August 17th, 2019

Gavel of WSFS

Worldcon 2019 Day 3: Convention? What Convention?

It was a very long day at Dublin 2019 for me, and I spent almost none of it at the Convention Centre Dublin.

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We got part-way through the agenda, but not nearly as far as we had hoped. For reasons we find puzzling, a lot of experienced WSFS heads choose to get very picky about a group of proposals that those of us organizing the meeting thought were not terribly controversial.

Hardly a year of the Business Meeting goes by where I don't learn something. We had a case come up this year that neither Donald Eastlake III (Parliamentarian) nor I had encountered before, and consequently we could not properly advise Jesi Lipp. We had a constitutional amendment on the floor, with an amendment to the proposal pending, and a Parliamentary Inquiry pending, when someone moved to refer the proposal back to the Nitpicking & Flyspecking Committee to report back next year. The question was whether the motion to Refer was in order while the Parliamentary Inquiry was pending. With Don and I both puzzling over that, Jesi ruled the motion to Refer out of order. Martin Pyne raised a Point of Order and quoted the page and section that explained that Refer takes precedence over inquiries adhering to any lower-ranking motion like Amend. Jesi ruled the Point of Order well taken, overturned the original ruling, and the meeting sent the lot (proposal, amendment, and inquiry) to the NPFSC for us to figure out next year.

There's still a whole lot of business pending. There were 16 constitutional amendments in total. I'm too tired tonight to summarize everything. I did so on Twitter and in an item submitted to the the Dublin 2019 newsletter, The Salmon of Knowledge. I felt bad producing such a huge laundry list of stuff for Flick to have to edit for the newsletter. I later ran into her and she apologized for any errors she might have introduced into trying to rewrite my laundry list into something more readable. I told her that she'd done just fine.

It once again took much too long to get lunch after the Business Meeting and to move our gear back and forth between the Gibson and our hotel room. With me working on getting the video ready to be uploaded and to write the reports for the Newsletter, it was nearly 6 PM before I was ready to go off to get the video uploaded at a remote site. However, while we were moving video off Lisa's equipment, she realized that the D cell batteries powering the camera had died after two solid days of recording and we needed more batteries.

Shops start closing around here at 6 PM, which made finding batteries a challenge. One shop insisted that "nobody makes those anymore." However, eventually we found a Tesco, and it had a whole rack of batteries as I would expect to see in such a store, including the D-cell batteries we needed. Ironically, they were made in the USA, which pleased Lisa. We got the batteries and walked back to O'Connell Street, where Lisa turned back to our hotel and I headed off to search for bandwidth. I'd intended to hop on the DART and ride it a few stops, but service was disrupted due to a police incident, so I ended up having to walk. (I ended up logging roughly 22,000 steps today. My feet and legs are killing me.)

Lisa had a bit of a technical glitch on the main camera when we came out of the final break, and consequently missed the first eight minutes coming out of the break on the main camera (the one with the good audio inputs). However, she was recording backup video on the battery-run Sony (which was one reason we needed new batteries), and while the audio is less good because it's picking up on the camera's own built-in microphone, it was audible, and so I uploaded it with a note saying that after the first eight minutes you can swap to the final segment (part 6) for the rest of the meeting before adjournment for the day.

It was somewhere around 9 PM or later by the time I finally got to the Convention Centre Dublin for the first and only time today. On the bright side, I got some really nice photos.

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I only meant to pop in to the CCD for a few minutes, but ended up spending two hours in conversations here and there and around. Finally I worked myself free and walked with Linda Deneroff back to the tram stop, where we went our separate ways. I got back to the hotel close to midnight. I'm glad that Subway shop on the corner next to the hotel was still open, or I would have never had any dinner at all.

Sunday is the Site Selection Business Meeting, the Worldcon Chairs Photo, and the continuation of WSFS Business. At the moment, I think we'll end up needing a Monday meeting again. Maybe our idea of putting the least controversial items first was the wrong approach. It's encouraged people to put forth their parliamentary powers on the less-substantive proposals. Maybe our successors will try a different approach. But this is no reflection on Jesi, who is doing a good job dealing with a difficult and long agenda, and is further being good with managing a couple of her advisors who are substantially older than they are and not being intimidated by us and pushing back when we're coming on too strong. I told Jesi that was the right thing to do and that I appreciate the feedback. I really want Jesi to do well.

Also on Sunday is the Hugo Awards including our coverage of the ceremony through the Hugo Awards web site. I tweeted out the time of the ceremony (20:00 Irish Summer Time/UTC + 1) and was mildly annoyed with someone wanting me to translate that to "Central Standard Time." (I suspect they actually meant Central Daylight Time.) Rather than answer that question directly, I referred them to one of several of the web sites that will do time calculations. I get a bit bugged by questions that can be answered with "Let me Google that for you."

I really must rearrange the way I work on the convention on Sunday, because I have to get the Business Meeting stuff done well before I have to go back to the hotel, change into my suit, then get back to the CCD and be in place well in advance of the 8 PM showtime in order to get our show working. Moreover, I can't spend a lot of time offline. Every step I take, I feel it in the soles of my feet what a fool I was to not get a room in the Gibson Hotel if it was at all possible.