So, I took off early from Penguicon this morning so I could get home to see my baby before his nap. It's going on 24 hours since we last nursed, and while it's not yet uncomfortable, it is noticeable. But I came home to an empty house, his grandmother having taken him off somewhere.

Penguicon was a good time. Different people have different opinions as to how well it achieves its goal of co-mingling an SF con and a Linux/Open-Source Expo. Is it chocolate and peanut butter, as the organizers would have us believe? Or chocolate and anchovies, which is what [ profile] eviljohn thinks. The jury is still out. But the hotel, while quite dingy and rundown, has a really great layout for a convention, with a big atrium space in the middle and lots of glass windowed atrium rooms ringing it.

I made one quick pass through the pathetic dealer's room, had my brain croggled by Zendo in the gaming area, and attended the Buffy Horror Picture Show on Friday night (the Buffy musical episode done Rocky style with a live cast - it's totally fabulous). Other than that, I mostly hung out in the ConFusion room party, which I was helping to host. Overall it was a perfectly adequate party, and at times raucously fun and amusing (Dance! Dance! Dance! Dance!), but I feel a little bad for kind of "phoning in" the party. We have a great theme for the con this year - Moonbase ConFusion - and none of us really got our act together to play that up at all for the party. I didn't know if I was going to be able to go to Penguicon until fairly recently, and even after that it was unclear who was actually in charge until nearly the last moment. Ahh well - we'll aim for better schtick for the ConClave and Youmacon parties in the fall.

I realized that my time sense is totally skewed since having a baby. 9:30 at night seems so late - like I need to hurry up and do stuff because the night is almost over. I had to keep reminding myself that there were hours yet to go. (And there were - I got to bed at 2 on Friday and 3 on Saturday - nearly unheard of these days.)
The timesharing experiment worked well so far. Eric and I are both getting 24 hours of ConClave - I got Friday 7 pm to Saturday 7 pm, and he gets Saturday 2 pm to Sunday 2 pm. Or thereabouts, anyway. The con was small, and missing a few faces I would have liked to see. But they're moving back to Detroit next year, so maybe attendance will start to pick up. They'll be at the Romulus Crowne Plaza, home of the first ConFusion I ever went to (and maybe my first con, period - I'm not 100% sure).

I mostly spent my time in the ConFusion suite, as one of the hosts of the ConFusion room party. We had a nicely happening party for quite a long while on Friday night, so that was nice. I went to bed at 1:30, but I think it was 3:30 or 4 before Kathy closed up shop. It was nice to sleep uninterrupted! Sadly, I still woke up at 7:30, and drifted half-asleep until I got out of bed at 8:30.

Distributed a bunch of the surveys that AASFA is doing right now. Should be interesting. At 11 I had my ConSuite planning meeting. Things are looking good - I'm well staffed for ConSuite and probably Green Room too. I even found a couple of recruits for smoking ConSuite, although I need at least 4 more. We had some good brainstorms and came up with some neat ideas, which hopefully we can bring to reality.

Having Liam at ConClave even just for a few hours is making us really think about our plans during ConFusion. It was pretty exhausting, following him around all the time making sure he didn't crack his head open on anything. Since the babysitter we were hoping to just bring to the convention with us will be out of town, we're thinking about maybe flying my stepmom in for the weekend. But then we have to figure out how to do that - it seems like it would be easiest to keep him entertained at home. But ideally I'd like to spend Thursday and Sunday night at the con and 4 days is a LONG time to be away for a baby who so far has only spent a single night away from his parents. Hmmm.


Sep. 25th, 2005 09:51 pm
Eric and I are trying to figure out how best to attend ConClave and maximize our enjoyment while there. The current plan seems to be that I will go (solo) on Friday, and spend the night there, helping to run the ConFusion party and doing the ConFusion-hospitality things I want to do, like meeting with [ profile] dlacey and others. He'll stay home with Liam. Saturday, they'll come up for the day, and between the two of us we'll juggle the convention and Liam. Then, Saturday evening, probably right after dinner to coincide with bedtime, I'll load Liam into the car and come home, and Eric will get to spend Saturday night at the convention.

It's not ideal, but its better than trying to get Liam to sleep in a new place, and having to take turns camping out in the room while he sleeps. Unfortunately, his grandparents don't get this way on their trip south until the Tuesday after ConClave, and there's no one else we're able or willing to leave him with overnight.

So who can I look forward to seeing at 'Clave? And anybody have a bed or piece of a bed I can use to crash on Friday night?


Apr. 23rd, 2005 08:52 pm
I'm posting from the ConFusion party here at Penguicon. I volunteered to host the party, because it lets us put Liam to sleep in the adjoining room but still stay up late to socialize. Things are going okay so far. Last night's party had a couple of periods of busy-ness, but otherwise was pretty slow. Tonight we organized a bunch of people to come to the suite and eat pizza (inspired by doing this at ConFusion, organized by [ profile] minnehaha et al), and it was wonderful. That gave us a cluster of people early in the evening, but I people have already started drifting away, as the Buffy floor show and dance and stuff get started.

Liam's having a good time and has been in pretty good spirits. Not surprisingly, thought, the convention is messing with his sleep cycle. Last night he woke up and didn't want to settle back down in the pack-n-play - he's used to having someone in bed with him after a certain time at night. Eric was tired so went to bed as well, but Liam still didn't settle, and the party was slowing down, so I closed the party and joined them. But by that point he'd been up long enough that he decided that it was time to be awake for real, and I spent the next 3 hours trying to get him to sleep. Not fun. Had I known, I could have kept the party open and just brought him out with me! But at least he slept in - until 8:30, anyway...

His naps were late today, so we're just trying to get him to sleep now. I nursed him and walked around with him and bounced him in the bedroom in the sling for a while, and now Eric is taking a turn. From the sounds over the monitor it seems he's had a couple of false alarms. If we get another one I'll go swap in with him and see if the mommy touch will help.
I've been wanting to write this ever since I heard that Wil Wheaton canceled his Penguicon appearance, for the second year in a row. Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me!

So, as most people in the SF convention running business know, having media guests is fraught with uncertainty. Their careers will always come first, and contracts with them for appearance at SF conventions are almost always conditional on nothing coming up at the last minute. Cancellations of appearances are common. But Wil Wheaton isn't that media guy anymore - he's "Just A Geek," right? So his website, Wil Wheaton Dot Net, would have us believe. He's a techie geek like the rest of us, doing his own Perl coding, in between walking his dog and playing D&D with his kids.

Apparently not. If he were the geeky fanboy he claims to be, then he'd honor his obligations to attend a Science Fiction/Linux convention, not ditch it two years in a row - last year for an audition and this year because he's got a weekly gig doing sketch comedy. It may have been a long time since Star Trek, but he's still got the same priorities as every other media guest out there.

And that's my Wil Wheaton rant.
[ profile] lanie_lou - Definitely. Zingerman's runs trips where you get to go with them scouting for finds - I'd love to do one of those. Someday when I have an extra few thousand dollars lying around.

[ profile] matt_arnold - I'm not the best person to ask this question, since I've only been to 2 of each convention. Cap varies more from year to year because they are heavily themed and have a lot of committee turnover from year to year. So some years are great, others not so much. It does tend to be a little more creative, because of the theming. There's no dance - everybody goes to parties instead. Windy is more of a traditional, "little bit of everything" general convention, like ConFusion. People complain that it's boring, although I've always had a perfectly good time. I think people perceive it as a little more stuck in its ways. Don't know if you were also going to ask about Duckon or 2 Be Continued, as your question got cut off. I've only been to one Duck, for a grand total of 30 hours. It's got a significant techie and Klingon presence that distinguishes it from the other conventions. It's also the baby brother - the smallest and newest of the three main Chicago conventions, and trying to make a place for itself. A lot like Contraption was in Detroit, but that's before your time. I've never been to a 2 Be Continued. They used to be an Indiana convention and have just moved to being in Chicago instead. They are much more media focused, although also trying to have some lit representation as well.

Okay, I'm not going to go back to the original post to check for questions anymore, so consider it closed.
Birthdaycon - October 28-30 - Chicago, IL

Erik Olson, Mark Herrup and I had so much fun hosting SMOFcon in 2003, that we got plotting for another opportunity to host a convention. As it turns out, the three of us all have birthdays within a couple weeks of each other, and thus Birthdaycon was born. Our only regret with SMOFcon was that we weren't able to get a hotel in Chicago proper, but we'll rectify that this time around!

Mark is looking for a hotel with a great space for a consuite, and we're all checking in with our friends to see who would be interested in hanging out in Chicago with us for the weekend. This will be a relaxacon, of course - hanging around in the consuite, eating good food, chatting, playing games, maybe some excursions to a museum or a show. There will be a nominal membership fee, just enough to cover costs - probably around $30 per person, which will include a lavish spread in the consuite. One night, probably Saturday, I'll be heading to Alinea (the new restaurant from Grant Achatz, formerly of Trio) for a birthday dinner - let me know if you'd like to come along (it won't be cheap, it'll take several hours, but it will be fun, and worth it).

So - if we build it, will you come?


Feb. 8th, 2005 04:16 pm
I always enjoy when lessons I've learned running conventions come in handy in my "real" life. Like negotiating hotel contracts. We're not trying to get the amazing deals like for SF conventions, but it's the little things that count. Like later room reservation cut-offs, and - my favorite - changing the contract language so that the group rate is valid as long as they have rooms available. I've never had anyone argue about it with me - although they've definitely sounded surprised that I would be saavy enough to ask.
I woke up this morning thinking "You know, I could just hop in my car and drive to Chicago and go to Capricon for the day. It's only 4 1/2 hours."

Even went so far as to look at Radar's clear between us and them, and there's no snow in the forecast until late Sunday or Monday.

There are a bunch of Chicago folks who didn't make it to ConFusion who it would be really nice to see. But driving to Chicago for a day trip seems a bit extreme. Especially by myself. And I doubt I could find anyone else ready to drop everything and leave in the next 90 minutes.



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