Saturday, August 08, 2015

The Week in Review

Saturday at the Con

Saturday at the Oz convention was surprisingly busy. A lot of new folks came to the con after hearing about it on the local television stations, and many of them wandered into my room where I gave them directions to the sights they wanted to see, information on next year's convention, stories about Oz fans and the con, and just generally kept people moving. The room turned out to be a kind of information booth in some ways, which amused me.

I did get to head up to the crafts room, guiding a child and his mother who were new to the con. I wanted to head up there anyway, so I used them as an excuse and got to see a lot of kids drawing superheroes based on Oz characters. It was both cute and a little daunting. The lesson was on character creation and the teacher was a local comic book creator. It was neat to see at an Oz convention.

We scheduled demos of Munchkin Oz at 3 p.m. and a few people stopped by to try it out. It was fun to watch, but I didn't get as many photos as I had hoped to get. I wanted to get photos of people in Oz t-shirts playing, but everyone who played had dressed up nicely for the convention. Just my luck.

I didn't get to much of the programming, but I spent a good deal of time talking with people and even wandering a bit. The big events of the day included the annual quizzes and the costume contest. I avoided the quiz room but helped out a little in the costume contest since Eric was the MC.

Most of the longtime Oz fans spent most of the day in the auction, which is one of the big events of the convention. I've sat through it a few times. It's not nearly as much fun if you aren't bidding or aren't helping out. So I skipped it pretty much entirely this year. I popped into the preview for a few minutes to get some photos, but that was it.


At 4 p.m., most everything else shut down for the costume contest. There were only 21 entries this year, but some of them were truly fantastic. Joe Phillips was amazing as The Cowardly Lion, putting on a performance that was fortunately captured (along with my husband's intro) and put on YouTube.

There was also a hysterical group costume featuring Gloria's heart being frozen because of her love for Pon. It was... something else entirely. I personally loved the Guardian of the Gate and Omby Amby, both excellent costumes deserving of awards. Our friend Karyl dressed as the silent movie version of Blinkie, which was also fun.

Usually there's enough time between the final panel of the afternoon and the Saturday night banquet for people to go to their rooms, take a breather and then get dressed for the banquet. It's been a tradition for a long time to dress up a little for the banquet, and Eric kept to the tradition if only because he was presenting an award. I got a little dressed up, but not much, but we barely had any time because the costume contest ran so long.

In addition to just being a tradition at the convention, the banquet is also when all the awards of the convention are presented. This meant I got to take notes like I was working during it. The meal was ok, nothing incredible. People who ordered the chicken got purple carrots. The dessert was excellent, a chocolate cheesecake. But it was mostly just a standard sort of hotel meal.

Eric had been working on his speech for quite some time. He hasn't been able to run the entire thing by me, since he was keeping the winner of the L. Frank Baum award secret even from me, but I did get to hear and approve his introduction. It was great to hear him speechify at the banquet. Sometimes we forget how much preparation goes into these types of events. Eric certainly gave this one his all.

Once the banquet was done, people needed to get down nine floors to go to the ballroom for the evening program. There were quite a few people upstairs and only three elevators. It took awhile for everyone to make it down. I claimed a different corner of the ballroom and wrote up my report of the day while listening to the interview and the "reunion" panel.

Late Night

After the program, Eric and I rushed to get back to our room before the elevators became too crowded to use. I got stopped by Rachel, who wanted the Munchkin Oz game so they could play it that night, so I snagged it from the Oogaboo room and followed Eric up. He was wiped out, but I wanted to pop in and at least make an appearance at the after-party, so I did. I wish I'd stayed a bit longer, a friend who wasn't attending the convention showed up and I would have liked to give him a hug. But I was gone before he arrived, darn it all.

The room was still a bit sticky/clammy, but was definitely getting better. The "puddle" on the carpet by the door was nearly dry. It wasn't as difficult to sleep as the first two nights.

Both Eric and I had a really difficult time getting up on Sunday. I admit, all I was thinking about while lying in the bed was "at least I don't have to get on a plane today." The sheer luxury of not having to travel on the final day of the convention was just wonderful. We usually rush home, but knowing we didn't have to find somewhere to store our luggage, then haul everything last-minute to the airport... well, it was worth it for me.

Quiet Sunday

We were late enough getting started that Eric just went and found another overpriced yogurt for me for breakfast. I headed down to the con room as soon as I was able, and spent pretty much the entire morning there presiding over people buying memberships for Oz Con 2016 and asking questions. There weren't nearly as many people as Saturday, but still plenty wandering through.

I intended to sit through the 2 p.m. panel, which was supposed to be about next year's convention and was the final event of the con, but I ended up heading back to the room. Karyl took notes and while I was there I got some good ideas for the newsletter. I also made the decision to take on organizing the research table (creative contest) for next year's convention season. I hope I didn't bite off more than I can chew.

As the convention wound down, people came in to buy memberships, and then came in to see if we needed help packing up. Apparently a LOT of people were helping the convention chair, Freddy, pack up his amazing Return to Oz collection. We were out of the room well before the 6 p.m. deadline... much closer to 4 p.m. in fact.

After returning to our hotel room, we were sort of at loose ends. I was exhausted and wanted to swim in the pool while it was still warm out. Eric wanted to go on a food adventure. Eventually we decided on the food adventure, though I would've settled for more crappy convention food if it meant I didn't have to walk far. I got over my grumps thanks to the quality of the food, but I wasn't sure if I'd have time for the swim I desperately wanted. I went anyway, even though it was getting dark. I really really really need to find a pool in this area that I can use, preferably a nice heated therapy pool. I always feel much better after a swim.

The room had gotten drier and drier over the course of the day, and was actually pretty nice Sunday night. I hope whoever next uses the room will find it dry and comfortable.

Travel Days

I've already reported in detail on Monday, so I'm not going to go over it all again. The highlights, of course, were being groin-patted at security, the nice lady who switched seats so I could have a window seat and my mom being prepared with our drinks of choice when we jumped in the van.

Monday evening was a nice family dinner, then a slow start on Tuesday because both of us had insomnia. Inkwell was extremely unhappy with our journey, but I got to stop at an actual donut shop and get donuts, so that was a positive. I was very tired and nodded off when Eric was driving. He actually woke me up when he turned on the radio 20 miles from home and "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road" came on.

Inkwell was really funny when we got home. He checked out all his usual spots first, then made little "hrrrup?" noises at me to make sure I wasn't going to put him back in the carrier. Every time I touched a bag of any sort, he made a growling meow of despair. When I brought my camera bag in to reload it with work stuff and take out trip stuff, he stood near me and howled at me to stop. He doesn't want to go anywhere.

We both kind of collapsed once we were home, although Inkwell seemed energized. I'll admit I slept far better in my own bed than I did at any location on the road. And while we got up late on Wednesday, we still managed to get stuff done. I unpacked, we washed clothing, we slept, we got online, we watched some tv on the DVR... it was all pretty good.

Among the items of mail that came while we were away was my Fortean Times magazine and my Exploding Kittens game. I teased Inkwell with the lid of the game, but I don't think he ever figured out what I was doing. I've let the FT's pile up, I must get to reading them soon. Pity I don't have a free weekend in the foreseeable future.

Back to Work

It was, not unexpectedly, really hard to get up on Thursday morning. All day long I kept confusing the day for Monday. I struggled through my deadline work, started to get my feet under me, then just couldn't pull together the special section story I wanted to finish yesterday. It needed another day to simmer. I went out to the place I was writing about to get some more inspiration, and that helped a little. I think.

On Thursday I assisted a guy who was looking for three obituaries of classmates. He had date ranges for all of them, so I hauled down an archive for him to flip through and grabbed two others from downstairs. He found two of the three. I wish I could have helped a little more, but I was trying to write and only had time to grab the books for him to look through.

A Torchwood hardcover my co-worker's daughter had borrowed got returned while I was away. I brought it home and Eric put it on the stairs to remember to take up to the Doctor Who room. Inkwell spotted it while going up the stairs and investigated. Then he smelled it and really investigated. I watched as he crouched over it, smelling it from every angle. He nudged it with his nose to smell the pages. He studied it intently. I should mention the daughter has a bunch of cats. Apparently they left some messages on it. Inkwell was enthralled for quite some time. Eventually he pushed it down the stairs. I'm not sure why. After it hit the bottom of the stairs by the front door, he finally left it alone. But he was smelling it for almost a half hour before that.

Friday was twenty times worse than Thursday. I had a fibro flare-up, although a very unusual one. Usually the pain/sore/ache hits my shoulders first and tends to almost extend down (I'm not describing this right, but I'm not sure how else to say it). I have never before had a flare-up where my shoulders didn't ache. This time, it was almost entirely in my legs. They hurt so bad I could barely move. I wanted to do exercises in the morning, but I simply couldn't. I tried touching my toes, just to get something in, and nearly screamed and fainted from the hurt. The pain extended up to my chest, but didn't really impact my shoulders. Again, really unusual for me. The attack lasted about four hours, then started to fade. I took two doses of painkiller, a little more than I like to take, but I needed to get through the morning.

I did get through deadline, although a trip I would have liked to take myself to the site of a house fire to get photos was left to a co-worker instead. Otherwise, I managed. There were a couple of moments I had to stop, put my head down and concentrate on not crying, but mostly I got through it. I wouldn't wish it on anyone.

By lunchtime I was sore from remembered pain and from tensing up with the pain. I was also exhausted from fighting the pain. But the pain itself was finally completely gone and I went home and had a long discussion with the cat, who is still uncertain if he's going on another trip soon. I saw him trying to beat up my "suitcase", perhaps to convince me to not use it any more.

Anyway, Inkwell and I did the "almost" cuddle thing at lunch, which helped lift my spirits. After lunch was much easier and I got my story done, although I had to wrestle bits of it into submission. I really would like to snag all those special section stories off the editor's desk and give them each another draft before turning them in, but he's probably at work this weekend editing them.

Speaking of working the weekend, I need to get ready to head out to the Fair and Rodeo this afternoon. I have three assignments, which is more than I wanted to do this weekend, but hey... I technically just got off a vacation, even if I was busy the entire time. It's not my boss's fault I'm low on energy. I'm also working next weekend, which is more of a bummer and equally unavoidable. Such is life. Ah, the glamour of being a reporter. *snerk*