I didn't take as many pictures this year. This had much to do with the fact that my husband had the camera in his backpack most of the time, but also the fact that I was a little concerned about saving space on the memory card. I'd forgotten to clear some of our older pix off, so didn't have much room.
Thursday, August 29th
I took Thursday off to take care of some pre-con errands, and also to prepare a bit for my panels. That night, we headed down to the Hyatt to pick up our badges and to meet up with Jim, Theresa, and Thomas for dinner. Theresa and Jim headed home shortly after eating at cilantro land, aka the Siesta Grill, ;) but we stuck around for a bit to have some time with Thomas, an old friend of my husband's who'd traveled quite a distance to make it to the con.
Friday, August 30th
We were a touch lackadaisical about getting down to the Hyatt, but still made it in time for most of the first panel on our agenda, the X-Files Finale at 1 pm in the X-Files track room. Neither of us had seen the show's finale, but the 40 or so minutes of it that we did catch seemed like rather a letdown, mixed in with a dose of mildly-apathetic "Huh?" Chris Carter, your 15 minutes are up, and have been up. Shoo, now.
At 2:30, we headed up to Hong Kong/Cairo, the TrekTrak room. Although I'll readily admit the Trek folks are well organized, I generally avoid the track as a whole because the Trekkies seem to have, erm, an overabundance of the rabid/weird fan percentage. Most of the tracks have fairly-average, laid-back folks in attendance who just happen to like one show or another, and gather at con to chit-chat with others who share that interest. Some of (not all, just some) the Trekkies, though, seem to, unfortunately, fit the obsessive fan stereotype. I feel bad saying that, but it's just the truth. I feel really bad for the casual Trek fans who have to put up with being associated with that element, and kind of get tarred with the brush whether they deserve it or not.
Anyway, the reason I was in the Trek room at that time had nothing to do with Trek, really. Actor Carel Struycken was speaking, and although he did appear on ST:TNG as Mr. Homm (Lwaxana Troi's assistant), I was more interested in his appearance as The Giant on Twin Peaks. Since nobody else seemed to be asking Trek-specific questions, I asked him about TP, and what it was like to work with David Lynch. He beamed, and exclaimed, "Working with David Lynch was the experience of my life!" He went on to relate a humorous anecdote about waiting for the actor who played the waiter to shuffle slowly down the hall, and thinking to himself "Surely he should be doing that faster. Film is so expensive . . .," and then, after the agonizing wait, Lynch asking the actor to do it again, but slower. :) He also told us about the dreamlike atmosphere Lynch created on the set, and how he would say things to composer Angelo Badalamenti like "I want this to sound orange . . . " :)
We walked the con briefly, and then headed down to the first panel of three that I participated in. This one was in the Writer's Track, and was called "It's All in the Game." Essentially, the idea was that Bob Giadrosich, Timothy Bradstreet, Andrew Greenberg, Steven S. Long, Dave Arneson, Don Perrin, Don McClure, Elonka Dunin, Kammy Bonais and I would provide the audience with tips on how to get into the gaming industry. In reality, everyone on the panel said a little bit, and then pretty much let Dave Arneson roll -- as he half-jokingly said at the start of the panel, he's kind of the reason that gaming jobs exist (for those who don't know, he and Gary Gygax created Dungeons & Dragons), and since he teaches a four hour class on the subject, he's used to filling time talking, and talk he did. :)
After the panel, folks came up and asked each of us individual questions. We also had a little more time with Andrew G., who I'd met once before, and Elonka Dunin, who I hadn't. We only pretty much had time to quickly swap business cards at that moment, because we were standing in the doorway of the room and folks were trying to get in for the next panel. To my happy surprise, Elonka told me "they're looking for you." They who? Turns out, someone (and I'm still not precisely sure who that someone was) wanted me to appear on the Gathering of the Guilds panel in the EFF track. Sure, I'll show up. More on that later.
I think we got a bite to eat after this. I seem to recall food occurring in here somewhere.
Afterwards, we headed into the "Smallville Season One: Kryptonite! Kryptonite! Kryptonite!" panel in the AMTV track. Here, we found Thomas and Theresa, who we'd seen Thursday night for dinner. Theresa looked really nice: I just wasn't quite aware that she had a sprinkling of inner geek and goth in her personality, and she seemed so happy. It was really wonderful to see that side of her. The room was packed for the panel -- I was a little astonished. At the time we went, neither my husband nor I had ever seen the show, but I've had several people pimping it at me. When we told our friend Leigh about it later (as she is the primary proponent of it in my life), she laughed, and said "It's the fandom that took over fandom, baby! It's CHEESE! Luuuuuve the cheese!" ;) I've watched it, and I can't say I quite get why it's so popular. It's like the Dawson's Creek version of Superman. I suppose it's somewhat entertaining, but I definitely don't feel any compulsion to watch another episode.
After that, I stuck around for Peter Woodward and David Allen Brooks' Crusade panel, since I hadn't gotten to see them the previous year. They presented us with, ah, a fascinating visual demonstration of bullriding, which Woodward had done for the first time this year. Broad humor, but still rather funny. In the middle, I tried to bounce over to the X-Files room to hear the remaining portion of the panel on what profilers do. My sweetie was already in there, but the room was dark and packed, as GBI profiler Ralph Stone was showing slides of an unsolved case, some of them rather graphic. The portion that I saw seemed interesting, and the room was packed.
The next thing on the docket was the 8:30 Gathering of the Guilds panel in the EFF track, which Elonka had invited me to participate in earlier, so I tried to find out the initial source of who was looking for me. I never did quite tie that down, but had a good experience. I really liked the energy of the room, and the fact that the panel was moderated: the latter is a good way to keep the pace from stagnating too long on one individual segment, though I did feel that some of the audience participants seemed to turn it into an EverQuest gripe session. I got to talk with Elonka a bit more afterward, and she seems like an interesting, well-traveled individual. She cracked the PhreakNIC v3.0 Code, and is an expert on cryptography, in addition to her role as general manager of online games for Simutronics.
We had quite a crowd come up after the panel -- fans and media both. I chatted with representatives from both Star Wars Galaxies Stratics and RPG Planet's City of Heroes site. It was especially nice to see the turnout of female fans for the event, several of whom I spoke with afterward. Some of the topics included opinions about auctioning characters and thoughts on exploiting bugs un MMORPG game engines, and there was heated debate on both sides of the issue.
We wandered and chatted, just seeing the sights of the con. We made a cursory glance at the remaining panels, but ended up heading home around 11:30 pm or so . . . and that was Friday, at the con.