morning came way too early – yea verily, old and out-of-shape sucketh.
so got up, made a pot of coffee (really, if you are a coffee fan and you don’t take your own coffee maker with you, you’re just gonna have to deal with itty-bitty hotel-supplied coffee makers, or force yourself to the restaurant far earlier than you should), and started coming to terms with my absolute terror concerning the day ahead of me.
dorris eventually awoke, and i felt free to go to the bathroom. (another thing about this Sheraton – flushing the toilets was loud as hell and extremely forceful – i coulda lost ideas down that damn thing!). we made plans to meet Mark & Karen at breakie, Wendy as well, and off we staggered to the hotel restaurant.
now those of you who don’t do a lot of cons, or don’t do them in hotels as pretentious as the Sheraton… well, breakfast buffets are kinda standard… $19 for a buffet that ranks about a ‘4’ on the ‘1 – 10’ scale is only a bargain if the restaurant is charging $4 for coffee, $4 for juice, and both are included in a buffet plate – which the pretentious Sheraton did and they were.
powdered eggs are a no-no… they should never be served at a buffet, but all too often are. for $19 i expect fresh muthafuckin’ eggs and a goddamn omelette chef should be standard – neither was the case, so we only had breakfast there once. otherwise it was okay… merely okay… and the service, for the most part, sucked putrified ass out of a dead baboon.
Mark & Karen collect kitschy trinkets for us during their world travels, so those were delivered and we talked for awhile. Wendy joined us. it was expensive, but pleasant.
now, picture this in your mind.
way too many people. way too many very freaky people. way too many very freaky people of a fandom that i don’t particularly resonate with. way too many very freaky people of a fandom that i don’t particularly resonate with who think nothing of stopping in the middle of traffic flow to take pictures of interesting costumes and get a bit bent when you move the fuck on through because if you stop you’ll never get any-fucking-where because that shit is happening every five to ten feet.
i went and hid in the pro suite.
a few brief words about guest status.
when i worked Larrycons, otherwise known as Dallas (and Austin and San Antonio and Houston) Fantasy Festivals in guest relations and later as pro suite staff, i held guests who hid out in the suite in disdain. the fans paid to come see them, they needed to be where those fans could see them.
i soothed my self-loathing with the opinion that no one was paying to see me… although there were certain people i really, Really, REALLY should have given my cell number to, so when they showed up to see me they could have found me. (I’m so very sorry, Dave & Julie.)
but i hung out with old friends and new, enjoyed the hospitality, and waited ’til it was time to go to the panel.
a further word on conventions and guest status.
this marks my second convention as a guest… my first was way back in the dawn of time, somewhere in the mid-80’s i think, when i was Guest-of-Honor at Wunderfest in Wichita Falls. i got the flier and there it was “Guest of Honor: Jim Reader and Japanese Animation”. i about shit a brick as the only thing i was responsible for was recruiting Tommie Dunnam and his anime collection to come to the con with me so they could have an anime room. it really should have been “G-o-H: Tommie Dunnam and Japanese Animation”… but it was too late to fix it (i saw the flier about two weeks before the con, as i remember) and so i was a GOH… Wunderfest’s were very small, very tiny Relaxicons – maybe 150 attendees spread out over three days, and i loved them dearly. you got to meet the guests – hell, you couldn’t keep from meeting them. that’s where i met David Lee Anderson & Dell Harris and another artist who’s name escapes me… all the panel rooms and dealers room and gaming shut down when the GOH spoke (something i blissfully didn’t have to do) in order to insure an audience. marvelous, wonderful times and people.
and at A-Kon, i was legitimately a Panelist… and terrified at the prospect.
the panel had somewhere around 20 to 30 attendees and went very well. we were all asked what the hardest part about writing to the anthology specs had been for us – i answered ‘writing a non-erotic sex scene’, as erotica was not allowed. it was indeed a wee bit taxing. it went well, i was surrounded by a marvelous group of women: Lee Martindale (editor/publisher/author, haven’t gotten to her story yet), Elizabeth Moon (author, wrote introduction, her story didn’t gel in time for submission – hasn’t gelled yet, but you Really Want to read it, so go buy a copy of ‘Ladies of Trade Town’ so there will be a sequel for it to appear in), Merlyn Finn (a pen name, charming English lady who wrote a hell of a story called “First Fruits”… i liked it a lot), Melanie Fletcher (cover artist and author, i’m on her story “A Touch of Ginger” now, review later), Brandie Tarvin (author and writer for the game Shadowrun, my steampunk soul sister, we ended up somewhat mirroring each other’s dress for the whole of saturday, haven’t gotten to her story “Silk and Steam” yet, review later), Gloria Oliver (author, whose story “Art” i have yet to get to, review later), Rebecca MacFarland Kyle (author, whose story “Do Unto Others” i’ll get to and review later) (yeah, i’m barely into my own anthology – you wanna make something of it?), and finally Melinda LeFevers (author, she has the last story in the anthology, what? you think i’ve gotten to it yet? review later). we all seemed to have a good time, as did the audience – but to be truthful, most of the panel was a blur for me.
then we traipsed in a long, ragged line, down to the signing – met a lot of our readers, all of them lovely people, signed quite a few books, talked with folks, had fun sitting between Melinda & Lee, waving across the aisle of Artists Alley at the others, being taken very good care of by A-Kon Guest Relations Gofers.
and a quick note here – God bless the A-Kon staff, all the way around. they took very good care of us, we were treated magnificently, and they’re some hard-working people… kudos and gratitude to them all.
afterwards, i retreated yet again to the sanctum of the pro suite and went functionally brain-dead – i would have still been sitting there when the launch party began – hell, when it ended as well, were it not for my wife, who, as is her wont, took care of me, made sure i was fed and shooed me upstairs to dress for party.
now see, i meant to be wearing cargo pants… but there was a Jim-can’t-generally-order-pants-for-himself-without-getting-them-way-too-big wardrobe malfunction, so i was left wearing the blue shorts i’d worn earlier in the day… feeling like an underdressed moron. the shirt was lovely, the nails were lovely, the shorts were motherfucking shorts!
made it to our champagne toast w/strawberries before our back way escort to the party – because fighting for elevator space with hoards of anime fans just isn’t to be considered if there is ANY other way to get somewhere.
the champagne was almost orgasmic – very damn nice. the OH MY GOD THEY’RE AS BIG AS BULL BALLS strawberries with milk and white chocolate were orgasmic… further deponent sayeth not.
then we made our way through the back halls of the hotel, got to the party, got introduced and asked questions by Lee, then it was party time. completely with an incredibly beautiful, rich and sweet cake that i wish i’d grabbed some more of…
got to talk with people, sign more books, visit with old friends (hello Cyn, you sexy beast!), make new friends, and – of course- my bar was open, although all i’d brought to the party was Jack in a flask and some Captain Morgan Private Stock… nephew and niece brought more later.
i ended up having to borrow cash to buy the six copies i brought home with me (thank you Mark, you should have gotten the check by now)(and no, they’re ALL spoken for, thank you very much – will be ordering more next week – Rie, Rachel, Matt and StarCo’s Radiant Barista Goddess have the last four owed them).
it was nice to relax and bullshit, but the day had been far more emotionally draining than it should have been (there’s a whole post there that even if i write it, damn few of you will ever see – too much neuroses, too tightly packed), so i wasn’t that upset when the hotel threw us out and sent us on our way.
then it was the long trudge back to the room and after a minor amount of stream-of-consciousness (or lack thereof) wind-down, i was dead to the world.
thus ended Saturday…
Listening to: Journey to Kalimdor – Game Soundtrack
Mood: glad to finally have Saturday reported on