May 24th, 2008

barometric waffle linguists (pic by me)

First impressions

I've been at BayCon for about 24 hours now. This convention is like an old friend to me. I've been attending for a decade and a half, and I know it inside and out.

But this is the con's first year in the San Jose Santa Clara Convention Center, and that's meant adjusting to some changes.

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Which brings me to the most singularly awesome scheduling snafu in the con's history. Check it out: The Santa Clara Convention Center's so big we can't completely fill up their event space. And one of this weekend's other guests is ...

You can't make this stuff up.

The Northern California Charismatic Catholic Association.

Not just a church gathering. A charismatic church gathering. A charismatic Catholic church gathering. Charismatic Catholics? ... I think I broke nolly when I mentioned this to her.

So, yeah, we're sharing the building with a church group. Isn't it awesome?

I know, I know, the goal here is not to "freak the mundanes." I laugh with a little sympathetic wince. I blundered into their area of the convention center while exploring the con space, and I felt just as awkward wandering through their land of Sunday suits as they must have felt with a jackal-eared man in black passing through.[4]

Bad enough that they're using the same parking structure we are, and the same skyway over to event space. But what really makes it classic is that tonight, they were holding a concert-slash-worship-service over in their event space ... their door literally within line of sight of our Charity Casino, where brightly costumed heathens were engaging in convention-sanctioned dancing, drinking and gambling.

BayCon's booked this hotel through at least 2010. It's going to be an interesting few years.

[1] I know it was a false alarm because a sharply dressed hotel employee with an earpiece hustled over to our (convention staff) area and told us we didn't have to evacuate unless we wanted to flee the annoying klaxon. Someone had hit a fire button in one of the elevators.[^]
[2] I would just like to point out that I CALLED THIS. Five minutes after unloading my gear in our hotel room, I walked around the corner to check out the stairwell, opened the door, and did an immediate facepalm. Fire system pipes, valves, and wheels were all over the place. No chains, giant locks, or any other visible deterrent. I started offering $5 bets to any comers, with me betting that we would have at least one fire evacuation over the course of the weekend. I got no takers.[^]
[3] This is, one must admit, something of a BayCon tradition. There's a filk out there called "False Alarms At BayCon," about an infamous (2002?) incident where a half-hour cascade of erratically spaced apologies followed a single alarm. It stopped being funny about the third or fourth time the intercom crackled to life.[^]
[4] I will admit to a tiny twinge of regret that I wasn't wearing horns.[^]