Chicon – The Windy Con

Thursday I flee work and head to Chicago for Chicon, the 70th Annual Science Fiction & Fantasy Convention (aka Worldcon).  To get a grasp on what this con is like, imagine a huge hotel in downtown Chicago taken over by geeks, nerds, cosplayers (people who dress up as their favorite characters), and generally the well-informed when it comes to science, sci-fi, and fantasy.  It’s kind of like a paradise for someone like me.

It is also a chance for me to get together with some old friends whom I haven’t seen in the flesh for several years, meet a lot of authors, get some autographs, attend a lot of very cool and interesting panels/events, and as an added bonus, get to see the Chicago Cubs play at Wrigley Field for the first time in my life.

So for kicks and to help those who will be attending find me (and to make those who aren’t attending envious), here’s my rough schedule for the weekend.  Flexible, of course, as I meet folks and learn of new things but I’m looking for to it.

Thursday, August 30

  • 2:30pm – Arrive via flight at 2:30pm, hotel by 5pm-ish
  • 6:00pm – 11:00pm : Opening Ceremony at Alder Planetarium
  • 7:30pm – 8:30pm : Crime & Fantasy

Friday, August 31

  • 9:00am – 10:30am : Anarchism in Sci-Fi & Fantasy
  • 10:30am – 12:00pm : Violence in Fantasy
  • 1:00pm – 5:00pm : Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field
  • 6:00pm – 7:00pm : Book Covers Revealed
  • 7:30pm – 9:00pm : Reading (Ferret Steinmez)

Saturday, Sept 1

  • Ungodly Early : 12 mile run (gotta keep up the training)
  • 9:00am – 10:30am : So You Wanna Be A Writer?
  • 11:30pm – 12:30pm : Viable Paradise 13 Gathering
  • 1:30pm – 1:45pm : Sneaky Meet an Author via a Friend
  • 1:30pm – 3:00pm : Habits of Effective Writers
  • 6:00pm – 7:30pm : Conquering Writer’s Block

Sunday, Sept 2

  • 12:00pm – 1:30pm : There Will Be Blood – But How Much Is Too Much?
  • Rest of the day is up in the air as I wander about, visit dealer rooms, see artists, etc.

Monday, Sept 3

  • Fly home

Why No Words

I’ve been asked by a few people why I haven’t mentioned writing on the blog as of late. Here’s my answer: I haven’t been writing.

This is not an ideal situation.  It’s certainly not what I wanted.  The reasons are vast and varied but mostly centers around work.  People outside the world of academia think that summer is a time of relaxation (i.e. ‘teachers get a whole three months off!’).  Those people have no idea what they are talking about.

Here in the technology realm, summer is a very busy time and far too short.  It’s our time to get major projects done.  Even though classes don’t start until the end of August,  students are already arriving.  My own staff returns next week meaning I have to be ready for training (something that rarely remains static from year to year).

However, events beyond just about anyone’s control has thrown all of that into chaos.   I won’t go into specifics, but it’s been unpleasant.  Projects have been left undone and I’ve been forced to cancel a number of planned vacation days.   Since I have to use all my vacation by August 31st or lose it, I’m looking at losing 7 days of vacation.  If I’m really lucky, I might only lose 5 but I’m not holding my breath.

All of this has left me worn out and tired.  I get home cranky every night and when I’m not cranky, I’m angry. One thing I am not feeling is creative.  Since late June, I’ve written about 1,500 words.  It’s been about two weeks since I’ve even looked at my current work-in-progress.

I have a brief respite at the end of August, a literal ‘light at the end of the tunnel’ as I travel to Chicago for WorldCon and see a bunch of friends I haven’t seen in the flesh for almost three years (plus a Cubs game at Wrigley Field).  Of all the ironies, a lot of this load will ease about two or three weeks into the school year.  Of course, I just have to make it that far.

Artist Rendition of the Author