Jay Maynard (jmaynard) wrote,
Jay Maynard

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After the weekend

I'm sitting in the WorldClub at Detroit Metro Airport. The weekend at Penguicon was fun, although different from what I'd come to expect.

I got to Detroit Friday right at 1 PM. The Geeks with Guns event started right then, and would last for a couple of hours, so I headed there straight from the airport. I arrived with about 20 minutes left. Got introduced to Terry Pratchett, ran a magazine through ESR's semi-custom Colt Commander (a *very* nice pistol; he did quite well when he bought it), and a few rounds through a couple of nice Smith and Wesson revolvers. Didn't take pictures due to range rules.

Went to the con hotel once that was over. Checked in, dropped stuff in my room. I'd reserved a jacuzzi suite, and it turned out to be very roomy with a nice jacuzzi in the bedroom. Went back down to the con, where I discovered that registration wasn't running yet because the head had landed in the hospital with a broken foot. Went to a couple of sessions, then back to registration and got my badge (#30; I'd signed up in January).

I tracked down the program chair. I was originally going to the con because I'd been asked to talk about Hercules. I kept asking if they still wanted me to talk, over the ensuing months, and kept getting told "yes!", but never hearing about what or when. When I found the chair, she signed me up for three sessions on Saturday. She also told me that would earn me a partial refund of the con membership fee, if there was money left over.

Went to dinner with ESR, his wife Cathy, SF author Eric Flint, and a couple of other folks. Flint had interesting stories to tell about trying to get republishing rights to old works from lots of different authors; I understand now why there will probably never be some of them rereleased.

Got back, went to a couple more sessions, bought a ticket for dinner Saturday (more about that in a bit), and then to a LARP (live-action roleplay). The story was that a guru of the open source movement had founded a group that built an open-source virtual reality amusement park, and had invited, among others, the top management of a large software corporation (in a show of "no hard feelings") to a private party the night before the park opened. The party got hijacked, however, by a group of aliens who wanted to sell the Earth a license to their technology, which promised the elimination of many major diseases, as well as lots of other benefits. It was an interesting story, and it was too bad that we didn't get to finish it (we started at 11 PM, and everyone was falling over 3 hours later). ESR played the open source guru, of course; I wound up playing the CEO of the big software corporation. I got to bed about 3 AM, after soaking in the jacuzzi for a while.

Saturday was a day for more seminars. I spoke to different aspects of open source, including quite a bit on how to get involved in open source programming. I wound up not doing much with the SF side of the con, although I did go to the Masquerade. There were some very good costumes. If I go back next year, I want to try something myself. At 5, it was time for dinner. The ticket I bought was for dinner with Terry Pratchett, as one of 9 guests. He's a neat guy, as one might expect from his writing. He was very witty, and able to talk knowledgeably on a wide range of topics. He was properly (and amusingly) scornful when I said that I hadn't read any of his work, and asked where I should start. (His answer: Mort and Guards, Guards!.) We were still talking when they chased us out of the room 90 minutes later. After a couple more seminars, including one where I talked about MVS as an operating system, I was quite tired, so I went to bed early after another soak in the jacuzzi.

Got up at a reasonable hour Sunday. Had a real breakfast (instead of a donut in the con suite), spent some time in the atrium using the wireless network, and then went to more seminars. I did get to listen to J. D. Frazer (Illiad, of User Friendly fame) talk about his comic and his experiences with it, and scored a polo shirt with an embroidered picture of Dust Puppy and Erwin at the end. I also got to argue about GPL vs. BSD licensing during a Cathy Raymond forum. After that, I spent some time hanging around and helping the con staff finish off the food and drink, then took Seth Breidbart to the airport, came back, and went to bed.

Got up on time this morning, had another good breakfast at Telly's (gyros and eggs, yum), and spent an hour plus driving to the airport in the rain.

The con struck me as moderately disorganized, and yet it was enjoyable. It felt very much like one of the smaller Iowa renaissance festivals that was just getting started. If these folks get their collective acts together in the future, this could become an annual thing for me.

I'm going to stop at the Global MainTech office on the way home and dump a bunch of trash (with their permission), and then drive home. We're not going to go to the Mexican restaurant tonight, as is our usual Monday practice (Cinco de Mayo is a really bad time to go to a Mexican place if it's the only one around for miles), but I expect we'll find something to do.


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