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FC2014: 8 bit vs the Guy Gavriel Kay

January 30, 2014

(This title will make more sense shortly…)

Last weekend Further Confusion digitized its way into San Jose with a “Scott Pilgrim”-type theme.  While the themeing didn’t seem too much in evidence at the con – it may well have been too close to the regular geekery that goes on there anyway! – I fired myself into it wholeheartedly and gained many 1-ups as the weekend went on.  Let’s start, shall we?

In the prologue, we see our protagonist lynx preceding the con with a fabulous visit by a dear friend.  Among other things, we hit up the Russian River wine area, where I joyously re-found a winery I had come across some 10ish years earlier when they had just opened.   Their wines were fabulous (only sold at the winery type stuff) and I amusingly got more and more excited as we got closer and I began to recognize the place.  Woo!  We also hiked Muir Woods in near t-shirt (and very dry – not good) weather (I’ve said just about every day this month “by the way, this is January…”).  And perhaps appropriately, we hit up the Computer History Museum, that despite being a stone’s throw over the bridge from work I’d never visited (though, amusingly, I’d been in the building back in the days it was owned by SGI… and perhaps more amusingly, it was that building that enticed me to come practice architecture in the Bay Area, as I saw it as an example of new companies inventing new modes of work and new architecture to go with it… not entirely accurate, as it turned out).

I had a wonderful time during the visit, and it set up the con weekend beautifully.  Which was great, for the con itself was excellent.

My now-traditional Saturday morning Tai Chi panel was packed, as we took over a huge swath of the atrium with over two dozen attendees moving in unison.  There was really good engagement this year that also carried into the Sunday Tai Chi and Shaolin panels, with good questions, martial musings, and more.  I remembered to bring contact slips, and invited everyone to get in contact and maybe we could create a martial community within the fandom.  We shall see… it is something I think would be fun to create.  It was great to see some familiar faces from the classes in previous years.

Saturday afternoon, however, was especially remarkable.  I co-led a new panel on Mindfulness and Transformation.  I wasn’t sure how it would go, how it would be received, and whether we could cover something meaningful in a short time.  It went swimmingly, and I’m chuffed at how it turned out.  The conversation was good, and for a first time effort it came off mostly smoothly.  There’s some tweakage to be done for any future times we run it, and I’m aiming to do just that next con.  We ended the class with about 5 minutes of mindfulness meditation, and, as I said to the group, “A dozen people sitting quietly in contemplation and peace in the midst of the franticness of the con; how remarkable is that?”

Quite I say.

From there, I flew into my car and drove for a totally unexpected event – an evening with Guy Gavriel Kay.  I only found out about it about two weeks beforepaw, and pounced on the chance right away.  GGK is my favourite author, and while I had NO idea what the evening would be like our would entail (the email didn’t mention) I just wanted to be there.  It was as amazing as could be expected.  It was held in a private (large) home, and we got to mingle with him, he did a little reading from his most recent novel, there was a small “city arts and lectures” style interview, and then we got to ask him a few questions.  I asked him a question about Under Heaven, and… he assigned me homework (!) to read it a second time.  I do admit, I had a bit of idol-itis so my question wasn’t the best phrased (in fact I doubt if my conversations with him were in any way all that memorable) and I will take on his homework… right after I finish reading his current novel.  A very awesome evening.  Poor (G/g)uy (ha!) never got a chance to really eat…

Then it was back to the con to dance with abandon!

Not having a skit this year (sorry everyone!) I got to watch FC:U, which was fun, and I thought the acts that won were well deserving, including the opening act of yo-yo “I’m sorry but physics don’t work that way!” amazingness.  A lot of work went into that, and it was really sweet to watch.  Also walked in the parade, wielding my three section staff.  Muahahaha!  (Getting that peace bonded at conops was hilarious… “Are you going to walk with that, or swing it?”  “Just walk.”  “Ok then.”)  The rest of the weekend was being with friends, including much hanging out and dancing with my Tough Mudder cheetah pal, plus the usual re-connection with locals whom we somehow never manage to see each other except at the con.

Good fun, good friends, good times.  And my mask makes it through yet another year.  Thank you to all of you who participated and brought your enthusiasm and inquiry to my panels!   And thank you to the Digital Moose Lounge for the GGK event!  Great fun, see you all next year.

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