September 8th, 2012


Dr. Phil's WorldCon Day 1 Part I

Thursday 30 August 2012

48. Opening Ceremonies
3pm (Gold East) Grand Ballroom

After arriving in Chicago and checking into the Hyatt Regency and running through Registration (DW), we had about twenty minutes before the Opening Ceremonies. There were other things going on with all of WorldCon's multiple tracks, but Toastmaster John Scalzi was going to be the master of ceremonies, which promised to be entertaining.

Part of the band Toyboat. (Click on photo for larger.)

John came out and had a good time vamping with the band. Who knew that he had dreams of being a talk show host and having a band back his moves up? (grin) At one point he pointed at the band's drummer and told him he saw what he'd done -- they'd played Def Leppard and the drummer was drumming one-handed.

Your Chicon 7 Toastmaster John Scalzi. (Click on photo for larger.)

The best line of his introduction was, though, when peering up at the bright stage lights and complaining that they were preventing his seeing the audience, and declared in a hoarse shout "there are four lights!" He was tickled to be performing in front of an audience where many, many people cheered the reference. Later, when Guest of Honor Mike Resnick was in the hot seat next to the desk, he said that the Hyatt had hosted the two previous Chicon WorldCons -- and that they had those same bright lights blinding the view of the audience from the stage, and said "but there ARE four lights." (grin)

The talk show set. (Click on photo for larger.)

Mike Resnick couldn't stay -- he had to run off to a panel, that's WorldCon for you -- but there were plenty of other people to introduce and interview. The Artist GoH was ill, so her sister came and told excellent stories. And then they did a presentation of this year's Hugo Award design, something that usually doesn't happen until the Hugo Ceremony on Sunday night.

The Chicon 7 Hugo base revealed. (Click on photo for larger.)

John contemplating how the Hugo would look in his study. (This is as close as he got to taking one home.) (Click on photo for larger.)

WorldCon 70 / Chicon 7 Chair Dave McCarty wore a Chicago Blackhawks captain's jersey with his name and the number 7. He told the origin story of the Flying Monkees -- his main minions -- including the classic 60s but accidental misspelling on his part of flying monkeys. (grin) The whole program ran longer than the hour allotted, but you know, it was a pretty damned good opening ceremonies.

Dr. Phil

Photo Note: Most of the session pictures I shot at WorldCon were taken with the Nikon D1H in B&W mode, ISO 1600, which gives the contrasty and "grainy" appearance of the old Kodak 2475 Recording Film at ISO 1600. The lens is a 24-120mm f3.5-5.6 VR AF-S Nikkor.

Dr. Phil's WorldCon Day 1 Part II

Thursday 30 August 2012
On the Bronze level walkway connecting the East and West sides.

Mrs. Dr. Phil decided that she wanted to wander and that we'd meet up at the Jim Hines reading. I went up one level and went to cross over to the West side of the Hyatt -- and saw my 2004 Clarion and 2008 WOTF good friend Al Bogdan, who'd been out with his Canon and 70-200mm f2.8. As often happens at cons when we meet this way, we had to duel it out. I had a slight advantage since I could go wide at 24mm (36mm equivalent focal length in DX).

Al Bogdan "and his little friend". (Click on photo for larger.)

I knew that Al had come in on the train the day before and that he was carrying Tiny Thor -- one of three little figures, the other two, Tiny Hulk and Arrogant Tiny Tony Stark, were back in Michigan. So naturally, I asked to pose with Tiny Thor. Of course, since Al had the big lens, he had to stand on the other side of the walkway and I called out the interference from other attendees walking between us. (grin)

Dr. Phil with Tiny Thor. (Click on photo for larger.)

Inset showing Tiny Thor. (Click on photo for larger.)

I told Al about that night's dinner at the Wendy Wake at WorldCon and that Ron of Japan had gluten free soy sauce just for us, and strongly encouraged him to join our party if he was free. It was funny -- as Al was showing me a new app on his phone for finding gluten free restaurants, another passing attendee had to stop and find out about it. The world is increasingly recognizing gluten free as a real and public category.

Dr. Phil

Dr. Phil's WorldCon Day 1 Part III

Thursday 30 August 2012

65. The Hunger Games in the Classroom
4:30pm (Bronze West) Comiskey

After my meat-up with Al Bogdan (DW), I stopped in on this panel on using The Hunger Games in the classroom. I've been thinking about adding this book to my Science Literacy reading list, with the instructions to look for the use of high technology and its consequences in the story. At least one of the panelists was from a Canadian university and from what I heard, there was a lot of discussion about what would and what wouldn't fly in a Canadian university classroom. This one panelist kept saying -- even after I made a comment about my assignment and how it (a) was about science and wasn't about literature and (b) students are urged NOT to read books they've already read -- that it was bad to pander to students' baser reading interests. Not really of help for my decision.

Afterward I ducked out and checked out the Con Suite one level down to get something to drink. Was impressed that it was an open air space, rather than stuffing people into a fixed size room, and that they had an array of salad bar items. Don't know how they were for meals or other treats, but it struck me as different from some of the cons I'd been to. As I mentioned earlier (DW), as a panelist I took advantage of the Green Room for lunch, and it was well done for me.

Then it was on to:

80. Jim C. Hines Reading
5:30pm (Silver West) DuSable

Getting to DuSable was tricky, as there weren't escalators to this level and not all the elevators served this floor. This West Hyatt building struck me as being older and more convoluted and we had a helluva time getting off that floor afterwards.

When I got there I got one of the last seats and then people started to line up or sit against the walls. Jim was busy munching on some sort of a candy bar -- apologized for having his sugar level out of whack and that it would be at least entertaining for a few minutes as he'd sit back and freewheel for a bit. (grin) Of course I've been to a number of "normal" readings of Jim's, so I'm not sure I could judge that there was much difference. It's just as well that Jim didn't read from Libriomancer at his August Schuler's event (DW), but just talked about it, so I could enjoy his most excellent Chapter One reading at WorldCon. (grin)

Jim being a little loopy to start. (Click on photo for larger.)

Chapter 1 of Libriomancer with great voices... (Click on photo for larger.)

... to a packed room. (Click on photo for larger.)

I just finished reading Libriomancer this afternoon, and I'll post a review Real Soon Now, but I'll say right here that it's an excellent book.

As we left to get ready for the Wendy Wake at WorldCon, the next reading featured donuts. (grin) What I'd forgotten from the schedule sheet, was that it was Nancy Fulda. Darn, I've read her blog for a long time now. Oh well, that's WorldCon -- you can't do everything and meet everyone.

Dr. Phil