Back from the Con
Time flies when you’re busy or not looking or having fun.
Just got back from Farpoint and had a lovely time. As usual, returning to the Hunt Valley Inn is like returning to family and friends. This time, though, it was a jarring experience. The hotel is under renovation and they apparently got a good deal on carpet remnants because the place is a riot of colors that don’t match, aren’t harmonious and call attention to their ugliness.
We headed down right after Robbie got out of school and hit traffic almost the entire length of the NJ Turnpike. It was a pretty awful experience. On the other hand, he thought it pretty hysterical that we managed to catch up with his girl friend, Stephanie, and her mother as they headed to Washington, D.C. We managed to stay together for about half an hour in bumper to bumper nonsense and the kids waved back and forth, sending incredulous text messages from car to car.
Attached to the hotel is a restaurant space done up as a faux ‘50s diner that remains vacant most of the year. Whenever someone tries to turn it into a restaurant or night spot, it fails. However, they let the con use it as their Con Suite so it’s spacious and well stocked by the con with snacks and drinks. I wound up spending a lot of time there over the weekend, starting Friday night as I caught up with many of the gang down there.
On Saturday, I showed the usual assortment of movie previews followed by a panel about Star Trek: Starfleet Corps of Engineers, the wonderful eBook series I’ve recently completed a story for. The panel was a little lightly attended but we (including Keith DeCandido, Terri Osborne, Allyn Gibson, Rich White, Bob Joschonek) and had a fine time poking fun at one another. At noon, we went to see the Boogie Knights perform. For a change, they were seven strong, including the debut of Keith as Sir KRAD the Obscure on percussion. They sounded really good and debuted 4-5 new songs which all sounded fun. From there, Peter David, KRAD, Mike Friedman and I conducted a panel on The International Association of Media Tie-In Writers, the recently formed organization that I belong to. Peter was unaware of it which I soon rectified and then we went on to talk about Media Tie-In war stories and had some fun.
As the afternoon wore on, I met with Peter and Mike to plot next summer’s entry in our Mystery Trekkie Theatre series of spoofs. We talked about a bunch of other stuff and it’s always good spending time with them.
Then there was a lovely dinner with Mike, his son Drew, Howard and Susan Weinstein and us. This has become an annual tradition, and it’s the only time I get to see Susan so I’m happy.
That night I judged the Masquerade, along with the Big Name Guests, which allowed me to meet and get to know Penny Jerald Johnson, a wee bit. She’s a lovely lady and I enjoyed her company. The Masquerade had all of 23 entries, but most were very good and entertaining. Peter’s wife Kathleen won a few awards for her Mugato costume and presentation. She also orchestrated the simple costume but hilarious entry that mixed It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown with Smallville. Under two of the sheets were Kate and Robbie, who had some fun. That too, won an Award so it was a fine night for Kathleen.
Afterwards, Deb actually joined me at Ten Forward for dancing and socializing. This year, Scott Farquhar deejayed and put together a decade by decade sound with appropriate video clips. A few us sang along to the Blue Oyster Cult’s “Godzilla” while clips from Godzilla vs. Megalon played and we all cheered when the 1970s dawned with clips from Howie’s “Pirates of Orion” episode from Star Trek: The Animated Series. A good time was had by all.
Sunday morning found me up bright and early as the guests were invited to mingle with the Con’s volunteer troops for breakfast before the con got underway. From there, it was time for the annual Bob & Howie Show, where Howard and I fill an hour with interesting news bits, anecdotes, and general chit chat. Deb and I then had a brief brunch with our pals Jim and Paula, who couldn’t make the con for the weekend but wanted to see us. I dashed back to the hotel for the Star Trek’s 40th Anniversary panel, no doubt the first of several I will participate in as 2006 rolls along. There, sitting with Keith, Peter, Mike and Howie, it was five guys with beards and glasses, confusing ourselves and having a fine time.
I spent some time back in the Con Suite with Katie and Deb working out the backstory to a project I’ll tell you about some time later. Once the business ended, we socialized and before we knew it, the con was over, people were leaving and our obligations were done. We brought take-out food back to the room and the four of us chilled for a while. Robbie went out to hang with his peers while Deb and Kate contented watched the Olympics and knit. I watched with them and then sought out the remnants of the con committee and visited with them before bedtime.
Today was getting Kate to Penn Station in Baltimore so she could return to college while we headed north. Unlike Friday, the highways were clear and we returned in the early afternoon.
It was a fun weekend, a great time to see friends, meet fans, chat about things that excite me and it was a welcome break from sitting in the basement office and writing up a storm.