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Took a nap, and now it's after midnight

Alarm survived 3 snoozes before I woke up. Hgl was good again. Tried almost all the things at breakfast, ate too much but recovered quickly. What I thought was a HB egg was a SB egg. Peeling it was an adventure. Now I know why there were spoons next to that bowl.

Switched my gear from the lightweight foldable pack which I use at home for just the laptop/mouse/power brick to my sturdy Interop knapsack which has a laptop slot, lots of room inside, two water bottle pockets and two outside pockets.

Got to the con at about 10:30, and once again the long lines kept me away from any panels. There was supposed to be a rapier demonstration in the courtyard at 11, but at 10:30 there were no signs of it. I could have been at the wrong courtyard.

The official line about Monday's rail strike said it won't affect the trams. I'll have to monitor that somewhere more reliable.

Panicked WhatsApp message from photo panel moderator, D,  because John, the 3rd member, had not been heard from. I checked the participants desk, he had picked up his materials, and the event guide said he was demonstrating making balloon animals at 11. Got to the Green Room around 1, but it was hot and stuffy so I waited right outside in the slightly less hot and barely ventilated foyer for one of the big rooms just outside.

1:30, me and moderator met in the GR, John couldn't find it, so we went all the way across the building to the tiny room we had been assigned, and John was already there, with some fan woman carrying on a Q&A session all their own. Just before the panel started, two things: Thing the first - the chairs in the room are locked together, so there is no way we're doing a photo shoot after the panel. Thing the 2nd, C, the person who is in charge of the costume track, had added another panelist, a photographer's assistant, who hijacked the session. She. would. not. shut. up. And C came in late and interrupted us to say she didn't like the way the topic was going (she missed the opening where we told the crowd, which was mostly photographers who also cosplay, that we would start with some stuff about photography).  As far as I am concerned, the panel was mostly a FAIL. I will be having some harsh words for C back home.

After the panel one of the audience members was out in the hall talking with John, or rather being drooled over by John, so I went over to join them. Turns out she is from Estonia and does a free sci-fi webzine Reaktor. It's in Estonian, with rare translations into English. Her Q at the panel was how to always look good in photos. My answer is nobody always looks good in photos. We talked more about that, and I saw the issue - her face is fairly plain. And very expressive. Watching her, I think I could capture a few beautiful shots, but it would take a lot of patience and shutter clicks. She has a nice figure, about 5'11". I bet she would be a great nude model.

I was done for the day, except the moderator was giving a talk on cats in sci-fi at 7, and I wanted to try to see that.

I hung out for a bit in the fan lounge, there was an Asian persons' meetup there, but no Thais. And I had to shift tables when the one I was at was reserved for a meet the artist event which the program said would be in the art show across the way. That proved fortuitous after a fashion, as another person at the new table saw my H2G2 Menlo Players t-shirt and asked about the show. He is involved with the UK H2G2 fan club.

It was nice outside, so eventually I sat out there and was joined by a young woman from Spain who had volunteered for Ms. NoShutup to show how to pose a model. We chatted a bit about cons in Spain & Europe until her group left for dinner.

Somewhere early in the day I toured the dealers' room, and bought a 4XL con T-shirt. The FB page was saying they were sold out, and didn't have anything bigger than 2X. But there was plenty of stock in all sizes, three designs.

My sciatica was acting up, so I decided to have dinner in one of the restaurants downstairs in the convention center. There was one sit-down place which had what the menu said was grilled steak strips, so I ordered a plate and found a seat. What arrived 10 minutes later was a fairly large slab of braised but raw inside meat. Could barely cut it, what few bites I took was all gristle. When the waitress came by I sent it back, and in another 10 had a new piece. This time it was cooked a little better, but horrible quality cut, I left over half of it.

There was a bit of a show, as the restaurant was next to the stage door for the Hugo awards, and first there were all these people dressed to the 9's who were nominees, and then the fan line to get into the main hall stretched all the way there and beyond. Major eye candy both sets.

And now it was 6 pm, all the eateries were closing. Insane scheduling for a con which goes till midnight.

Wandered up to the cat talk, 45 minutes early, the line was already down the hall and around the corner, but I got in line - the last person in line gets to hold a sign "end of the line for room xxx" until someone else joins the line. At 15 minutes till show time minions came down the line counting people. The room holds 100.

In the room with all seats filled it was clear their count was off by about 20. It took a few minutes for Security to convince the non-seated people that they would have to leave.

D did a decent job with the presentation, very light-hearted, and her slides were cleverly done. And now I have some more books to get onto my Kindle.

I'm currently reading HG Wells' The Sea Lady, an amusing comedy about a mermaid who is "rescued" by some respectable people summering by the shore. It's several pokes at British middle class morality, politics and journalism.

But I digress. Next stop was the New Zealand in 2020 party, which was in the hotel's reception room. It was also a Nice, France in 2023 party and there was a Dublin in 2019 backdrop still up from last night. The Kiwis served a drink made from (of course)  kiwi fruit which was kind of good, very interesting, and some kind of pastry with whipped cream and berries on top which was delicious. The pastry was something I've not had before, very light, melts in your mouth, tastes a little like shortbread, a little like a scone. Not filo-type dough, I will have to do some research because the world needs more of it. Paid $20 for a pre-support membership, since they have their act together, and I did not see any other bids for 2020.

Very sleepy, took the tram to the hotel, arrived at about 8:30, got undressed to take a nap, expecting to wake up in an hour and hang out at the plaza and maybe hit a pub and the RKioski for more chocolate, but woke up at 12:30. RKioski is open 24 hours, but I'm not feeling up to getting dressed again.

Plans for tomorrow:
Breakfast. Eat less.
The con is going to be very crowded. I may do some touring around Helsinki, maybe lunch at a Thai place.
Be at the con in time for Masquerade, but probably won't get in. Hanging around near it will be good enough.

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