Jay Lake (jaylake) wrote,
Jay Lake

[conventions] RadCon report, and travel

Had a brilliant weekend with calendula_witch at RadCon. Between the vagaries of Con schedule, driving time, and our respective travel schedules, I'm behind on posting.

calendula_witch arrived on Thursday morning. After a tour of the bachelor squalor of Nuevo Rancho Lake, we lit out for Pasco, WA for the convention. It was an ok drive, though the trip ran into the cold dark. Had a simple, quiet evening there, then Friday morning we got in some gym and writing time before heading out in a group for the tour of the Whole Body Count Facility, a/k/a In Vivo Radioassay.

jens_fire, radconbob and casacorona at lunch on the way to the Whole Body Count Facility.

Atomic pretzel at lunch

That was a fascinatingly weird piece of technology which combined a certain roughcut steampunk elegance with WWII components, the Big Science air of the 1950s, lead bricks, dentist chairs piped for liquid nitrogen, and radioactive human remains stored onsite for baselining purposes. I'll post a photoessay with some more explanations later, but calendula_witch touched on it here.

calendula_witch at the Whole Body Count Facility

Friday evening the convention swung into gear, with my usual toastmasterly duties in play. In this case, that mostly amounts to being RadCon Bob's shill for the annual Prank, though there were some other highly entertaining (to me, at least) moments. That was followed by a rough and tumble forty minutes of improv comedy with I won't even try to describe, except to note that it was stunningly exhausting. And davidlevine is brilliant at improv. And spencimusprime kissed me on stage. We had an otherwise pretty light schedule that night, so we were off to the Shimmerzine party, then wound up having a quiet evening with kenscholes and jens_fire in our room.

kenscholes and jens_fire, with twins on board

Saturday boxed up a lot harder, but we still made it to the gym and calendula_witch got her word count in, while I chased stuff for my reading later. We had an editorial luncheon with casacorona, kenscholes and jens_fire, which was delightful company with decent Mexican food, though some serious fails on getting the kind of restaurant we wanted, as well the transportation we needed. I bowled through my reading, through a dead panel on SF as a tool for social change, and through a hilarious panel with jens_fire, mikigarrison, cscole, and Eve Gordon on the hazards of being a beautiful woman at an SF convention. (I was Exhibit A under "Hazards".) cscole brought a tiara for me to wear, and spencimusprime filled in for me at the end when I needed to exit early to prep for my role as MC of the masquerade.

Me, being a hazard to beautiful women.

Beautiful women cscole and calendula_witch.

Post-masquerade we wound up at the small press party, where poor behavior on all our parts was heavily documented on film and video. Somehow, yet again, kenscholes and jens_fire were involved with me and calendula_witch, along with criada, frabjouslinz, scarlettina and a rotating cast of others. Eventually we peeled out and went down to the dance, where I think I sprained my entire body.

Con Chair Laura

Bruce Taylor, Mr. Magic Realism




spencimusprime with Marta and the killer rabbit

Andrea of Blue Falcon Editing

Crawling from the wreckage Sunday morning, I pinch-hit for both kenscholes and jens_fire on the GoH interview, as they had to leave for the funeral of kenscholes' dad. I sat with GoHs casacorona and anghara while they essentially interviewed themselves about how they got into (respectively) editing and writing, their backgrounds growing up, and so forth. calendula_witch was back in the room writing (she's mid-novel, I'm between novels), so she missed a few bons mots.


Our departure after the interview was significantly hampered by the fact that the Genre car's battery had died whilst it sat in the parking lot over the weekend. radconbob, who already had my undying friendship, came out in the wet, fast snowfall and jumped us. I think he earned calendula_witch's undying friendship as well for that.

Hero of the Revolution radconbob

Despite the rough start, we had a nice drive back to Portland, during which we saw a bald eagle up very close sitting on a rock by the highway. We went to tillyjane's house for a family dinner, with the_child, lillypond, her boyfriend, the Niece and mom and dad in attendance. After that back to Nuevo Rancho Lake to discover the heat had quit working sometime over the previous few days, which made Sunday night and Monday morning kind of a challenge.


Fail number three happened this morning at the airport, where calendula_witch's plane was several hours delayed, and mine delayed about half an hour. Our scheduled departures were staggered, so I was able to keep her company almost the whole time. We saw a couple dancing very beautifully in an empty gate area, each sharing one earbud of a digital music player as they swept each other around.

Dancing couple

Somehow that silent, private footwork right in the midst of a busy airport seems an apropos metaphor for life these days — on stage with a live mic at RadCon, blogging my adventures and misadventures here, putting my words out on printed pages and glowing screens to be enjoyed and reviled.


Anyway, calendula_witch is back to the Bay Area, I'm on my way to Omaha, and it was one of the more delightful weekends of my life. Next Con appearance: we'll both be at Potlatch come the end of the month. See some, all or none of you there.

Originally published at jlake.com.

Tags: calendula, conventions, omaha, portland, travel

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