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threemonkeys

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03:52 pm: Connoting - 1
I have managed to survive attending Conclave and Conflux in successive weekends although I'm pretty weary. I am not at all sure that doing the back to back con thing is a good idea but then again I will probably do it again next year. I will have to get fitter though - it is something that you need stamina for.

Anyway I am not going to do a proper report on the cons. I am just going to fling random thoughts down as they occur. Any coherent patterns you may see are therefore a reflection of the internal organisation of my subconscious. The plan is that there will be more than one of these brain dump posts - hence the optimistic "1" in the heading.

The travel to the cons went amazingly well. Apart from some patches of thick fog the Wellington to Auckland drive and vice versa were in perfect conditions with very few problems with traffic or road works. Likewise the plane trips to and from Canberra went exactly as planned. Exactly as planned isn't actually great because flying cattle class is not at all comfortable but it was nowhere near as bad as I thought it could be.

As far as I can tell the Allenby (or whatever it is called now) has done no room renovation since we were there in '92. There was a lot of ingrained dirt in the paintwork and things were pretty shabby. The latch on the door to my balcony was broken and so the door couldn't be locked. It really isn't a good venue. The convention rooms are not well situated with poor acoustics. What I noticed the most was the lack of any decent mingling space - the area around registration was tiny. On the plus side the staff were much more helpful than in '92 apart from one deja vu moment on Saturday night with the manager complaining about room parties - this time it was sorted out properly though. Also being positive was the quality of the food (excluding breakfast) from the hotel restaurant - perhaps a reaction to the poor selection of restaurants in Manukau.

When I had my car and therefore huge luggage capacity at Conclave I acquired only two new books and one of them was a copy of A Feast for Crows given to me by Norman because he had won two of them. Just how many copies of that book did the publishers give to the convention anyway? When I only had my bags to carry on the plane from Conflux I came back with over 30 new books and magazines. No wonder my elbow got so sore. Not a single one of those 30+ books and magazines was available at Conclave so there really wasn't much option.

Small conventions tend to be fun for the fans. The thing being that people know each other and socialise. That is very true of Conclave. Every time I thought things were getting slack, somebody would come along and good times ensued. There was also a lot of friendly informal gaming going on. I don't play games but I could see that people were having a good time. Steve Jackson's free attitude to play testing new games certainly helped that.

On the flip side to the previous comment, the programme for Conclave sucked. Apart from one very good talk by Russell Kirkpatrick, there was nothing there for me at all. The selection of programme items was very thin and within a restricted range. Yes, I know people enjoyed themselves anyway but they should have had the option of getting into programme items. A strong choice of things to do does not exclude social enjoyment you know - just look at Conflux. Why I think that the "but people enjoyed themselves" argument to excuse a weak programme is dangerous is that the reason people have a good time socially is because we all know each other. Just how do we bring in new people if we have nothing to offer them - "it is a good social time" is not a drawcard at all if you don't already have friends in the system. But then again there wasn't much publicity either to draw new people to have a look. The fan movement over here will die if this keeps up. I am really pleased to hear the folk from Conspiracy 2 and Conjunction talk about the strong programmes and the publicity ideas that they have. More strength to them.

At this point I feel I should make mention of the number of people I met for the first time at Conflux. There were so many of them that I will not remember all of the names. I will try to record as many as I can but not right now as the task is too daunting for my tired mind. Then of course there was the pleasure of meeting up with people I met last year and have been keeping in touch with by this very channel.

In case anybody was wondering, yes it was cold in Canberra and on Saturday afternoon rather wet as well. The cold reminded me a bit of a Christchurch winter - a biting frosty chill. I gather I missed some bad weather while I was away. Actually that happened for both cons - rather good planning I would say.

Hmmm - not much specific about events or people so far. I think I will have another go at this tomorrow - people, events, daleks and so forth.

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Comments

[User Picture]
From:i_ate_my_crusts
Date:14th June, 2006 05:04 am (UTC)
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It was really good to catch up with you again, even if not as in-depthly as I would have liked. I swear I spent all bar three hours having one-hour chats with people, and as a reult, only got through something like a quarter of the conversations I desired...
[User Picture]
From:threemonkeys
Date:14th June, 2006 05:09 am (UTC)
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Likewise on all counts. We will just have to continue to work on the Zara comes to live in Wellington plan. ;-)
[User Picture]
From:darthsappho
Date:14th June, 2006 05:43 am (UTC)
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aFfC: and why give away volume 4 of a series at all? Anyone who's read the previous volumes will own the latest already, and to anyone who hasn't the book is useless.
[User Picture]
From:threemonkeys
Date:14th June, 2006 06:06 am (UTC)
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Well yes I had the same thought. Although strangely enough, I actually have read the others but not aFfC - I was waiting for it to come out in a smaller edition because the trade paperback is such a brick. But my situation would be rather unusual I should imagine.
[User Picture]
From:ivonava
Date:14th June, 2006 09:49 am (UTC)
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Ah, because if you were me, and suddenly owned book four of something you would HAVE to go out and find the first three before you could read four. It's a sneaky marketing ploy, that's what it is.
[User Picture]
From:threemonkeys
Date:14th June, 2006 10:38 am (UTC)
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Marketing people must love you! Actually, I have done that a couple of times - it can be hard because often the early volumes in the series are out of print.

This particular series is even more scary - there are four volumes before volume 4 because volume 3 is split in two parts. And the huge brick that Norman gave me is only the first half of volume 4. That makes 5 other books to buy.
From:ratfan
Date:18th June, 2006 03:10 am (UTC)
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Greetings! It was good to meet you at Conflux; we had some of the better conversations I found there :-) I agree that it would have been good to have a fans-only mingling area with comfy chairs and perhaps tea and coffee and to have everything at the one venue. Being from Perth, I am unashamedly a wimp about cold weather - did you see we dipped BELOW ZERO on Saturday morning! - so waiting for that shuttle in an icy wind straight off snowy peaks was not terribly comfortable.

I possibly found more in the program than you did; concentrating on the author stuff and a couple of just-for-fun ones like arguing about Harry Potter. The complete mess involved with not asking panelists *before* the final week would have made things worse; I lost count of the times I heard, "I didn't know I was on this panel".

Anyway, more later. I'm not bothering with a full con review either. On my LJ I've pointed people at stephen_dedman's review which was pretty good.

take care

Ratfan
[User Picture]
From:threemonkeys
Date:18th June, 2006 03:37 am (UTC)
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It was good to meet you too.

I did find a lot on the Conflux programme for me - it was the Conclave programme which sucked. A bit confusing mixing impessions of the two cons I know, but this is the way they poured out of my brain. :-}
From:russellk
Date:26th June, 2006 05:39 am (UTC)
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Very interesting observations, particularly about Conclave. Better than a typical 'con report.' Thanks for the compliment, too. And you wonder why you end up on committees and things?
[User Picture]
From:threemonkeys
Date:26th June, 2006 06:19 am (UTC)
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I had more compliments for you too, but didn't want to swell your ego. :-) It was good to catch up with you again. Welcome to lj.
From:russellk
Date:26th June, 2006 07:10 am (UTC)
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Thanks - I've been resisting lj because I knew how much time it'd take out of my day. I was right. And don't worry about the ego. I am acquainted with a number of people who see it as their mission to ensure it remains manageable. I married one of them.
[User Picture]
From:threemonkeys
Date:26th June, 2006 07:27 am (UTC)
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Yep, it sure is a time sink.
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