CastleCon 11

A Splendid Time is Guaranteed for All

My Badge This con almost came up upon me like a sneak attack. It came up so fast, I was almost caught unprepared. Bruce and Cheryl were still trying to recoup time since Bruce had been studying like mad for his MCSE, and passed all six tests. The weekend before, Christine helped Cheryl do programming, which involved large foam boards, post-up stickies, and times listed on paper cows. Whenever I think of programming now, I will think of those paper cows.

For about a week, I had been feeling absolutely rotten. Without sounding too much like a Jewish mother, I was having aching, swelling joints, could barely move, and muscle spasms. On Wednesday I finally went to the doctor, and he thought I had Lyme Disease, so he gave me medicine. The medicine worked, but it made me sick most of Thursday until my body compensated. I found out after the con I don't have Lyme Disease, or Rheumatoid Arthritis (another theory), and now they want to see what happens after the medicine runs out. Fun. That night, I made the art badges and art brigade badges, plus some tech badges. I wasn't required to make tech badges, I just felt like it because I knew both Rogue and Brian would not be there, and my buddy Dan Alt would be running it all alone. I figured he could use a perk.

I stayed home from work because I felt terrible and my son had a small fever. What a way to start a con out! So we stayed in bed most of the morning, and I helped set up for the con by packing, getting some artwork finished, and felt better by the afternoon. I re-framed an old art piece, "Crazy Harry's Last Stand," a piece I did back in 1987 (yes, 87) when I was peddling art for the bigger cons like BaltiCon and Disclave. It is a huge-headed alien with his finger in the air, crossed eyes, and a look like someone completely nuts was on a soapbox. It never sold, and then got water damage. I trimmed it, gave it a new frame, and did some repair on the faded colored pencil. I didn't think I would sell it. I also did three small pieces on tiny magnetic frames with my Martians. One said, "Happiness is Chocolate Cake," and had an alien eating cake rather messily. Another one was a Goth Martian with the quote, "I wuz Goth before Goth wuz kewl." The last one was a Martian being electrocuted by a computer cord, with the statement "Plugged in and Online." Cute, but would they sell?

Christine came home early, and we packed the car. We had debated bringing two other beings with us. One was Curie, our "Turtle from the Sky," and Samantha, our neighbor's little girl, who is great friends with Christopher. We decided the turtle could live two days without us (she's coming to the beach, though!), and Samantha's father came to town unexpectedly, and she wanted to see him. So we set off with only the three of us.

cc11_bruce We got to the hotel around 6pm, and found out the bus wasn't there or even finished packing. I heard that almost no one had showed up to help Bruce pack but Kenny and some of his friends. It was at this time that I thought that I should have helped, but I "assumed" someone else would do it. I plan to be at the next bus packing, so Kenny and Bruce can have some help. Also, the hotel lobby had radically changed, there was a wall right in the middle of it! This split the lobby into two rather incongruous parts, and registration was no on another wall that used to be a window into the bar. There was also some sort of promotion going on, and a cardboard kangaroo and some tents were in the registration lobby. Finally, after bumming around for a while, the bus showed up, and we started to unpack. I had to chase my son around, who had already hitched up with Heather Prysock for a while. I grabbed a program book, and did the usual stuff of checking where and when my panels were, and what artwork and writin gs had ended up in the finished product.

Soon, I put CR down to bed, and I was feeling rather sleepy myself. When I CR finally went to sleep, I made a scheduled plan of what I wanted to do where. I also worked on opening ceremonies for a while. Finally, I settled down to sleep, since Amira and crew hadn't showed up yet, I used the second bed. Then she showed up, and went to my usual place on the floor between the bed and wall. I was so tired by this point, I didn't even have the strength to get up and say hello.

I woke up Friday morning, feeling a lot better. I had some of the cereal we brought along with us, "Oreo-O's," which were fairly unpleasant as far as breakfast cereals go. I also found out Albedo had a girlfriend! That rat never told me. Her name was Lisa, and she fit right in, a very pleasant person I hope to see again. But I was to find out this wasn't the only new patching of the opposite sex I was to discover. This was a foreshadowing of an amazing match-up for the evening. I helped with the art show by making their badges and I also made the tech crews, and two of mine that were nothing but shameless promotion. I did these at the last minute because it occurred to me that I would be at WorldCon in a few weeks, relatively unknown. So I made badges to announce myself. "Punk walrus - ask me about my book!" said one side and "Punk Happens," was on the other side. I made two, in case I lost one, but my wife thought they were cool, and took my spare. People asked her about the badge all during the con, so I know they must work.

Then it was lunch. Then after that, I said help to some people, and watched the three episodes of "Gunsmith Cats", an anime series about three young women running about in panties and guns in Chicago, which must have been sketched during an air raid, because there never seemed to be any traffic or people. Dan came in and we joked about it some, but I really liked it. But Dan and I were practicing for our "MST3K meets Alien 3" panel. Then I ran my "Pun panel," which I had NO idea I was doing until I actually showed up at the con and read the program book. Cheryl made a mention at opening ceremonies that everyone on the stage had forgotten to show up at a panel they hosted at least once. I know I did, and I have never missed scanning the program book since. Then I went to dinner. Christine and I had been waiting for our friend Rogue, who was not going to attend this con. She was going to come up and meet us and Dan for dinner, but she never showed. So we ate alone while I started finishing opening ceremony plans. Luckily, everything fell into place quickly this time, as people actually came up to me and said, "Can gaming say this, can security say that…?" Easy as pie.

Opening Ceremonies was fun as usual. I had planned a monologue that was about five to ten minutes long, but it was interrupted. Anyone who asked me about it were greeted cheerfully with, "You want to hear the rest?" I must have read that thing about ten times during the con. The rest of the OC went fairly much as I planned, and I made sure I didn't forget Electro, who sung a song about having dinner with an X-files agent. During this time, Rogue showed up, and actually held the mike so people could hear Electro's guitar.

Then, while Christine did some art show stuff, I went to a second dinner (which I did not consume anything but a drink, and I just remembered, I owe Dan a dollar! Doh! Sorry Dan…) with Rogue, Dan, and Kangal to a KFC/Taco Bell. Dan and Rogue made comments about how long it had been since they had been intimate with someone, and I swear to God, I heard a bell go off somewhere. There was a long pause. Then Kangal made jokes. Actually, all of us were making jokes and exploring FanTek history while we dined on chicken, burritos, and I sipped my Hawaiian Punch. I got to learn a lot about Kangal.

cc11_q_naval After we got back, I watched "The Quivering Naval Café" for a while, while spooky males painted pictures on dancing ladies. Say what you will about FanTek, but we have bellydancers, who are some of the nicest people you could ever imagine. They served hummus and pita, with a few other foodstuffs also. The art show made a lot of money that night, so they considered it successful enough to have at EveCon. I prepared Friday night for the MST3K things. It was Alien 3, a truly, truly bad movie. Even Strange Tea couldn't save it. I think it was a combination of long pauses with nothing said, poor writing, predictable points, and not a lot of set changes. It was like Philip Glass has made the set. Very minimalist and boring. At this point I noticed that and Dan and Rogue were really friendly to each other, and after the film (which had an attendance of about 3 other people), they split. I was really tired, so I went to bed.

Saturday morning, into the heart of the con. I woke up late, and had breakfast. Then I ran two panels, "Who put the SF into SF&F" which dissolved into an interesting discussion about Fandom with three very fascinating people. Man, you want interesting conversation? Run a panel or discussion at a con. You have enough authority to change the topic as you wish, but you will attract people who want to talk about whatever you title it. One guy extolled the problems of being into SF as a construction worker, while others discussed what a fan actually is. Another odd thing was that I was accidentally double-booked with Tad's panel on running a LARP in the same room. Tad and I decided to be on opposite ends of the room. It turned out to be moot because Tad was called off early into his panel due to a medical situation. Then I had my reading, which attracted many people. I read the first chapter of my second book, and some people were laughing so hard, their faces turned red. I sold two more books, and found all my pieces had been bid on in the art show.

Then I played around for a while, and then went to Costume Call Run-through. It was then I found out Kimber was leaving for Paramount. I wailed inside, I am going to MISS that girl. She is going to go far. At least I got her e-mail address.

cc11_adr_chryl Then I had dinner at a panel, "How to be a friend to an abused person" which was very interesting. Yes, dinner AT the panel, our pizza delivery was very, very late. Then it was off to green room, and then the costume call, which went on for a LONG time. I attribute that to the fact we had a high turnout of contestants, and we were so used to stretching it out to last an hour, by the time we were on contestant 15 of 20, an hour had gone by far away. Kenny, Sarah, and friend did the "FanTek Rhapsody," a completely brilliant spoof of Bruce, Cheryl, and Tynie and the creation of FanTek done to the famous Queen song. The tech table banged their heads, and the audience and I joined in.

I saw two things I am curious about. One was a girl who seemed REALLY, REALLY mad at something or someone onstage. Twice she stormed in, made threatening silent gestures to someone I couldn't see, and then stormed off like an angry demon. One person told me she was mad at someone onstage who was flirting with someone else. Two people told me it was a LARP thing. Curiouser and curiouser! The second was this guy "Moozla" in a large headed-costume. This thing looked REAL! I saw him on Friday when he was hosting "How to Start an Intergalactic Empire from just One Lemon." He was opposite my pun panel, but I caught his costume. Far OUT! It looked like Las Vegas met Lost in Space. And that head was enormous! It must have weighed 30 pounds! I doubt I would have the neck strength to hold that kind of thing up for so long. At costume call, he was dressed in black, but he suddenly stood up and blocked my wife's view of the costume call with the prosthetic head, now adorned with a black wig. I think he tried to leave quietly, but got knocked about during the FanTek Rhapsody. Never head-slam with a 30-lb. headpiece! I wished he'd entered the costume call.

cc11_3fools By 10, it was time to put my wee one to bed again, and then I came the art gala, which I felt underdressed for. Everyone looked really cool. I found one of my pieces was going to auction, one of the few pieces going to auction. I tried to stay up for the Rocky Horror, but I was way too tired. I ended up saying goodbye to Nancy and Albedo, and had a great discussion with Nancy Lebovitz, the collector of con wisdom in the form of 1˝" buttons. We've been friends for over a decade. Rogue and Dan were still being friendly to each other, and even I, Mr. Clueless, knew someone magic had happened. Yay! Two great tastes get together.

cc11_amira I got up late Sunday, and had to pack for check-out. By the time everything was put away, it was time to do the art auction, which had erroneously been relayed to me as cancelled. After the auction, Bruce asked me and a few other people to shut down the con suite, because Chris really needed the help. So a few of us did that, but after about half an hour, Daphne and Rafe asked me to host the "What do you want to see at EveCon 16?" panel, since they had NOBODY to run it. So I ran it with that big guy from Team Chicken Salad, Jason. We had a LOT of good suggestions, a few volunteers, and I made a big list. I then helped Bruce with closing ceremonies, but Christine and CR wanted to go as soon as the art show was shut down, so I said my good-byes, packed the rest of my stuff in the car, hugged Amira, Velvet, and Peter goodbye, and headed home.

It was a GREAT convention. One of the best in YEARS (and the other ones were great, too)! There was so much positive energy, and I know I wasn't the only one who felt that way. Many people posted their happiness and gratitude on the mail list right after the con. Man, if you are reading this and didn't go, you missed one helluva party!

cc11_blade One last note. Someone left a small paper bag in the art show. It had an unopened bag of Rolo's candy, a new hairbrush, and a plastic orange hoe labeled "Pixie Weapon - 2pts damage." Somehow it came home with me. If you can prove the bag is yours by telling me the other item in the bag, I'll give you replacements at the next con (my cats found the brush, you don't want it back, trust me). And, oh, yeah... 50 bazillion red foam frisbees with the word "Blade" on them...

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