December 6th, 2008


Poker Drive

At registration this afternoon, I discovered that I had bought two extra memberships to SMOFCon, not three. One was for Lisa, but I had bought another odd one and forgotten about it. I told convention chair Kim Williams that if there was someone local who had been interested in attending but found the membership price off-putting, she should call that person in. Oh, and they let Kuma Bear have a badge as well.

There was one full program item this afternoon -- SMOFCon usually don't get started until late Friday afternoon -- but I skipped it and hung around the Con Suite instead. The Raleigh NASFiC bid hosted a BBQ dinner in the Con Suite, so we didn't go out for dinner, and instead helped ourselves to vinegary barbecue, which I've rarely encountered. It was quite good, and Lisa (who doesn't like hot and spicy barbecue) said she'd like to try more of the tangy pork.

I must have eaten too much at dinner, for my blood sugar ended up going higher than I would have liked, and I ended up begging off participating in the mixer game to get some exercise. As I needed to get out and do some walking anyway (or else hit the treadmill), Lisa and I bundled up and walked the 2 km down to a CVS Pharmacy and Giant Eagle grocery store, where I bought six decks of playing cards and three boxes of cheap poker chips, because nobody was able to bring quality chips to SMOFCon. (Our source from KC didn't drive; I don't blame anyone for not trying to bring those heavy "clay" chips by air -- it would use up an entire luggage allowance.) We also got some small bits of groceries we can keep because the room has a refrigerator.

When we got back, the mixer was breaking up. Con chair Kim Williams let me have the key to the Boardroom, which is used for meetings and breakout programming. I hunted around for some of the Usual Suspects, and by and by we ended up with five or six people for a cash poker game with a $5 buy-in and 10 cent/50 cent chips. Silly poker ensued until shortly after 1 AM. As the person who brought the chips, I was "banker," which means taking the risk of shortchanging myself. In the end, despite our best efforts, I managed to shortchange myself by 85 cents, although I still ended up ahead $1.15. Of course, I did spend $30 on cards and chips, but I'm crazy.

Tomorrow night we are supposed to attempt a Texas Hold-Em tournament after the Fannish Inquisition. I hope we get 15-20 people -- even better would have been the nearly 30 we had at Kansas City a couple years ago. It makes for a nice prize pool, with 60% to the winner.


This morning, I groggily woke up and though, "I wonder how long before my alarm goes off at 7:30?" I reached for my phone and looked at the time. 9:15! Eek! I'd forgotten to turn the vibe mode and I had been sleeping too soundly for the phone buzzing away on the bedside table to wake me up. And the board of directors of CanSMOF, parent non-profit of Anticipation, were expecting me for an 8:30 AM breakfast meeting.

I yelped and jumped out of bed, tearing off my CPAP mask. There was a voice-mail from Robbie Bourget asking "where are you, Kevin?" Lisa woke up at my antics, of course. I told her she didn't need to panic, because the included breakfast is extended until 10 AM on weekends, but that I needed to hurry. I tossed on some clothes, dragged a comb across my head, and headed downstairs.

To my immense surprise, the other CanSMOF directors hadn't yet started meeting, instead engaging in a gossip session until I got there. I got coffee and breakfast and we went through our agenda, reviewing things like facility contracts, budgets, and other high-level stuff of this nature. The boards of the non-profits on which I have sat do not actively manage the details of the conventions -- that's the job of the con chairs. The boards' job is to manage the chairs and make sure that the big picture is in place. We were reassured that progress continues apace and that the chairs are doing their jobs.

Lisa came down a little later and had her breakfast while we were meeting. Everything was okay. I won't say I shouldn't have panicked, though, because the does of adrenaline was what I needed to wake up sufficiently to get to the meeting awake.

Everyone is so Nice to Me

Yesterday evening during the nightly "manager's reception," I saw Vince Docherty, who had just arrived, "parachuting in" from Europe. He was carrying with him and gave to me another box of the nice sugar-free Belgian chocolates that I cannot find in the USA. I already owe him a lot for many things, but these chocolates continue to build up the debt in his favor. I have to ration those chocolates carefully to make them last.

This morning, after the CanSMOF board meeting, Robbie Bourget said, "I have something for you." We went up to her hotel room and she dug out a rustic two-handled drinking cup from Blaenau Ffestiniog, home of the famous Ffestiniog Railway.

I wish I was better with coming up with appropriate gifts for people, because so many people seem to know that things like diabetic chocolates and rail-related stuff are things I would like.

Prepped for Poker

Lisa Garrison-Ragsdale caught up with me after lunch (a salmon spread sponsored by the Seattle in 2011 Worldcon bid) and presented me with a small, heavy case -- quality poker chips! They're mine to use for tonight's poker tournament. Great! Even though I bought cheap plastic chips yesterday, I much prefer to use the nice chips whenever possible. Besides, I can now loan the cheap plastic chips for any cash games that get started.

I took the chips and set up on a table in the Con Suite and worked out how to divide them out equitably for up to 28 players -- that's the most we've ever had sign up. There are a few odd chips left over, with the additional odd chips set up so we could possibly get a couple extra people in. The other folks attracted to my chip action helped, including catching a chip-stack error I made at one point. They also looked over my payment table (we'll pay 50/30/15/5% of pool for the top four) and offered advice on it and the blind progression and round timing.

And I've had enough people come by asking to be in the tournament that I feel confident that we'll have enough to start with two tables, and that we're above "critical mass."

I've also signed up to use the Boardroom late tonight, so that when we get down to the eight people, we will adjourn there for the Final Table.