skjam: Ghost cat in a fez (fez)
I had a great time, and my con report is up at my blog!


Apr. 16th, 2012 07:33 pm
skjam: Man in blue suit and fedora, wearing an eyeless mask emblazoned with the scales of justice (Default)
So, I should probably say a bit about Minicon while I still have some memory of it.

It's hard to think of a bigger contrast to Anime Detour that still resembles a convention. From circa five thousand attendees to less than five hundred. And since the Doubletree started remodeling the second Detour was over, almost the entirety of Minicon was squeezed into the Plaza Tower. I am deeply impressed by the work of both the concom and the Doubletree staff to get everything set up and working properly in the very short time they had.

I am happy to report that despite my room being on "the party floor" a combination of good manners on the part of attendees and decent soundproofing allowed me to get a full night's sleep.

I thought the panels I was on went well, and enjoyed most of the ones I went to. (I was kind of groggy during the "funny stories about computer history" panel, so missed many of the jokes.)

Got a nice affordable piece of art by one of the guests of honor--safe for work, too!

Looking forward to seeing the remodeled Doubletree in July, though I alas will be sleeping in the Crowne Plaza, so once again no late night parties for me.
skjam: (Communications)
Minicon is this weekend, and I've just heard back on my panel requests. I'm on three panels, all on Saturday.

SAT 11:30 AM Krushenko's - Atrium 7
Believable Antagonists
What makes a good antagonist? What makes an antagonist believable? Why does Gaius Baltar on Battlestar Galactica work better than Anakin Skywalker in Episode III? Is the antagonist more about motivations, or contrast with the protagonist?

(This one has lots of name authors on it, including Will Shetterly and Lois McMaster Bujold, so I don't think I'll need to say very much.)

SAT 2:30 PM Atrium 3
Let Me Tell You About My Character!
What gaming conversations make you want to flee in terror? Why are these conversations so fascinating to the storyteller, and so horribly boring for the listener? What is unique about RPGs that cause this phenomenon?

(I'll likely have quite a bit more to say here.)

SAT 4:00 PM Bloomington
Fanfic: Playing in Someone Else's Sandbox
Fanfiction isn't new, though the internet has made it much more accessible in the last two decades. Where is it growing? What is there to know about the explosion of fanfiction? How can we find fanfiction that we
like? How can we find communities to help us develop our work? How do fanfic authors critique each other's writing?

(And this one is near and dear to my heart.)

Hope to see some of you there!
skjam: Man in blue suit and fedora, wearing an eyeless mask emblazoned with the scales of justice (Default)
(A Jack LaLane Memorial Mix CD)

As organized by [personal profile] barondave, the "Jack LaLane Memorial Mix Exchange" is songs that are about exercise, make you want to exercise, or are good to exercise to. I decided to go with mostly fast dance numbers, with a couple of breather tracks.

1. "Ready Steady Go"--L'Arc En Ciel (The opening theme to the first Fullmetal Alchemist anime)
2. "Bell Hop"--John Shakespeare (busy day at the hotel)
3. "Wapiko's Weather Forecast!"--Yoko Ishida (A "parapara" (dancing game) remix--"Fair and sunny tomorrow!")
4. "Bellydance"--Saad (The most generic bellydancing tune ever.)
5. "Unequaled boisterous dance, the sky is too small"--Read Or Die Original Soundtrack (Our heroine battles a flying machine man.)
6. "Blinkandyou'llmissit!"--Bo Pepper (The young lady has no time to waste.)
7. "Scatter the Mud"--The Irish Experience (Irish dancing music, natch.)
8. "Blow the Man Down"--Johnny Collins (classic sea shanty, steady as she goes.)
9. "The Scarlet & Gray Rag"--The Tailgate Dixieland Band (Ohio State University-based tune.)
10. "Boosters On"--Kaoru Wada (The spaceship prepares to launch.)
11. "Get Rhythm"--Johnny Cash (Toe-tapping fun.)
12. "Round & Round Hitler's Grave"--The Almanac Singers (World War Two hit, obviously.)
13. "Bounce-o-Rama (Speed-Up Ver.)"--Kingdom Hearts II Soundtrack (videogame music meets Tigger.)
14. "Popcorn"--Hot Butter (This one ought to bring back some memories.)
15. "Buckeye Battle Cry (2003)--The OSU Marching Band (Fight! Fight! Win!)
16. "Pep Vim and Verve"--Jeff Vince and Andrew Paley (from the "Dick Tracy" movie soundtrack.)
17. "Bumbo"--Moondog (Jungle-themed tune.)
18. "Patriotic Diggers"--John Allison (Ditchdigging is exercise too.)
19. "Happy Feet"--Paul Whiteman (But tapdancing is more fun.)
20. "Captain Jack"--Captain Jack (This one will seem familiar to veterans.)
21. "Kung Fu Fighting"--Girls on Top (I pretty much guarantee you've seldom heard this version of the song.)
22. "Chocobo Will Walk, No Matter How Far"--Final Fantasy Unlimited Soundtrack (The animated TV series...not all that good, but hey, chocobos!)
23. "Kol haKavod"--Yehoram Gaon (Israeli dance music.)
24. "Cuyashca"--Ruminahui (South American dance music. Love me some panflute.)
25. "Jungle Dance"--Max Steiner (From the "King Kong" soundtrack.)
26. "Dance Away"--Annie Livingston (From the "Project A-ko" soundtrack.)
27. "Flashdance: What a Feeling"--London Ensemble and Soloists (A movie about people prancing about in legwarmers? Sounds like exercise to me.)
28. "I Love to Walk"--Alf Clausen (Homer Simpson on the benefits of exercise.)
29. "Haul Away Joe"--Bramblebush (Another sea shanty.)
30. "We Kept On Dancing"--Nate Bucklin (And in conclusion, everybody dance!)

I'll be at Minicon--the most likely place to catch me is at my two panels: "What Happens After the Cure?" Saturday at 11:30 AM, and "Recommend an RPG For Me" Saturday at 7:00 PM.

But I should at some point drop in at the various parties. If you haven't been participating in this exchange, see me about other mixes you could trade.

Minicon 45

Apr. 4th, 2010 07:00 pm
skjam: Man in blue suit and fedora, wearing an eyeless mask emblazoned with the scales of justice (Default)
Yes, it was Easter weekend, and time for my annual trip to Minicon. Once again it was held at the Sheraton Bloomington, even though to be honest it could fit in a much much smaller hotel. (450 memberships, of whom 430 actually showed up for at least a little while.)

The Sheraton had a couple of new twists to their service this year; one was the option of not having housekeeping clean your room for the day--for which you could get a $5 discount in the hotel restaurant (or extra points on the frequent stayers' club.) You can bet I took advantage of this. The other was a new entertainment lounge for guests, where you could have up to 90 minutes a day of free internet access per room. (More if you brought your own computer.)

I would like them to bring back the airport shuttle though, that was more immediately helpful.

The good thing about small conventions is breathing space--you can actually talk to someone without having to squeeze against the wall to let an endless stream of people get by...or ignore those people as you block the hall. Plus the chance that you'll actually run into the guests outside of formal panels or signings--and not be competing with a score of other people who also need to speak to that person right now.

As I think I mentioned before, this year's Author GoH was Brandon Sanderson, the fellow who's been tapped to finish the Wheel of Time series. Apparently, the second of three books is on its final draft and may be out by the end of the year. He also brought along his editor, and the artist GoH was Dan Dos Santos, who among other things did the cover to Mr. Sanderson's "Warbreaker" book. Lots of previous guests also came back (Minicon is small, but welcoming), including Ben Bova and Baron Dave Romm (who brought along his mother for her first ever SF con...she seemed to be having a ball, and learning a lot.)

So, panels I attended: The Snob in Every Fan (what parts of fandom do fans look down on as even more pathetic than their own?), Opening Ceremonies (always a treat), Recursiveness in Science Fiction that's About Recursiveness (stories about stories, stories that eat their own tails, stories about the process of writing a story....), Who Wants to Live Forever? (The up sides and down sides of immortality, and the comparative virtues of the different ways to achieve it), The Editors' Panel (Ben Bova said he owed his editorial career to the tobacco industry, as John Campbell smoked himself to death), Avatar-Cinema Event of the Year or Festival of Plagarism? (Yes), Do I Know Enough Science to Write Science Fiction? (Maybe, but research and fact-checking are key), Playing the God Card (Not about Yu-Gi-Oh! but about the hazards and challenges of using gods in your stories), How Brandon Got the Gig: Finishing the Wheel of Time (short version: Robert Jordan's widow really liked his writing.)

I saw bits of "Thunderbirds are Go!" and "Robinson Crusoe on Mars" in the film room--it will probably be in a smaller space next year as it tends to be lightly attended.

And yes, there was a huckster's room/artshow/science room. (The convention is small enough that all three and puzzle tables could fit in one large room.) I...picked up a few things, some of which will be surprises for the appropriate people.

I left early, as with no shuttle I could not rely on the bus to arrive in time to get me to the transfer point, and I walked from the Sheraton to Fuddrucker's. Lovely day for a walk, but I'm getting too feeble for long marches. (And sure enough, after I made it to the transfer point, the suburban bus showed up, I would only have had to wait an hour.)

Time to go

Apr. 2nd, 2010 10:46 am
skjam: Man in blue suit and fedora, wearing an eyeless mask emblazoned with the scales of justice (Default)
It's off to Minicon, where I hope to see a few of you! Though as little sleep as I've been getting lately, I may be using my room more than usual to catch up.

Some of the rest of you are going to see me at Anime Detour at the other end of April, or at Convergence in July.



skjam: Man in blue suit and fedora, wearing an eyeless mask emblazoned with the scales of justice (Default)

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