Monday, January 17, 2011

Pros and Cons

So this past weekend was MarsCon, and it went almost insanely well.

Penny had her swimming lesson on Saturday morning, so while she and Matt went to the Y, I took Alex over to the con and got myself registered with a day pass, and I got him a badge and lanyard to wear as well, mostly just so I could put a "If lost, please call..." note on it.

We wandered around for a bit, and stopped in the Con Suite for a little snack. Alex was enchanted by the MarsCon aliens; every time he saw one, he'd spend the next ten minutes pretending to be an alien, which is to say he'd walk around stiff-legged saying "Mineh mineh mineh!" It was adorable.

Then I herded him down to the main programming room where we found a "fair" in progress, which is to say they'd set up about a dozen large tables and had a bunch of different groups showing off their stuff. One table was doing "explosive" science -- if Penny had been able to come that early, I think she'd have gotten a kick out of it -- and there was a video and Q&A going on with the CNU Quidditch team, and lots of other stuff. On one side of the room was a big area dedicated to the local Lego fan club -- they had a long buffet table covered with their creations, and then they had a round table covered with loose bricks for anyone to play with. And there was a big blanket on the floor also covered with free-for-all bricks. So Alex and I sat on the floor and played with Legos for probably a good half-hour or more.

While we were doing that, the local Humane Society chapter came in with some dogs and cats up for adoption for people to play with and pet. Alex gravitated toward the kittens, and when Matt and Penny caught up with us a bit later, Penny lost her mind over the dogs.

Then Penny sat down at one of the craft tables and made a mask -- they had dozens of plastic domino masks and all kinds of paint and glitter and ribbons and stuff to decorate them with. Some of the kids at the table were making really elaborate and beautiful things. I wish I'd thought to take a picture.

Then I took her up to the Con Suite where Matt and Alex had already headed to get lunch. We met up with KT and Kevin and Jess, and sat in the hallway to eat and talk. Just as we were finishing up, Braz sent me a text message to let me know that he and Adin were in the area shopping, and did we want them to swing by and pick up the kids? Well, sure! So I took Penny down to the dealer's room so she could pick out a toy, and by the time she'd picked something out, Braz and Adin and crew were there; we all stood around in the lobby and talked for a bit, and then handed the kids over to Braz and Adin.

And then Matt and I were on our own. At the con. It was wonderful. (Yes, Matt and I are geeky enough that being at a con together without the kids counts as a date.) We chatted with KT a bit more (she was standing in the line to get stuff signed by Jim Butcher, the con's guest of honor) and then went into the dealer's room to look at stuff. Without the kids along, we were able to actually, you know... look at stuff. Examine things without having to be interrupted every thirty seconds. I wound up getting corralled by the leather fashion lady who exclaimed that she had a couple of pieces I just had to try on... and without the kids along, hey, why not?

At one point, a friend wandered by and I said, "Hey, Greg, what do you think? Like it?" Greg said, "If I liked it any more, Matt would punch me." And then KT came over and I showed her the one I was leaning toward, and she said, "Do you still have that skirt you made back in college? It would look fantastic with that!" And well... yes, I do still have that skirt, and she was right, they would go perfectly together. So, um. I bought a corset.

A couple of things in particular make me very squee about it: the front buttons are hand-cast pewter on a steampunk theme (steampunk is the big fashion rage amongst the geek set right now) but are loose-set on screws so I can change them out with something completely different if I want, which makes the thing lots more versatile. And those buttons fasten with... hair bidgies. No, I'm not joking. And it's perfect. They're just the right size, can be color-coordinated to match the other clothes, and provide enough elasticity to keep the costume comfortable.

Now I need to plan on going to more cons, just so I can wear it.

We also tried one of the leather lady's jackets on Matt, and I must say he looked quite dashing in it. We got someone to take a picture of us together, but that was on Matt's camera, so I don't have a link to share yet.

After that, we split up so I could go to a discussion/Q&A panel on science fiction and romance, which turned out to be very interesting as well. And definitely not something I could've sat through with the kids in tow. I even talked to the panel authors a little afterward about marketing and giveaways and such.

Speaking of romance marketing, I took a bunch of leaflets for Of One Mind along with me and left a few on every flat surface where I thought people might pick them up -- on the table outside the elevator, outside the con suite, in the con suite, etc. Matt told me later that KT had told him she'd seen someone reading it and exclaiming that they thought it sounded fantastic and they were going to have to buy it! So yay for marketing, and I hope that person wasn't the only one!

After that, Matt and I went to the big Q&A session for Jim Butcher. I've only read a couple of his books (his big claim to fame is the Harry Dresden series, and while I mostly enjoyed the couple I read, I'm not that much into urban paranormal or detective stories, which is what they are) but he was a really entertaining speaker, so it was a fun panel to watch.

After that, we decided to head home. KT and Kevin and Jess came with us, and Braz and Adin brought the kids over shortly afterward, and all of us sat around and chatted, and then we got Chinese takeout for dinner and sat around talking for a while longer.

After KT and Kevin and Jess headed home and we got the kids put to bed, the plan was for us to game with Braz and Adin, but it never quite gelled. It's been a couple of months since we'd all just sat and talked, so that's what we wound up doing. Which was fine, as that was fun, too.

The next morning, Matt took Penny back over to the con for some kids' activities. (I stayed home with Alex on the theory that there really wasn't that much to draw a 3-year-old's attention, and there were chores to be done anyway.) They met back up with KT and Kevin and Jess, so they wound up staying until after 2 and having a grand time.

And then after Alex woke up from his nap, we went down to my parents' to celebrate my dad's birthday. I made two pies (key lime and peanut butter) and everyone liked both, and Dad was happy with his present. Since Matt and the kids have today off from school and work, we stayed a bit longer than usual after dinner, and I'm really glad we did -- both kids wound up in a pillow fight with my dad and my brother, and while John and the kids obviously were enjoying themselves, and Matt and Sam and Mom and I had a grand time sitting on the sidelines (mostly) and watching it, I think the real winner there, in terms of sheer enjoyment, was my dad. That pillow fight was probably the best birthday present ever. (Though I'm quite certain he slept Very Well last night, after all that.)

So we really had a fantastic weekend. The only fly in the ointment was that Matt started to develop a sore throat on Sunday, so he's at least got a case of the Con Crud, if not the strep throat that Adin was battling last week. So he's probably in for a rough day today, alas. But the weekend... the weekend was awesome.

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