This would be my inaugural, non-Worldcon post on the Musings blog. I’m going to try and get into the habit of posting something from time to time, because (as Linda well knows) I often have something to say about something, somewhere—sometimes political (all too often, according to her), sometimes geeky, sometimes weird.
Following is a discussion of a fanfic sighting, followed by a lengthy digression regarding fan-fiction, and then a return to some hazing-spotting with some further digressions regarding social and peer group expectations in Sweden and the United States.
Today was the first lesson of the autumn semester, and as always we started the sign-up with the dreaded weigh-in. Fortunately, my trip to WorldCon two weeks ago and all the walking Elio and I did there, and my relatively restrained diet since then, had done the trick. I was low enough to be allowed to ride Murphy, even though I think he had been dropped down a weight group. In fact, I believe the instructor said I was the only one there who was allowed to ride him, which would be very good news indeed. I have nothing at all against being ‘stuck’ on him for the next few months. ;)
One pretty good way to get a group of MU*ers to argue is to start a discussion on ‘the art of descing’. Another, of course, is to start one on role-playing in general (in particular, length and style of poses), but that’s a topic for another day. What I plan to deal with in this little write up is only descing. But before I dive into presenting my thoughts on the matter, here’s a few things to bear in mind ...
On Monday we met Cerys and Zollo at the station and shared the same train as we went to Prestwick, chatted with them as we made our way to the plane, and said our final farewells (with suggestions that we should try to meet some time again in the near future) in Gothenburg.
All in all, a wonderful time, and we thank everybody who made it that way, from the people we knew (George, Parris, Joanna, Christophe, Jamie, and of course the most excellent BwB—especially daj, GoN, mormont, lady mormont, Caress of Cersei, and everyone else involved in organizing and running the parties as well as making sure that people had places to stay) as well as those we don’t (the many, many people who organized the convention, who took part in panels, and especially those who donated their time and volunteered to make sure that everything happened). It’s a time we’ll never forget, deflowered former con-virgins that we are, and we really hope to get a chance to see all of you at future conventions, and perhaps get to know you better.
We especially want to extend our thanks to everyone who made sure we actually could make it out to the convention by creating to the Brotherhood without Banner’s newely-formed fan fund which, I gather, will be associated with the Raven Award when it’s given. It’s extremely appreciated, and we hope we’ll be able to give something back when the call is put out for the next BwB Fan Fundraiser.
Woke up around 9 AM, having decided that most everyone in Cairncross would be sleeping in later just because of the very late partying the previous evening. Didn’t stress too much, other than determining that we wanted to be at Boisdale at least twenty minutes early so as to make sure we could get a place during GRRM’s reading. We marvelled at the obviously too-small room he was given, but what can you do? We popped into Ops briefly, to see if my jacket had been returned, then went over to the cafe where a number of the BwB were. When we mentioned that we shouldn’t stay long, given that his reading was bound to be popular, new information was laid on us: it had been moved to Hall 5, which had plenty of seating. Wonderful! No stressing at all, then.
Saturday morning, we got up fairly early to avoid the fire alarm forcing us to leave the room or get a stern talking to. We got dressed, and sat around—no fire alarm. I guess people learned their lesson. The idea for the day was to go shopping. We did a lot of it, though most was just window-shopping with the occasional bit of tourism. Google maps fooled us into thinking the shopping centers were very widely separated, but in fact most of them were within spitting distance (most notably the trio of the Argyle Arcade, Prince’s Square, and St. Enoch’s (where we left a couple of Scots bemused as we asked them for where we might buy some marmelade). We looked at some antiques, bought this and that (the aforementioned marmelade, from a place called the Whisky Shop, which had giant bottles of whisky on sale for 90-odd, a skin product from Lush that was much cheaper here than in Sweden, and so on), and then decided to go eat.
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.
While Elio attended the Realistic Swordfighting 101 panel, I went to see Translation: Controlling the text, as I hope to be able to get a foot into the translation business sooner rather than later. The panelists were Frank Borsch, Didi Chanoch (who I believe translated A Storm of Swords into Hebrew), John-Henri Holmberg, Alain Nevant and Terry Pratchett. A Gail Dana should have been part of it as well, but was nowhere to be seen.
After the panel and the chat with George, we ran into most everyone outside of the Armadillo. They were preparing to take off for the Lannister vs. Starks (amended to Everyone else) football game, but Linda and I begged off for a panel, being killjoys. ;) We got in somewhat late to the 2:00 PM “What’s New from Voyager” panel, featuring Jane Johnson (publishing director) and Emma Coode (editor), where it was clear the impending release of A Feast for Crows led off the program. We came too late to catch all of it, but towards the end Jane said something interesting regarding the plot of the books (which we’ll leave for the So Spake Martin collection). She did discuss a number of other works, a number which were very interesting to the both of us. They included the sequel to Sarah Micklem‘s Firethorn (which we haven’t actually read as of yet, but we do plan to), the final Lynn Flewelling novel in the Tamir Triad, the latest Deverry book by Katherine Kerr, and Naomi Novik‘s Temeraire (described as a sort of Patrick O’Brien meets Jane Austen, with dragons); Ms. Novik was there and seemed a little shell-shocked about it, especially when the audience went up to try and get an excerpt booklet of her novel and have her sign them. We tried to get up there, but too slow, alas.
We settled into bed for approximately 7 hours of sleep and woke up feeling rather refreshed. I was in the shower when the fire alarm went off, which was annoying. It was obvious that it was a false alarm, and Linda didn’t feel like going out into the chilly Glaswegian morning in sleeping clothes, so I just trundled down by myself. I saw SKD chatting with Sophelia, and Caress of Cersei showed up as well. She had had only four hours of sleep—the party had continued until 3 or 4 in the morning— and said that the exact same thing had happened the previous morning. I grumbled about people not knowing how to keep their breakfast from being burned, and eventually we were let back up. Later a manager went up to sternly tell us that Linda should have gone downstairs. Understandable, but very annoying—we could smell the burned whatever on our floor, and saw no great reason to worry more about a non-existent fire than the possibility of catching a cold. Oh well. After this we determined to get up by 7-ish each day to make sure that we managed to be fully dressed in case another breakfast fire alarm happened (it didn’t, and it seems in retrospect that it took a little away from our ability to stay up to the wee hours).
Linda and I had only a few hours of sleep before we had to go to Säve airport to catch our RyanAir flight to Glasgow. We waited in line to get our tickets, and occasionally looked around for Zollo and Cerys the Patryn, who were taking the same flight. At one point I thought I spotted them far behind us (short blonde Swedish woman - check - tallest man in the room next to her - check), but we decided to wait until we were at the departure lounge to approach ‘em. We were right, and were informed that they had been playing the identification game. Fun. The flight itself was quite uneventful, and we took the same quite-effecient train from Prestwick to Glasgow Central, where we parted company. A bus took us to near-about Cairncross House, where we got a room (on the fourth floor, alas) and settled in briefly before trying to make our way to the SECC.
We’re back, we’re exhausted, and we had a great time. Actually, we got back yesterday, but what little energy we had left then was used to start processing the hundreds of photos (we still have quite a few left to upload and caption) we took. Proper day-by-day reports will appear soon, but in the meantime, check out the pictorial evidence that has been posted so far.
Preparing for a trip always makes me exceedingly ineffective. I go into wait mode, and even though there are hundreds of little things to do, I spend a lot of time idly browsing on the net. As a result, I haven’t added much anything at all to the site these last days, even though I still have lots of Expression Engine templates to finish. There’s also lots of work left to do on the new section at Westeros, work that definitely needs to be done before the new semester starts. Sounds like fun, doesn’t it? And I haven’t even mentioned working on two MUSHes at the same time.
For now, however, I’ll probably just have to give in partially to my distracted self, and combine a little bit of website work with WorldCon preparations. I picked up a gorgeous green dress (and a nice black coat, too) when we went shopping on Friday, and I am thinking I might pick up a necklace to go with it on Monday. Or another dress. ;) Spending the whole budget before even the plane takes off is very clever, is it not? Especially since I have big plans for Lush shopping in Glasgow. Which, btw, threatens to be rainy, but apparently this is the norm, as its wet even by Scottish standards. Must pack wisely ... hah.
Well ... I guess that’s it for delaying. Hippoi Athanatoi is not fully finished, but the design is (mostly) done and slowly but surely content is being added to all of the sections. So, the time has definitely come to abandon the old journal and unveil the new home of our idle musings about ... well, just about anything that doesn’t fit in under the other sections. Hopefully, updating will occur more often than with the old journal, although once again it is likely that I (that’d be Linda) will do most of the posting, with Elio providing the occasional contribution when prodded enough to do so. To start with, however, I’ll mainly be on his case to contribute to the Reviews and Quickies.
Oh, and why Hippoi Athanatoi? Not because its such a short, easy-to-spell domain, that’s for sure. Chalk this one up to me being a total horse nut as well as a total Greek mythology nut too. Eventually, I’ll add something about the name to the main page, but for now, here it is. The Hippoi Athanatoi were the immortal horses (that’s the literal meaning of the name, btw) of Greek mythology, such as Xanthos and Balios, or Pegasus. Xanthos and Balios, in particular, have always been favourites of mine (together with Achilles and the rest of the Iliad—now that’s a good book), and it seemed appropriate that my personal website should express my love for horses and Classics both through its name and its appearance. And since Elio didn’t have a better idea, he got to tag along for the ride, so to speak.
And that’s it for now, I think. Back to more webdesign work, not to mention preparations for our trip to the WorldCon in Scotland next week.