Thursday, April 17, 2003

Convention Before Convention

The Information – Course Of Empire
Knowing I would be helping out with set up on Thursday I dressed rather conservatively – well, conservative for me. I wore my black jeans, comfy moccasins, and a nifty t-shirt with metal studs on the shoulders. [1] I was just reading Humans by Robert J. Sawyer (one of the convention's guests of honor) when Joe arrived.

A relatively quick lunch at Einstein's Bagels with Romeo (a friend of Joe’s and a fan) and we were off the hotel. I immediately took my first pictures of the con and then I set to work with Marilee in blowing up some of the inflatable decorations and pool toys. I particularly remember two things. First I finally connected up things I knew from rasff with the fact this was Marilee sitting here in front of me, not just some random fan. Second I made a weak joke about feeling like Dr. Schlock inflating all these things[2].

After about an hour of that I was requisitioned to go help unload supplies from the truck. I was quite interested to see the different system used by Minicon to display their art. It consists of PVC pipes forming square frames with the sheet of particleboard suspended in the middle[3]. It looks very good, but I think it does not store quite as well as Milehicon's all wood system. I'll have to participate in the set up process some other year to see how fast it goes up. It certainly looks very professional once assembled though I suspect most people do not notice what the art is on very often.

Then it was back upstairs where I helped do some more set up in the con suite (which was very sweet set of rooms) and I was assigned to cut up cantaloupe and honeydew melon the next morning.

'Round about 5pm Larry asked me if I would like to go out to dinner with him, Sue, and Rachel Lininger[4]. Would I ever! I had been internally scheming to go out to dinner at some point in the weekend and here opportunity knocked the very first day! My only regret is not taking my camera, as we went to a new tapas bar called Solera.

The restaurant turned out to be a bit pricey in my penny-pinching opinion. The food was very good, but the staff was overworked and we sometimes had trouble being able to order new things. And our bill was wrong the first time around. We also heard Alison over at another table with another group of fans. This is the inevitable result of going out a restaurant near a con, many familiar faces, even when it is not planned.

Back to the hotel for some more work, changing into my red and yellow shirt, more photo taking, and encountering Jo Walton in the dome. People pestering her about what exactly happened at Boskone surrounded her[5]. I had a message about that from a friend, basically saying that David Brin had deserved to have a Coke dumped on him for quite sometime. Jo is still embarrassed, perhaps more so by the outpouring of support for an action that she herself is not proud of. But things like this tend to take on a life of their own, so I'm afraid she'll just have to ride the wave. (Though I conveyed the message, I don't exactly agree with it. This is probably going to be a small social war straight out of _Dangerous Liaisons_ and I’m trying just going to back away slowly while maintaining eye contact with the argument.) I shared a room with Larry the first night.

[1] See Larry Sanderson’s Picture of Me
[2] Sluggy Freelance for more on Schlock
[3] Here is David Dyer-Bennet’s picture of the set up.
[4] And here we is Sue, myself, and Rachel Lininger at Solera
[5] And this is what it looked like. Jo Walton & "minions."

Wednesday, April 16, 2003

Chernobog in Minneapolis

Piano Concerto in E flat, 3rd movement – W.A. Mozart
A truly wonderful fan, Joe Agee, picked me up at the airport and that went very smoothly despite my nervousness about traveling. Let us skim past Joe & Andrew's House, pizza, and a coffeehouse to arrive at Larry Sanderson's doorstep. He is the much-honored co-chair of Minicon and so I expected the work party at his house to be similar to one for MileHiCon - five people working in Linda Nelson's basement. Instead, there were twenty people in various states of working, chatting, and eating. Larry puts out a very nice spread and this combined with the presence of our fan guest of honor, Sue Mason, may have had something to do with the surplus of labor available.

It seemed like most of the work was already done when I got there, but I took a few rounds collating the program book. Eventually there were too many of us going around the table and the process slowed down, so I bowed out to go bother Alison Scott and Sue Mason[1]. They are very fun people to be around, rather like my friend Rose Beetem. They have cheerful dispositions; they are kind to silly fans like me, and have interesting views on nearly everything.

In the blur I also met a number of people I've only known online, including Marilee J. Layman, David Dyer-Bennet, and Geri Sullivan[2]. But my head was spinning from meeting so many new people all at once and I did not talk that much with them. Instead I anxiously wandered about snacking, helping here and there, and generally behaving like an awestruck fanboy.

Andrew Bertke (Joe’s husband and President of Minn-StF) showed up a bit later and we struck out for their house and bed around midnight. Joe said I could sleep in the next day and he would pick me up at noon to take me over to the hotel. (Very nice of him.)

[1] Alison, Catherine Crockett, Sue with the back of my head. Photo by DDB
[2] Me talking to David Dyer-Bennet, photo by Larry
Sandra, Geri, and the Scott/Cain clan

The Opening Shot

Historical note: This entry was originally posted with a date of June 17th 2003 on livejournal. I moved the date to the first date of my trip to Minicon in 2006 while cleaning up my journal and reorganizing. All the following entries were moved at the same time.

Well I went and got the live journal set up... Why? Because I needed a place to start doing public first drafts of my fanzine. Such as it is. So here's my very late report on Minicon back during my April week in Minneapolis.

MIFFED: The 'zine of the Mishalak Fan Fund

Broke. The fund is at negative dollars due to overspending at Minicon 38... But boy, what a time! I hope to be back to even by the end of June. Also unless I suddenly come into money my Westercon plans are off and I'll just being going to Bubonicon.

Also I am sad to report that there is not yet a new job on the horizon so it is increasingly unlikely that I will be able to attend Torcon. If I am able to change this, e.g. I get a wonderful new job in the month of July, I will report on it in issue 5 or 6. As of this moment the convention plans for the rest of the year are: Changing Number Con in Colorado Springs (actually called XIV-Khan) on July 18-20, Bubonicon 35 Albuquerque on August 22-24, and MileHiCon 35 Denver on October 24-26. Due to very limited funds (my job is worse than ever, I'm down to 35 hours a week) and being forbidden from leaving certain weekends is the reason I'm not getting out of state.

Or Windsday to Wednesday
I left my humble apartment and my home state on a sunny Wednesday afternoon and descended into a grey rainy metropolis. But that was quite okay because I was determined to have fannish fun, which requires not a bit of the garish sun.