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More Cap Stuff

  • Con suite--My understanding is that the con suite is supposed to provide snacks (not meals) and beverages for con goers. I didn't visit it very often as I like to carry beverages in my bag and the con suite featured cans. Also I was a big caffeine monster this weekend and since the con suite's coffee was horrible and I didn't find out until the end of the con that there was better stuff in the internet cafe, mainly I bought coffee from the Starbucks in the lobby. I occasionally grabbed a couple of snacks but since I'm trying not to do that sort of thing and generally just had a real meal when I got hungry, that's not my bag baby.

  • Hotel--The hotel was nice, the rooms were in good shape and the lobby was roomy, and comfortable. They also had two reasonably priced restaurants (ok, one was really the sports bar) so you could get a meal without going off site. Better than the Windy hotel, definitely. The only two drawbacks were only one bank of elevators and many areas had NO cell signal. Nothing they can do about either one of those at this point.

  • Programming--A bunch of people were complaining about the programming being light, but my feeling is that as long as I can find something I'm interested in for most of the day, that's enough. Everyday (except Thursday, when I once again managed to miss the opening ceremonies) there was more than enough programming for me. Many times I had to choose between two things I wanted to do/see. The Lake Woebegone programming just sounded scary. That's the answer for those programming haters, it could have been worse, they could have actually done everything on the program.

  • Misc.--The pocket program kicked ass! I don't think there was ever anything I wanted to know that I didn't find the answer to on the pocket program, loved it. Did not like the regular program much, I found it to be confusing and almost completely non-intuitive.

The rest of the con (continued from Friday's post).....
Brother Guy's talk (Political Science--Is Pluto a Planet and Why does it Matter?) was interesting. I have a sneaking suspicion that it was pretty much the same talk he gave Wednesday night at the Adler so I'm glad I didn't kill myself getting downtown for it.
I liked the Intro to Euchre and Intro to Fluxx sessions, it was fun to be able to play some games that were about an hour long. Not sure how this would work but in the future might it be possible to have a 'library' of card (or board) games available for pick-up games? Obviously no one wants to leave their personal game collection lying around unattended, but there should be a way to work something like that out. Maybe have them stashed at the nearest continually manned table (info, or ???) and allow people to sign them out with their name and badge number. The Euchre tournaments were fun also, even though I didn't last very long in either one of them. I had no idea there were Euchre players out there that are that serious about the game!
After card games I went to beamjockey's talk (Who Needs Planets?) where I learned about a bunch of different missions and got to see a sample of aerogel, sadly the sample he passed around didn't have any space dust in it.

After that it was time for a trip through the art show and dealers' room. The art show had a few cool pictures that I wish I had bid on, the 'rapture of the whales' (not the real title) and 'dragons in the sunset' (also not the real title) were good and I should have gone back and at least put a starting bid on them. The best part of the art show was the collection of Frank Kelly Freas art on display. The pictures were pretty cool on their own and more often than not they left me really wanting to read the story they were illustrating.
The dealers' room was ok, Dreamhaven was there with a large number of signed Neil Gaiman titles. Also there was someone selling some of Dame Shannon's glass--tumblers and glass balls. Again, many things looked familiar, almost as though I'd seen them a few months ago..... The repetition in the dealers' room and art show is just a matter of adjusting my expectations. I would imagine that there are only so many people willing to travel and give up their weekends to sit around in a hotel ballroom attempting to sell stuff. It would be a hard balance to strike as well, you'd want inexpensive things because people are also buying food and drink and paying for hotel rooms for the weekend, but it also has to be unique or at least unusual and you need to make some profit. I really really liked the hand painted scarves one lady had on offer but the ones I wanted were about $200. Wish I'd gotten her name....

Then after passing the word that we were going to do dinner as a group I had a mild panic attack at the thought of collecting everyone, getting us all in cars and finding a place that could seat 8-12 people on a Friday night _and_ accommodate vegetarians. Some kind soul (hate the swiss-cheese memory) recommended using the 'binders o' food' put together by the con com and after paging through those I had a flash of inspiration--let's order in! No one would get lost that way, everyone could get (pretty much) what they wanted and we were spoiled for choice about where to eat. That's what we did and I think it worked out pretty well, everyone seemed mostly happy which is about the best you can hope for in any group of over four people, and hey, fortune cookies! Those are always good.
Then it was party time. At Windy we had heard the tales of the storied "Cap Party Floor" so perhaps this time I was the one with unreasonable expectations, but frankly the Windy parties were better. Even though the Browncoats' party wasn't officially open Friday it was still one of the more lively rooms and the Browncoats themselves were very friendly and welcoming. The Pirates had good decorations and music, and other than that, on Friday, well let's just say I can't remember any other parties really.

Saturday morning not only was I up in time for an unhurried breakfast, I also had to time to drop pyropyga off at the train station so he could go home to check on the Ambassador and still make it to the "Blogging and Livejournal: Tool or Tirade?" panel on time. Then it was off to the "How Does Politics Intersect with SF?" panel which was umm, a panel all right, yes it was. Then "Nice Looking Genes" which would have been better if it hadn't been so hard to hear. Then "Mapping the Universe" which was interesting. The best part was at the very end, when Gene Magnier (who was video conferenced in from Hawaii) said that Pan-starrs would allow us to see objects (mainly galaxies) up to 12 billion light years away, meaning that we'd then be seeing 12 billion years into the past!! I thought that was pretty exciting stuff but I may have misunderstood him as there wasn't a chorus of 'oh wow, how cool, etc' from the audience. Then Brian Palaszewski gave a talk which I summarized as "a little bit more pie, _way_ off in the sky, in the far-off by-and-by". After two panels in a row in a darkened room it was time to _lay down_ and sleep for a little bit.

After a short nap, my roommates (Jaymak [WINOLJ] and unhipster) joined me for a quick, low-key dinner in the bar. I had planned on grabbing another cheeseburger by myself and they joined me but somehow the larger group managed to give off the impression they'd been left out. Heh. The sad part was that someone did wind up getting left out (not on purpose, but still). While the large group was waiting for Chili's to figure out how to seat 10 people, us sensible early eaters got in a game of Settlers of Cataan. We learned from another con goer that it's cheaper to buy two full games to make a game that more than four players can play, than it is to buy an expansion pack. Jaymak (WINOLJ) wouldn't give me his game for the greater good of the group though.

Then time for _more_ parties. They were definitely better on Saturday, with a special shout out to Odyssey Con VI for transforming their room and dialing the fun up to 11! Speaking of dialing things up, that was the other high point of the night, the Van de Graaf generator at the General Technics party. It didn't work very well on my hair (too long) so I went and got pam and unhipster, and it worked much better for them. The whole 'ball of static' feeling was odd, but cool. Much like the guy running the generator (look! there's a chicken!). We played with balloons a lot as well (it's much more fun if you've been drinking) and caught our resident pimp with his hands on two different asses at the same time--typical!
The next day we somehow wound up at IHOP instead of Walker Brothers' for brunch. Got home before four pm, and fell asleep in front of my FList. But I did get caught up.
And now I'm finally done with this. It's really too long, I'm tempted to salt it with all y'alls' names just to keep everyone reading.

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