Kevin Standlee (kevin_standlee) wrote,
Kevin Standlee

Putting SMOFCon 28 to Bed

This afternoon I skipped the panel I wanted to attend ("The Unopposed Worldcon Bid Effect"), but I felt rather obliged to go to "10 Things I Wish I’d Known Before I Chaired a Worldcon." SMOFCon is one of the highest concentrations of former Worldcon chairs outside of the Old Pharts' Party at Worldcon itself. I may have missed someone, but I counted 13 former chairs and 2 current chairs. (I count each individual as 1 regardless of how many Worldcons s/he chaired or co-chair status, but only count those who were chairs at the time of their Worldcon.) That means a full 10% of the people at SMOFCon 28 are current or past Worldcon chairs.

For the list of things that we came up with, see my writeup on the panel, which is the first program write-up that I've posted. We plan to post all of the writeups I receive as I find the time for them.

About 3 PM, I got a call from the Chairman, who realized that none of the paper handouts said where the 4 PM Feedback session was. I quickly popped down to the business center and printed a bunch of signs that said "Feedback Session/4 PM Grand Ballroom," and while Lisa ran up to the Grand Suite and posted some there, I posted some on the easel signs on the second floor function rooms, the Grand Ballroom itself, and the easel sign sitting by the former Registration table. (We didn't bother staffing Registration on Sunday. By the way, we had 147 total SMOFCon members, out of which 139 actually attended; out of these, 27 joined at the door.)

I sat in the Feedback Session and live-tweeted the feedback statements (look for #Smofcon), while Lisa videoed the session. I have a lot of editing work to do before I can post the video.

Most of the feedback surrounded the Open Space Programming experiment. I expected complaints, and there were indeed problems with the venue that we knew were problems. This was forced upon us by us being squeezed out of our desired space by better-paying banquets. What I didn't expect was how many people — mostly the younger members, although that's not universally the case — were actually highly enthusiastic and happy about the OSP. One of the comments I remembered was, approximately, "I got to actually lead a program item that I don't think would even have been on the program under any other system. It was empowering." But I bet that if you polled only those people who have attended more than ten SMOFCons, it would have been about 3-to-1 against ever trying this again.

People liked the hotel, and I've come to like it myself. It's almost exactly right for a meeting of our size. We also don't seem to have been raked over the coals about the need to use Room K across the street in the Convention Center for the "Fannish Inquisition." Actually, my overall feeling about the feedback was that I was expecting pitchforks and flaming torches and instead we got some rather justified grumbling over a facilities issue that we knew was going to be a problem and about which we really couldn't figure out any better solution.

Martin Easterbrook from the newly-seated SMOFCon 29 was on the head table for this event and was taking notes for next year's SMOFCon. SMOFCon 28 also announced that, due to higher-than-expected at-the-door registrations, we expect to be able to donate US$1200 to SMOFCon 29 — a kind of "Pass-Along Funds" for SMOFCon. We also donated the two cases of chips that we bought to next year; Steve Cooper and drplokta each volunteered to carry one of the approximately 4 kg cases home in their luggage. I offered to run another tournament next year if I'm able to attend. (And we'll have to find people to carry the cases back to SMOFCon 30, of course, if this becomes a Tradition.)

And then the convention was officially over. The Hospitality Suite remained open, though, and many people were staying over tonight (including me). Lisa invited Bill Parker to join us for dinner at Original Joe's, just a block from the hotel. (It had started raining, and we had no enthusiasm for going very far.) It was the first time I'd eaten there since during ConJosé. They still serve very generous portions. Bill couldn't finish all of his calamari steak, while Lisa had to get her calamari steak sandwich in a take-out box. I ate all of my spaghetti and sausage, but it was a lot of food. We sort of waddled back to the hotel after an enjoyable dinner and good relaxed conversation — something I rarely have an opportunity to do outside of events like this.

I hung around the Con Suite until about 10:30 PM, when I bade those left good night and headed back to the hotel room. Lisa had already started winding down. I decided I wanted some milk for my breakfast cereal tomorrow, but realized that the nearby Market by Safeway closed at 11 PM. I tossed on my coat, headed for the elevator, and trotted over the four blocks to the grocery. I was back in the hotel room a mere 17 minutes after I left, but my legs hurt from the fast walking.

Now we're trying to wind down sufficiently to get to sleep. Lisa is not feeling very well at all, and we do need to be up and out of here early enough Monday so that she can get her pickup truck from my office and get out of the Bay Area during the mid-day traffic lull. She has a long drive ahead of her tomorrow.

I agreed to pick up several SMOFCon attendees from the hotel Monday evening and take them to the BASFA meeting that evening. Some of them have been at BASFA meetings before, but always those at a convention, not those at the "home" location.

It feels like I'm leaving things out, but it is once again very late, and while I'm taking tomorrow off, I don't know how much rest, if any, I'm going to to get.

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