They Didn't Ask Me (dr_phil_physics) wrote,
They Didn't Ask Me

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WindyCon 36 Part III

Saturday 14 November 2009 - Evening

Continuing with WindyCon 36, we've arrived at 6pm, my reading. This is my second reading at a con -- I gave one at ConFusion in January. I know I'm behind in updating my website, but memo to self: need to add a page about giving readings and signings. (grin)

Given that the con's theme was Steampunk, I decided to go counterculture and do a "high tech" reading. Forget those Kindles, I've been impressed with the Sony Reader eBooks. I can hook up the PRS-300 with a mini-USB cable and treat it like a flashdrive, downloading at RTF version of my manuscript at no cost (or even installing the interface software). For the reading I stepped up the font size to Large.

Other than having to anticipate page turns by hitting the page button a trifle early so the electronic ink can update in time, I had no problems reading the bright contrasty screen. In Standard Manuscript Format, my story was about 7900 words in 32 pages -- as you can see, enlarging and reformatting it made it 112 screens long.

Dammit, Dr. Phil -- What About The STORY?

So glad you asked. "Z.P.D. (Zeppelin Police Department)" was read before an audience of about five people -- of which I only knew two. I previously described it as "Noir. Police. Zeppelins. Steampunk." I had promoted it earlier at some sessions, one does have to be proactive about these things after all, and one person told me, "You had me at zeppelins." (grin)

I've been told that a good reading is about twenty minutes. Naturally, when I test read the story last Thursday it took about 32 minutes -- I always write long. That said, I must say I had people glued in their seats and managed to elicit some reactions at some of the twists.

Yeah, my reading went REALLY WELL. And "Z.P.D." will be sent out to the majors as soon as it can be fit in the rotation. I'd brought a couple copies of WOTF XXIV, which Al and I signed, and handed out to those who attended.


It looked like we had four to go over to the Harry Caray's Italian Steakhouse for dinner afterward. Al tried calling over, but the number didn't work. We wandered over -- Walnut was literally the furthest room from the lobby -- and found out that there'd be an hour wait. So we went out to the lobby and took over one of the tables used by groups during the afternoon. Matt couldn't stay for dinner, but hung around for the chat, then it was just me, Al and Allen. I guess Jill, who was meeting other friends for dinner, had gone later to the restaurant to look for us, but we were still in the lobby.

Dinner, of course, was magnificent. Had them make some calamari without breading. Al and I had the 9 oz. fillet -- a ball fillet not a strip -- mine had Gorgonzola and his had peppercorns. Allen had really lovely looking fettucini alfredo -- which at one time I ordered all the time at Italian restaurants, but cut out because it's just too rich and I don't need it. (sad grin) Split a huge Idaho baked potato, and some broccoli and mushrooms. Stuffed all, I told our excellent waiter Christopher that he should at least tell us about desserts. Allen and I shared a chocolate bourbon pecan pie -- you thought I'd pass up an opportunity for a really fine not-too-sweet pecan pie?

Although not cheap, WindyCon 37 is also at this Westin on 12-14 November 2010 -- and if you come you owe it to yourself to splurge at Harry Caray's, if you love steak, Italian and/or seafood.

Sunday 15 November 2009

Packed up, check out, stash stuff in the Blazer. Then off to do a quick check of the Dealer's Room, to see if anyone was selling any Steampunk stuff. One dealer had some lovely leather and brass goggles, one set complete with extra magnifying lenses, but the ones I liked were $120 and $149 respectively -- too rich for today. So on to...

11am, third Christian Ready show with latest Hubble Space Telescope images. Noon, "Alternative Technology", What assumptions are made about steampunk technology? What is possible from a materials engineering standpoint and what breaks the rules of physics? I'm on this panel and we had a lot of fun talking metallurgy, the time that steam engines require, lubrication and maintenance issues, etc. As with the Science of Steampunk panel, the emphasis was made that alternative universe stories which are well crafted and consistent, can always get away with murder -- scientifically speaking. (grin)

Jeff Karp, my friend from Northwestern days, was supposed to meet me at 1pm. And I quickly found him, and as I mentioned before, he bought me lunch while we caught up.

All too soon it was time to leave and hit the road. No problems racing into the heart of Chicago on I-88 and I-290, through the Post Office and hang a right turn at Buckingham Fountain, then off onto Lake Short Drive and Indiana. Naturally, the only problems were at the end. The Shell station at M-89 was overrun with vehicles, so I drove on. Road construction on I-196 closed the last Rest Stop before Holland. And the exit for US-31 North was closed, probably due to reconstruction on the flats from previous washouts during the flooding this summer. So I got off at M-40, hit the McDonald's for a restroom, then home.

Dr. Phil
Tags: airships, authors, chicago, cons, dr phil stories, fantasy, fine dining, readings, science fiction, steampunk, windycon

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