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Sunday, August 21, 2011

Farewells, Weapons, Stories, Lines, Demento, Parasols, and Anthropology


Yesterday, Saturday, was my last day at Renovation. This for course made me very sad. I felt like there was so much more I wanted to see or do. Alas, I have school and the friend driving me had a family reunion to get to. I’d like to say that at the next Worldcon I’ll arrange to stay for the whole thing and not miss a single day, but I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to go to another Worldcon. I attended this one because it was close enough I didn’t have to fly and I still had some reserve funds to cover the big expenses. Don’t get me wrong, I think it was totally worth it, but it’s going to be a long time before I ever have enough money to attend a Con.


Well, the first panel I attended was going to be the one on Victorian warfare, but it just wasn’t holding my interest. I snuck out and wandered into the Arms and Armor Demonstration for Fantasy Writers. I adored it. The guy doing the demonstrating was brilliant. He really understood how to deal with a crowd and worked in lots of audience participation. I enjoyed getting the chance to see how the many kinds of weapons worked or didn’t work and what kinds of armor protected against what.


The next thing I did was attend a panel on how to write short stories. This was not as interesting as I’d hoped, but it had lots of useful information. There was a bit of humor as the panelists constantly contradicted each other. The had said at the beginning that because most authors couldn’t agree on methods or techniques, it was best just to pick and choose what we thought would work and ignore the rest.


The next thing I did was stand in a huge line to get an autograph from Larry Niven. The line itself was a tad boring, but I met a very nice woman named Vanessa who chatted with me. Unfortunately, I didn’t get the autograph since he had to go on his lunch break. To make things awkward, while I was sitting at a table to organize my bags and rest my feet, Larry Niven sat down on the other side. I was sorely tempted to start up a conversation, but it was pretty clear that all he wanted to was to eat his lunch in peace.


After I had had my lunch, I met up with my friend and attended a lecture on Frank Zappa led by Dr. Demento. Now, I’ve never knew much about Frank Zappa or Dr. Demento, so I had no idea what to expect. It was quite entertaining and informative and I begin to see why so many people like Dr. Demento. There were a few issues, mostly with the huge crowd that showed up and blocked my view of the proceedings and with the sound system which had a few hiccups. I tried to get a picture, but none of them came out very recognizable.


I went over to a lecture given by Gail Carriger on Self defense with a Parasol and Fine Teas, only to discover that it was less of a lecture and more of a question and answer session. Almost everyone who showed up was in costume and the topics discussed ranged all over. We talked about fighting with Parasols, her opinions on tea, how she became an author, and a little bit on her upcoming book. It was all thoroughly enjoyable, despite the fact that it was difficult to hear over the auction that was happening right next door. She was very nice about giving me advice in regards to attending university in the UK and what I should be aware of. I was actually late for my next panel, but I didn’t much care.


The last panel I attended discussed the use of anthropology and archaeology in world building. I was somewhat late, but I still managed to enjoy the talk. They mentioned several books I was already familiar with which I found amusing. Alas, I don’t think I actually heard anything I didn’t already know or at least suspect, but it was nice to have my thoughts and suspicions confirmed. At the end I felt a sudden desperation to find another panel to attend so I wouldn’t have to go home, but my friend found me and we packed ourselves into the car and here I am.

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