Minicon 35: In Pictures and Words.

Note: this is the first convention report of my life. If I fail to follow any of the conventions of such things, I'm sorry. If I misspell anyone's name, I'm really sorry. Comments are welcome, of course, mail them to Erik V. Olson. Particularly clever ones may appear at the bottom, inline with the text in some weird format, or on another page if enough of them come along. Complaints can be mailed to the usual address, 1060 W. Addison, Chicago, IL 60613.

All text and photographs that appear on this page are Copyright ©2000 Erik V. Olson, all rights reserved. Sorry about the legal implications of that, but the world is a funny place. This page was laid out with, Roscoe forgive, FrontPage. Then the HTML was taken to a real editor, and all the garbage was cut out, but FrontPage's spellchecker works better than ispell, and FrontPage actually clearly documents captioning in tables, which came in handy. Finally, the WWW Consortium's "Tidy" utility was used to make sure I'm writing real HTML. The publisher would like to thank Misha and Cowcat for annoyances and generally BOFHly behavior.

April 2000 brought me to my first Minicon. I had a wonderful time. Of the five cons I've been to since returning to fandom in October of 1999, this was, by far, the most personally enjoyable one. From Thursday afternoon and my first encounter with Teresa and Patrick Nielsen Hayden, to Monday morning, having a chat with Doug Faunt before catching a cab to the airport, it was a very enjoyable time. It was, of course, very long and tiring, as working conventions tends to be. Worth it, I've just sent in my membership form for Minicon 36.

Photographic notes. If you are not into minor technical details, skip this paragraph. Most of the photos below were taken with a Yashica T-4 Super point and shoot 35mm camera, with a fixed 35mm f/3.5 lens. It's a wonderful lens, and a good solid small camera, very easy to carry, and quiet. Sometimes, however, I regretted not carrying the Minolta 600si with the 50mm f/1.8 lens instead -- when you aren't using a flash, the extra 2 stops of light between 1.8 and 3.5 is a huge help. Next time I shoot a con by available light, I'm carrying the bigger camera to get the larger aperture.

Thursday: Arrival and Setup

Doug Wickstrom.
Doug Wickstrom, looking pensive as we wait for the pocket program collation to begin

A bright and sunny day in Saint Louis rapidly turns into a miserable fight into Minneapolis, as we are invited to fly laps for about 30 minutes, until the airport is ready to let us land. The flight ghods soon smile, and we land just a little later than we should, and a quick cab ride gets us to the Hilton. Bad flying weather would bedevil programming for the first day, and cost the convention Vicki Rosenzweig, who I was looking forward to meeting.

After check-in, I run about the convention areas and try to get the lay of the land. Large layout, with a main ballroom cut into five parts, several small rooms across from that, and four larger program rooms downstairs. It would be perfect, if there was a set of stairs on both sides of the floor. In between, a large area that the con had thoughtfully put several large round tables, and lots of chairs. The foyer became, in retrospect, the biggest focal area of the convention. Nothing else to see, yet, so I run around the skyways until I find the two essential stores I need during a convention -- a drugstore and a coffee shop. Both prove adequate, so I stock up on coffee and head back to watch for the one person I know by sight here -- Doug Wickstrom. Turns out that I won't find him until much later that evening. I'm saved, however, by the grace of Ghu and my RedHat™ Red Hat.

The first Minicon committee members I meet are Patrick and Teresa Nielsen Hayden, a good thing, since I'm working for Teresa all weekend. The hat pays off, allowing Teresa to spot me from a distance. We go to dinner, along with a couple of Minicon committee members whose names I miss, and converse on various subject, including the Civil War, fannish diatribes, and the unholy alliance of Morton Thiokol and Oscar Meyer that lead to the Sausage Rocket at Capricon. But I digress.

After dinner, things are really starting to hop. I finally met Geri Sullivan, at a distance. Then, the names starting matching with faces at a rapid pace. Lenny Bailes is fiddling with a guitar, apparently having trouble with tuning. Patrick rushes to the rescue. Lenny turns out to have a fair amount of talent as well. Rachael Lininger puts in an appearance, arriving with the souvenir program books, which look great. Rachael looks zonked, later, I found out she'd spent two straight days doing layout (Doug Wickstrom corrects me here, telling me the two days of layout happened some time earlier.). Stellar job, but Rachael soon crawls upstairs. Seth Breidbart appears next, a sysadmin of world renown. We spend our time talking shop. Not computers, we talk about our jobs away from job -- sound reinforcement, and great shows we have seen.Other denizens of rec.arts.sf.fandom step in and out of my view, but I don't realize until the next day, when I can match faces to names. No big deal. Doug and I discuss various things, mostly Akvavit, waiting for the great Pocket Program Collation Concern to form. I briefly talk to Teresa Nielsen Hayden about various things, when somebody shows her a book, and says "do you know what this is?" To me, it's a flower. Teresa, however, rattles off the Latin name, and runs off to a horticultural neep. It hits eleven, and still no programs, but we do see the program grids come out. Finally at about 11:30 p.m, the Ricoh copyprinter rolls out. Turns out things have slipped, and they haven't had a chance to even start. I end up helping to print pocket programs, and with a couple of hints from Jeff Schalles and Teresa Nielsen Hayden, I think I do all right. Another Doug, whose last name I forget, and I get 500 copies printed, and the collation gang gets 200 stapled, before I call it a day (and night), and slink off to bed at 3:00 a.m.

Friday: Minicon Day 1.

The first official day of the convention dawns. Sensibly enough, I ignore the event (do you know when sunrise happens in Minneapolis this time of year? Just about ten minutes after 6 a.m.), and sleep till 8 a.m., thus fulfilling the Passovy rule section on sleep.[1] Wake up, gear up, and head down to the hotel lobby for breakfast. Now, I'm not a big fan of hotel food. Overpriced and generally only adequate in taste. However, at 8:30 in the morning, my sense of taste is dull, and a breakfast buffet is a great place to load up on fuel for the day. Looking back at the conventions I've gone to, which includes before and after the Great Gafiation, I realize that the one thing I've never done at a convention is eat lunch. So, my goal here is simple -- load up enough fuel to make it to dinner, and enough coffee to recapitulate phylogeny, or at least to remember how to spell my own name. The service is decent-apparently, my waiter has a serious hearing impediment, which retards him not one whit from getting me my meal. I've heard complaints about the service (and the night before was slow, but that made the conversation last longer, ah ha!) but this gentleman did his job, and well. I mention this only as a accolade to him.

Patrick and Teresa Nielsen Hayden
Patrick and Teresa Nielsen Hayden, in program ops. Note that Teresa is wearing a pager and a knife. Good combination.

The night before, Teresa had mentioned where program ops was going to be, so I headed on over. There I found the aforementioned Nielsen Haydens along with a couple of Olsons. Since I'm an Olson, I found this a pleasant surprise. Turns out, of course, that they are Mark L. and Priscilla Olson, fannish legends. My last encounter with Mark had been at Noreascon 3, back in 1989, so it was nice to find a link, however tenuous, between my old and new fannish selves.

Programming rapidly took on a Northeasterly slant, as Jim Mann walked in for a shift. Other NESFen to show up were Anthony Lewis, Tom Whitmore, Sharon Sbarsky (another net voice met!) and Tim Szczesuil.

DDB & Tom Whitmore
David Dyer-Bennet and Tom Whitmore. What's on the CD is anyone's guess.

It's an amazing sight to watch professionals at work. I've worked a fair number of conventions, from "tote and haul" gopher to co-chair of a small regional. I've even staffed a Worldcon. These folks, however, had programming down cold. Badge tags, table tents, overviews -- done and done by Friday noon. Slick. It'll be years, if ever, before I learn half of what these folks know about programming.

The technical part was easy. First of all, it's something I do for a living, so, for once, I was the ace. More importantly, however, Minicon had downsized. Most of my tech work was helping Jerry Stearns and company set up for the Mark Time ceremonies. Other than that, I used a grand total of 1 mic and 2 cords the whole weekend, along with a slide projector and table provided by David Dyer-Bennet.

Geri Sullivan, opening ceremonies.
Geri Sullivan, Convention Chair, at opening ceremonies. Note blimps in background. Note that Geri's wide awake. Must be the first day.

I was also put in charge of the Minicon Air Force. This turned out to be a bunch of radio controlled blimps, in bad shape, and six brand new UFO blimps for them, provided by Teresa. There were several problems. Only one of the motors for the blimps worked, and the UFO balloons wouldn't lift them. No problem. I did get one blimp flying. The rest, we merely filled with helium and anchored to the floor, spreading them along the entire wall at the front of the hall. I was to fly the one working blimp.

I ran upstairs to get my other camera (and I wasn't moving very fast, since I was down 3 hours of sleep.) I get back, the hall is full, and someone is flying the blimp. It turns out to be Jon Singer, noted fan and hot-sauce gourmet. I decide that if anyone is going to fly blimps for me, Jon Singer is just about the best choice, if only for the legend generating factor. As it happens, though, the leakage of helium between the 5:00 p.m. test and the 7:00 p.m. live fly was enough to throw the balance off, and the flight had to be curtailed after a short time. I'm going to try and find some higher quality radio control blimps for Minicon 36. However, the masses of blimps and UFOs hovering around the hall did add a certain flavor to the proceedings. Opening ceremonies were short, as such things go, and we rapidly made way for Ask Doctor Mike.

Brains, three for a dollar!
A remarkably poor photo, other than the fact that Rachael is holding three brains, which are tied to a balloon. Sort of charming, that.

Those of you who have never been to Minicon may not be familiar with Ask Doctor Mike. Doctor Mike is John M. Ford, noted author and the man responsible for the large numbers of Klingons you see running about conventions these days. You see, he wrote this book in the Star Trek universe, The Final Reflection, which was written from the Klingon perspective, and was the first time in the Star Trek canon that the Klingons were treated as anything other that simple Soviet Russia Communists, fit only to be hated by all freedom loving people. Soon afterward, about half of the fans running around in Star Trek uniforms started running around in Klingon costumes instead -- an improvement, I guess.

Well, Mr. Ford, excuse me, I mean Dr. Mike, is a man very fast on his feet. He'll answer any question asked by the audience. He even answered on question seriously, causing quite a consternation in the audience. Dr. Mike is an improv "scientist" of much skill and renown, and I highly, highly recommend you go to Minicon and see him work.

After Ask Dr. Mike, it is time for the Mark Time Awards, but I wander away. This, for me, can be typical -- I'd spent a fair amount of time helping with the sound gear, I was tired, and I knew it would be a late night, so I went somewhere (I can't remember where), got some food (ditto), and then went up to the RASFF party.

Lydia, about to be gifted
Lydia Nickerson, hold what turned out to be 1/30th of her birthday present. The caption on the wrapping says "Guess What? The world does revolve around you!"

Here was the real reason I had come to Minneapolis for a convention. It wasn't that I'd have fun. It wasn't that I was working with the convention (that came later.) It was that many of the folks I'd chatted with, laughed with, poked at, gotten grumpy with, and on occasion, spilled parts of my heart to were going to be there. Everything else, as they say, was gravy. So I head upstairs, somewhat nervously, and walked into Suite 2136, tonight, home-away-from-home for rec.arts.sf.fandom.

I'll admit, I was somewhat scared. Some of the people that I knew would be in that room flat out left me in awe. Fortunately, Doug Wickstrom put things in perspective. He looked up, waved me to a chair at the table, flipped a cup out of a stack and poured me a large slug of Aalborg Jubilæums Akvavit. "Sip Slowly" he says, "It's too large a pour to throw back." I sip, he smiles, and things are better. Folks start wandering in, and Doug points names to faces. David Owen-Cruise, with a ton [2] of wonderful chocolate. Geri Sullivan's brought a fair number of pickled vegetables, lefsa, and limpa to add a Scandinavian flair. With a name like Erik Olson, I feel right at home. The pickled cauliflower was excellent. Marty Heglesen, Cally Soukup, Jordin and Mary Kay Kare made appearances. I'd always wondered what sort of body could contain the mind that came up with such utterances as "Never a burrower nor a lander be" in reference to the Mars Polar Smasher Lander. He looked normal enough, at first glance, but one look at the twinkle in his eye, and I knew I had found the ne plus ultra of parisonmania. Bob Berlien and Kathy Routliffe walks in and says hi. Kathy offers an incredibly gracious compliment about my postings, which I promptly dismiss with a grumpy comment about my typos. I'm afraid grace isn't my strong suit, and this is my public apology. Sorry, Kathy. You compliment does mean much to me. I'm just too much "man behind the curtain" to take compliments well, though I seemed to do all right with Teresa's comment about running the copyprinter at 2:00 a.m.

Lydia, Gifted. Ouch
Lydia Nickerson, stunned by the magnificence (or perhaps just the weight) of her gift

I walk over to the kitchen of the suite, to see what beers are there. I find a "Summit Porter", which I've never tried, but it looks dark, so I dig out a church key and open it up, when some female voice say "Ohh! Could you get me one of those?" I hand her mine, dig down for another, and look up again, as she's profusely thanking me. She stops, and says "It's you!"

Normally, "It's you!" is a bad thing. Traditionally followed by such utterances at "You're the dirty brother who killed my rat!" This time, however, no member of rattus rattus was harmed. It was Lydia Nickerson, another RASFFen heard from. The suite is starting to get full, and Rachael and Doug Wickstrom (Oops! Doug points out that it wasn't him, it was Rachael and Cally Soukup) hand Lydia her gift. "Look like a book," my well trained giftly eyes comment. She opens the package, and sees Volume 1 of the Encyclopedia Britannica, 11th edition. Wonder fills her eyes, then Rachael rolls up the cart, containing the rest of the set, minus only the index and Volume 3. Lydia literally drops to the floor, totally overwhelmed by this. I'm impressed myself. I don't know the back story, but obviously, this particular edition is of great importance to her.

Brief return to the porter. It is very good, not quite on the level of Samuel Smith's Taddy Porter, but better than Sam Adams Honey Porter, a fine beer itself. Very drinkable, and I work on just that. We now return to our original convention report, now in progress.

Conversation continues. I flit in and out. Priscilla Olson and Mary Kay Kare are talking conventions. Patrick mentions double dactyls, which I had forgotten about. We're heading into another digression here, so bear with me. Doubly dactyls are a strange poetic form. A Dactyl is a word or phrase with a DA-dum-dum phrasing-Convention, Nickerson, that sort of thing. (Actually, three days later, I re-read this, and notice that convention really isn't one. I'm sticking with Nickerson, though.) A double dactyl is two of them. Lydia Nickerson is actually a good one The form is strict. 8 lines, 2 stanza, all double dactyls, except 4 and 8, which follow DA-dum-dum-DA, and must rhyme. Two other kickers. Line 2 should be a proper noun. Line 6 must be one word. A single, double-dactyl word. This is not easy.  But sometimes it works. Patrick's comment on double dactyls lead me back to the form, so in return....

Doubly Dactyly
Nielsen Hayden, both
Patrick, Teresa are
editing folk.

Borders of learning show
Cleverly witty and
Quick with a joke.

-and since the name is to good to pass on...-

Higgledy Piggledy
Lydia Nickerson
Midnorthern Fandom's new
Leader of note.[3]

Graciously clever and
Charming and sensible
Fen will all dote.

That's quite enough of that. Back to the party. David Dyer-Bennet decides that he can rig his digital camera to the projection TV, and almost every geek in the room runs to fiddle with controls to make it work. I stand back, since this is video, a form of geekness that I'm not into, which delights Geri Sullivan immensely. After about 40 minutes, they give up, their mission a failure. There are other parties about, but I don't wander around. I stay with RASFF as long as I can stand [4], then head back to bed. I'm tired, weary with joy, and realize that this was day one of the convention. Sleep.

Saturday: Minicon Day 2.

Arise early again, gear up, breakfast -- same routine as before. Until caffeine strikes, I live very much by rote. Today, I'm helping the Chicon 2000 folk run a sales table, so most of the early day is spent sitting at a table, trying to encourage the passing fan to come to Chicon. This isn't easy. Most of those who would come have already bought memberships. Site selection ballots and the Hugo Award ballots are out, so I spend time handing those out to passerby. We have a bare table, with just a few flyers. At the other end of the row, ConJosé, the 2002 Worldcon, has also set up a table. Bare, of course, with a few flyers. In between, the Boston in 2004 table has a nice blue cloth, pseudo-hologram chocolates and blinking lights. No points for spotting which table is still bidding. Wave hello to a few passing folk, but mostly, this is work. Talk to various folks about Chicon, take some money, et cetera. Mis-set my alarm on my palm, so I missed a tech set at noon, darn it to all heck. Diane Miller Blackwood come to relive me at 2:00 p.m., so it's back to the convention.

That's an antenna!
Well, the receptions great, but you thought they hated cellphones in theaters? Wait till they see the new cell antennas!

Back at program ops, another long and winding discussion of things fannish, interrupted on the hour by Lionel Train Clock Program participants walk in, get table tents, and walk out. Occasionally, I wander about to get more caffeine, or see what else is about. A "quick" trip to the huckster's room results only in Chicon neeping with Bill Roper, one of the Chicon 2000 division heads. I run again into Bill Higgins, Beam Jockey, he points out that the General Technics crew is throwing a shindig upstairs that night, before/after the late panel. I mentally pencil that in for later. In the main ballroom, I find Geri Sullivan tying the blimps to some strange bouncy doll thing, that moves along the ground by bouncing. She's tethered eight of the blimps/UFOs to the thing, but that's not quite enough to get it airborne. However, the bouncing of the creature is setting up some wonderful motions in the stack of balloons. Geri says that there are three more on the ceiling of the ballroom. I steal one blimp, a roll of tape and some string, and quickly retrieve the three blimps from the ceiling. The three added blimps and the required lift, and the bouncing thing flies. This brings much happiness to Geri, who ends up running around with them for most of the day. David Owen-Cruise and I follow, and learn a lesson about the interactions of blimps and escalators. After enjoying the wondrous looks of fen and mundane alike at this writhing mass of helium wonder, I head back to program ops, and then to the Furby dance.

Furby Dance
Hello, Me Oh-Nu-Kahh. Me Alcoholic.
Hi Oh-Nu-Kahh!
(The Furby dance.)

I will be the first to admit that I don't understand Furby. However, that doesn't mean that the sight of 30 Furbies in a circle, with people alternately chanting, beaming secret messages at them with Palm Pilots [5], and beating on drums trying to get the little buggers to dance wasn't interesting. Jeff Schalles, however, is madly trying to get some coordination action out of them, and mostly succeeds. Soon, however, the wonderful action ends, and Furby owners haul tired Furby home to bed. Many batteries were drained in this great scientific pursuit. No Furbies were harmed in the production of this convention report. Except the one that someone had skinned and left to rot on the Bridge. I wondered, was it the hackish nature, causing someone to want to know just what made these things run? Or had some former Furby owner gone mad at the constant drone of Furby-Speak, and decided that ripping the fur off the beast was the only way to get vengeance? I never found out, but I resolved not to annoy Furby owners. One of them, at least, was dangerous.

Tigger and Godzilla!
Damn you Jeff! I told you to lay off the transmogrifier!

After the wonders of quaver automata, I head back to Program Ops. More chatter, more pros, until we get to 6 p.m., and a program break.

This is a wonderful idea, and I'm going to commend whoever at Minicon made it so. Putting a long, well defined break in programming made things like dinner arrangements easy. I ask David Owen-Cruise about getting some real food for dinner, and he says "What about Greek?" I'm game, but initially defer, wanting to find a group. We find a group of RASSFen, but they've already filled their table. David and I make a loop around the third floor, see no one else to join us, and decide to strike out on our own. "Still game for Greek Food?" he asks. "Sure," I reply, and follow him into the Minneapolis evening.

Skyline of Minneapolis
Minneapolis at sunset.

Time for another mea culpa.  I was born in Chicago, which is one of the world's great cities. All I knew about Minneapolis was that it was in the middle of Minnesota. Not promising. I was certain that I would find Minneapolis about as exciting as St. Louis, the city I currently live in, and, if it weren't for a certain set of golden handcuffs, [6]I would be fleeing from at a high rate of speed. One of the better aspects of returning to fandom is that it gets me out of St. Louis on a frequent basis. So, with this in mind, I expect the city to be a drab gray blot in the middle of the state.

I was wrong. Minneapolis is a beautiful city, alive and jumping. Orchestra Hall was a wonder sort of post-modern box, with a fun plaza/fountain right next to it. Minneapolis seemed to miss most of the concrete box architecture that mars the skyline of many American cities. [7]  David and I walk through the street, to a Greek restaurant called Mycanos. David says that it's the second best place for Greek food in the area, and it got a promising write-up in the Hugo Award nominated Minicon 34 Restaurant Guide. So we venture in. It's not crowded, and for Easter, they have racks of lamb. I go with the lamb, David goes with something else. Both are wonderful, and huge. We chat, gnaw at food, and in walks the large RASFF party that we were too late to join. Soft minds run together, I guess. Beth Friedman comes over briefly to chat, and after gnawing off all we could, we confuse the waitress horribly by ordering hummus for desert. We finish, and slowly walk back to the Hilton, ready for the nights parties.

David Dyer-Bennet
Photo of a Photographer. David Dyer-Bennet at the Tor Music Party.

David Owen-Cruise joins me on the party march, until about 11 p.m. He's tired, and just got a new job, so he wants time with his family. I can understand that (and congrats on the new job!), but he is a good party companion to run with. First we try the consuite on the 24th floor. I don't know if I agree with Minicon's three consuite layout, but I didn't think the 24th was a success. First of all, the TV was on. Secondly, the table in the middle blocked access to the soda fountain. Thirdly, the "espresso" machines were sadly unable to keep with the load. I head that the 24th turned into a party on Sunday night, but it seemed to not work when I was there. Rethink needed here -- one of the very few gripes I had with the convention. We make a close pass to the MISFITS party, but the flashing lights and loud industrial music drive us aback and away. What a drag it is getting old. I do wish, however, the younger set would go for less bass and more tonality from music.

We drop a floor to 23 and stop in at the Boston in 2004 party. A quiet party, a few people pre-supporting, a fair amount of chat. We spend a while here, with Seth Briedbart and I doing the anti-spam sysadmin neeping, with an audience. I'd sworn I wouldn't spend any times on computers, but talking Shop with Seth is fun. The only rub is we are fairly aware that our audience is not made up of fellow sysadmins, so we leave finer technical points out. I wave goodbye for a while, since I want to check out the legendary Tor Books party.

Lenny Bailes
Lenny Bailes at some party. Great guy.

When David and I arrive, the Tor party is in full swing. The suites crowded, the conversations loud, and everybody's happy. There's a good amount of quality beer in the Tub. It's a great party, but I leave after about a half hour.

The crowd was getting to me. It happens, on occasion. When I'm not working on solving a problem, my "cope" circuit sometimes fails. So, we head to the General Technics party, just in time to follow the crowd to what would be the great panel of the convention: Kids, Don't Try This At Home. Started at 11:00 and ran over two hours. A big hit. David calls it a night before the panel, and I wander back up the the Boston party.

It's quieter, less crowded, and I spend a great deal of time in enjoyable conversation with the likes of Sharon Sbarsky, Beth Friedman, the NESFA gang mentioned earlier, and others who names I don't catch. I have a couple of Sam Adams beers (natch) and just sort of enjoy things. The conversation with Beth, about our different views on the "Voice of the Cubs." A hint -- for neither of us, it was not Harry Carey, but for both of us, it was a different person.  Baseball neeping at it's finest, as we shared our mutual misery. 2:00 am rolls around again, and once again, to sleep. 

Sunday: Minicon Day 3.

Lydia Nickerson, New President of MnStf
Lydia Nickerson. New lifetime president of MnStf.

Up again, awake, gear up, same as the rest. Down to program ops. Quiet day, everyone's pretty burned out. Spend most of the day working program ops with Jim Mann. There's not much to do, a couple of panels, then closing ceremonies. A simple affair. First, the standard stuff. Geri and Teresa thank everybody. Attendance numbers are announced, almost 800 in residence.

Steven Brust, with Ben Yalow on Phone.
Steven Brust, assassinating the last lifetime president of MnStf with the help of Ben Yalow, calling from Glasgow..

There is someone who thinks 800 fen at Minicon was a crying shame. I thought it was a good number, but a few hundred more would have been better. I heard that the hucksters had a hard time with sales, which is a shame. I never attended the grand Minicons of yore, where attendance was in the 3500 range, but judging by comments made by folks who were there, it was more chaos than convention. I think Minicon now is good convention, with the potential to be a truly awesome 1200-1500 member convention. I will state, here and now, that it is my opinion that any local convention that attracts more than that year after year is in trouble. Worldcons and such can support 5000+ fen year after year, because the committees running them get breaks. When you try to support 3000 fen at a convention year after year, you'll burn out. Period. The Minicon committee has the right idea, and Minicon 35 was a great convention. I hope to see more people there next year, though. I think the Hilton with 1200 fen would be awesome. Hopefully, next year will start the growth arc. We'll see. Finally, Lydia Nickerson is installed as the new MnStf president, Geri calls the convention closed, and we go off to strike.

Strike is as typically chaotic as it always is. Minicon doesn't have a Strike Officers, so co-ordination is a little lacking, but many folks jump up to help out. I pitch in wherever I can, typically following anyone who says "I need help here." Finally, most of the convention is put to bed, and Geri hands me a tank of Helium on a cart and says "follow me." I do so, and in the course of moments, I'm sitting at a table, drinking single-malt scotch, cognac and coffee with the Nielsen Haydens. More conversation, the crowd grows, and I find myself invited to dinner.

Jordin Kare, parsinomanic and capo wielder.
He has a capo, and he knows how to use it.
Jordin Kare, Tor Music Party.

We go to a steak place across the street. Good food, good folks. I could say realms about that meal, but I won't. I'm keeping some things for myself. Back up, and to the Tor Music Party.

What can I say. A circle of musicians. I listened, and took photos, and had a great time. This wasn't a filk party, this was a music party, and there were some wonderfully talented players in the room.

Bob Berlien, Tor Music Party
Bob Berlien, in the middle of a rousing version of "Red Shoes"

I wish I knew more of them. Bob Berlien was playing, but I really had only met him that night. Jordin Kare was there, but he didn't play while I was there. Patrick played, and wonderfully well. Steven Brust add his charms to the evening. I saw most of the RASSFen there at one time or another. I just sat back and let the party happen.

Time passes. I heard the party went till 5:00 a.m., but my convention legs are weaker than the used to be, and I left around 2:30 a.m. A wondrous time, to be sure.



Monday: Homeward Bound.

Teresa Nielsen Hayden
Teresa Nielsen Hayden
Tor Music Party--with fan and knife. That's even more useful.

Not much to say. Slept until 10, which felt wonderful. Packed up all the gear, checked out. Went and grabbed a cup of coffee or three, and sat in the lobby talking to the few fen out and about. Cab home, and an uneventful trip back.

Was it worth it? Yes.

Will I be back? Yes.

And that's about it. I'd like to thank everyone I met. Teresa, for being a wonderful boss. Geri, for taking a chance. Doug for the Akvavit. Beth for the invite to Sushi on Monday, next year, I'll book a later flight. Patrick for reams of wonderful conversations. Marilee for the wonderful pin, which has found a permanent home in my convention hat. And everyone who I missed.

See you next con. 

Erik V. Olson


[1] Passovoy's Rule, also know as the 5-2 rule. Get 5 hours of sleep and 2 meal every day at a convention. Do not flip the two numbers. back

[2] Where 1 Ton equals 3 Pounds. back

[3] Lydia was just enthroned as the new life-time president of MinSTF. Unfortunately, Executive Vice President Steven Brust makes sure that Lifetime = 1 year back

[4] Physically stand, that is. I would have stayed till the cows came home, but lack of sleep was catching up.back

[5] Furbies communicate, apparently, by IR transmissions. Since the Palm has an IR transceiver onboard, it was only a matter of time before someone would Hack Furby. back

[6] Stock Options. They're called golden handcuffs when they vest over time. They promise you money, but you can't leave until they vest. Mine don't vest fully until 2004, or until the company is bought out. Guess what I'm pulling for. back

[7] Including Chicago. back


Patrick Nielsen Hayden weighs in, correcting interesting versions of Brust and Glasgow, and indentifying the mystery CD that David and Tom are holding, it's Lovely in the Dances: The Songs Of Sidney Carter

About three days later, I re-read, and correct a few minor errors, and the use of the word "site" where I wanted "sight." Gaack.

Charles Hitchcock mentions that I forgot to mention, (but followed), the first line nonsense convention of Double Dactyls. He also correct parisonmania, which replaces a nonsense word of my own creation.