Mister Eclectic (howeird) wrote,
Mister Eclectic
howeird

Baycon2006 Part I - Friday

The "Get Out Of Jail Free" card came in the form of my annual ophthalmology appointment, which was at 4 pm.  At about 4:30, with dilated eyes and two sets of dark glasses, I drove the 7 minutes or so to BayCon, and kept one pair of dark glasses on for my hike inside.

Registration was closed till 6! WTF? This meant I couldn't do much of anything - could not get into the 5:30 panels I had rushed there to get to, and couldn't even shop the dealer's room. The art show was closed due to the staff being lighting-challenged, so at least everyone shared my pain there.

The good news is I was in the hall and available for scendan and _oy_ to kidnap and take to dinner at their table of close and personal friends, including iamradar who was a hoot, especially when she started waving her meat around. No one seemed to want the last piece of flank steak she didn't have room for. But we all had rude things to say about it, and much laughter ensued.

6:10 and the line at registration was 20 people long, and not moving. I was certain I had signed up for a membership at the end of last year, so I went to one of the FLARE folken and asked if the line was for pre-registration. There were no signs telling which line was which, and the instructions which told you to fill out a form before getting in line were strategically placed on a wire hanging above the registration desk, and the text was too small and crowded to read until you were right up in front. The nice FLARE dude said I could just walk to the side of the desk, there was no one in line there. During the con, I saw some people wait for half an hour to be told to wait in the other line.

They couldn't find my badge, and after 10 minutes of waiting for the Database Princess, they didn't have me on file at all. She offered to give me the pre-con rate of $65 (not the end of con rate of $40) if I filled out the form, waited in line, and called for her when I got to the desk, and they would refund my fee if they or I  found a record of payment later on. Fair enough, except for two things: (a)it was 6:50 before I got to the desk and (b) she was gone. Never mind - if I had not bought a membership last year, then I owe them $70, and if I did, then I'll get it back.

So thanks to their stupidity and inefficiency, I missed the BDSM BOF, the fanzines panel, the "costumes on a dime" panel and two panels with the GOHs (two of my favorite writers, Jerry Pournelle and Larry Niven).

I did get to the Dinner Party from Hell panel, which was in the Pine room, to find all the chairs stacked in the middle of the room, no podium set up, no sound system and a couple of panelists wondering what to do. In the end we just pulled chairs off the stacks and made a circle near the doorway. It could have been an interesting panel, but instead degenerated into a strange kind of pissing contest to see who knew the most obscure medieval Not Nice people. When they started arguing the nastiness factor of the various Medicis, I left.

I wandered around, by now the Dealers Room was closed, but I did manage to find the internet lounge where Hugh was finishing hooking up fairly crappy Linux machines for the Great Unwashed. I have no objection to Linux except it looks like it was built by amateurs with a truncated sense of style and artistic talent. And they are not as hack-proof as the hype says. I know, I set up Linux servers for a living. But I was able to get my email and check LJ, without having to walk the 3 miles to my car to get out the laptop (which stayed in the trunk all weekend).

At 8 o'clock I took my next chance to see the GOHs, at the Meet The Guests panel in the big Fir+Oak room. The line at 7:50 was all the way down the hall, and doubled back on itself, and at 8:15 when the doors still had not opened for the 8 pm event, I bailed. There were no event sin that room since 5:30, so there really was no excuse for it to not be ready and open well ahead of time. In general, the part of Con Ops responsible for the facilties just plain sucked this year.

More wandering, and at 9 I went to the Big Room of Filk to hear Jane Mailander's concert. She was pretty entertaining, and I enjoyed most of her pieces. She did the concert a capella, which is a brave thing to do when you're surrounded by expert string-pluckers and keyboard pokers. Anyway, it was good enough that I did not slip out for the Foundation Garments for Costumes panel, which probably would have included some eye candy.

From there it was up to the party rooms, where I found scendan at the Middle Earth party, which was hosted by trystbat and her travel business. I guess scendan is taking their tour of New Zealand, which features the locations where Lord of the Rings was shot. This time, including the sheep.

Also found the con suite, aka Tiki Room, which was somewhat sparsely supplied with mostly Things That Are Good For You, which seems to me to go against the spirit of a Con Suite. The staff was excellent, though, and I managed to mitigate my low blood sugar with the intelligent application of cheese cubes, turkey cubes, strawberries and bread dunked in spinach dip. Also hit the Klingon and Star Trek parties, which were too crowded to enjoy properly, and was lured into the ConZilla (San Diego) suite by a woman in a short black dress with a plunging neckline. Where I argued with the membership guy that it ought to really be named for something San Diego is famous for, like PandaCon. Also went to the Star Wars Hecklers room, but instead of it being like an MST3K festival, it was mostly chaos, people trading barbs about the film and the cast with no attention being paid to what was going on the screen. scendan popped in there too for a bit, and may have caught my line about "bend over, Skywalker, I want to see your Dark Side".

The party out on the back balcony was way too industrial for my taste, and there was quite a display of leather, metal, Kiss-like painted faces and mohawks to be seen.

The afternoon eye dilation took its toll, and I wanted to be up in time for a 10 o'clock panel, so I drove home at about 11:30.

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