In this exploration of theory and practice of bayconning, the divergence between plans and reality appeared to be diverging after only two days. Will this trend continue? Or will it stabilize?
Well, what can you expect?
|What the Plan was
|What really happened
|Attend either the panel on how cultural norms affect people with autism or the one on how masquerade works. Then go to the panel on Fans of Color. About time.
|Remembered I have my first 5k run in exactly one week. Did a training run, helped with horse chores for the morning, made sure my goldfish got fed and cat got his meds. Got to con about 11:30, squirreled around to find the room for the Fans of Color panel.
Last door on the hall. What a great panel, wish I’d been there the whole time. Highest concentration of folks-of-color ever–on panel and in the room. Great discussions.Especially interesting to hear real people—not canned advice-mongers–talking about how to deal with multi-ethnicity and whether or not any individual should be expected to represent their ‘race’ (or really, culture, since race is technically meaningless) to others. There seemed general agreement that if one is uncertain about another’s background, it’s much preferred to be asked than pigeonholed in the wrong category. As well as some shared amusement at turning people’s expectations upside-down.
All of the published writers in the group complained about the difficulty of marketing their work when the standards in cover art lean strongly to picturing characters as white, regardless of how they are described in text. At the same time, they were each somewhat philosophical about bending a bit in that regard if it could get someone to pick up the book in the first place.
Self-published authors have more control over cover art but need to make their own choices to draw readers; Leslie Ann Moore chose cover art in which her lead character is pictured from the back, but directed the artist to be sure the character’s hair was like her own natural African-American hair, so the observant reader looking for books with “people like me” in them would be quickly clued-in while the casual browser would be first attracted to the scenery the character is contemplating and by then have the book in hand, ready to purchase.
Afterwards, chatted briefly with Heidi Stauffer, a Ph.D. candidate at the UCSC Earth Sciences department who happens to be Singaporean-American as well as female. She also sees a dearth of women in her field and is politely exasperated by people assuming she’s Mexican-American. I got her card to share with my Berkeley Earth&Planetary Sciences son. It’s a relief to talk to someone who isn’t characterizing climate change as something that is “controversial”.
|Eat lunch, then go build something in the Arduino workshop, then stop in to the Bujold autograph session and, if time, go to a panel on self-promotion for writers.
|On the way to the parking lot (where my lunch is hiding), spotted sign for the blood drive. Well, why not? The Stanford Hospital van was parked in front of the hotel, cookies and juice prominently on display. “Is this where the free cookies are?” I kidded. And up into the van, for filling out electronic forms which repeatedly want to know if I might have BCE or HIV.Fortunately, the blood transfusions I had for surgeries in the 1960’s don’t count, so I was declared qualified to enjoy having a needle in my arm for fifteen minutes. Felt dizzy partway through, but helpful nurse-in-charge had practical suggestions to get rid of that feeling. Got more than cookies, too. As a first-timer, was awarded a cool key-chain and a brag sticker, plus they had badge ribbons, pretzels, juice, and…wait for it…ice cream! Ice cream was so solidly frozen, I ended up eating a snickerdoodle and a bunch of pretzels and taking the ice-cream to go.And just in time, too…barely made it to the Arduino workshop. This was totally great, but we only had time to get most of the way through building and decorating our boxes, collect our electronic parts, and pay, before time is up. Have to come back in the morning to finish during the second workshop.I’d forgotten to bring any Bujold books with me today, so no point going to the autograph session. And sign-ups for tomorrow’s Kaffeeklatsch with Bujold had been at 9 a.m., so, oh, well, at least I got to listen to her reading. Stopped at info desk to pick up a newsletter. And there was the sign-up sheet, with only 5 people signed up so far. Weird. I put my name down, fast. Then read the form. Oh, ah, they moved the session from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., and so the sign-ups had only just started. Woo-hoo.
Feeling lucky for the moment, I turned back and sought out the Art Show, signed up as a bidder, and took a serious look at the offerings. Found two small pieces with “direct sale” prices I could afford and paid for them. And placed a minimum-bid on one of the butterfly-dragon prints, positive I’d be outbid, but enjoying the feeling of taking part.
Finally, decided it was time to retire for a delicious “lunch” of a peanut-butter-or-jelly sandwich and some chips, in the quiet of my personal car. Plus, it being late afternoon, I was able to move the car close in.
Back into the venue, for a stroll through the Dealer’s Room. Not too overwhelming. Maybe worth coming back later. One of the people from the Fans of Color session was reading upstairs, so I ducked into that session. Dang. Her name was last in the list, but she had read first, instead. I listened to two readings and started to feel faint in the hot, stuffy room. Out again. Time to sit a bit and review the program for the evening.
|Play Through the Looking Glass Croquet, then go watch the Masquerade and go next door to give my sword a try-out in the Boffers room. Take in some music. Maya and Jeff Bohnhoff are playing.
|The first step was to wonder (pun intended) where the croquet would be happening. The Pocket Program says, “Other 4.” What???I continued my Dealer’s Room stroll out the back door of that room, and there encountered Alice. Actually, Double-Alice. Two of them, that is, one a traditional blue-dress Alice, one a scarier white-pinafore-with-blood-on-it Alice. There were no Flamingoes. But they did have handmade (yes, made by Scary Alice) PVC wickets, proper mallets, and rather bouncy croquet balls.The hallway turned out to be problematic for croquet, as it was also the hallway for the dealers and shoppers exiting the Dealers’ Room, as the stores close down for the day, AND it was also the hallway in which participants and audience were queuing for the Masquerade. There was an issue with Scary Alice having left her petticoat in her hotel room. One does NOT play croquet with no petticoat on. But, in due time, we were set up, we had seven players and a patient Gofer guarding the end wicket, and the game was conducted.Traditional Alice forged swiftly into the lead, I had a lucky break and overtook her, coming to a turn-end at the entrance to the final wicket, but Green came up behind, knocked me clear, and won the game! Naturally, we had agreed to continue until all completed the pass. It took a couple of turns, but, yes, I came in second, so have time to take some pictures while the rest finish. Yay!
And am starved. And it is still some time before the masquerade, so I stop at the little store and buy a sandwich.
I got myself back at the Masquerade hall a few minutes after 7:30, but, uh, it was over bar the judging. Wow. Fast. Probably they started at 7 instead. Oh, well, I could sit and watch the robots from RoboGames dance about while the judges finished and watch the awards and take some pictures afterwards. My personal fav–the group of women dressed as Dr. Who villains, plus K-9. Today was my day to wear my Tom Baker Dr. Who scarf. In fact, during the croquet game, a passer-by awarded me a “Jelly Baby?” ribbon for my Whovian-ness.
I peeked into the boffers room briefly, but the Stanford nurse had been very firm about “no strenuous activity for 24 hours”, so instead I hiked to the music room. There was a Bujold-themed performance coming up. When I arrived, a harpist and a guitarist were in the middle of their last piece. Then Diana Paxson and friends arrived in Chalion costumes, explained the concept–she wrote songs using the themes from Bujold’s book, and with the help of the previous pair, Margaret and Christoph, they performed five songs to the “Chalion” gods. Then they forced Bujold to stand and be applauded, too.
Enough music for now…there was supposed to be a panel discussion on science fiction down the hall. I’m kind of dozy in the small room, but Altoids help and the discussion is relatively lively. I’m annoyed to be embarrassed when the response to my question about fiction related to games (one panelist had said he works in gaming) was “it’s sh***”. Great place to find a closed mind. Good questions from the one young teen in the audience did get some reasoned responses. Still, kind of relieved to head back to the music room.
However, on the way, I heard gongs and laughter from another room and stopped in to watch the Klingon Slave Auction in progress. It’s fun for a bit and nice to see people bidding each other up to donate to the Make-A-Wish foundation. But there was a concert I wanted to see! And I just barely caught the last few songs from the Bohnhoffs and feel sorry I didn’t get to hear more. Maya K.B. has always been one of my favorite Analog short-story writers, but I’ve only just learned what a good singer she is. Darn, should have skipped the panel talk.