randy_byers: (cap)
During the Worldcon file770.com published a story called "Magic Sofas at Sasquan"by Leigh Strother-Vien. This is an ode to the comfortable sofas and chairs in the area "near Site Selection & Exhibits." That just happened to by the Lost World Fanzine Lounge, which was run by a gang of hardy fanzine fans with yours truly as bedraggled figurehead. Leigh was apparently completely unaware that the area had a name, despite the large banner that said Lost World Fanzine Lounge. Or maybe it was immaterial to her. That's the way fan/fanzine lounges are supposed to work, after all. They're a place to take a load off as you wander around exhibits.

So let me just praise Ulrika O'Brien for designing such a comfy fanzine lounge and pushing hard for lots of comfy chairs, ottomans (!), and carpet. It really made for a great space to collapse and yak with friends and strangers. Thanks also to Randy Smith, Sarah Goodman, and Chip Hitchcock for making Ulrika's ideas enter the real world.

For those looking for more than a magic sofa, we also had some great exhibits of fan art and fanzines, and I was very pleased to see many people coming by to look at the exhibits. The work of putting art on foam core (and foam core on pegboard) was done by Ulrika, Andy Hooper, Carrie Root, carl juarez, Scott Kreidermacher, Jerry Kaufman, Suzle Tompkins, and Tom Becker. They did an absolutely fantastic job, and it was great to see folks stopping by to slowly work their way from panel to panel. We had covers from nine of Art Widner's fanzines of the '40s, we had dinosaur posters by Brad Foster, Stu Shiffman, Steve Stiles, Espana Sheriff, and Marc Schirmeister, we had a massive display of Stu's artwork, we had smaller displays of artwork by Sue Mason, Steve Stiles, and Ulrika, and we had every cover for Chunga, with artwork by at least fifteen different artists, including most of those mentioned above.

One small gratification, in what was a complex array of gratifications and disappointments, came when John Hertz stopped by on the last day of the convention to say that we had bailed him out, in a way. John always puts together a display of artwork by the Rotsler Award winning artists, but this year he couldn't find the file of artwork he created for the purpose. He was able print out a few lo-res pieces from the internet to display, but he was also able to point people to our exhibit. I had been a little concerned that we would step on his toes with our display, but in the event we actually filled a gap.

I'll no doubt have more to say about Sasquan in the coming weeks, although I'm not sure how much will get posted here. I'm planning to write about it for the next issue of Chunga. Short version: It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. But thanks to the great work of many good friends, the Lost World Fanzine Lounge pretty much totally rocked. And it had magic sofas too.
randy_byers: (shiffman)
Without going into detail, I should mention that I've continued to have some trouble with my health this past week. While I'm going to Spokane tomorrow, I'm not sure how interactive with the Worldcon I'll actually be. For all I know I'll be recuperating by the pool for most or all of the convention. Fortunately the fanzine lounge will be in the capable telepathic tentacles of many excellent fans. I believe everything I've promised to do will be done, but any last minute requests should be directed elsewhere. Hope to see some of you at Sasquan, even if it's only at the poolside.

Conning

Jul. 13th, 2015 09:44 am
randy_byers: (shiffman)
Plans are proceeding apace for two conventions in August: Prolog(ue): A Pre-Worldcon Relaxacon, which is being held in the Seattle area August 14-16, and Sasquan: A Post-Relaxacon Worldcon, which is being held in Spokane August 19-23. I am area head for the fan/fanzine lounge at Sasquan, and I'm more or less just a useful idiot for Prolog(ue), which is being chaired by Ulrika O'Brien.

We're just a month away from the beginning of these festivities, and so this would be what they call crunchtime. I fell like I'm working almost non-stop on various organizing efforts, although probably the reality is that I'm mostly thinking about it non-stop. I've got a lot on my mind. Still, it's not all mental activity. On Saturday, for instance, I wrangled two large pieces of artwork to two different shops in an attempt to get them scanned. I'm still not sure that the scans I managed to have made at my second stop will be sufficient for the purpose, which is to have those pieces of artwork (and three others that I already had digital files for) printed as posters to decorate the Lost World Fanzine Lounge. All of the artwork is dinosaur related, because the Lost World Fanzine Lounge is where the dinosaurs of fanzine production still roam.

Also on Saturday I joined Ulrika, Scott, and carl at Gallaghers' Where-U-Brew in Edmonds to bottle the beer we had previously brewed two weeks ago. This beer is an imperial stout that we'll be serving at both Proglog(ue) and Sasquan. My contribution to the effort on Saturday was to put caps on bottles. It's a nice beer, too, although not weak!

These two activities were on top of lots of email correspondence, as well as other non-convention work I had on my agenda, including picking the last of my raspberries and writing a couple of blog posts. But it wasn't all work on Saturday. I also went to Julie McGuff's 50th birthday party at Andy and Carrie's, which was great fun, even though I pooped out around 8:00 and crawled home to unload the cases of beer from my car and into the basement.

On Sunday, more correspondence in the morning, and then in the afternoon I headed up to Andi Shechter's place to consult about the exhibition of Stu Shiffman's art that we'll be doing in the fanzine lounge. Andi has been going through boxes and boxes of fanzines and old notebooks looking for Stu's artwork and having a friend scan it all. These scans will feed into various projects Andi has in mind, and we're taking advantage of it for Sasquan. There will also be a memorial for Stu at Sasquan, but Andi still hasn't made up her mind whether she wants to face the potential emotional turmoil of attending the convention.

After that I was too wiped to see straight, so I went home and did a little bit more program wrangling for Sasquan before plopping myself in front of the TV to watch a movie. The To Do List seems hardly dented, and I'm sure the next few weekends will be just as busy, even if most of the business is in my brain. I'm getting to the point where I'm telling myself that it's okay if I don't get everything on the To Do List done. Everything's going to be fine, even if all the plans and ideas don't come to fruition. Whew!
randy_byers: (cap)
Last weekend was the All Hands meeting for Sasquan, which is the World Science Fiction Convention being held in Spokane in August. Ulrika O'Brien and I went as part of the fanzine lounge team (I'm the area head), and we were joined at the last minute by Suzle, who had been asked if she could help wrangle the function space in various hotels.

On the way to Spokane on Friday we took U.S. Route 2, which meanders through a beautiful section of the Cascades where you also find little mountain towns like Gold Bar and the Bavarian-kitsch village of Leavenworth. I had never taken this drive, and it was just as picturesque as advertised. It takes longer than just bombing out to Spokane on Interstate 90, but it's worth the time, if you have it. However, you might give the Wallace Falls Cafe in Gold Bar a miss.

20150530_104326-1.jpg


Friday night was a Division Heads meeting in which we got progress reports from various divisions. Saturday morning and afternoon were walk-throughs of the convention center, the Doubletree hotel, and the Davenport hotel. I'd been through all of them before in February, but I went through the convention center and Davenport (which is the party hotel where we hope to have a suite for the evening fanzine lounge) again just to let it sink in a bit more. It was particularly helpful to go through the convention center again, and I started getting images in my head of what it was going to be like when it was full of, well, the Worldcon and all that goes on there. I could begin to envision the 11-ring circus that is to come.

Suzle needed to go through the Doubletree, because some of her responsibilities will be there (function space in the Doubletree includes the consuite, gaming, and filking), but Ulrika and I hove off to eat lunch at the Post Street Ale House and then to revisit the NoLi Brewery when it turned out that nearby Ramblin' Road Brewery (which we hadn't made it to in February) wasn't actually open at their advertised opening hour. Still, the NoLi beer was mighty fine, and we had a good time arguing about who was the better Dogberry, Michael Keaton (sez Ulrika) or Nathan Fillion (sez me).

20150530_140319.jpg
I drink beer while Ulrika hits Google to prove me wrong. Again.


After the Davenport walk-through, the three of us had dinner with Sean McCoy at Italia Trattoria, which is a marvelous restaurant in a funky little mostly-residential neighborhood. Sean is Facilities Division Head and an old friend of Ulrika's, and he was one of the people heavily recruiting Suzle. While they talked business, I medicated myself with a lovely cocktail called a negroni, which blended campari, gin, vermouth, and a garnish of lemon peel. The lamb chops were also superb.

Medication was necessary, because after dinner was two hours of discussion of the budget led ably by Ben Yalow. Thanks to the great influx of supporting memberships, Sasquan is actually in fine shape financially, but there's still a lot of work to do on the final budget. I need to work over the numbers for the fanzine lounge by next Saturday, for example. Oh joy!

Sunday morning was a continuation of the Division Head meeting, including a progress report from our Division Head, Randy Smith. (Which is to say that the fanzine lounge is under Exhibits this year.) Fortunately I wasn't asked to say much, although I did manage to mumble out a joke about why we were calling ourselves the Lost World Fanzine Lounge. ("Because it's where the dinosaurs of fanzine publication still roam.") Then we spent two hours working on the timeline. By the lunch break we had gotten a skeleton of Monday through Wednesday done. (The convention starts on Wednesday, not the usual Thursday, this year.) The three of us headed home after that, although we had lunch at the Post Street Ale House first and ran into Ruth Sachter and John Lorentz there.

20150529_212743.jpg
Division Head meeting


As I've said before, this is the first Worldcon that I've ever worked on in an official capacity, and thus it's the first time I've seen behind the curtain, as it were. I am receiving an eye-opening education in the elaborate organizational structure and sheer amount of work that goes into running a modern Worldcon. There's still a lot of work to do in the next couple of months, but everything seems to be coming together nicely. We haven't finalized everything for the fanzine lounge, but we at least know where the daytime fanzine lounge is going to be and got a look at the space in the convention center. We'll be right next to the bar, which is called Guinan's. I was also very pleased to learn that Randy Smith has arranged for the bar to serve some of the excellent beer and cider brewed in Spokane.

As for what we'll be doing in the fanzine lounge, well, that's starting to come together too. We'll have posters, exhibits, and displays (Tom Whitmore has offered to lend us some prime fanzines from the '40s, and Guest of Honor Leslie Turek will be lending us all her zines as well), we'll have a reception for TAFF delegate Nina Horvath, we'll have memorials for Art Widner, Stu Shiffman, and Peggy Rae Sapienza, we'll have a discussion of Susan Wood that Tom Becker is organizing, we'll have the WOOF collation led by Andy Hooper, and there's been some discussion of using the fanzine lounge as a stop in a fannish scavenger hunt. No doubt there will be more as we develop our ideas. Feel free me to send me yours, and if you come to Sasquan please stop by the Lost World Fanzine Lounge. We'll have ourselves a time.

And that's not even mentioning the potential pleasures of this year's Hugo Ceremony and WSFS Business Meeting!

20150530_104832-1.jpg
Spotted outside the auditorium where the Hugos will be presented
randy_byers: (cap)
20140816_London


Loncon 3 was my eighth World Science Fiction Convention, and by this time they are beginning to seem a bit familiar. A bit been-there-done-that. Of course this could have something to do with the fact that in my first 25 years of going to conventions, I made it to only three Worldcons, while in the past nine years I've been to five. Maybe I need to go less frequently if I want to maintain the thrill. Familiarity breeds contempt, absence makes the heart grow fonder, and 3/25ths is clearly greater than 5/9ths. Then again, my two absolute favorite Worldcons were 2005 and 2009, which were both part of the recent burst, but the fun of those two was the result of purely personal factors that really had little to do with the conventions themselves.

I guess part of what I'm trying to say up front here is that I anticipated that a London Worldcon would be something pretty special, because of the location in one of the world's great cities, and while from an objective or empirical viewpoint it *was* something pretty special (c.f. over ten thousand total members, which is the most ever for a Worldcon), my personal experience of it was comparable to, say, the Reno Worldcon in 2011, which was the last Worldcon I'd been to. I had a good time, but I really didn't have anything resembling desperate fun. Well, maybe I came pretty close to desperate fun a time or two. Let's see how the story unfolds.

Desperately seeking fun ... )
randy_byers: (cap)
I'm back from my trip, and I'll probably write about it later. In the meantime I'm posting pictures of the memorial plaques that Seattle Vanguardians sponsored for the benches at Loncon 3. Due to a logistical cock-up typical of conventions, especially an enormously complicated one like Loncon, these plaques weren't deployed until Sunday, but it was still an immensely moving experience to finally sit on the bench and remember old friends. I'm not sure how many other benches there were, but there were a lot more familiar names on the rest.

I apologize for the poor quality of the pictures, but the plaques are currently in possession of Jerry and Suzle, who will be bringing them back to Seattle for all to see. The current idea is that we'll permanently attach them to a new bench that will live at Andy and Carrie's house, since they host so many fannish parties these days. However, this is a matter that's still up for discussion.

In case it's too hard to read, the names on these memorial plaques are: Anita Rowland, Anna Vargo, F.M. 'Buz' Busby, Chris Bates, Dave Clements, Heather Wright, Joanna Russ, Michael Scanlon, Octavia S. Butler, Sharon Baker, Scott Scidmore, Sharma Oliver, and Bob Doyle.

Many thanks to Farah Mendlesohn for organizing the sponsored benches for the convention.

Loncon Plaque 1

Loncon Plaque 2
randy_byers: (cap)
Spokane-Clock Tower
View from the convention center


I spent the weekend in Spokane with [livejournal.com profile] akirlu attending a facilities walk-through and planning meetings for Sasquan, the 2015 World Science Fiction Convention, and also just poking around the city, which I had never visited before. [livejournal.com profile] akirlu and I (as well as other of the usual suspects amongst Seattle fanzine fandom) are running the fanzine lounge in 2015, and she thought it would be a good idea for us to meet the committee and especially to talk to Randy Smith, who is head of the Exhibits division, which is handling the fanzine lounge. Indeed, of the roughly twenty people who came for the weekend, I had met only five before, so it was probably good to make ourselves known to more of them.

These were the first Worldcon planning meetings that I've ever observed, and it confirmed my feeling that it's not something I'd want to do very much of, while at the same time being fascinating and educational in a variety of ways, from people to process to politics. There were a lot of jokes about Worldcon sausage being made, and the jokes seemed appropriate. It was great to spend some time with Randy Smith (one of four Randys I encountered over the weekend), who is very interested in the fanzine lounge even though it's only one small corner of what he's dealing with. It was also a pleasure to meet and start to get acquainted with various other folks, including the Chair, Sally Woehrle. A lot of folks were from out of state, but there were also a number of us from the Seattle area and a contingent of locals. The politics of outreach to the locals, and the different convention-running cultures on each side of the mountains, was one of the more interesting topics of the weekend. All in all, I was impressed with the people running the show.

Alongside all that was the exploration of Spokane itself, and I came away impressed with that as well. First off, there's something like seven micro-breweries, which is a good way to win my heart. We visited two of them, NoLi Brewhouse and 12 Strings Brewing Company, and I liked them both. The NoLi also has a pretty good food menu that included poutine. (I had the steak salad.) A group of us had lunch at the Saranac Public House, which has a good selection of beers from around the West Coast and a nice food menu as well. That's just the tip of the beer iceberg. [livejournal.com profile] akirlu and I also had dinner at Wild Sage Bistro, which was a little spendy but utterly fantastic. The flash fried calamari, which had been soaked in buttermilk over night and was served on a bed of shredded home made kimchee and pepperocinis, was to die for. We twice ate breakfast at Frank's Diner, which has great food and is located in an ornate old railway car. In general I got a strong impression that there's a good foodie thing going on in Spokane.

The downtown area is pretty interesting, with some cool old office buildings and a couple of architecturally impressive churches. The Davenport Hotel, which will be the party hotel, is just as spectacular and elegant as advertised. Some of the ballrooms, which the convention may or may not be able to use (they are still negotiating), are truly astonishing. The convention center is set right on the river across from a lovely city park. There seem to be a lot of restaurants and bars in the area, as well as some interesting looking shops.

Well, as I say, I was impressed. I know that there's been a fair amount of skepticism about this convention, but I hope folks will give it another look. Aside from everything else going on, we are going to do our best to make the fanzine lounge a happening place for birds of our feather and any and all folks looking for a port in the Worldcon storm. I honestly think we could have a total blast out there in Spokane, which was the earliest European settlement in Washington State (circa 1810, so not long after the Lewis and Clark Expedition) and feels like a place with real, live history. There's gold in them thar hills, I do believe.

Spokane-Davenport Ballroom
Viewing the Marie Antoinette Ballroom in the Davenport Hotel
randy_byers: (cap)
It appears that I've agreed to run the fanzine lounge at the 2015 World Science Fiction Convention in Spokane. My goal is to be the scapegoat figurehead in front of a crack team of experts in the running of fanzine lounges. Will you join the fun?
randy_byers: (2010-08-15)
To a large extent, Worldcon is comprised of a long sequence of conversations with a variety of people, and the process of trying to remember Worldcon becomes a process of remembering who I talked to, which too easily becomes a list of names: John Hertz, Lise Eisenberg, Art Widner (whose comment that it's extremely difficult to find a typo in Chunga was perhaps my favorite of the convention), Paul Wrigley and Debbi Cross, Brian Brown, Janice Gelb, Michael Heath, Alice Lawson, Lisa Freitag (whom I'd never met) ...

It's true that once again I made it to very little programming. I think the only program item I went to was the interview with John Coxon, where once again I was impressed by his calm intelligence and goofy sense of humor. Is this guy really only 22? Far too self-assured for that! I caught a bit of the fan fund auction as well, but other than that I can't think of any program items I went to. I did make two expeditions into the dealers room, where I resisted first editions of Serviss and Brackett and ended up only buying Vanguard Productions' RGK: The Art of Roy G. Krenkel. A good dealers room, as this one was, is always an education, if nothing else. This time around I revealed myself as a complete boob by being astounded, as it were, that Galaxy was a digest-size magazine. Three people turned as one to say "Duh!" when I expressed surprise. No, there really is no excuse for not having known that before.

Other than the WOOF collation, the only other work I did at the convention was helping Catherine Crockett with the evening fanzine lounge. carl and I went shopping with her at the Food Source on Friday, which was the first night EFL was open (and even then it was taken over by Randy Smith's 50th birthday party, which wasn't properly considered the fanzine lounge itself, although it was a good party in its own right, though several people thought it was my party and apologized to me for not making it). We bought massive quantities of beer, pop, and munchies, and while the beer selection was acceptable, it was nowhere near as amazing as what was available in Montreal, where we stocked the fanzine lounge with Unibroue, amongst other things. Anyway, on Saturday after dinner at the Hong Kong Diner, carl and I helped Catherine with set-up in the EFL, and that was pretty much it for my working life at the convention. Colin Hinz took over from there, assisting Catherine as she rolled out a steady flow of food and drink. It was also Colin who came in during set-up to gleefully announce that Claire Brialey, Chris Garcia, and James Bacon had won fan Hugos.

This was a relatively low-energy con for me. I suspect the elevation and dehydrating heat had something to do with it. My nose got sore and dry the first couple of days, until I followed Catherine's advice and put some moisturizer in my nostrils. I went to bed relatively early the first couple of nights of the con, but I seemed to regain my energy by Friday and was up into the wee hours both Friday and Saturday. Perhaps I'd gotten used to the lack of oxygen.

Saturday in the EFL was definitely a high point of the convention. When Colin announced who the fan Hugo winners were, there was a palpable excitement in the room. Sometime later James showed up with his Hugo, and the room just exploded. He handed the statue to me, and cameras materialized out of thin air. Pretty soon the rocket was being handed around, camera flashes were popping, and Craig Glassner was promising to set up a My Hugo page on Facebook with all the pictures. What a fuss! I don't think I've ever seen anything quite like it. When Claire arrived a while later with her own rocket, the room burst into applause and I turned from my conversation with John Hertz and shouted, "Bravo! Bravo!" John and I had just been talking about how fannish traditions and institutions are not oppressive (or not only oppressive) but a way of passing information forward, and here the Hugo voters were informing the future of a fan writer worth reading.

Well, it was really something. I suppose that same scene was playing out all over the convention at other parties where Hugo-winners made an appearance. I guess the only other time I've really hung out with Hugo-winners right after the ceremony was with the Plokta Cabal in Glasgow in 2005, and that time my enthusiasm was overwhelmed by ungracious disappointment that Chunga had not been the winner. It was a pleasure to be unencumbered by such envy this time around. I don't think I've ever seen James Bacon in such a vulnerable state. I don't think he knew what to feel.

Around 3:30am I thought it was probably time to go to bed, especially since we were planning to hit the road to Oregon in about twelve hours, but then Dave Cake arrived and pushed the energy levels back up. Whenever I saw Dave at the convention I was reminded that I was one of his DUFF nominators and that therefore I could claim some of the credit for his glorious presence. I first met Dave at the 2005 Worldcon, so our connection is another testament to the Worldcon community too. He got to talking about natural disasters in Australia, as you do. The topic was the flooding in Queensland and wildfires in Western Australia last year. "I took to telling people that I wasn't from the part of Australia that was under water," Dave said, "I was from the part that was on fire." It's only fitting then, I suppose, that Dave is off to Burning Man next weekend.

Earlier in the party I'd been in a conversation with Paul Wrigley (a British immigrant to the US), Debbi Cross (his American wife), and a Norwegian fan named Tore Audun, whom I suddenly remembered having chatted with on a convention shuttle bus in Glasgow. (He didn't remember me, unsurprisingly. Americans are a dime a dozen at Worldcons, but Norwegians are relatively rare.) A little later I was happily chatting away with Mark Plummer of England and Alan Stewart of Australia and thinking cosmic thoughts of global fandom. I've been saying for the past few years that Corflu and Worldcon are my favorite conventions, and there's no doubt that a big part of it is that they are the conventions where I see fans from other countries. I like hearing the news of the world, not to mention the gossip. I like the sense of global community. These are the two conventions where I can get the biggest dose of it, aside from traveling to other countries myself. Even if Renovation didn't hit the stratospheric heights of the two foreign Worldcons I've been to, it gave me a healthy blast of what I craved.
randy_byers: (2010-08-15)
Still busy around these parts, but I'm going to try to jot down a few notes on the Worldcon, with more perhaps to follow.

This wasn't my favorite of the seven Worldcons I've been to (1984, 1993, 1996, 2005, 2006, 2009, 2011). My favorites are still Interaction and Anticipation, and if you know me personally you can probably figure out what those two had in common for me. But Renovation easily stands with the 2006 LACon amongst my post-TAFF Worldcons as a great deal of fun, even if neither was stratospheric.

One of the things that Renovation had in common with that LACon was the presence of Lucy Huntzinger and Ulrika O'Brien (although alas not Geri Sullivan). I had breakfast with Lucy on Thursday morning, and it was great to get caught up on life, since we really hadn't talked since 2006. Then on Thursday night (I think it was) I ran into Lucy and Ulrika wandering the halls trying to figure out if any of the parties looked inviting, and we headed down to the casino instead to find a beer and a quiet place to talk, which actually proved more difficult than you might imagine, since they apparently want you to be sitting at a slot machine before they'll serve you. Anyway, that was another great conversation. Throughout the convention I ran into Ulrika at various points as she patrolled the halls in the guise of a facilities facilitator of some kind or another. She was one of Suzle's team, and I kept running into Marci Malinowycz too. Always comforting to run into members of the Seattle contingent, of which there were more than usual because of the Far West location of the convention.

The daytime fanzine lounge, run by Christopher "What Just Hit Me?" Garcia, was located in the exhibition hall and was a magnet for people who needed a spot to rest their weary legs. Hopefully they were exposed to fanzines while doing so, and a new generation of faneds will spring up tomorrow. For those of us who like to spend the convention drinking, there was a convenient bar nearby, with two nice beers on tap and a variety of bottled beer and spirits also on offer. By Saturday I could expect Paul Wrigley to walk by on his way to his table in the dealer's room and say, "Ah, there's Ramdu with a glass of beer in his hand. All is well." Indeed, Wednesday evening, which was my first at the convention, was largely spent in this bar with Mark Plummer discussing the London in 2014 bid in great detail. Mark was drinking the Firestone Walker Double IPA, which I believe ended up doing some damage. It was a reprise of our drunken discussion in the wee hours at Corflu Zed, and I enjoyed it thoroughly.

I shared a room with carl juarez and Dave O'Neill. We drove down together via Klamath Falls, and that was a fun trip. In fact we discovered a brewpub outside of Eugene called Hop Valley that was very nice, and carl got a growler to go that we drank in the motel room in Klamath Falls. Renovation was carl's first Worldcon, and I was happy to be an enabler on that front. Not sure how well the convention suited him, but everybody should go to a Worldcon at least once.

My personal take is that, while I've enjoyed every Worldcon I've been to, the ones I've gone to since I won TAFF have been the best because I now know so many people within fandom that I almost always have somebody to talk to at a Worldcon. There's not so much time wandering around feeling lonely and at loose ends. However, maybe it's just a matter of going to enough Worldcons that you get to know more of the regulars. For instance this year I renewed my acquaintance with a number of people I first met at Anticipation in 2009, including Joel Phillips, Craig Glassner, Kevin Roche, Andy Trembley, and Danny Lieberman. Not sure I made as many new connections this year, although that's partly because John "Chick Magnet" Coxon already felt like an old friend due to his TAFF visit in Seattle the week before. There was also Kim Kofmel of the London in 2014 bid parties, who along with Spike formed a formidable partnership of Responsible Adults while Dave "God of Pimms" O'Neill and James Bacon ran wild. Oh right, and I also met Dean Gahlon, courtesy of WOOF.

Yes, WOOF. WOOF ended up going fairly well. When I arrived on Wednesday, Chris Garcia had already set up a drop-off spot in the fanzine lounge for contributions to WOOF, and there were already three contributions on the table. Everybody who had promised me a zine before the convention delivered, even if Kat Templeton insisted on exercising the grand fannish tradition of printing her zine while the collation was going on. (She first tried to print it in the fanzine lounge, but when she killed the toner cartridge there, she took it to the Newsletter room, where her earlier gift of chocolate to the newsletter team provided the karma she needed for them to print the zine for her then and there.) One person -- Christian Maguire -- promised a zine at the convention but didn't come through, so the listing in the ToC is for a ghost zine. The collation was Saturday at noon, and a good crew showed up. I was amped up on adrenaline, but the people I remember circling the table were Chris "Holy Shit" Garcia, Claire "Um, What?" Brialey, Mark "Sugar Pine" Plummer, John "Some Awe" Coxon, David "Gently Now" Cake (who had never participated in an APA before), and David Shallcross, whom I hadn't met before so is spared a collation nickname. Once Kat showed up with her zine, I began to staple -- only to discover, after a half hour of jams, swearing, unjamming (bless Dean Gahlon for his leatherman) and experimentation, that I had brought the wrong staples with me. Off to Office Depot with Kat, where we got the necessary heavy duty staples. It was smooth sailing after that.

I could go into more detail about the experience of putting WOOF together, but I'll leave that for another day. In fact, I think I'll leave everything for another day. Visiting Fishlifters should be appearing in a bit, and I should put on some alternative pants. Which reminds me ...
randy_byers: (2010-08-15)
I am back from Reno, where I learned that I had once again suppressed Claire Brialey. Which is to say that Mark Plummer reminded me that at the Great Corflu Cricket Discussion earlier this year, Claire had just as much to say on the topic as [livejournal.com profile] grytpype_thynne. In revenge for my sexist mindlessness, Claire has won herself a Hugo. I'm proud of myself for not remembering it as Mark's Hugo (not that he doesn't deserve one himself). I'm pretty proud of Claire, too. She apparently doesn't need me to remember what she says in order to hit her marks.

Forgiving soul that she is, Claire allowed me to bring her rocket back to Seattle, where she and Mark will be visiting for the rest of the week. Apparently she is more forgiving than trusting, however, as she didn't give me the base as well.
randy_byers: (shiffman)
I'm in the final stages of packing for Worldcon. What am I forgetting?
randy_byers: (2010-08-15)
Arriving around noon on Wednesday, departing sometime on Sunday. I have to be at the WOOF collation at noon on Saturday, but I think that's about my only commitment.

It feels like Worldcon has already been going on for a while. I've been doing fannish social stuff every night since the TAFF delegate arrived on Wednesday. Over the weekend I also started printing things -- my WOOF zine ("The Worst Idea Bruce Pelz Ever Had"), Stu Shiffman's cover for WOOF, John Coxon's WOOF zine (The Man with Two Fezzes), and finally, at long last, my report about last November's travels, Alternative Pants. I will be busy printing tonight as well, and packing and getting a few last minute chores taken care of before hitting the road to Reno tomorrow. Hopefully Andy H will be stopping by with his WOOF contribution at some point. WOOF is coming along nicely, with ten titles in the ToC already.

Facebook is alight with people announcing their departures for or arrivals at Reno. I'm looking forward to seeing many friends there. Meanwhile I'll be printing and stapling and trying to remember what I'm forgetting to pack. Cellphone charger cord, check. Camera and battery recharger, check. Official Organ for WOOF on thumb drive, check. Deodorant, check. Alternative Pants, check. Alternative pants, check. Head ... um, now where did I put it? It was around here just a minute ago.

WOOF woof

Jul. 19th, 2011 10:49 am
randy_byers: (cap)
So I have agreed to be the OE of WOOF this year. WOOF is the World Organization of Faneditors, and it distributes an APA at every Worldcon. The traditional copy count for WOOF has been 100, but participation in recent years has been in single digits. On the other hand, the 2009 OE, [livejournal.com profile] lloydpenney thinks we'll get more participation in Reno. Extra copies of the APA will be distributed to interested bystanders. So what do you guys think the copy count should be? I've made this the subject of my first-ever LJ poll. (Hope this works!)

[Poll #1762952]
randy_byers: (shiffman)
Today I booked a room at the Atlantis Casino Resort Spa in Reno for the Worldcon. I was sad that the resort wasn't called the Lemuria. On the other hand, I wonder if the hotel sinks under the pool every night.
randy_byers: (2009-05-10)
So yeah, the not-so-surprising big news is that Sharee has a new boyfriend, and that's all good. I wish them all the best: carpe diem, per aspera ad astra, caveat emptor, de gustibus, et cetera, und so weiter. It's true it has me contemplating (again) my own stubborn inability to form new romantic relationships, and I may write about those thoughts when I have more time. (Maybe I should also mention, for those of you who are Sharee's friends on Facebook, that I'm taking a break from reading her posts there, both because I'm not that much of a masochist and because I think she has been inhibited from posting by the fear of hurting my feelings with expressions of joy at her new love. I'll refriend her in six months or so once things have settled down into a dull routine, ahem.)

Anyway, in the meantime this turn of events is making me reconsider the idea of a trip to Australia next September. The plan had been to: 1) go to the World Science Fiction Convention in Melbourne, and 2) otherwise take as much time as granted by my employer to travel around the country with Sharee, with a particular focus on getting to Perth this time. Now that I've lost my native guide, I find I'm also quickly losing my enthusiasm for the second part of the plan. This in turn makes me wonder whether it's worth the cost and travel time to head Down Under just for the convention.

It's quite possible that I'm just suffering from an initial feeling of deflation. What an adventure I had imagined! Countering it is the sense that an Australian Worldcon would be something very special (based on stories people tell about past Australian Worldcons, although some of that is from the perspective of people who had never been to Oz before, which obviously doesn't apply to me), and that I'd see friends that I wouldn't see otherwise, at least not for a long time. It's also frustrating that I won't be able to go to Corflu next year because of a conflict with a family trip, so if I miss Worldcon as well it would mean I would miss both of my favorite conventions next year.

I dunno. I'm sure I'll be able to dither and vacillate about this for months to come. I just felt the need to let people know that the vacillation has begun. Maybe I'm asking you to convince me that I really should go. G'wan, give it your best shot.
randy_byers: (shiffman)
So my intention is to attend the Worldcon in Melbourne next September. The convention will be held just two weeks before my 50th birthday, and I was thinking it might be fun to throw a childhood's end party at the convention. However, I need some help in thinking about this.

First of all, should I throw the party in my room or should I try to get an official party room? If I were to do the latter, who would I need to talk to on the concom to reserve a room? Also, should I make it an open party or a private party?

This is an invitation to think out loud. Any and all suggestions or advice or anecdotes about past experiences would be welcome.

(And no, I don't have an attending membership yet; I only have a supporting membership. There are still a number of things I need to arrange before I know for sure that I'll be going.)
randy_byers: (shiffman)
Stolen from [livejournal.com profile] bovil's Anticipation Flickr set, because I'm too lazy to figure out how to do it properly. There are lots of great photos in the set, so check it out. I particularly like the one of [livejournal.com profile] spikeiowa and [livejournal.com profile] jamesb -- the last picture on the second page.

Anyway, here's one of me and Sharee from the Saturday night party in the Evening Fanzine Lounge (with [livejournal.com profile] daveon in the background):



This one I call The Ecstasy of Mimeo: Sharee communing with the Gestetner in the Daytime Fanzine Lounge.



Sharee and [livejournal.com profile] asfi convinced 31 people to apply stylus or typewriter to stencil, and then they ran off 120 copies of the resulting zine on Fibertone. No Idea #1 was the hit of the Evening Fanzine Lounge that night, and one of the wonders of the convention -- an instant collector's classic.

There's something about a woman who gets off on mimeo ...
randy_byers: (shiffman)
Some of you will have seen these on Sharee's Facebook, but others might find them interesting as well.

Here's one of Sharee herself in all her smoking hot high punk-goth glamor:




Here's yours truly and [livejournal.com profile] daveon as comedy duo:




And an average TAFF band ([livejournal.com profile] jamesb, [livejournal.com profile] tobesv, Ramdu):


randy_byers: (shiffman)
The Fanzine Lounge has been the last party standing every night so far, at least of the public parties. Last night, despite the fact that we were out of beer shortly after midnight, [livejournal.com profile] asfi didn't get rid of the last of us until six in the morning. At that point Sharee, Tobes, [livejournal.com profile] daveon and I went outside so that half of us could suck a fag, then I decided it was time to sleep. The other three headed off in search of food, and I was told by Sharee when she came in later that they found [livejournal.com profile] gerisullivan, who gave them food, cider, and some bananas to bring back to me. Bless you, Geri! I've actually been getting leg cramps because I haven't been eating my daily banana.

I've made some new friends, too, as you do at a Worldcon. [livejournal.com profile] johnnyeponymous has been an enabler on that front. How have I gone this long in West Coast fandom without getting to know Andy and Kevin before? One of the other great lines of the convention was on the group outing to Au Pied de Cochon on Thursday, when Andy and Kevin both ordered a Tremblay ale. "Isn't that your last name?" I asked Andy. "Yes, I'm drinking my husband," said Kevin proudly. Ahem. And it's actually Trembley. Kevin is exactly four days older than I. Anyway, those two are good value, and they promise me I will meet more cool Bay Area fans when Chris hosts Corflu in San Jose in 2011.

Yeah, well, shit, as usual there has been a tidal wave of events. I will leave this with the note that when I finally made it to the fan art display that John Hertz set up in the art show, I discovered the Shiffman icon I'm using here hanging on the wall. I've had at least four great conversations with John so far, too.

Everybody is talking about going to Australia for the Worldcon next year. If we can all make it, we could have ourselves another hell of a time.

Okay, back to the tsunami.

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