December 7th, 2019


Winter Road Trip Day 11: SMOFCon Saturday

Today was the first day on this road trip that I could sleep in a little bit, in this case until around 9 AM, getting something around eight hours of sleep for the first time in many dayse. But that meant missing out on morning program items at SMOFCon that I wanted to attend, and by the time we got down to the restaurant, they were closed for breakfast. We were able to get food from Starbucks, which was enough to get us going.

We're overloaded on account of the Westercon plus recording stuff. This afternoon the Westercon 74 Tonopah committee held a meeting where we brought the membership up to speed on where we stand, and went through the budget at this point. Immediately after that meeting, we had the mini-Fannish Inquisition, for Westercons only. Sally Worhle (chair of Westercon 73 Sea-Tac) and I sat up front and talked about our respective Westercons. I showed our opening-title video and the slide show of our facilities and town. Lisa was able to record this, and we'll have the video posted whenever we can.

Speaking of recordings, after the Westercon Inquisition Lisa and I had some dinner before she had to go record the main Inquisition. Unfortunately, the hotel restaurant interpreted Lisa's order of her hamburger done medium-well as rare and pink. She sent it back and said, "We don't have time to wait any longer." To their credit, the restaurant took the whole meal off our bill. Lisa picked up a little bit of food from the con suite later.

We had to run the camera equipment back down to the ballroom, where she set up her gear to record the main Fannish Inquisition, which consists of bids for future SMOFCons, seated WSFS conventions, and bids for future WSFS conventions. I then had (with help) to go get the gear for the Probability & Statistics Seminar (gaming chips and playing cards) from the Astro, as the tournament was scheduled immediately after the Inquisition.

On top of all that, I was a participant in the Inquisition as a director of CanSMOF, which was bidding to host SMOFCon 38 in 2020. I took to the head table with bid chair Janie Shea, right after the folks from the previously mooted bid from Cleveland announced their withdrawal. After Janie presented the proposal for "Cirque de SMOFS", the Inquisition selected Montreal by acclamation, and we'll be heading to Canada next December.

After also hearing from future potential SMOFCons (Vincent Docherty presented a proposal to go to Lisboa (Lisbon) in 2021, and beyond that are groups bidding for the New York City and Los Angeles areas), We moved on to WSFS conventions.

Dublin 2019 presented pass-along funds to the next two Worldcons, and the next two Worldcon and the next year's NASFiC gave presentations. This was followed by the 2022 Worldcon bid for Chicago, and the 2023 bids for Memphis TN, Chengdu China, and Nice France. For 2024, Glasgow is bidding the expanded SEC (formerly the SECC), and for 2025 Seattle has their hat in the ring.

Lisa recorded it all, but it may take a couple of weeks to get it all online, due to the need to edit the video. I have the bandwidth at the various hotels to which we're traveling to do the uploads, but not enough time to edit the videos, not with working half days on the return trip. Video editing is time consuming.

Lisa did have the cooperation and help of the SMOFCon committee in getting the video and audio set up. The Tech Team were very helpful, Inquisition MC Kevin Roche directed traffic and kept time, and lot of people gave Lisa encouragement. After years of either indifference or hostility to Lisa doing these recordings, it was a great help to her to have people tell her than they appreciated her work.

As the Inquisition broke up, we shooed people off of a couple of the round tables and got set up for the Probability & Statistics Seminar, collected $10 buy-ins, distributed chips, set the timer, and shuffled up and dealt.

We had fewer signups this year, starting with only two tables. I was lucky to make the final table, after going all-in on a hand where there were only two cards that could save me on the river, and I drew out to put Judy Bemis out. However, shortly after we formed the final table, I ran through a couple of losing hands and finished ninth.

Of course, I'm last person who can leave the seminar because I have custody of the equipment, but as the blinds shot up, the players started falling quickly, and on three consecutive hands, the last four became three, then two, then one. The top three players were:

3rd place ($20): Sean McCoy
2nd place ($30): Kevin Black
1st place ($90): Gary Blog

People hung around after we cleaned up and packed the gear, and helped carry the chips down to the Astro. We hope to pass the gaming chips on to Janie Shea, who also drove to SMOFCon here and who plans to drive up to Montreal next December. That gear is heavy and does not travel by air well at all.

No pictures today, and nothing more about Saturday. I have a 10 AM panel on Sunday, and other things to do, including sitting a fan table to sell Westercon 74 memberships.

We're having fun, but we're working hard as well.