Sunday, February 26, 2017

Pantheacon 2017, part 2: Friday

Friday morning, 6am, means my choice of
Thursday? No, that was back HERE.

Every year at Pantheacon I seem to end up doing something that I’ve never done before.

I was once a choir conductor for the Feri Tent Revival, even though I have zero experience with conducting. I do, however, own a baton, so there you go.
Another year I moderated a panel on Patheos bloggers, even though I barely post there*. I do, however own a 6ft bullwhip, which I found quite useful in getting a bunch of preening writer divas to keep their answers short and sweet.
2017, however, would be a two-fer! One new thing on Friday and one on Saturday. How to make an airsign happy.


Friday morning’s unprecedentedness would be me actually helping out with the convention.
  • I mean, beside paying full price for Registration, parking and hotel,
  • Presenting a seminar that I worked on for 100s of hours
    And so it begins....
  • Co-conducting a Hospitality Suite Crawl that investigates and ranks all 34 suites
  • And buying other presenters books, raffle tickets for their hospitality suite and supporting other artists on Patreon.
No, this year it was time to step up to the free skate and start giving back: it was time to become a Gryphon.

It wasn’t my idea, frankly. But I had stupidly mentioned somewhere online that I enjoyed laminating things, and Jamie, the head of Programming, got a tingly spidey sense about that and button-holed me as I was waiting in line (to pay full price) for the hotel room.

The look in her eyes told me that I wasn’t the only one here that owned a bullwhip.

Waiting for my Gryphon number
So after getting my badge from Registration and checking in with the Green Room about my Seminar, I next checked in at the Den of Geek, Con-Ops.

They were over-worked, understaffed, over-caffeinated, underslept, and overhung. And it was only Friday morning. But eventually they gave me a shift at the laminator down at Registration.

Cafe Ho-Hum

I had time beforehand for breakfast with Admiral Karen. And Cafe Ho-Hum never fails to disappoint. They are the steady-state theory of weird food and baffling service, and I say don’t ever change. You GO be the ultimate Cafe Ho-Hum you can be. We’ll be here, waiting for a table, because it’s raining outside and we have nowhere else we can go to.

A Ho-Hum by any other name
(Pic from, and yes,
the reviews are hilarious)
And No, we will NOT move the car in order to get a decent meal.

At this particular juncture of desperate hunger and ho-humitude, our waiter learned that we were both having the buffet and then he simply turned and walked away, while Karen shouted after him about her desire
for coffee. When we returned from the buffet (how DO they make eggs that are both dry AND runny?) we found large glasses of orange juice waiting for us, even though neither of us had mentioned that.

Don’t ever change, Ho-hum.

I arrived at Registration for my shift at the laminator, and found TWO laminators, and two chairs full of humans in front of them. And neither of them had their shift ending soon. And neither of them wanted to leave early. I understood - I really do enjoy laminating. (Witness the transformation!)

Put me in, coach!
So I found a chair and sat behind them and tried to figure out what they were doing and why. Looks like this was the station for people who had paid for the Con on site.

So we got the blank badges, wrote the name on it, attached stickers (if they had offset their carbon), LAMINATED it, and then handed them the finished product with a lanyard.

The woman finally convinced the guy to leave so I could take over his station. This was less about being nice to me than it was her trying to get rid of this guy. Well played.

The fun part of ‘Non-Pre-Reg’ was that we got a lot of day-trippers and first timers, all nervous and wide-eyed. I quickly surmised that no one would want me to write their badge name for them, because leftie-with-a-pen here always reduces any name to ‘does this pen work’ scribbling.

Pretty much all you need to
know: My name, I am a
member, I'm Gryphon #56,
and I'm not an asshole.
So I made a big show of handing them back their badge and a sharpie and challenging them to write in any name they wished.

“Who do you want to be today?”

The shift flew right by, many many badges were lam-in-a-ted, and soon it was time for the Opening ritual and getting Pcon officially underway.

Translation: Naptime.


1:30 had me at Lora O’Brien’s: Irish spirituality 101. I support her work on Patreon, and was eager to see how my investment was going.

It was going strong. And Lora operates on two levels.
  • There is the official program of Irish History, local deities and practical how-tos: For example: In Ireland the Cross-Quarter sabbats create a circle of fire, and this is where you do your personal and devotional work. The Solstices and Equinoxes create a circle of community, and this is where you strengthen your bonds with your Tribe.
  • And there is the Lora who is always willing to be baited into a good old-fashioned rant against the English, The American Right, unenlightened men, or pretty much any subject. “Feckin’ Colonial Bastards!” was heard more than once.
These periodic tirades though did pull us to the edge of the
My Office, at 6am each morning.
time slot though, so a lot of great material had to be rushed through at rapper speed at the end.

There were 12 enticing things on the program at 3:30pm, and I managed to choose the 13th: Naptime: the sequel.

Dinner with the Awen

At 4:30pm I awoke to the realization that I had missed lunch there somewhere. Luckily several of my friends were in a similar condition. We ran across Airport Parkway (Don’t call it Brokaw) in the rain and dined at the M8trix casino sports bar, where we had twice the menu options of cafe Ho-Hum, half the price, and servers who didn’t treat their tables as if they were radioactive.

7pm had my butt in a seat to see Kristoffer Hughes effortlessly, hilariously virtuoustically slay us with “The Awen, I Sing from the Deep I Bring It”. An hour that was equal parts History, Wisdom, Poetry and dick jokes.

View from 558 - storm clouds ahoy!
Masterful. “Laughter is the music of Awen”. And Profoundity, Profanity and Frivolity is a worthy lifestyle!

Suite Crawl (Part 1 of 3)

8pmish had us beginning the epic annual adventure that is the “Pretty Hair Twins Hospitality Suite Crawl”, where Jason and I and whoever is along just barge our way into any and all of the suites and see what’s going on.

Last year we attempted to do the whole thing in one epic, single-stage rocket on Sunday night, but there are 34 rooms, and after awhile that got to be too much like Work. So this year we opened it up so our “little birds” could visit suites without Jason or I (and report back later) and we spread the crawl out over all three nights.

And for data collection I made a spreadsheet. But you knew that.

Sound like fun? Sure did to me! So why did we first spend an hour in a friends room? Because the problem with doing activities with drunk people is that they don’t want to do any activities. They just want to be drunk. Logic didn’t help: “Look, we’re headed for the world of alcohol - every room will transport you to new horizons of being shit-faced!”
Eventually a couple of well-placed love-taps to the keesters finally got our lushes to leave the booze roost.

Things we learned from the 10th floor:
Alternative Carrots, courtesy
of the Tree of Trads room
  1. The publishers put on really good rooms! Both Llewellyn and Weiser scored very well. Maybe it’s the competition with each other. Capitalism at its finest!
  2. Cheetos are hereby to be known as “Alternative Carrots”
  3. No Green Fairy party this year! Pcon is just not the same without the Hub of Hooch.
  4. The OSOGD (Open Source Order of the Golden Dawn) room had actual vegetables, and also a quiet, shrine room that housed Sharon Knight, who seemed to be hiding out from what was going on in her own Hexenfest suite.
  5. What was going on in her room was karaoke, so I do not blame Sharon at all for fleeing down the hall. 
  6. The Aquarian Temple had every statue ever created on display. They won their floor with superlative marks for Friendliness and Decor. Good Job!
In our haste to put some distance between us and the bad (redundant) Karaoke we ran all the way down the hall and
Karoake in the Hexenfest room. The next
several pics on my camera are blurs. Such
was our haste to flee this particular scene. 
down the stairs to the 9th floor, where we quickly started having too much fun and our data collection suffered accordingly.

We retreated back to our ‘tailgating’ suite “for more supplies” - which, as you might imagine, meant we never left because….the problem with doing activities with drunk people is that they don’t want to do any activities. They just want to be drunk.

Admiral Karen and I finally extracted ourselves and retreated back down to 558, because I had my 9am show to do in just a few hours.
Yeeeah......we had trouble extracting
Jenya from this suite.

Ah, but the 20 hour adventure of Saturday would begin, quite unexpectedly, at 6am….

Angus McMahan

*It's your fault I barely post on my PATHEOS BLOG because Ask Angus is an advice column, and if nobody sends me any questions, then obviously, ipso facto, I cannot write anything.

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