Kevin Standlee (kevin_standlee) wrote,
Kevin Standlee

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Dispatches from SMOFCon, Day 1

We got away from Lancaster just after 9 AM, and managed the 77 miles to Manhattan Beach in about two hours, which isn't too bad for Los Angeles. Even driving "off peak" we still had to fight through patches of slow traffic on the San Diego Freeway.

Not surprisingly, our room wasn't ready, and indeed we ended up going through two rooms before finally getting one that had a bathtub instead of just a shower compartment (Lisa likes baths), but we got it settled eventually. By getting here so early, we got a parking space in the garage near the lobby doors, which is convenient.

Registration was as simple as you'd expect for a convention of less than 200 people, although I'm glad that Lisa and I carry badge clips because neither of us like lanyards, particularly the one-point connections that let the badges flip over.

Lisa and I had lunch with Linda Deneroff and the three of us went out for a walk after lunch. We located the US Bank branch at which Linda, Scott Dennis, and I have business this weekend to get multiple people on the WSFS MPC bank account. (Current banking rules require all signers to be physically present at the bank simultaneously, not in series. We've never before been able to get all of the pieces put together at the same time, which has left the MPC with something of a single point of failure in our banking for far too long.)

Because of multiple incursions from Day Jobbe, I did not get to any programming other than the opening Mixer, which was surprisingly fun. This was the Gary Louie Memorial Mixer (in memory of LA area fan Gary Louie, who was well known to a generation of conrunners but alas died young) and included a Lego Castle Building Contest, tapping what I understand was Gary's vast Lego collection. The members were randomly distributed by the last digit of their membership numbers (I was at table 5), and were given an initial set of Legos and the specifications to build a castle. Besides the base specifications, each team had an extra spec just for their team. On top of that, halfway through the allotted time, an extra specification (include a privy) was tossed into the mix. At the end of the time, each team described their castle to the judges (and the other attendees), and prizes were awarded to the teams picked by the judges in the form of drink chits to the cash bar.

Our team didn't win, but we had fun, and we all participated. Ron Oakes took a picture of our team's construction. I spent a fair bit of our time scrounging up specialty parts not included in our mix but available in the common supply. I also think I contributed one of our amusing ideas, when one of the team put two containers with "gold coins" next to the privy, and I said, "Look! A pay toilet!" and we worked that into our presentation. At least I think that was my idea.

I had initially had some idea of getting out a box of the gaming chips and putting together an ad hoc poker game, but I found that I was getting enormously tired after the Mixer. This is mostly due to non-convention stress induced by being called back to Day Jobbe multiple times, I'm afraid. Also, I have to be up at 6 AM Saturday for a 7 AM fannish breakfast meeting, then at 9 AM Linda, Scott, and I are off to the bank to deal with Banking Security Theatre over signature cards. Lisa also was very tired, so we turned in early while other fans went to the Hospitality Suite for a Bheer Tasting and others to the convention's garden patio, where they were toasting marshmallows and making s'mores over the patio flame pits. I'm sure everyone who is here from cold places is seriously enjoying not being in the cold.

Oh, and travelswithkuma contributed bags of Goldfish crackers to the Hospitality Suite, because he's a generous sort of Bear.
Tags: lisa, smofcon, travel, work

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