The Heares graciously gave me a lift, and I helped them as best I could with the setup for the party. We had to make various stops to a Mediterranean market, Tippy Tacos, BJ's, Shoppers Food Warehouse, and then a liqour store nearby that had some ice. In the van were stodgycat, louann, aksident, and the rest of the Heare kids along with myself.
When we went to the Mediterranean market, I was shocked at how much I had missed some of that culture as a kid. I was born on Cyprus, and lived for a short while in Italy, but all before I was a year old. But there was a strange familiarity that I am still trying to place. The smell was the first thing that hit me. I am not a fan of things like olives, feta, or licorice, but then again, ever since I was a grownup, I haven't had anything beyond the American supermarket. But I had forgotten the odd tang of Greek feta chese, the real thing, and not some shrink-wrapped block of crumbly processed cheese that added Parmesan to taste feta-like. I can still taste the cheese as I type this, because it's that strong. The odd products that lined the shelves reminded me of the myserious things in my mother's cabinets which she used, but I never touched because I was a fussy little brat. My mother LOVED the Medditeranean, and nearly a quarter of her cookbook collection was devoted to Greek and Italian cooking. It smelled like some part of my childhood I had forgotten. The staff was way friendly, too.
BJ's provided my first real attempt at keeping 3 kids and a teen in my control. Not that I was left alone with them, but I tried my best to keep them out of the way of their parents. I was mildly successful, but that was due in part to the honed skills they have at keeping track of multiple kids, and they acted more like training wheels in this experience. Scarlet was pretty easy, because she sort of clung to me, while Keiran was harder because he's fairly quiet and then you quickly forget about him. Spike is 2, and wanders quickly, so he's a very easy distraction. aksident was not a problem because she's responsible and stays with the group. I can't even think of her as a kid anymore, which may be a mistake, but I have issues with "ageism" to the point of a fault. Anyway, I exposed my first real problem with taking care of a large group of kids: my attention span. I am far too easily distracted, and find that to keep oin track, I have to usue phyical tricks to assist my brain. Like I'd point and sort kids out loud. Luckily, they are all well behaved. Had they been brats, I would have more than likely slung one over my shoulder, and held the hands of the other two.
Okay, not really. :)
We arrived at the FanTek house around 12:30, and started setup. Bruce and Cheryl arrived later. Cheryl graciously let us use her Styrofoam plane, which we broke, but that gave some other people an opportunity to repair it with tape. I can't say I did much but hang out and try and take pictures of what I consider my FanTek memories as from the POV of a former roommate. Sadly, my camera ran out of batteries at the 52nd picture. I really got to get a better camera. takaya is working on this.
stodgycat and I were totally pwned by T and Ing (am I spelling that right?) as their m4d l33t ski11z at the Rubik's cube. I mean, gawd damn...
That incident was just ONE of the several where I missed FanTek cons so bad, it hurt like a twisted ankle. I mean, God love Balticon and so on, but when you need a crazy, out-there conversation with someone in the lobby, FanTek cons really had it together. And while recent developments from behind the scenes at BSFS serve to remind me why I'd never want to run a convention unless I had a head injury... the truth is, I know I am supposed to do so. Some cosmic tidal force tries to remind me that it's almost an obligation to run a convention, and it comes and goes, but common sense is the dike that still holds back the ocean.
Sad thing is, while I assure myself I'd never do it, some sub-process in the back of my brain is already planning it. I even have a crew lined up for several departments (and they don't even know it yet, and that's the horribly despicable and sinister part of it). And not that I plan to take over FanTek or some such nonsense (I mean, really, that's like plagiarism of the insincere flattery kind), but they will be a strong influence, I am sure of it.
A lot of people keep saying they miss FanTek cons. But this was Cheryl's graduation, not related to fandom at all, really. But it just ended up this way. And I kept wanted to tell aksident about the old days, and there's no way she can really understand the whole... thrill of the thing.
But it was a great day of memories of the good kind.