Wednesday, February 13, 2013

GalaxyFest diary

Overall, I had a good time at GalaxyFest in Colorado Springs this past weekend. There were a few bumps along the way, but the positive for me vastly outweighed the bad.

I've never participated in a con in Colorado or visited Colorado Springs, so when I got the invite I decided to make the trek. I had wanted to attend last year - which was its first outing - but something intervened and I couldn't make it. I appreciate they extended me an invite again.

I flew out of Texarkana and arrived at the con by 10 a.m. Saturday. They set up a table for me in a hallway and so I had my own base of operations for the weekend. The literary interest among those attending seemed minimal; I saw very few people buying books, and I sold only one myself. This seemed to be very fan-oriented; I think a majority of participants were in costume. That's not to denigrate the con; the attendance was surprisingly large and sometimes the hallways were teeming. I know from chatting briefly with hotel management they were VERY appreciative to the con for bringing in such a large crowd in the dead of winter.

During my free time I used my manual typewriter to start my next story, "On a Spiritual Plain" (that's not a typo) and by the end of the con I had 12 pages. BTW, this was the first time I took the Smith Corona Classic 12 with me on a plane, as my personal carry-on.

The only person I knew previously from Colorado Springs was Sarah Hoyt, and it was nice to meet her again, as well to meet her husband Dan and son Marshall. We were all various panels together. I also had an opportunity to meet David Howe and Sam Stone, and Kevin Anderson and Rebecca Moesta, and again, serve with them on panels.

I served with David Wacks and Peter Wacks on panels, also, and they also helped me as members of the con committee.

I served on two panels Saturday, "Rehash or New Mash" followed by "I turned around the corner and walked into a panel" in the next hour.

The rehash panel was very good, as we went over plots and themes in fiction. I can't recall who was with me on each individual panel, they sort of ran together. The panel on panels got messed up because there was a panel on zombies next door, and the moderator thought the crowd at 9 p.m. was too small for his ego, so he and the people who were there at the time came over and suggested the two panels be combined.

He also took over both panels and ran it like a dog and pony show. If he had waited, he probably would have had enough people for the zombie panel, because ultimately the majority of people who sat in were probably there for the zombies.

So I get stuck on a panel on zombies. I wasn't pleased to say the least. but then I remembered my story "Good News for the Dead" and realized I might actually have something to contribute.

So when it comes my turn on the panel, I open "Texas & Other Panels" so I could read the very ending of the story - and the blowhard cuts me off, and says we don't have time.

Of course, I got real mad real fast, and then said "It was only three words." Then the blowhard, realized how rude he was, asked me if I would continue. What he didn't know was my three words for him were, "Fuck you, buddy!"

Then, continuing to display an unfortunately too typical lack of social skills, he kept prodding me, until I said, "No, that's what you get for interrupting people."

After maybe a half hour my blood pressure dropped and towards the end I contributed somewhat to both part of this messed up panel. But this obviously was the low point of the convention.

I later told David Wacks they need to have a rule about combining panels and/or hijacking panels. I've seen panels where someone hogged the mike, or did something else stupid (like spending most of the time texting), but this was a new one for me.

I was on three panels Sunday, "Writing Organizations" - where I used the opportunity to tout SASS -, "Geezers of Geekdom" and "Science vs. SciFi". The last one was held at 4 p.m. and still had 25 people in the audience - very impressive. A British actor named Colin Spaull was on the Geezer panel; he was very nice, and I think he said he's the only actor who's been on both the old and new versions of Dr. Who.

I was impressed with the fact some Brits - like Spaull, David Howe and Sam Stone - would schlep all the way from the U.K. for the con.

There wasn't a con suite, per se,. but instead a VIP suite. There wasn't much food preparation going on, but so long as they kept the pizza coming, everyone was happy.

The con committee members were all very helpful and pleasant; they were spread pretty thin, but hey, it's a volunteer-run event. Monday morning one of them was nice enough to shuttle me and another guest to the airport.

I got back to Mount Pleasant by 3 p.m.

I have previously mentioned the view of Pikes Peak and the interview with Claudia Christian. Overall, it was a great con for me, and I'm glad I went.

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