Bill Roper (billroper) wrote,
Bill Roper

WindyCon Report

Ok, the boss has gone back to Stamford and things have generally quieted down enough that I can think about writing this up.

Now, you have to understand that my official title for WindyCon started out as "Secretary". Later, we added "Publications". Even so, I should -- in theory -- have had a pretty relaxed time at the con. Not exactly.

The Thursday night banquet went quite well as Gretchen and I ended up at a table including Mark Osier and Nate and Louie Bucklin. It was a nice conversation and a generally good time. We headed over to the Con Suite briefly, munched on some of the sweets that Gretchen had picked up from Jarosch Bakery, and then headed down to the Orly Room, where we had a nice little filk with Mark, Nate, and Louie. We had to call it an early night, though, since we knew there'd be plenty to do the next day.

I was wired and had some trouble getting to sleep, so I didn't get up until fairly late. Gretchen, who was on the Special Events staff, was up earlier and left me to get cleaned up while she went out to get the helium tanks from Party City. Unfortunately, they were closed due to a water main break. Oops. So she came back and we got some lunch. We wouldn't need the helium until Saturday anyway.

After lunch, we piled everything into the van and sent Gretchen on another round of errands on her way to the hotel, while I stayed behind and cleaned up things like the agenda for the ISFiC meeting on Sunday (I'm the current president) and got the Kevin and Kell sketch for Opening Ceremonies down on paper and approved by Marnie, who was in charge of Special Events. I printed all of that out and eventually headed for the hotel, where Gretchen had already unloaded the van into the Dealers' Room.

Did I mention that we no longer fit well onto two six-foot tables even with the new bigger CD display rack? We don't. But I eventually got the CDs and tapes arranged and headed off to the room to change for Opening Ceremonies. On the way back, I stopped by Registration, where they kindly made up badges for Kevin and Kell Dewclaw which I passed off to Marnie without Bonnie knowing about it. (Got to have a few surprises for the Chair, right?) Then I went into the back of the house with Bonnie, Marnie, and Jill. Jill had made a fine set of rabbit ears and tail for me; a set of wolf ears, snout, and tail for Bonnie. The combination made us a pretty recognizable Kevin and Kell.

Unfortunately, Bonnie's voice was headed south due to the cold that has passed from me, to Gretchen, to Sam, and now to Bonnie. But she was audible with the help of the microphone and the sketch came off nicely. Bill Holbrook really enjoyed it, which was wonderful to see, since we've all enjoyed his work for so long. Bonnie as Kell -- our ChairWolf -- proceeded to introduce Esther Friesner, our Toastmistress, and a good time was had by all.

Bonnie got up after the speechifying and was trying to say a few words and it was fairly obvious to me that she needed something to drink. I remembered that she'd left a bottle of tea on the opposite side of the stage, so I -- quick like a bunny -- ran over and grabbed it (and the two ISFiC Press books that we'd need later) and stuck it on the podium for her to drink from.

Shortly thereafter, Bonnie was giving out pillows to our guests. I was helping her get them out of the bags when Jim Rittenhouse called out the color of the pillow he wanted. In one of those moments where you decide that something is just going to work, I grabbed the pillow and made a perfect toss from one end of the stage to the other, landing cleanly in Jim's arms.

Of course, having had one such success, I wasn't going to push my luck by trying it again.

Bonnie turned the podium over to me -- Kevin, that is -- to make the final announcements, since I had more voice than she did. Then I headed backstage and changed out of Kevin and into my sport coat for "Let's Make a Deal". Gretchen and Jill were busily arming the games backstage, while I did the Monty Hall routine and directed the contestants while Marnie played the role of the lovely Carol Merrill. It went quite well with one of our contestants winning a brand new (toy) car in the final round and another winning the Big Deal of the Day, two room nights.

After that, I headed up to the ISFiC Press release party for Harry Turtledove and Jeff Duntemann's new books, Every Inch a King and The Cunning Blood respectively. We sold a goodly number of books, which will help out the cash flow. After we cleared everyone out, I discovered that we had no trash bags, so I grabbed some from the Con Suite, ran them back upstairs, and we policed the suite to a point where the maids wouldn't have a heart attack. Of course, I still hadn't had dinner. I found Mike, Marnie, and Jill in the Con Suite and they joined me on an entertaining excursion to Steak and Shake. After that, it was time to go to bed, which I did.

The next day, Gretchen ran out to get the helium tanks and -- the nearby Party City still being closed -- had to run all the way out to Arlington Heights to get them. She brought back lunch, then headed off for the Phandemonium meeting, which didn't break up until 2 PM. (Anybody want to chair Capricon in 2008?) In the interim, I ducked out for a few minutes to help Dave Ifversen set up the sound system for the filk concerts in the lobby. The main problem was that he needed to wire in the ADAT so he could record Mark Osier's concert, since Mark wanted some live tracks for a possible future project. But that wasn't too hard to solve.

When Gretchen returned, having been out all morning, she let me run off and take a look at the Art Show -- which looked much better without the separate Print Shop carved out of the space -- and where I bid on and eventually won one of Bill Holbrook's Kevin and Kell pieces. In the meantime, Gretchen and Marnie continued to assemble gliders for the dance.

Late in the afternoon, Marnie discovered that there were no cable ties left to erect the grid with. When she tried to get Logistics to get some, she was told that no one was available to do it. This was bad, since we were planning on using grid to wall off the backstage area for the Masqueraders. I talked to John Donat and found that his wife, Michelle, was offsite and heading back our way, so we asked her to stop at Home Depot and pick up the industrial-size pack of cable ties, which she was good enough to do. Unfortunately, we didn't get them until a bit after 6:30 PM, but beggars can't be choosers. Gretchen and I had grabbed dinner in the lobby restaurant with Erica (actually, it turned out that Erica had ordered pizza at the filk pizza party, so she just sat and chatted), so when the cable ties showed, I was able to head down and help the others put up the gridwall and cover it with the curtains that Gretchen had made, binder clipped to the top. The Masqueraders were impressed with how easily it went up.

We then discovered that the portable CD players that were wired into the sound system wouldn't play a CD-R. Oops again. But I knew the Sony Walkman in the dealer kit would, so I ran to the room, grabbed it, and brought it back down. Sadly, no one remembered who it belonged to, so I had to fetch it from the Lost and Found in Ops on Sunday, but at least it made it to a useful place.

I went back to the room and changed for the Art Auction. Bob, Guido, Mike Blake, and I were the auctioneers and things were suitably silly. Erica volunteered to run art, having substantial experience with the Interfilk auctions. Mind you, our running is a bit more sedate than you generally see at an Interfilk auction...

Dr. Bob is of the opinion that the Quick Sale in the Art Show substantially cut down the number of pieces -- and the interest! -- in the auction. This is possible, so we'll want to put him together with Kerry, who runs the Art Show, to discuss this before next year.

After the auction, I went up and changed into something that I could actually play guitar in (as did Erica). I ducked over to see how the dance looked -- the alternate history WWII USO dance with posters and gliders attached to balloons was quite impressive once the balloons were untangled -- and headed off to the filk. My voice still hadn't really recovered from this damned cold -- maybe by Chambanacon! -- but I managed to get through the four songs that I sang in reasonable form, despite being really, really scratchy. *sigh* Erica only managed to get a couple of songs in, as the filk was being moderately aggressive. But a lot of interesting songs were sung and a good time was had. I folded up about 2 AM, around the same time that Nate, Louie, Tom, and Erica did.

And I got back to the room and discovered that my key didn't work. I knocked on the door until Gretchen staggered out of bed. She gave me her key -- which still worked, at least -- and I went down to the lobby and had the keys reprogrammed. There was someone at the desk trying to argue -- I think -- that he should get a room at a reduced rate since it was already 2 AM. The desk clerk was being unimpressed by this line of attack, which didn't surprise me. Despite its occasional faults, I never thought of the Wyndham as renting rooms by the hour.

The next morning, Gretchen and I got up and got checked out of the room. We'd made arrangements to meet with Erica for lunch, so she rode shotgun with me to Wendy's, where we grabbed food for the crew, and headed back to the Dealers' Room. I wolfed down my sandwich, then took my chili to the ISFiC Board meeting, leaving Gretchen to chat with Erica. Nothing too remarkable happened, although I did have to get on the cellphone and ask Bonnie to come to the meeting so we could hold the elections. Bonnie was feeling really pretty punk by then and Dr. Bob had told her she shouldn't do anything she didn't want to do, which apparently included the meeting. :)

After the meeting, Sam wanted to take Bonnie home, but I encouraged him to let her sit through the SFWA Musketeers and then do her thing at Closing Ceremonies. As I explained to Sam the next day, if Bonnie was sick for an extra day as a result, she wouldn't remember that five years from now, but she would remember that she missed her own Closing Ceremonies. And Bonnie really did want to stay.

I went to Erica's concert, arriving just after it started. The attendance was excellent for Sunday afternoon -- I counted 19 people there -- and Erica gave good concert, impressing several of the folks who hadn't heard her before the previous evening. Then I went to Closing Ceremonies, which came off just fine, as Bonnie croaked her thanks into the microphone, and Marnie handled her bit of the festivities. After that, Sam tossed Bonnie over his shoulder and carried her off. Literally.

Back to the Dealers' Room, where Gretchen and I packed up and loaded everything into the van. Then we went home, dropped off the van, and headed out to Smokey Bones for dinner.

Sooner or later, we're going to have to unpack the van.
Tags: cons, musings

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