LTUE XXIII is over. It’s an odd convention, in that it’s not really a convention at all — it’s a symposium. It doesn’t have dealer’s room, room parties, or even much cosplay (cosplay does happen a bit on Saturday) For all that, it’s a great time.
I’ll probably be lending them my services on the organizational front next year. They did a few things really well (running on a shoestring budget), but did a few things less than well. Fortunately most of what went wrong did so behind the scenes, and the attendees never noticed. Regardless, these are things I know how to fix, provided I can find enthusiastic people who will listen to me.
I had a great time. I posted myself in the Registration area, commandeered a table, and started dishing out free sketches. These “sketches” were 10-20 minute marker-art jobs, which attracted a LOT of attention. It was good practice for me, and the people watching me do it had fun. They also took URL cards. This went on for a good two hours.
My panels were fun, too — especially since most of the attendees were NOT Schlock Mercenary readers… YET. I did a good job balancing my “I can talk about anything and sound like an expert” persona against the “learn something from the other panelists” persona, with the exact result I desired — the other panelists felt pleased with their own performances, and the audience felt compelled to figure out what this whole schlockmercenary.com thing was.
Panels are odd beasts that way. I want to entertain the audience — it’s good for the convention, it’s fun for me, and it’s great marketing. I also want to EDUCATE the audience — this isn’t a stand-up routine, Jerry Springer, or “Whose Line Is It, Anyway?” I have to be super-careful not to talk too much. I know I can fill 50 minutes all by myself… that doesn’t mean I SHOULD.
The final banquet was great. I sat with Dan Willis, Bob-is-not-my-wife Defendi, L.E. Modessit, Jerry Pournelle, and a guy whose Utah license plate reads “SFWRITR.” No, I didn’t get his name. We talked until the buffet line got short enough to stand in, during which time we discussed politics, education, nuclear power, hunter-gatherers, and How To Be A Successful Husband. Jerry gave us two rules — “Men, if you are ever arguing with your wife and discover that you are right, apologize immediately.” Oh, and “Learn To Grovel.”
In the buffet line, Jerry dug into the mystery barbecue crock pot and announced “Donner, Party of 20!” He paused for a moment, and then said “Donner, Party of 19.” No barbecue is complete without long pig humor.
The door prizes were announced, and Jerry won a Farscape VHS tape. “What’s this? I’ve never heard of it?”
ME: “It’s… um… space opera with puppets, Jerry.”
Jerry: “I liked ‘Firefly.’ Is it anything like that?”
Me: “Umm… puppets.”
(Note to Farscape fans… cool your jets. You’ve got a muppet space-opera right there and you know it.)
All told, we had a great time. I’ll be back next year. This thing is right in my back yard. How could I NOT be back?