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Keycon report, with pictures after the prose write-up.

Keycon 27 )
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... this macro seemed strangely appropriate.

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Last night the McNally Robinson bookstore in Grant Park Shopping Centre hosted a book launch for the chapbook produced from last year's Read Off at Keycon. Eight stories on the theme of "horror" were included, including my own, and seven of the authors showed up (including me) to read from their works.

A whole LOT of people showed up for the launch. The atrium was packed, with standing room only for those who came late. Even George came, in spite of having just finished a 30-hour shift of work and running on no sleep. (Now THAT'S devotion... *hugs him gently*) We took some photos, but this one comes from another person's album on Facebook:

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(That's me on the left in the front row.)

My story, "Recording", is below the cut. I highly encourage anyone in Winnipeg to buy copies of the chapbook -- only $10 each, with proceeds going to the Winnipeg Library Foundation. McNally Robinson has copies on sale and there'll be more available at Keycon. Two hundred were produced, so get 'em while they're hot.

Onward to the fiction...

Recording )
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Ended up going to the Keycon Halloween social last night, at the last minute and on the spur of the moment. It started with me going to the Games Day associated with the social, and which took place in the afternoon. When I got to the Legion where it was being held, I found six people already engrossed in a game -- and a huge room otherwise empty except for L.A., who was laying out decorations to put on the walls. I ended up going out with her to pick up pushpins and raffle tickets, lunch at Subway, and the meat order for the social from Cantor's (best meats in Winnipeg!) So I didn't get any gaming done, but I did help set up the hall for the social that evening.

For those of you who aren't from Manitoba, a social is an event where you rent a large hall, get a DJ, and sell tickets, usually $10 each, for an evening's worth of talking and dancing. Long tables are set out with chairs and provided with munchies like potato chips, pretzels, and popcorn. There's a cash bar and another long table set with silent auction prizes (usually huge themed gift baskets, although last night's offerings also included a gorgeous sword). And at midnight there's a buffet with lunch meats, rye bread, cheese, condiments, and more chips.

Last night's music was picked to appeal to the older Keycon crowd: "The Time Warp", "Rasputin", "Doctor in the TARDIS", "Rock Lobster", etc. I only danced once (gotta watch that heart rate still), but I spent a wonderful evening chatting with old friends I've lost touch with and really only see at Keycon. What convinced me to attend, in spite of needing to get work done at home? My friend Tracy B, who wandered into the Games Day toward the end, saw me, and wheedled me into coming out that evening. She even drove me home so I could take my Metamucil, drove me back to the hall, then drove me home again at midnight. What a princess!

Pictures under the cut )

From the real to the virtual... dragons.

Adopt one today! / Adopt one today! / Adopt one today! / Adopt one today!
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Made a few slight changes. This is the final version.

Cloud effect added, extreme background details taken away )

I think it looks a lot better.
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The report on the convention I attended over the long weekend. There are many photos (hopefully interesting) and some funny stories behind the cut.

Gamers and artists and nerds, oh my! )
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The con was amazing. I made some money and had one heck of a good time. Many funny stories and some quiet triumphs. It's my vacation for the year and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

A full con report, with (hopefully) cool and interesting photos, in the next day or two. Tonight I'z brain ded, and tomorrow I have to prepare for a Full Moon Group inner court ritual here at my place, so the day and evening will be taken up with that.

When I was a young fan, I partied all night and wanted more. Now that I'm an older and (perhaps) wiser pro, 11 pm is quite late enough for me to stay up touring the con suites. I'm glad to be home where I can wrap myself in a nice warm bathrobe and enjoy some peace and quiet.

So RIP, KeyCon 2008. You've lasted 25 years; may you see many, many more.
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I think I've got the final version of the KeyCon anniversary book cover. It will be embossed in silver ink on dark leather. If it's approved, I'll send it off to the printer (once I find out what format they need it in, that is).

Cut to spare those who aren't interested )

So what do you think?
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Another day of wildly careening blood glucose levels. And as usual, no symptoms except for a nagging background fatigue. I'm beginning to suspect that the rye bread we've been buying is responsible for some of it, in which case I'll have to find a different kind of bread to eat, or no bread at all, which would suck and suck mightily.

In other news: just sent an email to the head of Keycon programming regarding that handfasting I'll be performing at the convention. I'll need to use incense and my athame during the ceremony, and the key questions are whether hotel and convention policies are okay with that -- especially the athame, since a six-inch double-edged blade, unpeacebonded, could be a touchy subject.

Things That Have Made Me Go "Huh?" Today: the whole concept of decompression in comics. More on that later.

No exercise today. I'm taking one day off per week and Sunday is it.

Oh, and my period is probably just around the corner. Perhaps this explains the cloud of depression I've been operating under lately.

But I am making better time today on MM. Huzzah and hooray!

Back to work.
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Oh, and apparently the publishers of the Keycon 25th anniversary book have dug up a piece of my art from WAY back (1985) and intend to use it in the publication. They wanted my help in identifying the individuals in the illustration since I did it with certain people in mind.

Bad art from my past, behind the cut )

They made a few mistakes, which I've corrected.

Holy shit. I can't believe that someone actually KEPT that piece of trash. Don't it go to show you never know?
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George and I have just been approached by Keycon, the local science fiction convention, to do the color cover for their 25th anniversary memorial book. So we've been exchanging emails with them throughout the course of the day nailing down the details.

They've agreed to pay us in the form of one full weekend membership ($55), one Saturday pass ($25), and a free copy of the final printed book. While this is a long way from the $100/hour we generally charge for illustation work, it IS for a convention I've attended and loved for most of those 25 years.

What needs to be finalized is the actual nature of the cover art. They pitched a scene of a convention hospitality suite with many MANY people in it; I pointed out that this would be both difficult to make work as a cover and would take a lot more time than we're willing to put into the project for a measly $110 dollars. The counterproposal I just made via email is something along the lines of the Golden Boy and the Legislative Building dome in the foreground and three figures looming over it in the background: a bison in space gear (since the bison is the symbol of Manitoba) in the middle, a female wizard conjuring a storm of magical energy on its left, and a male gamer throwing dice on the right. We'll see if (a) they're willing to go with that, and (b) George is willing to go with it, because he'll be doing the actual finished illustration while I'll be doing the concept sketch and final color.

The deadline is a bit of a killer. Two weeks, and we have a LOT of work in the studio right now. But again, it's Keycon. Sure, I'm not very fond of the con chair this year (he and I have an acrimonious history going WAY back to when I was just a fan), but hopefully I won't have to actually have any dealings with him.

I'll post some of the concept sketches (behind a cut) in another post when I have some to share.
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I am back. I am slightly hungover. I am very pleased with how my weekend went.

First, some pictures you should check out, all scans from the program book. Trust me. Seeing them will enhance your appreciation of what I'm about to tell you.

The Hospitality Suite writeups

Friday night programming.

Saturday programming, Part I.

Saturday programming, Part II.

Sunday programming.

The Gaming grid.

You can also find other pics, with more being added to the thread as time goes on, at http://www.keycon.org/forums/viewtopic.php?t=171

Got those? Good. While you read this, keep in mind the "background noise" that is always present at a science fiction convention. The whole point of the experience is to overwhelm the attendee with sights, sounds, tastes, textures, and things to do. The con committee and the people running the convention suites go out of their way to provide all the diverting, entertaining input they can -- and so do the fans, who come in costume, in makeup, in t-shirts with slogans, in silly hats/horns/wings... In short, it's an extremely saturated environment, an experience heightened by the fact that on the con suite floor in particular, people are usually crowded into the hospitality suites and passing each other constantly in the hallways. The problem at a good con is not finding things to do, but sometimes finding a place to be where things are NOT constantly happening. ;-)

Now, into the strange realm of... Keycon 23!

Long report, cut to spare my friends' LJs )

And so... goodnight, sweet Keycon 23. May flights of starships sing thee to thy rest.
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