May 29, 2007
Bay Con, Ribbon Wangs & Friends
This was my first official Bay Con. I had attended Bay Con once in the past but I ghosted it. So, I'm considering this the first time. I had a fabulous time! Just enough socializing so I didn't feel alone in the crowd but not too much where I wanted to start elbow checking anyone who came within three feet of me.
The Hotel - Think Escher meets the interior of the Tardis: very large and very confusing. This hotel was very oddly spread out and some parts of it did not connect other parts of it. Two of my panels were in the infamous "hidden room." The first time I looked for it, I was almost late to the panel because I took the wrong elevator and that elevator didn't go to that part of the second floor where the room was.
On the good side of things, the hotel staff busted their ass for the convention from this guest's point of view. At first, I was not overly impressed but by the end of the convention, I stood corrected and in awe of their service and desperate attempts to keep everyone happy. The food was surprisingly affordable and tasty. Ditto on the Con kibble.
The Panels - I had eight panels. All of them were filled. Some to standing room only capacity. The worst was the last one and mostly because the other panelists would not stay on topic, it was Monday afternoon and I had run out of both tolerance and patience. Note to self - no Monday afternoon panels.
My favorite panel was the "Fun Ways to Kill Your Characters" panel. That started even before the panel did. I was sitting in the lobby with people discussing the panel and killing people and the one lone stranger rather nervously got up in the middle of the discussion and beat a hasty retreat. He show up at the panel and had to comment that, suddenly, that morning's conversation made a lot more sense. However, my favorite part of the panel was making two of my other panelists (an Ex-Cop and an Ex-Sniper) very nervous as I discussed my Freaky Friday Fictions and how I liked to take the ordinary and turn it into something horrific.
During the panel, I really thought they were just hamming it up. After the panel, when I was giving out business cards, I turned and asked, "I'm not that scary, am I?" I was greeted with two very long pauses. Then, the ex-sniper said, "Well, some people think I'm scary." I smiled and said. "I don't." I noticed that neither of them answered my question. I think that answered it. It was probably because I smiled so sweetly as I discussed the variously cursing and killings I had written about.
The Nightlife - One of the things about Bay Con that I really liked was the fact that they actually had a wide variety of things to do at night. The panels ran until 11pm. There was a dance every night. There were special events every night and there was the party floor. There were a lot of very pretty people and excellent parties to go to.
[begin: rant] The cuties were crawling out of the frickin' woodwork and a lot of them were all over me. Where the heck were these men when I was single, dammit! What is it about getting into an exclusive relationship that makes a person irresistible? I had to gently tell one very handsome cutie (whom I would have dearly loved to drag back to my room for a good snog only last month) that while he was a single man, I was not a single woman and that I needed him to remove his hand from my ass despite the fact that his groping technique (something we had been discussing - long story) was far superior to any I had felt in a very long time. [end: rant]
In the end, I spent a lot of time safely flirting with a new friend - once I established with him that we were both taken, happy and not looking. Then, it was a lot fun. (Hi Matt!)
The Ribbon Wangs - There is a growing but fun oddity within the Sci-fi/Fantasy convention circuit that amuses me to no end. This is the ribbon wang. People give out ribbons that you can stick to your badge. They are conversation starters and are a source of pride. They have popular media phrases on them (Big Damn Hero, On the List, Torchwood), private jokes (Con Ops Says What? It's Minion's Fault.) or personal tags for a person (Ping, Cult of Johanna, Wild Nobility) and many more. My ribbon wang was 27 ribbons long and, by NO means, anywhere near the longest. It was strange having people randomly give me ribbons to put on my badge. At first, I wasn't sure I wanted them. Then, I got into it and I did but I didn't want to ask for them. It's like Dan said, "Some people have rules for giving out ribbons. I have rules for accepting them." I have to figure out what my rules will be.
Yes, I plan to order some ribbons for Norwescon. One that I give out to everyone. One that I only give to my friends.
The Freaks - Conventions are the gathering of hyper-smart and creative people. Many of them are socially inept. Many of them can be creepy. I had a couple of incidents that made me shake my head and two that made me want to back away slowly while calling for help.
When you are a panelist, and someone asks you, or the panel, a question and you answer it, talking to them as they asked the question, some people seem to think that you and they are now good buddies. So, when you meet them later in the hall, they want to stop and talk. I had one such incident on Monday morning with a guy from the "Geek of My Dreams" panel. His manner and questions were so disturbing that the nice lady next to me, with whom I had been speaking, jumped in and told the guy that the questions he was asking were inappropriate. He had been asking me about my work experience and I could not tell if he thought he had worked with me before or if he was trying to offer me a QA job or what. As it turns out, he was just attempting to have a technical discussion with a female. (We think.)
I had another incident that, as the guy walked away, I actually said to myself, "You have just become my next Freaky Friday Fiction." This is not usually a good thing and you all will see what I mean next Friday.
Missed Friends - While being a guest at Bay Con was really neat and I enjoyed it a lot, the main reason for me to go to conventions like this one is for me to meet up with missed friends. Bay Con is a strange nexus of groups of my Bay Area friends crossing. There were people from the Palo Alto group, the MacDudes/Pit of Scorpions group, Walnut Creek area and ex-co-workers. Sylvan spent a lot of time saying, "You know them, too?" to me as I would wave or say hello to old friends. It was really good to see them all. Some, I didn't get to spend nearly enough time with but rather than being sad, I am thankful that I had the chance I did to see them.
Continuing On - Currently, I'm in Fremont and I got to see Rich and Cil last night. Soon, it will be a pilgrimage to Dana Street café for some writing before sushi with Monte. Then, it will be a trek to Sacramento to spend some time with Heather. All of this, I'm looking forward to. At the same time, I am really missing Seattle and I can't wait to get home. I am becoming more and more inspired on Novel #2 and that is a very good thing.
Tarot Card for the Day: Judgment