Con Day 2

Phillip and I went to a private party last night. Before the convention started, we had to RSVP with our full, legal names. Then, at the door last night, we had to present photo ID, which was checked against the guest list. This was a new thing, compared with convention parties of previous years, when just a photo ID was enough.

I’m reporting this as someone with a little more knowledge than an outsider, but less than an insider. Phillip tells me that the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board is reducing the number of parties allowed at NorWesCon, and placing further restrictions (like the guest list last night) on the parties it does allow.

I don’t know, yet, what this means for the open parties.

Anyway, it was a terrific party last night.

Yesterday, about the time I was thinking about lunch, I realized that I hadn’t seen anything in the Guidebook about Hospitality’s free meals. Out of curiosity, I went looking for the Hospitality dining room, but couldn’t find it. Phillip tells me that the hotel will no longer allow it, as it competes with the hotel’s restaurants and cafes. That’s a shame, but I certainly can’t argue with the logic.

After 41 years in operation, I’m sure NorWesCon has gone through many, many changes.

Last night, before we went to bed, I set an alarm for 8:00 on my phone, so Phillip could get to his convention duties on time.

The alarm went off, I got up, but Phillip wanted to sleep in a little longer. I played around a bit on the laptop, but kept all of the lights off in our hotel room. After a while, Phillip’s voice asked me what time it was. I look at the laptop’s taskbar. It said it was 6:23. Our laptop is dying a slow death, so it didn’t surprise me that the time was off. I looked at the clock provided by the hotel. It, too, said 6:23.

I then realized that today is a weekday, and all the weekday alarms on my phone – the ones to get us out the door and off to work – were still active. I turned off all of the alarms except the one for 8:00, and went back to bed.

This morning, I went to a book reading by Tina Connolly. She was reading with guest author Curtis C. Chen. They read from her book-in-progress that had started out as a play, then was turned into a novel, then turned back into a play. It was a lot of fun.

After the reading, I wandered around the convention, got some lunch, and ran into Phillip in the art show.

I returned to our hotel room to relax a bit, and start on this blog post. Phillip came in as I was writing. Then the Guidebook app notified me that an event I was interested in was coming up.

I went to a panel discussion on Distopian Biology. It was interesting.

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Right after the panel discussion, I started walking to a book reading by Kat Richardson. Before I got there, however, some little kid stopped me to ask if I wanted to earn one of the ribbons he had in his hand. (I’m guessing he saw the ten ribbons I’d already collected on my con badge.) OK, I said, what do I have to do for it? He led me into a room full of computers and large-screen monitors.

I found myself being talked into playing a spaceship bridge simulator called Artemis. I took a seat at the Weapons station. On my right was Science, and to Science’s right was communications. To my left was Helm. I wasn’t sure who was on Helm’s left. We each had computers with task-specific displays. In front of us was a display screen showing various types of information, along with status bars and lights on the wall.

In the back of the room was another ship’s crew.

I eventually figured out that we were basically doing computerized role-play.

I had no idea what I was doing, at first, but it wasn’t hard to figure out. I made plenty of mistakes, but the Captain was very forgiving.

We were fighting a fleet of bad guys who were attacking our space stations. At one point, the other ship docked at a space station and the crew went on an away mission – they walked out of the room and went to another part of the hotel.

It was all very well done, and a whole lot of fun. We won the simulation, and our space stations survived. It lasted an hour.

After flying with the crew of the Artemis, I went to a book reading by Brenda Cooper, which became a political discussion. (Granted, it was a politically-charged book.)

I’d posted a photo of my badge ribbons on social media, and a friend compared them to Mardi Gras beads. I think that’s a very good comparison.

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