(Or, what I actually did, versus what I said I was gonna do.)
Part 1: Packing, rescuing a Stray, and ruining things for everyone.
(Note: This series of posts is a rebuttal of sorts to my earlier POST about what I was planning on doing at Pcon. As even a cursory glance will attest, the earlier post is, in no way, a prerequisite for this one. C'est La Vie......)
Pantheacon began on February 5th this year. In my mind Pcon always takes center stage the day after Imbolc. Community Seed had a lovely ritual this year, very elaborate stage decoration, lighting, and some really strange music (Violin, Didgeridoo, Wooden frogs, rain sticks, Tibetan bells). We covered the entire huge room in butcher paper and then took it up in the middle of the rite to expose an elaborate, colorful design underneath. My music crew of mostly newbies came through with flying colors – literally. We changed costumes in the middle of the ritual.
|Angus (Lughansadh), Amanda (Beltane) and Jason|
(Samhain), in the Pagan Alliance room.
Anyhoo, once I put away the bells and drums for a while its time to do the final run at Pcon Prep.
|The paper goes up. (Yes, we had gnomes.)|
Being the kind of Organizationally Retentive person I am, I had everything bagged up and ready to roll by Tuesday afternoon. Even gassed up the car. This left me with Wednesday afternoon free (That's foreshadowing, folks.)
Another thing I do in the week before Pcon is finally call a code-freeze on my presentation. My seminars are culled from articles I’ve written, combined with what I call “connective tissue” to make them seem cohesive and thematic. I dump several stories into one Word document and then spend months honing and crafting the best and funniest 90 minutes I can get out of them. I take my presentations at Pantheacon very seriously, even though there is nothing serious about them. Yes it’s an ego boost to hear the applause and laughter, but I also consider my presentations to be my way of giving back to the convention. The Pagan Humor series is my way of saying “Thank You” to Pantheacon.
|There's no good pictures of me writing,|
so here is a pic of a Redwood family.
Or, as I like to think of them: Paper!
Getting each article back into ‘stand alone’ shape isn’t easy. I don’t just edit parts out – the whole thing gets a makeover, new material is added (Yeah, I can easily spend half-a-day “editing” and emerge with an increased word count), and the connective tissue parts all want homes too.
All this takes time and focus to accomplish, but the stories are always better off for the experience, so I don’t mind. Plus I get to add photos to them for the blog, and that is always an endless giggle fest for me.
Once that is accomplished I super-size the font (a little larger every year *sigh*) add in reminders to drink after what-I-hope-will-be-the-big-punchlines, and print out all 90 pages for the first time.
All through February the Pantheacon group on Facebook was very active. It was a great way to get information and ask questions of people who actually are ‘in the know’. It made for a nice, flirty, informative way to gear up for Pcon. And I got to bond with Lon Milo DuQuette on how strange it felt to be performing in the cheese-o-matic Disco this year.
Oh, but there is a danger to the Pcon FB page. Oh yes.
On the Tuesday night before Con a strange message appeared at 9pm from a woman who had flown out super early, after realizing that San Jose was not an easy commute from L.A. Well, East Coasties often underestimate just how enormous California is. So I messaged her, welcoming her to the Left Coast. She instantly replied that she was stuck in the San Jose Airport, didn’t know a soul and (of course) her phone was dying.
And I have a soft spot for strays. I can’t help it. I’ve been there. I couldn’t help her, as I was 35 miles away in Santa Cruz, but I did know some lovely people in Sunnyvale who are often generous with their time and space. So I texted Ari and Jason and asked about this concept. They said no problem, even though it was 9:30pm by this time and none of us knew this woman AT ALL.
So I messaged the woman and gave her the Mankey’s address. She replied that she had a ride and gave her thanks.
So, we all know what is supposed to happen here, right? We’ve all been young, done stupid things and had to crash at somebody’s house. And rule #1 is: When you have a place to crash, you GO DIRECTLY THERE and check in.
Nope. Belfry, as we shall call her here, messaged me about 10:30pm (guess the phone was okay after all) asking if I thought it was okay if she showed up at about Midnight. Ay-yi-yi. Oh, what HAVE I done…..
I replied, I thought, in a civilized, diplomatic way: “HOLY SHIT BIRDS, NOOOOO!!!!!” and tried to alert Jason and Ari about what kind of oddball was (supposedly) currently headed straight towards them like a Cruise Missile of Crazy.
Ari, sensible as always, sees the big picture: “If she murders us in our sleep I will SO haunt you.”
Next morning I get a text from Jason that simply says: “You so owe us. Bigtime.” Oh no. She was STILL THERE. (Rule #2: If you crash at someone’s house you at least offer to leave early the next morning.) I answer back with the only thing I can really do at this point. “Let me take her for the afternoon at least.” Jason was stoic as the Norse God that he resembles, but I finally won him over.
|And yeah, they really are red.|
Now. Where does one take a crazy person to waste a few hours? I headed straight for the big trees of Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park. And an amazing thing happened. As soon as Belfry exited the car, she calmed right down. Manic and Depression shook hands and decided to call a truce while they just looked at the trees. We walked a very slow mile through the 2,200 year old grove, hugging and communing with some of the oldest living things on Earth.
But back in the car and on the freeway, Manic and Depression took off the gloves and the battle was on again. This chick was seriously nutso, and I was taking her right back to my friend’s house for another evening and night. I felt HORRIBLE. But I had an appointment in the recording studio that night: Laying down the first tracks for the Mutables first album, and there was no way in hell that I was gonna show up with a mental case in tow. Uh-uh!
|View through the control room window: Putting the smackdown down.|
Next morning she returns home at 11:30am and Jason has her in the car by Noon. He drops her off at the DoubleTree, even though she has no money, no con registration and no hotel room. Jason and I discuss if we can get through an entire Pantheacon in disguise.
Ugh. This could be an awful weekend, and it’s all my fault.
On to PART 2!