November 6th, 2005

Conrunner Kevin

Winding Down OryCon

I was able to get a 2 PM check-out, and I have no panels today, so we didn't have to worry about getting up early; however, the internet service on the room will run out at Noon, so I'm finishing up checking e-mail, LJ, etc. My flight out of PDX isn't until 8 o'clock tonight, so there is no urgency today. Unfortunately, the van is parked across two skywalks away, and it will cost money to take the van out, bring it around front of the hotel to pack it up, then put it back in the garage. OTOH, it being Sunday, we might be able to find some (free) surface street parking nearby. Oh, well, we'll figure something out after breakfast.

I probably won't have time to write anything else about OryCon unless I have time at the airport later today and the signs that say there is free wireless access in the airport concourses is true.

So how did OryCon go in its new hotel? From what I saw of it, things went reasonably well. There were a lot of people here, they seemed to be enjoying themselves. The gaming room was full of people taking advantage of the vast games library. The dance had a bunch of people in it (I couldn't go near it -- too loud, too much bass -- but I don't object to other people enjoying themselves). The two party floors had plenty of traffic without appearing to be completely swamped. I hear the con made its hotel block, which it always a good thing. I wish I could give the in-depth analysis that Cheryl Morgan does in her excellent Emerald City reviews, but I did not come in here looking to do that sort of analysis.

OryCon seems to have survived losing its hotel of long standing. The Marriott is by no means a perfect fit, but they seemed to be trying hard to work with us and putting up with fannish craziness. I don't know if OryCon will return to this property, but if they do, I'm sure some adjustments could make the con fit the facility better. For example, Lower Level 2 is a cul-de-sac, with fan groups and autograph tables with little to draw people by them other than those making their way to the art show. Lisa suggests that the gaming could be easily moved down into the extensive pre-function area down there, which would free up function space upstairs. However, all of this depends upon where OryCon is next year.

I'd have to say I enjoyed myself a great deal, as I adjust to a somewhat less-hectic fannish life.
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Conrunner Kevin

OryCon Closing Notes

Lisa and I decided eventually to just move out of the room in several trips, moving a load at at time down and across to the van, rather than deal with the hassle of carts and re-parking the van. It wasn't raining, and we had plenty of time, and the exercise wouldn't hurt. I noticed that we exited the Marriott on the 3rd floor and walked across a level skywalk to the parking structure, which told us we were on the 2nd floor. I pointed this out to Lisa, saying, "Look! The Escher Skywalk!"

As we were putting the fifth and final load of stuff into the van, I got a call from David Gallaher, who was at World Fantasy Con in Madison representing the Bay Area WFC bid from SFSFC. He informed me that the bid from IFWA of Calgary (not the same organization that ran Westercon, CWSFA) was accepted, and Calgary will host the 2008 World Fantasy Convention.

Heading back to the hotel, Lisa and I made a last pass through the dealers' room, game room, and fan tables to say goodbye to people and pass along the Calgary site selection news to those people who I thought might be interested. Although it was a little early -- or rather we had ate breakfast pretty late -- we decided to go ahead and get some lunch. We walked to the Macaroni Grill and I had the Pasta Rustica, which was very good, but I felt very guilty eating it, what with the cream and cheese sauce on top of the pasta. I did order it with the higher-fiber wheat pasta, however. The walk back to the van was about ten blocks and four flights of stairs, but after a big meal like that, a lot more exercise should be in order. (Footnote: an hour later, my blood sugar was a respectable 115, which made me feel less bad. I reckon I still gained weight on this trip, however.)

We decided to dump me onto the light rail so I could get to the airport and try and catch an earlier flight to Oakland.

If you ignore the fact that I did have to pay $5 to buy in, my winnings from the poker tournament nearly covered the cost of parking: $37.

And so ends the OryCon experience for me, but not the trip, as I still have to get home.
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Conrunner Kevin

Live from PDX

Despite us missing the I-84 exit on the first attempt, I got to PDX Airport with enough time to check in for the 5 o'clock Horizon flight to Oakland, and they put me on the standby list for it and told me that even if I don't make it, my bags will go ahead of me, so I should check in the baggage office when I get to Oakland if I don't get called. Heading to gate B1, I saw the "want a free flight?" sign trolling for bump volunteers, and knew I wasn't going to make the flight. So I sat down, fired up the computer, and checked for wireless connections. I'd seen signs that PDX had free wireless, but had never been in a position to use it. I connected with no problems, checked my e-mail, and waited for the Oakland flight to actually finish boarding just in case. When the gate agent confirmed that I wouldn't make this flight, I put the computer on standby and walked down to the Starbucks in the junction between concourses B and C. After getting a latte, I reopened the computer, re-connected, and updated LJ and checked out Cheryl Morgan's live blog coverage of the World Fantasy Awards. (Check out the other blog entries before and after this one for the full report.)

I've got a while to wait now. My flight doesn't even board for another two-plus hours. I'll probably head down to gate C4 shortly and try to stake out a power outlet so I need not worry about the batteries, then fire up Locomotion -- that should take care of the waiting time. When I play that game, I feel like I've hit the fast-forward button on the time machine, because I look up after a few subjective moments and two hours have gone by.