Friday, August 11, 2006

So Yeah, Okay, I Went

ArmadilloCon Day 1:

So I came down yesterday. Eight hours of driving, sipping Diet Coke and listening to AM radio (the AstroCruiser does not have a CD player). Heard Air America for the first time. I was able to listen to about 10 minutes of it before I started screaming at the ignorant host-chick, who was prattling on about how the neocons don't understand the "peace process." Then she started explaining the peace process in terms that would make the Underpants Gnomes proud.

Step 1: Israel withdraws its forces
Step 2:
Step 3: Peace

Turned off the radio before I blew a blood vessel in my head, causing me to go blind in one eye, causing me to lose depth perception and smash into a road barrier at one of the ENDLESS road construction sites.

Went to the hotel at about noon today. Registration wasn't supposed to open until 1, but I was getting tired of sitting around my friend's house. Spotted the hotel from the freeway: easy. Found a road route to actually get me to the hotel: not so easy. Looked for the entrance to the hotel's parking structure: nearly blew another blood vessel in my brain. After a brief fit of rage and FOUR LAPS around the block, I talked to the con staff and figured it out, then discovered that there was literally nothing to do until, like, 5 p.m. Even the dealers' room didn't really open until four-ish, which brought me back to remembering why I've always been kind of take-it-or-leave-it with cons, at least until Conestoga this year, which I loved.

If you aren't actually a guest of the con, there will be long stretches where you have nothing you want to do, but you don't want to leave, because it's such a pain in the ass to leave the hotel and navigate your way back. So along about three, four in the afternoon, I started thinking I might have made a big mistake coming here.

Then I attended the "Welcome to ArmadilloCon" panel, which made me think that maybe this would not be like any other con I'd ever attended. I've attended a few cons in my time, mostly in Oklahoma, but also in Nebraska and L.A. and Chicago, and even one in Austin (a NASFIC 21 years ago, God, has it been that long?). I have never been to a panel where the moderator pulled out a huge bottle of gin and said, "Who wants martinis?" followed by another panel member saying, "If you don't like martinis, I've got Shiner Bock and barbecue ribs." I was worried about my food budget here, but I had a chili dog in the Con Suite, a rib at the opening panel and some crawfish in the ApolloCon party. I may actually save enough money on food that I can buy a book if I want to, and there are some books in the dealer's room that I really want.

Met a member of my online writing group in person (the first such I've met). I also met Julie Czerneda, a fellow Universe author, as well as Elizabeth Moon, who writes military sci-fi (I have not read any of her books yet, but they will go on my list soon). And I talked comics with Chris Roberson, who has written a book called Paragaea: a Planetary Romance. I don't know if the book is any good, but it has one of the coolest covers I've seen in years.

I'm still kind of on the fence about whether this will be worth the trip. I don't know, for instance, if there will be an official Baen's presence tomorrow or not, but I am ready to schmooze if there is.

During the down times, I've been working on the second draft. It's really eating at me; I thought the second draft would be much easier than the first, but I've felt kind of adrift. I read through the revised first act. When I read the first draft, it was like, "This has some cool energy, but structurally, it's a mess." Now it's like, "The structure works a lot better, but the prose feels dead." Dang it, when did writing get so hard?

1 comment:

Marc Carlson said...

See, you should have stayed home and gone to the meeting...

Just remember - not all liberals are insane (or stupid).