It was a 750 mile round-trip drive, but I did enjoy going to AggieCon this past weekend.
I had been unable to attend it in the past; there was a direct conflict with an event in the city where I used to work that I had to cover as part of my newspaper job.
But I changed jobs last year, and so I was able to attend this year.
Right off the bat, there was the issue that we had a Turkey City workshop March 18. That was set by Bruce Sterling's timetable, so there was nothing to do about it. Although there were a number of Austinians at AggieCon, none of them had been at the workshop.
Right at the end of the week, I learned that, because of some idiosyncrasy of printing, a section of the mid-week paper that normally deadline on Tuesday had to be moved up to 10 a.m. Monday - which meant if I went to AggieCon, I d have to turn around right away and get that section done when I came back.
That all gave me cause to pause, but I decided to plow through and head out.
The programming chairperson was nice enough to schedule my first panel at 3 p.m. Saturday, so that left me plenty of time to get there. Still, I left Hooks at 7:15 a.m. and arrived with ten minutes to spare.
If you know anything about the local map, I-30 connects Dallas and Little Rock, I-35 connects Dallas and Austin, and I-45 connects Dallas and Houston.
Texarkana is on I-30; College Station is between Austin and 45- which means you can't get there from here. I made my own way through secondary highways and went through Mount Pleasant, Gilmer, Gladewater, Crockett and Madisonville.
I'm glad I tried it, but going through all those small cities was a pain in the butt. On the return trip, I took I-45 to Dallas and I-30 to Texarkana. It's longer, but actually much faster.
I had never been to the A&M campus; I was amazed by the size, to say the least.
I found the Memorial Student Center, like I said, with ten minutes to spare. I asked the first person I saw with a badge where Con Ops was.
It was Heather Martinez, the programming chairman! What a coincidence! She commented on that, too. She steered me into Con Ops and got me my packet and stuff so I was in place and ready at 3:00 p.m.
That panel was on "Breaking the Wall" with Bill Crider and Tom Knowles.
My next panel was at 6:45 p.m., so I took the opportunity to check into a nearby Motel 6.
The next panel was with Jayme Blaschke and Richard Dee and was on "Immortality and Cloning". Jayme and I were also on the next panel at 8 p.m... "How SF Shaped the Real World". Tom Knowles came back for that one. This was the one panel at the con where I was the moderator.
I was back at the motel by about 9:15 p.m. and slept well. Sunday, my only panel was at 11 a.m. on "Creating Aliens" with David Carren.
(To be continued)