Mister Eclectic (howeird) wrote,
Mister Eclectic

Saturday catchup

The weather was good enough to do some touristing. Took the underground to London Bridge station, which meant a 1-stop ride on the DLR (Docklands) line, and then a change of floors and transfer to the Jubilee line. HUGE difference. DLR is new, clean wide cars, very much a tourist lone. Jubilee is crowded, narrow, dirty and working class.

Blame the nursery rhyme, I thought London Bridge was that fancy schmancy bridge which looked like it belonged in front of a castle. But no, London Bridge, which is not falling down because it is practically new, is just a boring concrete structure with all the architectural attraction of a cinder block.

But there are some neat buildings around it, especially on the Jubilee station side. #1 London Bridge Rd. is a new, ultra-modern glass behemoth. #2 across the street is a late 1800s warehouse/customs house.

I crossed the bridge, and saw the one I was looking for was back the way the underground had come by a mile or three. I could also see the castle which is the Tower of London, and put 2 and 2 together and realized it is the Tower Bridge, and I could have taken DLR all the way to Tower Gateway station.

I walked back across London Bridge, then followed streets and then the river walkway all the way to Tower Bridge. It took a while. Lots of photos taken before I noticed that somehow the camera had switched from Fine to Normal resolution. Fixed that.

Took lots more pictures, looked at the huge crowd queued in front of the Tower and decided I would just walk back across the bridge.

Got turned around, and ended up walking all the way back, on mostly different streets, to London Bridge station. Took the underground back, went straight to the convention because there were places to grab a bite and be early for the Astronomer Royal's talk. But first I had to suffer through an amateur production of a world premiere adaptation of Anubis Gate, a work I knew nothing about, and the script did little to help. The main actor shouted most of his lines. It's by  by Tim Powers. The play was not.

Lord Rees' talk started late because Anubis started late and ended later. I bailed on the latter to get a soda. Still was at the head of the line for the lecture. It was further delayed by incompetent tech who coujldn't figure out how to attach a standard Apple laptop to the projector. Lord Rees could not see the screens the audience was viewing, so he didn't know the images were all purple. Major Tech FAIL because that a sign the cable has a bent pin, or is not screwed in all the way. Tech should not have let that continue.

But his mike worked, and he is a brilliant speaker, and quite the sci-fi fan. He quoted HG Wells early and often, and he also threw in some fannish humor.

The blue earth, as seen by the audience. :-(

Time enough after that for a mushy footlong hot dog and an orange soda in the fan area. Then the Masquerade. I found a seat in a row which has the aisle seats marked for "access", which I took to mean there would  be a wheel chair or scooter in the aisle and the person's aide in that seat. The seat nazi thought it meant the whole row was reserved for disabled people, which was ridiculous beause it was the second row in the set, and there is no way a disabled person would be able to navigate into the row past one or two seats. There was a lot of that kind of stupidity at the con.

Masq was late starting, which is fine, but there was no one out on stage at start time to say hi, and give us an ETA. Usually there is someone or some two who will banter until the show is ready to start.

I didn't take any pictures, the way the stage was set up and lit, it was impossible. The after-show photo session required a previously purchased "press pass" and ended up being a mob scene.

As for the Masq itself, it went well. All the entries except one were actual costumes showing a lot of work. I would not have wanted to judge the novice division, there were at least 4 blue ribbon entries. Even the children's group was excellent - the judges gave one costume three awards, it was that good. There were  only three master class entries, all excellent, but the last one was eight costumes representing the different  
characters of Aratarindale. Each costume was a full coat, with a neck to floor cape appliquéd with a design unique to the character. Most had a headdress. Just that was getting a standing ovation, and then the lights were turned down revealing that all the costumes were electrically lighted in patterns matching the character. One looked like a waterfall, another like shooting stars. And so on. We are probably talking more than a year of work. They won all the awards.

After Masq I took a short turn around the fan area, where several bid tents were having parties. Not much partying can be done in a 10x5 tent. Another major FAIL of this con is there are no hotel party rooms.

Back to the hotel, way too late and too sore from all that walking, to write anything.


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