This year's Genghiscon is over and done with, and as usual, it seemed to go too quickly.
Once we actually got there! Our car window that'd been smashed the previous Sunday was taken to the repairers, the new window had come from Sydney, not Germany, hooray, and was ready for repairs. I took the car there, caught the bus back home, then when they'd finished the repairs around 1300 bussed back there, picked the car up, went home, and we were off to the college.
We arrived at St George's College on Friday afternoon and something of a frantic start to the convention occurred.
You see, we'd decided that we'd donate some Sugru to the convention for their showbags, and consequently, we took the packets to the committee a couple of weeks before, and they were duly distributed between bags.
Sugru is a malleable silicone putty which becomes slightly flexible when cured, and enables you to repair things or "hack things better", we thought it should appeal to the 'average' Gcon attendee.
We then told Sugru, and they said, oh, that's so cool, you should of told us, here, let's send you some swing tickets and more Sugru. The swing tickets were to attach the little packet of Sugru to, with instructions, etc.
So it was something of a task to get the little, hiding foil packets of Sugru out of the 100 or so bags that they'd been put in (there were about twice as many bags of course, so half DIDN'T have Sugru in and no way of knowing which were which!), stick them onto the card, and re stuff the bags.
I set to doing this, and Rob went to unload the car. I'd done about 40 when he came back and we were able to get the rest done more quickly once we'd gotten the System underway. Despite Rob dropping a huge box full of stuffed bags, which miraculously didn't spill their contents everywhere, we were done not long after.
The college was being shared with some kids doing baseball, and this had its pros and cons. Apparently some were being really unpleasant, and apparently some were absolutely fascinated by the Rebel Empire display. I only heard about this 2nd hand though. They seemed polite enough to me, and they didn't seem particularly in the way from my experience. Others may report differently.
What are your thoughts?
We checked into our room, which we were sharing, the Memorial Wing apartments had full kitchen and laundry, and were very good.
Although of the three rooms in it, one had a double, and the other two had two singles, we had one of these.
My bed was broken though, but this wasn't discovered until I got into it to sleep, so I slept very gingerly on one side of it, in a V shape, hoping it wouldn't break right in half.
There were of course, some issues with the college, it copped a lot of damage in the Great Hailstorm and isn't repaired yet, so some rooms the convention thought it was going to have, weren't available. But for all that, and under such pressure, there was a surprising amount of grace exhibited. The architecture and the grounds are beautiful, and I'd love to go there again, especially once the repairs are sorted.
We reported it in the morning, and it was swiftly, and ninjas removed the offending bed and replaced it with a much nicer one almost immediately, as far as we can tell.
So after that, I played some parlour games, run by Bronwyn, and thoroughly enjoyed myself,which enabled me to reacquaint myself with Shane (apparently we taught him Wings of War at some point a couple of years ago - he joined us for mahjong later) while Rob, who is not a great fan of such, chewed his own arm off to get away, and went off to do I know not what. I can only assume he enjoyed himself.
We had some GF pizza provided by the convention, and everyone sat out in the grassed courtyard around the lily pond watching the AR Drone impress the baseballers. It is a lovely piece of machinery, and a lot like a dragonfly or hoverfly in its behaviour. Very interesting.
Also met up with ratfan who helped me think about the panel I was on that night, Cross Genre Writing. I wandered on in there - I don't know what Rob went and did with himself, but I hope it was more fun than me worrying that the other panelists hadn't turned up. Anyway, it was the Alternative Energy panel before me, and Chris Creaghe and others talking about what was happening and what we could do to help. It was very interesting, and would have been a great podcast, was it recorded?
The program wasn't very clear on whether one was running half an hour behind or was early. Anyway, Steve Dedman and Elaine Kemp turned up after some petrol related traumas of their own and we talked about romance and vampires, and while there's no romance in Elaine's latest book, there is a Diprotodon, and it's still being marketed by a romance publishing house. (!!) I have purchased it to see if it's true. We also touched on Harry Potter - English boarding school/Magic and how these things have been done before, but it takes something to trigger a bestselling phenomenon. It was interesting to me, anyway, and the audience was involved with questions and discussion.
I don't really remember what we did after that, but we went to bed around 1am? Ah- we practised some mahjong in preparation for the learning games the next day.
Didn't really sleep that well, and finally took some Dolased as I was in pain, and a bit jangled what with one thing and another.
Woke up a bit grungled, but a shower sorted me out, and we waited for breakfast - something of a kerfuffle there, the times for breakfast weren't really broadcast, and of course we were supposed to be in shifts with the baseball kids. The thing is, it's quite a walk to any shops, so if you don't have accommodation or are really hungry and don't have food it's a bit of a pain. We went back to have a croissant and some fruit salad we had, and then ducked into breakfast when it was available to us before we were to help with setting up the Disc Golf Course.
Breakfast was...interesting. Although there was loud lamenting at the lack of bacon, we had no complaints ourselves. Anyone who keeps Alternative Bites Gluten Free bread in their freezer to feed any coeliacs who wander by, and who can say whether the roast chicken legs are GF are okay in our books. Also, very nice scrambled eggs. Very good...and the chilli con carne also looked interesting, if novel for a breakfast item. But yeah...great staff, and very helpful.
And there was bacon the next day, but we had okonomiyaki batter of our own to finish off.
Kris from the Perth Disc Golf Club was led into the breakfast room, he's an early occurring sort of chap, and we sprang up to assist him in setting up the course. The Perth Disc Golf Club has a trailer full of disc golf targets, and we unloaded and nutted out an 8 hole course on the two front lawn levels of the college. Soon, other Chris from the club and grand master Kim turned up, and a host of eager players were basically instructed, split into groups and off we went.
In the end I think we had about 40 people go through and play the full 8 holes, and everyone seemed to enjoy it, although the hatless and sunscreenless probably not so much, as it was sunny, if not overly hot. I played about 20 holes, taking a few groups through the course.
In the end, Kathy's son Sam won the game with 17, 2 over par. The Mystery Number winners were Craig and Alex who both got 27 as their score, which is what Chris had previously decided as the Mystery Number.
I was quite pleased in my first round, getting mostly 2's on the holes.
Rob regretfully had to leave for his Unobtainium panel partway through.
They stayed around until about 1.00, we had a sandwich, drink and coffee in our apartment with them, while Chris played volleyball with the Genghisconners. Then we helped pack up, as we were informed the wedding needed the front lawns, this was not quite the case, but never mind, and had to dash off to run the Learn Mah-jong And Play In The Tournament game. I was sorry to kind of desert the Disc Golf guys, but we had to go teach mah-jong to 12 people. Hope they had a look around and a good time.
Again the layout of the program schedule made it hard to work out if we were half an hour late...
We weren't though, and it was really fun to have 3 games of full mah-jong going. This was the Western version we were teaching, the Chinese version is faster, and different. Greg won the tournament, with a very nice high scoring (a Limit) ordinary hand with a lot of Winds, and nothing terribly bad happening to him in consequent rounds.
We retired to our apartment with ratfan and ariaflame for a combo game of Invasion Earth the Martian Game and Last Night on Earth the Zombie Game. ratfan took on the Martians, Rob was the Zombies and ariaflame and I were the Carnival Heroes.
Aria and I started off with a very strong mix of hard to kill combat heavy heroes, and I think it was this that let us win in the end. But not before poor Archibald the Human Cannonball was converted into a Zombie Hero, in the company of several Zombie Martians. He did blow up a good few Martians though, who took A Very Dim View Of this, and who doggedly pursued him to try to take him out, even though he Was No Longer Quite Himself.
Aria and I were victorious, and having been fortified with okonomiyaki Rob set off to take one of the disc golf targets home, as it had been forgotten, and there's no way the Smartcar could take it AND our luggage home the next day. Rob discovered that he could fit it in and still leave the passenger seat clear, so ratfan and I walked back from the bus stop so he could give her a lift to the train station.
Around about then there was a wedding in the venue, I didn't notice any friction, in fact, we were approached by wedding guests, they stoppeth one of three, and asked them in a friendly way where the bathrooms were, as a bird had whoopsied on the guy's white shirt! Very friendly, interested and grateful to be helped to find a bathroom.
Rob had a disaster panel to be a part of, so I grabbed some books I'd been meaning to return to drhoz and as I knew he'd be doing an RPG in the library, dropped by. They'd just started and there was an empty seat, and drhoz's "Ah, come for the game?" was invitation enough.
So I and an intrepid bunch of Bostonian investigators were led into the mysterious world of The Flophouse Murders.
And my dice were possibly the most infected I've ever seen, except for that one time in that last, terrible Britannia game my regular readers might be aware of.
But we got there in the end, and it was a nice, tight, quick little adventure, with good suspense and pacing. Drhoz is very good with his research, and it can be quite immersive, even with other games going on in the background.
Rob was still in his panel. Can anyone tell me whether they think 11oclock panels are a good idea especially if people not staying at the venue are kicked out then?
While all the common rooms seemed to be closed up quite early the first night, I hear that the cafe, which was great with its built in urn which would never run out of hot water was open all night the next night.
We chatted with Tim and Bron for a bit and then went to bed, which was much better.
But alas, when we woke up this morning I wasn't in a good state, I'd really grungled myself. It was a much hotter day too. I had a shower and had some aspirin which seemed to fix most of the problems. We had breakfast in the apartment, and I did a final wash up and Tim baked Cheesebuddies and which we distributed, while Rob got the car and we packed it and put our keys into reception.
This done, we had a quick game of Tobago with Mark and Matt in the cafe, while waiting for my last panel to start. Unfortunately my co panelist was under the impression we were still in Trinity, but was soon informed where to meet us, and we had a chat, and then went to it.
It was a big room, quite hot, and people came in and stayed throughout the session.
Wow, people really like to hear about cryptozoological stuff. Marcus, who's worked for the WA Museum and stuff, really knows his subject, while I provided drawings, a fun exercise and occasional interjections. A couple of days before I'd made drawing of a bizarre beast,and without much notice I flashed it at the audience, who then tried to describe it to Marcus, who hadn't seen it. He then did a sketch and then we compared it. Drhoz, in the front row was a great observer, and with some help from the other audience members, got a reasonable depiction. I was surprised noone took a photo, though! And as you would expect in real life, some people didn't see it, and others discounted people's observations. Drhoz, however, took the bit in his teeth, was in the front row and I could see him really concentrate on it as soon as I held it up. Good job there! I deliberately made it difficult to parse as well - cryptic beasts are difficult to spot, traditionally, so I used low contrast colours, the same colours as the background, and made a composite monster of various conflicting parts.
It was a good session, Marcus is a great speaker, and we tried to come at it from a gently skeptical point of view. There's a lot of material there, and this would be great to revisit at Swancon. We touched on The Bold Park Bunyip, The Mongolian Deathworm, The Sasquatch and allies, sea monsters, the CFZ and the ABC's, and Out Of Place Animals, and some personal experiences of mine regarding Golden Pheasants in the front yard and Purple Swamphens on the dunes at Scarborough.
About halfway through the panel I started feeling dreadful. A full blown migraine was on its way, and by the time I reached the top of the stairs to get to the couple of games of mah-jong we felt like, started to dry retch, and the waves of pain felt like hot, heavy unfurling red misery as I staggered to the loo to try to cool down, and to throw up in more appropriate surroundings.
Got back to the gaming table, and after some quiet, some food and coffee and gentle conversation, started to play mah-jong with Mark and Steveg. Had a couple of rounds, and then switched to an incomplete round of Mu as Jocelyn and Craig joined us. Then we bid folks farewell after cleanup, which didn't really need our help, although we did offer.
Earliest we've left a Genghiscon, they needed to get things cleared by 3.
All in all, a good experience.
I'd like to go to the venue again, when it's repaired. I got lots of feedback from people who enjoyed the Disc Golf, and feedback from the Disc Golf Club who enjoyed it too, and were very impressed with the levels of untrained skills they saw and with the enthusiasm.
I'd actually like to see WHO is on panels, I thought that was a lack on the program, especially when I'm trying to remember who I'm on a panel with, especially if I've not met them before.
I remember at a couple of the Genghiscons, if you were on an event/s, they'd hand you a little slip of paper telling you where and when. I always thought that was kind of cool.
Didn't see anything about minion bucks this year, in the past if you've run something or been a helpful minion they've given you minion bucks you can spend on drinks etc, which is just kind of a nice thank you, but I don't know if it was happening this time.
Good convention. Thank you, I had fun, and I liked the venue.
I think this one I'll remember as Mah-jongcon.
I didn't attend the AGM, but I hear that the Disc Golf was well liked and there's some enthusiasm about it being around next time. I'm so glad people enjoyed it!
And to some relief, I'd like to announce that this is the first time I've entered the logo competition and not won it! I I've only entered every second year to moderate the embarrassing stream of wins.
Apparently they didn't think they could make a logo of it, but it got an honourable mention.