September 4th, 2012

cambridge skyline, mosaic 7

worldcon monday

Day 7, or 5. This is beginning to sound like the "making of" movie on the extras DVD for Magnolia.

You may have noticed that I have not been getting a huge amount of sleep this weekend. It hasn't ever been less than five hours, but it has pretty often not been much more. So when I say I slept in this morning, I mean that after getting to sleep at 3, I didn't get up until after 10:00, the next thing on my schedule being the 11:00-12:00 window in between when corwin and Cecilia would be up and dressed, and when they had to check out the suite. After a quick shower and some coffee I headed down to logistics and borrowed a hand truck, promising to have it back to them by noon when they had a big push, and knocked on the door of the suite at 10:59. We managed to get two loads of leftovers onto one cart and I gingerly wheeled it through all of the hallways, elevators, and ramps between the suite high in one tower, and the food functions prep suite at the top of the other.

Entering the final elevator I managed to topple a bunch of supplies over but there was a food functions volunteer with an empty cart heading that way so we put a bunch of stuff on it. Of course, as I'd have known if I'd chanced across a copy of that morning's newsletter, the prep suite was not actually where things needed to go; it was really headed for a function room near the Art Show, two elevator rides away from where I wound up. Still, I got logistics' cart back to them in time.

I had expected that the next thing that would happen is that when the Art Show closed at three, the volunteers would suddenly have a lot of work to do including packing up mail-in art, taking down and sorting and packing up pegboard, and preparing bins and totes and crates for shipment back to Boston. But two things didn't really work how I expected. One, at the last minute insistence of the hotel's captive decorator, the pegboard panels had been put up by union labor. This was in some sense the payback for being allowed to pair volunteer labor with their carpenters, or perhaps for the particular carpenters they sent us being too efficient. The other thing was that enough art sold during the weekend, and enough artists were granted permission to check out before the show was technically closed, that by noon the show was looking like a picked-over yard sale and so the Art Show staff didn't wait to start packing up mail-in art. So there was no into-the-night full court press. But there was plenty of get-ahead work for me to do. After hauling up the carts from their storage place and finding a few missing mail-in art boxes, I packed up clips and hooks, and sorted extension cords to go to their proper owners, and coordinated with Filthy Pierre about his flyer racks and with Treasury about a bunch of equipment that's going to San Antonio by way of Boston because oddly enough it turns out to be cheaper that way. I put address tags on things, and on pieces of things so that when they came together they'd be labeled. I put out empty boxes for the light bulbs, and loaded the remaining spare bulbs back into the lightbulb cart. I made some plans for where all the light fixtures would be packed. And I'm sure there are a bunch of little tasks I'm forgetting here.

But before I did any of these things, I tried to salvage the idea of sorting pegboard to go back to where it actually belonged. When the peg had gone up, we'd started by using all the NESFA peg, and then added Arisia peg to bring it up to the amount we needed. So that meant that three of the spines were mostly NESFA, and one was mixed, and the last two were mostly Arisia. But we hadn't started with peg sorted by color. So in order to get the panels to match, we'd shuffled pegboard sandwiches around, and that meant all of the spines were at least a little mixed. We'd also shuffled sandwiches to cope with broken or misbuilt sandwiches. And the sandwich assembly line wasn't strictly first-in, first-out so there were a few mixed sandwiches too.

Since I couldn't just take all the peg down on Monday and sort it properly, I came up with a plan to tag the peg that was on the wrong spines and move it to the right ones. Then I could preload the carts and pallets with appropriate leftover peg (broken sandwiches meant there was some NESFA peg that didn't actually go up), and we could move the incorrect peg, and shuffle things around to make the peg fit in the carts, and it'd all miraculously work out. But I had visions of teardown going over on time, so I decided it'd be better to get as close as I could and fix it in Boston. I might have to move fifty pieces of pegboard between Arisia and NESFA, but that will fit in a car.

So in the end I filled each of the Arisia carts and NESFA flats with enough pegboard that when one spine worth was added to each, they'd at least contain the right number of pieces. The Arisia carts got all Arisia leftovers, and got put next to the two mostly-Arisia spines and the mixed spine. The NESFA carts got mostly but not entirely NESFA leftovers, and got put next to the three mostly-NESFA spines. This means about 85% of the peg will wind up in the right place. Not great, but we can fix it at leisure and without having to pay usurious labor markups to the decorator.

In the end I puttered around in the Art Show until after nine, with plenty of breaks along the way, and then I got an invitation to a thing that I thought was going to be dinner. I got there having dropped off my bag in my room and saw lots of drinks and not much food, and realized, of course, this was not going to be dinner. So I ran downstairs for a quick bite and got back to find that it wasn't a party either. Instead it was a bunch of next-generation fans from all over the world, all of whom share a sense of having been locked out of the halls of power, looking for some kind of purpose, and conducting a strange kind of thing that looked something like the Business Meeting. I'm not sure what they were really trying to accomplish, or how they chose the format they were using, or who put them up to it, or whether many of them thought what they were doing was really productive. In addition to a purpose they're looking for a name, the main issue being that all the ones that react to the term "SMOF" have some aspect of secrecy bound up in them, and one of the things they want to accomplish is to make conrunning more transparent. At the same time they don't want to be invaded by certain former Worldcon chairs, and so the gathering tonight was, in fact, an invite only affair, and enough of a secret that I feel I'd be betraying a trust to give any more details. Surreal. But I think there is building momentum to drag Worldcon towards an actual community and away from its current status as an all-welcoming, Geek-Social-Fallacy-infected, collection of misfits. Expect more on this as soon as the young fen figure out how they plan to go about it.