August 20th, 2011

NASA_bighead

Hecticity

Friday morning I was up at 6:30, took my time getting out of bed, medicated, socially networked & dressed. The plan was to go to the mall for breakfast and then to the nearby Best Buy to replace the broken Kindle. Got on the bus, there was a guy in a BB shirt, so I got off where he did, and followed him.

Mistake.

He was going further south, and I lost track of him. Did not see a BB. Walked to the mall, which is where I should have gotten off the bus in the first place, it being half an hour before BB opens. The sign for the food court pointed to one or two closed eateries, Starbucks was open, but that's not what I had in mind.

Walked back to the main drag and continued south. After about a mile there was a Joe's Diner, very retro, and they had a pretty good pancake sandwich and cute help. I knew I had gone past BB, so I fired up the Google Map on the phone, and it led me back north, but through the most bizarre route into a strip mall and then out again. Just as I was about to give up I saw the BB, it was just behind the bus stop I'd gotten off at. Had I simply gotten off the bus and walked back the way we'd come 20 feet, I'd have been there. :-(

Found the eBook nook, bought the white version of the Kindle I'd had in Graphite, since they were the same price.

Had just enough time, after walking for 10 minutes to the shifted bus stop for the other direction, to drop it off in my room, get my camera, and get to the Katie Tinney concert. She is very good, and the lucky teenager had at one time or another during the set, backups by Mary Crowell, Sooj, AJA and Tony Fabris. Katie could use some work on enunciation and memorization. Of all the songs she did, I liked the last one best, one she wrote and sang a capella called Guitar, enumerating the many reasons she has not learned to play one yet. And a promise that she will.

Skipped the Seanan McGuire concert because (a) way too many people on stage and (b) I've heard most of her stuff many times before. Went instead to a panel called "Space Telescopes: A Progress Report" which oddly was a panel of three women, no men. They did not know how to use their mikes, and basically had nothing to report except funding cuts. So I left to go to "So You Believe in Evolution" for the last 7 minutes, 5 of which were hogged by some guy in the back without an "off" switch. From the wrap-up it seemed like yourbob had done a good job moderating. There was no blood on the floor, security had not been called.

I put the Voice Acting panel on my list because it was being moderated by the incredibly articulate Elen Klages, but she did not show up, so it turned into the Bill Mills show, another person with no "off" switch. Some Britt without enough charisma tried to moderate, but mostly failed. I didn't learn much, and regret not having gone to the "Pros Read Fans" event at the fanzine lounge.

"Designing Believable Planets" was next, and it kind of became the Gerry Nordley Show because the moderator took the title too literally. It could have been much better. yourbob and dinogrl were on that panel, but none of the questions the moderator threw their way were in their areas of expertise.

By this time I was feeling the effects of the long walk in the hot sun early in the morning, and went back to the hotel for hydration and a nap. Also plugged in the Kindle to charge it before dozing off. The nap meant missing Kim Stanley Robinson's reading and Unwoman's concert.

Got to the CC in time for a half hour filk set by a woman I've seen around a bit but all things considered I could just as well have napped for another half hour. It was fun to see the audio guy try to do the sound check with her mike unplugged.

lemmozine's concert was the real reason I was there, and he did a set with uke for some songs and guitar for the others. I don't think I had ever heard him play guitar before (just uke and banjo). He plays superbly. Most of the songs were good for a chuckle, and/or some thought, but I actually cried during A Dog and His Boy, a nostalgic tribute to Dr. Peabody & Sherman and the Wayback Machine. I don't think it was meant to be more than a tongue-in-cheek low-key comic number, but the combination of lyrics, music and presentation touched me very deeply.

By now it was after 6, and somehow my phone's program guide was telling me Masquerade began at 7, and there was a huge line of people to take the not-enough-shuttle-buses over to the Peppermill, so I got in line instead of going back to the room and changing into scrubs & my Dr. howeird lab coat. I'll wear that tomorrow.

Bus got me there just at 7, the masq was not open yet. I went into the photogs room, but the lighting was too dim and I wanted to see the show anyway. There were not that many costumes in the competition.

Found the NY Deli, got a Reuben and cream soda which included way too much standing in line staring at my already-made sandwich while people ahead of me waited for their orders to come up. Not efficient at all.

At the masq, found a seat on the side, fortunately no one sat in front of me for 3 rows. But the big screens gave a better view, anyway. Good event, the MCs did well, there were only a couple of "clunker" costumes, some of the best were done by teenagers. Video tech was super, audio not so much (slow to cue things up, levels too low). There was a major delay at "halftime", the crew didn't bring out the set (two sofas and two chairs) for the entertainment. Took about 10 minutes. No excuse for that. The entertainment was a replica of a BBC radio game show called Wait A Minute which is a little too complex to explain, but involves each of four panelists attempting to hold forth for 60 seconds on an assigned topic without pauses, repeating a word, or going off-topic. This session went well beyond that in hilarity, at one point with Seanan McGuire putting her mother on speakerphone to confirm that she really did force her sister to dress up like monsters from Space 1999 (to prove she was not off topic).

Two hours of sitting was enough for me, I really did not care who won the masq awards, most of them were worthy of something shiny. So I found the 24-hour cafe and had a banana split. Actualy it was a banana surround. Served in a shallow soup plate, it looked like a slog of whipped cream and nuts, but underneath was the usual three scoops of ice cream covered in three different toppings, but instead of this being held between two halves of a split banana, there was a whole banana on each side. I guess this is healthier. The chocolate ice cream was wonderful, I should ask which brand they use. My Japanese waiter called it a "banana sa-plitt-a"

On my way to finding the shuttle, I ran into Dr. Ellie again, and we chatted some more. Always a pleasure.

Back in the hotel, I took a quick trip to the party floor to get photos of the London In 2014 tube station map with my good camera, and to pay for a pre-supporting membership. I have cousins in London and by summer 2014 I might even be able to afford the trip.

In other news, I got an official "see you Monday" email from the Moto "Talent acquisition" person, and my boss also sent me a "welcome back" note. And an old friend from theater who retired to Roseville, and thinks the only use for email is to spam her friends with items she saw today which have been on the internet for decades, phoned me during one of the concerts and left good voicemail.

Plans for tomorrow:
Officially tell the hotel I'm checking out Sunday. Panels starting at 10. ending with Match Gae SF starting after the Hugos around 22:00.
NASA_bighead

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