MMVIII.

Dec. 31st, 2008 04:52 pm
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This was .... a hell of a year, really.

I left a job that was slowly killing me even though I had no fallback plan for it. I was more broke than I've ever been, getting by on ramen and peanut butter sandwiches. I put together a spiffy redesign of webmutant and starting shopping my resume around, and now I'm paid quite well at a job I really enjoy.

They turned on the proton beam in the Large Hadron Collider, and the world didn't end. An exploding star halfway across the visible universe became the farthest known object ever visible to the naked eye. The SpaceX Falcon 1 was the first privately-developed spaceship to make orbit, and India launched Chandrayaan-1 to the moon. A woman in Spain became the first person to have a successful trachea transplant with a lab-grown replacement. We found snow, real snow, falling on Mars.

We lost George Carlin. And Gary Gygax and Edmund Hillary and Heath Ledger, Arthur C. Clarke and Forrest J. Ackerman and Stan Winston. And Boeing Surplus.

I had my first migraine. That's a club I was perfectly happy not being a member of,

The Merchants of Deva had to cancel our annual party at Norwescon, thanks to untenable new rules and regulations at the hotel. I joined the committee for Steamcon, and made it to an Orycon for the first time in years; it was pretty laid-back and uneventful, but it was nice to have a room at a con for just me and Ahna for a change.

I started using the jQuery Javascript library, and it finally made coding Javascript fun and easy.

I finally got to go to Florida for Halloween Horror Nights, and I got to take [livejournal.com profile] windbourne with me, and we went to DisneyWorld and Epcot while we were at it. I fell asleep on the plane and woke up to find my fear of flying was suddenly, inexplicably gone.

We saw Avenue Q and Phantom. And I saw English Beat, Death Cab for Cutie, The Killers, Goldfrapp, Cold War Kids, We Wrote the Book on Connectors, Vixy and Tony and Tricky Pixie (about a million times), and probably some other bands I'm forgetting. David Tennant announced he was leaving Doctor Who. Steven Moffat was tapped to be the new head writer, which I couldn't be happier about.

.... I got published. I have a story in a book, from a real publisher, a real book I can take down off the shelf and hold in my hands. And best of all, it's a Doctor Who book -- I'm finally, really genuinely a part of my favorite thing in the world. A small part, a footnote of a footnote, but still.

I bought myself a completely adorable little laptop. Used it to finish revisions on my fan-film script, write a new story for Halloween, enjoy having wireless Internet access practically everywhere I went, and now I've fried it stone dead. A short in either the power supply or the motherboard, most likely.

I put together lots of props for the Mercury's Doctor Who night, and everyone's amazed and delighted expressions made all the work totally worth it. That same weekend, my condo burst a pipe and had a terrible flood, and I've been living with a bare concrete floor in my dining room ever since.

The price of petroleum hit $100 per barrel for the first time, this year. Gas reached $4.00 a gallon. Our economy tanked, taking everyone else with it, but at least that brought oil crashing back down to $40 a barrel. Seattle was crippled by the most massive snowstorm in years.

I wasted hours and days of my life on someone I thought was one of my best friends, who turned out not to really be a friend at all. It's the first time I've ever had to explicitly tell someone I was done with them, and the first relationship of any kind I've looked back on with the sense that it was all just -- pointless. I let a lot of my other friendships fade during this time, and I wish to God I could just have that time back again.

I donated money to a political campaign for the first time in my life. I watched in horror as John McCain chose Sarah Palin as his running mate, the most calculated and cynical and anti-intellectual such choice I've ever seen, and even deeper horror as so many voters seemed to take her seriously. And then Barack Obama was elected, the country finally waking up from one long post-9/11 nightmare of hate and fear and choosing love and hope instead. Barack Obama didn't get the country to just believe in him -- he gave us a chance to believe in ourselves again.

I literally danced in the streets that night, with thousands of people, thousands, who could finally believe in their country again, who were laughing and crying and cheering and everyone was a friend, that night. It felt like we'd won a revolution without ever having to fire a single shot. It was, honestly, the most joyful and meaningful and profound night of my life and I will never forget it, not ever.

We reached the deep minimum of a long solar cycle, but after a slow start, it looks like Solar Cycle 24 is finally beginning. Maybe the future will be a little brighter.

You've been -- interesting, 2008, I'll give you that. Still, I won't be sorry to see you go tonight. Even if you do cling to life for one extra second.
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After spending a couple of hours determining all of the possible positions I can stretch out in my truck and not manage to fall asleep, I finally did fall asleep in more or less my original position. I was woken up about an hour later by a horrible, intense fucking leg cramp. After soothing it into submission, I checked the time. Oh, good, I could make my Sunday morning panel after all.

Inexplicably awake and chipper -- I am a rock star -- I walked back to the hotel, soaking myself once again to the skin. The first person I encountered said, with astonishing alacrity, "Six, you're all wet!" I beat him to death against the bar railing and left his steaming carcass in the breakfast buffet, and then went to the bathroom to use a few dozen paper towels to upgrade my appearance from Drowned Rat all the way to Damp and Annoyed Rat, and then went to the Green Room long enough to receive the communion of Coffee, and then dashed off to my panel, which was "Online Journaling."

I had no idea this would be so well-attended. The panel moderated by [livejournal.com profile] scarlettina, who did an excellent job. In accordance with the experience and interests of the attendees, the panel, while allegedly about online journaling in general, was almost entirely about LiveJournal. Blogger Jacqueline Passey, who was a passing acqauintance of mine years ago, was also in attendance and had several good remarks. First panel I've ever showed up for on a Sunday morning that was worthwhile.

I went back to the Green Room for a little something to eat, and was faced with a large bowl full of de-shelled hard-boiled eggs. Now, normally I like eggs, but in my post-drunken state, this pile of slimy naked protochickens just made my gorge rise like some Lovecraftian horror, so I had a small handful of nuts instead. And speaking of Lovecraftian horror, I spent the next hour hanging out with Eric Morgret, who was pretty damn cool. I also bought a DVD of his short film adaptation of The Thing on the Doorstep.

After that, I met up with Ahna and Riff and Liz, and we went to the Art Auction, for the sole purpose of watching people bid on my artwork. I'd brought nine boxes, and one candle, and all but one box had received bids and three of them had gone on to the Auction. I hadn't been to an Art Auction at Norwescon in years, because I'm usually doing Deva teardown Sunday morning. This was way more fun. One of my boxes, a round Ouija-like design, went for fifty bucks(!). Pretty exciting to watch them sell like that.

We then went to Denny's for breakfast -- unexciting, but cheap -- and then came back to lurk around until 4:00, when I could pick up my unsold art and check out. There was some confusion about the process, and as I'd suspected, the right bid numbers had not ended up on my bid sheets, so they'd had trouble each time they sold one of my pieces; and once again, someone had bid on my Awareness Candle and not picked it up. I'm sick of looking at the damn thing, but I took it home anyway.

Then Riff drove us back to my truck, and after some confusion about just how his hybrid gas/electric vehicle could provide a jump-start to my poor little truck, he managed to get us moving. I took Ahna home and we slept like the dead.

All in all, a damn worthy outing.
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We somehow dragged ourselves out of bed at 10:00am to make it to site in time for me to be at the Autograph Session at noon. Ahna was meeting up with friends at 1:00, so I sent her off to get breakfast while I sat behind my stack of books with a pen and a smile. I ended up selling two books and autographing someone else's program book, which is still more action that I thought I was going to get. I went back to JitB for breakfast afterward, where I encountered the always-entertaining Cheyenne and Savannah, and had a fun conversation with them.

I met back up with Ahna in the Fanzine Lounge, where she and her friends were sketching. Then we went to the my next panel, "Animals in Horror." I gotta admit -- I had nothing. I'd done no prep-work for this panel, had no real examples in mind beyond Cujo and The Birds, but I figured I could bullshit my way through an hour of this, which my co-panelist and fellow showman Peter Dennis Pautz had apparently figured as well. And frankly, that's exactly what we did, and it went swimmingly. This was the funniest and most entertaining panel I was on, and the audience clearly had a great time. I should be this unprepared more often.

Later that afternoon, I went to the only panel I attended as an audience member -- "The Most Disturbing Films Ever". Ahna had wanted to go, partly because Eric and Arinn from "Psychology of Horror" were on the panel, and largely because it sounded like an entertaining topic. It might well have been, in someone else's hands, but the moderator of the panel was an overbearing, condescending, control-freak, self-important wanker, who treated the audience and his fellow panelists like kindergarteners, limited other people's answers while allowing himself to ramble on, wouldn't take audience comments on a question until the other panelists had answered them, and who managed to mention five or six times that he had a Master's degree in film. Picture Mister Rogers in an SS uniform and you'll get the idea.

(To indulge in my own wankery for a moment -- what kind of Master's-degree-in-film wunderkind can you be if, when talking about eye-trauma as a motif in horror, you don't think to mention "Un chien andalou"? I ask you.)

After somehow enduring all this, the group of us (my usual clique plus [livejournal.com profile] morgyne and [livejournal.com profile] steveness) went out to Dave's Diner. Their motto: "At Least We're Not Denny's." It was kind of a come-down after Claim Jumpers the night before. I don't really think I'm gonna want to eat there again. Our waitress was entirely awesome, though, I must admit.

We hit a couple of room parties, including DethCon, which was completely surreal to be at, since it was in Suite 5239, which is normally the Deva suite. It was kind of nice, though, to hang out there and not have to worry if someone, say, set a chair on fire or something. We also went to the CascadiaCon party, which was pretty damn slick and had a pretty amazing spread of food. I can only assume these people knocked over a bank somewhere.

Then it was time for the Midnight Horror Readings. There were, like, a million people scheduled to be on this, but it ended up just being me and Kathy Watts. She read a couple of pieces, which were both pretty good, and I read one long piece, "Sleepless," which I haven't read in years. Like my other reading, sparsely attended but worthwhile.

Then Ahna went to the dance while I went back to the truck to dump off my books and other gear so I wouldn't have to worry about coat check closing. I was parked about three blocks away, and by the time I got to the truck, I was literally soaked to the skin from all the rain. I decided this was ridiculous -- I was going to park on-site no matter how much it cost. I was going to drive back to the con right now --

Truck didn't start. Oh, yeah, I thought. Right. I remembered saying when we got there that afternoon, "God, I hope I remember to turn off the headlights, or they'll drain the battery again." I briefly toyed with the idea of getting someone to jump-start my car, but seriously, I couldn't ask anyone to come out in the middle of the night in a monsoon to do it. We'd find crash space -- we'd already had at least one offer, anyway -- and get it taken care of tomorrow.

On the bright side, this now meant I could drink, and I proceeded to do exactly that. I let Ahna know what was going on and headed off to room parties. Eventually, I found [livejournal.com profile] steveness again and dragged him back to the dance with me, and we danced until the dance closed down. Then we headed back out to go to more room parties, this time with the usual group of suspects, but we fairly quickly lost track of them, and so Ahna and Steve and I headed off on our own. We ended up at a private party in the tower that Steve had been told about, and had a perfectly lovely evening of drunken debauchery.

Then the friend who had offered us room space called us, and we went off to his hotel, but, long story short, he was in a mood I didn't want to deal with, and the rest of us were all drunken and giggly, so when he yelled at us all to shut up or get out, everyone else shut up and I got out. Not worth dealing with. This is why I always keep a blanket in the vehicle -- because you never know. I kissed Ahna good night and headed off to bed down in my truck.
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Friday I woke up at Ahna's, went back to my place, packed clothes and a camera, printed the stories I wanted to read and my intinerary flyers, and swung back to pick up Ahna. I'd told her that I wanted to leave her place at 11:30 to make my 1:00 panel, and she was rarin' to go at 11:29. Ahna, you rock. We even got to site a little early, so we had time to get something to eat. Ahh, there's nothing else quite like Taco Bell for breakfast, thank God.

Anyway, my first panel was "Weird movies of which you've never heard," which despite its grammatically torured title, was pretty entertaining. I was a little worried about the fact that I hadn't prepared adequately for this panel, but I shouldn't have been; most people showed up wanting to share what they knew, rather than simply receive information, so the panel practically ran itself. The other panelists (Leopold Marino and Edward Martin III) and I quickly and easily fell into banter back and forth as if we were old friends. Pretty awesome.

My next panel was at 3:00 -- I don't know what we did with the hour in between, but I feel sure it was reasonably entertaining. "Psychology of Horror" featured myself, Eric Morgret, and Arinn Dembo, and they were bright, sharp, well-spoken people I was perfectly happy to be sharing a panel with. My only complaint about the panel is that the audience seemed a little, well, humorless, and my usual sparkling bon-vivant panelist vibe seemed to fall a little flat. Oh, well. There were good points raised all around, on why we write and read and watch horror, and it was a good time. Someone came up afterward and bought one of my books, so I must have made a good impression.

That took care of my obligations until 10:00, so we bopped around the con, had fun hanging out with people, until it was time for Ahna and Sally and I to head over to Claim Jumper's for Max's birthday party. Gettting there was kind of entertaining -- I knew where it was, but I didn't know how the roads connected up between our starting point and our destination -- but we weren't terribly late, so it's all good. I didn't know practically anybody, but they all seemed be gaming, anime and comic book geeks -- you know, good people -- so it was almost like we hadn't left the con. Good times. I like Max lots and wish I had more excuses to hang out with him.

We got back to the con and went to the Cult of Scott Bakula party. These guys are fun and have a lot of good energy. The highlight of it was watching [livejournal.com profile] theda dance to "Baby Got Back," which she 0wnz0rs. We did leave before the party's wet T-shirt contest, an event that represents the kind of crass pandering bullshit the other parties seem to feel they have to resort to. It made me miss the Merchants party something fierce.

My reading was at 10:00 -- actually, it was supposed to be me and one other guy, but he didn't show, so it was all me, baby. I read, let's see, "Orpheus", "Running Time", "Playworld" and "The Wolf's Tale". Not heavily attended, but an enthusiastic audience. (Well, aside from a couple of people who left during "Orpheus," presumably because I don't get right to the eviscerations, I guess.)

Then I meant to go to the dance, but instead ran into Karen, a.k.a. Kaisa, my best friend in EEPer days. This is only the second time I've seen her in about ten years. I got to introduce her to Ahna. (That was one of my great pleasures of the weekend, actually -- introducing Ahna to several of my old friends, watching her get to put faces to all my stories, watching them be charmed by her beauty and humor and grace. Several of them commented on how happy I seemed to be with her. I'm glad it's so obvious.)

Ahna went on ahead to the dance so Karen and I could hang out in the lobby and catch up as best we could on our lives and the lives of people we both knew. She apparently reads my journal, so if you're reading this, hi! Send me mail!

I caught up with Ahna and went to the dance for a while, danced some, mostly sat and watched her dance, which is always a pleasure, and then started to get sleepy, so we cut things short and went home around 2:00am. A much, much better day than Thursday.
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(I don't tend to use cut-tags, so I'm breaking up my [livejournal.com profile] norwescon diary into four entries, which I hope will be enough to slip in under your MTV-addled attention-span radar. If not, you can just look at the pretty pictures instead. Cheers.)

I didn't have any panels scheduled on Thursday this Norwescon, and Ahna wasn't going to be coming down, so I thought I'd give the day a miss. I was just going to come down, grab my con badge and put my art in the Art Show, and go home and maybe get some writing done.

Not quite how it turned out. As I mentioned before, that all took eight hours. They didn't have the pro badges up in the Green Room, as is the practice at all civilized conventions, so instead I went down to stand in the pre-reg line with the proletariat. By the time I finally got to the head of that line, I found out that I should have been standing in the other line, the one labelled "Registration Information Changes." I mean, of course! How obvious, right? How stupid was I not to have figured that one out?

So I stood in the other line, finally got to the head of that line, and the volunteer behind the desk starts to take my info and, of course, their server crashes. They've been doing this for 28 years, should know what they're doing by now, they've got more geeks on hand than Raisin Bran has raisins, and yet Registration always, always runs as smoothly as Custer's Last Stand. I don't get this.

Anyway, they finally decide that oh, wait, maybe they can at least get the pro badges going without the server, so they hand me a sign to form. The pen doesn't work. It does, however, look suitable for eye-gouging, and I contemplate this possibility while they try to track down my badge.

My badge isn't there, and their computer claims I've already picked it up. As calmly and sweetly as possible, I reassure them that this is not, in fact, the case, and that I haven't been standing in line for over an hour purely for the warm glow of camaraderie with my fellow congoers.

They send a new badge to the printer, so I head over to the other side of registration to wait in that line ....

Badge at last clutched in feverish hand, I dick around until 4:00, which is when the Art Show is supposed to be open for artists to check in. Optimistically, I show up at 3:59 with a bright and cheerful smile. They're not ready yet, so I come back in ten minutes, and a volunteer who's cutting out bid sheets (a petty little bit of drudgery that I assumed would have been handled by trained monkeys long before the convention started) that I should try back in fifteen minutes. I decide to give them a little longer than that, since this is driving me bugfuck, so I leave my bagful of art at my future table so I don't have to keep carrying it, and then I grab the fabulous and much-missed [livejournal.com profile] morgyne, back up from Cali for a visit, and the equally fabulous [livejournal.com profile] steveness, and drag them off with me to lunch or dinner or whatever meal this is, and we have a fine dining experience at Jacques en la Boîte, and then make a quick trip to the liquor store.

I come back to the Art Show, and things seem to be moving now, so I ask how I get started. Had I, they asked, registered all my art on-line? Well, no. I'd known that was an option, but I hadn't realized it was mandatory. I'm pointed toward a meagre handful of computers and the line of sad-faced artists who have made the same mistake I have. I wander over instead to unpack my art so I can note down what I have to enter in their system, and discover I've left one of my pieces at home. Crap.

Can I, I ask a volunteer, check my art in and come back in the morning and register one additional piece? Her shoulders slump in despair at the question. That's all right, I hastily assure her, I'd love to get back in my truck, drive all the way to Shoreline, grab it, come back, find parking again, and then register -- that would be awesome. They close at 8:00, right? I should just have enough time ....

They told me not to worry about that -- with as late as they opened, there was no way they were going to be out of there until, say, 10:00 or so. Sucks for them, works for me.

I get back in my truck, drive all the way to Shoreline, discover my last art piece hiding on the couch behind a backpack, come back, find parking again, and go in to register my art. The less said about the on-line system I had to use, the better. Let's just say I could code a better system over a weekend while blind drunk. After I slogged my way through repetitively entering all ten pieces, I asked, okay, now what? Well, our printer isn't working, they tell me. No, of course it isn't.

So a volunteer comes over with me to look at my art as I write down all the titles of everything so she can later check it against what I entered in the computer, when another Art Show person comes over to us -- she's found some of the old bid sheets and control forms from last year, so I can just use those. I jot down all the titles a third time -- there's some concern on their part about matching up the bid numbers or something, so I'm still not sure I'm checked in correctly, but they seem to be done with me, so I leave without killing anyone.

I run screaming into the night and go visit Ahna and Lars, who kindly feed me, listen to me rant, and let me curl up in front of their fireplace like a cat and sleep while they watch Collateral. Excelsior!

Tomorrow will be better, I figure. It'll have to be.
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So, yeah. My panels went well, my readings went well, I sold eight out of ten pieces I brought to the art show, and three of them went to auction. Had a great time hanging out with [livejournal.com profile] steveness Saturday night. Norwescon = good. More later, probably.

Besides that -- Happy Easter, everyone! Does anyone know if Jesus saw his shadow? Do we get six more weeks of Lent?
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All I wanted to do today was a.) get my convention badge and b.) get set up in the Art Show.

That should not have taken eight hours.
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All right, boys and ghouls, it's that time of year again, namely Norwescon, and once again I'll be doing panels, and so once again, for your stalking convenience, here is my itinerary:

Friday, 1:00 PM - Weird Movies of Which You've Never Heard

Friday, 3:00 PM - Psychology of Horror

Friday, 10:00 PM - A NWC28 Horror Special (READING): Featuring myself and John Pelan

Saturday, noon - NWC28 Autograph Session B: Come get your copy of Counting from Ten signed, if you haven't already. (If you don't have one, I'll have copies with me - that will be the best time to buy one. Bring fifteen bucks. It's totally worth it, honest.)

Saturday, 3:00 PM - Animals in Horror

(edited to add:) Saturday, midnight - Midnight Horror Readings: Me and bunch of folks. (Norwescon put this on their programming grid, but left it off the itinerary they sent me. Brilliant! Thanks, [livejournal.com profile] hetaera15, for pointing this out.)

Sunday, 10:00 AM - Online Journaling. (You're soaking in it!)

I'm also scheduled to be on a panel on Friday at 8:00 PM called The Halloween Business, but I'll be ditching out on that panel to go to a birthday party. I’m a bad panelist.

Let's see, what else? Oh, yeah -- I'm also in the art show again this year, with more neat little boxes, so come check that out, too.

(In case you haven't heard already, there's no Merchants of Deva party this year, so I'll be roaming the halls unrestrained Saturday night. Fair warning.)

Rooming.

Mar. 15th, 2005 05:01 pm
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So, Norwescon is coming up terrifyingly soon, and I'm somewhat impoverished. I can't afford a hotel room, and I was originally planning on just commuting back and forth from the con each day, but gas is getting kind of expensive, too.

So, uhh, is there anyone out there who can provide me with crash space? (Umm, and Ahna, too?) I might be able to pay you something for it, but it wouldn't be much.

Norwescon.

Apr. 14th, 2004 05:14 pm
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So for this year's Norwescon, I was 1.) a pro, doing panels, 2.) in the Art Show, 3.) doing readings and selling my new book, and 4.) in charge of the Merchants of Deva party. Got all that?

I was not so good at the panelist part. Of my scheduled panels, I only made it to two of them. And one of them was my reading. Yeah. But the one panel-y panel I was on went well and was a lot of fun. I really like being a panelist, but it involves being places on time while there's lots of other shiny things going on.

Thursday I meant to make it to the con at a reasonable hour. I ended up realizing that if I went down in time for my first panel, it would involve driving down, and therefore dealing with parking, so I went down with [livejournal.com profile] retcon and [livejournal.com profile] hetaera15. Gave me more time for last minute things, like, oh, making more art. (Three of my ten pieces were put together that morning.) I also had a story to type up and several flyers to make, and between one thing and another, we got there just after midnight. I was dead freakin' tired, so needed to go right to bed, even though that meant missing [livejournal.com profile] ajka's dance. (Sad!)

Friday morning, my publisher [livejournal.com profile] helix90 whisked me away to tour the offices of our storage/shipping firm, Global Fulfillment. (Sounds like James Bond's cover identity.) I got to see the boxes of my book. This is really happening. I go over the book contract with them, we make some changes, and everything is signed. Yes, the book was printed before we had a signed contract. Yes, that's more than a little weird.

(I was a little distracted, most of Friday. Bad relationship issues with [livejournal.com profile] treebyleaf. I don't really want to talk about it; I just want to mention it here so that I'll remember, reading this later, that my weekend wasn't perfect.)

Friday night, after being violently ill at dinner (I can't recommend Dave's Diner; perhaps it was stress-related, but still), I did my readings. Both of them went quite well. The second reading, the one in the Deva suite, had a fairytale-theme that seemed to go over well, and this was the first time I've ever used a microphone for a reading. I really liked it -- I feel like I was able to do more interesting things with my voice once I could hear how it really sounds. Afterward, I sold a few books. My number-one fangirl, [livejournal.com profile] dreadangel, was first in line, which is just as it should be.

That night we had a party. We didn't mean to. We had been touring around the other room parties, got pretty damn drunk on the horrible -- HORRIBLE! -- "daquiris" at the Cult of Scott Bakula party, and ending up hanging out in the Deva suite. [livejournal.com profile] kespernorth came by, and brought some people with him, and then some more people showed up, and then people we didn't know showed up, and .... Eventually we gave into the inevitable, Riff turned on some music, and even though we had no alcohol or food, everyone seemed to have a great time. I found out later that the con dubbed it the "Black Hole Party", because people kept wandering by, getting pulled in, and never seen again. Heh. Con security showed up, but didn't shut us down. Rawk.

On Saturday, set-up for the Deva party went amazingly well. I don't remember it ever going so well, actually. And the party itself was, well, outstanding. I knew it would be. I wasn't worried at all about being "in charge" of this party, because I knew I didn't have to run it so much as just point it in the right direction. We've got damn good people who know what they're doing, and our new volunteers this year were great and enthusiastic. Judging by the comment cards we got, people love us.

Come Sunday, tear-down could have gone better than it did, but wasn't too awful. And I found out that almost all my art sold and a good number of pieces went to auction. Not bad. I'm definitely going to be doing this again.

We took advantage of the lovely weather Sunday and ended our weekend with a picnic dinner at Greenlake. The weekend may not have been perfect -- but it was damn close.

Itinerary.

Apr. 7th, 2004 11:52 am
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Want to stalk me at Norwescon? Here, I'll make it easy for you with this handy list of panels I'm going to be on. Grab a pen, I'll wait.

Thursday, 4:00pm - 5:00pm / CASCADE ROOM 7
Ten Books ....
Recommendations you'd make to non-fans.

Friday, 8:30pm - 9:00pm / CASCADE ROOM 3
Author Reading: Michael Montoure
I'll be reading "Rest Areas" and "Tuesday Calling." Since they've only given me a half-hour, odds are real good that I'll be heading over to the Deva suite afterwards and reading some more stories there, if people are interested. (Which is also going to be the best time to buy one of my books, I should probably mention.)

Saturday, 1:00pm - 2:00pm / CASCADE ROOM 6
Take a Thief, and ....
The use of religious imagery in horror.

Saturday, 7:00pm - 8:00pm / OLYMPIC ROOM 2
How to Write a Good Horror Novel

That's it, true believers. Oh, and don't forget to check out my table in the art show, too. Ciao!

icebluenothing: (adam)
The seductive angle between wall and ladder.
The slink of the black cat across your path.
The glittering kaleidoscope of shattered, silvered glass.

Scared yet -- ? Or just excited?

Get ready for Demolition Drinking XIII: Triskaidekaphilia. The thirteenth offering from the Merchants of Deva is for those who dare carouse where angels fear to tread.

Chez Perv serves up culinary delights for the intrepid palate, while dj.Harcourt dishes out the hottest grooves with infernal endurance. Imbibe provocative new offerings from the Bazaar Bar. Schmooze and swoon once more within the swank ambience of Adam Evil's Atomic Ultralounge.

Embrace the power of 13 at Triskaidekaphilia. You're not superstitious, are you?

@ Norwescon 27 in the Lakeside Suite 5239 (Wing 5B)
Saturday, April 10th, 2004 - 9:00pm-2:00am
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Before we could go on our trip, there were a couple of last-minute details to take care of first.

For one thing, what's a road trip without music? I wanted to put together a mix CD for our little adventure. Here's the playlist and cover art:

Lautsprecher - Omnibus
cut.rate.box - Behind The Wheel
Fear Factory - Cars
And One - Deutschmaschine
See Colin Slash - Slut
Iris - Annie, Would I Lie to You
Covenant - Call the Ships to Port
The Crüxshadows - Tears
DJ Quicksilver - Ameno (Era)
Helium Vola - Omnis Mundi Creatura
Lords Of Acid - I Sit On Acid (Remix)
London Suede - Everything Will Flow (Rollo's Dub)
Snake River Conspiracy - Lovesong
Razed in Black - I Want Candy
SPF1000 - Haunted House (Disney Remix)













(I'd almost decided against including that last track, due to my disappointment over not getting to see the Haunted Mansion, but to hell with it -- I'd built the playlist around it, and I felt like it would fall apart without it.)

I burned the disc, tossed it in my CD player, and it didn't work. Burned three more useless copies before calling [livejournal.com profile] retcon for help; we'd recently upgraded my desktop machine, Nailbunny, to run Windows XP, and I figured something had gone horribly wrong. Riff came over to run diagnostics, but it turns out my playlist was just too long -- new CD players, like the one in Riff's car, can handle a disc with nearly 80 minutes of music, but my antiquated little boombox couldn't, is all. The disc was fine. Oooops. He and [livejournal.com profile] treebyleaf headed out on other errands.

I finished packing, and [livejournal.com profile] kespernorth arrived to take charge of my keys and my cat. He gave me a ride over to Riff and treebyleaf's apartment, so the three of us could head to Rustycon for Riff's dance. We'd screwed up our scheduling, you see -- our original dates for our trip overlapped the con, so we had to shuffle things so that we'd be leaving the morning after the dance.

If you read my comments after last year's Rustycon, you'll remember some of the problems I had with the con's information design and unhelpful staff. Well, I got almost as bad a runaround for tracking down tape to put up flyers, but I will admit the con's signage has improved -- I could actually find things this year. As a result, I think the dance was a little better attended this year than last year. Seemed like it to me, anyway. Still a little dead, but I don't think there were that many people at the convention overall. Riff did his usual excellent job.

I had a major fashion emergency during the dance -- a tricky little dance maneuver that landed me gracefully on my knees managed to not-so-gracefully tear a huge rip across the back of my new pants. Completely irreparable. Dammit, I liked those pants. I retired to a chair on the edge of the dance floor and explained the situation to treebyleaf, who went and grabbed my jacket so I could tie it around my waist while we went off in search of a more permanent solution, which ended up being the loan of a long black skirt from our friend Alé. Maybe not my typical convention attire, but perfectly workable. Cute, even.

Dance got done around 2:00 AM, if I recall correctly. "So, DJ Retcon, you've just pulled off another successful dance at Rustycon -- what are you going to do next?" "I'm going to Disneyland!"

We went back to their apartment and crashed for the night. (We'd talked about the insane possibility of leaving directly from the con, but it just wasn't an option, not with the dance equipment to deal with.)

Next: Going coastal

Con.

Apr. 5th, 2002 08:03 pm
icebluenothing: (Default)
It's Friday already and I still haven't recovered from Norwescon yet; I haven't slept enough, rested enough, whatever. I pushed myself pretty hard this year and it was all worth it.

I started the con tired and in pain; it's been a long, slow, difficult time, adjusting to my new shoes and their orthotics and to a whole new way of walking. At least it's good pain, productive pain, but that didn't make it any easier to haul cargo around for the Merchants of Deva on Thursday. Not that [livejournal.com profile] retcon or [livejournal.com profile] treebyleaf, the other two people packing gear out to my truck, were in any better shape. Not to worry, the show must go on.

And what a show. The first question people ask on seeing me after the con has generally been, "How did your reading go?" I'm pleased to say it went really well. I read "Safe House," and I read an as-yet untitled piece that I wrote over a year ago, and tucked away, dissatisfied, unsure if it was really finished. I brought it to the con just because I wanted to have a short piece to read that I hadn't performed before. I realized while I was reading it that it was actually pretty damn good after all -- and the audience loved it. It was obviously their favorite piece. I then went on and read an excerpt from "Still Life," an excerpt that has some very pretty language, but in which Not Much Happens, so that admittedly didn't go over quite as well as I might have liked. Overall, though, things went splendidly.

Later that night I found myself backstage at the StarDance with Riff, who was DJ'ing at his first Norwescon dance. I thought that went really well, too, although I know Riff would have been happier if there had been more people. Standing backstage and looking out and down onto the dancefloor, I was totally happy and at peace, and realized that this is where I want to be in life -- backstage. I want to be one of the people who do all the work and pull off all the miracles so everyone else is having fun. To just be the catcher in the rye.

I got more of that feeling from the Deva party on Saturday night. It was the Deva party that nearly didn't happen, that was rescued by one of our members stepping forward at the last minute to play sugar-daddy. But any lack of preparation on our part sure didn't show that night -- we came across as slick and polished as ever. It was a lot of work, but I had a great time. I hope everyone else did, too.

Already planning and plotting for next year.

Rusted.

Jan. 17th, 2002 11:24 pm
icebluenothing: (Default)
Oh, yeah, I meant to talk about Rustycon.

Hmmm. Let's see. Rustycon.

Well, as I mentioned previously, I managed to procrastinate my way out of getting myself a free badge, so instead I got to stand in line for an hour and a half for the privilege of forking over perfectly good money I couldn't really afford for a badge with a misspelled name. Yay. On the plus side, at least I ended up standing in line with someone I knew and wanted to talk to, so I didn't go completely out of my tiny mind. That, and Bobbie Dufault -- who had sent me the e-mail inviting me to the con as a guest, the e-mail I'd blithely ignored while I was working on my book -- wandered by, and I got to reassure her that no, I wasn't pissed at her or anything, I just hadn't answered her mail because I'm a great big flake.

Not too long after I got my badge, I ran into [livejournal.com profile] jhitchin, and pulled him aside so I could give back the Doctor Who audiotapes that he had loaned me, oh, four or five years ago. Felt good to finally get around to doing that.

I was primarily there to attend [livejournal.com profile] retcon's dance. It could have gone better. Not to fault him -- he did a fine job, as always, but it was really, really poorly attended. I think I saw maybe as many as 20 people on the dance floor at a time, tops. This was partly because there weren't many people at the convention to begin with -- but also because those who were there couldn't find the damn thing. This was the first year Rustycon was in this large, spread-out hotel, and no one really seemed to know where anything was located.

[livejournal.com profile] treebyleaf took the initiative early on, and grabbed a pen and paper and wrote up some flyers directing people to the dance. We then headed off to the convention office in search of tape. We told them we wanted to put up some flyers to let people know where the dance was, and asked them what kind of tape was okay to use on the hotel walls.

They looked at us like we were speaking Martian.

It was a perfectly reasonable goddamn question, one I've asked at any number of cons, since hotels are picky about tape on their walls, but the helpful staff in Rusty's office looked like they'd never even considered the bizarre ideas I'd presented to them: Walls? Tape? Flyers? What? Then they argued with us that we didn't need to put up flyers -- the dance had a sign outside it. When I pointed out, not unreasonably I thought, that a sign right outside the dance didn't do much good for people in other parts of the hotel who might be wondering where to look, they suggested that we just move the sign a little further down the hall. I left while I could still manage to be polite, and we decided we'd just go ahead and use the tape we already had, and if the con had a problem with it, well, we'd tried to ask ....

This reflected on a problem I had with the convention as a whole -- poor information design. I first noticed this before I left home on Friday, as I tried to find out simple things from their website -- what time is the dance? What hours is the Dealer's Room open? I couldn't find answers to my questions there or in the program guide or the pocket program. Asking the people at Registration where or when anything was didn't produce any useful results, either. I eventually found the hours for the Dealer's Room in the program guide on Sunday, through the simple means of flipping through every single damn page. Once I found them I confirmed that no, they weren't listed in the table of contents.

I did find in the pocket program that Hospitality was on the "10th floor." I feel I must point out that the 10th floor does, in fact, have more than one room, and would you consider me too demanding if I expressed a certain curiosity about the room number? If so, could someone maybe have put up a sign or two directing members there?

Admittedly, there was a sign right outside Hospitality. When it was open. Maybe they should have moved it a little further down the hall.

Rustycon had, as near as I can tell, a fairly decent convention going on in that hotel this year. Somewhere.

I spent a few hours on Saturday wandering around and looking for [livejournal.com profile] retcon, and later found out he wasn't there that day. I left early, still tired from the night before. I talked Riff and treebyleaf into coming back on Sunday, so treebyleaf could get the brightsharp little knife she'd fallen in love with in the Dealer's Room.

While we were there, a dealer offered to sell me all six of Clive Barker's Tortured Souls action figures for just fifty bucks. I really, really want them -- they're beautifully detailed, and I'm such the Barker fanboy -- but I decided I just couldn't afford it. I'm still frustrated at having to pass up a deal like that.

After that, I met David Gerrold, who was behind a dealer's table selling some of his books and scripts. I got to talk to him for a few minutes, and I got to tell him how useful his book about the writing -- and rewriting -- of The Trouble With Tribbles has been to me as a writer. I didn't think I was going to get up the nerve to talk to him at all -- some people get tongue-tied around their favorite actors, but to me, those are just the people who read the lines; I get tongue-tied around those who dream the dreams. He was great to talk to, funny, warm, and personable.

Whatever little frustrations I'd dealt with at the con, that moment made my weekend. Hell, it probably made my whole year.

Rustycon.

Jan. 3rd, 2002 06:12 pm
icebluenothing: (Default)
Can't believe it's in just a little over a week. I really dropped the ball on this one -- I received an invitation to be a guest, maybe do a reading or some panels, and I dropped the email into my "Yeah, yeah, whatever, I'm writing a goddamn book here, I'll answer this later" folder and forgot about it. Now it's a wee bit too late.

Oh, well -- I still want to go on Friday, at least to go to [livejournal.com profile] retcon's dance:

dropzone . dj.retcon . january.11.2002

I'm thrilled he's finally getting decent gigs at cons, after years of kickin' out da mad tunez at Merchants of Deva parties and generally making most con DJs look sick, tired and old. If you go to cons and you think you hate con dances -- come to this one.

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