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Terrycon... Rumor Miller Terry Hickman was in town the week before Baycon for her son's wedding, and naturally the local Rumor Millers organised ways to keep her occupied during the time between the wedding and Baycon. Sunday afternoon/evening saw a gathering of fans at Rebekah's house, with much fun and Italian takeaway had by all.
I woke up with a sinus infection. I have been sick at every single con I've been to in the last two years, and a mild sinus infection with bad but tolerable congestion was actually an improvement on some recent experiences. Didn't even bother taking a decongestant before leaving. Also forgot to pack the decongestant tablets, which was a mistake.:-(
I managed to hook up with friends from the Rumor Mill almost immediately on arrival, and by accident. Having collected my badge and conbook from pre-reg, I wandered out of the way of the queue and stopped in the first convenient place to deal with them -- and only then noticed various people trying to attract my attention. :-) Lori, Linz and Terry were standing about six feet in front of me, and I hadn't noticed.
We chatted for a while, then Terry and I eventually wandered up to the Skyview Lounge, partly to find where it was before my reading on Saturday, and partly because the panel,
Terry and I sneaked out of that panel a little early and headed off to cruise the dealers' room. Unfortunately Tom at Other Change of Hobbit was out of stock of the books I specifically wanted to buy (most notably the first part of Charlie Stross's The Merchant Princes), so I escaped the dealer's room with my cash intact. I lost track of Terry in the dealers' room, and wandered out again, intending to take in the art show. As it turned out, the art show was shut and remaining so until Saturday morning as there was a safety issue with the lighting, so I ended up roaming the halls for a while. Dumped some of my Spindrift bookmarks and a stack of flyers for Orbital 2008 on the flyer table, and chatted to Kevin Standlee as he posted flyers for Sunday's Match Game (which he kindly translated to "Blankety Blank" for me). I asked for his opinion on whether flyers for the British National Convention were a waste of time, and he felt that interest would be low but not non-zero. Also bumped into several friends, and caught up with Terry again in time to grab a snack before going to the "Design an alien tree" panel.
We went to the restaurant for an early dinner, then decided we weren't that hungry after all and headed back out to the pizza cart. I felt a lot better after some pizza. What I didn't realise at the time was that my craving for pizza was an early warning sign that the sinus infection had triggered a migraine. The
The main panels hadn't quite wound down for the night, but that was the last one I wanted to go to before mid-evening, and when I'd woken up with sinus problems I'd decided to skip the evening programme and go home and get a decent night's sleep. So I wandered the halls once more until it was time to wait for my lift, admiring the hall costumes and chatting to people. The BDSM folk were already out in costume, rather early in the evening, but the hotel staff are well used to this after twenty odd years, and didn't turn a hair. Went outside a little early to wait for my lift, as there was a new and exciting parking system this year that makes it difficult for someone to park for five minutes while looking for the person they're collecting. He was late, which meant that I spent twenty minutes standing in bright sunlight. If I had realised at this point that the sinus headache was masking early migraine symptoms... By the time I got home I was feeling thoroughly nauseated and fairly fuzzy. I posted a plaintive warning in my LJ and on the Rumor Mill that I might not make it back to the con the next day, managed to get down enough pasta to deal with the nausea, then took co-codeine and pseudoephedrin before staggering off to bed to sleep for a bit. I woke up a couple of hours later feeling much better for the sleep and quiet, so I'm very glad I skipped the evening programme.
I was feeling a lot better, but Lucy offered to come and collect me so that I wouldn't have to drive in bright sunshine. It meant missing the Rumor Mill breakfast get-together, which I regretted, but I wasn't really up to it.
Lucy and I went to the
After that we headed up to the Skyview Lounge, way up on the ninth floor, and found the previous group still in possession. We headed back down and went to the fanzine lounge for a while, and picked up our ribbons in support of the Hollister hoax Worldcon bid. Back up to Skyview, where the other folk for the
The original plan was to each spend five or ten minutes reading excerpts, but with only three authors showing on the day we went for reading a short story each. Christie Maurer was up first, with a warped fairy tale. I went next, with the Prologue from The Syndicate, which works as a standalone story. Kelly Green finished with a short story about an illicit alien presence on Earth. Quite a variety for the audience, which they seemed to appreciate. My reading went fairly well, although I did worry about overrunning -- I hadn't expected to read a short story and didn't realise how long the Prologue would take to read. But the audience laughed in all the right places and didn't look bored by the end.
The only problem was that we were sitting in the draught from the air-conditioning. I didn't notice at first, but started to get very uncomfortable about half way through. Unfortunately that wasn't really a point at which I could break and suggest that we rearrange the furniture. Christie mentioned in email afterwards that it had made her feel ill, and she'd had to leave as soon as the readings were over instead of hanging around to chat. I thoroughly enjoyed the other two stories, although I'd have enjoyed Kelly's more without the air-conditioning problem.
It was only the second reading I've done, so I was very nervous, and I'm grateful to various friends who showed up to be audience. We had a couple of dozen people in the audience once everyone arrived, which isn't bad for a reading in a room that takes a certain amount of effort to get to. It was well sign-posted by Saturday, but I'd been worried on Friday when Terry and I went looking for the room and found no signs at all.
At some point during the day Lucy and I hit the
In the end I got almost all of the things I'd bid on, including all the ones I particularly wanted, although I had to rebid on two, and ended up getting them for essentially the same or a little less as direct from the artist but without the shipping fees. Some nice stuff in the art show, especially the display by artist guest of honour Jim Burns. Quite a bit of stuff that fell under the heading of "I can see that it's very good, but I wouldn't want it myself", and several items that would have tempted me to bid if I wasn't already aiming at the previously mentioned pieces, and trying to be sensible about how much I spent. There was a lovely framed original watercolour by Patricia McCracken with a minimum bid of $60, which I know I will regret not bidding on when it was still unloved ten minutes before close of bidding.
A couple of the things I bought (specifically the 5x7" prints) were nominally purchased with the intent of using them as prizes at promo days on the romance mailing loops, but I'm not sure whether this will actually happen, as they are far too pretty for me to give up lightly. :-)
We met up with the Rumor Mill group for dinner at the Coffee Garden restaurant in the hotel, but there were too many of us for the table size that had been booked. There was a suggestion of booking a second table, but with it being a 45 minute wait, and so noisy that I was feeling ill (as were a couple of other people, it turned out), Terry, Lucy and I decided to decamp to an outside restaurant. I directed the car to Bo Town, a cheap and pleasant Chinese/Vietnamese restaurant in downtown San Jose. We had a very nice meal, with fast service, which is why I'd suggested it. Bo Town isn't exactly haut cuisine, but the food's nice enough, the menu is extensive, and the service is normally fast, friendly and good. We were back to the Doubletree in plenty of time for the eight o'clock panels.
Lucy and I opted for the
After that we did the hall cruising thing for a bit, checking out the party floor, and decided that we weren't that interested in partying and headed home. Lucy was staying with me overnight as she'd left it too late to get a hotel room and although she does live within driving distance it's a much shorter and easier drive to my place.
Took Lucy up to the Milk Pail, the local greengrocer/cheese emporium/import shop. We bought cheese-n-bread-n-fruit for lunch, and Lucy went ever so slightly overboard on cheese to take home with her. I do believe the shop has been added to her Things To Do This Side Of The Mountains list. :-) Back to the con in time to sit around and yack with people for a while and grab a pizza slice (useful as part of the anti-migraine regime). Stopped at the autograph table to talk to David Friedman for a bit before heading to
We stayed in the room for the next panel,
We did another tour of the art show and the dealer's room, then hung out in Hal and Dorothy's room for a while before making a move on dinner. Lucy wanted to go back to Bo Town, and Dorothy perked up at the mention of Chinese food, so it was an easy decision. Different combination of dishes, but still nice, fast and cheap. Back to the Doubletree, where the parking lot was as full as ever. Hal dropped us near the hotel entrance, then went in search of parking in the expectation he'd be walking from somewhere outside the main lot, but appeared a few minutes later, having found a spot right in front of the hotel...
Back to the art show fifteen minutes before close of bidding, to put in overbids where necessary. As it turned out two of the ones I wanted hadn't been bid on by anyone else, and two more were at a level I was willing to bid over, so I slapped in new bids and wandered off, lest I be tempted to further expenditure. Lucy and I went to veg out at the belly dance session for a while before heading home for the night. Some great dancing, and watching it for ten or fifteen minutes was a pleasant way to wind down.
I was driving myself this morning, so left it reasonably late rather than trying to get there for the first panel. Bought my membership for next year's con, then checked the art show results and found that I'd won everything I'd still been bidding for the night before. Ran into Robert and Terry and made plans to meet up for lunch. The next panel I wanted to go to was
Just had time to put the art in the car before getting to the
And there was in passing a mention of the fact that any dinosaur fossil environment will give you either bones or footprints, never both - they're mutually exclusive. So don't put both in a dig in one of your stories unless you want to annoy readers who know that sort of thing.
Off to lunch after the panel with Terry and Robert. We opted for the Coffee Garden restaurant in the hotel, which was the first time I'd actually eaten there all weekend -- prior to that I'd been grabbing pizza slices or eating out. The food's been expensive but adequate in previous years, but sadly the Real English Fish And Chips were no such thing, and pretty poor quality. The chips were the particularly thin and weedy variety of fries rather than real chips, and the fresh catch of the day was all too obviously mass-produced frozen and watery battered pieces of fish, cooked to a significantly lower standard than is actually possible with said out-of-a-catering-packet fish. No vinegar supplied either, in spite of the menu's promises, and none of it was exactly what one might call hot. It was also significantly more expensive than the better and hotter meals at Bo Town. I do hope none of the Americans thought that's what real fish and chips are like. I was disappointed, as I hadn't expected it to be wonderful, but the food was definitely of poorer quality than previous years. It would certainly encourage me to eat elsewhere if possible next year.
After that we went to the closing ceremony, and then it was All Over for another year. I had a great time, even if I can't remember a lot of it clearly owing to pharmaceutical assistance. And the big highlight for me this year, the Broad Universe group reading, went splendidly. It was great to catch up with so many friends from both rec.arts.sf.composition and the Rumor Mill, and I'm looking forward to next year's con.
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© Copyright 2006 Jules Jones