September 5th, 2005

Conrunner Kevin

Awards Banquet

This evening I had a front-row seat at the Heinlein Society Banquet & Awards Ceremony. After presentations of the Golden Duck Awards and the Seiun Awards and the announcement of the Endeavour Award nominees, they presented the Heinlein Award to Jerry Pournelle and Larry Niven.

The banquet food -- salmon with wild rice -- was surprisingly good for such an affair, although it didn't sit well with Lisa. The event organization was a bit rough around the edges, with the doors opening a bit later than scheduled and some visible technical glitches in the video presentation; however, things did not go on interminably, and afterward we had time to stop by most of the major parties. However, now I really need to get some sleep so I can be up early enough to have breakfast and be available for my promised "docent tour," of the FGOH Exhibit, assuming anyone turns up for it.

Wearing my WSFS uniform around certainly attracts attention. People all over were either asking me how the Inquiry went or were discussing the results. It's very flattering.

CascadiaCon, SFSFC, and the many individuals who have participated this weekend have made me feel very honored indeed.
Conrunner Kevin

Last Day

No fire alarms last night, which meant I got around seven hours of much-needed sleep. More would have been helpful, but at least I didn't overdraw my sleep account any more than I had the previous few nights. Thank Ghod I have a CPAP machine. After I was diagnosed with sleep apnea, I began sleeping with this device, which fits over my nose and mouth, significantly reduces snoring, and means that when I'm sleeping, I'm actually getting rest, instead of waking up over and over at night.

Another thing that I'm glad I'm doing is not heading back to the Bay Area until Tuesday. That means I don't have to worry about packing up my hotel room this morning. I hate having to do that; it's so distracting when you want to be enjoying the last day of the convention.

I will don my WSFS uniform yet again for the final morning of the con on account of the "docent tour" announced for 10:30. Astonishingly, I've managed to wear an all-white uniform for two days, attending both a reception and a banquet, and not spill anything other than a little bit of plain water on the outfit. But I still have to get breakfast this morning. Fingers crossed that this luck continues for a few more hours.
Conrunner Kevin

Docent Tour

Only two people showed up for my personalized tour of the Fan Guest of Honor exhibit: Ewrin "Filthy Pierre" Strauss and Steve Forty. I do think there were a lot more people who had either the time or the interest but not both. And Emerald A was a bit off the beaten path, being around a corner from most of the function rooms. I expect a lot of people didn't even know it was there. It could have been worse -- they could have put it in the Radisson, in which case nobody would have seen it.

Two people is no problem, though: I showed them through the exhibit and explained the history around the various artifacts, some of which are for conventions or activities of mine with which they were totally unaware, such as my costuming stuff. I showed them the photos of the Skywise costume from Elfquest and of course the mannequin with the pink dress is standing in the display with the blonde wig and 4 1/2-inch high heels. There are photos of me in that dress, from Eclecticon 5 in Sacramento, on account of otherwise people are unlikely to believe me when I told them I was wearing it. Over breakfast, David W. Clark said to me, "I have faith in you, Kevin: You will wear the dress again."

And if I lose the necessary weight to fit back into it -- something that seems much more likely now than it did a year ago -- he may well be right about that.
Conrunner Kevin

Feedback Session; Worldcon & NASFiC Timing

After completing the "tour," I went to the Feedback Session. I'm the wrong person to report on this, as I personally had a wonderful time, am totally honored by my experience, and continue to thank CascadiaCon for their hospitality. But other people had less-pleasant experiences, mostly having to do with the "Biohazard" all-night parties (raves, apparently), the spread-out, split-site nature of the convention facilities, and with what was perceived (I think) as a general disorganized air about the convention, particularly on Thursday. CascadiaCon, for their part, was hampered by a critical lack of volunteers at many levels, from top management down to gophers.

I observed, as I've done before, that NASFiCs have many of the disadvantages of a Worldcon (one-shot, no history, no coherent marketing, relatively expensive) and few of the advantages of one (Worldcon is something many fans actively want to attend, while NASFiC is a "consolation prize" at best; many of the "usual suspect" middle and top management recruits go to Worldcon if they possibly can do so; even those who do go to both are terribly distracted and apt to give NASFiC lower priority).

A factor affecting western North America is Burning Man, which is Labor Day weekend, and which draws off a lot of fannish types. I know that ConJose had difficulty recruiting some very likely people who "always go to Burning Man."

In the Southeastern USA in particular but actually affecting the continent as a whole, and even with worldwide implications, is Dragon*Con. When D*C and Worldcon/NASFiC were on different weekends, there were a fair number of people who would go to both; however, when faced with the choice of one or the other, they pick D*C for a variety of reasons. I lot of professionals of various sorts, including artists and dealers, go to D*C even if it's more expensive and difficult for them, because that's where the money is. I know of one webcomic artist who lives here in the Seattle area and who at least of couple of us members of CascadiaCon asked to attend NASFiC. She's constantly saying how little money she has and how dire her personal situation is, and yet rather than come to the local-to-her con at Sea-Tac, she went off to D*C because that's where the people and money are.

I think it's time we Worldcon (and NASFiC) runners seriously consider abandoning the Labor Day weekend and move our target dates to weekends in August. We already have had several recent Worldcons, including this year's, on weekends in August, and it doesn't seem to have negatively affected attendance. The historical reasons we held Worldcon over the weekend ending with the first Monday of September are becoming increasingly irrelevant; maybe it's time to abandon some long-held opinions.
Conrunner Kevin

Closing Down Exhibits

My last scheduled panel was at 1 PM and was entitled "The Challenges of Recruitment." No time to do it full justice here, but there was a lot of talk about how we don't recruit well, and tend to ignore or even drive away people who are interested in helping out. I think it's related to Fannish Aspberger's Syndrome: we're not good at socializing that way.

After that, it was down to Emerald A for the last time, where I disassembled the exhibit and packed things away. Somewhat to my surprise, the exhibit takes up less space now than it did coming up. With the exception of the Pink Dress, which needs its own carrier so the satin doesn't get wrinkled, everything fit into one bag that would fit as a carry-on if I didn't already have a computer and a briefcase to carry on the plane.

The Giant ConFrancisco Membership Badge (picture is of the box it's packed in, not the badge itself) is packed away for transportation on to LA and the Permanent Worldcon History Exhibit. I wanted the original badge to be with it for comparison purposes, but it appears that the original was in Glasgow (Lisa says she remembers seeing it there), so it probably went into the boxes there for transportation to LA for next year, whereas the Giant Badge went to Seattle last year.

In about half an hour will be the Closing Ceremonies. I'll be here tonight for any Dead Sasquatch parties, then back to the Bay Area on Tuesday. I'll need to put my head in a dryer and try and shrink it, because it's been swelled at least a half size by all the nice attention I got this weekend.
Conrunner Kevin

Closing Ceremonies and Beyond

The Closing Ceremony of CascadiaCon was a low-key affair, with convention Treasurer/Vice-Chair Susan Robinson standing in for Chair Bobbie DuFault, who was dealing with a medical emergency in her family. She started by mentioning GoH Fred Saberhagen and Special Guest Harry Harrison, both of whom were unable to attend due to illness, and we all applauded them. Then she went through the list of special guests and guests of honor, and invited those of us who were still there -- some had left earlier to catch flights -- to speak for a minute. When my turn came, I bounced up on stage and momentarily froze, which drew laughter and applause by itself.

I said, nodding to the person videotaping, "It's a good thing you're videotaping this event, because you just got a rare moment: Kevin Standlee caught speechless!" I thanked CascadiaCon for inviting me, saying, "Most conventions don't invite a Fan Guest of Honor because he'll draw more people to attend. Most of the potential attendees look at the Fan Guest's name and say, 'Who dat?' They invite us to honor us, and I have to say I have been tremendously honored. Thank you all."

After thanking the guests, Susan called onto the stage a representative of the newly-elected 2007 NASFiC, and handed to them the Gavel of NASFiC. This is not the same as the gavel of WSFS, which is a gavel I purchased in 1994 and which has been handed from Worldcon to Worldcon annually, and which ConJose paid to have engraved "World Science Fiction Society." CascadiaCon bought a gavel and is starting a new tradition.

Then Betty Bigelow came on stage and auctioned off a number of signed books and other artifacts for Hurricane Katrina relief. After that, the convention was officially over.

I headed back to my room, changed out of my uniform into my WSFS Armadillo crew polo shirt, and Lisa and I headed down to the lobby, where we met up with David Clark, Vince Docherty, and fr_john. The five of us walked down the street to Sharp's Roaster & Ale House, across from the Doubletree Hotel (home of Norwescon and one of CascadiaCon's overflow hotels). It was nice to have a relaxing dinner with no commitments to follow.

I'm not sure what sort of Dead Dog parties are going on tonight. I guess we'll go find out.

I have 5 hours 45 minutes left on my internet connection here in the hotel, and I'm not sure I want to pay another $9.95 just to be able to check mail and LJ tomorrow morning, so I probably won't check mail or post new messages Tuesday morning or until I get back home Tuesday afternoon. (I have a 12:25 PM flight tomorrow morning.)
Conrunner Kevin

The Zombie Legions

On Monday afternoon, Lisa and I briefly stopped back in the hotel room for a few minutes, and while I checked e-mail, Lisa turned on the television. To our surprise, there was on one of the convention video channels my Doctor Who movie, The Zombie Legions. Although the tapes had been received, I'd seen nothing in the convention's printed schedules or the newsletter about a showtime, and so I figured they'd been lost or that I'd got them in too late to be shown. While disappointing, the latter would certainly have been understandable.

It's a pity I didn't know they actually would show them, or when. Had I known earlier in the convention, I could have done a bit of promotion. I still had a few Zombie Legions posters from the 1987 World Tour, for instance. While the con did not seem to have a video room (except anime), the TV in one of the two rooms of the Con Suite was usually on and people were watching stuff there. We could have at least had a notice in the newsletter. Or, had we known that the video schedule as printed couldn't handle us, the SF Museum of Oregon display in the exhibit hall included a mini-theater, with maybe ten seats in it. As I doubt more than that many people would have shown up, that would have been fine.

I don't really mean to complain -- CascadiaCon did very well by me, and I'm happy with things -- but I guess I'm always striving for perfection, even when I intellectually know that 95% is certainly good enough.