Balticon 42, Hunt Valley, Maryland

Balticon LogoPaul and I will be at Balticon this weekend. We’ve just got a few more things to do before loading up the car with our bag of clothes and toiletries, then the bags of electronic equipment (laptops, router, wireless cards, phone rechargers, camera recharger, cables for all activities), a small bag of snacks, and my knitting bag.

I remember when my son was a baby there was one bag for me and about 5 for him to go anywhere for a weekend. Now it’s one bag for us and multiple cases and bags for the electronics. I’m looking forward to a day when everything is built in. I can’t really use a PDA for much other than a calendar — sorry but my eyes need to be able to see the itty bitty screen in order to do anything more than that. We tested out a sub-compact laptop once and it was really nice except that it had to be plugged in all the time (battery life was about an hour — maybe two if you were really, really cautious). So, I’m always wondering when things will get better for those of us who travel to conventions and want/have to write up reports each night from a hotel room. {start rant: Of course, if we paid the exorbitant rates for daily connectivity in the hotel we could pare down some of the weight but the weekend would cost almost as much as the monthly charge we pay for our service which we can travel with — so no thanks, I don’t like to give in to people/businesses that are just looking for more charges to spring on the customers. end rant}.

So, hopefully, we’ll be posting daily reports about what we see, hear, and listen to at the convention this weekend. Posts will be at the usual unknown spontaneous schedule — so keep checking back.

UPDATE:

We’re here. An hour and a half drive and we arrived about 7PM. Got our room. Moved in our bags and stuff. Set up the electronics. Then found registration, stopping a few time on the way to say hi to old friends and new. Got our badges — stopped to schmooze with a few more people and then managed to make it to opening ceremonies.

Connie Willis is one of the Guests of Honor. She mentioned that she’s from Greeley and that she’d heard that her family is safe — no damage from the tornadoes. Luckily she heard from them after she deplaned and before getting phone calls from others asking if her family was okay. Instant communication is a wonderful thing when things happen in the right order.

They announced the other guests of honor, who chose to just stand and wave rather than talk.

    Artist Guest of Honor: John Jude Palencar
    Music Guest of Honor: Urban Tapestry
    Ghost Guest of Honor: Douglas Adams (the Pangalactic Gargle Blaster & towel waved)

The 2007 Compton Crook Award Winner (Naomi Novik) announced the 2008 Compton Crook Award Winner Mark Van Name.
Then we had a short video presentation for the Singularity presentation on Sunday at noon, a filk song (preview of the 9PM performer), and some belly dancing–Kallisti Tribal (who were very good but a bit long — 4 musical numbers).Kallisti Tribal Belly Dancers

After the Opening Ceremonies, we stopped into the Meet and Greet party in the Con Suite following the rumor of Chocolate Cake. Yes, there was Chocolate Cake and also lots of other nice goodies including fruit, vegetables, chips, crackers, cheese and — best of all for me — coffee. We took some photos of a few hall costumes, talked to some friends, and since Connie was encircled moved on to the 1984 party.Starfleet Schoolgirl Hall Costume

The 1984 party (hosted by Bill Lawhorn and Cathy Green) was well attended and set up in two adjoining rooms keeping the hard liquor separate from the soft drinks so that minors were only allowed into the soft drink area. Everyone was talkative and friendly. There were party favors depending on what you rolled on dice — you were, depending on what you rolled an Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta, or Epsilon. A nice theme that worked out well and got people talking.Indiana Jones Hall Costume

We later moved to another party and caught up on other friends we hadn’t seen for a while. Laura Anne Gilman actually had an Asus Eee PC. I’d been seriously considering one of these for travel and after seeing the one she had, I’m sold on their utility. It’s light (about 2.5 pounds with battery) and with the capability that is needed when traveling and a good size that fits in a purse comfortably. She did a quick demo for several of us and Asus just may have some more customers now that we’ve touched it and seen it in action — nice screen too.

Then, wearily, we managed to find out room. This hotel is more like a AD&D maze than a hotel at times, with corridors that seem to go on forever in some Escheresque manner. Having found our room and written the post for today — that bed is looking awfully comfy. So, good night and more tomorrow.