Another Run Through Another Artist Alley

Had too much fun last time, so tried it again this weekend at ACE; I think I actually went too fast. Photos from the con at 7000 BC's Flickr.

They help keep the mind off this.


Ugh, This Not Be Good

The vision that greeted us returning from ACE in Albuquerque tonight. A new fire, compounding the difficult fire season we're already having.

Update almost immediately after posting: Ugh.


Comicpalooza 2011

So, then, our trip to Comicpalooza in Houston Memorial Day weekend; almost a month later, and as our attention is turning to our appearance at ACE.

2:00 departure out of ABQ meant that we dropped the dog at Camp P__. and still had plenty of time. Quick two hours into HOU, almost a half-hour waiting for bags (free on Southwest, so three suitcases of books from 7000 BC), then to the hotel. Rob and Amanda were still on the road from Austin and it wasn't dinner time yet. At cons, have found it's valuable to learn what's in the neighborhood — so when the time comes to get a group out to dinner, or to finder a cheaper lunch venue, you're not completely lost.

Hotel's connected to the convention center, but still about a three-block walk to where the con was. Though there was supposed to be the option to load in, only saw a few frantic looking con staff around, and the big hall was still be cleared out of the previous exhibitors. Downstairs and out … into the 100° weather, with about 75% humidity. Forgotten what that's like. Walked a few blocks, scoped out the area — a downtown business district, also forgotten what that's like.

Back to await our friends' arrival at the bar seemed much more sensible. Where we noticed that all the other people in the hotel didn't really seem like the typical comic con crowd. Sure, all guys, but more fit, kind of athletic … and that's when we pieced together that logo on display, NAGVA was at the convention center, too. When Rob arrived, we figured out the way to a Vietnamese restaurant he'd been to last year, walked there for dinner and visiting.

Next morning, I was anxious; our info packet had dire warnings about being set up in time for the VIP entrance at the risk of losing table space. That hall we saw the previous night … wasn't much more cleared out. Found a con volunteer, himself looking for his badge, to show us that the big empty hall was where the roller derby and Quidditch would be, the dealers room was actually on the other side. Located our table … disturbingly over on the far side of things, quested to get our badges, got set up as the other dealers and eventually attendees found their way in.

The con was experimenting with a new layout; you could see the line of reasoning, the good intentions. The entry to the con started you in Artists' Alley, which was kind of a switchback of turns past the tables, ultimately depositing you at the entry to the booths and other exhibitors. Thing was, we were another turn past a big table and away from that entry; our position near the food concession meant we got some wandering by, but it wasn't a successful day. Good time visiting with Scott and Anthony, exhibiting at their first con. We'd been cautioned that Friday would be slow, and Saturday last year was huge, but I walked off that evening eyeing all the unoccupied tables.

The previous night, we'd located a likely candidate for a group dinner. These things, as they often do, grew as friends invited friends and next thing you know you're in charge of feeding a whole bunch you've never even met before. Though there was a wait, we got a table and setup that accommodated our group; even, kind of per Miss Manners, we managed to split up the people who all came together so we got to know the new folks we were dining with.

Next morning, tried out the nearby mall's food court; only one restaurant was open, but it had breakfast tacos. Again, we were too early at the con, but already talking to organizers about moving. It was clear that we were going to get passed by (the original intention was for gaming to be over in that corner, but it just wound up being cafeteria tables). Egged on and overly caffeinated, I got us into an open table.

Where we discovered it wasn't the location, it was us. No, actually, nobody in Artists' Alley was having a good time. I don't think the setup can entirely be blamed, there just wasn't buying happening — now the third con this year that, either from experience or anecdotally, was a dramatic dropoff from the previous. Dinner that evening, we just headed downtown, over by the Chron's presses with Charles and Karen, who we'd met at STAPLE. Found our way to a fun, outdoor spot for a second night of fish tacos and passed an enjoyable evening on, as it turns out, their anniversary.

By Sunday, there wasn't much incentive to get going early, but we had to pack up and check out. Lingered over breakfast with other exhibitors, and then to the table. Where the day passed … a few people who promised to return did, visited with our neighbor Mark, but it went slowly. Packed up, last goodbyes, out into the heat, and back to the airport.

The dog had apparently spent pretty much all the time outside except for eating. I think she was so tired, she couldn't object to returning. Monday was a slow, easy day for all of us. Didn't do much beyond posting the con photos at Flickr and making that still movie thing.


Since then, a lot of yardwork and house organizing and cleaning as well as starting grilling season. I was at a fencing clinic last Saturday as Monica was on Mouth of Wonder's pledge show. We headed out with Stacy, Jim, and Bernice to see the AlphaCats last show at the El Dorado.

And, pretty much as I'm posting this, Mon's parents and Oma should be arriving into Albuquerque. They'll be here Friday–Monday for their first visit to Santa Fe.

Any photos that have both of us: by Rob


Back In My Day, We Had To Paint Our Own Legos

Stapled to a telephone pole in the neighborhood.

Note: click to enlarge photo.
Further note: I never painted my Legos.


Sure Looks Like The End Times

Headed out about an hour ago for dog walk, since it was clouding up and cooling off. And so we were outside to watch the wildfire smoke sweep in, gradually blocking out the sun, finally obscuring the mountains.


"One Trusted with Private or Secret Matters"

The title Administrative Assistant (or Personal Assistant, I hear more working with Europe), now much more in fashion than Secretary. There's baggage that goes with the term — but its origin as one who is entrusted with keeping secrets (post's title from Dictionary.com) has a noble heritage. Jefferson was secretary of state; that's good enough for me to be secretary of our comic nonprofit.

More than a decade ago, my grandparents had the family claim the household items we wanted for when the time came. I'd already taken some photos, some arts and crafts they made, put my name on a few more, but there was only one piece of furniture that I wanted:

The secretary had always sat in the living room. Grandpa built it in 1947. Its trip to Santa Fe last month did not go well; the accompanying chair (at the left, above) sustained some damage, but a local furniture restorer was able to repair it seamlessly.

For now, it resides in the spare room, also in a bit of flux. When I got it into the house, I just started opening and closing all the drawers, looking in the little cubby holes designed for pens and pencils and stamps and letter openers and checkbooks and whatnot. It dates from a time when your office was a corner of whatever room you could fit in; but now, we've got whole room with a sprawling desk, file cabinets and bookshelves. I use maybe one check a month, bills don't get mailed. The laptop could sit on top, probably fit on the open desktop, but any co-worker can attest how hard I hit the keyboard.

I was showing it off to the furniture restorer, who just kept going on about the craftsmanship, what great shape it's in (seriously, it was like Antiques Roadshow), how he wanted to shake Grandpa's hand. Just oil and take care of it, and it would outlast us all — it's the kind of piece that becomes an antique.

There's a separate bookshelf unit for the top that I'm admittedly conflicted about. We don't need shelves there. It's very, very Colonial. And, really, it changes the whole nature of the piece; I enjoy the compactness of it, its dimensions without the shelves. Originally I had thought to repurpose the shelf unit — the way the wood from the coffee table I also wound up with was repurposed from a TV cabinet. But after the restorer's comments, I don't know if I should break up the set.

I oiled it today, moved it to its location for the foreseeable future. For now, the secretary is kind of awaiting its purpose. Some of the domestic office work may find its way there, or it may wind up being for guests. It's proven itself trustworthy, and somehow it'll find its way to handling private and secret matters again.