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Claims Department - Toronto

Claims Department - Toronto

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A zine about my time as the Fan Guest of Honour at SFCOntario, museum time, Tim Horton's and an OWl!
A zine about my time as the Fan Guest of Honour at SFCOntario, museum time, Tim Horton's and an OWl!

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Published by: Rev. Dr. Christopher J. Garcia on Nov 16, 2012
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09/18/2013

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Claims Department

A Trip to Toronto

It is incredibly difficult to talk about a convention where you’re the Guest of Honor (or, since it was in Canadia, Guest of Honour).Why? Well, how many ways are there to say “ERMERGERD!” about how amazingly they treat you? I can think of maybe a dozen, and none of them are adequate or really very enlightening. Still, must try now, mustn’t I? OH. MY. GHOD. They treated Linda and I like kings. Damn Hell Ass Kings! Let’s start with the flight. It was pretty smooth. I hate flying, and turbulence will make me cry. Literally. It scares the hell out of me. Luckily, having Linda with me helps a whole bunch. We arrived and Yvonne met us at the airport, took us into town where we checked into the Ramada Plaza on Jarvis. The room was damn comfy, and there was a delightful small lobby, which I liked. I found a seat that I would turn into my official writing seat. I have one of those at every hotel I spend a lot of time at. At the DoubleTree in San Jose, it’s the comfy armchair right across from the turn in the hallway across from Sprigs. In the DoubleTree SeaTac, it’s the chair at the top of the stairs leading to the programming rooms. At my favorite hotel in the LA area, the Hollywood Rooseveldt, it’s the couch right at the front, just beyond the Charlie Chaplin statue. And the one that’s so important to me, the lovely LAX Marriott’s chair right by the escalators. I wrote a few issues of The Drink Tank there, and will again in a couple of months. I love that chair. It’s just the best and there’s a plug right next to it! Maybe I’ll do some writing there during Loscon. Anyhow, I found a seat, next to a plug, next to a table, kinda tucked away. It was the perfect place for me to work. That is if I got any time to do any lay-out. We went to dinner with Lloyd & Yvonne Penney, two of Our Canadian Cousins.We picked up Lloyd at the Globe & Mail, the National Paper of Canada! It was a great building, looking like it was 1928 or so. It was kinda Art Deco, which was a theme for the trip. A TON of Art Deco on this trip. We headed into the Distillery District, the site of the former Gooderham and Worts Distillery. It’s an awesomely preserved part of town, and while it’s not a distillery anymore, they’ve converted many of the buildings into artist spaces, shops and restaurants. These are upscale-y places, maybe like Santana Row here in San Jose. The buildings, dating from the Victorian era, are pretty awesome, but it was dark (and hella cold!) so I couldn’t get a lot of good photos. Linda got some shots, because she’s amazing like that! We went to a place called the Mill Street Brew Pub. It was a little like the various versions of Gordon Biersch or Tied House. It’s a big beer place, but that’s not what interests me because I don’t like beer. They did have a lovely light Cider that Linda and I enjoyed. I ordered the Poutine, because I’m in Canada so I’m gonna get the Poutine! It was pretty tasty, but there was something weird in the gravy, a dark beer I assume. The fries were great, the pulled pork on it OK, but the beer was over-powering. We headed back to the hotel and that was that. I have rarely got to sit down with Lloyd and Yvonne, a couple of times at WorldCons, but this was nice. Even nicer since we’d be seeing each other when they were GoHs at Loscon in three weeks!

Toronto Day One - Bata Shoe Museum, Fashion Window, Accountants...

One of my favorite things to do with I am traveling is sample television. In England, that was a favorite pastime, though we got to do little of it. Back at the room, we watched a bit of CBC news.This was SO BORING!!!!! I’m sorry, give me the American sensationalist news over this dull as dishwater ACTUAL news. When we woke up, we turned on the TV again and there was the puffiest of all puffy morning shows! It was like a lightweight version of Good Day, LA.The main anchor, I guess she’s really more like a host, was an adorable young thing who was a bit flighty, though when she had to talk about stuff, she tightened up a bit. There was a good interplay between the host and her cohost, or I guess corespondents, but ultimately, it was light as a feather! And I went to Tim Horton’s while Linda was in the shower. My Ghod how I love Tim Horton’s! I had the coffee, which was only OK, and a Sour Cream donut, which was amazing! I don’t get the latest trend in restaurants, well fast food joints, doing the cream and sugaring for you. . I often want a ton of sugar and no cream, and while they had sugar out, they had no cream. Linda, who LOVES cream to the point that I think she often goes 1/2-1/2 cream-to-coffee, could never get as much as she wanted. I just don’t get it! The donut was amazing, and the coffee was better than most, so it was OK. A fine way to start the day! We got up and out onto the streets.We walked up Jarvis to Bloor, which sounds like the name of a Viking in a comic strip, don’t you think? And up Bloor we went, stopping a fashion shop window for about twenty minutes. Now, I’m not the kind of guy who looks at shop windows much, but this was an obvious stop for do. Linda, who loves fashion an unreasonable amount, like my appreciation for Twilight-level amounts, stopped and pointed out the hats that the Dona Karan-clad mannequins were wearing. They were made of plates and teacups and other serving materials. It was awesome, and the dresses were pretty amazing.We ended up taking about 40 pictures, recommending one of them for Gail Carriger and one for Mary Robinette Kowal. Both agreed they were lovely!

Bata Shoe Museum A Great Place for Shoes

After that, we arrived at the Bata Shoe Museum. Linda was very excited to go, and I have to admit, I wasn’t too psyched. I mean, it’s not like I know a lot about shoes and I doubt I’ll ever be too interested in them except as they relate to other pieces of history. Now, I was saddened to see that there were no Wrestling boot, but stillTHIS PLACE IS AWESOME!!!!! We got there and there was some lovely banter with one of the volunteers of the museum who were manning the front desk. An older woman who was really nice and impressed y our happy Californianess. We bring that with us everywhere. We went to the bottom floor and started in the general exhibit about the history of shoes. The first exhibit, All About Shoes, was, in fact, all about shoes. There were dozens of pairs of shoes from around the world, from Ancient Egypt through to today, and they were simply presented with excellent use of text to give a ton of background. I’m the rare modern museum person who thinks you can not have too much text. Give a lot and even if folks don’t read it all, and I certainly didn’t read everything, you’ll still give them the chance to be as fully enlightened as possible. I’m always hoping that my museum will realize this and give us longer label spaces, but I doubt that’ll happen. The labels here weren’t necessarily long, thought some were in the 150 range, considered pretty darn long in the business, but there were TONS of them and they were of a high level. Seriously, you had to be a college student to get all of them, and I had to look up a few things. Labels also referred to other labels, which a lot of places say is a no-no, but I think it really adds to the integration of an exhibit to do so. I was in a museological Heaven! No other museum I’ve been to in recent years had gone to this level of amazing! Then we went to the exhibit on the 1920s in shoes and fashion. This was even better, with even more impressive labeling and lots of context. Sadly, the one picture I took of a shoe trunk with a dozen or so pairs of shoes didn’t turn out, but it was an awesome little display. There were all sorts of shoes, some of which I got photos of, and there was a lot of text on the walls with great graphics. I guess it’s easy to get good graphics when you’re dealing with the 1920s, and once again, there was a lot of Art Deco. The place was great, and this was the best of all the exhibits. I wish I had gotten good close-ups of more of the shoes. There was a First Nations footwear exhibit which was pretty cool. They used one of the oldest museums techniques very well - the Discovery Box. They showed materials that were used in making shoes and the shoes themselves. It was awesome, even if my tribe wasn’t there!

A Day Out in Toronto

The other exhibits, the footwear of celebrities, the Vivier exhibit, they were all cool, but the 20s exhibit and the main exhibit were easily the best parts. It was wonderfully compact, a great museum for a half-day visit. I loved the way that each exhibit flowed from one room to another, which helped with the entire visit. After we left, we headed a few blocks down to the place I had been dreaming of: Smoke’s Poutinery! It’s a Poutine shop, and the best in Toronto, or so it’s been said. We got there and instantly, the tininess and the lack of tables made me think of my favorite place in Montreal; Potati Potata.We ordered, Linda got a chicken Poutine and I got the Pepper Beef with Mushrooms. It was AMAZING! The beef was good, the mushrooms solid, the cheese OK, but the pepper gravy was amazing! It was lightly spicy, solidly flavored, heavy and clinging, but in the best way. It was wonderful, and the fries were very good, which mingled with the wonderful gravy and, somehow, it wasn’t too heavy. The best poutines are like that. I would say this is one of the three best poutines I’ve ever eaten. After that, we headed over to the ROM: the Royal Ontario Museum! It was a little after two, and the ROM closed at 5:30, which Linda thought would be too short a time to do the whole thing.We talked about it, visited the gift shop, and then headed back to the hotel. Along the way, Linda found a comic shop and we popped in. It was called Labyrinth, and they had a HUGE selection of Manga, and a ton of French comics. I looked around and the guy behind the counter was really cool. We chatted, Linda found a beautiful comic in French, and after establishing that there was no English version, she bought it and became determined to learn French. It will help when we go to Paris next year. After that, we stopped to take a photo of the former Maple Leaf Garden. So many legendary wrestlers worked there: Ric Flair, The Sheik, Bobo Brazil, Sweet Daddy Siki, The Rougeaus, Whipper Billy Watson, The Duseks and so many others. I only saw wrestling there once. We ran into Diane Lacey in the lobby. She was one half of the two-headed Con-Chair! We chatted for a bit and told us that we’d be getting a ride to the reading at the Merril Collection later in the evening, then to the restaurant after that. I was happy because I thought we’d be walking. Driving instead of walking is always a good thing. Also, Deb Yeung and her husband drove us in their Jaguar. I was quite happy. We headed off to the Merril Collection: Canada’s largest collection of SF & Fantasy. We met up with the other Guests of Honor, Jo Walton and Jon Singer, as well

That’s an Owl!

Highlights of the ROM

as Ctein, Linda, and a bunch of others. We got a tour of the collection which was great! I’ve been through a few other SF collections, though I’ve never gotten the tour of the Eaton, but this place was great. The first thing I saw was a stack of three books, one of which was a Stephen Jones Best Horror anthology, a Mark Valentine book from Tartarus Press, and Brighton Shock, the anthology that was given out to all the attendees of the World Horror Convention in Brighton. I’ve got one, and it’s AMAZING! I nominated it for the Hugo for Best Related Work, but alas, almost NO ONE ever saw this one. I knew that if the Merril had it, they had a great collection.They had zines, had convention materials, art, including an original Frank R. Paul, an entire run of Amazing Stories, great amazing stuff. Every Phillip K. Dick novel, an unpublished one, first edition Lovecraft, which made Linda EXTREMELY happy, and so much more. They had Amras, including the issue with my Dad’s only known piece of fan art. I offered to give them a thumbdrive with all my zines on it. I hope they’ll take it. I’m in the Eaton, and I’ve got zines in a few other libraries, but this would be cool. After that, it was time for Jo’s reading. She read a story I’d not seen before, which was cool. It was an amazing story about a boy made of Moonlight and a girl who was in all the stories and so much more. Jo has the greatest accent in the world. She’s amazing and that Hugo for Among Others was totally deserved! After that, we all got together and got ready to head off to the restaurant for dinner, but Catherine Crockett came by and mentioned that there was an owl on the fence by where we parked. We walked over and there it was, an actual Barn Owl. A big one too! I’ve not seen one that close for such a long period of time. It was very chill, even when a guy came up and took a shot with a flash, the owl didn’t even flinch. I took a bunch of photos, and oddly none of them turned out. That was a theme for the evening. The one on the previous page is the best of the bunch!

So, the next morning Linda and I wanted to go and visit the Toronto Police Museum, which would have been cool, but they were doing a Press Conference that caused them to close off the museum. That sucked, but after some Tim Horton’s, and a bit more walking and a couple of Photo stops, we arrived at the ROM and got in this time. And it was an excellent thing that we did wait, because the ROM was so amazing. As soon as we bought our tickets, we walked in and there was a giant dinosaur! It was the largest dinosaur ever found in Canada. This is how you draw attention to your lobby.You have an object that draws attention. The Computer History Museum had the Babbage Engine in the lobby, giving an instant attention grabber. Then, after the re-design, we have a marble lobby which was great for events, but it didn’t really have an artifact focus. This GIGANTIC monster beast of a dinosaur is the PERFECT lobby artifact. Tucked away in the corner, behind a part of the elevator lobby, was a small display on Toronto’s Carnivale parade. It’s impressive that these costumes, four simple, massively complex and gorgeous outfits, were so much better than the small exhibit of photographs and videos on the upper floor. These were incredible pieces, and the small footprint was perfect. This is what museums need to do: make excellent use of every square foot. This one worked beautifully. There was a hall beyond it that had a few artifacts in cases or built into the wall. It gave a taste of the entire museum, but it also served as a good meeting point for classes and the like. There was a stuffed Bear and an Eagle in a case, a traditional First Nations outfit (I didn’t catch what tribe), some rocks, a dinosaur skeleton, and a few swords and a suit of armor. Again. The photos I took of those did not turn out. I suck at photography. I’m using just about every photo that turned out even 1/2 way decent. I shot more than 1600 photos in total. That should show the ration of good to crap! The first major section we went to was the Asian section. Focusing on China, Japan, Korea, and The Far East. It was an awesome gallery that used a technique I call Exposed Artifacts. While many of the artifacts were in cabinets or under glass, the majority of pieces were out in the open with short rails and such to serve as a barrier. There was an excellent example of it with two beautifully carved statues that visitors could approach from the front or the back. The picture two pages back in the lower right is from behind them. It’s a great technique, it leaves things open. Allows people to really get involved with the artifacts, and ultimately, makes the entire gallery seem freer. There are two draw-backs. Touching is the first one, but liberal use of guards, or beeper sensors, can help keep that at bay. The other is it takes a lot of space because you’ve got to have what’s called pushback area to give separation from the visitor to the object. It can be difficult, but here it works beautifully. After that. There was a beautiful hall that had a bunch of Chinese architectural elements, including a beautiful gate from a Ming Tomb (apparently for the tomb of Zu Dashou) and a lovely reconstruction of a portion of an Imperial Palace. It was gorgeous!

The Royal Ontario Museum

After that. Linda really wanted to go to the Textile and Fabrics exhibit on the top floor. I don’t mind looking at that stuff. And the dress in the front, a Dior piece in red and black was a knock-out. The designer was fired not too long after for making anti-Semitic remarks. These run rampant in the fashion industry for some reason. The entire gallery was amazing. There was a beautiful set of dresses, a gorgeous chair, kimono, HUGE boots, a bunch of wall hangings, and on and on. The best was a GIANT woodblock print of a day at the beach from the 1920s. I stared at it for ages, it’s a few pages back (I am REALLY bad at this whole layout thing, no?) And it was gorgeous. No photos would do it justice, especially with how the greys interact with one another. I loved it, it was easily my favorite single object in the entire museum. There were a number of fine textile prints and weavings in this exhibit, but that one loomed large. I’d love to get a fannish version of it made with figures at a convention. After that, there was a great World Cultures exhibit on African and South American cultures. The African stuff was cool, though it was all in cases, far less open than the first floor gallery for Chinese Sculptures, it still had a strong amount of curation, and there was a lovely set of artifacts. There were some Olmec sculptures, they’re down in the corner there, that I loved. Not much attention to South America, sadly, but I guess even the ROM can’t cover everything. I did love the amount of context they gave, tones of photos, the use of colours to indicate cultural connections, but as almost always happens, not nearly enough text for me. I love text, I do, and maybe the Bata had spoiled me. There was a fine little exhibit on Arms & Armor which had one of the best gags in the entire museum, or any museum I’ve ever been to. You can see it on the bottom of the previous page. Right next to the suits of armor are the hockey padded players! Only in Canada would you put hockey players next to knights! It was an awesome bit of Canadiana! The decorative arts section was cool, lots of Christian religious stuff, several room recreations from France, England, and even an Eastern European section. There was a great section on Art Deco, and a second section on Eastern European Art Deco, not together, separate by a couple of rooms, but both taking completely different routes to it. The best part was that this allowed for a lot of simple exhibitry, like just a few racks full of furniture, and that’s usually a good thing. Down at the end of one of the halls, right across from a simple 18th Century foyer with table and painting, was an audio spot. These were a hot concept about 25 years ago. You’d have an area set aside where you’d have a thing playing. This being Canada, there was also a button for English/French. This one was about Tea. It was a really good piece, looking at how tea came to England and what it meant as for slavery, servitude, and status. It was a great listen, very smart, and it gave a lot of info in about 6 minutes. I was impressed and listened to the entire thing. That says something when I, a guy who powers through galleries, is willing to sit in one place for six minutes! This was very effective and I left that section thinking about the role that tea plays within Science Fiction. I know there was a list of Coffee in SF in the SF Book of Lists, but what of tea? It saved the Doctor, you know!

DINOSAURS!!!!!

Let’s face it, everyone who loves the ROM pretty much loves it for the Dinosaurs. I’m not as big a Dino Guy as my beard and portliness may have you thinking. They’re fun, of course, but they’re not my faves. Still, there are a lot of awesome Dinos at the ROM! Trisauratops, Stegasaurus, T-Rex and so on! All sorts of great stuff, and especially the HUGE Ancient Mammals! I love giant Elk, Mastodons, Mammoths, and Armadillo-type thingees! These are always awesome, and the ROM has them all. Linda and I roamed around, snapping pictures, reading labels and just having a good time. I love labels, and while some of the parts of the Royal Ontario Museum were less-labeled than I’d like, the dinosaur sections had some good stuff. Especially lots of graphics and the like. These are helpful, of course, in explaining what folks are looking at when there’s just a pile of bones.There were tons of kids around and they were all gabbing, knowing everything about these massive skeletons. It’s an important thing to catch ‘em young. So, we went down stairs to the ULTIMATE DINOSAURS exhibit. They gave us the standard dinosaurs, the but real draws, they were saved for the premium exhibit. Of course, this was an add-on, and I am not sure it was worth it for me. There was a fair amount of text, a few pretty well-done interactives (I really don’t like many interactives, though I do like Discovery Drawers!) And there was one where you’d take a viewer and slide it over various areas of the skeleton and it would put the meat back on it. It was a cute thing, and there was an app that would do the same thing, but the cost in relationship to what you got just wasn’t there. It was crowed though, more so than the rest of the museum. The one thing I loved about the exhibit was that this was the only part of the museum that had dramatic lighting. Things were lit from beneath, multicolored lights and a beautiful setting.The poses they used for the dinos were more dramatic also, which helped with the over-all effect. Maybe not 10 dollars worth of effect, but you get the idea. The thing is one of the things I love about museums, and one of the things that I would like to think I stand for as a curator, is that museums should be experiential. They should lead you to artifacts that should make you feel something. That is something that the dinosaur exhibits were very good at, even better was the Chinese section, but ultimately, you are drawn in to the artifacts, to the experience of being within their view. And once you’ve experienced the Extraordinary experience, I want text, preferably text that directly refers to portions of the artifact, to set it all up!

Well-lit Dinosaurs!

RAWR!!!!!!!!!!!!

That was the end of the ROM. It was a great visit, and since we’re planning on coming back for CostumeCon 2014, we’ll be making another visit. Hopefully, we’ll get in touch with a curator at the Bata and get some time with their collection, too! After that, it was off to a place we had gone by earlier and I had been interested in going into. Fran’s had neon, and while Deb Yeung said that it was only OK, I had to know because I LOVE NEON!!!!! This was a dinner, and a good one. It had all the feeling of a diner that I would attend on regular Saturday afternoon. It half-way reminded me of a place where I regularly write: Flames. I’ve done Claims Departments there, and a Drink Tank or two. There’s also my favorite Montreal diner, Reuben’s.This place was kinda like it, but it had a waitress in an outfit that was weird. I wish I had gotten a picture of her, but it looked like what would have happened if Jean Paul Gaultier had been hired by JC Penny’s to design a line. It was half-Fifth Element, half-American Appearal. She was nice though. She sat us fast and got us our waitress, who was very cool. It took us a bit to navigate the menu, and she was very helpful. Linda had the Monte Cristo and I had my other diner favorite: The Chicken Parm. And it was good. Now, there was the typical problem of the diner not properly draining the spaghetti, so there was a fair bit of liquid in the plate, but the chicken was tender and tasty, the sauce well-seasoned, the mashed potatoes were that loose sort, and with the marinara sauce, it was great. Only the garlic bread suffered from blandness. It was also very filling. Linda must of enjoyed her sammich, because I didn’t get a bite and it was gone! We then walked over to what used to be the Maple Leaf Garden and went into the Loblaw’s. It was basically the Safeway of Canada. The place was HUGE! There was a great sausage counter, with HUGE amounts of meat, but most importantly there was an even HUGER Cheese Cabinet, I mean there were huge wheels of cheese stretching from the floor to the 40 foot ceiling. Right in the front was a display of macaroons, and then there were cupcakes. This place was awesome. They had a really nice produce section, with a few things I’d never seen, but there was also a great meat counter. They had Caribou! I love Caribou! I would have bought some if there was a fridge in the room and I could buy me a burner! Still, this place was great! We headed back to the hotel and we were about 2 hours from my first panel, which meant I did my typical pre-con walkabout. I headed into the programming area, which was small, it would have been perfect for Con-Volution. The Dealer’s Room was tiny, the Ballroom was great, the various rooms were tiny yet perfect for the size of the con. I particularly liked the Skybridge (which may explain how much I loved the set-up at the Atlantis in Reno) and that’s where they put the Fan Tables. I ran into Diane Lacey again, and this time she was carrying a Hugo. In particular it was Mike Glicksohn’s, the fan I most wish I had met.

More of My Favorites

They did an exhibit of Awards, showing the Aurora, the FAAn Award, the Hugo, the World Fantasy and a bunch of others. If I had known, I’d have brought over the Nova, the only one on the continent! Maybe there’s another. Does Bill Burns have one? I’ll never know. Anyhow, There was a tiny art show, which was fine, as the over-all quality of the art was really nice. I won’t do a full review of the con, but I’ll say a ton of Thank Yous. First off, I have to thank Catherine Crockett and Diane for having me as the Fan GoH. I did an interview with Catherine where I mentioned my love of a certain Armenian dish called Lamejun. I mentioned it in an off-hand way, and then, at closing ceremonies, Diane had brought a box of it. IT WAS AMAZING! I haven’t had any for ages.There’s a Turkish equivalent, but it ain’t the same. This, this was how I remember it from ten years ago (longer than that, I was dating Melissa which would have been 2000) and it was so damn tasty. There were a bunch of folks who got pics, but I haven’t seen them on-line! Next, have to thank Deb Yeung, who showed us around and was a great host. She was a lot of fun and I am so glad we got to chat. When we’re out again, I hope I get some time to sit down with her. The first thing Linda and I went to after Opening Ceremonies was a reading. It’s very rare to find me at a reading at a con, the last one I can think of was a Howard Hendrix Reading at BayCon, maybe 2005, but Sarah WaterRaven was reading and she was dragging people by their hair into the reading room., And Linda went in and I followed. She was a helluva reader! Her story was part-fantasy, part-mystery. I loved it! I’m so glad I went and she was a very dynamic reader. I hope she’ll write for us at The Drink Tank in the near. Speaking of authors, the one I didn’t get to chat with was good ol’ Robert J. Sawyer. Bobby-J is a great guy and I showed him about the Computer History Museum. Next time, or maybe at WorldCon. Chris Smith and I sat next to each other at the dinner at Dim Sum King after the Merril Collection reading. It was a good time. He’s a funny guy, and I don’t think I’ve ever met him before I had never met Mr. James Nicol. The guy had been up for two Hugos, and I’d never met him. He’s easily one of the smartest people I’ve ever met, and though I bet that we are pretty damn far apart politically, he’s awesome! I also forgot that Hope Leibowitz was a Torontoer. It was nice to see her!

I will now spend a paragraph gushing about the love of my life: The Lovely & Talented Linda. The woman is a Saint! As I said on the stage when I won the Hugo, she’s my long-suffering girlfriend, and she also happens to be amazing. She not only put up with me for 6 days in a strange land (as she’s done so many times before), she also didn’t smother me in my sleep when she had a chance! A lot of folks assume that we live together, which I admit would be nice, but not at all practical, so whenever I get to spend a bunch of days cuddled up next to her, it makes me a happy boy. Thank you, Linda, for never having come to your senses! I’ve hung out with Taral Wayne a few times, though never got a chance to really enjoy a good thorough chat until Friday night at SFCOntario. We talked Fan History and movies, and stuff. He’s a good guy just to sit down and chat with. I really need to make it out to Toronto more. Hey, Lloyd & Yvonne Penney are great human beings! It’s like when you’re waiting to read about a mauling by a Giant Panda and there’s none for ages and then, suddenly, you’re reading about a slew of them all at once. This year, after not having seen them since Renovation, I’m seeing the pair of ‘em twice in two weeks! Go figure! I didn’t get to hang out with ‘em as much as I would have liked, but at least we had a fine dinner and got to chat! There’s going to be a CostumeCon in Toronto in 2014. I had met Aurora Celeste at least once before (Renovation? WIndyCon?) and she was there working for ‘em and with the Kansas City WorldCon bid (which I am FULLY in support of) and she was also one of the judges for the Masq, along with Maral Agnerian, who I am also pretty sure I’d met before but hadn’t added on Facebook. Good folks, lots of fun! Merle (last name forgotten) ran said Masq, which I MCed only half-completely failingly, and she did a great job, put together a little team and the folks there seemed to have a good time. I’ve MCed a couple of Masqs in my time, including the CostumeCon one that was a bit of a battle, but this was light and fun! Murray Moore was at another convention! It was Iluxicon, I think, but at least he showed up on Sunday and we chatted for a bit. I got to use a line I’ve been saving: “Murray is a deadly shot at 300 metres. At 300 yards he can’t hit a thing, but 300 metres he’s deadly!” HE also drove us to the airport, which earns him minor Sainthood. It’s always good to have Murray around, and I think if he and Dave Gallaher were in the same conversation it would be the Ultrima Sardonica!!!!! I like those guys! Also, here, I’ll thank Andy Trembley, Kevin Roche, J. Daniel Sawyer and Ric Bretschneider for their pieces for

the James Bond issue. I didn’t get as much layout done as I’d have liked, but when you’re having as much fun as I was, it’s not always easy to make the things happen! Ruth Lichtwardt is a lot of fun. She was exceptionally well-dressed at the KC party, and then I ran into her at the Dead Dog and took a series of photos around her head, so that if we ever need to make a 3D model, we’ll have all the reference. That’s one of the shots down there at the bottom! Jeff Orth deserves no mention! He beat me at poker. I did come in second, though it required a re-buy, and it was a good time. Of course, he’s a KC guy so I’ll run into him at ConQuesT, my next GoH gig, so all will be forgiven. I have to talk about Jon Singer. Everybody knows Jon Singer, and I’ve shown him around the museum a couple of times, and that was cool, but we got to sit down and chat and it was wonderful. He’s an awesome maker of pottery as well, and I bought one of his vases in the Charity Auction. It’s GORGEOUS! And I can say nearly the same thing (without the touting the Museum part) about Jo Walton. It was great to have the two of them as the fellow GoHs and we could talk all day! It’s wonderful that such a great writer can be so awesome! The Danielle, who has a last name, it’s plainly visible in the photos I took, but I feel she’s best described as Deb introduced her to me, was in charge of the Art Show and was also a bunch of fun! I like meeting new people! I didn’t get to spend as much time with Colin Hinz as I had hoped, but these things happen The Poker group was fun, and it was the first time I sat down with Carolyn Clink and her brother. They both played well and the general level of table banter was outstanding. Whoever our server was at Pi-Tom’s was a good guy! The place had amazing Tom Kah Gai and the Garlic Pork and Basil Prawn were both amazing! It was worth the walk, especially since it held off raining long enough for us to get there! Terry Fong put together the Charity auction and did a great job of getting great stuff. I was the auctioneer and we sold a lot of it, though there was too much to get through in an hour. I bought that Vase, which was very cool and now lives on one of my bookshelves. He also put together the big meal at Dim Sum King, which was really awesome. Not only was there Peking Duck, my all-time favorite form of duck, but there was abalone, DELICIOUS lettuce wraps, amazing sesame ball desert and so much more. I was so happy to eat there and I left VERY full. Marah made our arrangements, which was won-

derful as it went very smoothly, and even if she’s on a bid committee that’s pushing an awful facility for the Spokane WorldCon, I can forgive her! And Alex Von Thorn was there too! I like that guy, but I don’t think we got more than a couple of minutes to chat! Rene Walling gave me a presentation on the history of French comics. It was awesome! There was a guy in the Dealer’s Room, I didn’t catch his name, but he was shilling for an anthology. It’s gotta be hell having to shill for a book, particularly when it’s in a genre that might not appeal to everyone. I listened politely and then asked one question: How much does it weigh? That’s an important question when you’re up against baggage allowances! He promptly pulled out a mail scale and weighed it. 1.7 pounds! That’s service. Still didn’t buy it. Geri Sullivan is running for Queen of the World. She’s gonna win. She ran the ConSuite, and though I got very little of the stuff in Crockpots, I did have the delightful Moroccan thing that I think Merle made. It was nice as a chip topping! Did I mention that Linda is amazing? We met to Australians, both of whom were really cool. I’ve promptly forgotten their names, they dined with us at Dim Sum King and he’s a Librarian doing time at the Merril. Good folks, Wish we’d had more time to chat. The Fanzine Panel was great fun, we had a small but attentive audience. I was the moderator, which is almost always a mistake, but we talked and the audience seemed to enjoy it. The Food Panel was amazing. Jon Singer, Jo, Merle, and one other person whose name I forget, were up there and they passed around various food items. It was AMAZING! I love food! One of the attendees, Jennifer something or other, walked the foods around. She was really cool! And I finally got to meet Ed Greenwood. Wish I had more time to chat with him because he was a hoot on the Steampunk panel! There’s so much to say that there’s no way I could keep going without just gushing. I had an amazing time and I can’t wait to get back to T-Dot in the future! Also, one last piece of advice. If you’re ever offered the opportunity to be a Fan Guest of Honor, SAY YES! All the Photos were by me, but that AWESOME cover is from Steve Stiles!

Claims Department Shoes! Dinos! SFCOntario! Food! An Owl!

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