Mister Eclectic (howeird) wrote,
Mister Eclectic
howeird

Why Cons?

So last night at rehearsals, howbearca asked me what the deal was with all these conventions I go to. It's a good question, and my quick answer was more to explain how Costume Con was organized this year by people I know through BASFA, which is a group I found through sci-fi fan conventions, and one thing leads to another and it's all interlocking. Like how figmo, who does the filk con, was introduced to me a waaaaay long time ago by edith_mf, who was my girlfriend at the time, at a party in Berkeley.

So here's the much longer answer

I've said it here a time or two before, I'm not much of a fan. I'm about as non-obsessive as a person can be and still feel at home at a con. I've always been keen on qualitative science and lousy at quantitative. Most of the books I read are science fiction, because I like the way a good writer can take a scientific theory or breakthrough and take it to its logical conclusion. Or use it as a clue or the starting point for speculation. I like the "what if?"

But life's too short to read the same book or see the same movie more than once, so unlike many of my fellow con-goers, I don't have a very deep knowledge of them. I know Mordor is somewhere the hobbits go, but I couldn't tell you how to get there.

I don't read fantasy because most fantasy worlds are inconsistent and the authors sloppily make up magic to get around their lack of planning. And fantasy tends to moralize, and get all soap-opera. The more volumes in a series the worse it gets. I stopped reading comic books when i was 14, and refuse to call them any kind of "novel". Horror turns me off. Being frightened witless is not a good time for me. I don't even do roller coasters or watch 49ers games.

I'm not a geek, but I play one at work. I started life as a photographer, but in my late 20's went to night school to learn electronics. I taught myself BASIC so I could write simple "quick brown fox" tests for the equipment I was repairing, but I'm not all algorithms and Computer Science. I have been working with computers for almost 30 years, most of it in tech support and QA, so I've picked up the geek jargon and can even do some of that stuff, but slowly and at a very basic level.

Role-playing games have never attracted me, I get those jollies by being in plays and musicals and improv groups. More than 40 years of theater experience means I know what it's like to dress up in costumes and pretend to be someone else - a core quality for con goers.

I've always loved taking pictures, and my favorite is candid photos of people, trying to catch That Look™ which captures something unique about them. And embarrassing moments, too. And I have been know on occasion to point my lens in the direction of attractive women wearing revealing clothing.

So:
I first started going to cons (BayCon and SiliCon) to take pictures.
Then I noticed a lot of the panel discussions and lectures were things I was interested in
Sometimes my favorite authors would be there
And there were parties. With chocolate.
At these parties there were people, sometimes of the opposite sex, who had some overlapping interests and liked to chat about them. They were often impressed by things I took for granted - my acting & singing & palm reading abilities, for instance.
I used to write parodies of songs, so filk became another interest.**

And over time I have gotten to meet lots of people, which is the main thing.


** Blame Kathy Mar for singing zanda_myrande's tunes at a con late-night circle, which is what hooked me.


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