4 09 2011

or, the very best place to have weathered Irene.

[This is the abbreviated shout-out. The full review can be found in “(Un)conventional” with the rest of my con stuff.]

Guest of Awesome Trisha Wooldridge minding the Broad Universe table in the Eccentric Eclectic Collective of Artists room in Dealer's Row

I love Pi-Con.  It’s a friendly convention, which attracts intelligent, highly-evolved, down-to-earthlings, who love nothing better than a lively debate on some obscure subject.  It’s also an excuse for a road trip.  Takes me about 4 hours to get there, allowing for stops along the way, traveling back roads.  This is how you discover stuff, on the road and inside your head.

Pi-Con is a small convention anyway.  Going up against Hurricane Irene in the scheduling cut the numbers further.  But that didn’t ruin the con; it gave it the flavor of a whopping grand party.

Got to give credit here, first of all to the hotel, which went out of its way to accommodate people in a stressful situation (and had free wi-fi, unlike some con hotels I could name).  As Irene roared up the coast and travel plans got mangled, everybody had to improvise.  That included Pi-Con scheduling.  They came up with extended programming on Sunday for the folks trapped there by the weather.  I bailed out finally around 6:00 pm, but there was stuff going on up until 11:00 pm, with concluding ceremonies in the hot tub.  So a rousing shout-out goes to all the con-goers, panelists and 6 Pi-Con staff who didn’t let the grim weather forecast get in the way of putting on a great con.

Personal applause for Jeff Warner, who spent a great deal of time going through the halls with a clipboard organizing stuff, and to Mario Di Giacomo, who with Jeff joined me on the Sunday pre-1960s SciFi film panel after James Cambias bailed out on me to flee in anticipation of Irene.  Thanks to them, we had a fabulous panel.  Special mention to Beck Prigot, a particularly enthusiastic audience member (also 6 Pi-Con’s volunteer wrangler).

Fellow panelist Will Frank, a geek first, lawyer second, using his powers for good instead of evil.

The “saving the day” award goes to George Claxton, who single-handedly ran the Sunday am Pirate panel, mesmerizing us all with his tales of pirate life on the Spanish Main.  (Thanks also to Julia Burton, who was a heck of a lot more bright and intelligent than I was).

The panel that was a greater success than expected was Libraries of the Future, with worthy fellow panelists David Larochelle and Steve Kanaras.  We had a great turn-out of library enthusiasts who put to rest the notion that libraries are obsolete.  David and I found ourselves serving together on two other panels together, debating the dubious merits of Lulzsec (I inadvertently nearly caused a riot by suggesting that shutting down Amazon for a few days wouldn’t really be such a major catastrophe as terrorist acts go) and pondering the assertion that Roddenberry was an able-ist (what the hell does that mean, anyway?).

Biggest bummer: After putting on another splendid Barfleet party (at least what I remember of it) the USB Shameless suffered a tragic loss.  A moment of silence, please, in honor of two fallen crewmen, whose senseless demise was reminiscent of Tasha Yar.

That’s the quick summary from my own admittedly skewed perspective.  There are other stories, including the harrowing trip home, driving through the aftermath of Irene on nearly deserted highways, encountering flooding in Deerfield, MA, getting lost in Vermont, and coming home to a house without power.   But I wouldn’t have done it any differently.  Except maybe not drinking quite so much at Bar Fleet.  I blame the horta.

And what would a con be without the Filkers, filling the corridors with baudy song.




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