dreamshark: (Default)
 Start Reading Now is a small local charity that does something very simple: they give free, new books to kids in 1st, 2nd, and 3rd grade to read over the summer. We just made a donation. It seems like something that my fannish friends would like to support. Here's the description from their website. 

By hosting book fairs right before summer break, we help kids create their own library of 30 books built over 3 years - at the end of 1st, 2nd and 3rd grade. 

To identify the kids who are most in need of books, we work with local public schools that have 50% or more of their students on free or reduced lunch. 

During the day of the book fair, students pick out 10 brand new books and use a $50 Start Reading Now voucher to pay for them. We also provide "This Book Belongs To" stickers and a backpack to carry their new belongings - adding to the sense of ownership and value. 

Our book fairs are low-effort, low-risk and high-impact, making our program an exciting new way to drive change in our community.

dreamshark: (Default)
 After much dithering around, i finally booked our room for the Helsinki Worldcon. Following a tip from [personal profile] barondave I chose the Scandic Marski. So there are at least two of us from MSP in that hotel now. Anyone want to join us and make it a local room block? 

They have a very nice hotel page on the Worldcon website that lists all the hotels with prices and status of the room block. Be sure to click on the link from this page to get the special booking code. However, if this takes you to a lovely hotel website all in Finnish... just copy the code that was filled in for you and take it here.

The rooms are not cheap, but bear in mind that the price includes taxes and breakfast. It sounds really nice. Free wifi, gym, and of course a sauna or two. Also loaner bicycles and Nordic walking sticks. 
dreamshark: (sharon tire)
And is anybody going to be there looking for gaming on Friday night?  Richard is trying to decide whether to go to the con or stay home to host his usual game party.

dreamshark: (sharon tire)
Richard came back from his first night at Marscon with good news - he's been asked to be Gaming GoH next year! He's quite excited about it, especially since he had such a great experience as Fan GoH at Minicon last year. It's nice to see him getting some recognition for all he's given to the fannish community over the years.

dreamshark: (sharon tire)
Today has been lovely. Thank you David Emerson for the ride home at about 1:30 am this morning. I slept until 11am, had iced coffee with my breakfast, sat in the backyard swing reading Friday and Saturday's newspaper, worked on jewelry, ate ice cream and tuna fish sandwiches, then read today's paper. R and T are still at the con, and I'm luxuriating in being alone. But best of all is the stillness. No whooping, shrieking, caterwauling, giggling, yammering, group singing, floor-shaking bass lines or the sounds of people rebounding off of hallway walls. I can open a door and just walk through it without having to shove my way through a sweltering mass of howling humanity. What bliss.

5,400 is just too damn many people for that hotel. The Convergence staff does an amazing job of managing the people and the space, but ultimately you can't get a gallon of water into a 2-quart measuring cup no matter how hard you try.

There were some good times, of course. I think the Minnstf room party went very well - thanks to all who helped out and especially to mle292 and vanaabegra for shouldering primary responsibility for the entire weekend. There were quite a few vintage Minstfers at the Friday night party for Jim, and it was gratifying to see some of them reconnecting with people they hadn't seen in many years. I think Jim would have been pleased.

Probably the best part of the con was the new (outdoor) smoking consuite very capably managed by Cayenne Chris Conroy. Variously referred to as "the Plaza," "the smokers' tent," and "the Taj Mahal," it was a re-imagining of the deserted U-shaped space on the east side of the hotel into a sprawling outdoor cafe. The con rented a big tent and the hotel provided chairs, tables, ambient music and a short-order grill. Periodically, weird entertainment events would transpire, such as the roller derby scrimmage on Saturday. Even during the "Heatstroke Hacienda" days before the weather broke it was pleasanter than the non-stop mosh pit atmosphere inside the hotel. I probably spent 2 or 3 hours out there over the course of the con, and most of my pleasantest con memories are from there. Among other things, I think I saw all the Brusts out there at one time or another, although it was indoors at the base of the escalator that I ran into Corwin, Dee and Anika. I had some nice conversations in the Minnstf room too, including a long chat with Ruth Anderson and her new husband. A lovely breakfast with Chas and Bonnie and Liz. Some enjoyable random conversations with strangers and surprise encounters with old friends. Didn't catch much programming except for the Marian Call concert, but that was well worth attending.

So all in all, it wasn't a bad con for me. But none of it holds a candle to the relief of being done with it. I'm pretty sure that's nature's way of telling me that it's time for me and Convergence to part company.
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