A better Saturday - Jay Maynard

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Sunday, 4 July 2004


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0942 - A better Saturday

Saturday at CONvergence started out rotten, but got better as the day went along.

We got up a bit after 8. Got online, checked stuff out, got dressed, went out into the teeming masses.

The first panel I went to was on *When did geeks become cool?". It went fairly well, until late in the hour. Someone made a comment about how the way to find out what's cool is to look on TV. I stuck my hand in the air to comment on that, abd got thoroughly ignored for the rest of the session. I walked out furious, and was still seething when I went looking for vakkotaur a few minutes later. He'd walked out of the panel when one of the panelists - who'd been in the panel on LJ Friday - said something hypocritical. In retrospect, I should have done the same.

I found Paul in the project room, talking to a guy who turned out to be the husband of someone we know from the faire world, Diana Steben (who we know as Rilla the Spinner). I ranted at him a bit, then at he when she came in. I told them that I was so furious I was seriously considering writing off the second night's hotel room and blowing off the rest of the con.

We went to get lunch. When we returned, I went through the dealer's room and bought a copy of The Flying Sorcerers, a funny SF novel by David Gerrold and Larry Niven. Both of them are guests of honor at the con, and I got them both to sign the book.

I went off to the masquerade orientation session, and Paul went back to his room to read a book he'd bought and had signed, Gerrold's The Man Who Folded Himself. Unlike the session on how the masquerade was supposed to work, the orientation was to the point. I handed in my paperwork, and saw where things were happening. After that, I went to a panel by Niven and Gerrold on collaborating. They had many insights to offer, since they've collaborated on many projects. I wish I could do it justice here.

Back to the room to record the music and voiceover for my masquerade performance. I had the closing music from TRON as an MP3 file. Audacity made short work of recording the narration, adjusting its level and the music, shifting the narration to where I wanted it, and mixing it down to an MP3, which then got burned to a CD with iTunes. A quick test on the car's CD changer to make sure it was playable, and it was done.

I went to the main stage where they were holding rehearsals and handed the sound guy my CD for a test. It worked fine there, too. I found Paul on the way to the room where they have performances by acoustic musicians. We saw most of a performance by the group Ten Seconds of Harmony, which we'd heard was good but never managed to see at the Minnesota Renaissance Festival. They lived up to their billing.

Next was another panel, with Larry Niven and a few other folks, on SF as prediction. I got a phone call almost as soon as the panel started, and so didn't see much of it, but Niven summed it up: "We're not in this to make predictions. We want a Hugo."

I had to duck out to go to my masquerade rehearsal. I went in not having a clue as to what to do on stage, but 15 minutes later, with a lot of help from the lady running it, I did. I bummed around for a few more minutes, then went upstairs. I studied the speech I'd written more closely, thinking about what I wanted to do onstage, then got cleaned up and into costume to go down to the green room and wait.

I got to the green room about 5:45 and checked in. (The masquerade started at 7.) For the next hour and then some, I stood around and talked to folks, as my costume was as ready as it ever got, and others needed the time to finish things up. The workmanship judges got their crack at me in the middle of that. They asked me about how I'd made it, and how the el-wire worked, and how I did the unitard. Diana was one of the judges; she made a point of asking, for the other judges' benefit, how many costumes I'd made before this one (zero). Then it was more waiting.

When the show started, we clustered around a couple of very small monitors to watch. The signal kept dropping out due to a loose connection in the hall. Still, I saw most of it, and there were a lot of very good entries that had obviously had a lot of work put into them. I was sure I wasn't going to take anything home after seeing that. My turn out on stage didn't go as well as I'd hoped; I felt like I was fumbling around a bit.

When I got back into the green room, I watched the rest of the entries on the monitors, and talked to the lady who'd suggested I come to CONvergence in the first place. I mentioned that I was feeling better about the con than I had the previous night, and she said she'd read the entry. We also talked about her disappointment with some parts of how Renaissance Dancewear had handled her order. During the halftime show, I sat down, hoping to rest my back. I wound up talking to a reporter/photographer from the St. Paul Pioneer-Press for about 20 minutes about my costume, my experiences with it, and on into lots of other aspects of growing up as a geek. He promised to let me know if a story runs based on that.

Then came the awards. The only surprise there was that I managed to take home a workmanship award : Best Phosphorescence. Diana explained later that they couldn't really figure out what to call it, but felt I deserved an award. I didn't take home one of the main awards, which I was expecting after seeing the competition. (I have no quarrel with who won any of them; they were all quite good.)

I went out front to let folks take my picture, and ran into Larry Niven again. I told him how he was to blame for all of this, as the first book anyone gave me was his first novel, World of Ptavvs, when I was 8. He said he'd taken responsibility for a lot of things over the years, and would add me to the list.

I snagged Diana and dragged her up to our room to show her the video from Thursday's Jimmy Kimmel Live. She loved it. We talked for another hour, then went out to get a very late dinner at IHOP. Back to the hotel at midnight, and after bidding her goodnight, to bed.

I'm feeling better about the con now than I did this time yesterday. I'm going to get cleaned up, go out to the car and get my con badge (which I'd left in it, of course, after dinner), then put the costume on and wander around. Fortunately, the hotel has extended checkout time till 4 PM, so I won't have to rush anything.

current mood: [mood icon] awake

(40 comments | Leave a comment)

Comments:


[User Picture]
From:howardtayler
Date: - 0000

Urgh, sorry to hear about that panel

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You know me -- I love the panels. I love the feedback. I love participating, and sitting in, and all that stuff...

The thought that someone would walk out of a panel angry at being ignored, that makes me mad.

Thanks for the blow-by-blow. You've got me really looking forward to my next Cons (Fandemonium and Linucon).

--Howard
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From:jmaynard
Date: - 0000

Re: Urgh, sorry to hear about that panel

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I wasn't so much angry at being ignored as I was at the sense that I'd been ignored because of the disagreement the previous day. I understand running short on time, but that didn't feel like all of it.

vakkotaur has come to the conclusion that big cons - be they furry cons like Anthrocon, or SF cons like CONvergence - aren't as much fun because you don't get to spend a lot of time meeting people. I'm coming to agree. Penguicon was a lot of fun for that reason, and I'm sure Linucon will be as well. I'm really looking forward to it.

I'm going to have to get a picture with you while I'm in the TRON costume. I'm going to wear it Saturday for at least part of the day, although it will not be my entry in the masquerade.
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From:howardtayler
Date: - 0000

Re: Urgh, sorry to hear about that panel

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Clarification: Not mad at you. Mad at the panelists. Bozos.

And yeah, we'll get pix together. Who'd'a'thunk you were gonna be a CELEBRITY, that guy sitting in his TRON outfit during my panel. :-)
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From:alexandriash
Date: - 0000

Congrats on your award!! :-D

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Best Phosphorescence; they made an award just for you and your good work, how cool is that? :-D
I've never been to a CON of any sort (woe unto poor, poor me), though they sound interesting. :-)
I'm sorry your experience at this one hasn't been that great, but it's nice to hear it's picking up and you're starting to have a good time after all. :-)
Niven is responsible for you (he's one of my favs!), L'Engle is responsible for me. My first taste of SF at age 7, and I've been a hopeless addict ever since. Yay!
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From:ethel
Date: - 0000
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Frankly, if I had been on the second panel, I would have ignored you too. There are few things worse than someone ruining a lj panel, and well....once bitten, twice shy. If someone who had managed to derail a panel the day before to the point where it had the entire con talking and rolling their eyes, I would never ever call on that person 24 hours later. Not because I would have had anything against that person, but because I'd be afraid for the greater good of the panel and the enjoyment of the other attendees.
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From:jmaynard
Date: - 0000
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So, was I supposed to sit there and just let the idea that mocking people is an appropriate thing to do on the net go by unchallenged?

The whole thing - not only the events themselves, but the comments from CONvergence insiders - has soured me on that con. I promise you won't have to worry about my ruining any more panels there; I now feel sufficiently unwelcome that I won't be back.
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From:ethel
Date: - 0000
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You can say whatever you want, just like everyone else on this planet.

All I was pointing out is that if it were my panel, I would have had you pegged as a smoking gun and wouldn't have called on you for the good of that panel either. I don't think it was that anyone "had it out" for you -- they simply didn't want to see a repeat and another panel ruined. I certainly would have made the same decision.
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From:jmaynard
Date: - 0000
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If I was setting out to ruin another panel, would I have stuck my hand in the air and waited patiently to get recognized?
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From:ethel
Date: - 0000
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I don't know you well enough to tell you that, and I don't know you well enough to take the chance, had it been my panel. Fair enough?
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From:jmaynard
Date: - 0000
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Well, all I can say is that someone who was setting out to ruin a panel would have gone about far differently than I did - either time. That was not my intent Fiday, and I had hoped that we could put it behind ourselves and go on Saturday. I was disappointed, and angry that it didn't work out that way. My illusions of SF fandom took a severe beating because of it.
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From:ethel
Date: - 0000
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Hmm. I guess I don't see it that way. I know a lot of sneaky assholes who would have done exactly that, and you can't tell the sneaks from the nonsneaks.

Perhaps the next time this occurs it would be a good idea to approach the panelists beforehand to clear things up instead of just assuming. Jen was quite taken aback from your vehemence on Friday, and that's where she was left -- feeling attacked and taken aback. There was no correction of that impression from that point onward, and she went into Saturday still feeling that way.

A peace offering might have gone a long way.
From:jmaynard
Date: - 0000
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From:ethel
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From:ethel
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From:raptavio
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It may not have been your intent, but you sure effectively managed it, and thus far entirely unapologetically, going so far as to cling tenaciously to untruths about the panelists to support your view. You extend no olive branch in the intervening time, and expect someone to put it behind her despite that? And are furious when she very understandably is gun-shy?

You're ridiculous. If your illusions of SF fandom involved the fandom revolving around you, or the notion that obnoxious, antisocial, melodramatic, self-involved, disruptive behavior is welcomed, then you deserved those illusions getting the beating they did.
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From:mzmadmike
Date: - 0000
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Now, I wasn't there, but I know Jay moderately. I'm having trouble envisioning him doing something that would kill a panel.

Your presentation I find a bit off-putting. There are at least two sides to every issue. It almost sounds as if you didn't like hearing the other side. Add in that "Greater good" talk and frankly, it sounds at this end like a panel I'd like to miss.

It does happen. I recall a panel about "What to do with a time machine" that turned into an instant Bush and Christianity bashing panel. As I didn't vote for Bush and am not a Christian, I didn't have a dog in the fight, but I did have friends in the audience who are both, and they certainly felt offended.

Of course, I got the expected silence and completely ignored when I pointed out what everyone rational knows--the first use of a time machine should be to go back to 1932 and shoot that ratf@#k son of a bitch FDR.

And if in LJ, one should be prepared to dish it out and take it, I would assume panels are the same way...right?
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From:ethel
Date: - 0000
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Way to drudge up old drama. Not interested, sorry.
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From:mzmadmike
Date: - 0000
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Of course not. You'd have to present a logical case to do so.

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