Silicon 2006

Friday evening I left work, suitcase in hand, expecting a simple little relaxacon where I could put my feet up, perhaps get a wee bit tipsy, and gently geek out with my fellow fen.

I was off to a bad start when I managed to board the wrong train, taking the bullet instead of the regular train and bypassing the Santa Clara stop. I rarely take CalTrain so this confused me and since the next train back wasn’t for nearly an hour, it also annoyed me. At 7:30 I was standing in front of the San Jose CalTrain station, knowing I was very close to the hotel but, at least according to the nice lady behind the counter, unable to get there from here without retracing my steps. In addition my phone was rapidly running out of juice, partly due to the incoming stream of text messages and calls from friends who were at the hotel already and wondering when I was going to join the fun. I was feeling quite sorry for myself when Joe Rhett rode, or rather drove, to the rescue and picked me upI arrived at the hotel and ran up to

the room with the idea of changing out of my work clothes and getting into a convention state of mind. But before I could do much more than splash water on my face our very own calendar wizard David called me to ask why I wasn’t at the “staff meet- ing” that was even now taking place in the hotel quiet bar. Good question. I had been looking forward to seeing the infamous staff of our fine periodical all gathered in one place, and this was as close as I was going to get—so I hied my ass down to the bar, and there they were, already well into their cocktails, ap- parently. I ordered my first (and last) drink from the hotel bar and enjoyed my first proper face-to-face conversation with them.

Eventually my drink ran out,and since I knew there would be at least one good party that evening, “Pancho’s Crosstime Cantina,” I decided that paying hotel prices for alcohol was a sucker’s game and suggested that we go investigate the party floor.

Pancho’s was indeed hopping. Half the convention was probably there—most of them in some form of military costume. Andrew Trembley and Kevin Roche were in LJ Commando costumes, and suddenly I realized I still hadn’t changed. I ran up to the room and put on some camo garments purchased that very afternoon just for the occasion (worst. costumer. ever.) and came back down feeling like a new woman; like All That I Could Be, maybe. Or rather; all that I could be at 9 p.m. on a Friday after being betrayed by public transportation.

The rest of the evening was spent mostly at Pancho’s, with the occasional jaunt down to an unidentified party at the end of the hall, and a vague desire to wander over to the Browncoats party that kept getting held up by kind friends bringing me mudders milk from the selfsame. Rumors of a BASFA party also reached my ears, but inertia won out.

When Saturday arrived, I had yet to put my feet up and had bypassed tipsy quite neatly; but the con was still young. I made it down to the Coffee Garden in time for the buffet, which I love despite fact that it undoubtedly is trying to kill me. Joe Price and I settled down in a booth and spent the next two and a half hours drinking coffee alarming the waitstaff, and watching Chris Garcia run back and forth to the panels we were missing.

After drinking more coffee than is healthy we finally decided to stretch our legs and while Joe wisely decided on napping, I ran into Kevin Roche who was on his way to the party room that had been Pancho’s the night before and was going to be the League of Evil Geniuses that evening. Kevin went to a panel, but Andy was just starting to set up for the party.

A few minutes later I was armed with masking tape and helping set up the rogues’ gallery. A lively Doctor Who discussion and what felt like several hundred posters later, I bid the LoEG room adieu and wandered up to the room where I ran into Joe. We determined while we weren’t really hungry, y’know, we could eat—so we headed for the Coffee Garden and soon enough were joined by Gina and Phil, and some unhealthy amounts of coffee later it was back up to the room to get changed.

The tone for the evening was set by the soundtrack. Adult Swim was on the TV as I tarted up and I was treated to the wonder that is listening to dubbed Bleach, Trinity Blood and Eureka Seven without any visuals to tell me what the hell was actually going on, plotwise. By the time I was ready to leave my brain was already well and truly


Saturday night parties included the League of Evil Geniuses, Mara’s Bar, a small party with fun music and no name, and the Browncoats. I spent the majority of the evening in LoEG but ended the night over at the Browncoats. They always throw a lovely party and had a great sound system and best of all; dancing. Since SiliCon sadly had no official dance this was obviously the place to be. I danced until the party shut down and then headed to Burnett’s late night talk. Small or not, SiliCon had very nice late-night programming.

Eventually I turned into a pumpkin and hit the sack; the next day was Sunday after all. I woke early so I packed my bags and began to prepare myself mentally for the always sad end-of-the-con day, slowly emptying hallways, depleted programming, and so on. Then Joe Price announced that he was ready for breakfast, so after tossing my bags in his car and checking out of the hotel it was off to the Coffee Garden again, and we were joined by Bill for a few hours of consuming even more coffee and buffet. When we simply could not drink another drop of coffee, it was pretty close to time for the SF/SF panel anyway, so we went our separate ways. I wandered back through the excellent dealers’ room, which this year was a lot larger and included many dealer. I have not seen at any other con. Then I picked up my art from the art show and with twenty minutes left before the panel, I wandered into the Anime room which I had kept intending to check out. The movie playing at this time was actually a mesmerizing piece of weirdness called A Tree of Palme which I will be keeping an eye out for since it was visually stunning if nothing else.

I had been afraid that the SF/SF panel would be a dry version of Friday’s staff meeting, but it was quite well attended, mostly with folks who have at one point or another contributed, but it was still nice to know that I’m not just writing this for the folks on the masthead. After a fun discussion and a couple of group photos, I wandered down to a self-publishing panel which was near wrapping up and was joined there by Joe. From there we hit the hiss-and-purr, which was just starting up. Normally it seems as though pretty much anyone who is still at the con ends up at this panel, but in this case there was still enough hustle and bustle going on outside that it was hard not to want to be out there enjoying the con. So we exited and headed to the quiet bar where I had seen some Browncoats and Robert Burnett heading. Along the way we ran into Baronlaw again and he joined us. The Burnett gang appeared to be conducting an interview, so we chose a nearby table and pretty much out of habit ordered some coffee.

Friends came and went, goodbyes were said, and yet the coffee never materialized. Eventually what had been an excuse to sit and sip became a physical need and I approached the waitress again. She made sounds that made me think she was brewing a new pot, but as my craving grew it became obvious that this was a ruse to keep me quiet while she disappeared into the bowels of the hotel. The hapless manager that I approached next took pity on my bloodshot eyes and tremulous pleas and actually went and got coffee from the Coffee Garden at no charge.

Pleased and newly caffeinated, we decided that we could eat, so we wandered over to the Coffee Garden for more coffee and food. As we got progressively more hyperactive and incoherent we noticed that the table beside us was being set up for a large group. Sure enough, after a short wait the entire committee for CostumeCon 2008 was holding a meeting beside us. We were still there when they wrapped up and we all exited at about the same time to see if there was a Dead Dog going on.

There was, but only a few people were there yet, so the three of us commandeered a table at the balcony and continued our little café society without the actual coffee until it became too cold to continue, and someone looked at the time and discovered it was 10 p.m. We decided that the marrow of this convention had been sucked and called it a night.

Next year we’re bypassing the ambulatory phase entirely and just having bunks installed in a Coffee Garden booth.

~España Sheriff

SF/SF Issue #32, October 25, 2006