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Kevin Standlee: Fandom Is My Way of Life
 
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Sunday, December 4th, 2005

Time Event
1:30a
All In, All Out
We started the Hold-Em tournament with eighteen players (two tables of nine), with each player getting 1000 chips. The first hand, I was dealt A-A. Unfortunately, that early the bets were small and I was unable to coax more money out of people. And I only won a couple other small hands, while I was being blinded out.

I made the final table of eight players, but I was short stack, and when on the first hand, I was dealt 4-4 and decided "It's not likely to get any better," went all in and ended up losing to a better pair, finishing eighth, and out of the money. (The top three cash.)

The timing was okay, though, as I really needed to drop out at that point. Lisa came into the room looking very unhappy. Besides her computer having started malfunctioning, she was feeling sick. She had been feeling progressively ill throughout the day, and it got worse through the evening. She also hurt one of her fingers rather badly, and she doesn't even remember how she bruised it. She explained that if she stayed any longer, she would almost certainly feel worse tomorrow, and since Mehama is only ninety miles away, she decided it would be best if she headed home now, lest she be too sick to drive tomorrow. So I helped her down to the car and bid her goodbye. I hope she'll be okay; however, she has been in this positon before and she mostly knows her limits. Besides, she's driving a van where if she feels she can't drive further, there are several places where she can pull over and rest until she's ready to go the rest of the way.

Follow Up, 3:32 AM: When I finally got back to the room, there was a message on the hotel voice mail letting me know that Lisa did get home safely.

Current Mood: worried
2:58a
We Have a Winner
After returning to the tournament after helping Lisa get going, the seven people I'd left behind had shrunk to four, and shortly three, putting us "in the money." Then Jack Hennegan was eliminated for third, and we were "heads-up." And at that point we went a good 30 minutes with the heads up players going back and forth.

Because we'd started late, we were running later than we thought. Meanwhile, two cash games had started on the other tables in the room. Patty Wells came and told me that the nice houseman from the hotel couldn't go home until we let him reset the room, and thus could we please vacate by 2 AM? (And meanwhile she needed to get some sleep.) I informed the cash games of this and they all cashed out, and our final heads-up players moved into the hall and we moved to the lofty heights of 2000-4000 blinds (remember that we started at 10-20), pretty much putting someone all-in for every hand. I think we must have gone eight or ten consecutive all-in hands, with some improbable and come-from-behind saves, before Mark Linneman finally won, taking the $54 first place.

Although I would have been happier if we started earlier, I think it was a pretty successful evening, and I think everyone participating had a good time. The cash-game players seemed to be enjoying themselves as well. This was fun, even if I didn't win any money.

It is, however, very late, and I'm pretty tired, so I should probably get some sleep. I'm sure it shows in the number of typos I've committed. I'm glad I don't have to check out tomorrow morning.

Current Mood: tired
8:56a
Bleargh
Four hours sleep is not really enough, but if I got the sleep I needed, I would miss much of the rest of the program. At least I don't have to check out today, which is why I scheduled myself to fly back tomorrow instead of this afternoon.

Current Mood: tired
10:14a
Worldcon Bidding: Training the Trainer
Margene Baum, in her experience promoting the Kansas City Worldcon Bid, has experienced what most of us going through the process have -- most of the people you meet have no idea how the process works. She has developed a presentation called "Worldcon 101: Bidding" to teach people about the process. This morning, she did a "train the trainer" type of presentation, going through the PowerPoint presentation intended to be used when explaining the process to people with little or no background in Worldcons and bidding. Accordingly, the presentation is something that most of us here take for granted, but she's giving it so that we can nitpick and offer amplifications and corrections.

While discussing the various "levels" of bidding support, Kent Bloom made the good point that the levels somewhat mirror the different levels of support of a PBS station. This may make it easier to explain to someone who doesn't know us.

Near the end, the importance of every vote was emphasized. Ben Yalow reminded us that Seattle won the 2005 NASFiC by five votes, and that eight members of their opponent's committee (Charlotte) did not vote.

Margene has done a good job pulling all of the bits into a single presentation.

Current Mood: awake
11:53a
More Training the Trainer
Tom Whitmore has said, and I agree with him, that conrunners are awful at training. We do apprenticeship, and sometimes not even that very well. We say, "Here, carry this anvil for me, and walk off this diving board into the swimming pool. Hey! We even put some water in there so it will be a soft landing!" Later, if the person comes back up, we repeat the process. If they don't come back up again, we go look for someone else to carry the next anvil.

The intent was that the first part of the panel was to be Tom running his "Elevator Party Host" training. I've been through this a couple of times, and have done EPH duties myself, and was able to help out with the role-playing (both the troublesome cases and demonstrating some of the mechanics of keeping the elevator going smoothly). Others here who have done the job, like Patty Wells (who was one of the original crop of EPHs at the Atlanta Worldcon where they invented the EPH concept as a reaction to the overloaded elevators that (slowly) slid down into the basement without stopping), chipped in her anecdotes about helping invent a job that has never been done before.

This ended up taking 45 minutes -- probably more than originally intended -- which gave us less time to critique training or to discuss how to go about creating a training process. However, it got people thinking about the whole concept, and maybe that will be useful for the future.

Current Mood: thoughtful
1:45p
Worldcon Timeline Workshop
Heading out of the Training workshop to grab a quick bite from the Con Suite, I passed Deb Geisler, who said, "You and wireless are a menace, Mr. Write-Everything-You're-Doing-In-Your-LiveJournal."

I said, "Yep, you're right."

Postponed from earlier in the con, Elaine Brennan convened round 2 of the workshop on developing a new and improved timeline and project plan suitable for Worldcons selected two years in advance. This started last year, and we're now starting to refine the plans, see what we've missed, talk about what things need to move, etc.

I hope Elaine (*waves*) plans to publish the results of this in an easily accessible location. Maybe the newly-forming Conrunner Wiki?

A recurring theme in these discussion is that Communications is King. Most of the challenges are in communication. If I heard correctly, next year's SMOFcon is apparently going to focus on Communications.

Another issue is that there are a fair number of important or potentially-important jobs for which we have found few if any fans who can do the work. Example include commercial sponsorship and freebie solicitation/coordination. I've always thought that fandom over-produces computer programmers and technicians and under-produces sales and marketing. In fact, we over-produce people who actively and sometimes loudly and viciously dislike being marketed to. (Cue the story about the Interaction dealer who reacted furiously when we e-mailed the dealers to ask them if they wanted to buy a slide show ad in our major event load-in slide shows.)

To attend this workshop, I had to skip the "Town Meeting Workshop" in which effective meeting running was discussed. Fortunately, this was in the panel room where the discussions are being videotaped. I hope I can get a copy of that one.

Current Mood: accomplished
3:35p
We're Going to Kansas City, Kansas City Here We Come...
And so (officially) ends another SMOFCon, and possibly among the most successful. The total reported membership is 154, with around 10 no-shows, which, according to Tom Whitmore, makes it the largest (by one person) SMOFCon to date. Patty Wells thanked everyone for coming and for their participation, and, commenting on how the long-running Fannish Inquisition delayed the start of the Poker Tournament, suggested that in the future, we should combine the two, so that as time goes by, the blinds go up and the winner gets to hold the Worldcon.

One person in the audience called out, "Watch out! Your daughters may end up running a Worldcon that way!"

I quipped, "That may happen anyway."

With much applause and joviality, the mantle was passed to Kansas City, who will host SMOFCon next year, and promised to get a web site linked up through the main SMOFCon web site realsoonnow. The $50 membership price will be good until February. Elaine Brennan said that (as I mentioned in a previous entry) that Communications will be the programming theme.


And now we start to scatter back to the four winds, with those of us with flights this evening heading out already, and some of us like me sticking around until tomorrow. I couldn't hold a wireless signal in the con suite long enough to make this entry, so I popped back to my room for a little while, but I plan to return to the Con Suite soon.

Incidentally, I got a voice-mail from Lisa saying that she was feeling better enough today that she might drive back up this evening.

Current Mood: chipper
4:10p
I Could See That One Coming
I've been very good, blood-sugar wise, for the past sixteen days. But for lunch, I went across to Denny's and ordered the Ham & Mushroom Bowl (hash browns, ham, mushrooms, eggs over that). That by itself wouldn't have pushed me over, I think, but I went ahead and ate half of the stack of three pancakes that came with it. My blood sugar test came up 142, which is 2 points over the warning level.

Still, that could have been much worse. If I hadn't been pressed for time (I wanted to be at the SMOFCon closing ceremony), I would have taken a brisk walk for a half mile or so up or down the streets here, and that probably would have pushed it down. I just need to get back on the program when I get home.

Current Mood: full
6:52p
Sunday Night Poker
Sitting around the Con Suite, there were many people coming up to me asking where tonight's poker game will be. I really couldn't see us fitting into the Con Suite anywhere, and we have no function space left. Scouting around, I concluded that the hotel's 6th floor lobby (no sleeping rooms, just function space) would probably work, as long as the hotel doesn't take away the chairs and tables they have up there. So I've made up signs that say to meet in the 6th floor lobby after 9 PM -- subject to the "usual fannish delays." Now I have to find Tom Whitmore, who has the chips.

Current Mood: bouncy
7:26p
To Your Scattered Cities Go
The next batch of people with late-evening flights is making their way out of the Con Suite, and the CS staff have issued "last call" while they pack up the last of the food and drinks. (I scored the last two bottled waters; the diet cola ran out a while ago.) Of course a fair number of people who are staying over tonight have gone to dinner. I'm not hungry, but I'll have to go get something in a little while, possibly if Lisa turns up. I was able to raise Tom on his mobile phone, and he say he'll be back in time for the proposed 9 PM poker.

This is my sixteenth SMOFCon. It certainly was in my personal top five. The only thing that might have improved it would have been a better hospitality suite -- not in the sense of food, as the spread of refreshments were good, but for the physical layout of space. It's not really the Portland folks' fault, but they couldn't really expect to have so many people. We needed more space. It probably would have been better if we could have used both bedrooms instead of having to block off one for food prep and storage. Removing the beds would have made for more floor space, where chairs could have been used. But there is no perfect site, and this hotel isn't that great. (The Chicago SMOFcon of a few years ago was perhaps the best I've ever been to for space arrangement, what with our ability to expand out into the hotel atrium, giving us a very flexible space that never felt either crowded or sparse.)

I was very satisfied with my Worldcon experience this year. Being FGOH of NASFiC was a blast. But as an ongoing personal experience that I look forward to, I think SMOFCon annually tops my list. I guess it means I'm getting insular, but I probably have more fun overall at SMOFCon.

Current Mood: thoughtful
8:40p
A Mystery Solved
A couple of days ago, I mentioned that what should have been a net poker loss ended up being accounted for as a win, and I couldn't remember why. This evening, I figured it out. In my hat as Chairman of the WSFS Mark Protection Committee, I'd spent $30 out of pocket to buy certified copies of two of the WSFS service marks for documentation uses by Nippon 2007. I gave these two copies and a letter from me explaining the structure of WSFS and confirming that N2007 has the rights to the 2007 Worldcon for Japanese authorities' benefit to Hiroke Inoue, chairman of Nippon 2007, and he reimbursed me the $30. I'd forgotten to account for that, so obviously my apparent $18 gain was actually a $12 loss. I've cleaned up my accounts, which makes me feel better. My cash account is rarely off by more than a few cents.

Current Mood: relieved

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