Ad Astra 2013 flashback: Best Fuego Grilled Burger!


Okay, well, the first thing you need to understand is when I went to bed on Saturday night, I set an alarm on the iPhone to wake me up with a custom ringtone. The second thing is that I’ve gotten into this habit of taking the iphone with me when I go to the bathroom in the middle of the night, because whatever email might have arrived between midnight and 3am is obviously SO important. 😉

So I wake up very groggily to the dim strains of a ringtone playing over and over again in the next room. By the time I finally got to the hotel bathroom to shut it off, that alarm had been ringing for something like ten minutes. Oh well.

I went to the hotel restaurant for the breakfast buffet, and wasn’t too impressed with their french toast or milk, (and there were no pancakes at all,) but went back for a second helping of bacon and breakfast potatoes. Maybe that was because I’d gone the day before with no meat and possibly a low level of protein, (peanuts notwithstanding.)

So after breakfast, went back up to the room again; the plan was to check out by nine AM so that I could help out with the vendor’s room again and not need to worry about running back upstairs. That worked out pretty well, except that I forgot about a work thing I was supposed to do on the laptop Sunday morning, (but that worked out okay twelve hours later.) I took a few things out to the car, and left other luggage behind the front desk with a claim check. It was a little while before anybody showed up for the vendor’s room, so I pulled out the Kindle and read some of Jim Butcher’s “Ghost Story.”

After the vendor’s room was open, I went upstairs, and met Magie and Maggie from the browncoats in the corridor. They were a little upset that the Star wars/Disney panel (with Jim!) wasn’t where they’d expected it to be, but I pulled out my schedule and figured out that they were nearly an hour early. 🙂

The Masquerade awards were given out at ten-thirty Sunday morning, and the participants outnumbered the few fans who’d come out to see who won. (And one participant, Link, wasn’t able to come because he was stuck on duty at the registration desk.)

So… I won an award! Just a little participation thing, and I think maybe the judges were trying to give credit to both of us for doing tributes to the Guest of Honor, because Toot got one too. There was a blue ribbon, and I could pick a prize out of a collection; I went with a George RR Martin southern vampire historical paperback, because hey, why wouldn’t you want to check that out? (I haven’t started reading it actually. :oops:)

But the best part of the prize was the certificate, which declared me the “Best Fuego-Broiled Burger” of the show! That’s such a cool pun that I’m actually disappointed I didn’t think of it first, a great mashup of the Burger King takeout and the blasting rod shtick. If I ever enter the outfit in another masquerade, I may have to make that my entry title. 😀

An African steampunk girl got the top workmanship prize in the masquerade, which included a free membership to Ad Astra next year, and to Anime North, with an invitation to compete at their big-leagues masquerade.

I wasn’t that interested in the Star Wars panel, (and the appeal of stalking Jim was wearing off,) so I went to the ‘How do you know it’s done’ panel, which was largely about editors and writers going back and forth with changes, but had some good stuff about the kind of reaction you want from readers and how to critique (or slush) well.

At noon there wasn’t much interesting on the panel schedule, so I went into the bistro to look at their lunch menu. Nothing really looked good. I finished the snacks from my bag.

Jim Butcher’s Q&A was awesome! He teased people coming into the room after him, just a little, and had some great answers about writing and his books. I didn’t come in with a planned question, but he talked about his original title for Death Masks, (‘Holy Sheet’,) and so I asked him about any other original titles he wasn’t able to use. Then he read a prolog and Chapter 1 from his Steampunk book, which was great.

The next panel I went to was ‘Save the Cat: writing has rules,’ panel, moderated by Kelly Armstrong. I enjoyed the discussion and brought up this point about the Blake Snyder beat sheet and Serenity. There was a great back and forth about the rules of writing and when you can break them.

I hurried up to the signing room, just as Jim was finishing up his second session. His hand was really tired, but he was nice about signing my Masquerade prize certificate. Then I went to the volunteer office to give back my t-shirt and radio, (but I forgot about the spare radio battery in my bag,) picked up my luggage at the front desk, and scraped my car on the parking pillar. Sigh. I was on the highway before I realized that the door ajar light was staying on, and there was a faint whistling sound. So I drove as far as Mississauga like that, drowning it out with podcasts.

Not the best exit from a convention I’ve ever made, but I had a really great time that weekend!

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