mbernardi: (Default)
On Wednesday morning I caught the train to Pasila - Bole; single ticket was 2,90€, got to Messukeskus - exhibition centre by 9:43.
Went through registration in minutes.
Had a wander and chats. Read new Bujold Novella in food court. The iOS app program guide uses WCON75, and there is free wi-fi in the centre. I'll make some general comments then a daily breakdown, list of programme items I attended can be found here.
There were a few things that weren't up to snuff, the most important that the number of attendees was higher than expected (over 6000) and many program items were over subscribed. (Despite queuing and 3 additional large rooms, I didn't get in to any of the NASA program items!)
This was probably due to the high number of first time attendees. Long time con attendees frequently only attend a couple of program items (not including ones they are on). I, however enjoy programming and try to get to as many as I can, in addition to viewing the art show and trawling the dealers room and fan areas. (Details of the programs I actually attended are in a separate post).
The newsletter was not reprinted, so if you missed its original publication you didn't get a copy (there is a PDF version on website though), the app program guide was awesome & regularly updated. The on site food was better than the usual fast food, though there was little nearby, (the train to the city centre ran regularly and only took 5 minutes - so all restaurants there were easily accessible).
Also kudos to the con organisation, as they had arranged for free public transport during the convention (saving me about 20-30€). Generally prices in Helsinki were high, partly due to the country, but also that it is the capital. So rather than spend 5-15€ for each meal I went shopping in Lidl's and bought milk & cereal for bfast and bagels & cream cheese + apples for lunch for the whole stay, for less than the price of 2 meals. As my hotel had a shared kitchen, with free tea and coffee, and a fridge for storage, I was well situated. I only had to buy a single meal per day at the food court.
This con had 49 program items uploaded to YouTube so you could have a more programmed Worldcon than I did (sadly the Hugo Award's appear to have been lost). I can just be glimpsed at the end of Pre-Potter Wizarding School.
Apart from the video recording, and the Hugo for series work (won by Lois McMaster Bujold) the most unique appearances were the blacksmith setup out side and the number of local choirs that performed in the program, and as flash mobs around the con.
I met a number of listies around the con, excluding the James B curry meet on Thursday. Discovered on Saturday that one of the other people staying in the hotel also going to Worldcon so we had a chat before bed. On Saturday I got my first experience of 3D VR - circus acrobat, got really close up without fear of getting hit by a flying limb! Upgraded my Dublin 2019 membership to attending after they won the bid. Went to both the Hugo's & the Masquerade (started queuing early for the latter) in the big auditorium - fairly packed.
And then it ended on Saturday afternoon, and back to my hotel room for the last time (from the station).
For the rest of my trip see the August entry.
mbernardi: (Default)
Maya (D's cat) has finally, after a year of being stopped by a "gate" at the top of the stairs, has discovered she can leap over the bannisters and I find her at the bottom of the stairs when I go down for breakfast.
As part of D's plan to relocate, drove over with S. intending to try to find living quarters and other requirements, not very successful (S didn't really pull his weight as part of the reconnaissance.
Only 3 days dancing this month due to teacher taking 2 weeks off and I went to Helsinki for Worldcon (see separate post for details) Two classes and last Saturday social. Line dancing has finished for the moment ;-(
I caught a Norwegian Airlines flight from Gatwick to Helsinki (take of was about a half hour late, caught the train to the city center, after much wandering finally found hotel on fifth floor of the building.
Took me over an hour from getting off the train to getting to my room!
Using the same train daily to get the the con the walk normally took less than 20 minutes! On Tuesday I spent the day walking around the city, including
On Wednesday Worldcon 75 started with the Opening Ceremony at 3:00pm
On Thursday evening James B invited over a dozen fans, most fans of Lois Mcmaster Bujold, out for a delightful curry at a restaurant in the main city center. A wonderful time was had by all both gastronomically and conversationally.
Friday Evening was the Hugos and Saturday was the Masquerade, the Closing Ceremony was Sunday afternoon.
Monday I tried to remotely renew my library books, but had run out of renewals (had to physically return the boks to the library on my return).
Read a little then went to the information centre, where I bought a 48 hour pass for 39€, this gave access to one of the hop on & off bus services (with commentary) and to various bus tours. It did not however give access to public transport.
First thing I did in the afternoon (as my feet hurt), was a boat cruise around the islands of Helsinki, nice sunny day so very enjoyable. On return to mainland caught Hop on and off bus and stayed on for the complete circuit of the city; took over an hour with "free" earbuds allowing access to the commentary (available in multiple languages).
On Tuesday visited the Island of Suomenlina, and went to the Ehrensvärd Museum; on the island (all included in the price), went back to my room and slept for a couple of hours!
Went on the Imperial evening cruise starting at 7:00 with commentry on the Imperial Russian connection to Finland 200 years ago.
Wednesday I was due to fly out in the late afternoon, but caught the train to the airport just after noon. Had 3 hours to wait between arrival and boarding. Was on the same plane and in the same seat as on my journey out! (plane was named after Jean Sibelius)
Got back to Gatwick airport and caught 7:05 train home, after renewing my season ticket. Luckly I had booked Thursday off work, since I had to buy som food, and return my overdue library books, which entailed a journey to Brighton.
Back to work on Friday, and had to change all my passwords, as they had all expired while I was away. Heard Sir Bruce Forsyth had died on getting home.
Saw the US total eclipse on CNN, watch for an hour or so. Booked ticket to London, as want to see the robot exhibition at the Science Museum. Also booked appointment to see a Physiotherapist
Got the most recent collected editon of The Rivers of London: Black Mould (Graphic Novel). Also started watching the coolest reality show "Astronauts: Do You Have What It Takes?"
mbernardi: (WeeMee)
OK so this was a very busy and important month. The first thing being the wedding of my niece L to her fiance S
This was at least 2 years in the planning and went off without a hitch, to the very great happiness of my sister.
The wedding was in an old barn! and the reception was in another building on the same site.
The sun was shining all afternoon and we had perfect weather, I was even social with friends and relatives.
After eating pizza later in the afternoon - J (dance partner) arrived for the evening and we danced and conversed until she took me home.

There are some perks to working for the NHS and one of them occurred this month. A 8 week class for beginners in yoga was to be held after work - for free!
I signed up, as yoga is something I have been wanting to try for a while, as it has a beneficial effect on back issues, and it might allow me to be able to touch my toes!
We are now halfway through and it is much more exhausting than expected, given you don't move from your mat during the hour class.
I was asked if I might be interested in a permanent position if one came up. I then got a number of forms to fill out, but no one actually told me about the job in question, so I been waiting to find out what next!

I had my eyes checked a couple of months back - as this was a work related requirement I got a voucher from the agency for free test and free standard lenses
(I normally have varifocals) I decided to get a pair of glasses with a focal length at arms length - free VDU glasses.
I've been wearing them 2 months now and it's much easier to view the screens, but long distance is fuzzy (still clearer than no glasses)
I'm still using varifocals for normal use though.

Been dancing on my own as J is on a 6 week trip across Canada. Meant I only got a few dances at the social, and dancing with the teacher in class
I have also started reading the LMB mailing list again (after a hiatus of a number of years) on my iPhone during my train commute

I got Terry Pratchett's, last books and it was a perfect swan song, not his best book ever but perfect for a last remembrance.
I've also started back listening to audible books, not least because of the low priced Deal of the Day! Got and listed to The Martian" sad wasn't nominated for the Hugo, looking forward to the movie.
Have now listened to all of Pat Wrede's Frontier Magic series, well worth the time needed to listen (even though I have read them all)

I also went to Earth & Stars on first Monday expecting the SF Reading Group meeting only realise that the meets had moved to the 2nd Monday of the month! (My diary had the correct date!)
However three of us turned up to chat generally about SF and had a pleasant evening.
The following Monday I returned after finishing "We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves: A Novel", a number of new readers turned up and a lively discussion occurred.

Discovered that it is now impossible to download the epub files for the Nook, the Windows readers are no longer supported (in the UK) so there is no way of downloading the files.
Now only readable on my hardware Nook or phone apps. Will be buying from kobo, google or amazon in future (as all allow download to PC).
Also on the Amazon front discovered that amazon has installed a locker in The Martlets in town, near the library, next to Lidl - which is more convenient than trying to get deliveries to my house while I'm working.
The first book I collected from "Dimple" was a Modesty Blaise Graphic novel.

Watched the Hugo Awards (after the fact - I didn't want to stay up past 3am) and bought membership to Worldcon75 in Helsinki. I've been to all the European worldcons since 1979 and don't want to miss this milestone.

I reinstalled the current version of Ubuntu LTS to my multi boot USB drive (boot loader corrupted) which meant the creation of a bootable ubuntu USB drive. This doesn't work on my Windows 8 laptop!

Bought a small portable drive to backup my videos and ebooks, needed 2 usb sockets so will try a pen drive for my ebooks and install Calibre portable to manage them.

Visited the dentist for a checkup and x-ray, haven't heard anything so all should be well. Also visited chiropractor, who agreed that yoga was a very good thing (TM) for back issues!

Marvel's Agent Carter did finally get broadcast on Sky (in UK) hurrah!

March 2015

Apr. 14th, 2015 10:02 am
mbernardi: (WeeMee)
First Monday of the month at Brighton SF Reading group discussed The Disappeared, I had actually completed this one!
Danced every Tuesday of the month with J - learnt/revised new steps to quickset, waltz and foxtrot - also new sally anne cha cha
Finished listening to The Art of Asking by Amanda Palmer
Saw Saturday Night Fever at the Theatre Royal in Brighton - took day off and went to matinee
Terry Pratchett died 12 march! I couldn't remember if I'd ever actually spoken to him or not, then I discovered a personally signed copy of Strata from 1987. So I must have told him my name at least.
Made black cape for relay pig (at work) RH then created bat mask from paper
Went to visit my family - continued on pottermore.com and got early birthday present from my sister.
Helped sister make sunday dinner!
Got confirmation that work contract ending on March 31
Sasquan (Worldcon 2015) PR3 arrived. Sent in request for partial refund of train ticket due to delays
Social dancing on last Saturday in Crawley, tried to create a Jive sequence out of steps learnt, as not given an official sequence of any length since J&I started dancing together nearly 2 years ago.
Trains delayed on last day of work, got to office 8:10 for 8:00 start!
At dance class got small easter eggs from teacher and larger one from J.
mbernardi: (WeeMee)

Very busy month, with Worldcon (see earlier posts).
Also got hair cut to shortest it has been in over forty years. Took part in MORI poll relating to radio listening (even though I don't actually listen to radio live much)
I've also been playing on pottermore.com in preparation for going to the Harry Potter Experience on 11th Sep
Updated the SD cards for my old eeePC and got triple booting linux usb hard drive working. Started LFS101x Introduction to Linux online course.
New fencing installed on one side of back garden, planted both a new apple tree and a grape vine
Brighton SF Reading Group discussed Lightbourn, which again I didn't finish (I really need to finish all these books I start).
Finished editing my 2013 Diary and sent it off to be printed (A5 size)
Used up all my eVouchers (from train delay) to buy ticket to London for Worldcon
Saw Guardians of the Galaxy at Connaught Cinema in Worthing (£3 Wed)
Checked my Oyster Card (London Travel Card) in preparation for Worldcon visit. Need to add £20 to it for journeys in London.
Picked a fair number of black berries at different times during the month (even in my garden)
Second weekend in the month was Crawley Juggling Festival - on the Saturday I did some balloon modelling, read, Kettle of Fish Cabaret in the evening was excellent as always.
On the Sunday I joined the Knife and Axe throwing workshop, actually turned out to be pretty good (should have taken a photo of my excellently matched axe throws).
Worldcon - Loncon3
Tuesday after Worldcon I was still in London and went to the British Library to see "Comics Unmasked: Art and Anarchy in the UK" last day, bought book of exhibit.
Saw the first episode of the new Dr Who at the cinema (with only 25 others - not well advertised)
My dancing partner C decided that she was unable to continue ballroom dancing (not a major issue as I normally dance with J), we'd been dancing a year and a quarter.
Bath started to leak, (dripping through the light fitting - blew the circuit breaker!) so had to get a replacement organised. (2 weeks so far without bath / shower). Washbasin has been replaced.
Managed to mung my Windows 7 PC at home (over wrote MBR with Grub2) though I also managed to recover from the problem ;-)
At work after nearly a year I got a new Windows 7 PC and found it a generally good experience.
With my Kobo Mini damaged and no longer available I have ordered a Nook ereader (so I can access my Fictionwise.com archive).
Renewed my monthly season ticket.
Dancing with J every Tue evening, but no dancing first two weeks as school closed. First Tuesday back after Worldcon. Social dance at the end of the month, we danced all the dances.





















mbernardi: (WeeMee)
Thoughts and feelings on the whole Worldcon experience, at Loncon3

The badge design was double sided so (unless you were a program participant) your name was always visible. This was a very good idea. However the font size selected could easily have been somewhat bigger.

The newsletter was always easily found and news-stands usually also had all back issues.

The fannish village was a great idea & putting the parties there worked well (even though I had to catch my train by 10:30 each night)
The bar (in the village) was reasonably priced with real ale and cider at £3.95/pint, however the food was over priced

The library (also in the village), was a great idea, where you could get a book and sit down to read. Also one of the few places to charge electronic devices (which with my iPods battery life I needed)

It would have been nice if there had been a few more book stores, in the dealers area. There were however dozens of small presses / self publishers.

Nice to see young people at a Worldcon (apparently about 10% of attendees were under 16).

I actually spoke to people, both people I knew and total strangers. From "Hi how are you?" To over an hour conversations.

The LMB list curry was a highlight; S & M invited a bunch of fans back to their house, where JB made traditional curries. Good conversation ensued.

The wifi in the ExCel (and my hotel) was excellent. Related to this, the electronic program guide was excellent and kept up to date. Even my old iPod worked fine.

Mostly didn't go to any program that I initially picked from the program guide, (apart from opening & closing ceremonies, both Hugo Awards and the Masquerade). There was much more queuing than at any previous Worldcon and some items should have really been in bigger rooms.

All events were held under one roof (even the late night ones) though the size of the ExCel meant it took awhile to get from one panel to the next.
mbernardi: (WeeMee)

Booked ticket for "Comics Unmasked: Art and Anarchy in the UK" from bl.uk for tomorrow morning. Then went to Café for No 1 breakfast and a beef sandwich for lunch.

Downloaded Hugo winning Ancillary Justice from Amazon for $3.34. Then on my train journey to ExCel arrived 9:10.

The first program item I wanted to go to was Robin Hobb reading. I was somewhat disconcerted to discover a panne in progress (even though RH was the first item on the program) it turned up to be a spontaneous gate crashed panel discussing RH an other stuff. RH arrived 10:07 and read from her latest book (copy borroed from one of the earlier panelists!) This was the only program item with a GoH that I attended (except for opening and closing)
This was followed by Pat Rothfuss giving a shirt reading from his book, then a review of Roald Dahl book he thought aweful.
Bought a supporting membership in next years Worldcon, Sasquan for £25. Charged iPod (again) in library.
Met E & C (LMB curry attendees) in line for W Shkspr Abridged. C comented on my VK lanyard (the only person who did). Wonderful performance of 39 plays in 100 minutes. With a few fanish references
Finished at 2:00 then went for lunch on balcony ever the main ExCel corridor L1. Wandered fan village, started queuing for closing ceremony at 2:45, this finished at 3:40 with the guests disappearing into the tardis for last years worldcon! Sasquan left holding the gavel, and throwing sweets to the audience, (I caught a few and kept 3).



Queued up for "Before the Dawn - the Musical" from 3:50, actually started 4:58 (half an hour late - in part as the had to connect an overflow room with a video feed) the interval occurred at 6:30 for 15 min. Show finished 8:10. Much better than last time it was performed. Better storyline and much better costumes
A DVD of the performance will be made available.

Went to fan village, bought foot-long hotdog (no burgers left) and the worst potatoe wedges, for £9.00 and added a half of cider for £2.05 (much better value).
Then charged iPod in library corner.
Got free half pint of cider at Helsinki tent.
Decided to leave early and caught 9:22 from Prince Regent DLR station. Just missed train on opposite platform at Canning Town, got 9:38 to Woolwich Arsenal and then caught 10:04 to Charlton.
Back to my room by 10:15





mbernardi: (WeeMee)

Woken by my alarm at 7:00 only time I didn't wake myself. Then made myself breakfast (porridge & tea) - Café I have been getting breakfast at didn't open until 9am on Sun - got train and stopped off for a 6" breakfast sub with coffee for only £2.80 so also got one for lunch & can of ginger beer for £3.50

Got DLR to ExCel for 9:15
Saw live Quiddich match on village lawn - left after 40 min when play opened up to give spectators a go!

Joined a panel in which Authors talked about Fan Works both that they had done and which had been done to them. Then managed a double Kaffeeklatsch first with Gail Carriger (I really must read the books I've bought and buy the ones missing), then with Madie Robins, only four people signed up.
Ate lunch in the Library then up to N11 for a wander around. Not enough book stalls. Most are single imprints (apart from FP & a couple of 2nd hand stores).
Said hi to Mikki D and her costume
Up to L3 charged iPod and listened to audible book.
Went to catherynne valente's reading, and unfortunately droped off to sleep part way through!



Back to the fan village and bought a supporting membership for MidAmeriCon II (Worldcon in 2016) for £30. Then I walked through the ExCek and on to Tesco; got belgian bun and milkshake £1.50 and also had Goumet Burger and fries £6.50. Then got ice cream cone for £2 (so total cost £10). Walked back to ExCel for 6:45 Charged iPod in library chatted with Amanda (history of t'internet!)
Brad Templeton's telepresence robot "Beam" was also charging.
At 7:20 I joined the Hugo queue on L1 and only took 6 min to get in and sat down by 7:28
While waiting for the show to stard a slideshow of Hugo finalists were shown on the big screen.
The Hugo awards started at 8:10 and were streamed live on ustream.com they ended at 10:05. Went straight to Prince Regent DLR station and caught 10:24 to Canning Town then 10:37 to Woolwich Arsenal and then 10:55 to Charlton. Got to hotel 11:03
Made coffee and ready for bed




mbernardi: (Default)

Up early and at Café just after 7:00 for breakfast. Ordered mushroom omelette with sausage, toast & tea + ham sandwich for only £5.10

Nice day so decided to the O2 / Emerates Air car over the river
Took 25 min to walk and 15 min to cross the Thames . Great views and much better value than the London Eye! Took a ton of photos. Tesco was across the road from the station so bought drinks an porridge in a pot (for tomorrow's breakfast - Café doesn't open until 9:00 so need to leave before then)
walked to the ExCel, then timed my walk from one end to the other about 10 min.
My first actual panel of the con was made up of four young ladies aged between 8 & 16 with an adult YA author as moderator. I was very impressed with their intelligence, articulation and poise. Talking in front of a room full of stranger is not something I would want to do!


Had early lunch and was joined by EC and a bit later JB and discussed last nights curry party, and six degrees of separation with Wellington & Napoleon.

Queued for Mary Robinette Kowal's reading, room was full, and she red from her new novel (not glamourist history - due next year). Wonderfully read, she had to read from her phone as her tablet didn't charge! - I asked if she would be reading the audio book and she wants a different voice. We each got a party favour of sandalwood fans as we left - very cool.

Met and chatted with KB then to panels on how you can't make money creating indie comics, then how to podcast.

Subway 6" for dinner then queued for Tanya Huff reading and was next to Suzanne McLeod from yesterdays kaffeeklatsch - room packed. She read from her 3rd and last Enchanted Emporium book due out Nov 14

Up to L3 to charge iPod met and chatted with KB and E&I after charging iPod down to main auditorium for Masqurade, excellent workmanship at all levels only pun Tony Stark - Heir to the Iron Throne!
Discovered I was sitting a few seats from VH so moved next to her and chatted before the performance started. Unable to stay for the final results, or I'd miss the last train to Charlton. Left ExCel 10:35 at hotel 11:20

mbernardi: (WeeMee)

I realised today (with an email reminder from Jerrie A) that apart from being 45 years since the last Loncon, it's also 35 years since my first ever convention, and 20 years since starting the Lois McMaster Bujold mailing list!

So up 6:45 and out for No 1 breakfast + a corn beef sandwich for my lunch (£6.70) discovered I was trying to open hotel door with wrong code!
Caught train 8: and got to ExCel 9:35 bought a Costa coffe as I was signed up for a Kaffeeklatsch with C E Murphy and Suzanne McLeod, only one person there for Suzanne so combined the two, sparkling pencils were available (and I realised I'd actually read one of her books!)
Catie arrived a few minutes late but made up for it by bringing awesome chocolate fudge! I lively discussion / chat occurred (I reminded C that she had also written a Regency, when she enumerated her now works.
Wandered around the dealer area / exhibition
Ate my lunch (bought earlier) and then went in for the regency dance where I managed to "learn" and dance 3 routines before giving up (I really wish I'd gone to the Swing Dance teaching)



Bought a membership for next years eastercon (Dysprosium) in London (£60) then at just before 5:00 met up with E&I at DLR before taking the train to Woolwich Arsenal and then a minicar to S & Ms house (only £5)
arrived at 6:00 James still preparing curry. Chatted both inside and in the garden, lovely large house. James dished up at around 7:00 and had three helping! Wonderful flavours with Cobra beer! Discussion continued through the evening until I had to leave at 10:45. Got a lift back to my hotel from S and arrived 11:00, using Brian Blessed voiced satnav. Realised I'd taken my "Sharing Knife" with me and forgot to show it to anyone.

mbernardi: (WeeMee)

Woke up early and got up at my normal time (as if for work) caught up on LJ and went out for a full English breakfast before catching the train, changing for the DLR and changing again for the ExCel stop
Got to ExCel at 9:20, spent 20 min queuing to get badge, pocket program guide & convention book.
a few hours later the queue was three or more times longer an queues were still in use after 2pm, I bought a Loncon3 t-shirt to add to my collection.

The opening started wthe a medly of SF theamed music, which a few on stage fans acted out sceans from. It continued with a Hogwarts theam and the co-chairs as joint head teachers. All the guests were sorted into houses, Shelley, Orwell, Mitchison, new 4th house Banks (Chris Foss didn't appear)

Managed to say hi to numbers of people, especially Elizabeth C who I spent over an hour chatting with.
Met her again at Jo Walton reading.

Had a torrential thunderstorm overhead in the early afternoon. My iPod kept loosing charge so I had to hunt for a power solet to plug in. I guess I'll have to get a replacement (but I've had it for 2 years so it's paid it's dues).

I wandered around the Exhibit hall / Dealers Room / Art Show a few times. Bought the Loncon3 filk book from Roger.

Intended to see Sassafras with Jo Walton but only stayed for half an hour. Norse myths not my favourite!

While the ExCel is full of fast food shops, they do mark up significantly, I had a subway 6" and usually get a meal deal for £3. I paid £4 for just a sandwich.

The Retro Hugos (from 1938 - Mary Robinette Kowal said she had arrived in a Delorian and we heard Rob Shearman arrive in a tardis) were a lot of fun Mary Kowal was particularly elegant with a thirties style make over. She sand in introduction wit the Brideshead Ballroom Stompers.
The broadcast, live from LNCN3 & streamed on ustream.com, was interrupted by outside broadcasts regarding a large metal cylinder
Fortunately the invaders were destroyed by concrud!

To no ones surprise Orson Wells and the Mercury Theatre won the best dramatic presentation - for War of the Worlds. Best novel The Sword in the Stone (my choice for both)

The BBS band provided music for a swing dance later in the evening, but I only got to hear 15 minutes as prior to this I enjoyed hobbit snacks from the Tolkein Society in the fan village. Pork pie, mince pie & Almond seed cake - with a tot of mead to wash it all down with.

I had to leave at 10:30 to ensure I could get the last train back to my hotel. In the event I got back to my room a bit earlier than expected at 11:25. Unpacked all my goodies and then to bed (besides I'm too old an creaky to stay up all night).

mbernardi: (Default)

I have just got to London a few hours ago and am about to goto bed in The Antigallican Hotel (above a pub) which was the cheapest hotel within walking distance of the Excel. Only it's on the wrong side of the Thames (which I discovered after I'd booked)
It does however have free wifi!

Anyway even with travel costs it's still half the price of the con hotels!

This is the first time I've been to a Worldcon in London (despite it being Loncon3) and I've been to every British Worldcon since Seacon79.

So I will be interrupting my monthly LJ posting schedule with regular posting from the Worldcon.

mbernardi: (WeeMee)
LoneStar 3 (the worldcon) took place at the end of August and beginning of September (I didn't make it). The Hugo Awards were streamed live and I stayed up to watch most of them (service was interrupted occasionally - particularly at the beginning).

Wednesday Dance classes merged with the Tuesday ones so I'm now only dancing for 2 hours every Tuesday (which saves on train fare!)
In the later class we started to work on a new Samba routine. (which we finished in December).

Library Book Club on the 1st Wednesday only 4 of us there. Continued to Volunteer at Sussex Oakleaf, visited project in Crawley.

First Saturday was a mini-maker faire in Brighton, held in the Dome and the old library. Lots of cool projects especially an animatronic knitting machine. There were also a number of talks on 3D printing and the Raspberry Pi

My dendarii.co.uk website was switched off due to exxcessive downloads, and then got it re-instated.

On the fist Monday of the month I went to Brighton Jubilee library and joined the Brighton & Hove library system. Then went to the Brighton SF Reading Group at the Earth & Stars pub, they serve a very nice stout. Lively discussion of Paul's book, even though I didn't finish it, gave my copy back.

Saw a doctor about my knee and got it X-rayed at the Princess Royal the next day. Lost part of lower left tooth and had to get it repaired at the dentist.

Started new course at Crawley College "Technical Certificate in Principles of Business and Administration" Level 3 there were five on the course. Asked f I could work on some course material on my own (as the last time I was to start the admin L3 course I got a job and couldn't do it)

Went to Sainsburys for ANOTHER TravelEx interview and once again I didn't get the job!

Caught the train to Horsham and then the bus to Southwater to visit my parents. Mum had been seeing various medical people due to a clouding in her left eye.

Got a call from Tate Recruitment offering an interview with Sussex NHS IT in Durrington. Caught the train there, the office is 30 seconds walk from the station. Interviewed with BH, went OK but I didn't think I was great, so was surprised to be offered a job starting on the last Monday of the month.
I also visited Clever with Leather in Brighton (on the way back from the interview) and ordered a leather Kobo case for £10.

I was able to take 2 modules tests, of the Business Admin course, before I started work, passing both, and booked to take the final 2 in the evening after work.

Strictly Come Dancing started this month, this was it's eleventh season and it's tenth year. I went Social Dancing in Crawley on the last Saturday so watched Strictly on the Sunday, before the results show.

Started working in IT support for the first time in over 3 years and on first line telephone answering in probably ten years.
mbernardi: (Default)

Chicon 7 Day Five
Woke up 6:55 down to breakfast 7:10 usual fodder but no bagels or apples.

Walked up the shoreside of Michigan past Millenium Park while listening to the Dave Gorman podcast. Got to Hyatt 8:55 but decided that the pain from burst blisters was too much to go "strolling with the stars" instead I picked up a couple more freebie books on the concourse and a free Digger vol2 in the dealers room.

Also bought a Y2K t-shirt from Steve S.

Sat near registration when I realised I hadn't posted yesterday's details to LJ so did so. Then read until 11:45 when I went back to Plaza for the last Filk concert of the con. Bill & Brenda Sutton with Jordin Kare

Last panel of the con "Collaborating with the Guest of Honor", with Mike Resnik, Harry Kloor, lezli Robyn, Eric Flint and Brad R Torgersen. All panelists had previously worked with Mike Resnik.

Did a final walk through the Concourse and Dealers room, picked up final free book, the to Columbus fir the closing ceremony. After prizes and gifts had been handed over the gavel was passed to Lonestarcon 3 next year's worldcon.

Saw Elizabeth T as I was leaving and got to chat for a while.

Then down to consuite for a peanut butter sandwich.

Then went up to Blue Level so I could cross the road via the skyway (all previous road crossings had been made at ground level or via subway. While on the escalator going down to ground floor say [Unknown site tag], Marty, Elizabeth C, Ian C and Malcolm. Stayed chatting until around 5:00 when [Unknown site tag], spouse and I went to Houlihan's for an early dinner.
Had a burger and fries, nice thick juicy burger in a knotted bun.

[Unknown site tag] went up to pack and spouse to a White Sox ballgame. I went down to consuite to charge iPod and to read, from 6:00.

Frank M appeared and we talked fluidic computing and other old IT systems.
Went up to 376 the Filk Room but it was locked.
So returned to the consuite, read til I finished my book. Started a new one;)

Around 9:00 decided to check out the Filk room, but I heard Elizabeth C castigate me for not noticing her! I stopped and apologised and we chatted for a while. Malcolm came along and discussion continued until Jo Walton walked down the corridor, we congratulated her on her Hugo award win, and hope she would win the BSFA award next year, which she was still squeeing over, she then invited us for tea & music which we accepted with aclarity. Once at her room we were able to fondle her Hugo, a lovely design and well deserved. Patrick NH and Elise M were also there and sang and played guitar and ukulele until Theresa NH arrived at 11:00 when she joined in to provide 3 part harmony. Tea was provided by Jo, it was an awesome end to an excellent Worldcon.

The part ended just after midnight and I left the Hyatt for the last time at 12:15 and got back to the hostel at 12:45, I was in bed by 1:00.

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Chicon 7 Day Four
Up at 6:30 showered. Down to breakfast 7:15, bagels were available but no muffins.
Mislaid my glasses, found them on the floor after minutes of searching.
Updated yesterday's notes and uploaded to LJ.


Walked up Michigan arrived 9.40 waited until 10:00 to find a couple if free books. Trimmed my finger nails!

Up to Silver level for "Phineas & Ferb" discussion. This had more audience participation than from the panel. Also a lot of younger persons were there.

Discovered one of the nose pieces on my glasses has disappeared!

Down to con suite for a soda and bite.
Then to Crystal B for "SF Squeecast: Live" It was the first time all the members had all been in the same room atthe same time. The Special Guest was Jay Lake. After editing this podcast should be available on the website.

Got another soda from the consuite then back to Crystal B for Story Musgrave interview by John Scalzi. Story told us about his child hood, his multiple degrees and his relationship with the Hubble Space telescope.

Moved downstairs to Picasso where the newly formed Worldcon Heritage Organisation discussed it's aims and objectives. Conserving the Worldcon / Hugo exhibit, catalogueing and making it available to future conventions.

Down to dealers room and had a quick chat with Steve S of SoftWear Toys & Tees. Confirmed I have a supporting membership in Loncon3.

Read for a while, went through pedway to Jimmy John's had 8" sub with beef and pink lemonade for $5.96.

Went up to Ops (on Blue skyway) and discovered my lost book had been handed in!

By 7:10 the queue for the Hugos wound throughout the whole of Gold floor! Entered the Grand Ballroom 7:35.

The Hugo Award Ceremony started at about 8:10 and finished at 10:30.
The ballroom was packed with standing room only, it was also streamed live to Dragoncon.

Toastmaster John Scalzi gave out all the Hugos (except for short fiction, a category he was nominated in).

Long queue leaving the Ballroom so waited reading until the line disappeared. Then back to hostel while listening to a Big Finish podcast. Got back 11:15 and showered before bed at 12:20.

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Chicon 7 Day Three
Got up at 6:00, showered then check email and LJ. At 7:10 went down for breakfast, no bagles though had cereal, OJ, coffee, waffle fingers with maplesque syrup, muffin and croissant.

Updated text of yesterday's doings, but due to missing info didn't upload.

From the Chicon.Org website I discover a webapp version of the program which is awesome. This actually works on my iPod and is fast and easy to use. Highly recommended.

Walked up State started to drizzle went into CVS got scissors, plasters and nail clippers. Self service pay station caused a small problem, but managed to exit $16.67 poorer.

Went to check the art show but not open until 10:00 so stayed in con suite and uploaded yesterday to LJ.

Met [Unknown site tag] and chatted for a bit.

Went to Crystal A for "the Personal Replicator" but left after half an hour as only one panelist had personal experience and there were no example. Went down to the Concourse bought supporting membership in Lone Star Con 3 next years worldcon and voted for the London 2014 site selection.

At 12:00 I rushed back to the Plaza Ballroom for "Operetta: Choice of Endings" based on a Tanya Huff story, starred a who's who of filking.

Then back to Brockwinkel's grocery store for chilli and a bagel for $3.76.

Once again back to the Plaza for Seannan McGuire's concert. Unfortunately by the time I got there (1:25) all the seats were taken and it was standing room only at the back!
But the music was excellent.

In the fairly small Grand Suite 2AB for "1632: Computing without electronics" in which the 1632 editorial board discussed why electronic won't appear in this series, why the Babbage Anslitical Engine would cost too much and be too slow. And why and how fluidic computing could come into it's own.

Staying in the same room "Eureka vs Warehouse 13 Smackdown" was a game show in which the host (Bob Kuhn) provided scenarios and each team had to say who (from their program) would be able to resolve it, and how. Seannan McGuire and Patrick Hester represented Eureka and Thomas Shanna and Shanna Swendon flew the flag for Warehouse 13. Seannan was the standout performer, frequently taking on the persona of the charter and explaining why he/she would deal with the problem best. However there was enough of a fight back that it was a lock for Eureka. They did win (not least because Eureka has a larger pool to choose from.)

Up to [livejournal.com profile] filkferengi's room at 5:50,then got taxi to Jane H's appartment near the John Hancock Observatory, on the 33 floor. Arrived 6:20 and we knew we were on the right floor due to lovely curry smell pervading the corridor.

James B, Jane, Jerrie & Marty, Liz & Ian, Malcolm, Elaine, Liz T, Frank M, Stellan, Cally, Irene and me. 14 people in total, who's commonality was being on the Lois Bujold mailing list at sometime.

James oversaw the partaking of ther curries he and his minions had prepared. Lots of conversations occured, photos were taken.

A grand fireworks display at Navy Pier at 10:15 to 10:30 drew us to the east windows.

We posed for a group photo and then all left Jane's apartment at 10:45, I walked to Chicago and State where I caught a Red line south to Jackson. Got to hostel by 11:15 and was in bed by 11:35.

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mbernardi: (Default)

Chicon 7 Day Two
Woke 6:15 checked email, LJ and RSS. Showered, having access to a good daily shower is cool!
Breakfast was the same as yesterday, but ran out of bagels just as I went to get one, no apples either.

After updated my LJ (corrected bad markup on eeepc). Uploaded yesterday's happening. Listened to Click podcast as walked up Wabash to Hyatt. Arrived just before 10:00 decided to goto Chicon/Dragoncon simul panel. There were some problems getting audio to Atlanta, but all fixed by start time of 10:30. Cat Valente (moderator) arrived slightly late and missed the introductions by Elizabeth Moon and Joan Spicci Saberhagen in Chicago and Katherine Kurtz and Tedd Roberts in Atlanta. "Who are you really?" a discussion on identity, how you are different in different locals. Issues with Internet identities. Living in a small town, and different countries. Writing characters who are and are not like you.

Moved to filk track in the Plaza Ballroom on the Green level. Met [livejournal.com profile] filkferengi then at 12:00 "Concert: Tim Griffin and Cathy McManmon"

After concert went to grocery store round the corner. Bought chicken soup, bagels and bananas for $5.13

Then to the con suite for a soda. Near registration charged iPod and Ian (Liz Cs spouse) spotted me and stopped to chat. Discovered book I was reading has gone missing;(

Back to Plaza Ballroom for a concert with Betsy Tinney (on cello), Mary Crowell (on keyboard), Amy McNally (on fiddle) and friends. Betsy did some cool instrumentals and Mary did some classics.

Hurried down to Grand Suite 3 to hear Cat Valente read from a new novella, a western based on Snow White. In fact Cat arrived later than I did.

Intended to go to the Regency dance at 5:00 but my blisters have made walking painful so dancing is right out.

Updated this instead, got complemented on my Dendarii T-shirt and hat.
Went looking for somewhere to eat and ended up at the Michigan Ave Subway I ate at on Wednesday. Tuna 6" with lemonade and two cookies for $5.54. While wandering the unmapped Pedway system I discovered Dunkin Donuts and bought two for $1.10.

Charged iPod and read for a bit then back to Plaza Ballroom for "Concert: Diamond Star" a mix of readings, dance and music, by Catherine Asaro with Greg Adams and local band "Blue Soul".

Then to Columbus KL (on Gold level) to hear GoH Mike Resnik ramble through bits of his life from birth, growing up in Chicago to university also in Chicago (he didn't graduate), getting married and becoming a father, to writing adult stories and going to early worldcons, meeting Doc Smith (and not knowing who he was speaking to until he left), mentoring new talent. After he finished wandered down to the Concourse to get something to leave in the hostel library.

Left Hyatt around 10:20 and in bed by 11:30.

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mbernardi: (Default)

Chicon 7 Day One
Woke 5:30 couldn't really get back to sleep caught up on email and LJ got up 7:30 found I've got blisters. Washed up, sorted clothes and then down to breakfast by 8:00. Better selection than yesterday, possibly as I was earlier. Added toasted bagel with cream cheese, croissant, and an apple to what I had yesterday!

Updated diary and posted sections to LJ.
Left at 9:30 walked north on Michigan and turned right on Wacker arrived at 10:00 read until 10:25 intending to go to the first program item "Sing along chicon 2000 songbook" unfortunately and unexpectedly it was full by the time I got there and they had run out of songbooks!

So I wandered up to registration, where I bumped into James B. He told me all systems were go for Saturdays listie curry.

Read for a bit, got my first ribbon from [livejournal.com profile] filkerdave, chatted, found the dealers room (not open until 12:00) and Ruth B chatted for a
while. Another chat with [livejournal.com profile] filkerdave, I've already spoken to more people than at Eastercon!

Read for a bit then took a wander around the dealers room and concourse. Picked up a book from the SF Outreach project. Spent an hour there, offered my seacon 79 t-shirt to the worlcon exhibit (if I can find it).

Then to Subway for lunch.

Read while waiting for the opening ceremony.

Opening Ceremony was styled as the John Scalzi talk show, with a band (Toyboat) and guests; Eric Korshak (co-chair of Chicon I), Deb Kosiba (Hugo designer), Kathy (younger sister of Rowena Morrill), Mike Resnik, Jane Frank, Peggy Rae Sapienza, Sy Liebergot (mission control for Apollo), Dave McCarty (co- chair of Chicon 7).

Then went down to the con suite had a drink and a bite. Met and chatted about Hugos with John.

Toured the Art show lots of differing media.

Went to McDs in pedway had southern chicken meal with dipped ice-cream, $7.46. Kicked out at 7:00 when it closed. Did have free working wifi unlike the Hyatt/Chicon.

At 7:30 I found Columbus EF where Sy Liebergot (exNASA Flight Controller) gave a talk "Apollo 13: The Longest Hour" the story of how the Apollo 13 story really started.

This was followed by "GoH Presentation Rowena Morrill" by sister Kathy Morrill. Rowena to I'll to come, but she coached her sister with stories about the pictures in this slide show. Met Michelle again as I was leaving, had a gopher t-shirt already!

So far there have been two newsletters "the Write Stuff" and two "Pink Sheet" with program changes.

Walked down Micigan to hostel. Read a bit. Bed by 11:20

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mbernardi: (WeeMee)

Woke 7ish read email and LJ until 8:00 went for breakfast on 2nd floor. Had cereal, OJ, coffee, waffle fingers and a blueberry muffin.

After cleaning my teeth ;) waited for 10:30 free walking tour, met Michelle who is also going to Chicon but she is decamping to a vin hotel over the weekend. Chatted about Hugos and authors.

At 10:30 we started the tour led by HI Chicago volunteer, walked Downtown, inside a couple of building ending up near city hall at noon.

Wandered north to the con hotel, partway on the Chicago riverbank.
Had a sub of the day with cookies and lemonade for lunch for $5.45

Got to Hyatt at 1:00 collected badge, program book and pocket program, met Michelle! Read for an hour and a half then walked to the Navy Pier arriving around 3:00.

Bought a Chicago style hot dog and a draft of cold Budwiser at Landshark Beer Garden. Updated todays entry.

Exited the Navy Pier and walked
North along (as in next too) Lake Shore Drive a ver busy road. At Chicago I took the underpass to the Visitors info centre in the old library, opposite Water Tower Place.

The centre has free wifi as do all the public libraries.

Walked west to State Street and got on the Red line at Cichago and went south to Jackson, the nearest station on the Red line to the hostel. Dumped program book, got an ice cream then took the Brown line from H W Library to State with a 25c transfer. Walked to Hyatt saw Jo Walton outside Houlihan's. Left phone message for [livejournal.com profile] filkferengi and spouse M. At around 8:00 decided to leave and bumped into them both at Houlihan's. As we were chatting Ruth B also from Bujold list stopped for a word.

Went to a grocery store near the Hyatt, fair prices the to their room to catchup, it's been over two years since we last met up in person!

At 9:45 [livejournal.com profile] filkferengi and I went down to the filking but no one there so explored the basement food court (all closed). Returned to Gold Coast room and people were arriving but decided to pumpkin. Walked back to hosted, found 7/11 open and got an Italian style hotdog journey took half an hour. Bed around 11:00.

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Read for a while, then at 10:10 left the hostel and walked to the taxi rank near the Notre-Dame Basilica ad got a taxi to the airport. The 20minutes journey has a flat rate of 28$ and I arrived at 10:40. Found the KLM Self Service kiosks and printed my boarding cards, boarding doesn't start until 17:25 so I expect a few hours before i can check my baggage. (None of the KLM counters are currently manned!)

Sat reading an ebook for a while (found a power point) until 14:30 when I used up my last 10$ bill for a BK whopper meal. Then checked my bag (without queuing) and then went through security, for which queuing was required.
Looked for cigarettes for D without any luck, then to gate B57 where I found a power socket to use until we had to board the plane. Read until 18:00 when we boarded flight KL0672, took off about half an hour later. Served dinner soon after take off, I had a chicken and rice concoction. Saw "Ghosts of Girlfriends Past" on the multimedia center, managed just over and hour of sleep, then breakfast was served. Landed at Amsterdam 00:42/6:42.

Bought duty free (EU duty paid) whiskey and cigs. Plugged laptop into mains at Internet cafe and read ebook for awhile. Then to gate to wait to board flight VG0221 to London. Took off at 11:10 and landed 11:50 / 10:50 at City Airport. Got through Passport control and collected my bag then out to the DLR station by 11:25 and then to London Bridge, where I was able to get the 12:00 south arriving home just after 13:00. I tumbled into bed and slept to 19:45!

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