On the other hand, sharkins got her van fixed rapidly enough to come down for the day, and I did make it to the absolute musts like the Talebones Live readings and the Goth House tea. I also managed to figure out (in time to attend, yes!) that the panel Greg Bear Introduces the Science Fiction Experience was about the museum, not about "welcome to fandom, please keep important limbs inside the vehicle."
The Goth House tea party was a success, thanks especially to the lovely Windy Lewis of Morbid Tendencies and her lovely silver service. She was saying that she used to travel with a full kit, but could never find anyone who shared her love of tea parties, so she gave it up. The mind boggles, but there it is. However, the event yesterday managed to drag enough folks out from under the tea cozy, so to speak, that I think we may see a repetition in the future. In terms of marketing I believe Julie made a few transactions, and each little drop of publicity helps.
The Talebones Live event was a kick in the pants. rimrunner and her Clarion West class were there in force supporting Diana Sherman (aka zellandyne I belatedly discover, following a google to check spelling) who gave a stunning re-telling of Cupid & Psyche. If that's how she reads when her voice is going, she must lay the room out flat when she's in full fettle! Julie read one of the intersticial "fairy tales" from her novel; it's undergone a few more evolutions and I thought it stood on its own quite well. The room seemed in concert with my opinion - there was that lovely not-quite-noise of people breathing again after the final sentence. Frank Wu gave a presentation on the correlation between tornados and trailer parks (oh yes, and camcorders) that should revolutionize meteorological informatics, and I was delighted to discover James C. Glass has more work on the way, from which he read us an excerpt. He is the author of Shanji, and I serendipitously discovered him while waiting for a Connie Willis reading a few years back. I enjoy being read to, so to beat the crowd for the later, certain-to-be-packed Willis event I simply staked out my spot in the room a few slots earlier, one of which had been assigned to Mr. Glass. The snippet he read caught my imagination enough that I went by the dealers room later and bought the book. I find the voice of his works oddly personable; last night, for example, the viewpoint character for his piece was a four-year-old boy. Not someone I would expect to feel instant simpatico with - yet the child was well enough drawn that I did.
The later evening was cut short for me as I started feeling poorly, and I eventually came home with Ulysses and Carol after Julie and Paul very kindly let me rest in their room. Something about beer doesn't agree with me, and I made the mistake of having a few sips before the reading, alas. Even with that, though, the only real negative of the day was the disheartening discovery that Hugh Gregory is still able to scam his way onto convention guest lists. I went to see a presentation on the International Space Station given by Louise Kleba, an actual rocket scientist, out of Kennedy Space Center - she described herself as a Flight Crew Representative, which as I apprehend basically means she is in charge of making sure the equipment fits the crew, and vice versa. It's a hands-on job, because the vast majority of the astronaut's gear is still custom designed and individually fitted - we're not exactly in the mass-market, buy your EVA suit off the rack at WalMart stage quite yet. So here she was, trying to make a multi-media presentation, and having trouble with the audio, and he would not shut up. He was doing his damnedest to make it seem like he was a co-presenter, except of course when his natural sexism and love of being patronizing came into play. She finally directly shushed him about two nanoseconds before I went ballistic - this was only after thrice saying that since she could only get the audio to function unamplified, it would be difficult to hear but that the astronauts were really quite proud of the soundtrack and presentation they'd made, and really wanted her to play it for us. It's bad enough when the show-offs at science panels actually know what they are talking about, but he plays that oh-so-clever shirttails confidence game of trying to keep his comments just on the edges of what people know, so that when he starts throwing numbers and acronyms around it looks like he's got this vast expertise. Things like offering spurious and unasked for commentary incorporating a few buzz words, or asking picky little detail questions about the Russian station components... I'm not sure why he annoys me so much more than any other clueless boob trying to impress people with knowledge they don't have, except perhaps that he's good enough at it that he gets invited as a guest when other worthier lights are passed over. That and he's just a patronizing asshole. "You're a bundle o' information, lady" he told the presenter at one point, when she apologized for sort of skimming through her material, and he chucklingly offered to send her some notes on the number of docking apertures on the Russian main station component after she confessed that, not having taken a trip to Russian lately, she didn't know the exact answer. His attitude reeks of "heh heh little lady - isn't that cute. Sure, you've got a Ph.D., but I've got a penis!" I saw him pontificating later to a group of adoring sycophants, pipe in hand. Gah.
Today - I may just sit today out, I'm quite tired still. Need to get in touch with some folks to see where they disappeared to, and there are a couple of readings I'd not mind seeing, but I keep nodding off...