A Belated Shore Leave 40 After Action Report

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Shore Leave 40 has come and gone. So much has been happening that my normal after action report got waylaid.The show was tremendous fun with plenty of nice touches to make it memorable. The Friday night Meet the Pros party went better than usual and all weekend long I received nice compliments on the Oral History I prepared in celebration for the show hitting a milestone.Our planned wake for Glenn Hauman was derailed as we got the word of Steve Ditko’s passing. That, coupled with the still raw wound of Harlan Ellison’s passing, made laughing about death unseemly so instead, we talked about Ellison for an hour. Our Crazy 8 Press panel was fine and the teen workshops may have been lightly attended but we had two show up for all three demonstrating their dedication.For a change, I didn’t have to judge Masquerade so I got to enjoy it as a spectator and got to hear Kate and the Boogie Knights perform the halftime show.There wasn’t enough time for substantive conversations with everyone I wanted to chat with but the conversations I did have were good ones so there’s that. I also finally got to meet Jennifer Adams, who was the author track leader for the late, lamented I-Con. For years, she’d invite me, put me on programming, and somehow we still never met.I admit that it was weird not to devote time to prepping for Mystery Trekkie Theater, but I saw it as gaining more time to be with my peers and talk to fans, so it wasn’t bad. Just different.A handful of the authors, along with their families, stuck around after the show ended so we could do things in the area. First up, Con Chair Inge Heyer arranged for us to tour Goddard Space Flight Center and attend a colloquium presented by Michael and Denise Okuda. Their talk was an amalgam of the two they gave at Shore Leave, but since I missed both, this was ideal.Much as we geeked out in 2013 at the Johnson Space Center, the mutual affection was strong here. The web coordinator for the Office Communication let me know Doomsday World was one of the earliest Trek novels on his bookshelf. His two interns were part of our escort and they were both fans so chatting with them at lunch was fun.We had a presentation on Space Weather, sampled the latest in NASA Virtual Reality, and were shown some of the amazing CGI work done on behalf of Goddard’s various programs. There were also presentations on the James Webb Telescope, now scheduled for 2021 launch, and we peered at the 1960s-era chambers were vacuum, sound, and vibration testing was done on components before launch.On Tuesday, we received a docent tour at the National Air and Space Museum, which is always fun to visit. We had a chance to pay our respects to the refurbished U.S.S. Enterprise, making certain we were on hand when it was lit up (only three times a day). Most of us then checked out the American History Museum before heading off to watch the Orioles defeat the Yankees in a rare display of come-from-behind power.Wednesday morning saw most everyone depart for various points so I escorted Kelli Fitzpatrick to the Maryland Science Center to tour the place. It’s very hands on and we had tremendous fun sampling this and that plus taking in on their planetarium presentations (this one featured Big Bird and Elmo and it was fun). After we played, it was time for lunch and dropping Kelli off at the airport.This was a lovely five-day break from working at the desk and a most welcome opportunity to hang out with friends from near and far.

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