I had no panels to speak on on Saturday. The only thing I had set in stone was working on reg desk from 4PM-5.30PM, and taking people to Dumplings Plus for what had originally been me and some mates on Facebook planning a catch-up and had turned into me winding up doing the hosted dinner.
I have now done two hosted dinners (more info when I post about Sunday), and I still don’t quite know whether I got it right, but people ate and nobody died so I guess I did okay.
I got up at nine to discover that I now had my room to myself as my roommate had gone home unwell. This was a shame, but also hilarious because I’d been creeping around in the fairly dark room (blackout curtains!) for ten minutes before realising they weren’t there to disturb.
10AM: Messy Emotions (Earth room)
Tansy and Margo talked about emotions in SFF, particularly in SF, and how emotional content can affect people’s perceptions of whether something still qualifies as SF or not (spoilers: it does). I particularly enjoyed Tansy’s enthusiasm and this was one of the many panels I came away from with a few book titles jotted down to investigate further with my local library.
11AM: Comedy in Genre (Earth room)
I was going to stick around for this but I was hit by this massive wave of exhaustion and had to go back to my room for caffeine (Pepsi). Unfortunately, I went to my room via the dealers’ room and spent about a hundred bucks. (Total for the weekend was $377.93, which was over my budget by $77.93. I’m inclined to blame Lindy and her persuasiveness at the Clan Destine Press table (mind you she did also give me a bit of a discount, so I can’t blame her too hard).
12PM: Guest of Honour speech: R.J. Anderson (Earth and Fire rooms)
I cried, most of the room cried, we laughed as well, and I hope like hell Rebecca posts her speech on her website or blog because it was just so moving and thought-provoking.
I was so grateful to have actual lunch and dinner breaks built into the program this year, because I was very bad at taking them last year. I don’t remember all of what I did between 1-4PM except I know I did an extra hour of reg desk in there somewhere. There were panels I wanted to see, but I got caught up in socialising, and that was just terrible, I mean so tortuous, how awful for me.
(Side note: I have a few friends at RMIT who I occasionally get to chat to when I am on campus and not actually in class or at the library. I have friends at work who I can talk to during breaks or if the phones are quiet. I don’t have any regular roleplaying games or board games nights or anything like that (although Camp NaNo is coming up, so maybe write-ins soon), so I don’t get to see nearly as much of people in general as I would like. Plus with Danny on late shifts a lot, I’m often home alone. I’m glad I have three very different cats because the conversation varies more.)
However, there was one very memorable thing in there, and that was that I HAD LUNCH WITH R.J. ANDERSON. It was totally unplanned, but she and I and Melissa went over to Emporium together and ate and I got to talk to her about where I almost knew her from, which was The Big Bang Theory fandom. She’d quit watching it after season three, which was where I’d started watching it. And it was nice because I got to be fangirlish, not fangirling over here (although I’d done a bit of that), but fangirling over this show that we’d both seen and enjoyed in our own ways, and mentioning other fans who we both know, and it was just fun.
4PM: Reg desk
Last year was my first con and I put my hand up to volunteer and some of what I did was reg desk. This year all of what I did was reg desk because I am no longer physically able to do much gofering. I highly recommend volunteering to help at any cons you attend if they need volunteers. It feels good to be able to give committee members a break so they can have their own lunch or their own turn to go watch a panel. If you’re doing reg desk you’ll more than likely get the chance to chat to people who come by for stuff. Sometimes they have chocolate! (Gillian Polack parked her lollies and chocolate bag with me at one point. She had those strawberry lollies that are hard on the outside and soft on the inside. Emphasis on had.)
For a con like this, where there are only a few rooms in use (four panel rooms plus the gaming room plus the committee room), if there’s a task like writing room swaps up on the schedule, it’s just a little thing but so helpful for people. I got to do five minute warnings (waving a table tennis paddle with a ‘5’ emblazoned on it at the panelists when the panels needed to wind up). I was so committed to reg desk that I’d brought my own whiteboard marker for making room change notes on the big whiteboard, mostly because last year I’d had to go out mid-con to buy more. (I honestly don’t know where the hell they all went.)
5.30PM: Hosted Dinner (Dumplings Plus)
I originally thought ‘hey, there’s a big gap between the last panel and the Costume Parade, and DP’s just around the corner, I’ll invite a few mates on Facebook and go there’. I made a post asking for expressions of interest and immediately got about 10. Then I got a private message from one of the committee members asking if I would turn it into a hosted dinner. I said yes, because I am hopeless at saying no, and because it wasn’t any harder to call and book for 20 than for 10. (How hard? Very hard. I have ridiculous issues with making phone calls for someone who works in a call centre.)
People started gathering at 5. By 5.30 I had almost everyone, a text message saying ‘be there soon’ from one person, and a promise to meet us there from another person, and a few people who weren’t on the original list. I had the choice between going ‘well, it’ll all work out’, or silently panicking the whole time that there wouldn’t be enough room for everyone, that latecomers would get lost, etc. Naturally I opted for the latter, with a side of fretting once we did get there that we weren’t distributed evenly around the tables.
But then people came and filled the gaps, and we ordered drinks and then food and to the best of my knowledge it all arrived! There was a lot of sharing, as is the way with dumplings (and plus. I had chicken fried rice). People ate and left in dribs and drabs to get changed for the Costume Parade and Maskobalo. The stack of money in front of me grew and grew. DP don’t split bills, so my plan was to get cash off people and put it on my card, then use the cash at Sunday Market. Well, I didn’t need all $294.40 for Sunday Market, but that was what dinner for 20-ish came to. $15/head was exactly why I’d picked DP and it seemed to make everyone happy. I had help from Leonie counting money (I did notes, she did coins), and it all came out right. And I even had time to go back and change for the Costume Parade.
8PM: Costume Parade
The theme was ‘Bushrangers of the Apocalypse’. I dressed as a bar wench of the apocalypse, inspired by Miss Lola from the Red Dwarf episode ‘Gunmen of the Apocalypse’, complete with bottle of ‘mind rotter’ (actually Yellowglen, but only because it was the easiest label to cover). R.J. and Tansy, as Guests of Honour, did the judging. Death of Rats, Hespa, won (and fortunately did not lose her tail at any point). Melissa, who was festooned in snakes (apparently she was offered a real one but declined) came second. I didn’t mind not winning because now I have fingerless red lace gloves and a black feather boa that I’m certain I can repurpose for future costumes, and that’s a win for me.
Rather than hitting the dance floor I went to the gaming room to play Munchkin: Apocalypse, because since I’d brought it with me and then ended up buying the expansion I wanted a go of it at some point. Unfortunately the gaming room wasn’t as far away from the music as last year (playing Cards Against Humanity last year was one of my favourite things), and it was very loud, and I was mentally wrung out from doing the dinner thing, so at about 9.50 I put my cards down and asked the others if they minded packing up for me once they were done, went to my room, and more or less crashed. I decided to save showering for the morning, despite having gel in my hair, because I wasn’t sure I could stay upright any longer.