April 19, 2006
Below are a series of moments in the annals of personal NorwesCon history. There is no particular timeline for them except where indicated. They are written from the heroine's point of view, thus, may have slight discrepancies when compared to what really happened - especially where emotions, drinking, sleep deprivation or all of the above enter into the picture.
The first rule of tech support is...
Always check your connections. The second rule of tech support is: Always Check Your Connections. The third rule of tech support is: Do not panic. The last rule of tech support is: If you called for tech support, you must listen to tech support.
Compared to last year, this year's NorwesCon was a piece of cake. No, really. There were the usual bits but 90% of my tech support assistance ended up being social engineering that involved calming panicking people and thinking of creative work around to real problems. Of course, there was the one... "Oh my god! The server has gone down! The one computer that was consistently working in the art show is dead!"
"I'm on my way." Our intrepid heroine (me) responded with calm, cool, collected sexiness. It's hard to not be sexy in a corset and a headset. Upon arriving at the art show, three people pointed at the dark monitor. The wailing and gnashing of teeth began again. After hushing and calming everyone because IT was on the scene, I sat down and looked it all over. Power to the monitor. Check. Power to the computer. Check. Wiggled the mouse and screen is still dark. Check. (Oh, you may laugh at that last one but one art show volunteer panicked and demanded IT help when the computer screen went dark. Apparently, they had never seen a computer go into power saving mode before. But, I digress.)
"Hmmmm." I thought to myself. "Perhaps, there really is an actual problem this time. I should do the connection tango to see if it fixes things." This is where you unplug and replug all computer connections for just in case purposes. I pull the table cloth away from the table and look down. "I have found the problem!" I announce. I bend down and do something arcane. "How is that?" My ears heard the shouts of praise and joy and questions of what it was. I clicked on my radio. "Rory, this is IT in the art show crisis averted. The server did not go down. Repeat, the server did not go down. The monitor was unplugged from the computer..."
Then, I spent the next 10 minutes trying to explain to the art show people that it really was OK for them to do a general eyeball check of everything before calling for tech support and if something looked unplugged to plug it back in. They didn't believe me.
Impulse spending again and again...
Did I really need a new pair of earrings, a matching custom made pearl necklace, a custom made gold necklace, three t-shirts, Serenity cards, the Ravenclaw scarf, a Ravenclaw patch, a Hogwarts patch, a Serenity patch, a new underbust corset, the Captain's Kitten print, the cobalt blue dice, the new Heather Alexander CDs and the signed limited edition Michael Whelan print called "The Dark Tower"? Yes. Yes, I did. I won't even flinch (too much) when the bill for this past weekend comes in. I will just pay it off and move on. Budgeting begins in May.
You Are the Customers_Suck Story!
Sunday of the convention. I wander blearily into Registration and immediately am asked to take a register. I had been volunteering in Reg on badge duty (I like giving out badges) all weekend. I had not had to take a register at all. So, I grumpily got my coffee, woke up, put on a good attitude and started helping and teasing my victims. "You are my first family of victims! I'm new. I'll try not to muck this one up..." Then, the man came up to my register...
Now, this man was grumpy with an ax to grind and I was his chosen target. He went off on me about how he had been coming this convention for five years and every year he had to wait in line to discover that he needed a form. He would have to get out of line, get the form, fill it out and stand in line again. My unsympathetic thoughts ranged from "You would think you would learn after five years" to "I guess you are blind and can't see everyone around you with form and the people at the registers accepting those forms."
Rick, Jeff and Willow all tried to deflect this guy from me because I was getting more and more angry. This is not a smart thing to do on the Sunday of a convention to any volunteer. I stopped being cheerful at him, did his transaction and became polite while Jeff pointed out that Norwescon had ALWAYS had forms and insinuated that he was an idiot if he couldn't figure it out while Willow shoved a program book into his hands when he tried to change tracks and chew on me about his room change. I don't know why he was so focused on yelling at me but he was. Fortunately, everyone else around us thought he was an idiot, too.
NewLady1in my line: "I'm brand new and I found the forms with no problem. You're doing a great job." NewLady2 in the other line: "Yeah. I found the forms. That guy was an idiot. I would have slapped him." Me: *starts laughing* "Thank you very much. He was such a Customers_Suck story!"
Fan Girl Walking: Heather Alexander
In the dealer's room, I was pondering a couple new CDs by Heather Alexander. I stood at the table where they were selling them and asked to see what was on the CD I wanted to buy. I noticed the red haired lass next to me. It was Heather. I also noticed a lot of upper lip fuzz. Not wanting to stare, I averted my eyes thinking that Heather didn't have a mustache. She couldn't have... yes, she did. Then, looking around, I looked again and realized that Heather was in drag. Not just any drag, she was in Ravenclaw drag. Mustache, tie, glasses, pocket watch, etc.
I ended up in a conversation with her while I was talking about getting the CDs online instead of at the convention and she wisely pointed out that here, it was instant gratification, no shipping charge and she would sign a CD for me if I wanted. I was sold. I fondled myself looking for my wallet in my corset and I heard Heather say, "I'll look for you!"
I was so stunned I didn't have an answer at first. Then, her manager said, "Professor! You must be good!"
"Oh, yes. I must." Professor Alexander reluctantly turned away.
I leaned over towards her. "Are you sure?" There was laughter all around and I went to get my wallet that I left in Reg. When I got back, Heather and I had a conversation about the CDs of hers that I own - all except her first. Professor Alexander (NOT Heather) casually mentioned that that first CD from her first band did not have a curse on it to keep it from being copied. I thought it was very interesting comment. Hint, hint, Jessie/Jen.
Fan Girl Walking: Michael Whelan
Early Sunday evening. I'm headed home because I'm so tired I can barely stand. I have my purse, my suitcase and my beloved signed limited edition (30/500) Michael Whelan print of "The Dark Tower." I walk into the elevator and see two handsome men. One is Michael Whelan. I'm sure of it. But, not sure it enough to say anything. So, I settle, turning my print towards them for them to view and see if they comment. The other one gestured as I glance away and glance back.
"Well, look at that." Michael says with a big smile at me.
I completely lost it to my inner fan girl. "I thought it was you! I thought it was. I've wanted this for so long! I love your work. You are so wonderful! Would you sign it for me?"
The other guy points out that it is already signed but I only have eyes for Mr. Whelan. He is smiling and gracious and tells me that he will be in the art show in an hour if I want it personalized. I regretfully declined, shook his hand, thanked him and headed home. He was so sweet and gracious and kind. He seemed honestly pleased at my enthusiasm for his work. I really was the squee-ing fan girl for him. Btw, he's a hot older guy. He really is. I'd do him.
Auction Girl, Part 1: The Prepping
I unwisely agreed to be part of a slave auction (a cute guy was involved, hush now) and was freaking out over this fact. So much that I completely missed the time by an hour, thinking we had 20 minutes to get Rory ready. I grabbed Jim from the Reg desk (thank you, Willow!) and went back to my room. The resulting comedy of errors getting Rory in Amber mode was hilarious. It included trying to put the corset on upside down and an amazing feat of personal origami between Jim and I to get the corset tied tight enough. Fortunately, most of this distracted me from my panic at actually agreeing to be part of a slave auction when I didn't have a ringer in the audience.
Auction Girl, Part 2: The Limping
I am with all 6'6" of purple-haired Amber who is hard to miss. She is in 5" spiked heels and I am walking in front of her to clear the way. Out of the corner of my eye, I see someone knock into Amber and make her eat wall. I turn to yell at said person only to have said person run flat into me, kicking me in the foot and stomping me on the ankle. It hurt so bad I actually screamed in pain. He hit me hard enough that if he had not grabbed me by the shoulders, I would have been eating the floor.
"Oh my god! Are you alright?"
"Fine." My teeth are clenched and I'm eye to eye with his convention security badge.
"Seriously. Are you alright?"
"No but it is obvious that you are in a hurry. Go." When convention security is running, generally there is a big problem. So, I let it go and limped my way towards where we needed to go. Anger is the opposite of fear and, believe me, I was no longer afraid. Of course, it wasn't until the next day that I discovered the broken toe.
Auction Girl, Part 3: The Drinking AKA 1, 2, Many
I was still nervous, so as soon as we got to Jim's room, I took a shot of tequila. NASTY stuff. I followed it up with something sweet. I don't know what it was. It was enough to have me go on. Amber and I signed in. Then, we spent a good 45 minutes waiting. I chatted with the other slaves and had a bit of vodka from one of the auction volunteers. And I mean a bit by I have no idea how many shots. I know I got licked by Josh, twice and he's gay. I know I made Richard give the Auction Mistress a foot massage. I know I didn't realize how much I was drinking.
Auction Girl, Part 4: The Selling
I volunteered to go up 2nd and by that time, I had no fear. In fact, I showed a bit of skin to sweeten the minor bidding war that went on. I only went for 100K Timbucks and that netted me 35K. Turns out the guy who was feeding me the vodka was the one who bid on me. Later, he bid on Richard because I asked.
Auction Girl, Part 5: The Coddling
Yeah. Ok. So, there's no getting around it. I got trashed. I never get trashed. Not in public. I get tipsy but I'm always, always, always in control. Not this time. But, Jim was there in Jewish Grandmother mode. I knew I was safe. Richard was there in Caretaker mode. The guy who bought me was about as harmless as you could possibly get. This was his second con, his first NorwesCon, his first slave auction and I was his first slave. Frankly, he had no idea what to do with me. He wanted to do what I wanted to do. The first thing I wanted to do was eat and get out of my damn corset. We did. I teased and flirted with my lad, who, as it turned out, had been volunteering in Reg the whole weekend and I had never noticed him due to being on duty and him being really quiet. So, I had three guys all there to make sure that I didn't face plant somewhere uncouth. It was quite sweet. Even better, I didn't wake up with a hangover. Just a little dehydrated.
The Business Card Tango
Some time ago, I printed up a bunch of the Edge of Propinquity business cards. My intent was to splat them all over NorwesCon. I think I succeeded. I did so in the art show when I pointed out Rory's work and pointed out the couple of pictures that were from the Edge of Propinquity. I did so anytime I talked to someone about writing. I did so when I heard someone lamenting the lack of short stories. I even did so to Mike Shepherd of the Kris Longknife series, asking him to take a look and, if he liked what he read, to please contact me with a quote. He accepted it and promptly handed me his card.
The best Business Card Tango came out of the DAW Traveling Road Show. After it, I went to talk to the editors, told them about the Edge of Propinquity and asked if they would be interested in reading it. The one editor admitted that she did not have time to read anything online but, if I would, I could email her after the convention and talk to about my projects. She took my business card and wrote down her direct email address. I thanked her and happily went on my way. Now, I have someone to talk to about both Grants Pass and the Edge of Propinquity. DAW does a lot of anthologies, so there is a chance there.
Tarot Card for the Day: Knight of Pentacles, Inverted