Little red book of conrunning #2: Self-motivation

This is part of an occasional series of posts on the art and craft of fannish volunteer-run conventions. These are my opinions and my experiences. As always, YMMV.

If you volunteer to do something -- anything, this isn't specific to conventions -- you can't do it for the thanks you get.

There's never enough gratitude in the world to balance out the effort you're going to put forth. If you're in it because you'll be thanked for it, you're setting yourself up to be disappointed.

Being thanked is nice, absolutely. But figure out your other reason(s).

It might be because it feels nice to help people. Or you enjoy hanging out with the other people doing the thing. It's got to get done, and you can do it, so you step forward. Maybe you're getting points towards graduation or parole. You might like being part of something larger than yourself. Or you get to prove you can do the thing better than before. Maybe you're doing it so that someone else close to you can enjoy the thing.

You've got to find your own reasons for volunteering.

Little red book of conrunning #1: We are all us

This is the first of an occasional series of posts on the art and craft of fannish volunteer-run conventions. These are my opinions and my experiences. As always, YMMV.

We are all us.

A county fair might have carnies and marks. A stage production could have a cast, crew, and an audience. The ticket-purchasers vs. the people who make the show happen. There's "us" and "them."

I reject that dichotomy. There's no "them" and "us." The head of one division might be an avid costumer. A guest of honor might also be an enthusiastic karaoke participant. Someone in Hospitality might also be an autograph hound.

It takes a lot of people, pulling together, to make the convention happen. As far as official volunteers and staff go, there could be 10% of the convention's attendees helping to push the boat. Add in all the artists and vendors with their wares, and the program participants with what they have to say, and the costumers dazzling everyone (and showing up in the majority of the press coverage), and so forth, and it's really hard to draw a clear line between the people making it happen and the ones who are just there to be entertained.

[personal profile] kevin_standlee likens fandom to a potluck party. People bring what they want to share, and it's different every time, and there are some people who come empty-handed but there's a lot of generosity that makes it happen. Some people like to use the phrase "Gift Economy."

But regardless of how you want to put it, the people making the convention happen are the members of the convention. Someone might come one year and just get a badge, then decide to put in a little time volunteering; then they come to the conclusion the best way to see the Masquerade entries is to bring all-black clothes and volunteer as a ninja. Tune in a few years later and they're running a completely unrelated department, and dragging all their friends along to help whitewash the fence.

They didn't change from a "them" to an "us." We are all us.

Packing for the stuff that doesn't fold

Planning for trip to #Baycon. I’m going to do a test of packing my car with all the stuff that doesn’t condense. That will give me an idea of how much space I have for everything else which will be repacked into bags to be piled into the car.

Alexander Cart
Bottles of beer, liquor, soda
Buckets, 3
Bus tubs
Candy tin
Charlotte pipe
Coffee maker
Cutting board
Dish drain
Doilies box
Hand vac
Ice chests for ice, soda, beer
Pitchers, 2
Box of serving dishes
Power strip
PVC pipe framework
Shot glasses, boxed
Sign holders
Folding tables, 2
Hot sauce
Boxes for cookies
Grooming kit
CPAP machine

Yes, I know things can be packed inside of other things. Tentatively planning to pack the pitchers with the plastic cutlery, and the coolers will be filled with the drinks.

My own clothes will be packed in two or four small duffle bags, rather than one big one.

Rough plan for 2x3 cubbies: Bar stuff; cups/boats/cutlery; cleanup; electrical; tools; utensils.

Cookie boxes: clear piece of packing tape on the end, with a piece of masking tape or blue tape on top of that, marked with the contents.

Packing for coffee and wine

I think for #Baycon I'll bring the smaller coffee maker that I inherited from my folks, rather than the large 12-cup model. I've already decided I'm not bringing wine with me, I'll buy a couple of bottles at the Trader Joe's across the street. Looking for every little bit of cargo space I can reclaim!

I'm also just going to bring the 2x3 set of cubbies. If it turns out to not be enough then next year I'll pack 3x3 worth.

Planning vs. packing

Research question: Can I bring a carload of party gear and a passenger to Baycon? I'm trying to figure out how much space the coolers and other stuff will take up, so in May I'll be prepared.

I'm going to pack as many things in bags as I can. Hoping to have the back third of my cargo space filled with coolers, boxes, and most of the rigid bulky things. Then the forwards two-thirds will have the cart and all the bags.

Taco Seasoning Mix II

Made #tacos tonight, using "Taco Seasoning Mix II" which I just invented. A low-sodium single-use version.

Taco Seasoning Mix II

For one pound of meat.

Cumin, 1/8 tsp
Garlic, 1/8 tsp
Onion, 1/8 tsp
Oregano, 1/8 tsp
Paprika, 1/8 tsp
Cayenne, 1/8 tsp

Brown 1 lb. ground beef. Sprinkle in the seasoning, a bit at a time.

Serve with tortillas and appropriate fixings.

Halloween 2017

Report for this year. We had 53 goblins -- three of them after 9 o'clock!

We gave away jumbo Pixy Stix, and a variety of prizes in the prize bin. Some large coffee-table photo books, a few other children's books, stuffed monkeys, bottles of water, glow sticks, bouncing rubber eyeballs, plastic cockroaches...

We had a few groups sing pumpkin carols, we did the penny-on-the-forehead trick and penny tic-tac-toe, a few draw-on-a-notepad-on-your head, and we only did the stick trick once.

A few kids came prepared. We didn't seem to have as many teenagers. The neighbors that have the birthday party didn't get as many guests either -- two of their sons were still at work.