First WorldCon. No way was I going to miss it in Chicago. When hotel reservations opened up, I booked us from Wednesday 29 August to Monday 3 September. But realities of our schedules, plus the expense, led me to cut a day off of each end. That would mean that we'd miss the Hugo ceremonies, but it gave us a recovery day on Labor Day.
We headed out before 11am EDT Thursday morning. Our goal was to get checked in, off-loaded, re-rig in the room, hit Registration and make it to the 3pm Opening Ceremonies. Mrs. Dr. Phil had thought about her options, including getting day registration for just part of the time -- we even bought a ticket from the pool of 75 tickets that ChiCon 7 had bought to Friday afternoon's Cubs game with the San Francisco Giants. But then I got my schedule and that would mean she'd miss two of my events. So in the end we gave up the ticket and Mrs. Dr. Phil bought a membership. Actually, someone was there having accidentally bought two early memberships, so she ended up buying their extra membership, and the difference in price was about what we'd pay for the Cubs ticket. Deal.
Our badges, the conference book and the "pocket" schedule. (Click on photo for larger.)
WorldCon has some differences from the other SF cons I've been to. For one thing, it's bigger, some 5000 in attendance. Now I've been to American Physical Society March Meetings that are that large and larger -- and an American Chemical Society national meeting that was nearly four times larger. The point is, it takes a big space for all those people. My bad leg got a workout. Second, most sessions were scheduled for an hour and a half -- 70 minutes plus 20 minutes for questions and changeover. Opens things up a little bit more than hour-longs. But it also means that ultimately you go to fewer sessions. All told I went to, or was part of or saw a piece of, thirteen sessions Thursday to Sunday. Plus two outstanding dinners.
When you're raising Monarch butterflies, you can't just leave them for a weekend. But as we're winding down the season here, we had one adult emerge on Wednesday and one that we had to bring with us to Chicago and release on Friday. Also had one caterpillar. This late in the season, they grow fast and big.
Friday morning in the hotel room. (Click on photo for larger.)
Sunday morning in the hotel room -- same caterpillar! He's about twice as big. (Click on photo for larger.)
The Green Room
Some cons have a Green Room where panelists can meet beforehand or you can go to meet other panelists and get something to drink or a bite to eat. Usually it's a suite somewhere in the hotel, but depending on the elevator overload, you have to be careful about scheduling yourself.
ChiCon 7 had to combine the Green Room with the canteen for their staffers, due to some space issues. But it was located on the 2nd floor with easy escalator access to the meeting areas. And though crowded, they did a really great job. Decent mix of sliced cold cuts. And like the Con Suite, they had salad fixings.
I got a sandwich and a couple of Cokes on Friday and Saturday before I "went to work". Got to meet SF writer and blogger K. Tempest Bradford, who I've read for years, on Friday. And sat near where my Sunday panelist Jonathan Vos Post was holding court on all three days.
Sunday Mrs. Dr. Phil came down with me, so we could grab lunch before the Sunday panel and then leave and still make the 2pm checkout time. I hadn't, however, thought about Sunday brunch. Ohmygosh, they had cheese. Real cheese. Serious cheese. Like blue cheeses, huntsman, Irish Derbyshire cheese with port. Sliced thin bagels, cream cheese and thin slices of lox. Yum. Up to now the best Con Suite we've ever seen was at WisCon. But this Green Room brunch beat that. (grin)
It was 92°F when we arrived and 88°F when we left. Slipped out of Chicago without any trouble. Stopped in South Haven MI and hoped to have dinner at The Thirsty Perch, but alas they were running 45-60 minutes for a table. So we went across the street to the Vineyard Italian restaurant and had the spinach lasagna. And while there, decided to have them make us a spinach and sausage and mushroom stuffed pizza for today. All good. (double-meal-grin)
We'll detail more about each day and throw up more pictures in the next few days.