Friday, August 7, 2009

On the road again: Worldcon, Montreal, day 3

Snapshots from a con day:

Awoke after four hours of sleep and not feeling particularly refreshed.

Found out the work conference call for which I'd awakened was not to be, then meant to rest a bit but instead worked.

Did another work conference call and some more work.

Showered and headed to lunch with Jennie and Jim Minz, friend and Baen editor. The three of us consumed major quantities of Basque tapas at Pinxto, where the worst dish was good and most were damn good.

Rushed to the con to watch a ninety-minute panel on cover design with Jennie, John Picacio, Lou Anders, and several others holding forth. It was all interesting and never boring, quite a commendation for a panel of any sort.

Checked the art show, bid on a few cool pieces, and had several spontaneous conversations with old friends.

Worked. A lot. Most was work work, but some was preparing for the writers' workshop I'm doing tomorrow with Elizabeth Bear as part of the con-long workshop.

Dinner at Toque, where we opted for the tasting menu. After the first three courses, I was willing to believe I had encountered a world-class chef team. From that point on, however, the meal slid from fabulous to good. Still, quite a lovely dinner.

Worked. A lot. Really.

Party crawled for half an hour just to get out of the room. Spent a bit of time chatting with the folks bidding for the NASFIC in Raleigh next year. They seemed nice, and I hope they get it.

Worked. Still working.

I hope tomorrow contains less work and more con.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

On the road again: Worldcon, Montreal, day 2

Flashes from a Worldcon day:

Sacrificed some con time for an extravagant seven hours of sleep. Oh, silly sleeping man!

Worked way too many hours, including two conference calls.

A panel on Open Science went surprisingly well, all things considered. Over fifty folks attended and seemed interested and even animated on the topic.

One of the audience members was Geoff Ryman, a writer whose work I have long liked and admired. In a moment of fanboy geek behavior, I caught him as he was leaving and told him how much I enjoyed his work. As it turned out, he had been talking to Jim Minz, a Baen editor, that morning about, among other things, my work. Geoff and I engaged in a short but interesting conversation that I feel lucky to have had.

My second panel, which addressed the topic of who should pay for science, went rather less well, with only about twenty people there. It did not help, of course, that we were opposite the opening ceremonies. I tried to be both informative and entertaining, but I suspect my periodic annoyance was more than clear to many, if not most of the attendees. I did the best I could.

Dinner was at Au Pied de Cochon, where we become foie-drunk on foie gras poppers (not their name, but basically what they were), poutine with foie gras, and pig's foot stuffed with foie gras. The last was enormous, and we finished less than a third of it. (I took photos with my phone but don't have email from it while in Canada, so I'll try to remember to post those photos later.) I don't need to eat the last dish again, but I"m glad I tried it.

At the restaurant, we ran into Alan and Jude again. They were having dinner with Jim Minz.

Later, going to con parties, we ran into...Jim Minz (with Alan and not). Jim is everywhere.

In closing, I must share two non-con items. The first is a news story that caught my attention with this blurb:

Elderly Woman
Busted Again
Caught With Salmon in Pants
It's 61st Arrest for 86-Year-Old

Really, how can you not click on a story with that third line? (For those who want it, here it is.)

The second is this Zombieland R-rated trailer, which Kyle brought to my attention. The mere prospect of going to that movie brightens my world. Wait for the cock-blocking line to appreciate its full genius. Wow. I am so there.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

On the road again: Worldcon, Montreal, day 1

Two and a half hours of sleep for two nights in a row is not enough even for me. Still, after an overly long shower, I was able to become functional again and head off to the airport for an early flight. (Frequent readers know there's nothing I like more than an early flight.) Aside from a bad case of asshole-next-to-me in the Admirals Club and one guy smacking me in the face with the bag he was pulling down from the overhead storage, I have no right to complain about the trip. The planes took off and landed safely, the flight attendant (the same one on each flight) was great, and I'm safely in Montreal.

The late part of the afternoon included an hour lost to changing rooms due to a non-functioning Ethernet cable. It took me a long time to prove to the hotel's brain trust that it wasn't my notebook or anything other than the Ethernet connection, but once I had done so, their only recourse was to give me a new room, because repairing the connection is a multi-week process.
I then mixed con stuff (registration, helping set up Jain's art in the art show) and work to reasonable success. Jain's 3D art objects are wonderful, and the more she embraces the weird with them, the better they get. I hope fans here prove to be savvy enough to buy them all!

Dinner was an enjoyable couple of hours with Alan Beatts, Jude Feldman, and John Picacio. We talked books and writing and art and bad hotels and all manner of topics, and I had a lovely time.

Tomorrow, the panels start.

When next I write to you

I will be in Montreal for Anticipation, the 2009 World Science Fiction Convention. I have quite been looking forward to this con, though my current workload suggests it may be rather exhausting. I shall hope for the best.

Many people ask me how much I plan for cons. Tonight's planning should suffice as an example. It's about 1:30 a.m. now. I have to get up at 6:30 a.m. I still have some writing to do, and then I will start packing. Start.

So, not so much on the planning.

In other news, the moon tonight was full (or nearly so) and pale yellow and heavy in the sky, the kind of moon that made our distant ancestors sure that something big was coming. Harvest moon is my favorite moon, and this one is second, so I felt lucky to get to spend a little time looking at it earlier. I'll admire it again later, clouds permitting, when I take out Holden.

I spend an inordinate amount of time tired and stressed, and yet I am so lucky and live a far better life than I had any right to expect. I need to keep that in mind more.

Here's hoping Montreal brings great stories and more magic.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

I'm so proud

Today was a big day here at the Van Name household, a rite of passage, if you will: Sarah got her own xBox gamertag. Now, she can sign in under her own name, accumulate her own losses, live with her own poor ranking, and endure all the humiliation her father already experiences.

Choosing a gamertag is a tricky proposition. You want something that expresses your personality, that is classy and yet informal, that tells the other gamers that you're a serious force to be reckoned with. (Sarah adds: no numbers.)

Sarah considered many candidates, including such expressive options as

latin scholar
Octopus of Crime
John C Calhoun
In the end, though, she opted for the one label that she felt truly captured her essence as a gamer:
I'm so very proud.

Actually, I am, and if you're among the irony-impaired who can't appreciate it, I can only say: Good show upholding our moral standards.

(NOTE FROM SARAH: I won't accept friend requests from creepers--and, I rock at Halo.)

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Why I wore the cone suit

Ticia, my Balticon handler and now friend, posted a comment on yesterday's Cone man entry and my "I am stupid" label. In that comment, which for your ease of reference I've replicated here, she asked a couple of questions.

"I am stupid" is a bit harsh.

The pictures are great, but I sense a story behind the donning of said costume.

Did you lose a bet?

Were you forced to sing the "Nothing" song from "A Chorus Line"?
No, I did not lose a bet.

No, I did not have to sing the "Nothing"--or any other--song.

The reason I was cone man is the same as the reason for the "I am stupid" label: I wanted to wear the cone.

You see, I have the kind of mind that, as Russell Brand commented in a stand-up routine we saw at the beach, sees a situation and wants to do something inappropriate. The moment I saw the cone man suit, I thought, I wonder what's it like to be the cone, and then immediately after that, I want to be the cone.

Unfortunately for those around me, I also have the kind of mind that leads me to act on such impulses.

Hence the cone man appearance--and the label.

I didn't even show you the pictures of me working the parking lot for business for the ice cream store, hugging my kids and friends, or making some of them dance with me. See, I do have some self-control.


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