August 15th, 2014


Still catching up on the time zone change

The whole day was overlaid with being a bit drained, overheated and achy. Some of that might be due to a change in the weather.

Had breakfast at the hotel, turns out it is included in the fare. The bad: super-dry, salted ham with a rim of fat all around. Something which looked like a sausage wrapped in parchment but tasted like sawdust wrapped in parchment. liquefied scrambled eggs. No ice. Meant to mention this about my flight - British Air has no concept of ice in a drink, or in keeping soft drinks cold. Looks like this may be a British thing. Warm apple juice, orange juice nd water. The good: sunnysideup eggs cooked on a grill in a poaching ring. Heavenly fresh warm mini croissants. Small but tasty bananas. Lots of bread choices. So-so sausages, so-so cooked mushrooms and tomatoes.

Walked to the train station, it was cloudy and threatening, but not raining yet. Was feeling dehydrated all day, but there are lots of food stalls in the con center, no trouble finding bottled water or diet Coke.

Went to a session on Astrobiology. It was mostly nothing I hadn't heard before for the past 20 years, but the young PhD presenting was under the impression it's All New. He did move along to some new info about Europa, Titan and Io. Too much bass in the audio, plus his upcountry accent made it hard for me to decode, which was annoying because he got some major laughs from the audience.

Opening ceremonies were supposed to start at noon. There was a mostly bare stage with a handful of people on it in difficult to see violet light, playing with blocks which spelled LONCON3, and some extraordinarily fragile constructs which may have been replicas of the War of The Worlds Martians or maybe a railway signal on a tripod. Long story short, the most immature, amateur opening I have ever seen. It then took a step closer to Something Planned when a man in what was meant to be a Hogwarts Headmaster robe, but looked more like what I wore as Slartibardfast in a low-budget H2G2 play, came out and started lecturing the people on stage and the audience in a manner which was meant to make us believe we were the new class at Harry Potter's school, and this was Day One.

This somehow segued into GoH chairs set up, and a pair of people, one man one woman, in Hogwart-ish outfits (also on the no-budget improv side) reading monotonically and contrapuntally (thanks, Tom Lehrer) from an incredibly boring script.

Eventually all the guests of honor who were there were called up from the front row of the audience to the stage. The headmaster pulls out a propeller beanie, and holds it over the head of each guest. An animation of it acting like a Sorting Hat appears on the big screen, it gives a short, oblique bio and says which "house" this puts that person in. The  houses are named for famous people, one of which I was familiar with, three I was not. It was a great basic idea, but left a lot to be desired in the writing. The animated hat was pretty good for something thrown together with minimal resources.

johno came up in his bright (tie dye?) shirt and presented the 2014 Hugo award base design. They got his slides scrambled, but he dealt with that well and at least the final slide was right. It's a very beautiful design, IMHO.

Next came the retro Hugo design, which was okay, I guess. I personally was not very impressed with the concept of retro Hugos, and handing a statue to someone representing a dead person did not seem to me to be necessary, but I suspect I'm in the minority on that. It is a decent design for a 1939-ish award.

I bailed as that was wrapping up, right behind Spike, who was busy being a volunteer and glued to a message on her cell phone. Saw her several times, she didn't see me. :-(

Other highlights because I should be in bed already:

quadrivium's concert was too short, but well worth it. I was a little sad she did not wear a ball gown as she often does. I was extremely impressed the solo fiddle/singing Amy did. Summertime. It was awesome, and I heart Mary so much for using her own time to showcase and support another rare talent. Collapse )

I was a few minutes late for zanda_myrande's group, so I may have missed them doing his work. They were in full-on Germany mode. After two songs in German and one in English called My Berlin I left. Call me old fashioned, but to me, London is not the place to be glorifying Things German.

The Berlin song stuck me in particular because it had a strange, to me, spin on the tearing down of the wall. I have a strange spin on that too. I was in Thailand when it came down, and later that day had the challenge of giving the news, which at that point was only in the Thai language papers, to a pair of young German women who were traveling on the same boat. They thought I was trying to play a cruel joke on them. The English papers didn't arrive on our island for several days.

But I digress.

More later....