August 24th, 2006

WSFS Captain 1

Worldcon Day 1: Getting Up to Speed

After the Opening Ceremonies, Lisa and I went around in our WSFS uniforms for a while, stopping many times to have our photos taken, and in one case to be interviewed by one of the web sites covering the convention. But we were getting hungry, and trying to eat in those all-white uniforms is just asking for trouble, so we went back to the hotel and changed into less-fragile clothing.

The food service at the Convention Center is the best that I've ever seen at a convention center. It's not cheap, but it's also not the usual run of very bad food we expect as part of convention center fare. I had a hamburger, and Lisa a mini-pizza, neither of which were bad. Our friend Raven O'Neill joined us for a little while, and after eating we walked around the dealer's room.

Lisa was feeling tired and went back to the room for a while. I wish I could have done so, too, but I had a panel at 5:30 on "Butchering the Sacred Cows." I'm too tired to summarize it, but it was about discussing standard convention elements that maybe we could or should do without. In the end, most of the things we discussed, we decided probably should not be cut -- but there may be some things we could do without.

Returning to the hotel, I worked on writing items for the Newsletter plugging Match Game SF and noting that the Thursday evening game had been postponed until Saturday night. Lisa had made an effort to put up promotional posters, but there doesn't seem to be any place in the hotel or convention center where we can put up flyers, darn it.

After dealing with the newsletter, Lisa and I got back into our WSFS uniforms to attend the "Babel Ambassador's Reception" (Meet the Guests). Lisa, realizing that it was a Star Trek-themed event (she hadn't read ahead, and I hadn't realized I should point it out), chastised me and left me to her own devices as she returned to the room to change into her Starfleet blue uniform. She returned just as I needed to leave for the Mark Protection Committee meeting, and as an impromptu costume parade was forming. Prizes were even given, I found later, with Lisa placing credibly in her medical ensign's uniform relative to Raven, who was wearing her "Mirror, Mirror" outfit.

Once people were able to find the well-hidden MPC Meeting (cleverly concealed on the Mezzanine level), the meeting went well, and we covered a pretty long agenda in less than 45 minutes. Among many other things in our committee report, the MPC will recommend that the Business Meeting instruct the MPC to form a committee to study the promotion of the Hugo Awards, as has been discussed for some time now on the SMOFS e-mail list.

After that, I headed off to the parties for about 90 minutes or so, and connected back up with Lisa, who had wisely avoided the MPC in favor of wandering the party floor with her rocket pack (including Kuma Bear) and having her picture taken. After several more photo stops for both of us, we headed back to the room before midnight. Parties visited included Google's Recruitment Party (thanks for the swag!), the Hollister in 2008 Bid Party (I had a very heated conversation with someone whose name I will not mention but who was convinced that all of the talk about how the ballot was 'fixed' seemed to think that Hollister really meant it and that there was a serious chance that a write-in for Hollister would win, causing all sorts of chaos -- as I hope everyone reading this knows by now, the rules are such that an invalid, unfiled bid cannot deadlock an election -- and anyone who thinks that Hollister is going to poll enough votes to have even a chance of a majority needs to get some humor injections), and all of the real 2008 bids.

I won't be able to sleep in on Thursday, on account of needing to be at the Business Meeting early to work on set-up. Good thing we brought a mini-fridge and bought some milk and cereal, or else I wouldn't get breakfast, and that's not good. I already feel bad about missing dinner on Wednesday night.
Match Game SF

Match Game: One Down, One To Go

I was a little worried that the afternoon Match Game SF show wouldn't draw very well, located as it was down on the far end of the convention center and on account of our inability to seriously promote it because there is basically nowhere you can post promotional flyers. However, we probably ended up with around 40 people or so, and mostly filled the room.

The room was nowhere near the physical set-up I'd requested. No risers were available, so we had to take the head table (fortunately made up of two tables) and set them up as two single tables with some space between them. There was no table for the contestants, so we lifted the water service off the table at the rear and moved that table up to the front. There was no data projector, so we did not do the opening title sequence. Lisa did the tech from a nest in the back of the room on account of there being no place from which she could do it in the front. yourbob and trinsf turned up early and helped a great deal getting the tables, score indicators, and panelist cards set up while I set up the game board.

Things we forgot to bring: our digital camera, so we'll have to wait for yourbob's photos, and the front-desk call-bell (for a correct answer), which was in the Business Meeting kit where it normally lives.

Lisa was unhappy that when we started the show, she accidentally hit the wrong button on the tape deck and played the "think" music instead of the opening titles. The two are the same for the first ten beats, so we didn't realize it was wrong until it was too late to do anything about it. I simply worked through it and as far as we could tell, most people attending were so surprised that we had any game music that they may not have paid attention to it not being the right version.

I'm very pleased with the stand-up foam-core board I made to hold the question cards. It worked very well. Len Wein, the only panelist who hadn't done "our" show before, and a big game show fan as well as a professional writer, said when he looked at the "set" how impressed he was with it, which made me feel pretty good.

Thank goodness there is 30 minutes between panels. We had to rush like mad to turn it into the game set initially, and to turn it back into panel configuration, and even then we started a few minutes late and were only able to play three games instead of four; therefore, we'll play five games of Match Game After Dark instead. We can do that because there is nothing scheduled after us in that room, so we can run late if we want.

Lisa and I kicked ourselves for not thinking of the Spaceport Lounge -- which is an open stage with seating in the restaurant area -- as a perfect place to do this show. Unfortunately, by the time we thought of it, it was too late. Rats! Still, the audience did have a good time, and we hope they'll tell friends to come -- although given the size of the Santa Monica Room, maybe not too many friends.
Manga Kevin

Business Meeting: Coffee

We were able to have a coffee/decaf/tea service this year thanks to a grant from Interaction. When I mentioned this at the Preliminary Business Meeting and offered the meeting's thanks to Interaction, I saw in particular one member frowning and shaking his head, so the members obviously do not unanimously think a beverage service is a good idea. I won't speak for that one well known conrunner (and current Worldcon bid chairman), but I wouldn't be surprised to hear him say that it's too much money for too little service, and to some extent, he's right.

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Consumption report: We started with 3 gallons of coffee, 3 gallons of decaf, and 3 gallons of hot water for tea. When we were done, there was 1/2 gallon of coffee, 1 1/2 gallons of decaf, and no hot water.

Tomorrow we not only get more hot beverages, but also a selection of breakfast pastries, cookies, etc.

Edit, 3 Sep, 20:45: Added photo.