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Going into business

  If anyone is reading this, put your best side forward. I am turning my yahoo group, GCIACST, into a business. The website domain is registered but I won't be able to get the actual licenses until later this month.
 So, if you're at a convention starting this November in the New England area, keep an eye out and smile.


On the verge

 Torture is too kind a word to describe this. I'm so close to making a major announcement about a new business I'm starting but I have to wait until next week as it all hinges on what is wrong with my car (if it's not the transmission, I'm in business, if it is and I can't get it replaced via warranty, I'm not in business).
 Well, I'll be climing walls until next Tuesday but until then, a question to all of you who happen to read this:

 What's your stance on being videotaped at a convention? 

  I'm asking because this is the nature of the business. Until I find out what's wrong with my car, I can't say anymore, but if it's a go, then start looking for me at all the conventions I missed this year and many more.


2009 convention circuit cancelled

 It is with much regret that I announce that I will not be attending any of the conventions I normally attend for the 2009 season, save one.

 The reasons why are a long list of financial woes that I simply can't seem to get rid of. It is my hope that by not attending I can finally pay bills as they arise as well as still being able to pay off old bills and finally be debt free. I expect to do this within 2009, so I should be back in 2010.

 So, I will not attending Arisia, Vericon, Totalcon, or AnimeBoston. I will be attending Boskone, as I run the game room for them, and I feel that of all the conventions I mentioned, gaming is needed there most as it provides a key element to the convention, especially for the kids.

 I do apologize to everyone that was looking forward to me being there or to anyone that was looking forward to playing another Munchkin Brawl, as I call it. Keep playing and attending the cons and I hope to join you all again in 2010.


The age old debate strikes again

 If you're a member of the smofs list then you've seen my real name show up on a few emails (and a few more are yet to be written on the current topic). 
 This topic has been debated for the last 50 years, yet now it seems more importent then ever. It has gone from the level of conventions all the way to the groups that run them. 
 I'm talking about why kids are not attending SF cons. I only know two that get as many kids (by kids I mean anyone under 25) as they do adults. Both of those are in or very close to Boston. Any other SF con (not media SF, fan SF) has many more adults than kids. 
 It's now at the point where SF clubs can't seem to get new members to join. I'm an example of this. I'm in my late 30's and I'm one of the kids in the club I belong to. 
 The answer to the question is so obvious it's sick. Put in the programing the kids want and you get them back. 
 Alas, the controlling group of SMOFs that decide the rules for the big SF cons don't want to change the format. They want to push books and leave everything else in the closet.
 My advice to those people: attend Readercon. Nobody complains about it because it is supposed to be about books and only books.  That's fine. If the convention only offers one thing then nobody will complain. When a con offers a bunch of things then you need to push the other forms of media, and alas, this isn't happening. 
 But, in trying to be diplomatic about this, I basically asked what was so wrong with making anime and gaming at an SF con as major a part of the convention as books. 
 The response was, IMHO, tragic. It is very rare that I am made that angry by an email or post. I'm a civil guy. I listen to your point of view, and whether or not I argee with it, you have the right to voice it, and I do take it into account. 
 The response from one of the very old guard members was:

 I would rather see Worldcon die than change the format for the kids. 

 Read that again, please. That was the response from one person who would kill a major worldwide convention rather than get new blood into it unless the new blood follows the format of the current Worldcon setup. 
 Personally, my response to that person is: your services are no longer needed. Just for that, I will make it my mission to put together a con as big as a Worldcon with all the major elements in place but also in raising the other elements you don't want to put in it, and I'll do it without the blessing of the WSFS, just to rub it in your face. 
 I will show you what the convention could become if only you would let it. It's not about taking the books away, it's about putting anime, games, and media, on par with the books and filk. Make them all equal and you will get the kids.
 But instead, some would rather see it die with them. If you are too blind to see the results of that move then SF, in the form of books, deserves to die. Not only would shutting down Worldcon hurt other conventions, it would destroy the SF clubs that rely on it to stay in business. 
 I really would hate to see that happen. The world deserves books. it needs them. But at the same time, you can't deny the other mediums that SF makes it into. 


One down, 3 to go

 I attended Arisia last weekend. Here's my review:

 You have to keep in mind, I attend conventions mostly for the gaming. I always make a point to check out the art show and dealer's room, but most of my time is spent in gaming. 

 This year was a 4-day format. This was good and bad. Good in that I got to demo that many more games. Bad in that I, along with everyone else, were sleepwalking out of the hotel. 
 One thing I have to say about the new format is that, if you go with a 4-day format, then you should explain to the departments that they, too, have to go with a 4-day format. I figured everything was so I waited until Sunday to take my 2-hour exodus of the game room and walk around the convention. This was a mistake on my part, for I assumed too much. 
 First off, I noticed dealers leaving on Sunday. I understand time and money concerns for dealers but if you can't stay for 4 days then why show up? You're only losing money by attending if you don't stay. 
 Also, the art show did not stay open. I got up there at 5pm on Sunday only to find people tearing down the panels. They had run their normal hours and shut down at noon. Why? I always make it a point to take a walk around the art show for their are fantastic pieces to see and they decided not to follow the rest of the convention and exit early. 

 My compliments to the game room staff. They were on the ball and kept a sharp eye on things. Alas, there are couple of things, although not directly under their control, that need work. 
 First off, it was cold. For some reason the room was hovering around 40 degrees on Saturday and Sunday. I was not the only one with my winter jacket on while sitting at a table playing a game. Heat is not a bad thing and it needs to be turned on when it's less than 32 degrees outside. 
 Second, there needs to be a sign on the door in that room. I mean the exit that leads outside, not the inside doors. It's bad enough when hotel staff use it but when con attendees use it it's adding insult to injury. The door opens and a cold blast of air walks in and stays in, along with a gust of wind that scaters the game all over the table. 
 There needs to be something saying that the door cannot be used (it was being used as a shortcut across a courtyard to another wing of the hotel) except for an emergency. 
 Where were the trash cans? There two big ones in the lobby but none what-so-ever in any other room. It's not fun when you go into a room for a panel and there's cups on the table that are used and weren't thrown out, especially when you don't have time to make the run to the cans. 

 I was on two panels this year. When I went through the panels at the con, I was surpsized. I suggested a panel about ghosts and it was there, but I wasn't on it. Seems rather funny that someone who suggests a panel doesn't get to be on it. 
 Either way, I had fun on the panels I was on and was very glad to see all the hands raised at the So This Is Your First Convention panel that responded to the question of if this was their actuall first convention. 
 The games were great. Had some very funny moments this year as well as some very close games. I hope to do it all again next year. 


The Madness Of the Season

 All I got for Christmas was a headache and not an Advil in sight. 

 This was a prediction I made a week ago and it proved true. There are many factors leading to this, the latest of which is that I have been awake for 24 hours as I sit and write this from work. 
 What can one do, though? I take my job seriously and how can one pass up the chance of being paid OT for working on a holiday. 
 Normally, working a holiday isn't that bad. Christmas is an exception, though, in that I don't get to sleep. When you work nights, like I do, two things become apparent:

1. You lose any social life you had
2. Daytime events have to be planned thoroughly as to allow for sleep

 A holiday like Christmas makes this impossible, though, as I have to bounce between two houses. Add to the misery that my birthday is Christmas Eve and I didn't even get to have one piece of my birthday cake. 

 People drive even worse than normal (and in this state that's a tough thing to do), black ice covers the roads, desperately needed fast food is not available, and convenience stores that are open don't sell individual microwave canned goods. 
 At least I can say with a smile that it's over. Christmas has come and gone. I'm a year older, a bit wiser, and a new year is upon us. 
 And in that new year will come a true test of stamina, for I will be attending five conventions in three months. Arisia, Vericon, Boskone, Totalcon, and AnimeBoston. 
 Fun will be had, friends will be made, games will be played, and I am really looking forward to them this year. 
 Alas, the one dark spot on the season is Unitygames! They always schedule their winter game-day against Vericon. No fair! I'd gladly attend both conventions but if I am forced to choose I have to go with Vericon. 
 In any case, though, you can find me in the game room if you attend these conventions. I'm an MIB for SJ games and a Gozarian for Gozer Games LLC. In other words, I show people how to play games. If there's a game you'd like to see, especially at Boskone (I run the game room at Boskone), drop me a line.

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