Nov. 10th, 2013

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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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Son of a Son of a Vor Lord
by Rob Wynne
TTTO: “Son Of A Son Of A Sailor” by Jimmy Buffett

As the son of a son of a Vor lord
I went out into space for excitement
I set out to bamboozle a captain and crew
By pretending I’m some sort of pirate

As a schemer of tactics and a student of war
I make up my plans as I go
Read many accounts about soldiers and Counts
It was all that I needed to know

Son of a son, son of a son
Son of a son of a Vor Lord
Under the gun, talk on the run
My momentum carrys me forward

With a fleet of my own in a distant war zone
I crafted a brand new persona
I can shake the hand of the ImpSec man
While he pretends he doesn’t know me

And my lady was born on Station Kline
Floating out in the space lanes
Fast on her feet, runs the whole fleet
And her beauty is matched by her brains

Preparing to race through the wormholes in space
Our forefathers mapped out before us
Feel the hull thrum as the jump engines hum
And see what is waiting there for us

Wherever I go, I’ll find trouble I know
In deep space, or the Dendarii mountains
I don’t stop to reflect about what happens next
At least I didn’t end up an accountant

But a son of a son, son of a son
Son of a son of a Vor lord
Under the gun, talk on the run
My momentum carrys me forward

I’m just a son of a son, son of a son
Son of a son of a Vor lord
My honour is bound to the Emperor’s crown
And I know I will not die of boredom

I started writing this song five or six years ago, and got stuck in the middle because I wasn’t even sure at what point in the series the song was set.  I put it away and ran across the notes on it recently while tidying up some old folders, and suddenly i knew what I needed to do with it.

This is based on Lois McMaster Bujold’s Vorkoskigan Saga, and specifically is set sometime before Memory, but after Miles has had time to establish himself with the Dendarii mercenaries.  So, maybe sometime around Brothers in Arms or Borders of Infinity.

I debuted this song in my concert set at Orycon 35 in Portland, Oregon.

Mirrored from Home of the Autographed Cat.

autographedcat: (Default)

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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