Mister Eclectic (howeird) wrote,
Mister Eclectic

Masque of Terror

The alarm went off at 7:30 because I had told Google Home to do that, but on weekends the lights are not programmed to come on till evening. I was feeling totally unrested, stayed in bed till 10, and did not make it to the con in time for the 11 o'clock panel I wanted to see.

But I did make it to the noon punning contest at Calahan's (a section of the Great Hall set aside in honor of Spider Robinson's series of books featuring this cross-time saloon).  Between the idiot who brought his screaming baby to the table next to mine, and way too much ambient noise, I didn't hear most of the puns.

Went to the filk room, but Maya & Jeff were singing, I have heard as much of them as I care to. They are lovely people, astounding musicians, but they are everywhere. So I ducked into the Psychotronic Film Festival for a few minutes, caught a part of an old serial, then a fascinating interview in Sacramento by the river with Nichelle Nichols and George Takei done right before the first Star Trek movie went into production. They were so YOUNG. I left when they played part 3 of a serial which was not the continuation of the one they cut off for that promo piece.

Needed to get to the big GoH room which was all the way on the other side of the convention center, a 15-minute walk. Early for the Frank Hayes interview but there were plenty of seats for the Peter S. Beagle panel on the 50th anniversary of the publication of his The Last Unicorn. I've never read it, but heard a lot about it, some of it from Peter who is also a filker. He had some good stories and good advice on writing. His fans tend to be the kind who don't understand that it is not the fans who own the author's work.

When that panel cleared out (late) I got a seat in the front row, and was surprised that the interviewer was Seanan McGuire, whom I have known since she was a shy girl singing quietly at the back of someone else's filk band. She has since somehow become a brilliant multiply-published writer, songwriter, solo singer, cartoonist and wit. She knows Frank well. It was a terrific interview, lots of insight, lots of laughs. After the interview I introduced myself to Frank and told him I was happy to have him on my panel tomorrow. He gave me one of his trading cards.

Next stop was supposed to be a 4 pm panel on the evolution of science fiction music, so around 3:30 I camped out in the big hall it was listed in, where a 12-person panel on STEAM was in its second hour. Only about 4 panelists were still tuned in, and they mostly were giving bland, useless advice a la high school guidance counselor. It was pretty sad. The key to success in a non-traditional field is choosing the right parents, IMHO.

Just as the panel was breaking up, my app updated and said the music panel was moved to the smallest room at the con, too late for me to get a seat. It was near a panel on the history of filk, which I already know too much about. It was also near the Green Room, which was almost empty because there was no more food, and most of the gang was out on the balcony patio in the hot, humid, smoggy San Jose afternoon.

After some more hanging out, I decided I was going to find an early dinner. A real one, not a concession hot dog.  Il Fornaio was closed till 5:30, Original Joe's thought I was invisible. Though there were seats available at the grill, the hostess seated three tables without even looking at me. So I left.

Four Seasons has a place called Mosaic, billed as Asian Fusion, so I went in. No tables for walk-ins in the dining room, but plenty in the bar, which is set up as a dining room too. Ordered the crab stuffed salmon and a side of garlic wok fried string beans. They showed up in half an hour. And the waiter didn't get back to my table again for another half hour. Couldn't catch his eye, wanted a drink refill, but by the time he got back to me I just wanted my check. Which took another 10 minutes to take care of.

Back to the con, checked out the film room, but it was empty. Some old movie was playing.

The main concession stand by the panel rooms was closed, but I was able to get a soda at the one by Callahan's. No place there to sit, finally drank it at a gaming table, listening to three middle school kids trying to set up a new-to-them board game.

7 pm out to the space by the grand ballroom, I thought masq doors opened at 7, but turned out it was 7:30. I found a seat with a view, by chance the parents of the husband of the con chairman sat next to me. They were waiting for their VIP seats. The wife of the MC also showed up. I worked with her at Tivo for a little bit.

7:40 I wandered closer to the ballroom, found a nice padded chair. By now hundreds of people were in line, divided between the four entrances. Looked like a good plan, but it's huge hall, and I didn't want a seat in front, not planning on taking photos. I can wait.

7:55 the door opened. But only one door. And the con crew re-positioned everyone into one very long line, wrapping around the length of the whole floor twice. And then some.

By 8:15 everyone was inside, so I got up and grabbed a seat at the front of the rear section. It's a walkway, so lots of leg room. Not a bad view of the stage and the two jumbotrons.

The masq got off to a slow start, there was a WTF when it was interrupted to present a pair of Japanese sci-fi writing awards for maybe 15 minutes. After the second contestant they stopped again to say there was only one kid's entry, and he/she won that division. I was worried that there were going to be only a couple more entries, but there turned out to be 30.

There were some serious technical screw-ups, one journeyman entry left the stage when the music from the previous entry was played for her. Several minutes later she tried again and the same thing happened. More minutes and she was lured back, and they got it right.

Around #26 or so, a stunning costume came on called Alien Queen, and between the costume, the title and the music there was a horrible pun. Which the MC "got" after the contestant left the stage, and it made him break up several times during the show, partly because of the joke, partly because of how long it took him to get it.

Halftime entertainment was a belly dance troupe dressed like they were a ballet school recital, so I left. It was after 10, I wanted to get my car and go home.

Home, only junk in the mailbox. Nothing delivered.

Plans for tomorrow:
Nothing at the con I want to go to till noon.
My panel at 2
Unwoman's concert after that at 3
Pick up my unsold photos at the art show after that
There's another Dr. Mary concert at 7, but I may bail before then
Take shirts out of the dryer. Maybe launder the whites.

Tags: #26

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