Tag Archives: DoubleTree

How We Survived a Three Convention Weekend


by Lillian Csernica on June 4, 2016

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Hi, gang. I made it through all four days of Clockwork Alchemy, BayCon, and Fanime.I would have written this post sooner, but the sudden discovery of John being WAY behind on preparing his Final presentation/exam in one of his classes caused me to devote what energies I had to making sure he met today’s deadline. I love that boy dearly, but some days he makes me crazy.

The weekend was packed with memorable moments.  This was John’s first time really participating in conventions.  (He did make a brief appearance at the Meet the Guest Reception of one BayCon about ten or twelve years ago. We had to keep him away from the buffet and out from under everybody else’s tables.) It was a spectacular weekend!  John even won a Hall Costume Award for his steampunk attire.

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Technolo-John meets Mega Man!

John had quite a few adventures, including playing the communications officer aboard the Starship Artemis. He made a light saber in one of the DIY workshops, and he discovered the joys of hanging out in the Hospitality Suite having munchies and watching “Wheel of Fortune” on a big plasma screen.  That might sound silly, but I was pleased to see John guessing the solutions with everybody else.

At Fanime, all the people in costume blew John’s mind. He’d been hoping to meet some of his favorite superheroes. Sure enough, one man was dressed as Nightwing, and one young lady wore a Raven costume. Raven told John how much she liked his steampunk outfit. That had him walking on air!

Business was good. I sold all but one of the anthology copies I brought with me.  Gave away all the beaded space-theme bookmarks and the Japanese art print bookmarks, all of which had this here blog’s URL on the back.  Shameless Self-Promotion! John got to see people asking me for my autograph as I signed their copies.  This is my idea of Take Your Kid To Work Day. Now John knows that I really am (kinda) famous.

Yarn Doll

Courtesy of Leigh Flynn

At Clockwork Alchemy on Sunday morning I had a good time teaching the Victorian Yarn Doll DIY.  Yarn colors included forest green, wine red, and navy blue, as well as what I like to call the “steampunk rainbow.” This is a yarn made up of several jewel tone colors suitable for the steampunk era. Traditional Victorian yarn dolls are either boys or girls.  Out of respect for the gender fluid community, I wanted to provide materials that were both inclusive and diverse. If you’re interested in making yarn dolls, Pinterest is a gold mine of methods, styles, and materials.

Mixy Award

This is the Mixy Award, created by Steve Mix in honor of those people who he feels deserve recognition for their ongoing contributions to fandom and the convention community.  At this year’s BayCon, Steve granted me the honor of presenting the Mixy to none other than my best friend and co-conspirator, Pat MacEwen.  Convincing her to bring the spiffy clothes and dress up on Saturday night was a bit of a challenge, because of course I couldn’t tell her why.

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Steve Mix was also responsible for the D20 challenge.  Several of us who are gamers past or present brought our best D20s to the con.  Whenever some of us would cross paths, we’d roll against each other. Best of five was the general rule.  Whoever won got to keep all the dice involved in that particular round.  I brought five D20s with me, and I left with five D20s, so I broke even.

In the bar of the San Mateo Marriott, the tables are glass.  That meant that in the evening when we had anywhere from three to seven people rolling at once, we made a glorious racket!  (I have to give the staff of the hotel credit.  They embraced the weirdness that is fandom like good sports.  The valets were having a great time collecting badge ribbons.) Steve has the best D20.  It’s made of some kind of metal, and it rolls high and hard.  I told him he should name it the “Deathstar D20”!

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The Snow Jedi

I’m going to break one of my own rules here and post a photo of myself in my jammies. That is indeed the very light saber John made.  This goes to show how much fun I was having. I actually asked Pat to take a photo of me looking like this. This had to be my best Clockwork/Fanime/BayCon ever!

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K is for Key


by Lillian Csernica on April 13, 2016

 

On H Day you read some of my hotel stories.  Now let’s talk about keys!  Modern hotels have those plastic cards much like ATM cards that you stick in the slot and pull out again in order to unlock the door.  Sounds simple enough, right?  If only that were true.

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Norwescon, Seattle, WA — On our very first night in the DoubleTree, I had made the long and weary trek from the main area of the hotel all the way to Wing 5B, third floor, our room.  I swear, it took at least ten minutes to get there.  I stuck my key card into the slot.

The key did not work.  The little light did not turn green.  It worked earlier.  It would not work now.

I was less than thrilled at the prospect of hiking all the way back to the front desk to get this sorted out.  I couldn’t call the front desk on my cell, because the only number I could find was the main reservation line.  I was ready to start banging my head against the wall when a neighbor two doors down (Not the Vikings.  This was in the other direction.) offered me the use of his phone.  I called the front desk, they sent a security guard who checked my ID and verified that my key wouldn’t work.  I got a new key and got into our hotel room.  Later, when Pat and Nancy came back for the night, I felt a whole lot less embarrassed when their keys wouldn’t work either.  Lucky for them, I was there to open the door.  The next day all three of us went to the front desk for “fresh” keys.

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Citadines Karasuma-Gojo, Kyoto, Japan — After two planes, a bus, and a taxi, Pat and I arrived on the doorstep of the residential hotel where we would stay.  Our room was quite modern and very comfortable.  Problem: I could not find a light switch for the main room.  After some experimentation, I realized I had to put my room key into a slot that was up & down, as opposed to in & out. Thinking it was like most key card readers, I pushed my key down and pulled it up again.  The lights came on.  All was well.

Two minutes later, the lights went out.

After going through this twice more, I called the front desk.  Pat tells me that listening to my side of the conversation was pretty funny, because I was trying so hard to be calm and polite when I really wanted to smash something.  Once I made it clear to the folks at the front desk that the lights would not stay on, they sent somebody from Maintenance.  He provided us with the “key” to the solution: you had to leave the card in the slot to keep the lights on.  When you left, you took your key with you, which would ensure not leaving the lights on while you were out.  Wow.  Never seen that one before!

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This is art.  It’s not me.

BayCon — Once again, Pat and I were not staying in the main convention hotel.  Pat picked me up and drove us to the hotel she’d chosen.  It had been a really stressful week with the boys.  I was so tired I almost fell asleep in the car even though it was only late afternoon.  Pat got us checked in.  I followed her around the labyrinth of wrought iron stairways and hallways thronged by teenage girls in some kind of sports uniforms.  (They all seemed to be blonde, but maybe fatigue blurred my memories.)  Our room was located outside an exterior door, on this little chunk of balcony, where there was a bitter wind blowing as the sun began to set.

Guess what happened next?  That’s right.  The key wouldn’t work.

I was SO not in the mood for that.  Pat went back to the front desk while I stood there in the cold breeze and tried to stay awake.  Ten or fifteen minutes later Pat came back.  She stopped right outside the door, as far from me as she could get while still being on the balcony.

“Promise me you won’t kill me,” she said.

Adrenalin surged inside me, but not enough to make me move.  “What happened?”

“Promise me you won’t kill me.”

“Tell me what happened!”

“Promise me–”

“I’m too tired to kill you.  Now tell me what happened!”

She’d transposed two digits of our room number.  The key wouldn’t work because we were standing outside the wrong door.

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