The panel on ethics in SF was proceeding nicely at illogicon iii earlier today. Moderator Metricula and panelists John Kessel, Jim Minz, Liz Woods, and I were ranging far and wide in our discussion of the topic, and the audience seemed to be engaged and enjoying the conversation.
Then all the phones in the room went off, most buzzing, a few playing their ring tones. All carried variations of the same message: Tornado warning. Severe storms were churning up our area as a front passed through.
No problem; just a warning. We finished the panel, and all was well.
I moved immediately to my next panel, an in-con recording of the Baen Free Radio Hour. Show host Tony Daniel had invited John Kessel, Jim Minz, Gray Rinehart, and me to discuss the future of the book. By now the wind was whipping the trees and blowing the rain sideways.
All the phones went off again. This time, though, the messages they carried all contained the same instructions: Take cover. The hotel had already spread through the con its instructions for safe (or, at least, as safe as possible) passage during tornadoes, which were basically to head to the ballroom, a large space with no exterior walls.
So some of us did. Most of the con did not. Those of us who did enter that room sat there until the warning was over about ten minutes later.
The show resumed. We did the podcast, which you should sometime soon be able to access via the link above. I enjoyed the conversation, which was as wide-ranging as the first one.
As I was getting ready to leave the con, I ran into Steve, who said, "I hope your house is okay." I had no idea why it wouldn't be, but Steve had heard that 85-mph (that's not a typo; eighty-five mile-per-hour) winds had knocked down a tree at the closest exit on I-540 to our house.
The house proved to be fine. Branches were down, but nothing particularly large. Cone Man had fallen,
but Allyn had already returned him to his standard standing pose.
So, the winds blew, they blew really hard and really fast, but we're all fine. For which I'm grateful.