At some point last night, some food functions people dropped off an enormous pile of food, explaining that it was breakfast for the Art Show staff. It was vastly too much food for the five or so people we were expecting, and it was all crap anyway, so we sent it back. This morning I got downstairs for my 8am call to find that it (and some less-unhealthy stuff) had been set back up overnight, squarely in the way of where we were going to need to work, with the explanation that it was breakfast for the entire staff. Kerry had gotten it moved to a less dumb place in the room but was irked that no one had asked or indeed even mentioned that this was going to happen. And of course none of the staff had any idea it was coming, so we'd all had breakfast before coming downstairs. Of the well over 100 pounds of food we managed to consume probably a quart of orange juice before the food services people decided that breakfast time was over and that they needed the coolers and such to go on a truck. This pretty much typifies communication at this Worldcon. There aren't any cons in Chicago that need a staff of more than 50, and indeed few of the home cons of anyone working on Chicon 7 are that large. People, and especially upper management, expect information to propagate by osmosis, because that's how it works when you have a staff of no more than 50. But it's not how it works for a Worldcon, and Arisia would do well to check that we're being explicit enough in our communication as we grow.
We were planned to get four carpenters and two electricians at 8:00. In fact we got two of each. One of the carps was totally awesome, better even than the setup carps. The other was inefficient and surly. So I put the awesome one on taking down spines since that requires interacting with volunteers a lot, and then on taking electrical boxes off of helicopter arms since that's done to only some of the arms, and then on disassembling the electrical trees since there's a right way and a wrong way. The other guy got to take A-frames apart. I set the electricians to taking down lightbulbs and disassembling the rear end cap light fixtures, and gave them helpers to put the lightbulbs in boxes. They unplugged the helicopter arms unbidden, but took off without unplugging the electrical trees or the front endcap fixtures. I waited a while for them to come back in case they were on break but they never did so I just had volunteers do that so we could get the spines down. Not that I really thought they were on break after only half an hour of work.
I had plenty of volunteers to sort pipe and kee klamps, and the union folks stuck around for a little while to put electrical trees in the coffin and a few other things -- I think they hadn't hit their minimum, and even if they had the one carpenter was awesome enough and my volunteers tired enough that it'd have been worth paying him. By 10:00 everything from the Art Show was ready to go and I sent everyone but one volunteer off to help with other things, the rest of logistics now being behind two eight balls instead of only one. But that's another story.
Around this time some folks from the show after us came in to see if they could drop off some fastfolds. I told them fine, as it wasn't in the way and anyway I was pretty sure our teamsters were going to gaily ignore our noon deadline just as our electricians had gaily ignored our circuit game earlier, so I might as well let them ignore the pickup time too. This progressed immediately to setting up the fastfolds, which they started to do right in front of my pallets where the teamsters would have to drive their forklift to get them out of the room. But they were willing to move over and set up not in front of the pallets when I insisted, even knowing as I'm sure they did that there was no way the teamsters were going to be there on time, being as how they shared with the setup electricians a total freedom from arbitrary hotel rules.
Kim from Logistics and I spent another hour or 90 minutes putting some last minute treasury boxes on the pallets, and tie strapping and pallet wrapping everything, and putting a few more pieces of paperwork together. At 11:30, just as I was finishing the last of the paperwork, a couple of teamsters came in, looked around approvingly, and said they'd be back at 12:30. I headed upstairs and got lunch with Eugene and Crystal and Lucky, and then Crystal and Lucky headed for the airport and Eugene and I went upstairs to grab the last of our stuff from the room. We got down and checked out at 12:58 on a 1:00 late checkout and settled the bill. I'd joined Hyatt Gold Passport on this trip to get a week worth of free wifi and sure enough there was no charge for internet access on the bill. I put my suitcase in the back check that the hotel had set up on the skybridge and spent most of the next couple of hours hanging out in the lobby, punctuated by checking to see if the teamsters had moved anything in the Art Show. I'm not really sure why I bothered as I knew the con had dragooned the teamsters to help them load their truck, but it made me feel better to see that the incoming group, despite now legitimately having the space, had not managed to hide my pallets behind anything especially large.
I love the move-in/move-out days of a convention. I'm often working, often hard, but I also often have time for great conversations, and so do the people I want to have conversations with. Besides Eugene and Caycee, I had a long conversation with Dave Cantor. He's the second person in the last month to try to convince me to join MCFI, and I laid out what I think the problem with MCFI is: Mark and Priscilla Olson. (Priscilla, if you're reading this, the backstory of why I think you are the problem is in an unlocked post about six years ago, but I'm writing this on an airplane so I'm not able to go find the link.) I don't think MCFI is really going to be able to dilute Mark and Priscilla away. There's some chance a new member of MCFI might piss them off enough that they stormed off in a huff the way they have done with Boskone, but I don't think I am that new member, and I don't think that MCFI is likely to offer membership to someone like Crystal who is. We also chatted about a bunch of other things and I have a lot of food for thought, particularly as to whether it is a good idea to sign up for things -- like taking on the title of assistant Art Show director at Chicon -- that I can only give partial attention to. I did this with Cashier in Montreal, really, in that I counted on my staff and the Treasurer to handle the last bank run. Perhaps it is better to agree only to the things I can follow all the way through on, even if I think having part of my attention would be better than having all of the alternative. (This was certainly true for assistant ASD, the alternative being leaving the position empty.)
I didn't really have much to do after Dave went off to get ready for dinner with his Chicago cousins, but I ran downstairs to check on the Art Show one more time. Most of the stuff was out of the room, including two of the pallets. A couple of teamsters were trying and failing to get one of those into the freight elevator on a motorized pallet jack, and nearly managed to tip it over trying. Really? This is not rocket science. They eventually gave up and went in search of a manual jack. Unimpressed as I was, there was only one useful thing for me to do and that was get the hell out of the way, so I headed out to the airport. I got there a few minutes before checked-baggage closing time for my flight, so that made me less nervous even though I'd known it was going to be delayed. Having left behind some things that came out to Chicago with me, my bag was down to 48 pounds from 49.8, so it got another HEAVY tag. There's a reasonably good non-chain greek restaurant airside at MDW so I had a little bit of dinner, and a bit of computer time too. In the end the flight took off a little more than two hours late, and my seatmate offered me a free drink coupon. And on that note I think I'm going to close my Worldcon blog experiment and finish my drink.