October 28, 2005
In the continuing story of last week, we have finally arrived in San Diego for JournalCon. This is the first time I’ve made the con part of a long vacation, and I don’t think I’ll do that again. Or if I do, I won’t put it at the end, when it’s likely I’ll arrive tired out and fattened up and possibly, like this time, sick. I might come early or stay late in the con city itself, though. This trip, I saw nothing of San Diego outside of the couple blocks around the hotel. Good thing I’d been there before.
Because it was JournalCon, I had to make swag–I have a tradition to uphold and people have fridges that need magnets. I thought about incorporating panda fabric (in honor of the baby panda born recently at The World-Famous San Diego Zoo) or whale fabric (I hear there’s a Sea World somewhere around there) but didn’t have the right stuff in my stash. So for the back I used a fish print, because I sure have a lot of those and there are fish in the ocean which is right there next to San Diego, and for the front I used the same stripe as in my new journal header bar. It amused me to use the block design called, among other things, “Drunkard’s Path”, since some people think JournalCon is one big drinksfest. I briefly considered piecing the blocks, but since I had some of the newish iron-on Printed Treasures that I wanted to try, I went with that faster and easier method, printing my logo and URL along with one of the con banners onto the fabric sheets, cutting them to size and just fusing them to the striped pieces. Since I didn’t have to spend time piecing, I was actually able to do a little quilting on the swagnets for the first time. Because of the scale of the print I used on the back, each one was different–some had no fish, some had little fish, some had half of a big fish. Because there were fewer people coming this year, I had less swag to make, which meant I actually had it all done the week before. I didn’t count on the flurry of last-minute registrations, though, so I’m afraid that I didn’t make quite enough. I do hope everyone who wanted one got one.
So after Mr. Karen and I settled into our hotel room Friday afternoon, I ventured out to find where to check in for the con. After a detour to the front desk, I made my way to the right conference room–it was very nice to walk in and be greeted with a chorus of “Karen!” Does the fact that more than a couple people knew my name mean I am part of the putative snobby in-crowd now? No, I believe it just means I’ve introduced myself to enough people enough times over the past three years of going to JournalCon that I’ve built up a smidge of name recognition. Also, I wear my nametag almost round the clock at these things, long after the really cool kids have taken theirs off, so that’s gotta help, too.
The opening dinner Friday was very nice, in a private room right in the hotel. The vegetarian entree was tasty enough to distract me from playing the icebreaker game, but Mr. Karen plunged in and was thisclose to winning the prize for first Jingo. After dinner, as Meg says, I nominated her to go out and tell me all about it later, so that left Mr. and me free to collapse into our Heavenly Bed. (There was also a Heavenly Bath, complete with a double shower head that I never did figure out the point of.)
I missed the icebreaker panel that opened the program on Saturday morning, which I am sad about, but I really needed to rest up for the next event: the panel I was on. You didn’t know I was going to be on a panel? Up until a few weeks ago, I didn’t either, but one of the real panelists had to drop out and I got asked to step in as a replacement (possible proof that 90% of life is just showing up). As it turned out, another panelist couldn’t make it at the last minute and thus it was that I found myself sitting next to Beth on Saturday morning, mimosas at the ready (thanks to Chauffi, our lovely moderator), the two of us comprising the whole Person vs. Persona panel. I think it went okay–though I found out later that at least one person thought it was boring and we were full of ourselves. (I would link his entry here, but he’s since locked his journal.) Either I was so boring that I made no impression on him at all, or I did a heck of a job projecting a persona, because I sure didn’t feel full of myself. My internal dialogue the whole time pretty much went like this: “What the hell are you doing here? You’re not panelist material, especially not compared to Beth.” Perhaps this person would have liked it better if our missing tatooed pirate in a kilt had been able to come (note: I have never met Karl Elvis and do not know whether he really is any of those things–one can hope, though).
Mr. Karen decided to visit the aircraft carrier museum Saturday afternoon while I was fortunate to be able to spend some time with Amanda and Shawn (if I link them, they have to start writing again, right?) and ThatGrrrl during the midday break. By the dinner break, I was feeling all sick and draggy and so took myself off to my room to rest and commune with the internet before a quiet Thai dinner with Mr. after he got back.
Revived by food, I ventured into the evening reception and tried to at least say hello to people I hadn’t had a chance to talk to yet, like Ms. Weetabix. Perhaps it was the cold medicine or my social anxiety or just plain bad memory, but among other awkward things I completely forgot I had planned to get Arianne to tell me more about Scotland and embarrassingly even had to get her to tell me her name again–I knew it wasn’t really “purplefishy”, but that’s all my brain could come up with.
When the karaoke started, I went to find the poker room–watching people sing can be fun, true (and I have even been known to serve as a backup dancer on rare occasions), but doing something a little quieter and more conducive to conversation was more appealing to me that night. I was a little worried about meeting Chuck, who was in charge of whipping all us poker newbies into shape; I’d gotten the idea that he was rather gruff and grizzled, too mean for my delicate flower self to handle. I’d wanted to meet his wife, Beth, for years (I have this idea they were going to come to JCon in San Francisco but didn’t, but maybe I’m making that up)–she seemed a bit intimidating, too, but she used to write Stitches in Time and the quilt motif made me think we’d at least have a smidge of commonality. But I needn’t have worried–Chuck didn’t snarl at me even once. Maybe he’s saving that for next time. Playing poker was excellent fun. It was great to spend time with different people, including marvelous MoPie and charming Petrouchka and lovely Minarae, as they came and went from the table during the evening, and the fact that the chips didn’t represent real money meant I didn’t have to stress about losing. Not that I did a lot of losing–I didn’t bust Chuck like his wife did, but I played pretty well for a novice, I think. I really wished I could have stayed ’til the table shut down, but since we were flying out of LAX at noon on Sunday I had to get to bed. As it was I stayed about an hour longer than I’d planned–I’d keep thinking “just one more hand”.
I took a little detour on the way back to my room so Amanda could hook me up with some of her Tim Tam swag–mmm, chewy caramel. Earlier, I’d scooped up one of Dichroic’s beautiful necklaces, a pair of the great earrings LA made (sorry if I got too fangirl on you Friday night, lady), a tiny rubber chicken from Bozoette (who also signed my copy of her book), and cool custom M&Ms from Deb. Mr. Karen didn’t bring swag, since he does not have a site to advertise, but I did leave his Mickey balloon on the table with the last of my magnets Saturday night. I hope it found a good home for the rest of its short life.
Thus ended my JournalCon, too soon. It would have been ideal if there were some way to fly out of San Diego Sunday afternoon and arrive home at a reasonable hour for a reasonable fare, but that was just not possible, so we retrieved the rental car from the valet Sunday morning and drove back up to Los Angeles. What seemed like many hours later we were home, tired and sick and as yet unaware of our bitch and hoe problem.