Category Archives: Fandom

Chicago, Here We Come (I HOPE!)

Chicon 8, the 80th World Science Fiction Convention, will be held in Chicago on September 1-5, 2022.

For the first time in a bunch of years, it looks like we’ll be there, barring some kind of (waves hands and does hopeless Kermit flail indicating everything) catastrophe.

My first science fiction convention was Iguanacon II in Phoenix in 1978. My first trip out of North America was Seacon ’79 in Brighton, England. My honeymoon with Janet (my first wife) was a cross-country road trip to Noreascon Two in Boston in 1980.

We went to Denvention Two in Denver in 1981, Chicon IV in Chicago in 1982, and ConStellation in Baltimore in 1983.

In 1984 we were touch and go at LA Con II here in Los Angeles. I was nominated for a Hugo Award for Best Fanzine but Janet was about 8 1/2 months pregnant, so we could have been forced to bail at a moment’s notice. I did not win the Hugo and our son arrived two weeks after the convention.

After attending seven years in a row things got spottier. We didn’t get to Australia in 1985, Brighton in 1987, or The Hague in 1990.

Even for the domestic conventions, we only got to about a third of them. But we were also taking all of the kids – they got brought up in fannish culture. Noreascon 3 in Boston. ConFrancisco in San Francisco. LACon III in Los Angeles. Chicon 2000. ConJose in San Jose. Torcon 3 in Toronto. LACon IV. Denvention 3. Anticipation in Montreal.

Over the past dozen or so years it seems that a lot of Worldcons have been overseas, and with my career and CAF time commitments causing quite the pinch to my available time, we didn’t get to Australia, Helsinki, London, Dublin, or Wellington. Of course, we didn’t get to Chicago, Kansas City, San Antonio, Reno, or Spokane either. Hell, we didn’t even get to San Jose.

Recently, of course, there’s been COVID. So while we really, REALLY had plans to get to Washington, DC last year, that ultimately didn’t happen.

I had forgotten that the last one we actually got to was in 2009, Anticipation in Montreal. It’s been thirteen years. Time flies when you’re… Never mind.

Next year Worldcon is in Chengdu, China. As much as I enjoyed my one trip to China, I don’t realistically see us getting to Chengdu Worldcon 81st. For the 2024 Worldcon there’s only one bid, Glasgow, Scotland, so I’m guessing they’ll win the vote. We might actually give that a shot, it sounds like a great trip. 2025’s only bid so far is Seattle, where 2026 has bids from Los Angeles and Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

In summary, while the future looks good for at least a couple of domestic bids coming up and at least one realistic overseast trip, this year’s Worldcon in Chicago is where we’re focused. I think we’re going.

We have memberships, hotel reservations, and now plane reservations. Everything’s refundable if the world collapses (again) but we’re hopeful. Over Memorial Day weekend we went to Baycon up in San Mateo and it, while much smaller in size that in previous years (“Thanks, COVID!” ) was still enjoyable. I have no idea how big Chicon 8 will be compared to what I’m used to as a Worldcon, but I’m hoping for a fun convention and also some good sightseeing around Chicago. Maybe a Cubs game at Wrigley.

It’s about time to catch a break and get a little bit back to normal, if we can.


Filed under Fandom, Travel

I Got Home!

To find that after almost five weeks of watering the lawn at about 25% rations (twice a week instead of four times a week, for 8 minutes instead of 15), the lawn is turning brittle and brown quite nicely.

Good thing that it’s been in the 90’s and low 100’s and dry as a bone, too!

If it were my house I might be making changes in the landscaping, but it’s not. I’m sure the owner isn’t particularly happy, but thems are the rules and they seem to be enforcing it. I’m not planning on getting fined.

Now we just need to wait a couple of days and see if our somewhat obsessive wearing of masks and keeping as distant as possible from others at Baycon was effective. There are already reports of four COVID cases, but not necessarily in areas or panels we attended.

We’ll see. Whether or not we come out of his clean will have a lot to do in the final decision of whether or not to go to Chicago in September for Worldcon.

Fingers crossed…

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I Saw Fireworks!

We’re out of town, and I wasn’t thrilled by the idea of going to hunt for a local fireworks display, not knowing the areas, neighborhoods, parking, and so on. But there’s a third floor balcony on the hotel, looking out over the freeway toward the bay, so I figured there was a chance that some of the local communities might have displays that we could see. A few other folks from the remnants of the con thought the same, and we weren’t disappointed.

It might have been from a couple miles away, but it still beat what we’ve had for the last couple of years. I’ll take it!

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I’m Having Fun Here!

Baycon is much smaller this year than it has been in past years. I don’t have any official numbers, but I would be surprised if there are 30% of the normal, pre-COVID attendees.

Ah, COVID! There’s a big chunk of the problem. No Baycon in 2020 or 2021, and this year we’re on a different holiday weekend than normal. No wonder.

But I’m having a great time anyway. Good panels every day. Masquerade tonight. Some filk concerts. Got to meet and chat with the artist Guest of Honor. And so on.

And I can wander the convention space looking for odd or interesting things to take pictures of!

What’s not to love?

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I’m Eating Here!

On only the second trip in three years, at a con for the first time in three years, comfort and convenience are key. I knew that my usual routines for healthy eating might have to take a sabbatical for a couple of days. But the first day and a half was just BRUTAL on my dietary control.

So today I wanted to do better. Let’s start with a healthier breakfast. Forget about the hotel breakfast buffet, which not only cost $40 but also seduced me into eating enough food to feed a small battalion. Today, let’s go to that great little mom & pop family place a couple blocks down for just an omelette…

Holy guacamole, Batman!

I couldn’t do it, couldn’t finish. Even with that whole “Catholic, family of eight kids, clean your plate at all costs, starving children in China” condition from birth, I was going to explode and/or die if I had tried.

But it cost less than half of what that hotel buffet did, so, winner winner!!

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I Got Here!

First science fiction convention in three years!

Well, this isn’t at the con, it’s where we had dinner. But it’s very photogenic.

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I Can Go!

Hit my critical deadline (by the skin of my teeth), got to go out in public for a business lunch for the first time in YEARS (what was that all about?!), and I passed this test, so now I get to go to my first science fiction convention in about three years.

Ending June strong!

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Thinking About The Brothers K Tonight

Busy, as always, sometimes busier than busy, and at times by habit, skill (unlikely), or necessity, I get into that groove and just start grinding through things that need to get done ASAP. As noted before at times here, it’s akin in many ways to running, especially long distances such as a marathon. I truly wish I could invoke that mental state at will, but that’s another discussion.

When “in the groove” some part of my mind tends to wander while the more basic part is getting the job done. As Crash Davis said to Ebby Calvin ‘Nuke’ LaLoosh, “Don’t think – it can only hurt the ball club.” (Totally irrelevant side note – is anyone keeping track of how many times I’ve quoted that and linked to this clip?)

Tonight my thoughts turned to juggling. Juggling in turn took my thoughts to The Flying Karamazov Brothers, who I think are truly astonishing and who I first saw (I think) doing the halftime entertainment at the Westercon masquerade in 1979. (Maybe 1980?) That in turn made me wonder – are they still around?


Not doing much touring (it’s almost like there’s been a raging pandemic that’s seriously restricted travel and in-person gatherings for the last couple of years), but they do have at least one upcoming show scheduled for June and with luck they’ll be out touring soon.

Simple advice – watch their videos online, be entertained, learn to love them, and if you ever get a chance to see them live, take it!

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My Calendar Today

“[TENATIVE] Fly to Washington DC”

On the one hand, good thing that trip got cancelled! I am so up to my ass in alligators between work and the hangar and year-end and budgets and tax returns and tying up loose ends and DEATH WILL NOT RELEASE ME!

On the other hand, it’s yet another thing that I would truly, truly love to do (we were going for Worldcon in DC, but because of COVID the con has turned into a bit of a “challenge” with hotels closing and facilities in short supply and moving from August to December) that I can’t because of COVID in part, but also because there’s that whole “adult” thing to deal with.

I’ll carry on. I’ll live. But there might be moments in the next week when I’m seeing reports from the convention and friends who DID make it there when I’ll be cranky.

On the gripping hand, when one door closes, another opens. One event that got written off when we were planning on being in DC this week suddenly became a possibility. And with the kids coming down…

Okay, I’ll be a tiny little bit less cranky.

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No Worldcon For Us – Again

My calendar reminds me that right about now is when I was supposed to be finishing a long drive from LA to San Jose and checking into our hotel for this year’s World Science Fiction Convention (aka “Worldcon”).

That’s not happening. I’m not thrilled.

About six or seven weeks ago we cancelled our reservations and told friends that we weren’t going to be there. The Wings Over Camarillo airshow is this weekend and as the Finance Officer for the Wing it’s sort of critical that I be there. Last year I wasn’t (it was the total solar eclipse!) and for that I made the trip. And then had to work twice as hard for quite a while to get caught up. It was worth it (TOTAL FREAKIN’ SOLAR ECLIPSE!!) but as much as I love going to Worldcon, I have to do the responsible, “adulting” thing this year. There will be another one next year.

But as I saw the posts of friends from all over the country and even all over the world heading to San Jose, I got to thinking about how long it’s been since I’ve been to Worldcon. Then I got really depressed.

Nine years.

The last time we went was 2009 in Montreal. Which was great, because we had gotten to Denver in 2008. And the family got to LA in 2006. (I didn’t since I was doing my MBA program at Pepperdine and had class that entire weekend.) And we all went to Toronto in 2003 and San Jose in 2002! And from 1978 (my first con of any kind) in Phoenix through 1984 in Los Angeles I went for seven years in a row!

But since Montreal I’ve missed Melbourne, Reno, Chicago, San Antonio, London, Spokane, Kansas City, and Helsinki. Fine, London when I was unemployed for a while might have been a reasonable, responsible call. And Kansas City was fairly soon after I started my current job and I probably didn’t have any vacation time accrued yet. But what’s up with that Reno, Chicago, and San Antonio stretch? What was the excuse then?

I’m sure it was something along the lines of, “There will be another one next year.”

So next year it’s Dublin. And in 2020 it will be New Zealand. (Okay, the 2020 site selection voting is going on this weekend, but no one else has a bid, so…) And likely to be (only one current bid) Washington DC in 2021 , Chicago in 2022, and Minneapolis in 2073.

Too early to start planning my excuse/reason for missing it next year?

I’ll watch the Hugo awards and masquerade online… Wait, it just hit me. No, I won’t. They’ll be on at times when I’m tied up with my job at the air show.

Y’all have fun in San Jose. Say hello to fandom for me. I’ll be over here being adult, boring, mundane, and contemplating the similarities between a rut and a grave.

(Wow, THAT escalated quickly!)

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