Pictures from Saturday at Armadillocon 26 are online. Click on the Killer B's to see 'em.
More on Saturday at Armadillocon... At 6:00, we had a panel to go to. Tom Becker, myself, Scott Bobo, and Kurt Baty were on a panel about party-throwing at conventions. Since we were all people with "B" names, Kurt gave us all bumblebee antennae to wear as the "Killer Bees." That was cute; I wore them in addition to my teddy bear ears, of course, making me a sort of bumble-bear, and I kept them on all evening. I noticed that every time I passed a mirror, the antennas were in a different position. That meant either that I kept bumping them into things, or that every time I sat in front of someone they were playing with them and re-bending them...
Scott Bobo is famous for vodka martinis, and in fact he made martinis for everyone in the room who wanted one. (Which was most of the panel audience and most of the panel. Some of them had brought their own water glasses from their hotel room, in case we used up the room's water service's glasses.) He had brought all the ingredients, and showed us how he used a little vermouth to coat the inside of each glass - pouring it from one glass to the next, leaving just a coating on the inside. He talked about olives, and about (for example) stuffing your own olives with bits of feta cheese for a more exotic approach.
Tom Becker told us about hosting a Nippon 2007 WorldcAon Bid party at Wiscon. I used his remarks as a springboard to talk about some of the elements of a successful room party: using a theme and carrying it through with both the decorations and the food. Kurt and Scott talked about what made parties memorable for them -- something that makes you remember how great and clever the party was. For example the Antartica in 1999 hoax bid parties, with their all-white decor and food (and the tv tuned between channels, showing "snow").
I put in my bit for always having the 4 soda groups represented: regular with caffeine and without, and diet with caffeine and without. (And bottled water is good, too; at most parties I've hosted, more bottled water is consumed than all the other flavors combined.) I think that having soft drinks available is especially important at a party that's featuring alcohol. I think I also mentioned how to estimate servings: you probably won't go through as many servings as people who visit your party (because some people bring a drink with them into the room), and the number of people who visit your party will probably be in the neighborhood of 1/4 of the convention population.
I think we all agreed that having something you won't find at the other parties is very important; otherwise how will your party stand out, and why should anyone stay?
After the panel, Kurt took a bunch of people including Tom & Spike with them to dinner. library_lynn and I were invited, but we really weren't comfortable with going out for haute cuisine. There are so many things that she or I can't (or won't) eat; we'd looked at the menu for the place that Kurt had picked, possibly the best restaurant in Austin, and eliminated almost every item on the menu before finding one item (the steak) that library_lynn could order.
We take these things seriously, of course; cheese, sausage, ripe bananas and marinated meats all have the potential to kill her. We'd already had one near-miss earlier in the summer, complete with paramedics and a hospital visit! (Fortunately she has a stash of pills to take if her blood pressure is rising dangerously, and they saved her that night. By the time we got to the hospital, she was fine; the rest of the evening was just the hospital's CYA tests etc. before letting her go.) You add that to not liking duck (too greasy) and other taste preferences, and we've eliminated most of the things they cook.
I also felt uneasy about leaving the convention site for the whole evening. They'd invited me to be their Fan Guest of Honor, and I wanted to be around to mingle with the fans and generally be fannish. In general I don't like going off-site for hours at a stretch, even when I'm not FGOH (which is most cons, of course), but this would be an extreme length of time.
As it turned out, the gang had a wonderful dinner. They had the chef's "Tasting Menu" which is a long, drawn-out affair, available with wine pairings too, and they didn't get back to the hotel until almost midnight. By then I'd been party hopping a little. Kurt and company ran into me at the Linucon party. Linucon is another Linux/science fiction/gaming hybrid con, inspired by the success of the recent Penguicon. In fact, they wanted to call it Penguicon South, but that didn't come off... Linucon is in Texas, this weekend; you just missed it.
The Linucon people were making ice cream using liquid nitrogen. They'd made the crowd-pleaser flavors first - chocolate, maple, and so forth - but while I was there they made some lime ice cream (their recipe uses a frozen juice concentrate). I commended it to Kurt's attention. It was quite tasty. The grape ice cream tasted like chewable vitamins to me, but the lime was nice.