Well, it’s more than a month since I went to Ad Astra, but I figure I can still tell you guys about it. My last Ad Astra post covered Friday, so this time I’ll start with Saturday morning.
I woke up pretty early, showered, headed out to look for the Tim Horton’s at the corner that I’d seen listed on Google Maps. It turned out to be a coffee counter at a gas station, and they didn’t have TimBits, so I grabbed two maple dip donuts for breakfast. 😉 Once I’d eaten, I suited up into security gear and went downstairs to see if I could help.
The volunteer room wasn’t open by nine, so I just kinduv hung around, and kept an eye on the vendors moving their stuff into the room. Soon the guy who’d deputized me as a volunteer showed up, and told me that my main job was to keep non-Vendors from wandering into the Vendors room before it opened up at ten. That worked out pretty well; I got to say hi to a lot of people, even though some of them were disappointed that they couldn’t get an early start on their window shopping. I also challenged a vendor or two who didn’t have their lemon-lime colored vendor badges out, and let a few people with ‘panelists’ slip through because I wasn’t sure I wanted to give them a hard time about hanging out with their vendor friends. 🙂 And it was fun to get to check with the ConCom liaison in charge of the Vendor’s room and tell the gathering horde that it was time to go and buy!
At ten, I went to a panel for ‘What’s new in fandom’, but started paging through my schedule and realized that I had a busy day of stalking Jim Butcher ahead of me, so I left the panel to take care of some business. First I checked in with the guy in the volunteer office to ask some questions about spending the day in Cosplay. The volunteer guy said that I could just leave the yellow T-shirt and the radio gear in my hotel room while I was dressed up. He was bonding a staff from somebody’s cosplay outfit when I got there, so that answered another question, if I should ask to get my blasting rod bonded as safe. So up the elevator I went, put on my Harry Dresden finery, and back down to the volunteer office, where a bit of black zip-tie was wrapped around the end of my ‘blasting rod’ broomstick, to mark it as convention-safe or whatever.
There were Jim Butcher panels in the next two time slots: “Standalone novel versus series” and “Magic in the big city.” I was complimented a few times on my costume, and two people suggested that I should sign up for the Masquerade contest that night, so I left after the first few minutes of the ’50 years of Doctor Who’ panel to go to the signup table and entered as a novice, no craftmanship judging: I didn’t craft most of the costume myself. My Mom did more of that, with all the time she put in on the white bead pentacle, and helping with the shield bracelet too.
After signing up, (which included having to come up with something for the announcer to read as I made my entrance,) I went back up to my room to drop off the shield bracelet. The magnetic clasp on it was starting to feel a little delicate, and I wanted it to be in top shape for the Masquerade, so I decided not to wear it until it was time to report to the Masquerade green room. I also wanted to look for a paper notebook, because the one thing you can’t do when you’re in cosplay as Harry Dresden is use electronics. (If you’ve never read the books, Harry can’t. He tends to make anything high-tech explode if he’s near it for too long.) In the notebook, I noted the Dresden Files books that I’d already picked up and which ones I still didn’t have copies of.
While I was upstairs, I realized that my blasting rod was missing, but it turned up the first place I checked for it; the masquerade signup table. I must have let the rod roll under the table while I was filling out my application. I also took down the Masquerade greenroom location and time in my paper notebook, and went over to the vendor’s room to buy more Dresden Files.
When the next panel time slot started, I went to the room for ‘Costume problem solving’, but I didn’t find it that interesting, so I left early to get the shield bracelet again, figuring that I could leave it in my Burger King bag if I didn’t want to wear it, but I wanted to be able to show it off if somebody was interested. I also scarfed down some convention snacks at this point. (I didn’t really have a single traditional sit-down meal all day, but I tried to balance out the snacks as best I could and ate reasonably well.)
Another Jim panel: “Demons, Werewolves, and Necromancers.” By this point, I’d started to notice that if a panel didn’t have Jim Butcher there, the chances of it keeping me around seemed slim. After that panel, I dropped by the Browncoats table for a few minutes, and went to line up for the autograph session. Nearly everybody was there for Jim Butcher’s autograph; it was a little embarrassing, seeing all the other authors, from the small fry who’d published themselves, up to Jim’s co-guests of honor, sitting around waiting for somebody to ask their autograph. (I think Ben Bova had a reasonably frequent stream of visitors, but he didn’t have his own line.)
I got a paperback copy of ‘Changes’ autographed, and told Jim how much I’ve been trying to learn from his writing. When I got out of the autograph room, it was still pretty early in the timeslot, so I went up to the room, relaxed a little, actually read an A-Z challenge blog, and then went down to a panel room for the last half of a nerds/mainstream panel, and the first half of a star trek love-fest. Then it was time for the Masquerade green room.
It took a while for cosplayers to drift into the green room. I guess they figured that a lot of people would show up late and that’s why they asked contestants to gather an hour and a half before the Masquerade started. I had a chance to chat with a lot of other participants, including Toot, who was one of the first people to encourage me to enter. Toot was actually a woman, but she was obviously a big Harry Dresden fan and had put a lot of work into her costume, so I didn’t really care that she was dressing up as a male pixie. 😉
Even though I wasn’t being judged on craftmanship, I took the opportunity to talk with the craft judges about my costume, so that I could show off my mom’s hard work, and mine, especially with the decorations on the blasting rod, though some of those had started to rub off with a hard day’s wear, no matter how careful I was to grab the rod between the runes. I got some pictures of myself taken at this point, and one picture with Toot.
Eventually it was time for us to line up in the hotel hallway, a few at a time, and go on the stage to show off our costumes and our routines. I had a lot of fun with that part. I’d worked out a sort of pantomime. Harry Dresden walking along, with his takeout burgers, when he hears something go bump in the night. He drops the takeout to listen more closely, (hand to my ear,) holds the white pentacle up to try and see into the darkness, then raises the shield bracelet just in time to ward off some evil. Jerk my arm three times to give the impression of something heavy crashing into the shield, then wave the blasting rod and shout “FUEGO!” at the top of my lungs so hopefully the people in the back of the room can hear it.
The crowd seemed to like my act, and I was able to slip into the back of the audience in time for Toot’s performance, which involved the Ninja Turtles theme song. We had a few people ask to take our pictures in the hallway as the crowd let out, and then I went back to my room, eager to get some rest. It was a busy day. 🙂