FenCon

Typing one-handed sucks – I just lost my lovely post and must now reconstruct it. Ah well. here’s hoping I can be as witty as I was.

FenCon 2010 was a very nice con, indeed.

Friday started with a visit to the doctor’s office for pre-surgery testing. They found one class of anesthesias with minimal reactions, so they’re going with that one.

We arrived at the hotel before rush hour – always a happy event! We checked in and were put on the party corridor. Then we wandered and met friends and talked way too much. In the ConSuite (the Ambassador’s Room), we met up with John, a happy circumstance. We ended up in the bar, where I had a very immature beer that was improved substantially by the addition of cranberry juice. We talked of books, science, tea, projects. Eventually, we went off to our respective rooms for the night.

We met up briefly the next morning, where John gifted me with a loaf of cheddar bacon bread. I immediately began to make plans on how to include it in the Tea that afternoon, but I had to conclude I lacked both the right equipment and the right ingredients to make it a successful addition.

John went off to his panel (I guess, because I didn’t see him for a while) and I wandered, talking to various people. I met up with the Captain of the Steel Rose and we talked Tea – her aethership was hosting a Tea in the Ambassador’s Room at the same time I was hosting a private Tea for pictures for my Steampunk Tea Book. Then I got waylaid to let Itzl get his picture taken – him being in is steampunk gear – tailcoat, top hat, goggles.

Then I retired to the room to put together the Tea – boiling eggs and making cucumber sandwiches and such.

The Tea went off quite well. I had 8 tea sets, and Mel White very kindly went to the Con Suite to get styrofoam cups and paper plates for everyone else. Jas, Libby, Bev, Barbara, Rie, Mouse and Spouse, and others were there, which made me happy. I got a couple of usable pictures and a lot more that make for great scrapbooking.

I passed around my Autograph Book, and Bev passed hers around, too. Autograph Books were a Victorian tradition that lived on in autographing yearbooks. These are a combination memorabilia book, guest book, and collection of witty sayings and such from friends and other people attending the same event. You might have the same person signing the book many times, not a hardship for Victorians who memorized epigrams and pithy quotes and sayings just to share in these Autograph Books. I hope to revive the tradition, because while social networking media is great for connecting with people, it’s kind of hard to paste your name badge, concert tickets, menus, scribbled napkins, and such into them or collect signatures of friends and others.

So, the Tea went well, and Jas and I ended up in the bar again, where we ate dinner with The James Burk. Then Jas went to a panel and I met up with John again. I’d just eaten, but he was starving, so I joined him in the bar where he ate his dinner and I drank another weak beer improved with cranberry juice. Then we sat together with Jas and Mouse and Spouse at the Masquerade. Jas went off to do her thing, so John and I hit as many of the room parties as we could, starting at one end of the corridor and working our way to the other end. We talked to people, sampled teas, watched movie clips, and John committed (no, not “was committed”) to doing a panel or so at a Houston convention.

Then we went off to our rooms and met back up again briefly the next morning, where I learned John missed the Tea because of car troubles, so I dragged him off to the Con Suite and made him tea and fed him macaroons. We discussed a wide variety of things, wandered through the Dealer’s room, where we discussed the good and bad points of giving his Nonny a dragonfruit plant from the Texas Triffid Ranch.

He left early to get home before his car died on him (he made it, I learned, and did so in good time).

Jas and I left to shop at Whole Foods. We're going to be getting one here in the City soon, and I can't wait. I didn't buy anything because everything I wanted was too perishable to make the trip, but Jas bought a few things, and we ate there.

The trip home was long but uneventful. Construction was annoying, as always because there was always a semi way up front who slowed to 30 mph in a 60 mph highway zone and left a string miles long of cars trapped behind him.

FenCon Preparations

Now that I have the car all checked out for the trip (and that’s always a dreaded ordeal because mechanics are only open 4 short hours on Saturdays and I’m not wasting vacation hours during the work week for something routine like oil changes and tires rotated and balanced), it’s time to get ready for the rest of the trip.

Most of the time, all I have to do is pack a couple of changes of clothes and Itzl’s potty pads, food, dishes, ID, bed, blankie, and clothes.

This time, because I need to test a couple of recipes and get pictures for a Steampunk cookbook I’m writing, I have to do much more.

I need to pack enough tea cups, saucers, and cake plates to provide for the invited guests (more can show up, but they must bring their own tea cups and plates). I need to pack 3 teapots, the tea kettle, the sugar and creamer (no lemon dish – I don’t do lemons and my guests this time will have to have cream instead of a choice of lemon or cream), the serving dishes and utensils, the tablecloths and napkins, and the camera!

These, I can pack in advance.

Thursday night, I will bake the Time Tarts, ginger snaps, tea bread, and prepare the rest of the treats and pack them so we can head out Friday.

Some of the tea treats will be made at the hotel. I have figured out how to make deviled eggs in a hotel room, so I may add those to the tea treat list. We are in the south and it just isn’t a party without deviled eggs. And I will make the finger sandwiches there, too, because those really need to be fresh.

I LOVE my Lawn Buddy rolling cart. Granted, it was made for lawn work, but I have adapted it to be a rolling tea box – it can carry the tea cups and pots and such safely and I can load the top with other tea things. I really ought to steampunk it up and maybe I will have time this weekend to do so… Right now, it’s lawn green and tan. Perhaps I can paint it? And attach tubes and gears to it? I have plenty of PVC left from painting the bedroom (don’t ask, but trust me wen I say PVC pipes were essential in painting the bedroom). I have gears. And old watches. And I’m going to a flea market in the morning. maybe I can find a broken cuckoo clock so I can rob it of the cuckoo? I could make it look all time travelly. All I need is sufficient metallic paint. I may have enough in my paint box.

I have 2 decent steampunk outfits, if I can find my black boots. One looks a bit more piratical than the other, and since Sunday is ITLaPD, I ought to wear that one then and the other one Saturday.

I also need to bring my notebooks on the Gosplodey Alchemical Laboratory to discuss with my partner-in-crime, who will be there (yay!).

It will be a busy weekend. Good busy.

Steampunk Tea Party at FenCon

I know people are going to think it’s horrible of me for doing this, but I am going to hold my little Steampunk Tea Party at 4:00 p.m. on Saturday.

Normally, I would not schedule anything during the GoH speech, I’d be right there watching, but this year, the GoH isn’t going to be there in person and I’m not good with electronic remote interviews, I always miss a significant portion and am left with a wha-huh? feeling. People are cheering or laughing and I missed it because I can neither see lips (a significant portion of my hearing is via lip reading any more – I’m not good at it, but it helps fill in a few blanks or bridge gaps) and I feel such a churl asking people with me to explain what I missed, making them miss the next good thing.

I know there are probably people who want to attend the little Steampunk Tea who can’t because they are going to be happily ensconced in the room watching the interview, and I totally get that. Were the GoH to be here in person, I’d be there, too.

For those who will attend the GoH interview, perhaps some other time?

That said, if people bring their own tea cups and plates, I can probably accommodate far more than the 8 people I originally said, as I only have 8 tea cups and plates.

I’ve settled on a menu: Time Tarts, Fairy Cakes, cucumber sandwiches, puffed curry, macaroons, and ginger snaps. The tea will be the last of this year’s Queen’s Garden Party tea blend (teas from India, Sri Lanka, and Kenya touched with bergamot and jasmine, and enhanced with cornflowers and rose petals), Baroness Earl Grey (more suitable for an afternoon tea than Earl Grey), a Windsor castle blend (Darjeeling, Assam, and Kenya teas), and will have available for the more adventurous a smoky pressed Yunnan tea, a pu-erh, and a Sichuan Ring Tea (the green leaves are hand rolled and curled so they form rings). And for those who must have decaf, I have a fruity Moroccan blend that will complement the snacks – a blend of hibiscus, apples, rose hips, passion fruit, raspberry, rose petals, jasmine, cornflower, and Assam.

I may still reschedule.

Nope – 4:00 pm, Saturday. Nearly everyone who planned to attend it agrees that’s an excellent time for it. We few shan’t be missed from the GoH interview.