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The final day of OryCon had come at last, and with it my concert.

Before that, though, we packed up the room and lugged the suitcase out to the car. and then went to the main stage room to see Alexander James Adams’s set.  He was in great form, and it was a treat to see him play twice in 3 weeks1, and a great time was had by all.  His Sleepy Hollow song (whose title I forget) was especially electric.

At noon, it was time for the Band Scramble.  This is an event that seems to be really big here in the Northwest…everyone’s name goes into a hat, and bands are formed by pulling them out at random.  The new group then has 24 hours to decide on a song to perform together and knock it out.  Due to this that and the other thing, our band2 (consisting of myself, Andrew Ross, Cecilia Eng, and Amanda Morris) never did get together to rehearse, so we very quickly convened in the hallway for half a dry-run of Andrew’s song “Can’t Stop The Signal”, which is to the tune of “You Can’t Stop The Beat” from Hairspray, and works well for this because each person can take a verse.  Cecilia elected just to play the guitar, as the song wasn’t in her range in the key we were doing it, but that still gave each of the others a turn at the mic.  It started out a bit ragged, but we threw ourselves into the “Hello, SHOWTUNES” energy of it and it came together all right in the end.  The second band up featured Char McKay, Alexander James Adams, Steve Dixon, and Callie Hills, and it was really lovely.  The final band3 featured Debs & Errol and Danica Dixon, and they went the extra mile and apparently, not understanding the rules of the contest, went and *wrote* a song to perform the night before.  It was a lovely piece about Howl’s Moving Castle, and I hope that it might resurface because it was really lovely.

The next event was to be the song-writing contest, which I was one of the judges for, but since only one person had submitted a song, we let him sing his song and then awarded him the prize.

Next up was my concert.  This was my first concert here in the Northwest, and the first one I’d done in over a year, and I’ll admit I felt a bit rusty at the start.  I also made the last minute decision to sit rather than stand, which I regret now because I wasn’t really comfortable.  Oddly enough, the songs at the top of the set list were ones I’d been specifically practising, and they were shaky, where as the back half of the set list was mostly songs I do often enough I hadn’t been specifically rehearsing them, and those went much better.  The set list was:

Party of Four
Accept No Substitutes
Son Of A Son Of A Vor Lord
Ceci N’est Pas Un Chanson (Dave Rood)
Guinevere (Robin Batteau)
You Stay Here (Richard Shindell)
One Trick Pony (Paul Simon)
Ozymandias (Dave Weingart)4
Your Ex-Lover Is Dead (Stars)
Year of the Cat (Al Stewart)5
Space (Ben Wakeman)

Someone who was in the audience will have to judge how well it went over all.  Like Mr. Tanner, I only hear the flaws.  But I think it went reasonably well once I got past the first couple of songs.

Once I was done with my concert, I did what I usually do after a concert.  I went to the bar and ordered a stiff drink.  I had an hour to kill before my final panel, which was titled “PC vs Mac vs Linux vs Unix”, which we spent very little talking about because it’s not a fundamentally interested thing to talk about for an hour.  Both myself and my co-panellist agreed that computers are tools and you select the tool that’s best for the job at hand, and then went on to talk about the history of the personal computer6, and what’s on the cutting edge of development for user interface design7.  Despite the fact that we spent very little time on the topic at hand, we had a lot of audience engagement and everyone seemed to like the conversation, so I’ll call it a success.

At this point it was 4pm and we both have to work tomorrow, so we reluctantly begged off a dinner invitation and hit the road.  Three hours later, we were home, ordered pizza and watched a couple of episodes of Pawn Stars, which was about precisely what we had enough brain power to process.

I had an absolutely magical weekend.  Much thanks to the concom, and particularly Daniel Reitman and Andrew Ross, for inviting me and giving me so much to do across a broad spectrum.  I made some new friends, had some interesting conversation, and quite honestly had the time of my life.  I’m already looking forward to coming again next year.


  1. since we’d just seen him at OVFF 

  2. Which was inadvertently named “Only Here For The Flowers” 

  3. The Band of Awesome 

  4. Requested from the audience 

  5. One day, I want to do this with a proper band so we can do the extended outro 

  6. How did we get into this mess? 

  7. How are we going to get out of this mess? 

Mirrored from Home of the Autographed Cat.

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Whew! Another long fun day at OryCon.

Last night at 11pm was the Polyamory panel, which was in a smallish room absolutely packed with people.  There was a lot of discussion about different ways to approach non-monogamy, and a couple of people there were dealing with particular issues in their own relationships that they asked the room for advice on.  There was a great deal of advice handed out both generally and specifically.  I got a good laugh when I noted that 95% of relationship advice for how to have a good poly relationship also applies as to how to have a good monogamous relationship, “and the 5% that doesn’t mostly involves calendars”.

I had hoped to make it to open filk last night, but after this panel was over, I was exhausted so I went back to the room and went to sleep instead.

We got up and out in time to get breakfast at the hotel buffet before I had to be at an 11am panel titled “Social Media:  Revolution or Time Sink”.  It was a spirited discussion about the various ways not only that we all use social media, but the way that marketers use the information they collect from our engagement on social media for various purposes.1  We got a lot of good questions from the audience, and it was thought provoking.

I had a couple of hours off after that before moderating three panels in a row.  The first was titled “Putting the Play Back Into Role-Playing”, and had a neat group of RPG vets.  We talked a great deal about storytelling, collaboration, and how role-paying is ultimately what you bring to the table as a player more than the mechanics of the given game you are playing.  I was left at the end of it with a desire to get into a really crunchy character-driven RPG again.2

Immediately afterwards3, we convened a packed, standing-room-only hour titled “Fifty Years With the Doctor”, celebrating everyone’s favourite Time Lord.  The audience (and the panel) was a pretty even split between old-time fans of the show like myself and folks who had only gotten into Doctor Who with the new series.  Two of the panelists even said that they got into the show because of their kids, which was a neat sort of reverse-generational story that you don’t run across too often.  After a few opening remarks, we pretty much threw this one open to the audience, and had a rollicking good time rockin’ the TARDIS.4

The third panel of the afternoon was titled “The Positive Influence of Video Games”, and was just me and one other panelist.  He had a lot of notes on scientific studies on the topic, and some background as a developer, so there was a lot of interesting data.  But aside from those studies, we also talked about the aesthetics of gaming and whether or not video games could be art, the sorts of skills and social connections that gaming can help develop, and stories about games that had changed our thoughts about things or made a positive impact on our lives.  We got a lot of good audience participation on this one, too, and I felt pretty good about it.

I met up with kitanzi in time to hear the very tail end of Callie Hills’s concert, which was unfortunately scheduled against my panel, and then we went back up to the room and ordered some food for dinner, after which I took a short nap before my final event of the day, which was being part of a “Whose Line Is It Anyway?” game.  If you’ve never seen the TV show, it’s improv theatre games, with the twist here being that a lot of the topics and scenarios were tailored towards a science-fiction con crowd.  My favourite game was one where we each took on the persona of a fameous author, and then discussed our approach to a book.  The topic was “Romance Self-Help book”, and the authors were HP Lovecraft, Terry Pratchett, Dr. Suess, and George RR Martin.  The lady who had Dr. Suess went on a sad monologue about trying to gain the affections of Sam-I-Am, turning to me at the end and saying “He won’t try my green eggs and ham.  What should I do?” and I, as GRR Martin, stepped forward and said “It was at this point in the story that Sam-I-Am suddenly and tragically died.”, which good a good laugh.  When it died down, I said “But love must go on, so I am introducing 743 new characters in the next chapter.” which got an even bigger laugh. We also had a lot of fun with traditional bits like Party Guests and Dating Game.

Once again, I find myself too tired for open filk.  But I have my concert tomorrow at 1pm, so i’ll get to do at least a little bit of filking at this con.   But for now….sleep.


  1. Which is ultimately, in my view, not really as sinister as we tend to treat it.  95% of the people collecting data are doing it to more efficiently sell us things we might actually want, which means less time wadding through advertisements that you don’t care about.  Since they’re going to put ads in front of us anyway, they may as well be for things we want to see. 

  2. Aside to the old Defensive Perimeter folks:  I miss you all so much. 

  3. luckily, all three of these were in the same room 

  4. If the TARDIS is a’rockin’, don’t bother clockin. 

Mirrored from Home of the Autographed Cat.

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Whew.  It’s been a long time since I was at a gencon, but I’ve been having a great time at this one.

After getting up and getting a shower, we wandered over to the nearby mall for a late breakfast/early lunch.  We ended up getting reasonably tasty teriyaki chicken from the food court, and had a great time watching the skaters on the ice rink in the middle of the mall while we ate.

Between panels I was on and things I wanted to attend, I had a pretty full day.  First up was “Can Movies Capture The Joy of Comics”, which was a lively panel.  We talked about the many various successful and unsuccessful attempts to adapt comics to the screen, and got a lot of input from the audience.

Immediately following was a panel called “Books to Movies to Comics to Movies to Books”, which was all about adaptation.  While some of it focused on similar topics to the first panel, we were a bit broader in the discussion, and got in several examples of cross-medium adaptation, including movie novelisations, TV series continuing as comics, and even the recent trend of taking a bunch of disparate iconic concepts and blending them into a new series, such as “Once Upon A Time” and “Grimm” have been doing.1

We had a brief break before a 6pm panel on “Developing Convention Policies”, which was attended by my wife and the husband of one of my co-panelists.2 After 10 minutes of no one being there, the panel and audience decided that we ought to continue our conversation on convention policy over dinner, and adjourned as a group to the restaurant.

After dinner, we got to the filk room in time to hear most of Frank Hayes’s concert.  I had arranged with the filk track to present Frank with his Pegasus Award for Best Alien Song,3 and as luck would have it, he played it in his set.  We interrupted the concert in order to present the award, which was great fun, since he hadn’t been warned this was going to happen.

Next up was the Filk Guest of Honour concert performance from Debs and Errol.  I was already quite familiar with their work via recording, but it was great to finally see them perform live.4 I hope to spend more time with them as the weekend progresses, but after the concert they had the usual press of folks wanting to meet them, so I briefly introduced myself and figured I’d see them again as the weekend progressed.  Tremendous fun duo.  Do *not* miss them if you get the chance.

As I’m writing this, I have one more duty, which is to be part of the Polyamory panel at 11pm.  After which I think I will sleep soundly.  Tomorrow has another full day in store!


  1. I mentioned and was surprised no one in the audience had heard of “Welcome to Night Vale“. 

  2. My opening remark:  ”We outnumber them.  I think that means we win!” 

  3. Which was awarded two weeks ago at OVFF 

  4. During the concert, I tweeted “I really want to fold up @debsanderrol and put them in my luggage. 

Mirrored from Home of the Autographed Cat.

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I fully intended to write this entry last night, but by the time we got here I was pretty brain dead.

Seattle rush hour traffic is awful at the best of times, but last night for whatever reason it was particularly bad.  You wouldn’t think an area as generally wet as the Pacific Northwest would produce a lot of people with water-soluble driving skills,1 but there you have it.  Our immediate neighbourhood was a parking lot in all directions, and as a result it took us well over an hour just to get from Lower Queen Anne to south of the airport.  Once we did, though things smoothed out and we made pretty good time from that point on.

We stopped at a Burger King outside of Mount Saint Helens,2 because we didn’t know what the late night food situation would be once we got to Portland.3 It’s been years since I ate at a Burger King, and I took a moment to scan the menu before ordering, which led me to ask a question I’d never asked before.

“What on earth,” I asked the lovely counter girl, “is an *angry* Whopper?”

It turns out that the Angry Whopper has jalapeños, onion rings, and pepper-jack cheese, along with bacon and “angry sauce”.  It was quite tasty, and their new crinkle-cut fries are a winner.

We got a bit turned around coming into the hotel area and ended up back on the Interstate, but our GPS helpfully navigated us back around, bringing us through an old downtownish area.  A pet store with a big neon sign declared its name as “Pets On Broadway”, leading me to imagine a chorus line of puppies and kittens.  We finally got to the hotel, checked in, and parked the car, and then collapsed into slumber.


  1. Thanks to France Andrews Zeve for this phrase. 

  2. “Home of the Volcano Burger” their sign entirely failed to say. 

  3. Note to future self:  southwest Washington is full of nothing.  Pack a lunch. 

Mirrored from Home of the Autographed Cat.

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This whole first year that we’ve been in Seattle, I’ve managed to attend the local filk convention within days of arriving,1 and I’ve been to a couple of conventions out of state2, but I really haven’t attended any of the local or regional conventions.  So next weekend will be my grand entrance onto the local fannish scene when I am at OryCon 35 in Portland, Oregon.

I was pleased and flattered to be asked to participate in the programming, and I have quite a busy weekend lined up, including a concert on Sunday afternoon, so if you’re going to be there, I hope you’ll come and see me.

Here’s what I’ve got lined up:

Friday, November 8

3:00pm

4:00pm

6:00pm

11:00pm

Saturday, November 9

11:00am

2:00pm

3:00pm

4:00pm

9:00pm

Sunday, November 10

12:00pm

12:30pm

1:00pm

3:00pm

I hope I’ll see you there!

  1. Like, literally, we arrived on Wednesday and unpacked the car, and went down to the con hotel on Thursday. 

  2. Nerdtacular, in Salt Lake City, and OVFF in Columbus, Ohio 

Mirrored from Home of the Autographed Cat.

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