Draining, but fun. More fun that Imperial stuff had become while kproche was reigning. But also more exhausting. It's a miracle I'm writing this today.
Yep, K and I were the "Fan Guests of Honor" at baycon this year.
I'll try to seed this with folks LJNames where I can, but I've got limited brain cells. I expect about 80% of my mutual friends should be listed somewhere in here.
Rewind to Wednesday.
I had to work, but K didn't. He hauled the luggage and with unayok's help got us moved into the hotel. I got there in time to help schlep the second load up to the room, and what a room it was! BayCon had put us in the big suite on 9th floor (same layout as the presidential on 10th). Small bar, nice fridge, nice parlor, and a huge tub. Seriously huge whirlpool tub. This was a good thing.
My parents and my sister and her boyfriend (of a decade, they've been together longer than K and I) had come in at noonish, but decided to spend the afternoon napping. They had 6:00am flights that morning, so I don't blame them. We took the chance for the last down-time of the weekend and just hung out for an hour or two before they called up to ask for dinner, and took them to House of Siam.
Dinner was, of course, fabulous. My parents hadn't really had Thai before, and the only comparable Thai joint I knew of in Madison closed years ago so J and K (yes, my sister has a K too) were very happy. We got back in time to catch up with K's parents and his brother and sister (second sis was still at home with husband and child). We chatted and had a bit of wine up in the suite and crashed.
Then there was Thursday.
Thursday wasn't without drama, but wedding days never are.
A bunch of us met down in the lobby, where galtine1 and jbriggs were keeping folks company before heading off to the beach. We gave Sandra the maps and headed over the hill to Natural Bridges State Beach with lferion, stopping on the way at Whole Foods to pick up the last picnic items.
When we got there, Sandra told us that the park didn't have our permit paperwork and had no idea we were coming. This is the paperwork that Sandra had shepherded through the application process 2 months earlier. Somewhere along the way the reservations and permits office hadn't forwarded all of it to the regional park office. Todd (the regional supervisor) found what little had been forwarded and was about ready to gut some clerical staff for not doing their jobs. They took care of things and we should be getting a bit of a refund for the permits.
Because of the snafu we didn't get started with the ceremony as early as I would have liked, but things went beautifully. We got to do it out on a sandstone point (not normally allowed). The clouds cleared right before we started. Jennifer had written a beautiful little ritual. We all got sunburned, but it was worth it. Some folks gave us gifts, in many cases gifts we have no room for, but they were all really cool. Oh, and Kelly & Daniel measured our heads.
Before anybody noticed the sunburn, we all hauled back over the hill for a well-deserved break, and then a quick run over to Vin Santo for the wedding dinner. We told them we were bringing 40-50 people, and ended up with 47. Things were a touch chaotic seating 47 people at pretty much the same time (the restaurant I think seats only 60), but dinner was fabulous and the tricky parts of the bill were worked out. A few folks joined us afterwards in our suite for a bit more wine, and then we all crashed.
Oy, that much and we're still not to the convention.
Friday morning J & K headed up to San Francisco for the weekend. K's (my K) parents headed back north to Redding at about the same time. My parents, Kelly (Kevin's sister Ranger Kelly, not head-measure Kelly) and Swirly stayed for the con.
Our badges weren't ready for pickup on Thursday night, so we got them on Friday morning. Well, we got all but mine Friday morning. It had gone astray. Fortunately I had my participant pack (with my name on it) and a nice blue ribbon that said "Guest of Honor." Yeah, that's my badge right now.
To fill time before collecting my badge, we did a quick run to the dealers' room to say "hi" to a bunch of friends and maybe do a quick bit of shopping. The quick bit of shopping was important, as Kelly & Daniel had delivered our purple wavy velvet fezzes (what the head-measuring was for) sans tassel. Fortunately, we found nice ones at Realm of Regalia.
After a bit of lunch, we all went to Opening Ceremonies (me still without a badge), where we caught up with Jay Lake, Frank Wu, Chris Garcia and Chase Masterson. We conspired. Well, except for Chase, she was going to be debuting some new songs and was nervous about that. The rest of us weren't nervous. Well, Chris was nervous about saying "fuck" on a live mic sometime during the weekend, and he was going to be on a microphone a lot as toastmaster. This was the first time I think all of us (except for Chase) were seen together with our purple fezzes.
We all behaved very well. Who am I kidding? We heckled Michael (the con-chair) mercilessly as he opened up the convention.
Then it was time to decorate before the loeg party. We had quite a bit of help from my parents, Ranger Kelly, Mike, Jim & Sandra, Shawn, and numerous other people who drifted through the room during set-up. Oh, and we got interviewed for the con newzine by hilarypoet. Somehow we finished the decor with time to spare, and had dinner with Shawn and markobellydance before we had to get ready for "Meet the Guests."
Hardly anybody is at BayCon at 2:00 pm on Friday for opening ceremonies. It's kind of like the early non-televised SNL; "Meet the Guests" is the event that everybody wants to be at. Among other things, they give us guests the microphone. Oy, is that a mistake.
We all said our piece. Frank was the last guest to speak, and he gave Michael a lecture on love and family feeling. Did I forget to mention that the con had a "Godfather" theme this year? We all pointed out the little things that were "lacking" and whacked him.
After getting rubbed out the first day of the con, things could only go up for Michael.
Chase did a few songs (she has a great voice and does a bunch of old standards that I love), and then it was party time.
There was, not surprisingly, a line outside the room waiting to get in the party. Now this never really made sense to me, particularly at BayCon, because there are already other parties open before us, and they could be at them instead of just milling in the hall while waiting for us to open. We went in, set out food, and opened the doors. K handled pouring champagne, I handled IDs and dispensed wristbands to the folks old enough to drink. Note to future self: If we're doing wristbands, we need more party staff.
Swirly Rat Jr. (aka Kevin's Brother Mike), King of all Lab Rats, took charge of having people test the experimental substances and dispensing "Lab Rat" ribbons to the folks who did. We had Stem Cells, Crazy Potion, Reactor Control Rods and Dilithium Crystals. The party went fabulously, and we finally closed around 3:00 am.
Somewhere in there, both K and I found a moment to go get interviewed on eric_in_elevatr. The elevator was a bit too busy when we got to it for a really good interview, but I think it went well. More on EitE later...
Saturday... what can I say about Saturday...
It was a blur. It was a juggernaut. It was insane.
We cleared out the party room in the morning before what we referred to as the "Kevin and Andy talk about crap Panel." Panel went beautifully. Small audience, but good questions. Discussion went all over the map.
I like judging masquerades, but I think I need to take time off from it for a bit. It ate all of Saturday night, practically. We got back together with the rest of the GoHs and the other Masquerade judges. Jennifer, Frank, laroberouge, Kevin and I were judging presentation. Father John and jkeeler415 were judging workmanship. flotsomnjetsom was saddled with the unenviable task of bein clerk for both teams, something she did with her usual skill and calmness.
So 5:30-11:30 Saturday was basically gone.
The good? K and I put together a certificate printing automation tool, and it worked. It's not flawless, but it doesn't need that much improvement. Chris was a great MC. The masquerade was mostly excellent. There were some really cool entries. There were a lot of really cool entries. Masquerade deliberations took a long time, but not ridiculously long. We decided on awards. We printed awards (and they printed pretty quickly). We gave out awards. Beyond that, it was pretty much a blur.
A bunch of us hauled back up to the room, ostensibly to reprint a pair of misspelled certificates, but mostly to get a glass of wine. See, we hadn't had any alcohol all day (<MRMACKIE>judging drunk is bad</MRMACKIE>). We also decided to chance the scary Chinese "wine" that Bruce & Dana gave us for a wedding present. They had no idea if it was any good either; one of their kids had brought the two bottles back from China and there was no English on the packaging. The Kweichow Moutai 53% Alcohol Spirit smelled really vile, and, well, tasted like nothing more than water left out for a few weeks in a plastic bottle in the sun. The WuLiangye Spirit smelled only somewhat vile, but the taste, the taste... Compost heap run through a used radiator hose would compare favorably with this crap. It was only with the assistance of thegoodmo's Green Chartreuse that we were able to get the awful taste out of our mouths.
We ventured out of the room to visit Lord Hefner's Coney Club about the time the rest of the parties were shutting down. Kate, Bridget and Belle did an excellent job with the room. It was amazing. They stayed open for a few more hours, but we repaired back up to the room to chat for a while longer (I think 5 in the morning or so) and finally crash.
Is it Sunday already? That wasn't the question. The question was "Is it 9:30 am already?" Unfortunately it was after 10:00 am and we were late for brunch. We weren't the latest, though; Chris showed up even later. We ended up sitting with a few deserving department heads and gofers and gossiping about all sorts of convention stuff. The upside to the early start is that we had an early finish too. We actually saw the art show and did a bit more shopping in the dealers' room before our afternoon panels, and our afternoon panels were done by 5:00.
My parents headed out on an early flight (well before brunch) and Ranger Kelly and Swirly drove their separate ways north late in the afternoon.
We got dressed in our LJ Commando uniforms to go down to the LJ BoF at 5:30. Oy, was it goofy. johno and rmjwell led a rollicking discussion that resulted in the creation of ovum_of_gor, truegametesogor, dumberthan and ljdramamine.
Exhaustion hit, but we had a few more obligations. We went to see this season's screening of eric_in_elevatr and highlights from the last few. Nobody can bullshit like Leigh Ann; her interviews promoting WWJD: Who Would Jesus Do? and Raised by Child-Neglecting Wolves: Etiquette Training for Feral Children are absolutely priceless. My own little segment on "Sex Secrets of the Jedi" was actually funnier than I expected.
After that we visited the Conzilla and LosCon parties before crashing. Early. Before midnight. Well before midnight.
Monday we did a panel, had lunch, and went to Closing Ceremonies. This was the last chance for the Loyal Order of the Blinking Purple Fez to infuse the con with silliness, and we did. There was some singing involved. There was some innuendo involved. There was more heckling of Michael involved. There was heckling of Kitty (next year's chair) involved. Look for the Ringworld Players production of The Color Purple next year. Michael declared the convention over, and we took off our fezzes.
After closing ceremonies, we packed and hauled stuff home before returning for the Dead Dog party. Michael and Sabre said some nice things about how the con ran, and we heckled less than previously. This is possibly because Jay, Frank and Chris couldn't make it so we were on our own. We did confirm for Michael that in fact Chris hadn't said "Fuck" on a live mic and that he should be congratulated. We hung out for a bit, chatted and finally went to bed.
Tuesday morning K went on a few appointments; I went to work. Bleah.
The con was most excellent, but I'm glad that it's over. It's pretty evident how energy levels dropped throughout the weekend. We were scheduled fairly lightly, or at least not as heavily as we have been for previous BayCons. It was still amazingly exhausting always trying to be "on" when out in public, and staying out in public most of the time.
I'm sad that we'll have to skip next year's, but I wouldn't miss CC24 in Des Moines for the world.