Sunday, October 24, 2010

I got a job. Or it got me, I'm not sure which.

2 notes first, I've done an interview with 'The Genre Traveler" over the phone, and it went really well. Y'all will have to wait until around valentines day before it 'airs' as a podcast. And y'know those VCON posts I just wrapped up? They're going to be in the next issue of BCSFAzine, a lil local magazine dealing with.. well, SF. And A. In BC. I don't know if they'll be using the entirety of my posts, or just cherry pick this and that, but the next issue in the middle of being edited.

So.. My job. I had considered my main job to be 'daddy' with a side of 'author', but my wife's work lost their 'office manager'. A call went out. And I ignored it. And the posting sat, unanswered. It's only eight hours a week, so people looking to pay rent with a job might not be too interested.

On the last day of the official listing, there were no applicants. So, when a desperate cry for a nerd is heard, there's (literally) only one man for the job!... And yet, due to the need to have the right paperwork, I still had to apply properly.

I need a what..? a res-oo-may? Man, I haven't seen one of those in nearly a decade! As I was facing the blank page, I recalled many a TV show where a stay at home mom re-enters the workplace. Oh, it wasn't that bad, I have a decent skillset, especially in contras to what they needed to be done. The employment history section was a little spotty looking, between self-employed contracts, and 3 bosses from separate wage jobs MIA... Two of whom could very well be in jail, for all I know.

"2001-present: wheelchair operator"
"2007-2008: Diaper changer"
"2007-present: Going insane on a steadily increasing rate."

Yeah, my resume was kind of an unorganized mess, as was my references sheet, but like I said, it was mostly to appease the paperwork gods. The interview, as per regulation, was conducted by multiple interviewees. Know what? Now giving a crap if you get the job makes the interview a lot easier. No stress. well, luckily, I had good answers, too. And I already knew a lot out the outfit, since I've been married to one of their staff for quite a while.

So bam, I'm working 2 days a week, 4 hours at a time. I do a tiny sliver of highly important data entry, I lick the occasional envelope, and attack the odd IT issue. Ooh, and graphical stuff. So far, it's pretty easy, other than having to ask where things are, and getting trapped inside the lobby after leaving a little later than she with the keys. Do I need keys? I hope not.

So I have the exalted title of OFFICE MANAGER now. And the other staff consist of 3 women. I will soon be installing an intercom into my office door, then I will only talk to them though this intercom, and they must call me Charlie.

OOH also.... Have I mentioned the new book? I may have mumbled a bit.. I'm setting up the scenario, naming characters, deciding on a working title.. and.. before I have that all nailed down... Y'all gonna have to wait! For those I have mentioned my ideas to, yes, the Bleeder appears to have won the contest of what idea I'll write next.

Monday, October 18, 2010

VCON 35, 2010- Sunday, Endgame

This was the shortest day in the vendor room. It was busier than friday, but after saturday, it felt darn near serene. As I predicted, several 'orbiters' finally made a purchase, and I had to part with the promised poster of Alisia.

I actually parted with most of my posters during the weekend, but hey.. it gives me an excuse to restock. I later even sold my 2 fancy display banners. Go figure.

And along came Gabe. He had come for his prize, his destiny.... he slapped down $7.26. The UN had not stepped forward, so I let the world's first combat spatula go to Gabe...!

All hail the hero!
I gave him $1.26 back, because I was trying to go the whole weekend withing dealing with coins. I would have just let him have it free, but I didn't want to set a precedent of giving away my kitchen ware.

As the day was coming to a close, I started wrapping up my table, since it had been ransacked anyway. BUT! I had two books in an odd place.. someone had paid for two books, and set them down to chat. She had a lot to carry around, and probably assumed she had the books in a bag when she left. THANKFULLY, I had signed them with her name in them.. only her first name. So I was set on a quest with a first name and a general description. Long story short, about a week later, she came to my house with her hubby to pick them up, and they brought me a fancy cutting board. Ok, that sounds kinda lame, but it's really awesome, made of a bunch of different wood, and I think I'd rather frame it than cut meat on it.

Anyway, while I was hunting clues, I was on the other side of the vendor room, when I see a familiar sight.. my wife! And I heard a familiar sound- my little girl! The top of a little head bobbing along the other side of a row of tables, armed with instructions from my wife on how to get to me. She made it around the corner, grinned madly, and pointed. "I FOUND DADDY!"

I held out my arms, expecting a hug, but no! She had to go back around the tables to report to mommy. "Mommy! I found daddy!"

Vendors around me had a laugh, and said things like "So we finally meet your little one!" I didn't think I was talking about her throughout the weekend, but apparently I had been. By the time I got back to my table, my wife had gotten pretty far in the wrap up of my table. She was in a little bit of a rush, and on the way out, I was snagged by one ms. Heather Dale. She wanted to swap one of her CDs for one of my books. I said yes to be polite, and was generally in a rush. Celtic style songs aren't generally my kind of thing, but when I finally got to listen to it, it was really neat stuff to counterbalance the harder stuff I often listen to. In fact, it's still in my CD drive.

Well, that was VCON35.It was a blast, and worth every minute, even the lowpoints were worth it. even freezing my @$$ off at the mercy of an insane air conditioner.

Next year? Yeah, I'll be there.. but I'm really serious, serious, even more serious than last time... Don't expect me to have another new book ready by then! But stay tuned to hear about what's coming down the pipe...

PS: google up Sandra Wickham. She didn't need to share wine, she was smuggling a 6-pack! She was definitely serious about the modeling thing...!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

VCON 35, 2010- Saturday, part 3- SFCanada party and VCON dance party

After getting some directions, I found my way to the SFCanada party that I was now nearly a year and half an hour late for. It was held in someones private room, and it was pretty packed. I got in far enough to get an alright look around; to see what was going on, and that was about it. The ages were varied, but at 34, I was the kid in the room. No biggie, I know how to talk to growed-ups.

Topics wandered all over, but I had a really deep talk with.. oh frig, I forget her name now. Her son had taken his life in the last year, and I told the tale of Cheryl N, to whom Watching Yute was dedicated. At one point she told me that I reminded her of her son's friend, by my way of talking and my facial expressions. That entire talk was the most memorable part of the party for me.

2nd place went to a singing performance by an actor/writer who had been in a stage production of... Beauty and the Beast? erk.. probably not. It was a humorously sexist wedding proposal song. The whole room was impressed and amused. He had used a version of the song to propose many a year ago, and this night's performance was (if I heard right) and anniversary demand from his wife.

A lady I'd not met before (Sandra Wickham) was modeling her new bustier nearby, talking about how she could manage to work it into an everyday outfit. It was plenty sharp. I jumped in, (not into her bustier, you pervs) and gave my two cents.

I knew she was going for an every day usage, but told her that a character I was working on might wear such a thing as a phony gypsy fortune teller. I went on to describe the tall neckline collar as I gestured to her neck, then down to her legs as I went on about a long, flowing, layered, latticed skirt. She said she could model for some illustrations some time. Haha. Ha?

Conversation wandered into the pets department, someone had a little dog with them, and while I'm happy to gibber on about pets... well, I was getting worn down in general. I excused myself, saying I was going to peek in on the nearby dance before heading to bed.

I got into the hallway, and could hear the faint pounding of the music. Heh. Yeah, I gotta go have a peek. At the doorway, I saw a mixture of 50/50 wallflower types, and dancers.

Dang. Now I felt old. I mean, even before I was in the wheelchair, I wasn't into clubbing and such, citing that I liked to be able to hold a conversation, but the energy was infectious. Fine. I rolled in, and wandered around a bit. Who was on the far end of the dance floor, but Professor Whovianart. And he was RIPPING IT UP.

He wasn't one of the kiddies dancing, he had no partner, probably as he would put any partner to shame, or into the hospital. He slowed down for a moment, and I thought he was tired. No, he was just following the music. There wasn't any playing at that moment, and after he wiped sweat out of his eyes and the music started to catch up to him, he was speeding up again. He later told me that he was only dancing at a '5', due to bits of his costume/outfit he was still wearing. Otherwise, he would be going at '8'. '10' was for days gone by when he was a 'mascot' for sorts for a band that called him the blur. He was a machine, interesting enough to watch that I didn't do any girlwatching, for which there was ample opportunity on the dance floor.

But not interesting enough to hold me so long that the call of bed didn't drag me away. I got out the door, still kind of hooked by the music. To be honest, it wasn't that amazing, but an OK bass line is an OK bass line.

I lingered by a fellow who I think was a casual sort of security presence, and his gorgeous husky, Jade. How gorgeous was Jade? Gorgeous enough that within 5 minutes, 2 other people passing by stopped to say that she was Gorgeous. No one complained when a well endowed lady with a low cut top bend over to give Jade some attention. When SHE left, I think I heard someone recovering from a slight aneurysm.

Cleavage and huskies aside, I was headed to bed.

Wait, no, here's Sandra Wickham coming my way with her husband in tow, and a bottle of wine in hand. She asked me if I was going in.
"No, actually, I was headed to b..." ugh.. know what? I went to the effort of getting a room for this VCON SPECIFICALLY so I could spend extra time at non-vendor events. This time last year, I was suffering on a bus. Suck it up, go hand out by the amp.

I refused a glass of wine, but a song came on that got to me. I think it was Firestarter.No, no, no. Not that one. The prodigy one.Thank you. And yes, it's an old, overplayed song, but it hasn't been played recently, and not with that much bass. Head a bobbin', I nudged Sandra, and nodded at the wine bottle. She raised an eyebrow, and I silently mouthed (as words would be lost to the music) "I think I'm ready. Half though."

With the lack of food and sleep since yesterday morning, and me operating on taurine, she may as well have unscrewed my skull and poured the wine directly on my brain. I was a certain degree of drunk very, very quickly.No, no, no, no. Not as bad as that guy. but I wasn't feeling any pain anymore. For all the painkillers available out there, a wee touch of alcohol has always proven to be the most effective. I'm a lightweight to begin with, I don't drink often. When I do, (My official drinking day is my friends' Halloween party,) I do it RIGHT. That said... I don't plan to have much at this year's party. Meh.

Mrs. Sandra Wickham mentioned modeling again... hm. I didn't think much of it.

Eventually, the music stopped, and people were disassembling the dance floor, stacking the pieces on a couple racks. Frig, what time was it? I think it was a hint to piss off! On the way out, the good Professor joined the conversation.

Lemmie tell ya bout him. His persona is inspired by Dr. Who and a number of other sources, and in a way, is rather manufactured.. but at the same time, so natural. It's hard to tell where the character ends, and ****** ****** begins. Yes, I know his real name, but I dare not utter it, lest he evaporate into smoke!

I made the journey back to my hotel, (stopping to chat with the DJ and some of his ilk outside) with my shoulder spikes on still. The night before, I'd left them in the vendor room. I got another bag of chips and a chocolate bar, having last ate in the morning. I wasn't hungry, but I feared by body going into revolt. Thankfully, my room was neither hot, not cold. I gave my worry-wart mother a single ring on her phone, did what else needed to be done,and passed out.

In the bed. Not like the picture above. For the record, that was just a pic I got from google. No one at VCON was that wasted. As far as I knew.

Next post: Dealer room finale, and the fulfilling of the prophecy of Gabe!

VCON 35, 2010- Saturday, part 2- Game room and Cosplayers

As the vendor's hours were wrapping up, Gabe (you know, Gabe, young man seeking his destiny; A quest, an epic quest) and his brother Donn (young man not necessarily seeking any destiny that I knew of) asked if I was going to the gaming room. I DID kind of plan on checking it out, and I had a bit for time before I was expected elsewhere, so ... why not.

Besides.. Donn looked like the type whom one might not like when he became angry.
Or something. I never asked what he was going for with his outfit, and I never asked, hoping that I would clue in on my own eventually. At any rate, once the vendor room was all 'tied down', I headed over, a few doors down.

I used to be pretty heavy into pen&paper RPGs, but I really only ever played a system I made, and to a lesser degree, D&D 2nd edition. I BOUGHT 3rd edition mostly to see what was different, and to gawk at the pretty, pretty pictures. Alas, I don't think anyone plays 2nd edition anymore, and I didn't have time to get into any hardcore questing anyway. The best sessions take at least eight hours, right?

Conveniently, the game that Gabe and Donn had in mind was ... oh frig, I forget, and google isn't helping me.. "Yes my dark lord" or something.. Everyone is a lowly goblin, and the game master is the chief goblin. The game begins as something has been found to have gone wrong. No one knows who's fault it is, and it's the players duty to blame any other player by making up stores based on the clue cards you get. If you're doing a bad job, or speak out of turn or something.. the GM gives you a ... I think it was called a 'disdainful glower' card. If you get three of these cards, you're toast.

Confused? We were too, it was the first time for all of us. Without full understanding, we lept in and began. Soon Gabe and I were blaming each other for all kinds of things, from being a secret evil sorcerer, and screaming like a little girl as our hot air balloon was going down. I have no idea what the original problem was. It was fun. I lost. I'm not even sure how anymore, it didn't matter. I didn't have time for another game, but that didn't stop me from jabbering on anyway.

Yeah, next up was the SFCanada meeting/party in the other building. by now, my sleep deprivation and taurine-based metabolism had me in a pretty silly condition. I think this was when I ran into a handful of random people outside, and being slowed by a crossing car, ended up talking for ten or so minutes about nothing.

Did I mention I was already late? I was invited to this party last year, and couldn't go due to having to commute home after the book launch event. So I was now one year and twenty minutes late. Bear in mind, gentle reader, my memory is akin to a goldfish swimming in beer, so I may have messed up the order of some events.

I got into the other building, on the floor of the SFCanada meeting. Here, I encountered several cosplayers. I think. Know what? Let's take this opportunity to mention some of the cosplayers.

Earlier in the vendor room, I spotted one miss Amelia Pond:

I should have gotten her to pose next to Professor Whovianart. Alas, hindsight. For those not in the know, this is how adult 'Amy Pond' appeared first in the latest incarnation of Dr. Who. She isn't a cop, she's a singing telegram girl, or something. Not a stripper, heavens no, the BBC would not stand for that in a Dr. Who! As it was, many people had their feathers ruffled, in one way or another.

By the way. Knock knock.
Who's there?
Doctor w-
Yeah, that's the cheapest joke I've learned lately. Or maybe this one: Did you hear the 'me neither' joke? No? Me neither.

Yeah, I'm sorry. Now go inflict those jokes upon others. Alright, back to cosplayers... I saw this one guy a lot earlier in a crowd. Just a glance, and I thought, "Geez, I'm not gonna tell him what he looks like... they might be his usual look'. But later I saw him posing up a storm, and I got a good look.

Why yes, it's MATHEW PATEL! RAMONA'S FIRST! EVIL! EX!He had the moves, he had the speech down pat, it was right on. Unfortunately, I didn't get a great shot. If my camera went off when I hit the button, as compared to a second later... oh well.. sorry.

Of course, I had to get a shot of someone from the 501st. For those of you who didn't know, these guys number in the thousands all over north america. They's is big. He had a handful of storm trooper at VCON, at least one Boba Fett, a couple storm trooper variants.. I didn't spot any sith this year though.Someone who dressed inspired by Team Fortress 2:And Ezio from Assassin's Creed 2: (John Guston Klinger won the costume contest; and who dare vote against him? That knife on his wrist really retracted and deployed like the character...!Not that I'm much of a fan of TF2 or AC2, they were just neat costumes. I also got a shot of this girl, who wasn't playing as a character- she just wanted to dress like that. I thought she looked like she could be a character from Scott Pilgrim. The comic.. maybe not the movie.Whew. I think this entry's gone on long enough. Next entry: SFCanada party, and the dance..!

Friday, October 15, 2010

VCON 35, 2010- Saturday, part 1- Return to the vendor room!

The vendor room was pretty much as we had left it. As far as my table went, except that my poster of Regan had fallen off the wall.

I had also laid down my display of books the night before, and moved flimsy things like bookmarks away form the edge, lest someone walk by and toss them asunder, so I had to set those up.

It didn't take long for the war of bookmarks resumed with Steve Fahnestalk, and for visitor flow to pick up better than any period of friday. With dry fruitloops now pumping into my veins, washed down by a little concentrated taurine poisoning, my lack of sleep didn't matter. It was party time!

Suddenly, Danielle Golden joined the party! Level ??? dual-wielding ranger:

I hope they don't mind me ripping this pic form their facebook gallery.. 'they' being the Border Guardians of Ackernon. She was there in costume, promoting their stuff! She impressed my aunt on friday, "Joey, there's this girl in this funny costume, she's cute, you should draw her!"

Okay, I figured my aunt had just run into her first cosplayer, but when I met Danielle, the pieces clicked together. We chatted for a fair while. Some time later, I heard someone nearby commenting on her awesome outfit, and I said "I KNOW, yeah? It makes me want to play her!... IN A GAME, I mean. In a game!"

I don't know if anyone believed me.

Many of the orbiters came around a few times, including Gabe, the young man seeking his destiny! A quest, an epic quest! - who I mentioned in a previous blog entry. He made me an offer I couldn't refuse... but I told him to be patient. One more day, and his destiny would be fulfilled. Assuming the U.N. didn't interfere.. more on that in coming blog entries..

In the end, there can be only one. Or something.

This was the longest and busiest vendor shift. Sales were decent, and I remembered to give away some nice juicy posters of my art when 1)they bought more than one book, AND 2)they looked like they might like one, AND 3)I remembered to offer.

It was always great to talk to people who'd read some of my stuff, and were up for the next book- be that the newest one, Echoes of Erebus, or they were a book behind, needing Watching Yute. Heck, two people bought all three at once. The first time it happened, I thought "Oooh! A hat-trick! My first ever! I wonder why this never happened at previous VCONs, c"... oh.. yeah.. I never had 3 books before. Fair enough.

Wanna know the devious sales tactics I had developed by mid-day? A person walking by glances at my table, and I tell them something like "Well, THERE'S the hardened stare of someone seeking a free bookmark!"

About half the people would grab one. Among the other half were people who politely declined, and a very minor ..ùh.. minority who ignored me. Among those who grabbed them, (and I was always interested to see which of the 3 they would grab-tip blood catches the eye) most would read the bookmark, then look at the books.

As chatty as I am, I had to let them read the back of a book for a bit before yapping away. I'd then maybe mention, "Technically, they're a trilogy, but I went out of my way to make them all readable as stand alones.." and some discussion would normally start snowballing from there. When I realized I was doing a similar thing repeatedly, I felt like a bit of a shmuck.. but it started some fun discussions, and the odd sale.. so who am I to complain?

Next post: The after events- My visit to the gaming room, the party with the SciFi Canada crew, and the dance..!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

VCON 35, 2010- Friday, part 4- Hotel night 1

With the book launch event thankfully behind me, I had to go find my room. My room was in a different hotel than the convention. Why? I'm che- FRUGAL. Gotta say though, I KIND of felt like a chump abandoning the hotel hosting the convention, in favor of a nearby competitor. Oh well.

I had a large bin that I'd been hauling around since the close of the vendor room. A masterpiece of rubbermaidery, when it sat in my lap, it came up to my chin. No one asked what it was. I learnt from Dr. Who: (paraphrased)

"What do people do when they're walking along and see a big blue box sitting in the middle of the street? They keep walking."

And my box was no where near as big, nor time-travelly. It was, however, filled with paraplegic overnight stuffies. And it needed to go for a walk. A ride. In my lap, down the street, across it, and to my destination hotel. It was not super stable in my lap, and I needed to pull it back into place regularly, especially when there's any little abnormality in the terrain.

The trip looked like five blocks or so on a map. No biggie. I wheel more than that around town taking kiddo to the gym/preschool, whatever. When I used googlemap's street view (also useful for checking out flatness of terrain) it looked like two or three blocks.

When it came to actually making the trip, I got to the corner of the convention hotel's property, and poof. There was my destination practically across the street.

Huh. That was-
Though I still had to cross. I hit the button to get the signal, and waited my turn, then off I went. I had to adjust the bin a lot. Off the sidewalk cutout, onto the street, rushing to get out of the way, and now I needed both hands to 'jump' safely onto my target cutout. Just an inch or so of wheelie to make sure my front wheels decide to continue forward, as opposed to stopping hard, and dumping me out. I stayed in my chair; it was a little jump that was easier than most. The bin disagreed.

Time slowed a little as I watched it teeter, unable to get a hand safely up to it in time. I had time to know that the bin was going to go over, and judge where it was going to land. I had time to imagine all of the contents spilling out. There was no drain or anything nearby to claim my things, and I easily accepted that I'd be spending some time picking my things up and putting them back in the bin.

It fell forward, in the direction I had predicted, landing where I had predicted. The top fell off, and..

Huh. Everything else stayed in. Well. That was anti-climactic.
After check-in, I headed to my room on the ground floor. No elevator ride? Aww. Once I got in there, I did a little inspection for my needs. Bathroom was a little smaller than I would ideally want, but it beat the snot out of a lot of 'accessible' rooms I've seen elsewhere. The bed was a tad high, but no big deal. And yup, there was a Gideon Bible there. But who wants religious advice from this guy?

Seriously. What a douche. BTW, I so want the Scott Pilgrim DVD/Blueray to come out.. thought I'd like to watch it on a big...

Hey wait..! What one effin second...!
The cheap hotel room has a bigger TV than me! A lot bigger! Wh.. I.. No! Hotels are supposed to have crappy little TVs that barely work.

First thing's first. There's a few people I have to call. Paranoid people, some or which thought that the epic journey in the dead of night (uh.. 10 pm?) in this seedy neighborhood, (seriously, you could have figuratively eaten off of that neighborhood) would be too dangerous for widdle ole' me. Rang my mum first, then my dad, who had been calling my cell (which I can never hear ringing, especially not in a crowded room), then my wife.

She had been taking calls from my dad, who .. I don't know, was calling around to see if my body had been found yet. My wife had a new issue for me to worry about, concerning my tenant. (long story, I might blog it after I'm done the VCON stuff, it's kinda funny. Kinda. In a sad way.)

Alright, enough phone calls. Oh, by the way, I couldn't get a call out of the room. Dialed 9 and all that crap, but I just kept getting an odd busy signal for everything. Thankfully, I had my cell.

I unpacked my bin of overnight stuff. My teddy bear, my ipod loaded with David Hasslehoff music, and my inflatable sex doll. Or not. My 'rations' were in there too. A box of granola bars that I wasn't in the mood for. There was a vending machine in the hall less than 10 feet from my door, so I summoned up the loose change I had, (I wasn't dealing in coins in the vendor table) and got a chocolate bar and sunchips.

I eat very little during a VCON.. roughly a meal's worth of food, snacky bit at a time, and energy drinks. As if I wasn't hyper enough already at VCON. I got my findings, and went back to my room. Hey, was it chilly in here?

I flipped on the TV. Stargate:Universe was just coming on. Aw, piss. I really should do my gimp-stuff and get that over with. No biggie. At that moment, my PVR was waking up at home, nabbing it for me. I didn't have PVR last year and I managed to catch a rerun later anyway.

I wasn't in the mood to enjoy the show now anyway. Between the lackluster friday sales, the belly-drop of a book launch, and the news of my tenant being an extra pain... well, at this point, being here at VCON didn't feel like a good idea. Sales wise, it wasn't worse than any other VCON friday. I knew that. And the book launch event wasn't really a selling point anyway. But I wanted to do my reading. But tomorrow is the big day. And I have a reading sunday anyway. Still.... the logic didn't help my mood much.

By the time I got my gimp-stuff done, I'd forgotten about Stargate. No sense tuning in part-way anyway. I double checked that I had everything I needed for bed.

Aw piss. I brought my favorite sport bottle for water, and left it in the dealer's room. The coffee table in the room had paper cups.. too small for my tastes, and I didn't feel like having a row of cups of water on the nightstand. So I filled up the coffee pot with water, and sat that on my nightstand. Cuz that makes SO much more sense.

I got settled into bed, and got attached to what needs attaching. Set the alarm. Everything was good. Turn on that TV, and skim things to wind down before passing out. Tomorrow was going to be the busy day.

Frig it's cold.

And yet, Carrie Fisher wasn't calling out for me. The air conditioner was essentially right next to the bed, and seemed to be set to "No disintegrations, Mr. Fett" mode. I kept waiting for it to turn off. It didn't. It was noisy, and freezing me. No biggie, it's a big thick blanket, and I can 'man up' until my bod warmed the blanket up.

The fridge was noisy too. Outside the door, someone came to use the vending machine about once an hour... to claim one's purchase, you had to push in a wide, heavy noisy metal door, which would then fall back into place. It was cold. It was noisy. I had no way of reaching the AC's controls despite the large unit nearly being in my lap. Disappointment in friday, as well as tenant stress was banging around in my head. It's okay, it's okay. Man up, get to sleep.

5 am or so, I passed out from sheer exhaustion. The alarm went off at 8. Yeah, this was gonna be a good day.

I got myself together, (the bin could stay for the day) and saw the cord for the AC. Now that I was rolling, I double checked that I couldn't reach the controls. I could reach the cord. Pop. Yeah, well, it'll be nicer tonight, I guess. Off to claim my free breakfast. The room off of the lobby had very little wheeling space, and a pile of people. I got in far enough to grab a little box of fruit loops, and headed out.

It was a new day, and I had 3 hours of crabby sleep. Uh huh. It was time to get to my evergydrink stash waiting for me in the dealer room. Welcome to saturday.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

VCON 35, 2010- Friday, part 3- Book Launch

So, during the first vendor day, I'd handed over 2 copies of each book to Walter, (Was it Walter? I'm pretty sure...) of White Dwarf Books. He's a retailer, and each year, he sets up a table a the annual 'Book launch event', where people can grab books being pitched at the event. This leaves the authors free to shmooze, and not carry around books, looking desperate to make sales. Walter gets a cut, which hey... that's okay.

Three years ago, I was invited to the launch event for the 2nd edition of Lifehack. I was told I would be doing a reading. In public. Out loud. To humans. Live.


And I didn't have many days to prep for that. That first 'book launch' event was terrifying. I showed up, I asked Walter stupid questions, I chatted with a ton of people, waiting to be called up to read.. waiting for.. anyone to be called up to read. There was about ten authors in the crowd, all with new books within the last year. Alright, maybe I was cheating, only the 2nd edition of my book was launched in that year... but the VCON organizer didn't seem to mind.

And then it was announced that due to the noisiness of the room, readings were canceled. As disappointed as I was, I suddenly realized that I could now breathe. Good thing the reading was canceled too, I had some reading experiences shortly after that told me I was not ready.

Skip ahead a year. New venue, better acoustics. I showed up to chatter, not expecting to, but ready to read. I'd had some practice in writing meetup groups. No pro by any means, but good enough to not embarrass myself. Reading started late, but it went well.

Skip ahead to this year. The time got move to 7pm, right when the dealer room was closing. No loss, so I miss 5 minutes for the lengthy chatter period.

I'm looking for the launch event, expecting to find a lounge-like environment, with tables spread out like a cafe. I stick my head in one door, and see a room not much larger than a classroom, with dealer-like tables set up along the sides. Whoops, that's not right. I ask someone outside,

"Do you know where the book launch event is?"
"This is it."

Ya rly.

Kay. Um... so.. other authors are here with books set up like rushed vendor tables, all with a stack of their books in front of them. and here I am, no table. Oh, there's Walter over there. Walter's apparently only getting a cut off of me this year, I guess. No worries, really. I was more in WTF mode to care.

I looked for an empty table- there was none. I heard later that I was not the only table-less author in the room by any means. The lady who organized the event, I'm told, ran it 2 years prior. No one seemed that pleased with how the event was going. I can't remember the lady's name, she seemed nice enough, but ... this was a mess.

As it was, I had to email VCON a month beforehand to make sure I was INVITED to the book launch event, which I'd never had to do before. Maybe part of being lost in THAT shuffle was me missing a memo where the event had been turned into... something else. Ish.

Alright, enough pouting, lemonade time. I camped in a blank spot next to one of the tables, and met Geoff(rey W.) Cole. He was there representing a book he's contributed to, "The Blackness Within: Stories of the Pagan God Moccus". We grumbled about the muddy chaos that was the launch event, and the lack of readings. It turned out that he had a solo reading scheduled on sunday. I'd seen single-author readings in the VCON program, and wondered how a person got such a thing. I guess you just ask! At any rate, he'd been given the room for an hour, and wasn't sure if he could fill the time.. so.. HI! Why YES, I think I can fill up some time!

I sat at my invisible table for a while longer, handing bookmarks out as visitors made the rounds... There was a lot of people there, and it was noisy, but overall.. it felt like there was nothing going on. Maybe that was just my WTF still lingering.

Walter came by, giving up for the night, returning my books to me. He stated the obvious and told me there were no sales. I smirked and glanced around the room. He nodded. No shock, I didn't care. I wanted to do a reading, that was what I looked forward to at the launch event.

I didn't hear the announcement, but at some point, it must have been declared over, people started leaving en masse. Yeah, well, that was it. It was over.

Friday was unexpectedly slow in the vendor room, and this kind of felt like a bonus kick in the teeth. I could have been crashing someone's party or something. Heck, I could have gone and hung out in the gaming room, and check out what the D&D kiddies are playing these days.

Silver lining to the event? I had a reading anyway, on sunday, and met Geoff. Still.. overall, a realllly disappointing book launch event. With any luck, next year's will be better... and I won't have a new book to launch.

Piss on it. Day one wasn't a wash, but it felt pretty close at that point. It was okay, it was okay, the vendor room went good for a friday. Moving on.

Next post: The hotel room

Thursday, October 7, 2010

VCON 35, 2010- Friday, part 2- Rehearsal

I call it dress rehearsal, because most of this 'shift' (1pm-7pm) is slow as mud. People get off work at 5 or 6, maybe even have dinner, then straggle by. That leaves most of the day in the vendor's room pretty quiet.

Gung-ho earlybirds were first on the scene, I guess. The people milling about were soon a mix of early visitors and slowpoke vendor setups. Such visitors are there on a recon mission. Scope the scene, absorb a mental overview of the room, then continue mapping the rest of the con. Some of this type wander the whole con all weekend. I call em Orbiters.

Orbiters provide some good company when things are otherwise slow. -Er, not to slight my neighboring vendors, but orbiters bring news from the outside. Vendors are all shackled to their tables, except when Jeff (Jeff Currey, I mentioned him in the last post) comes by to unlock us to go to the water cooler, or washroom. All hail Jeff! Paradigm of Order! I just learned that this was Jeff's last VCON before moving to Ontario. Doubtlessly to bring Order to that savage land.

One such Orbiter was named Gabe:

Hark ye, Gabe, young man seeking his destiny! A quest, an epic quest! Being an Orbiter, I'd learn more of this epic quest in days to come. Little did I know that I was to be integral to this quest. And I'm gonna be a dick, and hold you in suspense until I blog about sunday.

In a totally unrelated note, on my table also lay an item I built to strike up convers- I mean to showcase before the U.N. snapped it up:

I thought the world needed to see it before the U.N. snatched it up, and it disappeared into some black ops involving eggs, pancakes, and possibly assassinations. The smaller text that you probably can't see:
-Laser Guidance (batteries dead)
-Photonic-based night vision assistance
-AM transistor radio (option not yet included in this year's model)
-Sniper scope (broken)
This Spetula was more recently used to flick fleas off of a rabid, muddy dog, and may carry a variety of diseases. This is a good thing! It's like a poison coating to enhance attacks. As long as I'm at VCON, I'm also selling my books. They are not scoped, laser guided, and have no night vision, so they are just $15. I'm pretty sure they don't carry diseases.

Photo credit goes to Steve Fahnestalk. speaking of Steve-

He was running his table alongside his wife across the aisle. Used books. He was running a kind of clearance sale. Most of his books were $1 or 2. Hmm. And I'm selling for $15. Hmm. BUT MY BOOKS ARE SHINY. And have a much higher lesbian ratio! Zombies, too! And I highly doubt that any of his have an exploding, flying log.

Oh yeah, it was on. He was also giving out free bookmarks. Again, mine were shinier. and in CoLoUr!! Alright, alright, anyone walking around in that room was offered a bajillion free bookmarks, but it was war anyway. When a visitor walked between us, they were liable to be in the middle of an outlandish slander-fest about opposing bookmarks. They carry disease, they carry nanites of good and evil varieties, gypsy curses, and upon reading the bookmarks, a person is then doomed to buy the associated book. Here's a picture of Steve. Or one of his employees. Tell me, would you take a bookmark from this guy?

I didn't think so. Spikes beat balloons, simple mechanics.

At the end of the 'shift' things had picked up a little in terms of traffic. Sales were still low, but this was recon day. Most of us were multi-VCON veterans, we knew this was normal. Anyone new this year was probably pretty worried at this point. Nothing I or anyone could say about this being normal can entirely wash away the little voice saying "I'm wasting my time here." Patience, little ones. Patience.

OK, that's a good place to wrap up a post. I skipped a lot of great folks, but I'll have to catch up on them in later posts. No one likes HUGE blog entries. So this is were we'll end... end of dealer hours on Friday, Oct 1.

Next up: Friday Part 3- Book launch event

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

VCON 35, 2010- Friday, part 1- Establish camp

This might take a few posts, the con was a blast.

October 1

I wake up. This annoying habit happens every day, but today the mission was different. As a parallelogram, a paralegal, a parenthesis, heck, a gimp, I had to pack a little extra gear for my 2 nights away from home. I had most of it all ready, as well as my books, the stuff for my table, posters, banners, and a handful of things I wouldn't need... but.. just in case..

I only needed help getting the cargo to the con, but my nominee for that favour was my dad, who made it his mission to make sure that I didn't have to face the evils of transit. This year, transit was a tad more favourable that previous years. VCON likes to settle in 3 hours from my home via transit, but this year it was going to be 2. But he was determined. My Aunt Brigitte joined the party, and we ended up using her car.

To those not in the know- Getting a paraplegic into any given car can be a challenge, depending on the car. But we got it working. I bit farewell to my darling Caitlin,

"What? You're still here, dad? GET LOST, ALREADY!!"

And we were off. A block later, our organizational skills were put under the microscope. "What do you MEAN it's in RICHMOND?"

Alright, alright, the V in VCON stands for 'Vancouver', but.. he never saw the address, and I had my plans written in transit instructions. No matter! Between the three of us, we could figure it out! We were one member short of of a Seinfeld re-enactment. I wasn't too fond of that show.

It wasn't that bad. Aside from 2 minute clusters of panic, separated by 20 minutes at a time of holding our breath, we finally got there. Never having been issued a map of the convention venue itself, (VCON info can be hard to track down...) getting to the vendor room was an extra little cap off to the navigation fun. The con was actually held in two neighboring hotels. Upon finding the room, the tables were not yet all set up.

Jeff, (an ex bouncer, no less) who's been an organizational asset to VCON for at least as long as I've been going... (probably a lot longer) Anyway, Jeff sees me and my crew coming. He knows I was looking for a table that was at an end, so my getting in and out wouldn't mean trashing my wheelchair through someone else's stuff. I got a table right inside the door visitors would pass by, and with a wall to my back. Score. Couldn't have picked better, really.

I put my big black box of doom onto the end of the table. The fellow setting up the table for 'Atomic Fez Publishing' asks me, "No spikes this year?" He was referring to these:

I attended VCON last year with those goggles and spiked shouderpads. The hair, face-blood and bunny ears evolved later that month.. But I didn't want to wear all that to the con. I wanted to appear.. a TINY bit professional... I guess..

When he asked about the spikes, I smiled, and tapped on the big black box of doom. Until that moment, I wondered if I'd even be bringing them out. Steel-belted chafing aside, I'm glad I did.

I got my stuff spread out- this big poster of Alisia on the table, serving as a colourful 'placemat' to the books. One tower of the three, completing the design on the spines...

Then a semi-circular array of each book showing its front, angled like reflectors feeding sunlight back to the central collector. In the space between, I laid down each book face down, inviting people to pick em up, and read the back. I set up a couple other posters on the handy wall behind me, like Regan and an eye-catching one of Alisia.

BC Chains' Kevin (Kevin? I think..) was set up all the way across the room. I'd have to raid his little treasure chest of candy when I got my VCON bucks. A lot of familiar faces from the last 2 years were in effect. The first time I went to a VCON, it felt like a family of nerds, and that notion becomes more apparent every year. Lets save us both some time. If you wanna see a list of 'the gang', look here. A couple are new, a couple are missing from previous years, but yeah. Well timed lent tape, nods and chatter as the last bits were being put into place. It was 1pm. We were now 'on'.

Next post: Friday, part 2- Rehearsal.