas) 2020 Worldcon Bid Party (don’t try to think too hard about it) and the Kansas City in 2016 party. In keeping with our desire to avoid infecting more people, we limited ourselves to collecting bottles of water or soda.

We turned in before midnight and tried to wind down, and Lisa suggested I get my LJ entry composed while I was thinking about it. It takes longer than you might think to try and get this much stuff organized, which unfortunately cuts into my sleep for tomorrow. Although it’s only the first day of the convention, I’m going to be very busy, what with trying to find some time to sit at the Westercon 66 table, attend the opening ceremonies (where Lisa, Kuma, and I will be rolling out some brand new matching costumes), a panel I have at 4:30 PM, the MPC meeting at 6 PM, and the opening night event at the Adler Planetarium on Thursday evening. I’m getting tired just typing it.
Tags: chicago, chicon, kuma bear, lisa, worldcon

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