Ballticon, I love you!

I just got back from Balticon 43 and damn I’m tired. Four straight days of fun, frolic, work, mind-bending conversation, fan-girl moments and sundry madness. Here are several of my favorite moments from the convention, in no particular order.

  1. Getting there. You people have no idea how much I love climbing into my old beater car and heading out of town. I used to do long drives like this all the time, pre-kids. Now these drives only happen a couple times a year. When I’m in my beater car, I can listen to my favorite music, drink a ton of coffee, and rant out loud with only other drivers to look at me like I’m crazy. I used to drive to the same area Balticon is in for Army Reserves drill, so I really miss this. Although admittedly, Balticon is a lot more fun than Army Reserves.
  2. Hugs. I got hugs from everyone – Paulette Jaxton, Elf, Mike Pederson, Doug from College (who I only got to see for 30 seconds, but man what a hug!), Cmaaaarrr, Sci Fi Laura, Steve Eley, Gutshot, Matt F’n Wallace, Christiana Ellis, Mae Breakall, Kim the Comic Book Goddess, Dee, Nobilis, Heather Welliver, Grail Wolf, Mistress Jett, Paul Fischer and Martha Holloway, MAinPA, Dan the Fan, Tee Morris, Podcasting’s Rich Sigfrit, SVAllie, Brand, Vivid Muse, Chooch, Alessia Brio and Will Belegon, Jared Axelrod and J. R. Blackwell, George Hrab, and many, many others. I love getting hugs from friends, and when you only get to see folks face to face a couple times a year, these hugs are very important. Best group hug – Ms. Information, Nobilis and Phil Rossi. Best hug over all – Mur Lafferty. Her husband is a lucky man };)
  3. Info overload. I sat in on a ton of panels, everything from podcasting to geek family life to short fiction readings. My brain is so full of ideas and inspiration, it’s leaking out my ears!
  4. Readings! The Friday evening short fiction slam rocked – Nathan Lowell had the best short story on religion I’ve heard in a long time. Phil Rossi read from Crescent, soon to be released in print. Steve Eley rocked with a little gem on computer viruses and daily life and Chris Lester had me jonesing for Metamor City. On Saturday (or was it Sunday?), I listened to George Hrab read from his essays, many of which you can hear on the Geologic Podcast. All I can say is, wow, that man knows how to capture real life and bring it into sharp, fascinating focus.
  5. The Sex With Aliens panel. Not a live demo, but a fascinating discussion. Bud Sparhawk had some intriguing things to say on the topic, and I walked away with more than a few story ideas.
  6. Social Media for writers panel. Tee Morris IS social media. He knows that topic inside and out, and gives the best advice on how to use social media without coming off like an ass. (He’s also a wonderful writer. I love Billibub Baddings!)
  7. Hearing Phil Rossi confess that reading about other people’s successes on Twitter makes him feel depressed and unsuccessful. It’s an odd choice for a favorite moment, I know, but it was an honest moment (and startling to hear from someone I’m a fan of) and I know exactly what he means. It’s nice to know I’m not the only writer who sits there wondering if they’re being left in the dust.
  8. The look Mur Lafferty gave Nathan Lowell when he talked about how he wrote his first book in ten days, but then things slowed down during edits and rewrites, which took him a couple of weeks. Another truly honest moment from someone who’s work I admire.
  9. CmdLn trying to fix my watch. The man is a hacker-philospher extraordinaire. He’s also a gentleman who did his very best to put a new battery in my fav watch. The attempt may have driven him mad, but I’m grateful he took pity on a gal who owns nine watches, none of which work. And his wife makes and wears the best dresses I’ve ever seen!
  10. Music! Three concerts this weekend – Phil Rossi, George Hrab, and Kim the Comic Book Goddess. Three very different styles, all very good. Phil Rossi and Evo Terra did a little booty shakin’ during George Hrab’s Ms. Information song. I had the best seat in the house for that performance. Too bad I didn’t have any $20s };D
  11. Attaching names to faces. PG Holyfield, I’m glad I got to see your handsome mug too 😉
  12. People playing with my horns. You know you’ve established your image when people like to tweak your horns.
  13. Talking with Matt F’n Wallace at a party Sunday night. The man’s a true gentleman and a great writer. He’s also easy to talk to. Don’t be intimidated by his size or greatness. He’s someone you really ought to get to know.
  14. Dining and partying with friends. Nomming with Gutshot; dinner with Nobilis; lunch with Chooch, Viv, Jett, MA and Dan; breakfast with Cmaaaarrr, Sci Fi Laura, Matt F’n Wallace, Mur Lafferty, and Vintage Jim; stealing sips from Ms. Information’s delightful Dirty Martini. Dinner with Nobilis was particularly nice, as I don’t get enough chances to conspire with my partner in crime.
  15. Calls for Cthulhu, LIVE! Need I say more?
  16. Singularity, again. Earl Newton of Stranger Things has promised we will keep having the Singularity until we get flying cars… or a toaster that doesn’t burn the toast. This is good, because I love seeing Stranger Things on the big screen like this!
  17. Personal Effects: Dark Arts. It just looks cool. And freaky. And… cool.
  18. Escape Pod, LIVE! Acted out by a fantastic cast. The line ‘Brains for baby Jesus’ will ring in my ears for a very long time.
  19. Aliens You Will Meet, LIVE! I’m glad George Hrab won the music contest. It should be a boost to his career 😉
  20. Viv and Chooch’s Podio Books and Web Comics party. Those two really know how to host an event. Though seeing Tee Morris spanking himself while dressed as William Shakespeare has probably scarred me for life…
  21. Sharing a room with Nina Kimberly the Merciless, AKA Christiana Ellis. We really only chatted a couple of times, but she was very cool. And she did not even give me a funny look when she came in and caught me eating cereal and milk out of a bowl with no spoon.
  22. Paulette Jaxton. Hands down, coolest thing about Balticon was sharing a room with this lady. I only wish I could have spent more time with her. Paulette, you RAWK!
  23. Alessia Brio and Will Belegon. Two of the coolest people in erotica and e-publishing. Hot writers, caring people, amazing humanitarians. Do good while being bad. Read Coming Together!
  24. Sitting on a panel with author Scott Sigler and David Moldawer (editor at Penguin Books). They are very big names. I am very small. Yet I got to moderate on the subject of e-publishing for the small screen, and managed to not sound like an idiot. Almost makes me think I can run with the big dogs.
  25. Erotica readings. I got to do two this weekend, and the room was full both times. To all the people who came to listen, ask questions, and (absolutely astonishing) ask for my autograph, thank you, thank you, thank you. You made me feel very special.
  26. Babies. Certain people have some of the cutest babies (and there are two cuties in particular I love). You guys know you are! I’m jonesing now for a third bambino after seeing such cuddly cootness!
  27. Chatting about cartoons with Gutshot. A simple conversation about one of my favorite pastimes with someone who is obviously talented in that department. He also has the nicest collection of hats and a verra lovely kilt!
  28. Mae Breakall’s t-shirt. Also Mistress Jett’s modified tee. If you saw these shirts, you know what I mean. If you missed them, I pity you. They were hot!
  29. Coming home to a bit of blood and a minor crisis. Okay, another weird moment to put on the favorites list, but after four surreal days roaming a con on my own, coming home to see the Hubster soothing crying children and taking care of the mess made me feel oh-so-glad and extremely luck to be married to the most wonderful man in the world. Plus, the boo boo in question gave me extra reasons to cuddle with my youngest and listen to my oldest explain how she helped take care of her sister. The chatter and love of little girls, along with the calm confidence of the man of my dreams are a couple of things I really missed this weekend. Next year, I’m doing everything I can to get my whole family up to the con!

There are many, many more things on my list of favs, but honestly, the whole damn weekend was just about one of the best things I’ve experienced in a long time. Many, many thanks to Paul Fischer for including me on the new media track this year, to Nobilis for recommending me, to Martha for trusting me to moderate her panel, and to everyone who smiled and put up with the annoying tag-along known better known as Helen E. H. Madden. And especially, always, thank you Michael. The Hubster let me run away to the circus for the weekend and did an outstanding job taking care of our children while I was wrong. I love you, stud!

About Cynical Woman

Cartoonist, Artist, Geek, Evil Crafter, Girl Scout Troop Leader and Writer. Also, a zombie. I haven't slept in I don't know how long.
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  1. ComicBookGoddess

    I’m honored to make your favorite moments list, with all those awesome people. You, of course, are all over mine. 🙂

  2. I had fun listening to you play! You sang very well, and I loved your outfits 😉

  3. Aw! I’m cool. Helen said so. For the first time ever in my life, I’m cool. Cool!

  4. Alessia, of course you’re cool! And hot too, but never cold. And you fill out a hero costume verra nicely 😉

  5. You did not at all sound like an idiot at the ebooks panel. It was late on a Sunday (it was Sunday, right? Everything is a blur to me right now) night and no one was there. It was actually one of the more informed panels I attended.

  6. Hands-down, you were the best moderator I sat with at Balticon. Fantastic job.

  7. Eden, thank you! I was not the original moderator for the panel, and found out that morning I would be doing the job, so I didn’t have my usual prep time to put together questions for the panel. But I’m glad you found the panel to be informed and not idiotic 😉

    Thank you again!

  8. Mr. Sigler! Now I’m going to be swoony all day from your complement!

    Seriously, thank you very much for your kind remark. The topic was something I actually have a background in, but I haven’t used the theoretical side of my college degrees in years, so I had to dust off a few brain cells to come up with my questions. It certainly helped that you and David Moldawer had so much to say on the topic. Thank you again!

  9. that’s it, I’m going to try to attend one Balticon where I don’t have to spend the weekend too busy to attend any panels. I made it to only 2 pod casting panels on Sunday. I normally find out about all the good stuff after it happened.

    Only problem with that is I’ll also need to find away to be in more then one place at a time, since there are normally 2 or three panels to choose from happening at once. Also need to find way to get the sleep I need and still be awake 24 hours a day.

    My highlight of weekend was winning a ribbon in the Masquerade and a walk on part in short story at Launch party.

  10. Elne, it is exhausting getting to everything at this con. It’s now four days later and I’m still dragging, unable to get back on schedule. I had a number of things I wanted to attend but didn’t get to because so much stuff was scheduled at the same time. I missed Mr. Adventure entirely because I was doing a reading at the same time! Ack!

    I suggest cloning ourselves for next year. It is the only way I can think of to be two places at once.

  11. I thought of cloning myself, but then would need a brainpal in each clone that I could download memories from. Otherwise I fear my clones would all have so much fun, they would run off with various other con goers and I would never see them again.

    Plus knowing now curse I’m am to have an interesting life, do we really want to fill the world with Elne clones running amuck?

  12. Thanks for the awesome comments about “Personal Effects: Dark Art.” It was great seeing you at the con!

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