May 24th, 2008

Manga Kevin

Friday Night

[Back-dated because I didn't pay for another day of T-Mobile connectivity until I got up this morning.]

Lisa and I spend some time looking around Friday evening's activities, but didn't find much to our taste. The Con Suite was full of karaoke, from which Lisa pulled me before I was tempted to see if I really can get in the right key for certain Billy Joel songs. We then decided to go up to what we were told was the party floor (5th). After waiting a while for elevators and letting one go by that was already full, we decided to walk. One nice thing about this hotel is that you can actually get from the ground floor to the upper floors by stairs. That is, the stairs down to the ground floor are not "emergency only - alarm will sound" type. OTOH, we discovered that due to some mysterious internal configuration issue, there are twelve flights of stairs between the third and fourth floors, rather than the two flights found between most other floors. So the fifth floor is more like the tenth or eleventh. Still, we needed the exercise.

Once we reached the fifth floor, we found only one party. Other fans present said that things are normally slow on Friday night and that we should expect more on Saturday.

Having run out of things to do and -- I hope -- done my best to make myself available, we decided to go for a walk outside the hotel. Specifically, we planned to walk to a convenience store we'd spotted during one of our other walks. Heading up High Street, we crossed paths again with Rebecca Forstadt and her boyfriend, who had walked down to a tapas bar located in the Short North area. I was worrying that they'd think we were stalking them or something like that, but it's sheer coincidence.

Incidentally, SMOFCon will be here in this same city in December (assuming they get themselves together -- there's no sign of any organization that I know of yet, and I've not spoken to its organizers this weekend yet). I assume that the Drury Inn in which they're located (and for which I have a reservation) is the one that adjoins the Convention Center. If this is the case, then we'll be well set for dinner expeditions during the convention, as this is an area well-situated for food.

Anyway, after buying a few things from the mini-market, we headed back to the hotel and, as it was after midnight, turned in for the night.
Manga Kevin

How Civilized

One of the restaurants in the food court does Breakfast All Day, which suits me just fine, thank you. As my panels don't start until 1 PM, I was in no hurry to get moving. I keep reminding myself that I'm the con's guest, I'm not working in the conventional sense (other than approaching my job as FGoH seriously), I'm not running a fan table, etc., so there's no reason to kill myself on my hours. Lisa and I went downstairs to Chicken & Eggs and had breakfast.

Along the way, we ran across Kim Williams, MARCON's hotel liaison and former chair of the Columbus Worldcon bid. We chatted for a few minutes, and we told her how we'd scoped out the convention facilities (including the convention center proper next door). As someone who has run the Events division of a Worldcon, I was particularly impressed by the facilities mix in the Hyatt, where they have a hall suitable for hosting the Hugos/Masquerade (somewhat like the arena in which ConJose's major events were held, but without the fixed stage) and also the 1000-seat ballroom in which Programming can put those huge program items without using the Events space. (It's common to assume that the Big Hall is always available during the day because "there's nothing going on in there" when in fact for a Worldcon, you're using that space all day long for rehearsal and setup.)

Anyway, after a simple breakfast, we ran back up to the room, where in a few minutes we will head back downstairs for the first of my two program items, "MySpace and the Evolution of the Virtual Community." I won't be able to address MySpace (I have an account there but don't use it), but can talk about LiveJournal fan space, I think. After that, there's a slot for "Doctor Who Fan Vids," which I learned when I got here was intended for me to show one of my two videos, but because I misunderstood the directions, I thought I was sharing with other people and therefore only brought the 15-minute "Making of" documentary. It would have been a near thing to show all of The Zombie Legions anyway in the 75-minute program slot.

And I'm also making use of having activated the T-Mobile account for today by downloading the Super 14 rugby semi-finals. I'll activate the downloads while connected, and then I can watch one of them on the plane ride home, assuming I can unfold the computer sufficiently to see the screen.
Manga Kevin

No One True Fannish Way

My first panel this afternoon was about Virtual Communities (MySpace, LiveJournal, etc.). I'm not sure whether we shed any further light on the subject, but we enjoyed talking about it. I pointed out that a lot of the behaviors about which they were complaining aren't much different than what used to happen when fanac was by postcard and fanzine, but it just moves much faster, with drama that once took months happening in minutes.

Then it was on to my panel on "Doctor Who Fan Vids." Due to unfortunate miscommunication, I didn't realize that the entire 75-minute block was mine, so I only brought the "Making of" films, as I mentioned earlier. We might have been able to show the entire The Zombie Legions if we'd started it within a minute or two of the start and ran slightly overtime into the 15-minute changeover. As it was, the thirty or so people in the audience were very appreciative of what we did show in the "Making Of." If you're one of the people who were there who have first encountered this LJ because you came here on account of me referring to it, thank you! It's always fun to show this film before an appreciative audience. I'm only kicking myself for not bringing the full-length film along "just in case."

A point I made in both these panels was that IMO there is no One True Core Fannish Way and that there are lots of different ways to be fannish, and that all of them are "right." My entire life is a living testament to this attitude.

After the panels, we had a stop in ConOps where I picked up my GOH per diem money. (There was no urgency about this; I have credit cards.) Then we grabbed a snack in the Green Room and came back to the room for a short while to clean up and change into our WSFS uniforms. We'll be heading out to walk around the convention during this "prime time." While Lisa is taking a quick bath, I need to find the business cards I printed with the "Why is he wearing a ship's captain uniform" business cards that point at the long version of the story.

Regarding SMOFCon

For the benefit of anyone not reading beyond the top-level entries and therefore not seeing the comments: I spoke with Kim Williams this afternoon, and she told us that the SMOFCon web site for this December's SMOFCon in Columbus should be online within a few weeks. I didn't try to get her to give me a specific date or anything like that, but she did seem confident that it would be up and running soon.

Update, 21:15: And now I've had pointed out to me what appears to be the SMOFCon 26 web site. It hasn't yet been linked in to the SMOFCon page.
WSFS Captain 2

Prime Time at MARCON Saturday

Lisa and I donned our WSFS uniforms this afternoon and went down to mingle and look around. We poked our heads into Ops where Kim Williams (and others) were not busy (this is good) and said hello, then went over to the Dealers Room. Just outside the hall, Rebecca Forstadt was signing autographs and selling various things, including the ROBOTECH soundtrack CD. We certainly had to get one of those if only to get "Lynn Minmei" to autograph a CD to Lisa Hayes.

We ended up spending a lot more money than I usual spend in a dealers room these days. I reckon this may be because we've seen most of the stuff that dealers on the West Coast circuit have, whereas many of these folks are new (to us). We were in the Dealers Room much longer than I expected, browsing various dealers' wares, socializing with people, having our picture taken, and handing out my business card with the link to the long version of the WSFS Armadillo story.

We got as far as the entrance to the Art Show, but they require all bags to be checked, and Kuma Bear rides in Lisa's bag and certainly wasn't going to ride to the bag check, so we'll have to skip the Art Show. We tried to make ourselves visible and accessible around the con as much as I could, walking the hallways, going through the Gaming area, and so forth. After a while, Lisa said she was getting tired and a little hungry.

There's no way we were going to eat in those all-white outfits. While they can be cleaned, they're natural attractants to dark staining things. So we went back to the room and changed into "civvies" and went out looking for dinner. The North Market is only open until 5 or 6 O'clock, and after walking that far, Lisa decided we didn't need a fancy sit-down meal, so we headed back to the food court at the convention center, where we got a burger and fries.

Lisa is a bit more tired than I am -- probably the cumulative fatigue of the 2500-mile drive from Oregon catching up with her -- and is not generally interested in convention masquerades anyway, so we decided the better part of valor was to get back upstairs while the masquerade was running. We could move between floors by stairs once we were up there.

Again, I don't want to be a hide-in-his-room guest, but we did need some unwind time. We'll make the rounds of the parties a little later. For now, I'm taking the chance to work off some of the backlog of unread e-mail.