2012 is going to be a year that is sadly bereft of conventions for me. Big sad face on that front.

However, 2013 and 2014 look to be good years. I’m probably going to Redemption (Coventry, England) as usual in February 2013.

The really exciting thing is that I’m planning to go to Worldcon (finally!) because the bid that is most likely to win because it’s the only bid is for a London venue. I’ve bought my pre-attending membership. I’ve bought my supporting (not attending) membership for this year’s Worldcon so that I can vote in the site bid.

If the bid goes through, my tickets get automatically converted to a full attendance membership. Then I just have to book hotels and flights and I’m there. It’s so exciting!

My supporting membership for this year’s Worldcon allows me to vote on everything at that con, not just the site selection for 2014. In other words, I’ll be voting for the 2012 Hugos. As this is a very important set of awards in the SF community, I’m very excited and just a wee bit nervous. After the shortlist is published, I foresee a lot of reading so that I can vote responsibly if I haven’t already read the books and stories. Thankfully my voting pack should include e-copies of them all πŸ˜€

I’ll then have to see how my vacation works out for whether or not I can attend Redemption in 2015. That’s so far away, though, that I’m not going to stress about it for a while yet.

I’m going to Worldcon!

Conventions, cycling and knitting, oh my!

I have got to get myself back into the habit of posting about things that aren’t Unix scripting issues. Although the good news is that I now know much more about scripting than I used to and have a good idea of what I’m doing and what I need to learn. Yay?

I’ve been thinking about conventions. To wit, the Redemption 2011 prices go up in September and I think that it’s time to stop being in denial and just buy myself a ticket. I’m going, I was crazy to think about pretending that I wasn’t. It’s my favourite con on the calendar. If I plan to arrive in England on the Thursday and travel straight up to Cov then I could spend a few days with my family afterwards and still have three vacation days left for other things that year. And in June that year, it will be a new vacation year and I’ll finally be up to three weeks vacation. Woo.

Also, it’s Worldcon in a couple of weeks and I can’t go. Boo 😦 This made me think about cons for next year, though. Hal-Con is in my own little home town in October 2010, so I’ll definitely be going to that. But if I don’t go to something in the first half of next year, then I’ll have been con-less for eighteen months. I really miss geeky fannish gatherings, there isn’t a space like it anywhere else.

Are there any cons that folks would recommend happening say March-June next year? Preferably something reachable in one flight from Nova Scotia. I love the relaxed, fannish gatherings like Redemption far more than the big media cons. I have a feeling that [info]muskratjamboree is only every two years, isn’t it? And that would mean it happens in a Redemption year 😦 But really, some recs for cons that people love over here would be awesome.

In other news, the Tour de France was awesome. I cannot express enough how much I loved it. The racing, particularly in the final week, was great. There wasn’t even a sniff of a drugs problem. Contador absolutely deserved to win. Best of all, there were Brits in the race doing fantastically. Mark Cavendish was amazing and, with 6 wins in one race, rather deserves the title of fasted man on two wheels. Bradley Wiggins was the revelation of the race and he’s made me very excited about the future of Brits in the Tour. Next year he’ll be going in as a viable favourite – how cool is that?

In knitting news, I finished some stripey socks in merino and may never want to knit socks from anything else every again. Oh, so gorgeous. My lacey sweater continues apace: I finished the front last night and got some ribbing done on a sleeve today. I am actually slightly worried about how quickly it’s knitting up, but it’s fun.

I also cast on for a shawl this week. It’s going to be a warm, snuggly shawl from DK weight yarn rather than a lacey thing, suitable for cool autumn days and overly enthusiastic AC at the office. I’m using Malabrigo Silky Merino and it’s possibly the most amazing thing I’ve ever knitted. I’ve never knitted with yarn this soft, it isn’t even remotely splitty and the fabric feels smooshy and gorgeous. The shawl is very simple, alternating bands of stocking and garter stitch whenever I feel like a change, so it shows off the sheen and the slight variations in kettle-dye beautifully. It’s 50% silk and the reviews say that it grows a lot with blocking, so wouldn’t be good in a sweater, but in this kind of snuggly shawl it’s just amazing. I’m in love.

It’s so gorgeous that I keep reaching into my desk drawer to feel my shawl. Oh, dear, you’re not going to part me from this shawl when it’s finished.

Convention: The Aftermath

I am writing this on the train with the intention of posting when I get Internet access. But right now I need to do things to keep myself awake so that I get off the train at the correct station. Hence a blog post and then possibly some knitting. Definitely no book, absolutely no “just closing my eyes” for two seconds.

Why is this?

Because I didn’t go to bed until well after 5am last night and I had to be up this morning to pack, shower and check out. Urk. I’d say that it seemed like a good idea last night, but we all knew it was a bad idea and still couldn’t quite make ourselves get up and move.

The Dead Dog party has also been called Dargo’s Wake in the past so you can get a flavour of what it is. It’s the dedicated few trying to extend the con for as long as possible, denying the return to the real world until the last possible moment. People gradually fall by the wayside, succumbing to beds and the desire to be awake enough to drive, until we reach the last man standing stage. Sadly, gaspodex still won that honour. As I didn’t have to drive today for once (oh, I love that) I figured that I’d stay up for just a while because I was still awake.


The people at the table I started on gradually gave in, gmul and paranoidangel42 giving in some time between 1am and 2am, then Eddie giving in a little later. At that stage we merged with the table next door, which provided a boost of energy for me so that I could natter books, cons, Eastercon, Doctor Who and fannishness with kilbswhitecrow for a long while until he gave in. Finally it was the few, the brave, the insane: robshearman, calapine, 36, beccaelizabeth and the lone non-Who fan who’s name I never quite caught. We kept proposing that we should go to bed, but then someone would mention something Who-ish or regale a story that triggered five other stories and it never quite happened until reality started dissolving around us and we had to declare defeat to Gaspode.

I’ve just added it up. I spent nine hours in the bar last night and didn’t notice the time go. Nine hours. Wow. This is why I adore conventions.

I vowed at the start of the weekend that I wouldn’t be back for Redemption ’11. I can’t justify travelling 3,000 miles just for a convention. That’s insane. I really should combine it with a proper England visit, but that uses up all my vacation allowance and I want to explore my new home a bit. And yet I’m now considering taking a week to come over here for Redemption ’11 despite it being an insane idea.

It’s just that I talked someone into doing a “role playing for absolute beginners” workshop and I want to go to it. Judith asked me to do a sock workshop for Odysssy, which I can’t do (although with the number of people who showed me their work over the weekend, I’m sure she can find a couple of willing victims to run it), but I’d love to do it for Redemption. Someone else asked about a knitting for beginners workshop to compliment it and I love that idea. There are some wonderful fannish patterns out there for people to aspire to and some of them would make great first time projects. Harry Potter scarves anyone? We even tossed around the idea of a stash swap and dedicated knitting area for people to hang out in and find experts for advice. Steve tried to sign me up for a Highlander panel, which would be great fun. I know there was at least one other panel proposed that I’d love to do. And Redemption is an amazing con to steward. Oh, dear, I’m talking myself into this, aren’t I?

Well, I’ve got two years to work out the logistics and persuade myself that I can justify it. This has been an absolutely brilliant convention. Thank you to everyone who’s hard work made it possible, to the guests for being super (I love guests who are also fans) and most importantly to all the wonderful fans that I met for the first time and the old friends that I got to visit with for making Redemption what it is. I hope to be back in two years time! (There, I said it)

Convention: Day 4

The convention is over and I’m at the Dead Dog party. That is not a hooray thing 😦 But I will try to stay awake as long as possible.

It’s been a busy day, this is the first time that I’ve not been in a programming item since 9am this morning. I had originally had a lunch break in my plans, but then events overtook me.

Tonight’s panel was scheduled opposite the quarterstaff workshop, to the great disappointment of PA and I. We were noting this on Friday night with kilbswhitecrow (who was running the workshop) and he offered to let PA and I join in when he went over it with his co-workshoper. So instead of eating lunch PA spent an hour with Steve and Sigga, learning some rudimentary quarterstaff manoeuvres, and had a wonderful time. Thank you, Steve!

I got asked the question “why do you volunteer to steward?” and I’ve been trying to think of ways to express it. For me it’s about finding ways to give back to my community. These events don’t happen without the contribution and sacrifice of time from the fans. I love this community and I felt like there was a time when I needed to give something back. If nobody takes up that baton then these events will die.

So I give my time. And I have great fun doing it πŸ™‚

Overall, it’s been a brilliant convention and there is a part of me that’s tempted to sign up for Redemption ’11. I know that my vacation time probably wouldn’t support it, I know that I’m insane, but I’m considering it.

More importantly, I’m considering seeing what help I can give to the proposed convention at home. I want to find out more before I volunteer. All I know so far is that it’s got three fairly big actor names attached, which I’m not sure about. What I really want out of a con there is something like Red: lots of panels and workshops, lots of fan interaction. Big name guests don’t tend to be involved with that kind of con, but I’ll see.

I refuse to contemplate starting a Redemption-like con for Eastern Canada (yet). That way leads to madness.

Anyway, I’ve got Rob Shearman behind me debating something that I think involved shooting Paul Cornell, discussion of re-gendering Cagney and Lacey on the right and a debate of the contents of Walkers Sensations on my left. That’s the Dead Dog party.

Convention: Day 3


About an hour ago I suddenly realised that I was shattered and couldn’t work out why. Then I realised that I’d either been attending panels, talking on panels or stewarding since 10am and it was now 6.30pm. In other words, I’d been actively doing stuff for longer than an average working day.

And I wondered why I was shattered?

I only did an hour of stewarding today, but that was long enough with everything else I was up to today. There were panels on Lois McMaster Bujold’s Vorkosigan universe (mostly “we love it, shall we count the ways?”) and whether the return of Doctor Who is getting children into SF (yes, let us count the ways). There was an interview with Paul Cornell who only collapsed into giggles once and said interesting things about Doctor Who, Christianity and comics. Apparently the new Doctor is Patrick Moore’s head on an underwear model’s body (to quote Moffat) and Paul wants to be in the part of the Church that schisms off and allows gay marriage in church with priests, but he doesn’t want to preach his faith through his writing because that’s not what he is.

There was a fascinating writing workshop with Paul Cornell who had a lot of interesting things to say from both a novelist and a script-writing point of view. For both, though, he emphasises having a plot. The plot is the thing. If you have no plot then it doesn’t matter about characterisation and style, you have crap. Also it is possible to train friends into giving you useful feedback through positive feedback to them and not killing them when they point out the bits that need work.

My panel did not end in mass slaughter, which was impressive, and people actually enjoyed it apparently. Hooray!

I am speaking on another panel this evening, on strong women in Doctor Who. I spotted two problems with it:

1. It is at 10pm. I shall need a lot of caffeine to be intelligent.
2. Although I am not talking with Paul Cornell this time, Rob Shearman (writer of ‘Dalek’ among other Who-ish things) is on the panel. So I have to be intelligent about women in Doctor Who with a Who writer. Again.

I suppose that saying “Donna!” through the whole panel isn’t quite what they’re looking for…

Right now I’m taking a bit of a break and planning to turn up to the fancy dress/cabaret late because I needed a break from hot, crowded rooms for a while. Although the hotel staff are lovely and the food is infinitely better than it was in Hinckley, we do have an issue with the heating here. There is rather a lot of it!

I need caffeine. Pint of Diet Coke anyone?

Convention: Day 2

So far, Redemption is brilliant fun πŸ™‚ As I was here this morning, I volunteered to help sort out the charity bookstall which was a great time, mainly because of the girls that I was working with. Then I registered (so now I have a name badge, which makes life much easier), ate some lunch and went to the New Who versus Old Who panel.

Nobody died and nobody cried. I regard that as a success. It was one that made me think a bit more about why I love Doctor Who and what attracts me about each version as well as making me laugh. I did an hour’s stewarding duty in the vicinity of the reg desk, so basically helped to hand out badges and con packs (the packs that I helped to stuff last night, in fact) and made sure that no one went into the Ceilidh workshop without a badge.

I’m back on duty in half an hour defending the second floor from invaders of the mundane kind. That’s actually easier than it normally is because we have the entire hotel, every room, so mundanes on the second floor are *really* not supposed to be there. I think it’s the first time I’ve ever been to a con without mundanes and I find that I miss the wide-eye gawping, although I am enjoying the idea that stewarding might be slightly smoother without drunk business guys trying to gate-crash parties.

Just the atmosphere and the friendliness here is wonderful. Every time I come to a con, it’s like taking a nice break and a chance to re-charge amongst people who really get it. Then I can re-emerge into the real world with the energy to deal with it again.

In knitting news, I am almost ready to turn the heel of my con sock. I have the feeling that the first one might get finished tomorrow. So it’s possible that I might have an entire pair ready by Monday!

Convention: Day 1

Arrived in Coventry a couple of hours ago and I’m settled into my room with paranoidangel42. We have a slight problem in that they just (yesterday) replaced all the locks on the doors and the new keys don’t work very well, but it’s not completely insurmountable. We’ll just have to make sure that one of us stays sober to fiddle with the door lock for twenty minutes at the end of every day.

PA and I took a jaunt up to Warwick University campus so that she could visit her old haunts and we stopped at Tesco on the way back. Why didn’t anyone warn me that there are now tubs of Gu bite-size snacks?

Yeah, I did buy some.

Most importantly, I got a phone voucher so I finally have credit on my phone. Hoorary!

I spent half an hour trying to top-up my phone this morning (1p doesn’t even get you a text message) and almost missed my train because of it. So I’m glad that I finally got this to work. Texts ahoy!

I’ve started the arch increase on my convention sock and I’m actually quite liking the striping. It’s Trekking XXL and I liked the colours, but wasn’t too sure about it when I started knitting because there is rather more pink than expected. It’s definitely grown on me a lot.

There is free wireless Internet at this hotel so life is good. We’ll go to the early bird dinner in an hour or so and then probably get roped into helping with the set-up.

Panels don’t start till tomorrow and I want to go to the first one, New Who vs Old Who. Then I’m stewarding, taking a break, doing more stewarding and then eating supper. I have a steward’s meeting after supper then it’s the opening ceremony. I suspect the rest of the evening will be spent in the bar, with a break for a panel on the mythology of the Dalek-Gallifrey Time War.

Of course, as with all battle plans, this plan may not survive the first assault of saying “hey, this will be such a great panel/workshop/disco!”.

Security clearance, Redemption and rugby, oh my!

Oracle Reports is a thing of pure, unadulterated evil *sigh*

Apparently I need a certificate of some kind to say that I’m not a criminal in the UK for my security clearance for the semi-government job that I’ve been doing for three months. A little behind there. Anyone know anything about how I go about applying for such an item? I’ve googled and the only things that I can find are CRB checks (employer initiated, for people working with children) and a police national computer certificate that’s only for emmigration purposes. In fact, the Met Police site specifically says that they do not do police vetting for employers. Presumably this does not include government security type vetting, but there is nothing to say how one goes about applying for that kind of certificate presumably because it’s something that employers (i.e. government) usually apply for. Any ideas, oh wise (and international) blogiverse?

In other thoughts, I’m starting to get organised for the trip. I don’t think I’ll have to worry too much about my luggage allowance on the way out, but it’s starting to look like I’ll have a lot to bring back with me. Hmm. The good thing is that my carry-on luggage is more of a wheel-on this time and there is no way in heck that I’ll be filling it. So it might be that all the yarn I buy can go in there. Alternatively, I’ll put my leather coat in there and pack the yarn in the checked baggage.

I’m taking both the cameras, although I think I’ll only take the little camera to the con. I need to buy myself a small, zipped thing to put essential knitting supplies into (scissors, pins, cable needles, crochet hook etc) so that I can just chuck my sock into a small bag at the con. It will also stop me losing things out of my big project bag.

I definitely need to spend some time at the weekend burning DVDs for my father. And tonight I need to spend some time photocopying a few things for people. Somewhere in there I need to edit a fic and email it to a beta. And I need to do a proper, full back-up of the lappie onto my new big hard-drive. Why is it that there is always so much to do when prepping to go anywhere?

I also need to buy train tickets for the con. How early does anyone in the know think that I can arrive on the Thursday and have some hope of checking in and dropping off baggage?

One rather excellent thing that I’ve discovered is that there are no Six Nations matches that weekend. I think it might be the first time I’ve gone to a con without having an important rugby match on the same weekend. Hooray! Even better, the following weekend is a match weekend so I’ll be able to watch lots of lovely rugby with my family. Solo rugby watching isn’t quite so fun as it sounds.

Don’t suppose any of my new knitting friends could be persuaded to watch rugby with me? I’ll explain the rules! Except the offside rule, obviously, because that’s even less obvious that the offside for football. And I am still struggling a bit with one or two of the new rules that completely ruin any changes of a good driving ruck. Or possibly maul. The one where they stay on their feet, anyway. Watch me be a rugby know-it-all!

A post of positive things

So today had a quality of disasterousness to it and my wrists are not happy about me falling on the ice on Saturday and then spending today typing, so I’m doing a ‘positive things’ post.

1) I’ve got a short story with the words ‘The End’ on it. Still needs beta-ing, and it`s not Sensible Man, but this is progress.

2) I have a yummy dessert in the fridge: butterscotch Angel Delight with crushed Flake on top. I even split it into three bowls so that I don’t eat the lot at once. Dessert of champions!

3) I have lime jelly in the cupboard to be made if I need cheering up next week.

4) Supper was delicious: recipe to follow.

5) I’ve had a sneak peak at the programme for Redemption and it’s very good. Really. Seriously. Brilliant. Everyone who won’t be there? Totally missing out. Despite this, I’ve only requested not to steward during my own panels and the Iron Man reading because my stewarding assignments often resolve the “but I want to be in three places at once!” dilemma.

6) I think that I may also be spending some time in the bar at Redemption this time. Of course, I said that the last time and it didn’t happen. But I intend to spend time in the bar catching up with friends this time. Really. Honest injun.

7) The snow removal company that I contacted yesterday might have declared that I was too far out to be worth bothering with, but I found a company that will come out. This is important due to tomorrow’s predicted weather.

8 ) There is still hope that I might get a snow day tomorrow. Please.

9) Redemption is less than three weeks away!

10) Er, I’m stuck for a ten. Hmm. I bought sock yarn on Saturday that is self-striping so I can justify a plain pattern and thus have a ‘no thought’ sock ready for Redemption?

Damn, a lot of that is Redemption related stuff. I need to start thinking about my panels. And maybe dig out my convention packing list and work out what I need to take with me.

Did you pick up that I might be a little excited about Redemption? Perhaps? Even Yarn Pirate stuff can’t compare to this excitement!

Coming to England

I have just purchased my tickets – I will be flying into Heathrow on 18th Feb and leaving on 3rd March. Woo-hoo!

Redemption 09, here I come.

And look out London yarn stores.


Now I need to book the time with work and all is sorted. Yay!

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