Post-Holiday Catch-Up

This past Monday, May 28, was Memorial Day here in the US. It’s a Federal holiday, so a great many people enjoy the day off. It’s a day when we honor our war dead, and the patriotic displays can often be overwhelming. It also happens to be the weekend of WisCon, what used to be my local convention. I say “used to be” because I don’t really feel much kinship with that event any more. Instead of lots of warm greetings as in the past, I really only have a couple of close friends who still go, and while I cherish spending time with them while they’re in town for WisCon, the remaining time is spent anticipating the occasional and increasingly less frequent nod in passing from friends who still attend, but for whatever reason we’ve grown apart.
WisCon may one day mean more to me again, but of late the feeling of obligation outweighs the feelings of joy and excitement and inspiration, so ghosting the convention has become a thing for me. I still do the grocery shopping in support of the Carl Brandon Society party every year, but that’s Friday night and the convention has barely hit its stride by the time I drop off the goodies. I was delighted to have GoH Saladin Ahmed sign my copy of Throne of the Crescent Moon: if you haven’t read it, I HIGHLY recommend it as an excellent fantasy novel, and one told from a point of view outside of the normal, well-worn European tropes. As of the date of this writing, it’s $1.99 for the Kindle on Amazon.com for a limited time.

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I missed posting on Monday because of the holiday, then Tuesday brought a regularly scheduled work day from the part-time day job, plus a seminar I wanted to attend later that evening, so time ran out to get it done Tuesday. Today is rainy and cooler: with the windows open a crack for airflow, I’m listening to the rain and enjoying a break from the oppressive heat of the last four days.

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I wanted to remind everyone that I will be one of the guests at Meeplestock: a gaming convention in Stevens Point, Wisconsin. This year the event is held June 15-17: I will be there on Saturday and Sunday only, playing games and maybe — just maybe — leading a Pokemon Go! foray into the wilds of central Wisconsin. Meeplestock donates all profits to charity, so as well as being a fun way to spend a weekend or even just a day, it’s a worthy cause to boot.

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Final bit of (good) news for this week: A book that I contributed to in a substantial way just came out. Pan’s Guide for New Pioneers is a starter kit for Pugmire, and includes not only an extended adventure for beginning players, but also a number of pre-generated characters to help new players get started. You can buy a PDF version HERE, or you can wait a couple more weeks until the print edition comes out.

2 thoughts on “Post-Holiday Catch-Up

  1. We are starting to get that vibe from many of the cons we used to love, and was just discussing this with other friends yesterday. Your post is sort of on the same track as what we were all feeling. Geek Kon is still iffy for us as writers, it’s not offering us much anymore, just stuff for our kids. We’re going to try Gamehole Con, and my hubby does Adepticon, I might even try WindyCon again. Haven’t been to WisCon in many ages. I do look to people like you, Bill, to sort of point us towards ones you attend and like, as well as all my writer/gamer/painter friends, but now that I am older, I look for different things in a con than I used to. Is this an age thing, or how cons are organized now?

    • Good question: I don’t know. The number of volunteer-run cons seems to be shrinking, and I think that’s both good and bad. Good, because harassers and pedophiles depend on friendships of people in authority within the con to help shield them from consequences. Bad, because cons run for profit cater to the lowest common denominator, and that usually doesn’t include folks like me and you. I’m dismayed over the way things were handled with GeekKon: they alienated the vast majority of their volunteers, they set up NDAs for everyone working on the convention, and they are micromanaging every department. I suspect GeekKon will go downhill fast with all the ill-will they’re generating: anime may be a large community, but it seems fairly close-knit, and people talk to each other. Some organizational changes needed to be made, true, but this throws the baby out with the bathwater.
      I’m going to the unfortunately named GameHoleCon for the first time this year. Not sure what to expect, exactly, but I’ll be spending my days running the Onyx Path booth, so I don’t know how much free time I’ll have. Hope there’s more than a little…
      I’m curious about WindyCon and Capricon myself: I used to go to cons regularly when I was younger, but never made it to those two for some reason. Let me know what you think.

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