Or Memorial Day as it is more commonly known today, is intended to commemorate those members of the armed forces killed in action. Grand Rapids MI hosts their Memorial Day parade on May 30th, a Saturday in 2009, which technically is the actual commemorative date. For everyone else, Memorial Day is the last Monday in May, which falls on the earliest possible date this year -- Monday 25 May 2009.
The Three-Day Weekend Effect
Of course that means that most people treat Memorial Day as a play day. An extra vacation day. The official start of summer. Well, I'd rather that Americans get to take a day off, cook some hot dogs, go see a ball game or the latest blockbuster movie, crack open some beers, put up a flag or attend a parade because they WANT to -- than live in some tinpot dictatorship where they pay people to attend the big parades and round up people to celebrate that latest bit of nonsense that the government claims is doing wonders to the world. Because freedoms are what those men and women died for in the service of our country.
The Sci-Fi Effect
Given there are only a limited number of three-day weekends available, it is no surprise that a number of science fiction conventions have adopted Memorial Day weekend as their home. You at the very least get to make Sundays a whole convention day, if not add a whole day to the entire schedule. DragonCon gets Labor Day, but I know Memorial Day has Wiscon and Marcon (Multiple Alternative Realities Convention).
In fact, a more complete list from LocusOnline's Convention page includes:
# Balticon 43 - May 22-25, 2009
* Hunt Valley Inn, Baltimore, MD
* GOH: Charles Stross. Music GOH: Mary Crowell. 2008 Compton Crook Winner: Mark L. Van Name.
* 2009 Compton Crook Winner to be announced.
* Art show, dealers' room, literary, science, masquerade, gaming, etc.
# BayCon 2009 - May 22-25, 2009
* The Hyatt Regency, Santa Clara, CA
* Guests Mercedes Lackey & Larry Dixon have cancelled due to illness; other guests: Tim Kirk, Fred Patten.
# ConQuesT 40 - May 22-24, 2009
* Hyatt Regency Crown Center, Kansas City, MO.
* Guest of Honor, John Scalzi; Artist Guest, Oberon Zell; Anime/Media Guest, Jerry Gelb; Fan Guest, Ed deGruy; Toastmaster, Ellen Datlow.
# MisCon 23 - May 22-25, 2009
* Missoula, Montana.
* Author Guest Steven Brust, Artist Guest John Kovalic, Special Guest Author Michael Stackpole.
* Writer's Workshops, Writing Panels, Art Auction, Dealers Room, Gaming, Film Festival.
# OASIS 22 - May 22-24, 2009
* Sheraton Orlando Downtown, Orlando FL.
* Writer GoH: Peter David, Special Guest Writer: John Ringo, Editor GoH: TOni Weisskopf Artist GoH: Johnny Atomic.
# WisCon 33 - May 22-25, 2009
* Madison, WI.
* GOHs Ellen Klages, Geoff Ryman.
* Panels, discussions, readings, signings, art show, dealers room, parties, special events.
* WisCon is the world's leading feminist science fiction convention and encourages discussion and debate of ideas relating to feminism, gender, race and class.
CONduit XIX - May 22-24, 2009
Salt Lake City, Utah
I have friends going to Marcon and Wiscon. Haven't been to the Columbus con, but I've made it to Wiscon twice and am sorry not to be going this year or every year. It is one of the best run cons for my money (and the best stocked consuite by far) and includes an academic track and a really nice writing workshop. Alas, as long as I'm teaching a Summer-I class, it's hard to teach a Friday class and then make it to Madison WI. Especially if the late Muskegon-Milwaukee Lake Express ferry isn't running yet.
So That Leaves...
Nothing says commemorating America's heroes like marathons of our "favorite" shows on cable TV. I remember when marathons were actual 24-hour or all-weekend marathons of whole runs or whole seasons of shows. Practically television events. Alas, they are all too common now. Skipping around the dial, I could've had Deadliest Catch on, but I've seen them all. Or better yet, Band of Brothers. But... I am trying to get things done and Band of Brothers demands concentration. So, fluffier TV background? NCIS on USA Network it is. At least for a Saturday afternoon.
And Those Gas Prices
Obviously the oil companies read my musings on gas prices. Their perfidy exposed, after jacking prices up to $2.49.9/gal., they left it there, rather than jerking higher and then running the prices "lower" for the holiday. So I guess this is merely ordinary gouging.
Happy Memorial Day.