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Kevin Standlee: Fandom Is My Way of Life
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Tuesday, August 19th, 2014

Time Event
Worldcon Day 5: Closing It Down
[Still back-dating entries. I'm around a day behind, but if I skip ahead, I'll never get back to writing about this stuff.]

Monday of Worldcon is the wind down as our annual Village of Fandom prepares to disperse to the four winds once again. In this case, that means literally, given that so much of Loncon 3 took place in the Fan Village.

One Hugo Display, Slightly Used, Free to a Good HomeCollapse )

Lisa and I slept in a bit on Monday, there being no WSFS Business Meeting. We still had to get up early enough to get the included breakfast, but at least it wasn't up at 6:30 AM like it had been the previous three days. We made our way gingerly to the ExCel. At one point Lisa and I got separated, and she went on to the SJ in 2018 table, which was one of the default locations for me to find her. There I found travelswithkuma had something to show off.

Award Winning BearCollapse )

Lisa and I were in the Dealers Room when it closed at 2 PM. I had been thanking Phil and Kaja Foglio for letting me play in their universe during the Girl Genius Radio Theatre and commiserating with them not winning the Graphic Story Hugo this year. As Lisa and I were on our way out of the hall, she spotted a couple of patches (marked two for £5) she wanted on one dealer's table. Turned out the dealer was away getting stuff for move-out, and his neighbor didn't know when he would be back. We put a £5 in the display for the patches and took two patches. We hope that was okay.

We went to the 2016 Worldcon table to convert our memberships for MidAmeriCon2. They had us doing it directly on computers, so I sat down and did our business. Their credit-card acceptance uses PayPal, and I made my payment there. Shortly thereafter, I got an e-mail from PayPal informing me that they'd locked my account for suspicious activity. Groan.

Officially Closing LonconCollapse )

Lisa and I got into the act here, along with all of the other staff/committee of the 2015 Worldcon, as we'd all been coached to wear our Sasquan gear and participate in a parade as Sally was stalked by a Sasquatch on stage. Sally persuaded 'Squatch to join us, and we all marched out of the hall, tossing huckleberry candy (a regional specialty from Spokane) to the fans in the crowd. And that was the last official program item of Loncon 3.

But That's Not AllCollapse )

After dinner, we attended a BASFA meeting in exile at the San Jose in 2018 bid table (more members there than at the regular meeting back in the Bay Area, I learned later). Lisa and I went back to the room to rest for a little while and for me to try and get caught up on my accounting. While doing so, I discovered to my great annoyance that only two of my three Chase-issued Credit cards are FX-transaction-fee-free, and I'd been using the other one to buy meals this week. Groan again. That's a waste of money.

I tried to unlock my PayPal account. I was able to send them a copy of government-issued ID that has an address the same as what they show on the account. Unfortunately, they also wanted to call me, and the only phones I have with me that can receive calls in the UK aren't associated with the PayPal account. So it looks like I'm going to have to wait until I get home to straighten this out. Groan x3. I hope this doesn't prevent the charge for our memberships from going through.

The Old Pharts AwaitCollapse )

Around 11 PM, Lisa and I left the South Gallery for good and went to the Fan Village for the final dregs of the Dead Dog party, which was scheduled to end at Midnight. Cheryl Morgan was there as well, after a brief worry earlier in the day when it appeared that her things might have been mislaid in the Dealers Room where they'd been stored when they closed earlier than she (and I) thought they would. (No problem; everything was where it should be.)

One Last AlarmCollapse )

As midnight struck, the Fan Village began to empty. I said my goodbyes to Cheryl and to many other people like Flick (who I once again thanked for her generous editing of my WSFS newsletter items), and Lisa and I and made our last trek through the cavernous ExCel and back to the hotel. Mint Leaves was still open, but just barely, and I thanked them one last time for feeding us so well.

Returning to the hotel room, we unwound as best we could. Tired as I was, it still took quite a while, probably due to drinking a large mocha and two cans of Diet Coke that evening.

And that was that. Our Worldcon was over. I'd say that this was one of the best I've ever attended. The main issues I had were the excessive queues on the first day, and the issues that were facilities-related: specifically, the sheer size of the building (apparently 950 m from end to end) that meant few of us had to worry about getting 10,000 steps/day in exercise. But the organization and execution of the convention was mostly very well done, and I personally had an excellent time. I'd even come back and do it again, even in the same facility, if I knew it was going to go as well as this one did.

Loncon 3 is the largest Worldcon every held by one standard (total members; it's the first Worldcon to have more than 10,000 members) and looks like it may be the largest one by individual-attendee count since the first one I ever attended, L.A.con II in 1984, which is the largest one that ever happened (8,365 attendees, total membership somewhere in the mid-9000s). While size isn't everything — and I continue to read online scoffing about how 7500-or-so people is irrelevant when Real Conventions are those that have 125K at them and you have to spend the entire weekend lined up for a single program item — I think we can say that the turnout here in London shows that there is still a significant role for the literary SF/F convention that Worldcon is. We just have to keep doing the things we do well. Let's see if the success of this Worldcon translates to more success in future years.

Current Mood: tired
From Docklands to Westminster
[Still backdating entries because I'm behind on account of spending lots of time doing and not a lot of time writing.]

On Tuesday morning, we hauled our laundry over to the little coin laundry we'd found about 400 m north of the ExCel. Another Loncon member was doing her laundry there, too. This was routine enough, and thanks to a 2 PM check-out from the Crowne Plaza Docklands, we did not have to rush to get it done.

Our destination was the Intercontinental Westminster. I had a coupon from IHG for one night in any of their hotels. As with last year's stay in the Venetian, we wanted to use that coupon on the best in the chain if possible; however, I don't like doing single nights during a trip like this, so I also used points to get us two nights there. (I did not have enough points to make our entire stay in the swanky Intercontinental.) Checking routes, it turned out that the best no-stairs route between hotels was to take the Emirates Air Line cable car over to Greenwich and change to the Jubilee Line there. That means we needed to use the EAL as actual transit, not just an amusement-park ride.

Up and Over and UnderCollapse )

On the way out of the EAL station, we waved goodbye to our friends and followed the signs to the Jubilee Line station, where there were actual lifts to carry us and our heavy luggage down to the Tube.

On to WestminsterCollapse )

Traveling off-peak as we did, the trains were not crowded, but there were definitely crowds at Westminster station across from the the Houses of Parliament and Westminster Abbey. I'd neglected to look for exactly where our hotel was, and there was some confusion as we worked it out. There is in fact a Tube station much closer to the hotel (St. James Park is across the street from it), but Westminster is the closest accessible station. We found our way to the hotel and checked in.

Sculpture of the WSFS Business Meeting?Collapse )

Hotel Too Swank for its Own GoodCollapse )

Although by central London standards, the IC Westminister room is big (and it's an upgrade from a standard room), I found the Docklands Crowne Plaza more comfortable and useful overall. I'm still glad we stayed here for the experience, and it's one unlikely to be repeated: next month the hotel rebrands as a high-end Hilton.

Hey, Some Actual TourismCollapse )

When we got over to the far side of the Thames, who should we happen to encounter but the same group of our friends who had preceded us over the EAR? We left them looking for somewhere to each and checked out the amusement center there, because our London Pass apparently includes some tokens to use there.

Bear Drives the BusCollapse )

We crossed back over the Thames and walked over to Westminster Palace (Parliament).

Wow, we're in LondonCollapse )

Then it was time to try and find our hotel again.

Finding Our Way through WestminsterCollapse )

Many more photos are in my Flickr Album. I continue to run at least a day behind posting, becuase writing this up properly seems to take a couple of hours, and those are hours I really should be sleeping. I hope I'm this tired when I get on the flight back to the USA next Tuesday.

Current Mood: tired

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