Dragon*Con 2009, Day 2

I had the early volunteer shift again Saturday (and will have it again Sunday). I moderated both panels during my shift.

I was incredibly nervous on the first one and chose to stand with a wireless mic and act more to prompt the panelists and pass the mic as needed. The panel was on making your podcast sound better. The panelists were George Hrab, Slau, and Patrick McLean. Two incredibly talented musicians and one of the finest story tellers in podcasting in my opinion.

I appreciate and am flattered by my friends who thought I was an equally qualified panelist but when it comes to audio engineering, I am a dabbler. I do only as much audio engineering as is required to make my show of the quality to which I prefer listening. That happens to be a pretty high bar but I do not think it compares to folks who make their living via audio and/or performance. The skills that I do possess and have developed to an comparably advanced degree weren’t applicable to the topic at hand.

That being said, I was tickled to finally hear what is usually a commonly asked questions panel for podcasters actually cover the mechanics of vocal performance in a way I can apply to what I do. And to hear solid emphasis placed on being passionate and interested in your topic well above and beyond gear, tips and tricks. There was plenty of the latter, too, but the discussion was incredibly well balanced.

I was considerably more comfortable on my second panel. It was the third time for my copyright discussion panel. I was lucky enough to get almost all of my usual suspects from years past. Once again, I was surprised and delighted not only by the turn out for an early morning panel on what can potentially be a very dry subject, but by the excellent questions brought by the audience. Also as with prior iterations of this panel, we ran out of time before we ran out of conversation which I consider a good criterion for a successful panel.

In the afternoon, I finally managed to catch up with friends over lunch. We fought past the insane line for Patrick Stewart to the food court then had to deal with the peak time for the lunch hour. All things considered, we didn’t have to wait too terribly long for a table to free up. The line for Kameel’s was long but moved briskly. I introduced a few more friends to my favorite vendor in the food court, too.

After lunch, the group broke up a little bit with the majority of us heading into one of the three dealers’ rooms to explore. There were definitely some impressive wares on display, maybe a bit better than last year, but so far nothing I felt suitable for bringing home to the boys. Hopefully, I’ll manage to hit at least one of the two remaining rooms and can find something they might like.

The group broke up further still and I got to spend a couple of hours with Chooch and Viv as well as better introducing them to my room mates. They had laready met but briefly at the Technorama live show, Friday night. Viv was even a contestant in the Stump the Geeks segment (she was the only one who stumped us–rawr). Chuck and Kreg left to see Adam Savage and the plan was for the three of us left to play some Pandemic. After chatting for a while, we switch the plan to Monthy Python Fluxx, it being quicker to play. We never did play either game, we had such a good time just talking. As much as we all gather to spend time with our friends, the insanities of the con usually mean actually doing so is the exception far more than the rule.

This year’s Parsecs had an impressive turn out. The steering committee and MCs did an excellent job, improving on the ceremonies on almost every point over last year. The pacing was excellent and the whole affair just felt much more tightly crafted. This despite the one or two unavoidable but easily forgivable glitches. Mostly notably, due to poor scheduling, the wonderful Pamela Gay of the Astronomy Cast was late almost to the point of the program being altered on the fly to route around her absence. She literally ran from the other end of the con, however, and managed to pull off her part of the event, the giving away of several Galileo telescopes, with grace and humor, followed by presenting awards for two categories.

A large group of us gathered for dinner, after, and put up with incredibly loud karaoke waiting for enough tables to clear to seat us all in reasonable proximity. I enjoyed dinner, both for the company and the food. Metro Cafe Diner is one of my favorite spots outside of the immediate con environs.

After dinner, I was graciously invited back to Chooch and Viv’s room, which they share with P.G. Holyfield and Patrick McLean, for a sort of impromptu Parsec losers party. Again, a good con moment, the ones that if you search for them too hard, you never find them. When you stop, relax, and just sort of open up to the possibilities of the con, they just happen. Lots of great jokes, stories, and even the birth of a collaboration between Kim the comic book goddess and Patrick.

As much as I wanted to linger, I made my farewells and headed back to my hotel. My roomies were already asleep but left a night light on for me. (We’re all techies, we do not lack for LEDs and LCDs that serve quite well as impromptu low level light sources.) As responsible as I was being leaving my friends early, now I am feeling a rare bit of insomnia, perhaps brought on by the first bouts of homesickness. Spending so much time with Chooch and Viv actually reminds me of my own family waiting for my return in a few days.

I am hoping part of my lack of drowsiness is my promise to Andrea that I would post often. By filling that promise for the second day of the con, maybe I’ll be able to lay my head down and get some rest before I have to get up, hopefully for another day of unlooked for moments of that elusive social joy particular to conventions.

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