Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Winkie Con

Winkie Convention 2012 thoughts... click to read the whole thing...

So, I went to the Winkie Convention again this year. Since I married Eric, I've gone to 10 of them, missing the other six. I've made it to the last four in a row. Part of that is because in 2009 I volunteered to produce the newsletter, and since then we've gotten help when needed to get to the convention.

This year was a little different. I'm now a reporter, which is strange and fun. I have had the job nearly a year and, assuming the town bully doesn't get me fired, will celebrate my first anniversary of employment in the newspaper field on August 15th.

Due to my press pass, Eric and I were able to get into the Gilroy Garlic Festival for free. We went on Friday. We started out from home on Thursday morning, driving down to Oroville where we stayed the night. It took about 12 hours total, maybe 11 of them driving. My mother acted as cat- and house-sitter while we were away. I think the pair got along ok.

Friday morning we got on the road early, stopped near Lodi for breakfast, and got to Gilroy at about 10 a.m. We got a media bus to the festival and spent a lovely morning taking pictures. We got to go inside Gourmet Alley to view people making food and finished our visit by eating some incredible garlicky food.

It's a relatively short jaunt from Gilroy to Asilomar (Pacific Grove) and we were at the conference grounds long before the convention officially started. The convention started with the usual mingling, greeting old friends and meeting new ones. It was fun.

The convention this year was divided into Pinks and Blues. If you've read Sky Island you'll understand. Every attendee got either a pink or a blue badge. Some of us knew ahead of time what we were, since we requested one or the other (I was blue, hubby-Eric was pink). The colors didn't actually have much effect on the convention, but it was a fun part of the goofiness.

The management at Asilomar has continued to change things. This year we first noticed a lot of new signs. Old ones had been replaced with updated ones, and more directories and informational signs had been added. The new signs were a definite improvement.

The dining hall had some changes for the worse, though, including a poorly thought out way of getting people to line up that meant folks were standing outside in line for quite awhile. They had the means of bringing the line indoors, but didn't use it. Perhaps because it wasn't raining. The worst change, for me personally, was that they no longer carried chocolate milk. It just wasn't an option. At all. No chocolate milk anywhere in the dining hall. In past years I've enjoyed having the stuff for the Winkie Weekend only. To have it so cruelly taken away was both a shock and a disappointment.

Lots of good stuff after dinner. A great presentation and interview with the guest, Caren Marsh-Doll, one of the few people living who worked on MGM's "The Wizard of Oz" movie. She was a stand-in for Judy Garland during lighting and effects testing. She never appeared on-screen, but she spent more time on the sets.

There was also a very funny game show in which pairs of contestants did a guessing game. The clues given were extremely amusing, and the set up was surprisingly simple and effective. There were two teams of four (Pink against Blue, naturally) and each team got four tries (so everyone had a chance to be both the clue-giver and the guesser). The guesser sat underneath the projection screen and the goal word was projected onto the screen. The clue-giver had to give enough clues that the guesser could come up with the correct answer without saying any part of the goal word. Those guessers who really know their Oz had no issues... if the clue-giver really knew their Oz as well. Most of the words were character names.

Dates were set for the next convention (June 21-23) and I will be e-mailing my publisher and editor with that information soon so I can have the weekend off to go.

The Winkie Convention has been running since 1964, and since 1992 convention-goers have presented the Winkie Award each year to a person who has shown a great deal of dedication to the convention, providing help and support and generally being a good Winkie. In 1997, my second Winkie Convention, my husband Eric Gjovaag won the award. He deserved it for all the efforts he's put into making the convention a success as well as keeping Oz fandom going in the Pacific Northwest. This year, I was given the honor for my work on the newsletter.

A lto more happened at the convention. A great Show-And-Tell session, a late-night party that I actually attended for once, a giant inflated elephant, a mad dash to a game store to get prizes, and a relaxing walk on the Asilomar boardwalks. But I'm tired from the drive back.

See, we decided to try to save some money. Instead of stopping for the night on the way home, we decided to make the effort to drive through. We started just after lunch on Sunday, stopped for dinner in Weed at about 8 p.m. and then reached home a little after 4 a.m. on Monday. And promptly fell asleep for several hours.

It's taken all day Monday and most of the morning Tuesday to recover. I think I could have handled work today (Tuesday) but I'm just as glad I decided to just rest.

And so, that was our trip.


David Oakes said...

I met one of your Winkie friends at SDCC this year. (Names were not exchanged, but he likes Tick-Tock?) Did he remeber to ask you about your Oz LEGO?

Tegan said...

Yup, we chatted about it. I need to take some pictures.