Thursday, June 07, 2007

Balticon Diary: Day One

There was more to do at Balticon than just stalk Larry Niven. With the help of the program guide, I have reconstructed my weekend immersed in the world of fellow science fiction geeks. To avoid boring you all at once, I am going to post my recap in three parts starting with:


9:30 I rouse my family out of bed at least two hours before their normal wake-up time. We grab some bagels and head up to Hunt Valley.

10:30 We get in line for pre-registration pick-up. My son was registered under his internet alias, but I don’t have the courage to go as yellojkt, so I’m there under my real name. I am wearing a Yellow Jacket tee shirt just in case. My son says he’ll be in the game room. My wife takes the car keys and heads off to the Talbot’s outlet store.


11:00 Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle give a joint interview. I ask a question about who comes up with the story ideas. They say they both do, but Jerry focuses on plot continuity and character development. Niven concentrates on the big “wow” ideas.

Balticon 1212:00 Time to cruise the dealer room for first editions to get signed. I had brought with me copies of The Ringworld Engineers and Footfall that I had bought second hand earlier. I find a copy of The Gripping Hand and a previously signed copy of The Smoke Ring. The book dealer has a $30 minimum for charges, so I pick up a paoerback of Draco’s Tavern, a Niven story collection I had never heard of.

12:30 I run into a girl in my son’s marching band. She shows off the artwork she has on display in the gallery. They are some small drawings of elves and furry-ish creatures that she is selling for five bucks each.

12:45 I try to check in at the hotel front desk, but they don’t have any rooms ready. I wander the halls checking out the costumes. Since Pirates of the Caribbean 33-1/3 opened the same weekend, lacey shirts, head scarves and eyepatches are very popular.


2:00 The musical guests of honor, Jeff and Maya Bohnhoff, give a concert. Their gimmick is that they do science fiction-y parodies of classic rock songs. “Hotel California” becomes “Hotel Dealer Room”. Their retelling of the Charlotte’s Web story to the tune of the Firefly/Serenity theme song kills.

3:15 The hotel room is finally ready. About the same time, my wife returns from her shopping spree. I help haul her booty up to the room. We leave a message for our son to come get a key. No response.

3:30 Jerry Pournelle gives his talk on inventing the future.

4:30 I go up to the room and munch on the snacks my wife got at the Amish market.

5:00 My son finally shows up to get is room key. He shows off the prize he got in the tournament for a game he has never played before. We all leave the con to take him to a graduation party a friend of his is throwing.

6:30 We show up at Claude’s pig roast, which both he and I have already blogged about.

9:00 The mosquitoes start coming out so we have to get my wife back indoors.

9:30 I check out the Masquerade costume competition but it’s standing room only and they are only on the kid’s costumes. My son calls and tells me his party is winding down so I go pick him up.

11:00 My son heads down to the game room. I head up to the room exhausted.

12:00 Our son calls to tell us the game he is playing is running late. I tell him to come up as soon as the game is over. I fall asleep.

1:30 My son comes up to the room and goes to bed. I sleep through all the change rattling and bedtime routines because I am exhausted. I had no idea how long my day tomorrow would be.

Tomorrow: The big day at the con including a little domestic drama.


Mooselet said...

Ooooo drama! Can't wait.

Elizabeth said...

Sounds like a busy day! Can't wait for tomorrow's drama!!