Ah, Balticon. That was the big thing this weekend. First sci-fi con since Evecon, and possibly the only one I'll go to for years to come. Balticon has always had a soft spot in my heart because it was my first "big con." I went to Balticon 18 for like 6 hours, but Balticon 19 was my first "con away from home." Hard to believe it's on #38. Last week, my friend Ron posted a letter about how Balticon had gone flat, and I said, "Well, you're not the only one to say that," but honestly? It didn't feel flat this time. I think a lot of FanTek congoers, who would have otherwise been saving their money for Castlecon, came to Balticon, because I saw a LOT more FanTek people there than I had seen at a Balticon in the last few years. Some of us sighed lovingly to the FanTek cons ending, but most of us said, "At least we won't have to be around that annoying Cheryl!" [just kidding, Cheryl, we love you! PPbthbthbttthh!] But seriously, many expected Bruce and Cheryl to show, but I know that both of them are busy with work. It was good to see Albedo, Moggy, Kat, Bomber, Kris, and a slew of FanTek members artists. I will try and have a FanTek party for you next year, I promise!
The panels, for the most part, went really well. Especially the anime and tech panels I did. Into to Anime, Anime Sci-Fi, and Anime Saturation all played to a packed room. I got to know L. Jagi Lamplighter a lot more, too. The Open Source panel was really a success, even though it was in an overheated board room. Almost all my free disks were snatched up, and even my handouts went, which reminded me I should have put my website on them... oh well. Not only were the audience good listeners, but they also had awesome suggestions. The panels on Fandom I did were a LOT of fun, and I got to know Carl Capri as a GREAT moderator. I also made mental note of some of the wisdom imparted from small press authors. The only panel that could have been better was the one of Genre Erotica, which had a scant audience, and only two of the panel people, I thought, were appropriate for the panel: Stephanie Brooks and Sheri Morgan, both published erotica authors. Me? What the hell was I doing there? I did try and push this new gaming supplement, "Naughty and Dice", which Kory gave me as an aide for the panel. If you like RPG, this book is slick, because it's like a "Player's Handbook" to RPG sex in a format that it common to all Open Gaming standards. This book is selling out all over the place, and it was only because of Kory that I was able to borrow a copy for the panel at all. This book is going to be big, and I think it long, long overdue (although, I doubt it would have made it in the 1980s or 1990s due to its... nature).
I actually sold two books as well! MSD will be selling my books at other cons as well, and later this year, I think I will have them publish my second Punk walrus book, which has been "in the can" for like 4 years now. The Tony Bumper book will still be offered to major publishers, however. It's just that MSD is trustworthing to the Punk Walrus series, my baby. :)
I didn't get to sit and lounge with many friend during the con because I was doing so many panels during the evening. I got in late Friday, got my badge, and went to my first series of panels. At opening ceremonies, I was both surprised and delighted that I was one of only a few people mentioned as a guest, with a lot of appalause when I stood up. Gees, thanks guys! I was floating on a frickin' cloud there for a while. I had assumed I would be one in a list of like 50 people mentioned as a byline, but there was the main guest, the art guest, the fan guest, then me and a few other people. I even got a spotlight... wow! I thought my ego would burst. I had to remember the lesson Sherill Abramson taught me back at EveCon 4: "So what?" Maybe we were selected because we were the only ones who actually submitted bios. In any case, I also want to say, again, kudos to Greg Wright, who did programming for Balticon. He did an awesome job. Yeah, I got double booked for an hour there, but I did half of one panel and then half of another panel, so I worked it out. No biggie.
Christine did the night shift ops, alternate of day shift, which was done by the loveable Anne-Marie. Also, I thought Dale Arnold did a great job as con chair, although he jokingly took me "for taking a job I'd never have the courage to do" comment and said, "Oh no, you mean we'll never guilt you into it?" Heh.
So, yeah, I had a GREAT time. Here are some random memories:
- Late Friday night, my friend Steve Weese (and his pal, whose name I can't remember...) and I sat at an abandoned flyer table, and sold "Misinformation" for a $1.00. We actually made $2.75. Then we told "Bald-faced Lies" for a while, because I got bored and ran out of ridiculous lies, like "Daisy Duke was actually the French Prime Minister in 1944," and "David Hasslehoff in in league with giant Spanish spiders."
- Opening Ceremonies had a really awesome intro did to Weird Al Yankovic's "Slime Creatures from Outer Space." The aliens were people covered in fake grass skirts, with giant Styrofoam eyeballs on stalks from green straw hats. Very funny, and for an amateur production, very well pulled off.
- There was a film crew doing a documentary on fandom. They interviewed me and CR on separate occasions. There was also a girl named Gene (Jean?) who spoke with me about Fandom for a while, since she's going to do her doctoral these on it. Neat!
- The only thing I bought from the merchant's room was another belt from Larry Sands (who also does the Maryland Renn Faire). I still have the other 3 I have bought from him since 1986, but I needed one with a wider band more suitable for jeans. I almost bought a stuffed Cthulhu in an MIB outfit, but I reminded myself money was tight.
- Balticon was PACKED. On Saturday, it was difficult to get thought the hallways because there were so many people. I think the lack of FanTek cons and the cross-promotion at anime cons has helped bolster their ranks. I also saw a lot more younger fen, which was great.
- I was mistaken for Gorm. "I know you from Evecon! I love your chainmail class!" a fan of Gorm's said. "Uh, I am Punkie, you are thinking of Gorm..." She looked embarrassed for a second, and then said, "Can you get me in touch with Gorm?" Hehehe...
- Christine sold almost all the art pieces but one in the art show. One even made it to auction! Yay, Christine!
- It became immediately apparent that my theory, "Not many people read my blog," based on the lack of comments, was in error. Everyone told me about what they had been reading here, and how stories I write have touched them in many ways. The word "courage" came up a few times, and I don't want people to think I am brave writing down my thoughts, I think I am just too stupid to know better. Some expressed raw hatred for "Ted," but I tried to explain who Ted was, how I know him, and why he's like that. Don't hate Ted, guys. He doesn't know good attention from bad attention, and he's a frustrated gay Catholic who has to do on-call tech for an evil medical company. I mean, I have seen the scope of his life, and man, I'd be an ass too, if my life sucked that much. Many people were very happy I decided to open up a blog on LiveJournal last week. The Punkadyne LiveJournal Blog is highly technical (which is why I keep it separate from this one). But Christine became annoyed because people told her, "Oh, I know about what's been happening, it's in Punkie's blog." Er... well, I'm still writing it down, darnit. Just stop saying that to Christine, guys. :)
- Oh, and again, her name is "Christine," not "Punkie's wife." Make a note of that.
- Liz, the party czar, gives great backrubs. Also, because of her, I have learned that "jouster sweat" is one of the most vile smells imaginable to come from your boyfriend. Something to do with a mixture of sweat, rust, and horse.
- WB was giving out freebies in the form of Harry Potter Lego sets of the Knight Bus. We got quite a few in Ops, and made slightly raunchy things out of Legos.
I had to work in the morning (the Internet never sleeps), but that went by quickly. Our friend April and her boyfriend Andy were housesitting, as I had mentioned before. They are staying over today, and we're going try and barbecue, although they are predicting a lot of storms all day. Sean, Lou, and the kids are also coming. The cicadas seem to be dying off, and I have to tell you, in my area of Fairfax, they were a bust. Not many to be found. I saw more in downtown Baltimore (where did they come from, did they fly into the city?) than I had here. I even had a few land on me when we went outside in Baltimore.
This entry was originally posted at http://www.punkwalrus.com/blog/archives/00000503.html