Dragon*Con 2012: Day 1

September 3, 2012

So, I finished my Friday post having finished Camp Nanowrimo and just about to rush off for my first day of Dragon*Con panels for this year, right? :)

First, a little Dragon*Con 101, to help you understand what I’m talking about, and maybe give you a feel for what going is like. Dragon*Con is organized into dozens of fan tracks like WeyrFest, Whedon Universe, BritTrack, and American Sci-Fi Media – those are the ones that I’ve been mostly following. Each track has a ‘home room’ in one of the hotels, where the smaller panels and events will be held, and will reserve a larger ballroom for bigger events, like when they have a celebrity guest Q&A. Often the larger room will be in the same hotel as the home room.

Whedon Universe and BritTrack are very ‘big’ tracks, with a lot of people attending at least a few of their events; bigger rooms, longer lines, and bigger stars, which often does mean bigger fun. Weyrfest is a lot smaller, and doesn’t often leave the Vinings room on the lowest conference level of the Hyatt hotel.

The second thing you need to understand is about the schedule. Each track sets its own schedule, and though there are exceptions, generally the schedules are synchronized on a pattern of one hour for an event, then half an hour for people to get to their next event. So you have panels from 10am to eleven, and then the next panels start at 11:30, and so on through the day until 8:30pm, and then 10pm. Each track generally runs one item in each time slot, though occasionally they’ll have a gap or two choices at the same time, and they each make their own decisions about how early they start or late they go on a particular day. There are often some late parties that run longer than an hour.

Finally, a map! I never found the maps they have in the DragonCon program to be too easy to understand, and sort of learned the layout by trial and error last year. Here’s my own map, not to scale, but it clearly shows everything important, and also gives a few street names:

 

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Polaris versus Tim Hortons

July 20, 2011

Just one more short Polaris story, that I didn’t mention earlier.

The Adam Baldwin Q&A session on Saturday afternoon started late, because Adam still had people who’d waited in line for his autograph, and somebody decided not to disappoint them. So, to ‘stretch’ the time for those of us waiting in the Q&A room, the MC, Larry, told us a little story.

The convention was held in a complex with a convention center, a little enclosed mall, and two hotels. Right next door was a sort of strip mall and one of the biggest businesses there was a Tim Horton’s chain coffee and donuts shop. As you might imagine, it was pretty popular with the convention-goers. We Canadians love our Tim’s.

But the air conditioning in this particular Tim’s location was broken, and apparently the head office hadn’t done anything about it in over a week – because no customers had complained to them. Larry was quite upset about this, mostly on behalf of the employees there, and I rather saw his point. Customers aren’t terribly inconvenienced by the heat in the little time it takes them to line up and get their order, but it’s much harder on somebody working an eight-hour shift in a kitchen without air conditioning during a hot spell.

So, Larry not only got the number for head office and the details on what store number was having the problem – he shared them with all of us and invited us to complain as often as we liked, to entertain ourselves by using funny voices and impersonating our favorite TV stars, and so on.

I was intrigued by the idea, but didn’t actually get around to calling. The next day, before Jewel Staite’s Q&A, there was an update – a vice-president of something-or-other from Tim’s head office had been to the store on Sunday morning and was doing what she could to make sure that the AC would get fixed as soon as possible.

Even if I didn’t place a call, I’m pleased that I got to hear about that story. So that’s why I’m passing it on to you.


Polaris diary – day 3, morning

July 17, 2011

Okay, not that much has happened since my last update. Went to sleep, had a fire alarm in the middle of the night, overslept because I set my ipod alarm for the wrong day (stupid interface, grr,) and went to volunteer up at Ten Forward, where I mostly just looked for make-work because the guy in charge was oversleeping too.

A few thins from yesterday evening that I didn’t mention in the last update. The constellations awards ceremony was great – funny, and a touching moment when Jewel Staite presented Adam Baldwin with the award for best male actor in a tv show. It also ran long by about half an hour, which means that I didn’t get to see much of the costume masquerade before having to head down to the Geek-off.

Today, I’ve got scheduled:

  • A two-hour science fiction ‘writing workshop’ with Julie Czerneda.
  • Lunch, not at the buffet, (but possibly the same restaurant, just ordering off the menu.
  • Meeting with two other writers from the Ad Astra critique circle sign-up list – the first meeting that we’ve been able to organize!
  • Jewel Staite’s Q&A, and getting a new autograph from her.
  • A few more ‘potluck panels.’
  • And the Geek-off championships, where I don’t have high hopes, and will not be playing out of my own universe.
Then my brother should be picking me up for the ride back to Hamilton.
Before any of the things on that list, I’ll need to pack up and check out of the room, so I should post now and get packing! Talk to you again soon

Polaris 2011 – Day Two!

July 16, 2011

Had a great day at the convention today, and it isn’t over – there’s still the Constellation awards this evening, and the costume masquerade, and the Whedonverse geek-off. Actually, the masquerade and the geek-off overlap, so I won’t be able to see the end of the masquerade, but that’s just the way it has to be.

But, let’s see, the highlights so far:

  • I volunteered setting up the autograph room, first thing in the morning. That was really pretty cool, and I’ve signed up for some morning set-up as a volunteer again for tomorrow at 8 am.
  • Great Q&A sessions with Armin Shimerman and Adam Baldwin.
  • Getting autographs from both of the above gentlemen, plus Melinda Clarke.
  • Got my picture taken with Adam, and still need to actually pick up the photo print.
I didn’t go to too many panels – and twice I got to one really late, found that it was way too full, standing room only, so I went to find an alternate panel and really had a good time. The first time, this morning, it was after volunteering, because I decided to stay later than I’d planned to make a full hour on my volunteer timesheet, and the Doctor Who panel was really full, so I went to the Chuck panel, which was lots of fun.
This afternoon, a similar thing happened, when I stayed in the Adam Baldwin Q&A after the hour, because he was late arriving on account of a long autograph line. This time, it was a panel on worldbuilding and writing that had no room – so I went to a Doctor who panel about picking where in space and time you’d like to travel.
I’m also a little sorry that I got the Sheraton convention meal plan, because it’s meant that I needed to eat three times from the restaurant buffet today. The breakfast buffet was pretty good – it had pancakes, maple syrup, bacon, and milk, which is all you really need to keep me happy in the morning – and granny smith apples too for bonus. But I was not really impressed with the buffet selection for lunch or dinner, though I managed to find some things to fill up on.
Wish you were all here! You’d have a blast, I rather suspect.
UPDATE: Yes, I am the undisputed Polaris Toronto ultimate Whedonverse geek, and proud of it, whoo-hoo! I’ll leave you with the final tie-breaker question: “Who took Inara to the shindig on Persephone?”

Making travel plans

June 1, 2011

I’ve been doing a lot of travel planning over the past few weeks, and the anticipation can be almost as much fun as the actual travelling. (It can also be a bit frustrating.)

  • There’s the big trip, of course, to Lawrence, Kansas for the CSSF workshop, last week of June and first week of July.
  • Dragon*Con 2011, Labor day weekend in Atlanta!
  • Fan Expo 2011, the week before in Toronto. Going up to Toronto for a day or an evening doesn’t really count as a trip on the same level as flying to the states, but when I’m booking a hotel room in the city for the weekend, then I tend to count it.
  • And, I’ve just made the arrangements to go back to San Francisco in November, to attend the Night of Writing Dangerously for my third straight year!
I’m planning to go to Polaris as well, wouldn’t miss my chance to go and see Adam Baldwin, but haven’t actually booked the ticket or the hotel yet. I’ll need to do that soon, as the online ticket sales deadline is in just a few days.
And I think that when all of that is done, I’ll still have some vacation time left, because my boss confirmed that I qualify for four weeks off this year. Where else should I go – any ideas?

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