May 25th, 2008

Manga Kevin

Minor Culture Clash

I've not attended many conventions in the Midwest, other than some Worldcons, one Wiscon, and one World Fantasy Con (Minneapolis). So I'm not immersed in the regional conventional traditions, and it came as a bit of a surprise to me to see just how alcohol-focussed the parties that we found here at MARCon seemed to be. It's not that we begrudge anyone their drinks. Lisa and I aren't anti-drinking; we just do not enjoy it ourselves. We actually find it a bit off-putting to have photo ID demanded of us at the door of parties.

(If I were serving alcohol, I would do my ID check at the point of service, not at the door. But if you make the basic assumption that "the only people I want in my party are drinkers," it makes more sense to do the ID check at the door. That does screen Lisa and me out, though.)

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As we headed up the elevators, we crossed paths with Rebecca Forstadt and her boyfriend yet again. Turns out that if we had walked up to the same convenience store as we did last night -- Lisa says she's too tired to do that -- we probably would have met them at about the same place as the last two times.

I'm afraid we're back in the room before midnight, though. As I mentioned earlier, travel fatigue has been catching up to Lisa, and there just didn't seem to be a whole lot of things in which I was interested tonight. As I grow older, my ability to pick up conversations in loud rooms declines, so I'm not so fond of parties full of loud music as I might once have been. Guess I'm just getting to be an old Phart. Oh, wait a minute, I am one, aren't I? It says so on that Get Out of Worldcon Free Card.
Manga Kevin

Relatively Briefly

My internet connection turns into a pumpkin soon and in order to avoid having to renew it more than once more on this trip, I don't expect to sign in again until late this afternoon. After breakfast but before my Noon Autograph session (about which I continue to scratch my head) and 1 PM panel, I need to help Lisa pack the heaviest stuff out to her pickup, for she will be heading out mid-afternoon today. I'm here until tomorrow afternoon, so I don't have to worry about packing until tomorrow morning.

My thanks to people who have chimed in over the drinking issue overnight. I probably have some significant blind spots on this issue, given that I have no taste for alcohol and therefore almost never serve it at parties I host. Although I do remember a MythAdventures Fan Club party I was hosting where some loud and pretty lubricated people came in demanding, "Where's the beer!"

I said, "We don't have any." They made loud noises of dissatisfaction. I asked them, "Is there any chance you'd join the club if we served beer,"

They said, "Hell, no!"

I asked, as reasonably as I could, "Then why should we bother serving it?" They had no answer to that and left.
WSFS Captain 2

Eat Your Heart Out, Walter Koenig

There are photos behind the cuts in this message. I'm posting it out of order because I didn't get the photos cropped and cleaned until after Lisa left, and I wanted to write about that while it was fresh in my mind.

At L.A.con IV, I went by the Autograph Tables one afternoon and saw Walter Koenig sitting there with not one person talking to him while nearby was a large queue for David Gerrold. I actually went and talked to Koenig for a few minutes because I felt a little bad for him, but it did seem like a funny situation to me at the time.

I figured I'd be like Koenig at my scheduled autograph session at Noon today. So people could recognize me by my picture in the program book, Lisa and I put on our WSFS uniforms, and we set up at the tables outside the Dealers Room.

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After running a short errand for johno into the Dealers Room, I settled down to wait for not much to happen. Lisa came and sat next to me and we talked.

Then, out of nowhere, amazingly, an autograph seeker appeared!

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My 45 minutes complete, I moved on to my final panel, where I was joined by Mark Evans and we spent an entertaining 75 minutes talking to an audience of 18 people on that old favorite subject of "Convention Disasters." We talked about the lines at ConFranciso, the 14-hour ballot count, the SWAT Team at Disclave, the DripClave fiasco (mentioning the first tends to trigger memories of the second; I freely admitted that I had been present at neither), and many others. Not all of them could be considered disasters as much as annoyances, I guess. At the end, I summed up by suggesting that the disasters were of two major types: Ones that could have avoided by better planning, and those that would have been difficult or impossible to avoid. I also pointed out that one of the reasons we tell these tales is to try and keep the memory alive so that other people will not repeat the avoidable errors.

My duties as FGOH now formally complete, I headed over to the Feedback Session, as I describe elsewhere.

Edit, 27 May 0800: Fixed an error pointed out in comments.
Kevin and Lisa

Moving Out (Part One)

My last panels are done (photos later) and I attended the feedback session where I thanked the management for being so kind to me and for everyone's hospitality here in Columbus. As I said, standing there in my WSFS uniform, "The White Star Federated Spaceways takes its hat off for you." And I did.

Then it was time to get Lisa moved out. We went to the room, changed out of our uniforms, and Lisa started packing. She wanted to head out earlier this afternoon, but there were panels and such to do. In a few minutes, I'll help her move stuff down to her pickup parked in the garage attached to the Hyatt and Crowne Plaza by skywalks.
Kevin and Lisa

Moving Out (Part Two)

After taking the first load of stuff down to Lisa's pickup truck, I mentioned that I was feeling a little hungry, and Lisa decided that maybe we'd better get lunch before she left. It was after 4 PM, and the North Market closes at 5 on Sunday, so we hot-footed it down there and got lunch. We had more bread than we could eat, and we needed a walk after lunch (me for my diabetes, Lisa because she's about to be sitting for most of the next week), so we walked down to the riverfront and fed our surplus bread to the geese. I wish I'd brought the camera, because there is interesting stuff I would have photographed liked the steam turbines outside the AEP Building. (Oho, a little Googling finds it.) Finally, we got back to the hotel and packed out the second and final load to the pickup. Lisa was not looking forward to leaving, because the long-range weather forecast says she'll be in light-to-heavy rain nearly all the way back to Oregon, however, it was time to go and after I paid for the parking, off she drove. I went back to the hotel and went up the to room to polish off backed-up e-mail and think of what to do next.

After a while, I heard a key in the lock. It was Lisa, who had forgotten to give me her key. Just after leaving, she realized that there was a small problem with the pickup, and she found a parking space diagonally opposite the hotel, pulled over, and started working on it. She waved at me walking by half a block away, but I was lost in my own thoughts and didn't see her. After spending 45 minutes or so fixing a loose connection, she came back up to the room to clean up and give me the room key. I walked back down with her, we checked the map, and determined that she could just drive straight ahead, turn left, and get onto the freeway that would take her back to I-70 westbound eventually. I watched her drive onto the freeway and made sure she was actually gone before going across the street and back inside.

At this point, I went into the Drury Inn, which is where SMOFCon will be, just to see how it's connected to the Food Court. It's not the most convenient connection I've ever seen, but it probably won't matter that much during SMOFCon.
Manga Kevin

Stick a Fork in Me

I spent much of this evening in the Dead Dog Party. I had a good time, and continued to be impressed by the huge spread of food they had here in the MARCon Con Suite. Their Con Suite space -- a former hotel restaurant area -- is a really good space, other than having a section that isn't wheelchair-accessible. (They've arranged the room so that isn't really a problem, I think.) Being on the ground floor means that people don't have to brave the elevators to get there, and it's got lots of room; however, I found it very warm and stuffy. I just figured that was me (I'm normally overheated most of the time anyway), but other people were telling me the same thing.

I spoke with lots of people, although not as many as I might have wanted, especially as some of the folks I might have wanted to talk to more here were working on the con and were looking especially ragged. I expect that after making their appearance at the Dead Dog announcements, many of them headed to their rooms and crashed. I can't blame them.

Thanks to having had perhaps a bit too much Diet Coke with my slice of pizza, I am still a little bit wound up, but I went back to my room where I finally seem to have managed to get the air conditioning to keep the room at the temperature I want. Since I'm not exactly tired just yet, I reckon that I should be useful and do some packing, to make things easier tomorrow morning. Not that I'm in much of a hurry, what with my flight not being until late afternoon. My ride to the airport is supposed to collect me at 2:45 PM.
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Kuma Bear

Lisa and Kuma Go to White Castle

Lisa called me while I was in the Dead Dog Party to inform me of her initial progress to the Indiana state line. She said things were a little slow because she'd stopped to indulge in a couple of guilty pleasures which are unobtainable on the west coast: White Castle (only two burgers, she said) and Waffle House. Other than that, things have been going just fine once she fixed that balky battery cable just before she left Columbus. She's happier to have to fix that cable now rather than in a rainstorm in the middle of Wyoming.