Mama Deb (mamadeb) wrote,
Mama Deb

Balticon Report (long)

We drove to the Hunt Valley Marriott with M (who probably has a livejournal, but I don't know what it was.) Instead of taking our normal route - 95 South through Delaware - we decided to go through Lancaster, PA instead.

I recommend it - we avoided both the Delaware traffic jam and Baltimore rush hour. We got there in plenty of time to register and get ready for Shabbat and meet people and start a stack of books in the dealer's room, all before candlelighting. The room already had a dorm-sized fridge (as opposed to a cube) and it wasn't hard to get a cot for M.

We didn't manage to get to any panels that night - Shabbat was late and there was supposed to be a Bob Asprin memorial for the filking at 10PM, so we went there.

The filking? Was great. The filk circle included a group of four women calling themselves "Sassafras" who harmonized beautifully - even more so given that they hadn't seen each other for five years. Yes. Wow. There were also the "Dune Guys" - two men, one of whom dressed as an Imperial Navigator (other than his long, flowing hair), the other with a guitar, who called themselves "Bene Gesserit Witch" and who sang songs from their rock opera based on David Lynch's Dune. Which is why we called them the "Dune Guys". And, of course, Urban Tapestry, the Musical Guests of Honor, took their places in the circle, too. It was amazing.

Unfortunately, I found myself fading before midnight, so I asked sodyera to put out the flyers and chocolate.

We'd forgotten to bring a timer, so we had to sleep with a light on - jonbaker eventually put it partially behind a curtain to cut the light a bit without risking fire (given the compact fluorescent, not much risk in the first place, but still better to be safe.)

I found myself stalking the Compton-Crook winner, naominovik (waves). That is, she was added to a panel on the Economics of Magic, and then I went to the Compton-Crook panel. There was also a panel (in the same small and overcrowded room as the first panel) on Mythology and Star Trek.

Um. There was one weird moment. I should have known better before going to the panel, and I'm embarrassed at my reaction, but I chose to go to a panel on Post-Apocalyptic Christian Fiction (Left Behind and that ilk.) Big mistake. I sat through half of it chastising myself for reacting badly to the assumptions in the panel and audience, but given the subject matter, the assumptions were valid. (Okay, I did roll my eyes a couple of times. Once, someone was saying how silly it was that some Christian sects thought UFOs were from the Devil given how they've been well-documented since the coming of camcorders... The other was less...well.

He thought that it would be great if stories set on future starships showed a Christian chaplain so they'd know Christianity had still survived. And here I didn't think it was in danger.)

What set me off was someone saying that a character in Fred Saberhagen's Berserker was clearly exhibiting Christian values - self-sacrifice, kindness, monotheism. And I had to say something because those are NOT *just* Christian values. And when asked if the character was actually overtly Christian, the person said no, and the whole thing was dropped, and I left the room, unable to be calm.

I should have known better than to go there. I thought it would be funny - and it was at places, but my own attitude was entirely wrong. I will say that I later had a pleasant conversation with one of the panelists, who was surprised when I told him I was an Orthodox Jew. Then again, a woman wearing a scarf wrapped around her head at a con is...just someone with interesting headgear. :)

Urban Tapestry's concert was as good as one would expect, but that's not a surprise.

The filking on Saturday night was, if anything, even better, plus it followed a remarkable Masquerade. There were 32 entries - *32*. I've been to Masquerades with less than half that number. And the costumes were gorgeous. I wonder if the gamers also saw increased numbers.

And everyone was excited at the chocolate (unfortunately, it was Lindt's, which isn't kosher in the US, so I had to disclaim it.)

This was a four-day convention, so we had all of Sunday to attend panels - complicated by the fact that the program items in one room were an hour off the schedule. This was confusing to many people.

I decided to go to the Regency dance, intending only to watch and knit. But a friend of mine, who was one of the helpers, asked me to dance and I accepted, and it was actually fun. And then another gentleman asked for the third set, and I accepted. I watched for the remainder of the dance, but now I want to get a proper gown and gloves (and I believe that one of my long headscarves can wrap to a period-acceptable turban.) It's not the most flattering of silhouettes, but that's okay. (And I'll have to figure out a way to make the neckline modest.) I had fun.

And who was in one of the sets I danced in? naominovik. I introduced myself as mamadeb and we hugged. :)

Also. We went swimming. I haven't gone swimming in *years*, but I just bought a suit, having rationalized myself into swimming where men can see me. The suit is a skirtini - a two-piece suit where the top reaches all the way to the bottoms, which in this case have a skirt attached. I wore a t-shirt over the top (I need to get a rash-guard) and covered my hair with a Lycra cap. I'm thus fairly modestly dressed and my hair is covered, but it's swimwear.

BTW - skirtinis? Tankinis in general? GENIUS. All the advantages of both one pieces and bikinis, none of the disadvantages.

We went to a kosher pizza place (Caramel's) for dinner, and pretty much got back in time for the literary filk circle. I left for a panel on Torchwood, but returned right afterwards.

Sunday night, the circle was so large and full of performers that we had to keep track of who would go next. It's the first time in a long time I've been to a general convention where the filk circle needed a moderator. This is a VERY good thing.

And when I did the midnight commercial for Contata? Urban Tapestry took pictures. Not of me, but of the flyers surrounded by chocolate. :) Good choice.

Monday morning, the three of us packed and put everything in the car, and then we went to the Urban Tapestry kaffeeklatsch, once we found it. I spent the time describing Highlander to ohiblather.

We drove back up 95 North, where the biggest delay was getting gas at the Turnpike rest stops and a minor snag at exit 5.

All in all, it was an excellent convention.
Tags: balticon 2008, conventions

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