one day, i'm gonna grow wings
Anne and I are having our house appraised later this week, so we're working to clean things up, and plant areas of the yard that we've left alone for almost a year . . . I remember how great I felt when we finished our lawn almost a year ago, and the picking out and planting all sorts of plants today was just as good.
I love it that Anne and I do these things together, for each other. It's corny, but I love being married to her more and more each day. I really believe that there's nothing we can't face together . . . and kick squarely in the nuts!
Thanks to her, we had an insanely productive holiday weekend, even though I was at LosCon on Friday and Saturday. The house looks incredible, and the yard is beautiful. I can't wait to clean out and reorganize our garage!
Here's a brief LosCon recap. It's not the best written thing in the world, but I want to put the information down while it's fresh in my mind. I'll make this better some other time.
Overall, I had a very good time. The LosCon is not like the shows I'm used to attending. There isn't much in the way of organized "entertainment" (like my sketch shows) or "actor talks" (like you see at a Creation show, for example.) This con is more oriented to Science Fiction in its purest and oldest form: books. The people who come to LosCon (even the *shudder* furries) are there to celebrate people like Niven, Pournelle, Heinlein, Ellison, and Herbert. The con features several panels, most of which are incredibly informative and worthwhile. I was on three of them.
Let's break it down into Friday and Saturday, mmmkay?
First Panel - eBooks.
This panel was quite fun. I was about to be elected "moderator," until I told them all that if I was moderating, we were just going to play cards. It was an informative and entertaining 75 minutes, where we talked about eBooks and Print on Demand as publishing alternatives for hopeful writers. I talked a lot about MonolithPress, and shared my reasons for not choosing eBooks or POD. I was surprised at the turnout, too. There were about 11 people in the very small room, which was set up for about 20.
Event - Reading from Dancing Barefoot and Just A Geek.
This was the single greatest dissapointment of the entire show, and probably one of the greatest dissappointments of the entire year for me, because only 15 people turned out to hear me . . . and 7 of them were my family. I felt rejected, humiliated, and embarrassed.
I asked Anne to bring the kids out to watch me, and it was just awful to stand in a room built for over 100, and face them with no crowd.
"Where is everybody?" Nolan asked.
Out of the mouths of babes.
"Somewhere else," I said.
"Why?" he said.
"I don't know, kiddo," I said, with a brave smile.
"Break a leg," he said, as I walked up to the stage.
I struggled to put aside my personal feelings of rejection and give a good reading for the people who did show up, but my first three selections just sucked. All I wanted to do was cry. I was so let down, it was a real challenge to keep my focus. I just felt stupid standing on a huge stage, in a cavernous room, listening to my voice echo off the walls.
By the end, though, I read the WFS story, and I felt good about it.
When I finished, I bid my family farewell (hard though it was to face them) and headed to my next panel, which was about Linux. I wandered all over the convention center, until I betrayed all men in the world and asked for directions to the room. Turns out the room was in another building.
Panel 2 - Something about Linux
I was 10 minutes late when I walked into a room that was packed with about 75 people. It was hot, and smelled like a room packed with about 75 people. Many of them were shouting at each other.
I'm going to write a whole article about what a fiasco this panel was, so I'll just give this summary: it was a live version of a totally unmoderated UseNet flamewar, complete with trolls. My hope was that the non-Linux users (about 20% of the audience) would leave excited and curious about Linux. I told them in my introductory remarks that they'd want to race home and grab Knoppix right away. Instead, they (and I) left that room just wanting to get the hell out of there, and away from the zealots. If it had been my first exposure to the Linux Community, I would never have left Microsoft. It was the most frustrating panel I've ever been on in my life.
Evening Event: Hour 25 Talk Show
By 9pm, I was exhausted, but I was excited to be a guest on the Hour 25 talk show. I did Hour 25 way back in the late 80s when it was on KPFK and hosted by Joe Stracyzinski.
The same ballroom that was empty for my reading earlier in the day was packed to the walls. There was an excitement in the air, and it really felt like we were about to participate in something special.
Armin Shimmerman was interviewed before me, and held the stage in the palm of his hand. He was funny, insightful, and informative. His /. karma would have been excellent!
When Armin was done, it was my turn. I walked up on the stage, and stood behind the mic.
"Well, Wil," the host began, "looking at you right now, I just have to ask . . ."
He paused and looked at me.
"Have you saved any ships this week?"
Oh. This is just fucking perfect. was my first thought.
I'm so glad things have changed since I was last here, on the "Solving the Wesley Problem" panel 15 years ago. was my second.
Dude, you don't need this shit. Just walk away. was the third.
I hope the anger in my veins didn't make it into my voice. I don't think the host intended to embarrass me or make fun of me, but that's how I felt.
I tried to laugh it off, but I spent the next ten minutes trying not to be defensive. You can listen here for yourself and make up your own minds. I come on around the 19 minute mark, I think.
When I finally got home, it was after midnight, and it took me until well after two to fall asleep.
Saturday was much, much better than Friday. I got there at 10 for an autograph session, and over the next couple of hours, I completely sold out the remaining copies of Dancing Barefoot. I did set aside a couple, and I'll eBay them next week, for anyone who wants to get one for Xmas.)
Panel 1 - Breaking Into Print
My only panel of the day was a total blast. I thought I would talk about how a hopeful author can self-publish their book, but I was with three insanely talented and experienced authors, so I just ended up asking them all sorts of questions about how I can be a better fiction writer. I learned so much, I don't even know where to begin. When I get some time, I will take my notes and turn them into a column here. I'll do my best to share what I learned with WWdN readers.
When that panel ended, so did the Con for me. I made it home in record time, and went out to dinner with my wife.
If you're a fan of SF and Fantasy, and not a collector, I highly recommend LosCon. The people who organize it want you to have a good time, meet people of a like mind, and have fun for a weekend. The panels are simply amazing, and the guests are all fans too, so they hang out in the lobbies and hallways, so it's really easy to get some one on one time with an author you have admired for years.
For example, it would have been very easy for me to stop Larry Niven and drive him crazy with Ringworld and N*Space questions, if I hadn't chickened out.
I will certainly go back again, but instead of attending as That Guy From Star Trek, I think I'll attend next year as just a geek.