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Hijinks Ensue

Contemplation report 1 - Friday

I got up at 5AM to finish off the Beyond Cyberdrome Intermission Games Players' Instructions and repack my rucksack. The trip down to the Chester Crowne Plaza with my parents went perfectly - the roads were all clear and we didn't get lost once. I arrived at about 11AM to be told that I couldn't check in to our room until 2:30PM. I dumped my rucksack in a storeroom and then noticed a text message from my boss saying something important had broken at work, but when I tried to get onto the Internet to fix it, the Swisscom payment process got stuck part way through. I tried to explain how to fix the problem by text message instead, and I haven't heard back from him since then, so I presume the fix worked. You'd have thought an Internet service this expensive would at least work reliably, but ISTR having similar problems at the Glasgow Crowne Plaza last year too. I really miss the free WiFi we had at Hinckley in February, even if it was very slow at times (a convention full of geeks with laptops can do that to a connection).

I soon discovered the Con Bar hidden away in the core of the hotel, met up with various people I last saw at Redemption, had one of the £4 baked potatoes for lunch, and decorated the first of the FEEBLE MEATBAGS! posters myself in the hope of encouraging others to have a go by example (it didn't work). I went to the "Panellists and Moderators - how does it all work?" panel not because I expect to be a panellist or moderator any time soon, but because I was feeling a bit bored and the only other thing on at the time was the "Beginner's Guide to Eastercon" panel (this is my second Eastercon and it feels like I'm an old hand already). The opening ceremony was mercifully brief with no guests to introduce and no programme change announcements, and the mixer games organised by the Teledu people were pretty good. steverogerson took a picture of my side of the room acting out a scene from a Beatles album cover.

After the opening I went to the Hotel Bar with my big box of pens and talked asphodeline into decorating an FM poster for me. I don't think you want to see what she drew. Suffice it to say the slogan was "be at the BC Intermission Games or be found in bed with me!" ;)

SMS and Eira turned up and we started talking about the games - the details of what we're going to do and who we can talk into being contestants. The FM posters were a hit with the kids, which was my main purpose in doing them (the Intermission Games aren't very kid-friendly compared to a traditional Beyond Cyberdrome). The only flaw in my plan was that about half of the kids liked their posters so much they insisted on taking them home instead of sticking them up on the walls.

Later on I went bugshaw's slide show and talk about her recent TAFF trip to the US, then to SMS's panel about "Superscience in the Victorian era." I say "SMS's panel" because although there were other people on the panel - Dave Lally and ffutures I believe, with Nikkums moderating, they seemed to be having trouble getting a word in edgeways. After that we sat around and talked in the Con Bar for a while. I got accused of SMOFing, a couple of people said they might be persuaded to be contestants but they don't know anything about robots (we assured them it didn't matter too much as long as they can be loud and funny, because they can just make the technical stuff up as they go along like us real engineers do), and SMS was given a free pint of beer after complaining about the prices![1] At 11PM we staggered off to do some secretive reconnaissance (which apparently involves a lot of heckling from the back) at our mortal enemy Tony Keen's much-more-professional-than-ours spoof radio 4 panel game, "I'm Sorry I Haven't an SF-ing Clue."

I finally got to bed at midnight, but my room-mate didn't roll in until 4AM.

[1] I should say that I don't think he got the free beer because he complained, it was because he asked for a beer that had run out, and they gave him the first pint that came out after changing the barrel over.

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Moderating SMS is no easy task, believe me! :)