I love WorldCon. These are my people.
Melissa and I arrived late Tuesday night, and went straight to bed. We got up early Wednesday morning, went downstairs, and had breakfast at the hotel. Then, it was off on a brisk walk to the convention center for registration.
We arrived relatively early. The doors weren’t open yet, but a line had already formed. Once inside, we had our badges and goodie bags in short order. We were lucky. Shortly after we wandered away from registration, someone announced that registration had a three hour delay.
The first event we took part in was the blood drive. Again, Melissa and I showed up early so we wouldn’t have to wait too long. We talked with the people running the blood mobile, and found out that they expected about 25 to 30 people. It turned out that they had 25 people before they even opened the doors.
Melissa was first in to donate, and I was second. I give blood frequently, but this time, I agreed to do something different. I knew about giving platelets, which I’ve never done. This was like that, only they were taking red blood cells and putting my plasma back in me. That way, they could effectively get two units from me. They take twice the red blood cells, and the recovery is twice as long.
It felt strange. The withdrawal of the blood was normal enough, but part way through, the machine changed direction of the flow, and I could see fluids pumped back into me. The plasma and saline was room temperature, which meant that it was comparatively cold going into my arm. I’m not sure I’ve ever felt my circulatory system before. The process changed course twice more before it was done.
I’m glad to give blood. The only drawback this time was that it went a little longer than I expected, and I wound up missing the first panel I wanted to attend.
Melissa and I shambled away from the vampires. We made our way back upstairs to the dealer room and looked at all the goodies. Unlike some conventions I’ve been to, a map is posted, with a list of the different vendors. We didn’t make use of the map or list, but it was nice to see it there.
We looked at books and shirts and costumes. We spoke with David Malki. He even seemed to vaguely remember me from Reno and Chicago. We picked up some surprises for the kids. They don’t read my blog, but on the off-chance that they decide to check it out this one time, I won’t spoil their surprise and say what it is. But the gifts are absolutely perfect, and they’re going to love them.
We eventually made our way downstairs to the ballroom, for the opening ceremonies. Again, we arrived nice and early, and we were able to get good seats.
Opening ceremonies began with a native American storyteller (whose name I cannot remember), blessing the convention with a song. He then told a few stories, talking about how there is something to learn from every story. He talked about how there are truths in the head, and there are truths that are in the heart. His stories spoke to those truths in the heart. He also spoke about the importance of verbal storytelling. I thought of Michael and knew that he would approve. It’s a real shame Michael couldn’t attend this WorldCon. I know it’s tearing him up that he can’t be here, because he loves this event as much or more than I do.
After opening ceremonies, there was a procession that lead out to the park area behind the convention center, near the river. Men and women from the SCA were on display, dueling. Someone was flying a drone. There was a booth for face painting, some tables for convention bids, and a good number of people simply mingling. There was also ice cream. Melissa and I each acquired a cone.
Smoke from all the fires in the surrounding areas choked the sky, and dimmed the sun to a smoldering red. It made for a beautiful and terrible sight.
At 7PM, Melissa and I went into our first proper panel, which was about critiques and writer groups. I had been looking forward to it especially, both for the subject matter (which, honestly, I was already familiar with) and because Jennifer Carson was one of the panelists. I’ll write up detailed notes about the panel later.
Then it was off to the con parties!
When arranging our hotel, I wanted to make sure that we were in the same hotel as the parties, so that when I needed to go to bed, I didn’t have to go very far. The sasquan web site mentioned that the parties were at the Davenport, so I made sure that we had rooms there. Unfortunately, there are multiple Davenport hotels. Our room is at the Tower, but most of the parties were actually at the Davenport Historic. The Historic is really close to the Tower, fortunately, so it wasn’t too bad.
After giving blood, and then staying on our feet most of the day, Melissa and I were both exhausted pretty early. We only visited a couple of parties before we called it quits and headed back to our room. We were in bed before 11.
This WorldCon looks to be every bit as splendid as the ones I’ve attended previously. It’s not the same without Michael, but Melissa is here with me, and we’re having a really great time so far.