Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Pantheacon 2017, Part 1: Thursday

December: Start planning my outfits.
January: Start packing.
February: Look at 4 suitcases and proclaim that to be a tad excessive. I don’t NEED twenty tops for 4 days. Even Lady Gaga doesn’t go through that many costume changes.

Checking in at the Doubletree is always an adventure. Some years you really EARN that cookie they give you. 

This year the whoop-de-dos were that my room, generously given to me by Mama Jenya, was in my de-facto-might-as-well-be nickname, NOT my legal name. 

Luckily I have business cards printed with my Angus name that have my picture, which looks like my drivers license pic, even though I am dressed as a pirate. So the front desk staff reluctantly accepted that.

The other fun was the guy next to me, digging in his heels like a stubborn mule, insisting that the nice ladies were charging him for his room now. 
Hey, I've moved. Well, so much for those cards.

They kept explaining that they were simply authorizing his card, NOT charging anything at this time. He resisted. They persisted (nevertheless).

Finally I stepped in and told the guy the SAME THING the women had been telling him, and he calmed down and accepted it. Why does having a penis make so much of a difference in these situations? I was disgusted by my gender (again), but accepted the extra cookie from the grateful Front Desk staff.

Cop convention 

On Thursday the early birds of Pantheacon shared the Doubletree hotel with the San Jose Police Departments Awards Dinner. Well, maybe not ‘shared’. Maybe ‘coexisted-with-mutual-distrust’.

New carpet! Which now clashes horribly with
the old chairs.
Having been to a dozen Pcons I was used to odd looks on Mundanes on Thursday when the first wave of saucy pagandom crosses corsets with the generic world. But this was a reaction altogether more professionally suspicious.

I shared an elevator with 8 men, all 5’5” to 5’10”, all bald or balding,  all in good shape and all wearing dress shirts and open suit jackets. I remarked “You guys should have called each other - you all wore the same thing.” and they all laughed at once. Just once.

“HA.” and then 8 of the grimmest smiles imaginable. 

Oooookay. Glad you party animals aren’t coming to MY seminar.

What's amazing about this is how unamazing it is.
Both pagans and police have vows about “protecting and serving”. Both form tight-knit communities full of their own lore, lingo and inside jokes. And both talk to people who aren’t there. (Except the cops do it with an ear piece with a spirally cord coming out of it.)

Cops have better posture. Witches have better shoes. But we both work long hours in service to our communities, and both groups are whom regular people in crisis turn to.


Once all of us Santa Cruz folk were safely checked into the hotel the first order of business was to leave the hotel and go get dinner. We could have dined in-house at Cafe Ho-Hum, but why, or we could have dined at Spencer’s (A/K/A ‘Spenders’) which will keep a straight face as it charges you $69.00 for a steak.

Take the picture! We're hungry!
We had about 7 cars between us, but one of the Cardinal rules of Pcon is once you park your vehicle, it does not move until Monday when you leave. Especially we Thursday nighters, because we have - present tense infinitum - HAVE the best parking spots. 

So 8 of us Uber’d in an SUV. Thankfully we are all good friends and had showered recently.

Lillie Mae’s House of Soul Food is 4 miles from the Doubletree, on the other side of the airport. I calculated that it was only one mile away if we drove across the runways, but our driver would not entertain that notion.

Yummy raffle items in the Tree of Trads room
We inhaled the best fried chicken I’ve had in 40 years, ribs with BBQ sauce made from Kit Harrington’s thigh sweat, and hush puppies that resided on our plate for approximately two seconds.

Also fast disappearing from the table was perfect corn bread, tasty catfish, deep fried corn-on-the-cob (!) and a glycemic tea so sweet it was thick.

Plus superb service (sorry, Cafe Ho-Hum) and my meal cost me $10.00 (Not sorry, Spenders).

Our rowdy group of 8 extroverts, authors, and priestx went uncharacteristically - albeit briefly - silent as we gobbled all of this down. 

I was wedged in the backseat footwell for the return Uber, which put me face-to-face with the center console up front. The two items visible were a bottle of hand lotion, and a big tub of Skippy peanut butter. The driver insisted that the Skippy was for her dog, but I have my doubts…..
Oh lordylordlord, the middle bathrooms - aren't!
Now we really WILL have to go go go.... to go.


Back in the Doubletree the Police Officers were all safely in the ballroom being Officious. Most of my dinner companions retreated to the one-of-us’s room that had the fridge (*wink), but me and my Pretty Hair Twin had WORK to do.

Every year Jason and I volunteer to help decorate for the Green Fairy Party, and we did again this year, even though there was no Green Fairy Party. The gig was gone, but the room was still there, now housing the Tree of Trads conglortium. 

We arrived and I reached into my bag and offered my music deck. The hostess accepted and I asked her what she needed. She said tape. I reached in and handed her tape. What else? She needed scissors. I reached in and handed her a pair. Such is the life of the chronic volunteer.

The Tree of Trads
The Tree of Trads (which morphed, predictably, into “Triad of Transformers” by Sunday night) was made up of four witchy groups. But what I saw working on Thursday night was almost entirely my coven, which is why I am a part of them.

When we were done with the room I gathered back in my supplies and my music deck and we trooped on down to one of the Druid rooms, because we knew they would already be in mid-party, which they always seem to be. 

But, this being Pcon, our scouting party fragmented in the transfer from one room to another. Jason and Ari split off to go get booze from their room to present to the Druids (smart) and I ended up with the rest of the gang in the OTHER druid suite (dumb), because I’m not a druid and I don’t know my ADFs from my OBODs.

Eventually we worked out that our two herds were next door to each other, and I lead my team out, with much awkwardness and apologies. The hostess was completely gracious however and gave us all badge ribbons, which said, appropriately enough:
“These are not the Druids you are looking for.”

Oh, we're just GETTING STARTED.

Angus McMahan


  1. "The two items visible were a bottle of hand lotion, and a big tub of Skippy peanut butter. The driver insisted that the Skippy was for her dog, but I have my doubts…"

    So, more or less connected; last year I came >.< this close to making ribbons to read "peanut butter is not lube". The hand lotion part made that connect in my head. Sorry?