Thursday, August 24, 2006

Getting started

Well, I made it here, and made it through the rest of the day.

I made it into Anaheim before noon, and made it over to the convention center to register. The volunteer staff seems to be doing a very good job and things are running smoothly. Two things are making this a rather interesting experience:

  • This is my first SF convention of any kind, and
  • I am very familiar with this facility after years of the RE Congress.
In fact, some of my strangest moments so far was entering Hall A, which is usually crammed full as the vendor area at Congress. Here at Worldcon, all the organizational booths, the various art and artifact exhibitions (very impressive), along with the vendors are all there, with very generous aisles and room to spare. We'll see how crowded they get this weekend.

The opening ceremonies were packed and fun, with guest of honor Connie Willis pleasing the crowd, along with a kinescope of Tom Corbett, Space Cadet with Kellogg's Corn Flakes ads intact. I made it to Blogs & E-Fanzines and Nuclear Weapons Strategies (I'm an Air Force brat, so?) then grabbed some Chinese food and kicked back at my hotel. (I am not staying at the convention hotels, saving a little money and getting some welcome distance.) I did make it to the Babel Conference Ambassadorial Reception, a homage to the original series Star Trek episode Journey to Babel. It was great if you wanted to show off your Star Trek costume, or knew someone who did. Otherwise it was a fair size party with cake (too much sugar for me) and drinks you had to pay for. I quickly moved on.

The parties are all held on the same level at the Hilton, and the rooms all open onto one of the three lanai courtyards, which has the advantages of isolating all the noise from the rest of the hotel, providing expansion space for each party, and allowing a second door (which helps a lot). And you can wander around the lanai instead of the hallways. I made it to the bid parties for Chicago, Columbus, Kansas City, Las Vegas, and Denver as well as for my real favorite, Casa de Worldcon. Google also had a party to troll for geeks who could be future employees, but I don't think think they got too far with that. All the parties appear to have followed the various outlines for con parties, but I think they should consider the drink proportions posted recently by Teresa at Making Light, with some additional attention to diet drinks -- water and diet stuff seemed to disappear the fastest. Maybe it's the first night crowd that's older. I had fun, did't stay too late, and managed to pick up ribbons and stickers, but missed the Google flashing light stickon.

Talked with a lot of people, and met some people I was looking for, including the Nielsen Haydens (gracious as always) as well as Fr. John Blaker, the celebrant for the Mass here on Sunday. Things seem to be well organized and run, which seems to be partly due to the large amount of tribal lore about running cons, with lots or experience all around to draw from. The winner on this count is the Space Cadet Operations Manual, the pocket guide. It's a 4" x 5", 140+ page ring bound book with simply everything in it you need to know -- with the exception of party plans and daily changes. This beats the RE Congress guide all hollow, and does fit nicely in a pocket. Don't leave your home planet without it.

Today (Thursday)? I'm still not sure what at 10, but at 1 it will be Kevin Drum's presentation, and at 2:30 there is Post-Apocalyptic SF and Mars imaging from orbit. There is also a discussion about agriculture in California I may go to lob a few grenades in. I'm still working on the 4pm and 5:30pm sessions. The Chronicles of Narnia film is being shown at 6 and I haven't seen that yet. We'll see.

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