kevin_standlee: (Match Game SF)
Westercon 70 was very good about giving us a good-sized room for a long time. We got the room from 6 PM with "curtain" at 8, a scheduled run from 8 to 10 PM, and an open ended move-out. As it happens, we needed it all.

I had moved the van closer to that side of the building last night to facilitate move-in, and borrowed a bell cart to move the kit from the van. It took two trips. Lisa had to leave things like the computers and sound board to cool off because they were painful to the touch after having baked out there for days. The hotel brought the tables that Westercon (following our request) had ordered, and we rearranged the room, strung the vinyl banners that Sasquan bought us, set up the tables and chairs the way we liked, and so forth. Lisa worked her usual magic on getting the sound equipment working. Judy Bemis once again did wonderful service running the Prize Table.

At 7:30, I went back to the room and changed into my game show host costume. Shortly after I got back to the Xavier Room, the audience started arriving. Lisa later counted the house, and we estimated that somewhere in the neighborhood of 8-10% of the estimated attendance of this year's Westercon came to our show, resulting in a roughly two-thirds full house.

Showtime! )

Tonight's show went really well. We (and I mean both me and Lisa) got lots of compliments from both returning and new audience members. Everyone seemed to enjoy themselves. I was tired but happy and energized, as I always am after a good show. We had someone from TARDIS, the Arizona fan group who ran Match Game at Westercolt .45 in Phoenix twenty-five years ago and gave me a starter set of questions that formed the core of the show we do today, came up and expressed admiration of how we've polished the show and that we continue to give TARDIS credit.

Move out was more challenging than move in. We couldn't take the gear out of the (alarmed) rear door of the Xavier Room, and while the Astro was physically close to where we were, there were two locked doors (the ballroom lobby) between us and the van. Fortunately, when I got a bell cart to start moving out (while Lisa packed the tech gear away), hotel security helpfully unlocked the intervening doors for us, so we were able to make two runs over with the box of Tech, speakers, game gear, etc. without having to circle clear around the hotel.

After putting everything away, we made a relatively brief stop at Westercon 72's Victory Party, which was still going strong approaching midnight. We would have loved to stay longer, but we need to check out Tuesday morning, and we have a drive to Kingman, Arizona ahead of us. Our goal is to be on the road by Noon for the 200 mile drive to Kingman, in order to give me some chance of getting back on my "normal" work schedule so I can work from the hotel room on Wednesday.
kevin_standlee: (Match Game SF)
I do wish that I didn't always have to leave so much show prep until the last couple of days, but it seems inevitable that a lot of the things on which I depend for a show don't come in until those last couple of days. Indeed, I expect that people will be contacting me about the show while we are traveling, and will be surprised to hear that we've already left home, since we leave tomorrow afternoon and get to Tempe sometime late Friday.

In any event, we have the question packs loaded, the commercials written, the prizes loaded (including a complimentary Worldcon 76 membership, which is a really nice prize!), all of the paperwork printed out, and I just helped Lisa carry the heaviest single piece of our kit out to the van. Lisa says she will take care of the rest of the packing of kit tonight after I go to bed, as her hours and mine are offset quite a bit right now. (But this does mean that she'll be able to drive during the first leg of the trip, which is Fernley to Tonopah.)

Work permitting, we'll leave after lunch tomorrow.
kevin_standlee: (Match Game SF)
Those of you who have been saying for a while now that you've been writing questions for Match Game SF have until mid-day Monday to get them to me for them to have a chance of making the show in Tempe at Westercon, because I expect to be assembling the question packs on Monday night. My e-mail address is my first and middle initials (KA) followed by my last name My full name is Kevin Allen Standlee. Thanks for your contributions!
kevin_standlee: (Match Game SF)
People were asking me today why we didn't do Match Game SF on Saturday night, which I thought bode well for the Sunday show. Having learned our lesson from Friday, we started our move-in shortly after 6 PM, which was when we got the room for our 9 PM show. As it happens, we needed that time.

From Blank Slate to Full House )

This was one of the most successful Match Game SF shows we've ever done. Probably not the largest turnout (we've had larger audiences in smaller rooms), but the show went well enough and we filled just about every seat. The contestants were able to match the panel a reasonable number of times and we did give away some prizes. A good time was had by all.

We don't know where and when our next show will be. We're not going to be doing a show in Kansas City for Worldcon, and we haven't been invited yet for future Westercons. We'll announce here the next time we have a show planned.

I thank very much everyone who made this possible: panelists, contestants, audience, and volunteers. I'm very tired and my legs hurt something awful, but I had a good time and I hope you all did, too.
kevin_standlee: (Match Game SF)
We underestimated just how long it would take to get the Match Game SF gear moved from our room to the function room where we would be doing the show. We should have started at least two hours in advance rather than 90 minutes. It would have made the set-up less frantic for us. However, Lisa got the show assembled, and [ profile] jcbemis, [ profile] lindadee, and [ profile] scott_sanford helped me and Lisa get everything in place for our 9 PM show. We had a good turnout, there were no serious glitches, we gave away lots of prizes, and everyone seemed to have a good time. I was very pleased. But also very sore. Three hours on my feet and my back and right ankle pained me considerably. This became very obvious to me when Lisa and I walked over to Safeway to get some food to bring back to our hotel room after the show.

I don't have any photos of our Friday night show, but Lisa shot some video that I may post late where I get a chance.

We'll be back for a second show on Sunday night. Our big commitment on Saturday is the Westercon Business Meeting, which should be short; however, it is also a technical rehearsal for Worldcon as Lisa exercises the recording gear.
kevin_standlee: (Business Meeting)
Westercon 69 is now officially open, as Chair Lea Rush opened the convention at ceremonies this evening. Programming, exhibits, and dealers opened this morning, and Lisa and I spent a fair amount of time at the San Jose in 2018 Worldcon Bid Table.

Observations on Day 1 )

Lisa and and I went to lunch with [ profile] scott_sanford, opting for the hotel bar so we did not have to go off site. Shortly after lunch, it finally dawned on me that the material I'd given Scott for the Newsletter was wrong, because the Westercon Business Meeting is tomorrow, not Sunday. Fortunately, the Friday evening edition hadn't gone to press yet and we were able to get it corrected.

Because the Business Meeting is on Saturday while Site Selection continues through Saturday afternoon, the results of Site Selection will not be announced at the Business Meeting tomorrow morning. Unlike Worldcon, you aren't required to officially announce the results at a Business Meeting. If the results are conclusive, you can simply publish them and skip a Business Meeting. It doesn't seem likely that the uncontested election for Denver will result in a replay of the 2011 Westercon Business Meeting, so I'm not expecting to have to call a special meeting for Sunday morning; however, it does also mean that we can't adjourn sine die tomorrow. Instead, we'll have to adjourn "at the call of the chair," with the call expiring if not used by Sunday morning. I don't think it will be a problem.

Official Opening )

In a few minutes, Lisa and I will begin the process of ferrying the Match Game SF kit from our room on the 12th floor down to the function space on the ground floor where tonight's show will be. This may prove to be a challenge, given that the three elevators that serve the high tower in which we're located are already showing the strain of coping with what looks to be the biggest Westercon in years.
kevin_standlee: (Match Game SF)
We packed most of the Match Game gear and much of our traveling kit into the Astro last night when it wasn't so hot. Lisa is very good at packing the vehicles. Things that are heat-sensitive or very obviously valuable we'll put in just before we go. We're mostly ready to go except for our "hand baggage" and the fact that I'm still at work for a while. When I'm released (I hope no later than 2 PM), we'll finish packing and hit the road for Alturas, the first leg of our trip up to Portland and Westercon.

At least two banker's boxes are MGSF prizes, some of which are now sufficiently old that every contestant is going to get one, win or lose, until they're gone. This will (we hope) make the return trip lighter.

This time we remembered the MGSF banners. We've forgotten them in the past, which is annoying. And now we have nice permanent vinyl banners, thanks to Sasquan who made them for us last year.

Looking at how difficult it was to fit everything into the minivan, Lisa said she's relieved we decided to not try and carry the show to Kansas City in August.
kevin_standlee: (Match Game SF)
I've been sufficiently busy with other things that I've had little time to write about Westercon, but I do want to say that I think our late night show, Saturday night at Westercon 68, was very good. We used the space that had been the Masquerade green room, and we were in fact moving our gear in while the judging was still being announced, so we had to dodge people in costume and not interfere with them. I was briefly concerned that people wouldn't come to a 10:30 PM item, but we had a mostly-full house and people seemed to have a good time. An advantage of this room over the other two in which we've done shows this weekend is that it had a riser, so we could do a proper two-level panel. Lisa once again had to do the announcing in addition to running the tech, and she did just fine. We played four games of MGSF because we didn't have an end constraint the way we had for the earlier two shows, and because the last of the four went to overtime (and actually all the way to Sudden Death), we didn't get out until after Midnight. It did seem like a success, and I want to once again thank Westercon 68 for inviting us and for putting up with all of our requests for extra tables and special room setups.

After spending a little while at the Finland and Montreal parties, Lisa and I went back to the hotel room, and while getting ready for bed, Lisa reacted with horror when she discovered that her Leatherman multi-tool (an older original Leatherman that they don't make anymore) was missing. She turned things upside down looking for it, including getting dressed again and making another loop back through the parties and to the minivan in the hope that it had fallen out there, but with no luck. She actually had me buy another one online and put in a bid on yet another one before we finally turned in. I'm glad we had no early commitments, so we could sleep in until nearly 10 AM.

First thing after getting out of the hotel room this morning, we went down to Pacific 1 (where the show was last night), and to Lisa's immense relief, she found the Leatherman tool sitting on one of the tables. She thinks that someone interrupted her while she was using the tool to get the speakers set up last night, and instead of putting it back in its holster, she set it down there and forgot it. Fortunately, it just sat there until she recovered it this morning.

Much of the gear is now packed back up in the minivan. The rest goes out tomorrow, as do we.
kevin_standlee: (SMOF License)
I woke up ahead of my alarm on Wednesday morning, and we would have been really out ahead of schedule if I hadn't spent more time that I should reading my e-mail and commenting on web sites. Nevertheless, we got out of the hotel, had breakfast at Jake's in downtown Bishop, and were on the road two hours ahead of my originally planned schedule.

Bishop to San Diego )

What I hadn't expected was that it would be raining much of today. I cannot really complain about the monsoonal moisture (any rain at all is welcome), but it means that San Diego is way more humid than we expected, and we are pretty hot and sticky.

Town & Country Hotel Challenges )

The cart Lisa built helps enormously (and seems to have held up under the rain better than we feared), but it still takes three loads of cart to move the show gear.
kevin_standlee: (Fernley)
I got way from the hotel Saturday morning and drove first to Hayward to have breakfast and collect Black Bear Diner #15. (I got the award for reaching Level 2 in their "passport" promotion where you get a passport stamp for each BBD you visit: a BBD travel mug.) Conveniently, they were next door to the AAA office, and right after breakfast I went in and collected maps for some of the places we're traveling this summer including San Diego.

Then it was off to Yuba City. When I made my first bathroom break, I discovered that the minivan continues to be somewhat reluctant to start when it has run for a while. It still starts, but it takes several tries. We'll have to keep monitoring the situation. It's difficult to reproduce because you have to drive for hours, then stop for a short time; if you stop for a long time, it cools back down and starts first try.

(Because everyone keeps asking: It's not the starter motor. The engine turns over just fine. It just won't light off sometimes until you try several times, which is not the usual behavior at all for this vehicle.)

I spent time in Yuba City with my mother and sister, then headed up into the mountains via Grass Valley and over Donner Summit, where to my surprise it started raining. (I'm not complaining!) What with side trips and time with my family in Yuba City, I was on the road for about 13 hours, getting home around 10 PM.

Because we're leaving for San Diego on Tuesday, we're now in full Westercon Prep mode. I need to finalize the sixteen sets of questions we'll need for Match Game, Lisa needs to confirm we have all of the kit, and we need to clean out the minivan of everything we don't need for the trip, because packing is going to be a challenge.
kevin_standlee: (Match Game SF)
Match Game SF at Westercon has three planned shows:

Thursday 4 PM
Thursday 8:30 PM
Saturday 10:30 PM

Although it looks like we have the panelist situation under control, we still need help, because many of our "usual suspects" won't be in San Diego.

We need an Announcer. That's someone with a good strong radio voice who can read the opening and closing credits, introduce the contestants, and read the commercial messages in the between-games breaks.

We also need several Production Assistants. These people report to Lisa and do what she tells them to do, including collecting contestants' name sign-ups and helping contestants get their prizes.

Working Conditions )

People working on the show get Lovely Parting Gifts automatically.

Write to me if you're interested.
kevin_standlee: (Match Game SF)
Okay, folks, we've been scheduled to do three shows of Match Game SF at Westercon 68, and while I can and will recycle questions from past shows, I always prefer to use as many new questions as possible, so once again I turn to the readers to submit fill-in-the-blank questions for our next show.

What Makes a Good Match Game Question )

You can send your questions to me by using my LJ handle (this gets forwarded to me), or to kastandlee [at] I'll turn on comment moderation for this LJ post as well, so if you prefer to make it as a comment to this post, the questions won't be spoiled for everyone else.

Questions should preferably have something to do with SF/F/Fandom. References to Westercon and Worldcon and other conventions are good too.
kevin_standlee: (Match Game SF)
Thanks be to Westercon 67 for letting us have Salon B/C from 7 PM onward for our 9 PM show, and for not complaining about our sound checks in the room immediately adjacent to the Masquerade in the main ballroom, separated only by an air-wall. Lisa and I went out for an early dinner, first going to the Cheesecake Factory in the City Creek Mall, but balking at how loud it was there and going over to the Food Court instead. I'm glad we got dinner because it was a long, busy, exciting evening.

Scenes of Set-up )

The show went really well, and Scott counted at least 70 people (not including panelists and crew) attending at one point, which means more than that got to see the show as people cycled in and out for the five games we played. We gave away memberships to the next two Westercons — including the just-elected Westercon 69 in Portland. Everyone seemed to have a good time, and even [ profile] travelswithkuma got into the act with a question about him.

After five games, and around 11:30 PM, we called it a night and struck the set. Scott also helped wonderfully with the tear-down, even taking the luggage cart back to the bell desk for us so that we did not have to go back downstairs and could instead collapse out of our costumes and into a relatively cool room.

Thanks again to Westercon 67 for adjusting their programming schedule to give us the rather large block of time (six hours in all including set-up and tear-down) to put on Match Game SF for Westercon. It's tiring, but satisfying. Also big thanks to everyone who made the show happen. We had a lot of fun, and I'm glad everyone enjoyed it.

We were too worn out after the show to hit the parties, and now we have to try and get some sleep before being up again for the Westercon Business Meeting at 11:30 Saturday morning. Fortunately, aside from officially receiving the results of Site Selection voting, we're not expecting any business, so this should be a short meeting. Fingers crossed.
kevin_standlee: (Kevin and Lisa)
Last night, [ profile] lisa_marli and her family came to Fernley, as they were spending the night here on their own drive to Westercon. (They're driving east through Ely and then continuing east on their grand loop tour.) They we had dinner with them at the Black Bear Diner and then came back to the house and showed the around the place. So now someone else in fandom can vouch for our mini-Winchester House being real.

Once we get finished with breakfast and packing our personal belongings, we're off to Salt Lake City. Today's trip is a low-altitude flight across Nevada on I-80 to Wendover, where we are booked to spend the night at the Peppermill Hotel tonight.

I hope we haven't forgotten anything important. Lisa remembered that we forgot to write any Match Game SF questions for Colonel Chinstrap, but it's too late for that now, so we'll have to try and remember to give him a question for San Diego next year and remember to pack the pith helmet.
kevin_standlee: (Match Game SF)
Lisa has been packing the Astro with the Match Game gear for the past week now, as well as cleaning the van and otherwise preparing it to head to Salt Lake City for Westercon. Yesterday afternoon between the two World Cup matches, we drove over to Hanneman's Car Wash (the same people from whom we buy our propane) and cleaned the outside as well. After it dried, Lisa stowed it inside the garage. (Thanks to her hard work with shelves and our work moving stuff to the storage locker, we have room to park two vehicles in our two-car garage!) That way the van will stay relatively cool out of the sun until after sundown tonight, when we'll move it out front in preparation for final loading tomorrow morning.

We got our schedules from Westercon today, which confirm that Match Game SF will be on Friday night from 9 PM (time approximate after Masquerade) in Salon B/C. Only those panelists who were previously in Westercon's list of program participants are listing, which means a couple of you who are expected MGSF panelists aren't on the list. I hope you'll be there anyway!

Yesterday afternoon, I went up to the upstairs office (which is now habitable in the summer thanks to the swamp cooler repairs) and finalized the questions we'll be using. I used many of the questions submitted over the past few months, but kept a few of those we've used before. All of the show production gear, including the questions and prizes, is now packed in the Astro waiting for us to move out tomorrow morning. Aside from packing our personal luggage, we're ready to go.
kevin_standlee: (Match Game SF)
Late last night, I got word from Westercon 67 (after a few rounds of back-and-forth, including Westercon 67 Programming head Kate Hatcher calling Lisa to discuss the tech details of the show) that Match Game SF is scheduled for Friday night of Westercon, from 9 PM onward, in Salon B/C at the SLC Marriott Downtown. (Salon B/C is an air-walled partition of part of the Grand Ballroom and will be main programming space during the day.) That's the only show we'll do, but because we have the space for the rest of the night we can go as late as we want. Right now I'm in mind to play three games, take a short break, then play as many and three more depending on how things are going; however, we might only play two games initially before the break. (Experience shows us that when we plan to play a long run of games, we have to put a break in for everyone's sake: panelists, crew, and me alike.)

Because we're right after the scheduled time for the Masquerade, we will start late if the Masquerade runs late, because several of our panelists have commitments to the Masquerade.

We're running with none of our regular behind-the-scenes staff other than Lisa, and we've recruited several people from BASFA who are going and who have volunteered to help as production assistants, the announcer, and so forth. I'm not going to put them on the spot just yet particularly as we need to work out exact details, probably at the convention itself.

I have seen the questions that people have submitted (as comments on my message yesterday that I've not un-moderated), and thank you all! Keep sending in questions. It keeps things interesting for all of us.

Among our prizes we have memberships to the next two Westercons and a gift certificate to Cargo Cult Books in the Dealers' Room, plus our usual book packages and A Brand New Truck! (Well, "new" is a relative term, but it's never been actually used except to display it the last time it came up and didn't get won. And I'll note that it's actually the most valuable prize in the entire game. You'll have to be there to see it.)
kevin_standlee: (Match Game SF)
It looks at the moment that we will be doing one show of Match Game SF at Westercon 67 in Salt Lake City, and that will be sometime on Saturday night. This coming weekend I will be setting up the question and prize packages for the show. Lisa is currently packing our voluminous tech gear into the Astro for our drive across Nevada next week. I still need new questions for Match Game, and if I don't get enough usable questions, I'll have to recycle old ones.

As a reminder, Match Game questions are not trivia questions; that is, there's no single objectively correct answer. They should have multiple ways to fill in the blank, and preferable be humorous. For example, "As he left the TARDIS, the Doctor said, 'That's the last time I let one of my companions play with my _____!'"

Comments screened on this entry so you can post proposed questions without other people seeing them. You can also direct message me on LiveJournal, or send e-mail to my username My regular e-mail address is my first initial, my middle initial (A for Allen), my last name, and
kevin_standlee: (Match Game SF)
Jay Lake has, after a well-documented struggle, finally lost his battle with cancer. One of his connections with me was his donation of a signed ARC of Mainspring as a prize to Match Game SF, which turned out to be "cursed," in that while it kept coming up as our bonus round prize, was one people could never seem to win. After several years of futility, we resorted to putting in as an extra, in the form of, "First person to win a Bonus Round gets this book as well as the main prize," and after several more failed attempts, someone finally took the prize.

Jay appeared one time as a panelist on Match Game SF, for a single game at one of our appearances at Norwescon. Alas, we don't appear to have taken any pictures or shot any video of that appearance. If we did, I can't find it. If I ever do, I'll post it.
kevin_standlee: (Match Game SF)
Thanks to those of you who have responded so far to my request for Match Game SF questions. I've been moderating the ones posted as comments to my LJ to keep them from being too visible to potential contestants. Keep sending me questions as you think of them. It's the one thing that's hardest about doing the show, really.

For those of you coming to Westercon, I'm also looking for production assistants, and furthermore we need an announcer because all of our usual deep-voiced friends don't look like they'll be there. If you think you could announce a game show, contact me and let's discuss it.
kevin_standlee: (Match Game SF)
Unless things change, I expect that at this year's Westercon in Salt Lake City we'll be doing at least one show (and I hope two, because it usually works out better if we do two) of Match Game SF, our take on the classic 1970s game show with an SF/F theme. Once again, I'm asking people with ideas for questions to send them to me, because one of the hardest things about doing the show is writing new questions.

Match Game is not a trivia contest. There are no "right" answers; there are only matches. In case you've never actually seen the show, it consists of two contestants and six panelists. The object of the game is for the contestants to correctly guess how the panelists have completed a series of fill-in-the-blank questions.

Bad Questions and Good Questions )

It's okay to take a question from the original show and rewrite it with an SF/F "skin" if you can think of one. I don't have cable television anymore, so I don't get GSN and thus can't watch the original show and harvest questions from it.

If you have an idea for a question, you can send it to me (my LJ handle will get to me) or if you don't mind others seeing it, post it as a comment here. Non-LJ members can post, but the posts are moderated, and I'll assume that replies to this post that contain a question aren't intended for public viewing.

Update: I'm going to screen off comments with questions, and thank you to those of you who have posted so far. If your comment goes offline, it means that I saw it!

Unless you say otherwise, if we use your question in the show, we'll give you credit for it at the time I read the question. I really do appreciate people submitting questions, because otherwise I have to re-use old questions, and while they're funny for new audience members, it's a little boring for the returning panelists.

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