tiger_spot: (glare)
I am cleaning off my desk here, and I figured I might as well type up my favorite quotes from this year's FOGcon panels.

The Developing Reality of Intelligent Machines

"Things break all the time, and we just throw more stuff at them." -- Steven Schwartz, on why he's not worried about a machine intelligence apocalypse

"We don't think like us!" -- Effie Seiberg

"Nigerian scams have nothing on what's coming for us." -- Daniel Starr

"The CEOs are getting smarter, and that's scarier!" -- Karen Brenchley

"There is no commercial application of a baby." -- S. B. Divya

"The software on my phone that navigates me from place to place fortunately did not learn by watching me do it." -- Daniel Starr

"And as for the collapse of human civilization -- I don't know, I've seen worse." -- Effie Seiberg

"I don't know what Google is going to do with what they've learned from [AlphaGo], but I'm sure it will be altruistic and not evil at all." -- Karen Brenchley

Donna Haraway's Honored Guest Presentation

"I'm not totally against babies, as long as they're rare and precious. I think a cap-and-trade system would be great." -- Donna Haraway

Sentience, Science Fiction, and Artificial Intelligence

"Play is that which produces something new." -- Donna Haraway

"[Cockroaches] may not be smarter than a Roomba, but they get a lot more done." -- Jim Lutz

"You don't like all your relatives, but you figure out ways not to kill most of them." -- Donna Haraway

Draconic Appreciation Society

"I read a lot of Victorian children's books when I was a Victorian child in the 1960s." -- Jo Walton

"I think that the dragon comes from the concept of snake translated into a culture that likes drawing swirly things." -- Jo Walton
tiger_spot: (sword)
Last night, my friend had ballet tickets for herself, [livejournal.com profile] suzanne, and me. The tickets had come with a parking pass for the garage across the street, so we didn't anticipate any trouble. But when we got there, the entrance we were at was closed for construction, so once this had been communicated to the cars that had pulled in behind us, we all gradually made our way back out and went around to the other entrance, where we joined a long line of waiting vehicles and eventually learned that our parking pass would do us no good because all the available spaces in the garage were full, and they hadn't issued this parking pass in the first place and they were very unhappy with whoever had, because there obviously weren't enough spaces because of the construction, and the nearest other parking the attendant knew of was ::vague wave:: over there.

So we went over there, where we paid $25 for parking (fortunately, one of us had cash), and hurried along to the theater. At this point we were about ten minutes past the start time. "I've never been late to live theater before!" I said. "I wonder what they do?" We were expecting to need to wait in the lobby for a bit, and then perhaps sneak in at intermission. But in fact enough people had been having this exact same problem that they had delayed the start of the show just long enough for us to zip in and find our seats before the house lights went down and the curtain went up. Hurrah!

And it was a lovely show. It started with a traditional pas de deux called "Diana and Acteon" which was very pretty and featured a lot of athletic capering about in the woodland and miming firing arrows, but inexplicably failed to contain any bathing, turning into a deer, or being torn to pieces by dogs. So I'm not sure what it had to do with the title.

The second and third pieces were interesting modern ensemble ballets with complicated lighting effects.

The last piece wins the coveted Creepiest Dance Award. It started before the intermission was properly over -- while the audience was still filing back in, the house lights were up, and the curtain was down, this fellow in a suit came moseying out on stage. "Perhaps this next one needs some explanation," we thought. "Or perhaps they're going to announce some kind of refund of the parking passes?" The guy continued to stand in front of the curtain, then wandered over to hide in the shadows at the corner of the stage, then eased on back out to the middle and started sort of bopping a little bit. House lights were still up, audience still coming back from intermission. We started speculating that he was lost. Eventually they put the curtain up, but left the house lights on and the audience kept chatting because, hey, house lights are up, but it gradually became apparent that Suit Guy was in fact the first dancer of the last piece.

Then about sixteen more dancers in suits joined him on stage. There were folding chairs, and chanting, and flinging of clothes on stage, and it all got more and more ominous and repetitive. Then there was a quiet bit with six dancers standing entirely still in their underwear while a metronome or something ticked creepily. Then later the suited dancers came out into the audience and collected audience members and took them back up on stage and had a loud techno rave with them and it was generally very interesting but not at all what I had been expecting from a night at the ballet.
tiger_spot: (sword)
Do you know what you're doing this weekend? Why not try FOGcon! March 6-8, 2015 -- that's this Friday through Sunday -- in Walnut Creek.

Pre-registration has now closed, but full weekend memberships and day passes are available at the door. For adults, prices vary by day (Friday $35, Saturday $40, Sunday $30). For youth between 11 and 17, day passes are $10 per day, and kids 10 and under get in free with a parent.

Bring the kids on Saturday to check out the new family programming track, featuring Program Your Parents (learn about simple robotics and programming concepts while ordering your parents around), All-Ages Story Time, and Let's Build a Starship.

If you're curious but not sure about all those strange new people, there's a special Meet & Greet event on Friday afternoon to help you make connections. Or you could volunteer -- everyone at the convention comes through registration at some point, and the consuite is a wonderful place to hang out and chat with new friends. Just e-mail volunteers@fogcon.org and let us know how you'd like to help!
tiger_spot: (sword)
FOGcon 5 is coming right up! Pre-registration closes this Friday, so if you'd like child care or you know you want to attend the whole weekend, here's your chance.

Full weekend and day passes are available at the door, but child care is not. Banquet tickets are also available at the convention, but only until we run out of them, so if you'd like to dress up fancy, dress up strange, or dress up exactly like you usually do and attend the fabulous Unaward Banquet (delicious food, great company, and minimal speechifying) on Saturday night, I'd recommend purchasing those in advance.

Come to FOGcon! Meet fascinating people such as our Guests of Honor Catherynne Valente and Kim Stanley Robinson! Check out our exciting programming, with panels ranging from Alternate Universes to Fake Authentic Folklore Improv to The SF/F of Suburbia and a new track of experimental kids programming on Saturday afternoon. Hang out in our amazingly well-stocked consuite, chatting and snacking into the night!

If you are thinking "Yes! This sounds amazing! How do I sign up?!" head to Registration and fill out the little checkboxes. If you are thinking "I already did that! How can I get more involved?" e-mail volunteers@fogcon.org and let us know how you'd like to help! Staffing the registration desk is a fantastic way to meet people, hosting the consuite is great for night owls, and helping out in general will earn you our eternal gratitude and a nifty sticker to put on your badge.
tiger_spot: (sword)
FOGcon 5 is coming up soon! My favorite SF Bay Area science fiction and fantasy convention returns with honored guests Kim Stanley Robinson and Catherynne M. Valente. Memberships are available online (prices go up tomorrow!) or at the door.

We have readings! We have discussions! We have a fabulous consuite! We have child care, a commitment to accessibility, and a wonderful writing workshop.

Have you ever wanted to be on a panel? Have you ever wanted to moderate a panel? Have you ever thought, "Boy, I wish they'd asked me which panels I wanted to attend before they put this schedule together"? Now is your chance! Come tell the FOGcon programming team what you want to see and what you want to participate in.

If you are a high school or college student, enter the student writing contest by January 15th for a chance to win a free membership.

FOGcon 5. Walnut Creek. March 6-8, 2015. Join us! It'll be fun!

BayCon

May. 22nd, 2014 07:15 pm
tiger_spot: (sword)
I'm going to BayCon this weekend. Not all of it, but if you will be there bits of Saturday, most of Sunday, or Monday morning, ping me and we can check out the art show or the DIY room or what have you.
tiger_spot: (sword)
Whee! Soon we will be on our way to Walnut Creek for my very favorite local science fiction convention, FOGcon!

I am very much looking forward to it, although I haven't got much forward left to look in. :)

(It's not too late! We sell memberships at the door! And if you have other plans for part of the weekend, the day rates are super-reasonable.)
tiger_spot: (magic)
FOGcon 4 programming sign-ups are open!

Have you ever wanted to be on a panel? Have you ever wanted to moderate a panel? Have you ever thought, "Boy, I wish they'd asked me which panels I wanted to attend before they put this schedule together"? Now is your chance! Come tell the FOGcon programming team what you want to see and what you want to participate in: http://fogcon.org/programming-sign-up/

(If you haven't registered yet, you can do that too! Memberships available online until February 21st or at the door; child care slots available only until Feb 7: http://db.fogcon.org/registration/)

FOGcon 4. Walnut Creek. March 7-9, 2014. With honored guests Seanan McGuire, Tim Powers, and (posthumously) James Tiptree, Jr. Join us! It'll be fun!

FOGcon 3

Mar. 19th, 2013 07:39 pm
tiger_spot: (sword)
I should really write a con report at some point, shouldn't I? It's been busy.

Anyway, FOGcon was great. I wasn't very enthusiastic about this year's theme (Law & Order), so I wasn't excited about as much of the programming as I usually am. That was actually rather convenient, because it freed up time for other things. The first other thing was organizing child care for the convention. This came together at the very last minute, but went beautifully in the event. I am very happy with how everything turned out. We actually left Morgan in child care a bit while we weren't there, because she was having so much fun playing with the other same-age baby and watching the bigger kids. (Well, by "playing with" I mean "chewing on each other's heads," because seven-month-olds, but they were certainly having a good time doing it!)

Attending conventions with Morgan turns out to be quite doable but a little different from what I'm used to. She had the most fun she has ever had in her life: a new, exciting place! full of new, exciting things to look at! and new, exciting furniture to cruise on! and new, exciting carpets to crawl across! and new, exciting people to watch! all of whom think she's adorable! She was very, very happy the whole weekend. She's not really up for sitting quietly in panels, though, so whoever was in charge of the baby for a given panel got to see usually about half of it. The dinner break lined up very neatly with her usual schedule, so with a little judicious tagging in and out after bedtime we all got as much evening convention time as we wanted, I think.

My favorite panel was the Liars' Panel, which I cannot adequately describe. Ellen Klages mooned the audience. David Levine flung popcorn. Someone whacked the flying popcorn with a cane, and a few quick rounds of popcorn baseball ensued. Paper airplanes were flown; wine was drunk; a good time was had by all.

Saturday afternoon in the con suite, Morgan learned to clap. Applause! Applause for the convention! Hurrah for everybody.

::pout::

May. 3rd, 2012 11:06 am
tiger_spot: (Magritte)
I'd decided that, although by the time 4th Street rolls around I am probably going to be Too Pregnant to enjoy it properly, what with the flying and all, I was going to try to make it to WisCon. Okay, the main hotel was sold out by the time I made this decision, and assuming nothing magical happens to my hip[1] between now and then I really want to be in the main hotel, but there seemed to be a fair number of people looking for roommates and things, so it was a good plan still. Flights were a little obnoxious time-wise but doable. Etc.

... but I couldn't get the time off work. Aargh! (If I'm going to put up with the pain in the ass that is flying, I want to be there for the whole thing, and the powers that be are not happy with the 4 days off right then that is whole thing + recovery time given the slightly weird flight timing. 2 days off okay, but 2 days off is not sufficient. Boo.)

Now I need something totally awesome to do Memorial Day weekend so as not to be pouty and resentful the whole time. Maybe I will hold my own very tiny convention in my living room.


[1] <voice="KHAAAAAAAAN!">
SCIATICAAAAAAAAAAAA!
</voice>
tiger_spot: (Default)
Wheeeeeeee!

Convention convention convention!

What, you expect coherency? I used all that up. I used my whole brain, and also, I don't know, my pancreas or something. It was a most excellent convention, with most excellent attendees[1], and interesting panels, and great conversations, and a couple of good restaurants, and tasty food in the consuite with enough nutrition to support conscious thought the entire weekend!

I hereby declare the mascot of FOGcon 2 to be Cordyceps fungus, which came up more or less independently at three different panels I was at.

I think my moderating went well; I had people come up to me after each panel and tell me it went well, anyway, so I choose to trust their reports. :) [livejournal.com profile] brooksmoses also said that I maybe talked a bit much on the second one, for a moderator, but I had opinions.... So I will totally sign up to moderate and/or panelistize (is there a verb for that?) in the future, because it was fun.

I do not have detailed panel reports, but I do have lots of ideas for programming for next year (and a strong urge to volunteer to run like six different things [consuite! childcare!], but I really really shouldn't because I do not know if I will actually have capacity to handle anything besides Sputnik to a standard that pleases me; perhaps I will have a better sense closer to time, and can do a few shifts of something or other, to start with).

I have figured out what it is that happens to me on the last day of cons: between the sleep deprivation and the constant positive reinforcement for talking, all the filters between my brain and my mouth get eroded. I get kinda loud once they're gone. (The post-mortem what-went-well, what-needs-changes panel kind of turned into the Theresa and Brooks show because we kept reminding each other of other little things to mention.)

We couldn't stay on for the dead frog party because Andres had to catch a plane, so we headed out after the post-mortem on Sunday. Despite having used my entire brain (plus spleen or what-have-you), I kept coming up with possible themes for next year[2] all the rest of the day. Want! More! FOGcon!


[1] On the way home in the car:
me: FYI, this year's con crush is [name redacted].
[livejournal.com profile] chinders: Aw, yours is local! I only get crushes on writers from the East Coast!

[2] Your mission, should you choose to accept it: Go here and suggest "Family". Provide diverse and creative supporting reasons. :) Suggest other nifty themes as well if you think of them; I have a few more that I will also mention, but Family is the best one and I wish to encourage the concom to consider it thoroughly.
tiger_spot: (Default)
So FOGcon is coming right up, March 30 - April 1. You should go!

You should especially go because, in a fit of enthusiasm, I volunteered for things and am going to be moderating two panels! My panels are both on Saturday, so if you are local and just want to buy a day pass that is the day to aim for if you want to come heckle support me. They are:

Best Alien Ever
10:30 a.m. Salon A
Some aliens are just humans with funny foreheads. But sometimes an author creates an alien that stretches your mind or makes you see ordinary humans in a whole different light. What makes for an alien species worth reading about? What are the most extraordinary aliens authors have successfully portrayed?
Moderator: Theresa Mecklenborg
Panelists: Chaz Brenchley, Juliette Wade, Ann Wilkes

Did Everyone Fail High School Biology?
1:30 p.m. Salon A
From stupid stunts with DNA to implausible ecologies, lots of science fiction just gets biology wrong. Why is this? What are examples of books, movies, or TV that gets it right?
Moderator: Theresa Mecklenborg
Panelists: Tari, Wendy Shaffer, Cassie Alexander, Pat Murphy

(I am having some serious sad about things that are scheduled across from one another. Too many cool things, cannot be at all of them at once, oh woe.)

My job as moderator, as I see it:
* Ask interesting questions.
* Make sure all the panelists get chances to talk about the particular relevant things they would like to talk about.
* Interrupt/redirect as necessary to keep discussion flowing and the conversation ball moving between people.
* Keep an eye on the time.
* Summarize statements or rephrase questions as is helpful to aid general understanding.
* Track who gets to talk next.

The part of this I am least practiced at is the part where there's a panel/audience separation -- I've moderated a discussion or two, but they've all been sort of roundtable things, without that division. Anybody have any tips about audiences? I'm thinking save 15-20 minutes at the end for audience questions, maybe move that a bit earlier if the panelists seem to be running out of self-generated steam or the audience is all bouncing up and down waving their hands in the air. Does that sound like enough time? (These are all hour and fifteen minute panels.)

I have sent out pre-planning e-mails with a dozen or twenty possible interesting questions, so the panelists can tell me which of them sound most interesting and whether there are other directions they would like to explore, and then when I get that feedback I will make up a further list of slightly more tailored interesting questions to print out and keep in front of me in case interesting questions do not present themselves naturally in the discussion as it happens. If I can pick out the bits they'll argue about I'll put stars next to those questions and make double extra sure they get asked.

And that is my moderating plan! People who do this sort of thing more often: Good plan? Bad plan? Am I leaving out any important bits?
tiger_spot: (Default)
For those of you who are unaware (which is actually rather a lot of you, on the grounds that one does not talk about upcoming parties with people who are not invited, and we didn't invite many people because there wasn't room), [livejournal.com profile] andres_s_p_b, [livejournal.com profile] brooksmoses, [livejournal.com profile] chinders, [livejournal.com profile] suzanne, and I had a commitment ceremony here at the house yesterday. It went very well.

We deputized a number of people to take pictures while we were busy up front with the talking and being nervous part, but we haven't got those back yet so I cannot show off. We're also going to put a transcript of the vows up, since people seemed to like them. (The line in my vows with Andres that got a big laugh at our wedding did it again. Most of the folks at this ceremony weren't at that one, so they hadn't heard it before.) Again, that hasn't happened quite yet, so there will be a followup post later with pictures and transcript. It'll be like being there, except quieter!

Also like being there, but quieter, was the contingent calling in via videophone. The night before the ceremony, Cathy was talking with a friend in New Jersey who couldn't make it out, and the friend said "I wish I could just Skype in!" Cathy relayed that later, and we were like "Hey... we could do that!" So we set up a Google hangout and got that friend, Cathy's sister who was working a show and couldn't make it, and the Boston contingent in via webcam-on-tripod. I wish we'd thought of it earlier so that we could have contacted more of the people who couldn't make it in to town!

The folks we had doing the introductory and closing readings did a fantastic job. Yay [livejournal.com profile] cobalt_00 and [livejournal.com profile] eeyore_grrl! Very thoroughly emoted and clearly enunciated and all that good stuff. Everybody seemed to have a good time. Huzzah, success!

The dog was also a hit. )
tiger_spot: (magic)
Jo Walton is celebrating the release of the paperback edition of her novel Among Others tomorrow at 3:00 p.m. at Borderlands Books. Be there or be a small rectangular object.
tiger_spot: (Default)
Happy new year! 2011's been pretty good overall, but I have been slammed with the head cold from hell since Wednesday. Blurrrrrgh.

Yesterday, despite disease, we went to a Vienna Teng concert up in Berkeley. I do like Berkeley; I wish it were closer. (Attn: earthquake gods, I mean that wistfully, please do not move either city.) It was an excellent concert. I love how differently she plays some of her songs in person; there are a few that I don't care for much on the CDs, but they're all great in concert. She did a bunch of random requests and covers this time, which was neat too.

Today we ordered new desks for the office. This has been a long drawn-out process, because there are all these options and choices and measurements and things involved. But now they are ordered, so in a few months we will have lovely matching semi-custom furniture filling up the whole office with more storage and not quite so many cables dangling in midair waiting to be yanked on / tripped over / otherwise hazardous.
tiger_spot: (Default)
Christmasing has begun. Last night we all went up to Berkeley for tasty holiday dinner with [livejournal.com profile] brooksmoses's brother and sister-in-law and her sister and another friend of theirs. Great food, lots of fun, excellent company. We got to meet the dog, who is just the cutest fuzziest little bundle of enthusiasm.

Today [livejournal.com profile] chinders's dad is in town, so he's hung out with us as we go about our day (climbing, mostly, since we didn't go yesterday because of driving to Berkeley all evening) and will soon have dinner and then carry [livejournal.com profile] chinders's present for her sister off to the east coast.

Tomorrow there will be presents and big fancy dinner with just us, and seeing some friends, and then later in the week seeing more friends and general holiday spirit.

Right now everything smells like mulled cider. Perhaps I will go see if it is tasty yet....
tiger_spot: (Default)
I have been up to everything lately. Here we go:

Friday was headlamp climbing at Planet Granite. This is an event where they turn out the lights and have you climb with a headlamp. It is difficult, especially on some of the more challenging routes where to keep your weight pointed in the right direction you need to know where you're going next.

There was also a costume contest, which none of us entered. Most of the costumes were not particularly climbing-appropriate, so we thought of ones that were, which we might use next year if we feel like it: Peter Pan, any superhero, a telephone lineman, James Bond, a spider, a piñata (I thought of that one watching [livejournal.com profile] andres_s_p_b get lowered from one of the really overhanging routes).

A few of the routes had chalkbags full of candy secured at the tops. I think they should do that all the time.


On Saturday, [livejournal.com profile] brooksmoses, [livejournal.com profile] suzanne, and I went to some friends' Gothic wedding, which was great fun and very them. Lots and lots of people had cameras, so I assume pictures will be turning up on the Internet soon, and I can point you to them then. It was a visual spectacular! (The cake was really good, too.)


On Sunday, [livejournal.com profile] chinders and I joined some friends to watch the San Jose Stage production of Cabaret. It was awesome! It's an intimate little theater, so there are no bad seats, and the entire cast did a wonderful job. Usually I would pick out particular performers to praise, but really everyone was great. Actually, I will single out the actress playing Helga, who also played the piano for the entire show and helped conduct. That was impressive and seamlessly done.

Later, we went to a Halloween party, which was also good fun.


Today [livejournal.com profile] cobalt_00 and I took Galen up to Pulgas Ridge Open Space Preserve, which has an off-leash area. We spent about an hour meandering around the off-leash loop. Galen had a good time checking out bushes and climbing over rocks and things. We found a random dilapidated staircase up the side of a hill, and he charged straight up it with great enthusiasm once we decided to go see what was at the top (nothing obvious, just some smaller, less official-looking trails). When we started out, he kept quite close to us and stayed on the paths, but by the time we headed out he'd used enough of his brain that he was kind of wandering off and getting more easily distracted by lizards and things.

On the way up to the off-leash part, we passed only two hikers, neither of whom had a dog, so trying it out on a weekday worked perfectly. I suspect it may get too crowded for Galen to be comfortable or safe there on weekends, but I will definitely go back when I have random weekdays off.

On the way back down, we found a car key lying in the middle of the trail. We took it back to the parking lot and tucked it under the windshield wiper of the car with the matching brand name. I hope the owner didn't get too stressed out between realizing it was missing and getting back to the vehicle.
tiger_spot: (Default)
Right! It's been busy around here. So Farthing Party.

An excellent time was had by all. The hotel was deeply strange; nearly as hip as the W[1], with attendant noise issues (it's "atmosphere", you see, so of course they cannot turn it off at breakfast). The area of Montreal it's in confused me; it was sort of scruffy, with strip clubs and whatnot, but not a kind of scruffy I recognized. It wasn't bohemian artsy scruffy, or college-student scruffy, or actually run-down scruffy, or just-about-to-gentrify scruffy, or any specific scruffy subtype, although there were elements of most of those. Lots of good restaurants, surprisingly varied architecture. It seems like it's one of the places that would be nicer to live in than to visit (if it were always late summer).

Panels were excellent; socializing was excellent. Summary is insufficient; have some quotes!

From the "How Hard is SF?" panel:

"I stay as far from falsifiability as I can. In case of velocity, distance, or time, I give one." -- Jim MacDonald

"I've been around rich people. They don't talk like that! . . . They have their staff talk like that." -- Jim MacDonald

"When people are talking to young writers, they say, 'Be concrete; be specific.' But not about the science!" -- Marissa Lingen

"The number of e-mails I've gotten about Venus [being in the wrong location in a story] -- Thomas Hardy never got e-mails like that!" -- Jo Walton

"You can't Google every word you make up. It takes too long. And you mostly get weird porn sites in Indonesia." -- Jo Walton


From "The Enterprise of SF":

"The world is made out of two things: there's stuff, and then there's thinking about stuff." -- Teresa Nielsen Hayden


From "Fractally Weird":

"There's a strangely numinous event going on, and you look at it and say, 'This is the Tim Powers universe; look out for loss of limb.'" -- Teresa Nielsen Hayden


From "Generation Starships":

"It's really hard to get star-crossed lovers these days." -- Marie Bilodeau (I think -- I couldn't quite see, so it could have been any panelist on that side of the room)

"I think launching Montreal into space is a good idea. . . . Launching Swindon into space is a better idea." -- Alison Sinclair

"There are cell phone towers arranged around Swindon in an asterisk, leading to an invisible footnote that says Don't Live Here." -- Jo Walton, quoting someone else






[1] Huh, okay, that story predates my LiveJournal. Fascinating.

O, Canada

Sep. 4th, 2011 01:57 pm
tiger_spot: (Default)
Last weekend [livejournal.com profile] andres_s_p_b, [livejournal.com profile] brooksmoses, [livejournal.com profile] chinders, and I went up to Calgary to visit my parents.

The parental rental home is very nicely landscaped, much larger than mine, and about half underground (which probably helps keep the temperature more constant but was a bit surprising; there kept being all these extra doors down there!). They have three pianos now. I came home with a nice big pile of music left over from when Mom was teaching, which I will begin properly enjoying any day now, when I have free time. Maybe this evening!

We didn't do as much hiking as had been planned, because of [livejournal.com profile] chinders's knee, but that is okay because the amount of hiking we actually did was quite sufficient to my energy level at that altitude. The first day, we poked around various scenic places, mostly from the car. We were going to stop at an art gallery, but couldn't go in because a truck had run into a utility pole, knocking out power to the entire town. The next day, we went up to Banff National Park, which is astounding scenic in a very dynamic way. It's all giant blocks of stone leaping into the air like dolphins, frozen at the top of the jump, with crazy angles and recent landslide scars and all kinds of coolness. We have lots and lots of pictures, once [livejournal.com profile] brooksmoses gets them off of his camera.

At Banff, we first took a gondola up to the top of Sulphur Mountain, admiring the view on the way. [livejournal.com profile] chinders stayed behind at the coffee shop there while the rest of us went out along the boardwalk / interpretive trail to the old weather station. There was a sign fairly early on informing us that the golden-mantled ground squirrel is "the boldest of the locals," followed shortly by a golden-mantled ground squirrel scampering about on some rocks, followed by several golden-mantled ground squirrels posing photogenically, then informing passers-by via easily-interpretable squirrel body language that there was a very simple fee schedule for photos, and would we hand over the goods now, please, followed by golden-mantled ground squirrels pounding on people's sneakers and attempting to climb their legs. So, yes, rather bold.

After the mountain, we went to Johnston Canyon and hiked up past some very pretty waterfalls, then took a drive past a lake. The drive had been recommended the previous day by my parents' next-door neighbor as good for seeing wildlife, and indeed we saw quite a few bighorn sheep hanging around right near the road. So that was satisfying.

Monday we went to Heritage Park, which turns out to be the second-largest living history park in North America, second only to Colonial Williamsburg. I thought it was neat and wished they didn't close so early, but the rest of the pack was getting a bit tired of old houses. We saw a linotype machine in operation at the press building, which was quite cool. I can see why people are fond of those things.

One of those days we had dinner at a really good Indian restaurant, which I want to pack up and take home with me and install where Sue's used to be. Also we should use our grill more; Dad made some grilled veggies for me to use for hiking sandwiches the whole weekend, and they were quite tasty.

We rented a minivan, which I drove all weekend. I did not break it or crash into anything despite it being ENORMOUS and having the gearshift in entirely the wrong place, so I feel all accomplished.


And at the end of the month, [livejournal.com profile] brooksmoses and I are going up to Montreal for Farthing Party. Getting there is going to be a tiring and expensive pain in the ass, so it is just the two of us and not everybody. But I fully expect it to be all kinds of fun.
tiger_spot: (magic)
We are back from 4th Street!

It's a very nice place, Minneapolis/St. Paul (I am assured they are different, really, and will glare at me if I confuse them, but darned if I can tell). We arranged for a rather long visit, relative to the convention, arriving around lunchtime on Thursday and leaving Monday evening. [livejournal.com profile] brooksmoses and [livejournal.com profile] suzimoses took an extra day at the beginning, even, arriving Wednesday. So they picked us up from the airport when we staggered in Thursday, exhausted (The airport shuttle came to pick us up at 3:45 a.m. I'm told the flight was cheap....), and then went off to an art museum or something worthwhile like that while [livejournal.com profile] andres_s_p_b, [livejournal.com profile] chinders, and I lay around like lumps. At some point I revived enough to explore the hotel and take pictures of goslings, and eventually people collected up for dinner and took over a corner of the Chinese restaurant, where we had very tasty food and a funny waitress and startled the heck out of [livejournal.com profile] mrissa when she turned around and realized just how many people she knew had been sitting behind her.

After dinner was the play-reading. This year we did Stoppard's Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead. We swapped Rosencrantzes and Guildensterns every act, so I wound up reading Rosencrantz in the first act and Guildenstern in the last act, which I'm sure confused no-one. I had a good time, but I think we should try to find more ensemble-cast plays. [livejournal.com profile] andres_s_p_b did a lovely job with the ending speech, but I think he was a bit bored just being audience until it was time for that.

Friday morning (well... nearly morning), [livejournal.com profile] andres_s_p_b, [livejournal.com profile] chinders, and I went to the Amazing Mirror Maze in the Mall of America while [livejournal.com profile] suzimoses and [livejournal.com profile] brooksmoses went off to fetch emergency quilting supplies. The maze was pretty neat; it's set up on a triangular grid rather than a rectangular one, so nothing is ever in the direction it looks like it is. They give you plastic gloves to keep from smudging up the mirrors and interfering with the disorientation. We did it three times; the right way, backwards, and then back to the exit again. I'd be curious to look at a map of the place, because I think it basically just has the one path, rather than really having dead ends, but I couldn't keep careful enough track to be sure. Afterwards we poked around at a bead store and [livejournal.com profile] chinders bought jewelry and makeup stuff.

And then there were panels, which were great! And dinner and socializing, which were great! And not remembered by me in any particular detail. Saturday and Sunday likewise, really. Too much awesome all in one place; it kind of blends together after a while. I met neat new people and talked with fantastic not-new people and went to lunch with Lois McMaster Bujold and went rock climbing[1] with Elizabeth Bear and Emma Bull (this has been your name-dropping for the post). Yay people! Hi people! If I have just friended you, probably it was because we had a fun conversation at some point, and if we had a fun conversation and I didn't just friend you it's because I didn't know your LJ name, so poke me and I'll do that. At various points there were games and chatting and listening to music and admiring interesting T-shirts and stuff and so on and so forth and I USED MY WHOLE BRAIN. Now I know what the dog feels like after an hour of class.

Monday there was lunch out, and ice cream, and then this little tea shop [livejournal.com profile] jonsinger likes, and eventually the airport, which delayed our flight about an hour, grr. Eventually we got home, where the dog was delighted to see us and everything was nice and comfy like we left it. Today I am resting; tomorrow I am also taking the day off work but intend to get up to useful things like cleaning and perhaps getting groceries. I may not need all of today to rest, although the rain is encouraging me to be very thorough about my resting -- I was more careful about my caffeine consumption this weekend than I was at FOGcon, so I don't feel any immediate need to detox. I have already regained enough strength to sit upright and type more-or-less coherently, so that's a good sign.

It was fun! You should go next year!


[1] Vertical Endeavors grades much harder than Planet Granite, and between that and the limited amount of time left between getting belay-certified on different equipment than I'm used to and their early weekend closing time, I did not figure out quite what I ought to be climbing there before it was time to leave. They've got a very different style of route-setting, which is probably more realistic in terms of actual rocks but takes some getting used to. Next year we will plan ahead and probably aim for climbing Friday morning before things really get going, or Monday after fish, or some other time where we can have more real climbing time. Also they will probably have opened the new, closer, location, so that will help.
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