A year went by, and by the time the leaves were turning bright colors, it was time for the convention. I managed to snag a ride at the last moment when Bruce and Cheryl had Eric Newberger (aka: Eric Silverhands, the Famous Fandom Masseuse) pick me up. After a nice discussion about things and fandom in general, I got to the house too late to do bulk loading of the bus (which had been done by Bruce, Disconnect, Cheryl, and a few other people). While Cheryl and Disc were out shopping for con suite food and candy, I took over Bruce's job of cutting badges with a dulling paper cutter (thought that was ink splatters, no that was mine and Bruce's blood! Ha ha!). Then, when they came back, we all had dinner (Chicken Kiev-ish sort of meal) and finished loading the bus. Last but not least, we packed the Projection TV and computer equipment. We called the hotel to say we'd be on our way, and the hotel said the ballroom wasn't ready yet. Sigh...
The bus left, and shortly after cleaning up the kitchen and doing last minute house checks, Cheryl and I locked up and followed the bus. After an hour of great conversation, we ended up in Frederick, Maryland without incident. They weren't unloading as of yet, because the ballroom was still not empty from the previous renter's banquet. Much grumbling was heard. So we started unpacking into the rooms that were open, and piled the rest in the lobby. I helped a little with this and that, including delivering stuff to the con suite, assembling a Halloween Tree (like a Christmas Tree, only with bats, skulls, pumpkins, and spider webs with lights), and finished the night by guarding the Computer Room/Art show. I also had a small chat with fiction editor and old friend Adrienne Reynolds in the hotel bar while I watched a group of my friends proceed to get totally blotto. After a long talk with Disc and Fluffy (a man who has plans to colonize space with parts form his backyard), I tried to go to sleep, but was interrupted by a pair of friends who wanted to know where the crash space was because their roommate was snoring so loud, it hurt their ears to be in the same room with them. Then another friend asked where the medical team was, one of my drinking friends had alcohol poisoning (it turns out he really did, and spent a few hours in the hospital... what a dork!).
After a few hours of sleep on the floor of the Computer Room, I helped set up registration, and then had a long talk with Jedi in the video room. After that, my hotel room was ready, and I took a small nap. Then it was time to plan opening ceremonies! Yarg! What a task... I ended up delaying it to the last moment, mostly because people kept adding stuff ("Oh, we're going to do this funny thing that will take just 5 min..."). But the whole thing went well, despite someone bringing a tub of water and apples onto a non-grounded electrical area. Tynie and Tad switched costumes, and the Great Cthulhu Pin~ata (seemingly made of Kevlar) was finally beaten, spilling its guts of candy, toys, and diskette labels (no lie!).
I spent some time with Christine, and then Rocky Horror! Whoopie! That was a lot of fun. Brad was loud and funny, as always, and that mysterious group of girls who usually sits in the front row were delivering funny ad libs. I have always wondered who they are, but alas, when the lights go up, they disappear. Tired and hoarse, I went to bed.
Waking up only a few hours later, we went to breakfast. I got the news of the morning, involving rednecks getting into parking lot fights, but luckily, no incidences or casualties on our side. I did a reading("Cybertusk"), with moderate success, and prepared myself for the masquerade by playing miniature golf and foosball with my son. Then my son did his first volunteering job at registration snipping holes in badges. I was so proud of him!
The masquerade was quite interesting. Newly-divorced Adrienne wore a red bustle and skirt, while we had participants raging from Time Lords to a Starfleet Girl Scout Assassin tossing (real) cookies into the audience. We had a lot of fun. I ended the ni ht with a 2-hour discussion of the paranormal and urban legends to a packed room. I wandered around a little to mingle with people, and then finally crashed only to wake up a few hours later.
Typically, this is the dead dog day of cons. But my son, who is only six, gets up all chipper and hyper at this time, and since we were already up, we packed up and turned in our hotel keys early. Good thing, because a lot of people were rudely awakened at 10am to be told that they must leave, despite the hotel giving them extended checkout times. I auctioned some pieces off in the art show, taunting my audience to the point of shame, driving up prices beyond rational levels. I made some happy artists a little bit richer that weekend. I bought a great Vampire t-shirt that has this L.A.-style chick vampire (titled "Fashion Victim"), and said my goodbyes before heading home to catch up on sleep.
All in all, I had a great time. It was a moderate crowd (about 400), and we all had a great time, despite drunken rednecks attempting to thin their own herd out in the parking lot.