kevin_standlee: (Kuma Bear)
I realized yesterday that the plan for Lisa and me to convoy to Sparks to drop off the minivan for the brake work on Monday conflicted with an eye exam I have scheduled on Monday afternoon. So instead we did it this morning. It means they have it all day Monday even if they don't have time to work on it, but that's not a problem. I drove the Rolling Stone and Lisa followed me into Sparks.

After that, we went to the Peppermill buffet to celebrate Kuma Bear's 27th birthday (which was yesterday). I cashed all of our accumulated comps to pay for half of the cost of brunch. Saturday brunch is less expensive and over-the-top than Sunday, but there's not a whole lot on the Sunday menu in addition to Saturday that we'd want to eat anyway.

Brunch Bear )

After eating, we waddled around the Peppermill as is our wont, contemplating what sort of SF convention we could organize in the convention's space. We think the key issue is what does the Peppermill think about SF genre convention hospitality functions (i.e. room parties). If that is something we could manage, then the Peppermill's function space looks to me like we could run a fairly compact convention in the Westercon-sized range. No, we're not bidding for anything; it's just hard for us to be in convention space without thinking about planning events.

After we got home, we walked down to the fire station, where they were having a small open house, but it was nearly over when we got there, so we moved on and picked up our mail at the post office and came home, where a lie down from the huge meal this morning seems in order. No more meals are needed tonight. I'm just glad my blood sugar reading came in under 200.
kevin_standlee: (Kreegah Bundalo)
The slight cold I picked up somewhere along the line is moving into my chest, and Lisa is showing signs of coming down with it as well. So we have done a public service by not coming up to Portland for OryCon. I only hope this things clears up before I fly to SMOFCon on the first weekend of December. Unfortunately, chest colds with me have a tendency to want to stick around for a while.
kevin_standlee: (SMOF Zone)
Saturday of SMOFCon was so packed with stuff that I really don't have time to do justice to it, and I didn't take the photos I should have done.

Statistics, Not Probability )

After that was the panel I was on about badge design, for which to my surprise we had a decent turnout (that is, not everyone went to the discussion about what made Sasquan different), and I think a good discussion about the various factors that go into convention membership badge design. I posted my four main design elements from my article in Argentus, and we discussed how the factors will inevitably change based on the nature of the event. For example, the priorities for a 150-person fandom meeting-planner event like SMOFCon are radically different than those of 10,000-person anime convention that has had a serious badge counterfeiting problem.

Lisa had gone off with [ profile] pcornelius to ride and look at trains today, so I went to lunch with [ profile] bovil and [ profile] kproche. We walked across the Water Garden to the Omni Hotel and had lunch in their restaurant. Because of the big buffet breakfast, I just had a bowl of the venison chili, which was quite good.

As it happens, there wasn't much in the afternoon program that sent me, so I divided the afternoon between taking a short lie down (not really a nap, I think) in my room, then hanging out the con suite, where I ended up eating more good chili, until going to a light dinner and then helping Lisa (back from the Interurban Railway Museum in Plano) carry and set up equipment for the "Fannish Inquisition" — presentation and questions for future SMOFCons and for current Worldcons and bids for future NASFiCs and Worldcons.

Lisa recorded as much of the Fannish Inquisition as she could under the circumstances; however, we don't have time or bandwidth to upload the videos right now. It might not get online until Christmas, based on our travel schedule. I couldn't work on it immediately afterwards, because I had the Probability & Statistics Seminar to organize immediately after the Inquisition. Thank goodness Chris Carson was there to help Lisa break down her equipment.

Chicago was selected (without opposition) to host SMOFCon 34 next year, at a Chicago-area site to be announced.

Some Bits of the Fannish Inquisition )

We've improved the Fannish Inquisition over the years, including better time discipline on presentations and the Q&A session. Unfortunately, it appears to me that there is a streak of SMOFS who have taken this as a challenge for throwing in more irrelevancies and jokes to try and once again expand the event to an uncomfortable length. There were a couple of people who seemed to want to announce bids and jokes for just about everything, and thanks to that, the event didn't finish until 11:30 PM, and a lot of us, including me, were getting a bit exasperated. I think we're going to have to find some way to split this thing into two pieces, putting the SMOFCon selection and seated conventions presentations and Q&A into one 90-minute item and the bids into another one. Not everyone thinks that spending more than three hours in a progressively hotter-and-stuffier room listening to people announce yet another joke bid is a productive use our of time.

Lisa adds that if the Inquisition were better managed, it would be much easier for the person doing the video to do in-camera editing and thus easier to get the video posted sooner. Of course the event is geared around the people actually in the room, but it would be much appreciated if the moderator could be more cognizant of the recording without someone having to stand up and shout "stop!" and "start!" to get his/her attention.

Shuffle Up and Deal )

It was a pretty good peak day at SMOFCon. It would have been better if Worldcon bidders could show a little bit more restraint.
kevin_standlee: (Kevin and Lisa)
Lisa and I went to Reno this morning. Before we left, I took a photo of the poor pathetic jack-o-lantern who is still sitting by our front door because neither Lisa nor I have taken the time to put him out of his misery.

Help! I'm melting! )

First stop was brunch at the Atlantis (which serves in this case for lunch and dinner as well, and surprisingly didn't send my blood sugar into the stratosphere). We walked over the skybridge to the convention center, where Wizard World Comic Con Reno was going on. We did not buy a ticket. We just walked to the pre-function area and back. Some nice costumes about, though. Having walked some of that big meal off, we set off for the actual grocery and gift shopping.

Doing Our Part for the Economy )

We did manage to get home and get the van unloaded before Lisa ran completely out of fuel, even though I stopped to gas up the minivan because gas at Fernley has come down to $3.05/gallon, which is forty cents/gallon cheaper than Reno/Sparks and even ten cents lower than USA Parkway.
kevin_standlee: (ConOps)
[Originally intended as a short post on FB, but it grew, so when I got done with it, I brought it over here, which is my main journal.]

There are people on all sides of Puppygate who are talking blissfully about the vast sums of money that must be flowing into the coffers of Sasquan, the 73rd World Science Fiction Convention​. By the look of some of the comments, you'd think that the committee must be building Unca Scrooge's Money Bin on the banks of the Spokane River. Y'all need some perspective. I do not speak with inside information for this Worldcon on this subject. I speak as someone who chaired a Worldcon and had to sweat over a budget.

1. Despite what you may think, a Supporting membership is not 100% "profit" to the convention selling it. You may think, "Oh, it's money for nothing at all!" (which is the argument people use to say it should be $5 or free), but it does cost the convention resources to service the membership. This is what's known as variable cost: the amount the convention's costs go up every time they sell a membership. That includes paper publications and postage expenses for every member who requests them, and that's not trivial. In fact, for non-US-based members, it may well exceed the revenue realized on the membership. Another cost not considered is what the convention's payment-processing system charges per membership. There are others. So while in most cases, a Supporting membership does help support the Worldcon by helping to pay some of the huge fixed overhead cost, it's not like sending them $40 means $40 "profit."

(I suspect the concept that there are members not in the USA is likely going right over the heads of most Puppies. I despair of my fellow Americans sometimes.)

2. It currently takes about five Supporting members to equal the gross (not net) revenue of an Attending member. Thus the (as of April 12) 3,300 Supporting members of Sasquan are equivalent to only 660 Attending members. So the Supporting members (based on the April 12 numbers) may be 47% of the members, but they represent less than 20% of the revenue of the convention.

If we gave Supporting members voting rights in proportion to the amount of revenue they contribute to the convention, they'd only get one Hugo Award nomination per category, compared to five for Attending members.
kevin_standlee: (WSFS Captain 2)
This first day of Worldcon was my WSFS day, with a panel about Introduction to the WSFS Business Meeting and the WSFS Mark Protection Committee. Because of that and in honor of the convention's opening ceremonies, I squeezed into my WSFS captain's uniform from Interaction. There were even people who recognized me from the 2005 Worldcon for wearing it.

QueueCon )

I attended the Opening Ceremonies, which were entertaining; alas, I had a terrible time understanding what most of the people were saying, and I don't think it was just the accents. The amplification distorted things a lot, and most people don't know how to use microphones.

More Scenes of Loncon )

After grabbing lunch with Lisa, I went off to the Introduction to WSFS panel, which actually had a decent turnout. Mark Olson, Linda Deneroff, and I went through the basics of WSFS procedures and tried our best to de-mystify the meeting. I hope it helps.

Loncon 3 very generously printed an entire WSFS Special Issue of the convention newsletter, The Pigeon Post with all of the early WSFS Business News. My thanks to [ profile] flickgc to volunteering to do this when the amount of WSFS news I submitted ran to being able to fill six columns.


In between the Intro To WSFS and WSFS MPC Meetings I attended a CanSMOF board meeting — Worldcons being one of the few times we can muster a quorum of the CanSMOF directors.

I did not go to the Retro-Hugo Awards ceremony, instead having an unrushed dinner. After dinner, we returned to the Fan Village, where the evening parties were in full swing.

Tiki Dalek Invades Loncon )

Lisa and I spent several hours individually mingling and talking at the Fan Village. It was fun, and I was glad I did so; however, it means it was after Midnight by the time we got back to the hotel, and I still hadn't posted the 1939 Retro-Hugo Award Results or updated the 1939 Retro-Hugo web page, not to mention posting the photos I took today and writing up the first day's activities.

As always, there was far more than this to write about (such as my successful deliveries of difficult-to-get-in-UK things to Cheryl and to Flick that I'd been carrying with me from the USA), but this is all I can manage, because it's very late and we have to be up early in order to be in place for the 10 AM WSFS Business Meeting, where Lisa is recording and I am "performing" as the reporting member of two WSFS/Business Meeting committees and the lead proponent of a large proposed amendment to the WSFS Constitution. Despite sleeping 14 hours last night, I need some sleep tonight.
kevin_standlee: (Kevin and Lisa)
Re-reading what I wrote about the last day of BayCon, I realized that I left Lisa in limbo at the Portland in 2016 Westercon bid table. She stayed until a bit after Noon, and then set off for home, leaving me to pinch-hit for her behind Portland's table. (If this was a contested race, I would have been quite leery about doing this, as I am about getting too involved with the 2017 Worldcon race next year on account of being a director of the parent corporation of the Montréal bid.) I lasted until nearly the Bitter End, striking the set just before the Closing Ceremonies.

After packing up, I went up to an unofficial wind-down party [ profile] ashi (who had actually been at a convention out of state all weekend) was hosting for a while before hanging out in the lobby until it was time to head for BASFA. I took BayCon FGoH Sally Woerhle with me to the BASFA meeting. (That makes Sally the first person other than Lisa and [ profile] travelswithkuma to have ridden in both the SMOF van and the Rolling Stone.) BASFA voted to declare her the club's "Ambassador to Cascadia."

Lisa left me a message that evening letting me know that she made it home around 6 PM, once again making excellent time because she was traveling against the majority flow of traffic.

After BASFA, I returned Sally to the hotel, but I didn't go in for the Dead Dog Party myself because I really needed to try and get to bed on account of needing to return to my up-at-5-AM schedule for Day Jobbe. I managed, but it wasn't much fun.
kevin_standlee: (Kevin and Lisa)
I continue to marvel at how different it is to attend a convention without a vast number of stress-inducing commitments about which to worry. It's a good thing, too, because I continue to suffer the ravages of hay fever, just less bad than a week ago. Being able to sleep in, look around when we feel like it, and sit down and watch the convention go by is a wonderful thing.

Anyway: on Saturday we had a lunch appointment with Doug and Kirsten Berry, which have Kirsten the ability to give [ profile] travelswithkuma his long-delayed birthday present.

Doctor Bear? )

Speaking of costumes, later in the convention we spent quite a while sitting near the Fan Tables area, which was one of the good places to see people in costume, and sometimes I was able to take pictures of them. This is how I learned also that (unlike what I wrote yesterday), Helsinki in 2017 has a presence here at BayCon, just not a fan table.

Moose and Costume )

Portland in 2016 Westercon continued to do a land-office business selling pre-supporting memberships as Lea Rush explained why Portland will be a great place to hold the 2016 Westercon.

Bear helps )

We had a look through the Dealer's Room, and I added books to the pile I will be purchasing later this weekend from Cargo Cult Books. I Tweeted the following picture of the Cargo Cult table.

Airship Shape & Bristol Fashion )

FanimeCon is also going on this weekend, and some people are attending both of them, along with the Fanime affiliate Clockwork Alchemy. This makes for an interesting combination of costumes on view.

Kawaii in the Corridors )

I'm not a huge shutterbug, really, but I've been snapping photos with my phone when I see things I like, posting them to my BayCon folder on Flickr, and Tweeting them from my @KevinStandlee account.

Later in the afternoon, I ran into Sally Woerhle, BayCon's Fan Guest of Honor, who was looking for a dinner party. She agreed to go with Lisa and me, later joined by Lea Rush, as we have the Astro and could transport people off-site for a little variety, there being only the hotel restaurant and some fast food places within easy walking distance of the Hyatt. We had a nice early dinner before returning Sally to BayCon to take care of her evening FGoH responsibilities.

Lisa and I briefly went to Saturday's parties, but we both were feeling pretty tired and once again turned in early. We find we really can use the extra time for winding down before getting some much-needed sleep. However, we did enjoy ourselves socializing with people, as we expect to do again on Sunday.
kevin_standlee: (Rolling Stone)
I was able to get away from work after lunch on Friday and get down to BayCon by around 1 PM. I was very concerned about parking the Rolling Stone because the supply of surface parking there is quite limited, and of course I can't park that boat in the parking garage. To my delight, I found a deep corner space available and no parking lot traffic, giving me the time it takes to gently back in.

Photo: Docked at BayCon )

Heading inside, I went up to the fan tables on the mezzanine, where I delivered Portland in 2016 Westercon bid fliers to Lea Rush, chair of Portland's bid (she'd flown down that morning; I printed fliers for her locally so she wouldn't have to lug them around) as well as some 2016 Westercon Site Selection ballots (just released this week) and put Montreal in 2017 Worldcon bid fliers out on the flyer table.

I found that my hotel room was ready, so I checked in and moved my stuff from the RV to the hotel room. (With the RV, I don't have to pack quite as compactly as when I'm traveling in the Astro; for example, there's a closet in the Rolling Stone in which to hang my shirts rather than having to bag them up in luggage.) There's a nice view of the new home of the San Francisco 49ers, Levi's Stadium, from my hotel room window.

Stay Away from Here on Game Days )

I went to check out the Dealer's Room, where I ran in to BayCon's Fan Guest of Honor, Sally Woehrle. I made the "I'm not worthy" bow, and she started to make it back to me, saying something about my past Worldcon Chair status, and I said, "Forget that: as Fan Guest of Honor, you have brevet rank over me for the duration of the convention. You don't get to become a Respected Elder Statesman of Fandom until after your Worldcon is over."

As we chatted, Warren Buff, out to BayCon to promote the DC in 2017 Worldcon Bid, joined us, and the three of us repaired to the bar for a round of smoffing, about which more later. The DC2017 bid is the only one represented here (aside from the Montreal fliers I brought). Lisa and I could conceivably have run a Montreal bid table, but with my current work stress and Lisa's dental/tinnitus issues, we have too much going on in our lives to do so right now.

After our smof session, I went to check on Lea Rush, who was happy to have sold a handful of Portland bid pre-supports including a Friend of the Bid, but who was also looking very faded out, having been up since 3 AM to get her flight down from Portland. At my suggestion, she closed her table and after she returned from stowing her things in her room, I showed her where the pod of fast food, including a Togo's, is located a short distance north of the hotel. After we returned, she headed back to her room to eat and maybe rest from her travel.

After my late lunch, I returned to the Dealers Room, started a pile of books with Cargo Cult, and was talking trains with Scott Dennis when my phone rang. It was Lisa, who had made absurdly good time driving down from Fernley against the flow of getaway day traffic and was here about two hours earlier than I expected. We unloaded her things from the van and went off to dinner. Later, after dinner, I called Lea Rush and (based on an earlier conversation) offered to take her to Trader Joe's for something they had that she wanted. Also, thanks to the hotel rooms here having mini-fridges, she was able to lay in some supplies, as were we.

Lisa and I did a brief troll of the Party Floor, but both of us were tired and we retired early. Having no commitments on Saturday of BayCon, we were able to sleep in. I guess I was tired. I slept for more than ten hours.

It's rather strange to me to have almost no time-specific commitments at a convention. I hardly know what to do with myself. But OTOH, I've been working so hard that having the weekend at a nice hotel where I don't have to work myself to death and can sort of relax is a Really Nice Thing.
kevin_standlee: (Conrunner Kevin)
After work last night, I wrestled the Rolling Stone down to Santa Clara to pick up our membership badges for BayCon, which starts Friday, before heading back to the office and rigging the RV for the night. I need to try and get away from work as soon as I can on Friday — and given that I have already logged 40 hours this week by COB Thursday, I should be able to justify it — because the hotel's supply of surface level parking spaces is limited, and I certainly can't park the RV in the garage!

The antihistamines are finally starting to knock down the hay fever, but the symptoms are still there, and because I can't take decongestants, I have severe sinus congestion still. I hope I'm not too awful company during BayCon.
kevin_standlee: (Business Meeting)
The Westercon 69 (2016) Site Selection Ballot has been published. Portland is the only bid on the ballot, but as I hope you all know by now, even running unopposed is not a slam-dunk, and it can get complicated. Still, this Portland bid is not the same as the last one, and seems to be approaching the race differently than the previous one. They'll be at BayCon this weekend. Lisa has offered to help their bid chair with shopping. I have to be somewhat careful of how I behave around Westercon bids, because in the unlikely but more than theoretically possible case that the election ends up in the Business Meeting again, I conceivably could find myself with the casting vote as Chairman of the Westercon Business Meeting.

In other news, I continue to be full of Hay Fever. The antihistamines help somewhat, but they make me sleepy. Fortunately, I'm not driving anywhere. I really hope I have my voice back by Friday.
kevin_standlee: (Kreegah Bundalo)
...of the Hay kind, I'm afraid. The cold I had last week must have ended eventually, but I didn't notice because it morphed into hay fever, some of the worst I've ever had. I have to be very careful with anti-allergy medications because of my high blood pressure. I've found some that has an antihistamine without the decongestant (the latter being what's contraindicated for HBP), and it might help a little, but for now I'm suffering from itchy, watery eyes and a raw throat from the coughing and congestion. Even here in the office, I'm doing as much communication my e-mail as in person because I can barely talk. If this lasts through BayCon, I won't be good company at all.
kevin_standlee: (High Speed Train)
This morning got off to a too-exciting start because I forgot to set an alarm, and the hours I've been working caught up to me. I awoke with a start after 10 AM — five hours later than usual and eleven hours after I'd gone to sleep the night before — on the morning I was to check out of the hotel in San Jose by 11 AM. Furthermore, the papers I'd signed when I checked in sounded rather draconian about check-out time, as in "one minute late costs you an entire day" draconian. I rushed around and managed to get showered, dressed, packed, and out of the room by 11. It turns out that they probably were less strict than the letter of the agreement. My guess is that they've had some difficult customers (not me) and have therefore set things up to deal with them. In any event, there was no serious problem, nor was I charges an extra $65 for checking out at 11:02.

I headed to the office, where I was able to get coffee and get caught up on e-mail and make sure Skype and my webcam were working with plenty of time to be ready for my 2 PM (4 PM Central time) panel at Capricon on "Trains: The Flying Cars of the Future" panel. I set myself up in a small two-person "phone conference" room we have here and the call came together as expected. I could mostly hear everyone else, and the video I could see was okay, although it froze in the last ten minutes of the panel. (The audio never hiccuped.)

A point I got to make based on the panel topic was that "flying cars," a la The Jetsons, with a flying car for everyone, is in my opinion never going to happen. Frankly, I'm highly skeptical of self-driving cars even if they don't fly. But widespread use of high-speed trains for passenger transportation in corridors where they make sense not only is practical, but it's actually happening in many developed countries, as opposed to the third-world nation that the USA is trying to turn itself into. I don't mean freight: US rail is very good at moving freight. I also don't mean using high-speed rail to the exclusion of all air transport. But in the 800 km/500 mi range, rail is IMO more sensible than air, and more efficient and safer than by automobile. It's just a matter of making the appropriate investment, which is very difficult and requires political will. We don't have a lot of that in the USA right now, not with a vast number of noisy people who insist that "we don't want no guv'mint!" and somehow think that "roads cost nothing" because it's a freeway, and similarly willfully-ignorant nonsense. Even in California, we're surrounded by anti-guv'mint, anti-rail idiots who somehow think that highways cost nothing and have infinite capacity, airlines don't cost the guv'mint anything and make lots of money, while actually spending money on train infrastructure is "ebil guv'mint subsidy."

But enough ranting. We talked trains for an hour-plus and I had a good time. Thanks to Steve Silver for inviting me to be a panelist this afternoon, and I hope I was a net positive contribution to the convention.

We have a television set in the breakroom at my office, so after the panel I watched some of the long-track speed skating and the 10 km biathlon while having lunch. I then went and dealt with my laundry (I only take a week's worth with me on these trips and need to get laundry done sometime in the middle of the two-week stints), and eventually headed over to Fremont, where I'm spending tonight only at the Holiday Inn Express. The the front-desk staff recognized me (the hat is distinctive) and gave me a one-class upgrade to my room. I'm only here tonight and move back to San Jose tomorrow in my quest for enough points to make my hotel stay (or much of it) in London run on IHG points. There apparently is a large group of very noisy people staying in the hotel tonight, running up and down the halls, yelling at each other, and similarly making noise. After having been a panelist at a convention this afternoon, it sounds a bit like I'm staying on the party floor tonight.
kevin_standlee: (ConOps)
(I speak only for myself. I'm not even on the Loncon committee.)

I'm starting to think that there are some people in fandom who need a "pre-chewed food" membership class, whereby they would pay an much larger sum of money to make sure the convention sells them a single package deal whereby they have to do absolutely nothing, never read anything sent to them, and simply walk through the convention obliviously.

And to anyone at all who complains that there aren't enough hotel rooms very close to the convention center at Loncon 3: That's true of almost every convention site in the world with a small number of exceptions, most of which are in the USA. Unless you're saying we must limit Worldcons to the Chicago Hyatt *shudder*, I think you have to accept that sometimes you won't always get what you want. The failure of the convention to cater to your personal desires does not mean "They're trying to destroy all of fandom!"

Also, complaints about how people who did read instructions and were waiting for when reservations open actually booked all of the rooms for a Worldcon that might actually be the largest one ever held amount to complaining that "The place is so crowded, nobody goes there anymore."
kevin_standlee: (SMOF Zone)
IHG is running a promotion that I wish had started a week earlier than it did (it didn't begin until September 1), and to earn one of the bonuses in it, I need to stay in three IHG brand hotels. I already have Holiday Inn Express and Intercontinental (the Venetian, which they still haven't credited to my account, but I have to wait four weeks before I say anything), and so today I moved for one night to the Holiday Inn on North First Street in San Jose. This is the hotel that I personally think of as the Le Baron, an early home of Timecon, when I first started doing the convention thing in the 1980s. The last time I set foot in this hotel, the desk clerk who checked me in hadn't even been born.

This isn't the worn-out hotel down near the freeway currently bearing the name "San Jose Airport Garden Hotel," that has had a number of different brands and was a Holiday Inn when we used it for one of the ConStruction local-focused conrunning conventions a few years ago. It was the "overflow Hyatt" into which some ConJosé members were shuffled with the then-Hyatt downtown goofed and double-booked a bunch of its rooms. It appears that this hotel is doomed; there's a redevelopment sign in front of it that suggests it will soon be leveled for new construction. I don't think any of us who know the property will miss it.

Another nearby hotel has been de-flagged. The Radisson San Jose, which was adjacent to the apartments in which I stayed for a year and in which I rented one of their parking spaces in their garage, has become the "San Jose Airport Hotel" (not to be confused with the "San Jose Airport Garden Hotel" around the corner from it.

Anyway, back to the Holiday Inn. I was "upgraded" to the top floor, but the VIP lounge doesn't seem to run on weekends. As usual, I tend to think about what sorts of conventions I could hold in a given property. This one looks like it would actually be pretty good for SMOFCon or other 100-person event, particularly if we were allowed to take over the top-floor VIP lounge as our Con Suite for the weekend. Not that I'm actually bidding for anything, you understand.

I went to Fremont today and took care of some miscellaneous errands there, but my more ambitious plans were washed out by the rain that moved through the area today, and so instead I headed back to the hotel. That means that to move between hotels a long block apart, I drove about 36 miles back and forth to Fremont. Tomorrow won't be quite as bad, but I still have things to do. That's probably just as well as I'll need to find something to do with myself between check-out from the Holiday Inn and check-in to the Vagabond Inn.
kevin_standlee: (Match Game SF)
Continuing my look at how we put together Match Game SF, here's a picture of the panel working on answering a question.

So Glad We Got the Whiteboards )

As I've said before, I personally find writing the questions the hardest part of the show. Writing is always underrated. Once the questions are printed and packed in their envelopes, my stress level goes way down.
kevin_standlee: (Match Game SF)
Yesterday I posted a picture of our Match Game SF front-of-house setup, with the contestant and panelist positions. But the next picture is just as important for putting on a show that people have come to expect.

I Pay Lots of Attention to the Fen Behind the Curtain )

It is possible to do a less elaborate version of our show ("Mini-Match Game"), but as we've grown more elaborate and added features to the show, I've felt that it would be disappointing to not include the full set, particularly to anyone who had been at a previous show and came expecting the performance levels we've set ourselves.

I almost always end a show by thanking the people behind the desks who make the magic happen, and I mean it sincerely. Presenting the show as I do is actually relatively easy and fun, although physically exhausting. To have all of these people working so hard always humbles me.
kevin_standlee: (Reno)
And remember, as an ex-Worldcon chair, I have an permanently-paid-up Get Out of Conrunning Free card. Therefore, I can muse about such things and the $20 bills y'all toss at me as bid-starters bounce off me like I was rubber.

However... )

The real challenge with a Westercon in the Reno area is that I have yet to find a hotel that is right-sized the way the Sacramento Hilton is. Although I've heard some (sometimes justified) complaints and lukewarm reviews of Westercon 66, overall I think the fact that we "owned the hotel" and had slightly too little room meant that the social aspect of the convention was much better than facilities that have dozens of rooms, thereby allowing Programming to Never Say No, resulting in 27 program tracks, each of which has five people on a head table and two in the audience.

(It is possible that if WC66 had had 50-in-60-minute panels (instead of 60-in-75), they could have put in a few more slots; however, there still would have been a lot of saying No. I like those fifteen-minute breaks myself, and I was impressed at how many panels really did stick to 60 minutes instead of trying to use 80, the way so many 50-in-60s try to make 70-minute panels and don't get out of the way at 50 minutes.)

The Reno/Sparks-area hotels I've reviewed so far (I can't go into a hotel without sizing it up for conventions) are all too large. We could make something happen in them, but the 800 people we expect for a Westercon could easily vanish like a drop of ink in a barrel of water at most facilities. The reason Westercon 66 worked as well as it did was that nearly everyone in the building was One of Us. That doesn't work when there are thousands of other people there while your 800 people are struggling to find each other.
kevin_standlee: (ConOps)
When my office in San Mateo closed, many bits and pieces of office supplies were on the discard pile. I acquired a box of miscellaneous name badge brackets of various types and sizes, probably a couple hundred in all, but not all the same style and type. Nonetheless, they might be useful for any small convention willing to make due and manage rather than spend money buying new badge brackets. Contact me (you can message me through LJ at my user name if you don't already have my address) if you're interested. I'd prefer this to be something I can hand over to you at a BASFA meeting rather than having to ship it to you, as it's apt to cost more to ship than if you bought it yourself locally.

Away We Go

Oct. 7th, 2011 11:55 am
kevin_standlee: (Kevin and Lisa)
I'm off to Fernley again in a few minutes, but this time for a week, as I'll be working from up there this coming week. Best wishes to everyone attending [ profile] vintacon this weekend. I'll be thinking of y'all as I pass by Lodi on my way to Nevada.

Fortunately for me the early-season storm has passed through and the forecast is for clear (but cold) weather over Donner Pass today.

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