Thursday: Packed up and drove to Minneapolis, then flew to Austin. Whee.
Friday: Took howardtayler to lunch at Whataburger. He liked it. Worked on the new costume, mainly soldering and hot gluing (this will be significant later). Wore the original TRON costume once the con started, except for a trip to Rudy's Barbecue. Went to a couple of panels. The best was This Panel Intentionally Left Blank: Howard, Eric Raymond, and Steve Jackson talking about whatever crossed their minds. Hugely enjoyable, because they're three interesting people who can hold interesting and intelligent conversation. Did one panel with cathyr19355, on adventures in costuming - had three people in the audience.
Saturday: Worked on the new costume on and off, around doing panels and going to a few. Howard and I made chupaquesos in the con suite. Steve took a bit of one and swirled it in chocolate sauce, so I had to suggest making one with chocolate chip filling. That was entirely too good. Did a panel on Hercules; this was the first time I'd done one for folks who weren't necessarily mainframe geeks, so it was an interesting departure.
The costume was a guard outfit from TRON. It needed more gluing and soldering, and lots of painting. I got it finished 20 minutes before the masquerade, and put on the unitard - and promptly popped a stitch that would have resulted in an indecent exposure charge had I not been wearing a dance belt. Took it off, repaired the problem, got it back on just in time. When it came time for me to go on stage, though, a hot glue joint failed and left one of the four battery packs dangling. I got back to my seat, and while I was sitting there waiting for the judging to finish, over the space of 30 minutes or so, the other three battery packs came off as well. It looked pretty sad by the time it was done.
I don't have pictures yet that I can show: they're in my camera, and the TSA lost the &*&*&$#$^%^&$$ USB cable I need. This evening, hopefully. I did win an award for theatrical design; they said that the costume looked believable in the context of the movie (and I'd given them a few pictures to compare). Cathy and Howard were two of the judges.
I got it all back to my room, with Howard's help, and then wandered around the con a while in just the unitard. I reglued everything with E6000 and went to bed.
Sunday: Got up, discovered the E6000 worked, and put it all back on. I went to Howard's Schlock Mercenary panel, and then, looking for something to do, wound up in two games of Kill Dr. Lucky with Eric and a few others. The last one ended when I had a brain fart and didn't terminate the attack, even though I had enough failure cards: I forgot that I was the last chance to stop the attacker. Oh well; we needed to finish about then anyway.
Did two panels. The first was on SF authors we'd given up on with Eric and Cathy and a local SF author, Lawrence Person, that turned out to be a lot of fun. The other was the great GPL debate, with me representing the anti-GPL side. That went better than I expected. Went to one last panel on guilty pleasures in SF, that was also a lot of fun. (Mine: How Much for Just the Planet?, a true gem in an otherwise quite variable Star Trek novel series.)
After closing ceremonies, I quickly changed back into street clothes, and went out to dinner with Eric, Cathy, landley, John Quarterman, and his wife, at the 290 Cafe in Manor, just east of Austin. I don't care what Eric says: a good chicken fried steak is the ambrosia of the gods, and these folks delivered. I'm going to have to add that one to the list. We got back, then headed right back out to drink chai at Metro, a coffee bar near the UT campus, and then saw Mirrormask, a movie co-written by Neil Gaiman and produced by the Jim Henson studio. Very good film, with CGI of the quality you'd expect from Henson and a story that will feel familiar to Gaiman fans. If you're in one of the 17 cities where it's showing, go see it. Got to bed very late.
I had a lot of fun and spent a lot of time with folks I know and like. Assuming it happens next year, I'll be back.
I'm all packed up, and am about to check out, have lunch at Whataburger, and head for the airport. I'll be home late this evening.