Mister Eclectic (howeird) wrote,
Mister Eclectic
howeird

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Bringing Home The BayCon III

Okay, I'm home, all the photos are tagged, processed and uploaded, I've bathed the cat (see the next post), unpacked my con knapsack, had dinner (green curry beef over rice), and now I'm ready to do my Con post-mortem.

The bestest thing was seeing all kinds of friends, some of whom I had never seen before, or had only seen for a couple of nanoseconds a year ago. And I think I fell in love about a dozen times. This year's BayCon had more attractive women than any of the previous ones. By quite a large number. A disproportionately large number of them were with seamoose at one time or another.

Where to begin?

People
scendan is the person I was most looking forward to seeing again. We had met for about 12.6 seconds last year (seamoose introduced us as they were personing an artist friend's table). And she's been on my friend's list since just before that. Last year I only saw her as a pirate. This year she started as a Jedi, changed into Frodo in Orc armor, then became a pirate, and then back to Jedi. At least that's the timeline I saw - I would not be surprised if there was more. This time I had my camera out for most of the time she was nearby, and managed to capture those gorgeous eyes a couple of times. My favorite kind of photography is candid close-ups of people, and the challenge is capturing a particular look which I think suits them the best. I think I caught her that way.

scendan brought along a co-worker/friend named Kim, I don't know if she is on LJ. She is another amazing person. Warm, elegant, articulate, and brave. All that and gorgeous too. I had a very strong sense of deja vu when I met her - she reminds me of another Kim, someone I met at folkdancing in Portland, OR in the 70's, who had moved to Utah and met me there when HP sent me to U Utah on a business trip in the early 90's. A photo I took of her there would, I think, pass for a photo of the other Kim. I'll have to move some boxes to get at my woefully un-indexed collection of color prints, all 20,000 of them, and see if I can find that picture.

A long-time friend, farmount aka Nightshade, was there in a beautiful blue blouse, I only ran into her twice the whole con, so I am feeling in need of another fix. In the photos, there are three of her coming down the hall near the café, and I didn't notice until I'd started the photoshopping, but passing her in the opposite direction was Bret Glass, whom I first met the same night I'd met Nightshade, at a Stuart II BBS party in Boulder Creek about 20 years ago.

Someone I had never met in person but hope I will meet again is targeter. We have Gilbert & Sullivan in common, and stage makeup. I've followed her LJ for maybe 6 months, she's now going to school in SoCal. And I've seen her on TV - she was a victim on a show called Ambush Makeover, or something like that, which I TiVoed and put on DVD for her. She is a LOT prettier in person. And her bubbly personality didn't come across at all in the TV show. In another amazing Small World Moment, when I was taking pictures of Kim and seamoose Regency dancing, targeter was dancing with another person I met at that very same BBS party, the legendary Hugh Daniel.

iamradar has the most amazing eyes. I saw her in the masquerade photo shoot, but didn't know it. The Misfits group was wigged and painted and costumed beyond my powers of recognition. seamoose told me who they all were later, and I was amazed -- I did not recognize any of them, though I knew most of them from LJ. Anyhow, I did the papparazzi thing on her Monday because I was just hypnotized. And she was completely cool about it even though inside she may have wanted to smash my flash.

And then there's wyvernwell. Every time I see her she looks different, always in a good way. It was good to finally meet her in person after following her posts on LJ.

People I missed who were there:

caprine posted her cell phone # which I forgot to put into my phone, and said she'd be at the League of Evil Geniuses party which I somehow managed to miss. Foo. emberleo apparently was in ops. Must have been busybusybusy, since this was the largest BayCon ever, or close to it. And I was hoping leatherapron would be there, just because, but I guess he wasn't.



Filk
I was really looking forward to some good filk this year. For the most part I didn't get it. The concerts started well Friday night with figmo performing some of her tunes, followed by Moira Stern who plays a full-sized concert harp, and managed to work some filk in among the Just Plain Pretty Harp Stuff. I missed most of Callie Hills' act to get some dinner, came back in time to be very disappointed with Lee Martindale, whose voice had not managed to make the trip out from Texas with the rest of her, so she did a very short set which sounded awful. Tony Fabris is usually very enjoyable, but he did pop tunes, not filk.

I'm real pissed at most of the performers I heard, like Tony, who were there to give a filk concert, but decided to do non-filk instead. Wasted my time. I missed all of Saturday since I was up at the masquerade photo shoot. Sunday, Paul & Taunya did two non-filks, so I left for dinner. Missed the rest of the concerts because I'd had it with the fru-fru songs. Open filk was lame. Or I should say open filk before midnight was lame, since I left each night at around midnight for home. There were rarely more than a handful of people, and the two times I poked my head in to listen, people were singing non-filk. In one case it was a fellow singing Turn Around, the tune which was the Kodak theme for so many years. Malvina Reynolds wrote that, and it's not even close to filk-ish. However, she also wrote another famous song which could pass for filk - it goes like this:
Little boxes on the hillside,
Little boxes made of ticky-tacky,
Little boxes, little boxes,
Little boxes, all the same.
There's a green one and a pink one
And a blue one and a yellow one
And they're all made out of ticky-tacky
And they all look just the same.

And the people in the houses
All go to the university,
And they all get put in boxes,
Little boxes, all the same.
And there's doctors and there's lawyers
And business executives,
And they're all made out of ticky-tacky
And they all look just the same.

and so on...

But he didn't sing that one. Boo. Hiss.



Programming
First a gripe. This year's guests were poor choices for a major con. Nobody of national stature. Writer GOH Jay Lake has nothing major to his credit. He's only been selling since 2002, and only short stories. Look for him on Amazon.com and you get bupkiss. Nada. Zilch. Nothing. Yes, he's a clever guy with a great sense of humor, but he's just not at the level BayCon should be hiring as their main draw. Chase Masterson as a special guest is also a lame choice. She played a tiny role towards the end of Deep Space 9, had minor soap opera roles, and is a barely adequate lounge singer. Artist GOH Frank Wu is a local boy whose art isn't on a par with the big names. I understand he makes his living as a patent agent, not as an artist.

Next year they will do better:
Writer Guest of Honor: Larry Niven
Science Guest of Honor: Jerry Pournelle
Artist Guest of Honor: Jim Burns


This BayCon had a lot of interesting panels. I went to a lot. I hopped around a lot too. One thing BayCon never gets right is the scheduling. Year after year they insist on putting on panels in the same very narrow interest area at the same time, often in opposite ends of the venue. For instance:

  • Open filk started at 8 p.m. every night. So did the concerts. At least they were around the corner from each other.
  • Saturday 11:30 am:
    • Historical swordfight
    • Shields & masks
    • Sheet metal work

  • Also 11:30:
    • Anthology editing
    • British SF writers
    • Poetry contest
    • $5, a dead fish and a Time machine (authors try to make up a story using just those props)


  • Saturday 1 p.m.:
    • Humans to Mars
    • Cassini slideshow (next door to each other)

And so on....



Stuff I Went To
My faves were $5, a Dead Fish and a Time Machine and A Shot Rang Out, both featuring the irrepressible Martin Young, and both being of the "here's a hint, now make us a story" genre. Toastmaster Chris Garcia in the audience also helped.

I was majorly impressed with the armor building panel. scendan, wyvernell and kelbebop were on the panel, along with someone whose name I didn't catch but who triggered my "Mommy, I want one!" gene (petite, in a gold suit of armor which she couldn't sit in), and someone named Holly, who may be on LJ but I don't know her handle. None of these folks were listed in the program. The moderators, Kathe and Philip Gust, pretty muched saved their panel by having them on board. The Gusts showed off some cheezy shiny plastic armor and a very artificial modern-manufacture-looking shiny torso piece, and a piece of blued torso armor which they had paid $300 to a guy in Seattle to make for them. None of it looked at all like leather, though the theme of the panel was leather armor for costumes. On the other hand, all the volunteer panelists were in incredibly real-looking stuff which obviously had taken a lot of research and work. I was awed by them all.

The Cassini slide show was a flop. The techies couldn't figure out how to display a PowerPoint presentation. The images were out of focus and difficult to look at, and none of the videos played. This technology is so easy, there's no excuse for this kind of screw-up. Bridget Landry of JPL did a heroic job of presenting this talk despite the tech nastiness.

I went to the "No More Trek?" panel mostly to see and photograph the lovely Chase Masterson, who has parleyed a minor role during the final hours of DS9 into a major BayCon Guest of Honor gig two years in a row. It was a good panel, and I got the pix I wanted.

Trailer park was mediocre this year, and the techie running the booth was lame. How hard is it to find the "play" button, for gosh sake? Argggh. The only competent techie I saw all con was the fellow who ran the board for the concerts, whom I also know is a musician of merit in, I think, Avalon Rising or maybe Four Shillings Short. Or both. I am so tempted to volunteer to run an A/V section for them next year. It was jam packed, and I sat between two sexy women. Sarah was on my left, with her boyfriend. I don't know the name of the gal on my right, but she was hella cute - see my photos of the masquerade and find the female photog in the leather cap with the wavy chestnut hair (there are two photos of her).

I rarely go to the closing ceremonies, but this year's was a blast. Very funny, light-hearted and entertaining.



Food
They done good. Doubletree Inn had been notorious for poor service, horrible choices and poor planning. This year they had two junk food stations instead of just one (at opposite ends of the con), with not only greasy pizza, nachos and hot dogs but also turkey on whole wheat and ham & cheese sandwiches. And four types of cookies. The café featured blue plate specials after 5 pm just for the con, pot roast and other healthy stuff. And the buffet was actually edible this year. Service was quick (sometimes too quick - my second dinner the waiter brought me the pot roast and salad at the same time). They handled a party of one and parties of dozens well.



They Owe Me $$
I took a look at the list of members, and see that I'm in there twice. I was sure I'd bought a membership at the end of last year's con, but I didn't see an entry for it on my Quicken, and they did not post the members this year, at least I didn't see the list on their web site. I put a note in with my check this year asking them not to cash it if I'd already paid, but they cashed it.

I'll give them the option of refunding the $20 after-con fee, and applying the rest to next year.



Final note - I still owe someone a latte. She knows who she is. We'll have to figure out a date/time when I can come out to your neck of the woods.
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