Kevin Standlee (kevin_standlee) wrote,
Kevin Standlee

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Westercon, Day 1: Lounge Lizards and Elevator Challenges

One serious knock I have about this facility that is going to be a challenge this entire weekend is that it has only three elevators, and there is no access by stairs from the ground floor to the upper floors. There are emergency fire stairs, but they lead down only to exterior ground floor alarmed emergency exit doors. This is most annoying. The party floors are 3 and 4 (I'm on the fourth floor, having volunteered to be in the "buffer zone," but it's still a hassle waiting for an elevator.

Lisa and I made our way downstairs to the Pavilion for the Meet the Guests reception. Things were apparently running late, as it was nearing the 7 PM stated showtime and we could hear them still doing sound checks and rehearsal. The Rio Vista Pavilion is a semi-permanent tent-like building located on what, as I recall, is a former tennis court. It is the convention's largest single function space, and is where the Masquerade will be as well as Match Game on Tuesday.

The daytime heat had dissipated, and it was pleasant enough to stand around in the Quad (the area between the main hotel and the Pavilion) and socialize with folks. One person asked me, "Who are you?" at which point I realized that when I changed into my Hawaiian shirt, I'd left my membership badge in the room. I headed back upstairs (and another elevator wait) to get it. When I returned, the reception had opened up, so Lisa and I queued up for plates of cheese and crackers and fruit, and I gratefully downed several glasses of iced tea.

Soon enough, Toastmaster Kevin J. Anderson came on stage and introduced the convention's Opening Act: Conrad T. Lizard, Westercon's own "lounge lizard." He performed several numbers to much applause and got everyone fired up for a good convention. Lisa loved the costume and the act, but (as usual for her) said the sound was much too loud and had to go outside.

I realized that I should have brought the new camera with me to the reception, and once again made the round-trip to the room to retrieve it. After some fumbling, I seem to have managed to take some photos, as Conrad obliged me for posing outside the Pavilion where the light conditions were better and I didn't have to use the flash -- the flash does poor things to his glittery skin.

As the reception progressed, Lisa and I spoke with Kathy Beckstead, who is doing the tech and will be doing it for Match Game. We needed to make sure that what we bring would properly integrate with the gear she's supplying. After a few minutes, Lisa got exasperated with me. I realized that this was a case of the technical people ordering the producer out of the room, so I left and went back up stairs to see how to get the photos out of the camera and into the computer.

Once upstairs, I connected the camera to the computer with the supplied USB cable, and to my delight, the computer recognized it right away and treats it as just another external storage device, so getting the pictures to my computer is a drag-and-drop process. Yay!

While I was manipulating photo files, Lisa came back to tell me she thinks the tech issues are under control. Just as I get impatient with my senior managers getting too heavily involved with my database and design work, she gets impatient with me when I try to work A/V tech that is beyond me.

The news on Lisa's computer is not looking good, incidentally. It continues to have erratic problems seeing the hard drive. It's not the drive -- that's a new drive, and one that works fine in other computers. It's the machine. When I get a chance, I will see about digging out the extended service contract we bought on that machine and getting it repaired. We can, however, use my computer to project the Match Game opening titles and Lucas Back in Anger and Prix Victor Hugo.
Tags: conzilla, westercon

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