We started to take in parts of the exhibits today. There was a mechanical bull running today only. I would have taken a shot at it, but after I pinched a nerve in my back playing whirlyball at a work function a few years ago, I determined that I can't do things like that anymore. Lisa helped her friend pcornelius set up the Luna Project table and sat with him for parts of the afternoon, while I had a panel to do.
The panel at 3 PM was "The WSFS Business Meeting: How Does it Work." I've previously done this as a workshop rather than as a panel discussion, and I wasn't sure how well this would go, but in fact it was pretty good. Martin Easterbrook did a fine job setting questions for Mark Olson and me to answer, as did the audience. At the start, there weren't many people there, but more filtered in, and many of them did have serious questions about how the process worked. I was delighted by this writeup of the panel posted only a short time later that, while technically not quite right in tiny particulars, is generally correct and does an excellent job of summarizing what we discussed. (My thanks to Cheryl for spotting this write-up, which I saw her Tweet while I was sitting waiting for the Opening Ceremonies to start.)
LSC3's Opening Ceremony had Toastmaster Paul Cornell as the Olde Tyme Western Barkeep introducing the convention's special guests, which he did in inimitable fashion. I tried taking photos, but I don't think they're going to turn out. The convention was officially opened, and then Hugo base designer Vincent Villafranca unveiled the 2013 Hugo Award Base Design. At the conclusion of the ceremony, I followed Glenn Glazer as he carried the trophy to the Hugo Exhibit, where it was immediately placed on display. Then I took photos of it (moving it with the permission of the Exhibits team) in an attempt to get photos for the Hugo Awards web site. (As I took them, there's no question of giving permission for journalistic and other legitimate uses.)
I've posted the rest of the photos to my Hugo Awards Flickr set.
I'm not really thrilled with these photos. Hugo Award trophies are a real pain to photograph. I hope to remind future Worldcon committees that it would be helpful to have their trophy designers provide nice photos taken under controlled conditions for the purpose of posting to TheHugoAwards.org precisely because when people come looking for photos of Hugo Awards, they are most likely coming to THA.org and we want the photos they find to be the best we can do.
After Opening Ceremonies, Linda Deneroff and I caught up with Lisa and the three of us went over to the food court to grab something quickly for dinner before our next commitment. Linda and I had to be back at the convention center for the 7 PM WSFS Mark Protection Committee Meeting, and Linda had signed up for the San Antonio Ghost Walk for 8:30.
The MPC Meeting went very quickly: nine minutes, in fact. That's because nearly everything we needed to do had been done in advance by e-mail, and everything we'll have to do later needs to wait until the new members have been elected and appointed and we can set the agenda and policy for the coming year. We settled on our meeting plans for the rest of the weekend and discussed things in general, then adjourned.
I spent much of the next hour or so smoffing with people, discussing, for instance, certain mathematically-possible-but-unlikely scenarios in Site Selection that are not intuitively obvious. If, for instance, there is an absolute dead head for last place in the balloting, all of the tied candidates are eliminated simultaneously, which isn't an obvious thing to most people. Example: Assume nobody votes None of the Above or strange write-in votes. Ignore No Preference votes; they're the same as if you didn't vote at all. Now imagine that at the end of the first round of voting, the results are:
Helsinki: 400 votes
Spokane: 300 votes
Orlando: 300 votes
With 1000 votes cast, you need 501 to win. Nobody has a majority, so you have to eliminate the last-place candidate. But Spokane and Orlando are tied for last place at 300 votes each, so they both are eliminated, and Helsinki, the only candidate left in the race, will win no matter how the two other bids' ballots are marked.
Again, cases like this are highly unlikely in site selection, but they are possible, and I'm sure that if something like this ever does happen, there will be screams of outrage from the eliminated bids.
Returning to the hotel, I wrestled with getting some of the Hugo photos on to the Hugo web site, adding the 2013 Hugo Award Trophy page, editing the 2013 Hugo History page, and posting the announcement to the site. This takes longer than you might think, particularly because the internet connection on my smartphone is very slow here. Maybe we don't have a clear line of sight to the nearest cell phone tower, but I'm getting only a dribble of signal.
After finally getting the official stuff done and having set Flickr to uploading the photos I could take, I headed out to the parties. Lisa had already been at some of them. Helsinki's party is just a few doors down from us, and Orlando and Spokane have a pair of suites facing each other a flight of stairs away. This is a real advantage in having volunteered for the party-buffer rooms. However, it does mean we feel a little trapped, as going anywhere other than the Party Zone in the high 30th floors means waiting for an elevator and hoping you'll get back.
Just before midnight, we headed in. We can't stay up this late. We have to be up earlier than most people, particularly because we need to be at the Business Meeting earlier than most people so that we can get Lisa's camera set up. Fortunately, we have breakfast fixings in the room, or else it would be a very expensive room service order come morning.