We repaired to the Goat because of Gary Gibson’s note in Emerald City that it had free WiFi as well as decent food. Both things turned out to be true (in fact, the food was quite good—we had caesar salads with roast chicken breast) and the staff was friendly. We finally did some picture posting and departed about 8 because the second floor had been hired out for a private function. We returned to Cairncross where we rested and freshened up a bit. Linda was, as always, quite fetching while my best efforts made me just a hair better than what the cat dragged in. C’est la vie.
The Friday night parties were somewhat slow to start off with, because we were waiting to see if any of the Brotherhood would be turning up. Not having a phone with us that worked with any sort of dependability (and which would have cost an arm and a leg—per minute—if we did get it to work), we weren’t able to coordinate anything. However, the number of parties to be found were all quite appealing, and we’ll go through a brief recap and review (from memory) of the ones we visited:
Chicago in 2008: Loved this taste of home. Oreo cookies, Wrigley’s chewing gum, and hot dogs. The last we have here in Sweden, of course, but the sausages aren’t quite the same ... and French’s All-American Mustard certainly isn’t easily found! Yum. I believe I had two over the course of the evening. At the door, we were presented with stickers (featuring a hot dog) and name tags with strange names (I was “Mushie”, Linda was “Brain Freeze”; later in the evening I saw Joe and Gay Haldeman there, who were “Lancelot” and “Mike” respectively). All in all, I very much liked this one. There was a lot of information concerning Chicago as a tourist destination on hand, it was a large room that didn’t get too crowded even though the hot dog queue was quite popular, and so on. Chicago in 2008 sounds like an excellent idea, personally.
Kansas City in 2009: A bit quieter than the Chicago party, but another really friendly place. Got more stickers on our badges, and found simply divine cookies on hand (freshly baked, we learned later, because they actually had a kitchen in back!) We saw Parris there ladling out some sort of divine nectar (so we teetotallers were told) involving apple cider, cinnammon, and a couple of other things. We were later told virgin drinks were available by Joanna, but when we went back to try some it turned out it was so popular that it was all gone. We were promised there’d be more the next day. Parris chatted with us a bit, explaining how she was part of the crazy people who were working on the bid, and invited us to really look around and try the various parties. John J. Miller and his wife Gail were also present, but we didn’t get a chance to chat with them (this was partially rectified the next evening.)
LA Con IV/Nippon 2007: More stickers, very friendly people, and a wide assortment of stuff. They had a freebies table, as I recall, with things like little puzzle games and Kilroy clips (I think that’s where and when we got them), and lots of various foodstuffs and junk food which, I gathered, were primarily from Japan. Saw an excellent-looking chocolate cookie thing, only to bite into it and discover it also contained some red gelatin-type stuff. A bit off-putting, that, but I ate it anyways. I did not try the various Japanese things on offer, not being adventurous, and for once Linda wasn’t either. One very kind greeter allowed me to take a picture of her in her kimono—lovely.
Denver in 2008: A nice sticker provided here, featuring a winged bison, but I’m afraid that’s all I can really remember. Looking at Flick’s review, this was the one with grapes and wine, neither of which I sampled.
Friendly Norwegians: Our favorite party of the evening. The room (and hall) that it was in was quite hot—the air conditioning just couldn’t manage—but they had the thoughtfulness of having cans of cold soda available, which I loved deliriously (it’s strange that no one else seemed to do this—or maybe not so strange, since for most at the party the point of soda would be to mix with booze). They also had chocolate, Daim candies, and more. I saw Esther Freisner and Elizabeth Moon chatting there, but did not get a picture. On the other hand, I did get a picture of David Hartwell, who then asked me if there was any beer left; I pled ignorance. Later in the evening I went around for another soda, deciding to see if they had any Irn-Bru that I might sample, only for a pleasant Scotch lass to reach for it at the same time. After a brief flurry of, “‘After you,’ ‘No, after you!’”, she determined that since I was a foreigner who had never tried Irn-Bru before, and since many foreigners ended up calling it liquid bubblegum and making a face, I could have it on the provisio that I gave it to her if I didn’t like it.
I gave it to her. It’s strange stuff. I don’t know what I had imagined it’d be like—it has such a vaguely macho name (“Iron Brew”), but it’s orange and sickly sweet. I washed my mouth out with coke and was much happier after that. All in all, a great time was to be had there.
I know we popped into other parties, but I don’t think we stayed very long in them. For example, the League of Evil Geniuses party, with its display of members, was a bit slow but we did browse it a bit. I believe we ran into Tom (Enlightenment HK) at some point around here, as he was waiting for the Bros as well, not knowing where they were. We hung out for a bit, and I believe he fell into talking with Joanna when the Bros (or one group of them, anyways), arrived. GoN, Cerys, kalbear, and others stumbled in laughing and looking around for needle. Turns out that Fee (allegedly) had both sets of house keys and was nowhere to be found! At one point kalbear teased GoN that they could all be out having wild sex without her, but she responded (this from memory): “That’s all right, we can do that right here.” AAARRRRRRRRRR! Padraig wasn’t in his room, so they decided to hang around until the others showed. For our part, we had determined to try and get up very early, so we begged off and left around 1 or perhaps 2 AM. We walked back to Cairncross, which was rather bracing, though our feet didn’t thank us for it.
I will say that after this evening, we really got into the convention (and, especially, Bros and partying) swing of things. We could have really visited more parties, but we just didn’t know better. For example, the Tolkien Society party is one that we did not visit, and I would very much have liked to. Everyone was quite friendly and a few people started up conversations.