Darth Paradox (darthparadox) wrote,
Darth Paradox

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Ad Astra

Here's some stuff about Ad Astra.

The drive up was uneventful, although making a five-hour drive on four hours' sleep is not recommended.

I parked, went inside, and immediately saw chanilye working at reg. Said hello, signed up, got my con badge, and then saw David Brin arrive. Went to talk to him, passed along my SF prof's greetings, and got a couple nifty bookplates. At some point, I got convinced to be a volunteer, which I was doing for a lot of the weekend.

Saw a fun show that night - Jason Taniguchi's one-man show, "Attack of the Clones: The Musical". It was great. His view on the Padme-Anakin romance: The only possible explanation is that Anakin used the Jedi mind powers to cause her to fall in love with him. Agreed. After that, we... what did we do then? I think that was the night we went up to the Eaton Centre and ate at Mr. Greenjeans. Mmm, best burger I've had in a while. Then we went to bed.

Saturday, I went to several panels. The first, Education and SciFi, was run by David Brin and Julie Czerneda (an author-turned-educator), and discussed the potential of SF to help teach kids science in a more interesting way... so I'm on an e-mail list now, to bounce ideas around and work on getting SF into curricula.

Then came the Attack of the Clones panel. Brin, an artist named Frank Wu (who sold me a fricking beautiful piece of art - a dragon sitting on primordial Earth), a budding writer named Michelle West, and John Allen Price, a technothriller/military fiction writer (think Clancy's genre)... all discussing where AotC went wrong and what should have been done about it. Brin despises Lucas, writing as much in an article a while ago. The panel was interesting, but the conclusion was that there really wasn't all that much that could be done. I think. But it was amusing.

Next, a panel on the Internet as an ecosystem. Insert large discussion about definition of life here. Richard Dawkins claims life to be "information shaped by natural selection." I claim that to be a little too broad. I presented to the panel an explanation of how the AYB meme has become alive, by mutating and reshaping itself in order to keep getting passed around. I don't think anyone was capable of fully refuting the argument.
Yes, I brought AYB up at a sci-fi panel. Go me.

After a brief break, I went to Brin's guest-of-honor speech. He talked about the problems experienced by California and Canada in "living next to the empire". I found the idea amusing. He ranted for a long time, about America's response to 9/11 on a national security level. He states that anyone who tells him that he - and particularly his children - has to trade away freedoms for security, or vice-versa, is basically full of shit.
It was a very entertaining hour. He challenged us to look past propaganda - but also to recognize that no matter what we may tell ourselves, we're influenced by it....

Then, two hours for the Geek Olympics. Two rounds of trivia (I kicked ass in the second round) and then an inventive round, wherein we endeavour to answer some of SF's more prominent questions. (I got "how does a force field, which reflects energy, let visible light through?" I explained the way in which force fields can be modulated to reflect different types of energy.) I took 5th overall.

After that... Lightning Round!! Two hours to create a costume from scraps. I made armor out of CDs. It kept falling apart, but it stayed together while I was walking across the stage at the Masquerade. People loved it. I met (at Lightning Round, and all around the convention) a few interesting people... one named Mercy, with a really cool fashion sense, who constructed a dress out of newspaper, CDs, and video tape. Name of costume: "Media Whore." I also met a girl named Lori, who was dressed as a Trill (or something like that) from Star Trek, with her boyfriend who was a Klingon. They're running a Klingon poetry reading in May; I hope I'm able to go.

Met a lot of other cool people, too - Chani's friends Jen and Julie and Gillian (she goes by Jill) and Paul, and Francois and Carolyn, who ran the Lightning Round, and a bunch of other people whose names I don't know, but I'll see at Toronto Trek, most likely, if not AN.

After the Masquerade, came the dance. That was fun. I actually danced fairly well, in a group with Chani and her friends and a couple other people. They played a neat mix of 70's/80's pop-rock - the kinda old stuff I like - and current dance music - but not the annoying stuff, generally... oh, and a dance mix of the Hamster Dance song. Geh.

Oh, at the Dance I was presented with the award for Best Use of Materials for my costume. Picture forthcoming, as soon as Francois sends it. Yay!

Sunday... I volunteered for a little while, hung out in the Con Suite for a few hours chatting about the future of the convention and some ideas to make it better and then played SF Pictionary (which was really cool...) - my team won, barely... but we deserved to, as they took almost the full three minutes to guess "Star Wars" when the artist did a very clear rendition of the Death Star zapping the hell out of Alderaan within the first thirty seconds.

After that, I volunteered a bit more - earning my eighth hour and a massive discount on next year's con - and then went to the post-Con meeting. Ad Astra is a fan-run con, so we took votes on some issues, elected four new board members, and generally had a good time. I said goodbye to people and made my exit.

Five hours later, I was nearly home. 20 miles out of Ann Arbor, my car broke down. I coasted to a stop right at an exit ramp, and walked the quarter-mile (!) to the nearby hotel, called my family, and got taken home. No word on the car yet, but if the car's fucked, so is my summer. I doubt it is, though... but we'll see.

But the con was cool.

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