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Tuesday April 24, 2007
Penguicon 5.0: Day 0 Day 1
I flew into DTW Thursday afternoon, and my good friend Sal Sanfratello of Aegis picked me up at the airport. We then made our way through Ann Arbor where we grabbed chinese food, and into Pinckney, Michigan where Sal has three acres appropriately named "Haven." I missed the pre-Convention dinner in favor of hanging out with Sal and friends, disbursing most of the last of my discontinued t-shirt stock to an Aegis basic class, and pushing about 50 rounds of .40 into targets mounted at the front of a burm.
In short, it was a very nice evening.
Penguicon began on Friday morning with "Geeks with Guns." Lots of friends there -- Eric Raymond, Jay Maynard, David Campbell, Sal Sanfratello, Paul Neubauer, Yanni (the actress) and others -- I think our group had about 30 shooters in it. Jay let me try out a couple of his pistols. I had a grand time, and shot a reasonably tight grouping. My scattered non-groupings from the night before were obviously an artifact of "I haven't shot in a while."
From there it was back to the hotel, where I quickly got settled in with my generous roommate David Campbell. I got registered, located the prime piece of real-estate the convention was providing me, and hung out my shingle.
For about four hours on Friday I sold books, whipped out sketches, and sold ribbons. Yes, that's right, instead of giving them away, I sold ribbons with Rules 12, 34, and 37 on them for a dollar each. Most badge ribbons you get for doing something -- being a Serenity fan, writing computer software, attending a particular panel, etc. My ribbons are no different, but the thing you have to do is "commit commerce" with me. As mercenary ploys go, it worked fine (by the end of the convention I would sell $80 worth of ribbons, and give at least 75 ribbons away to people buying merchandise.)
Anyway, during that four-hour block on Friday I moved through almost a third of the books I'd brought with me. This was a relief, as it meant I was covering my expenses on the trip. Every sale for the rest of the convention would be gravy.
I took a break to do a panel with a few other webtoonists -- The Ferrett, Randy Milholland, Ben Rodriguez, and Megan Gedris. My appearance was kind of impromptu, and The Ferrett told me to come sit up front with them rather than in the back. The panel was fun. I shared the story of the hate-mail I got from that one guy who said "I can't believe a story in which a woman changes affections from one man to another." Randy's response to that was "He's obviously living on Planet Celibate."
Speaking of Randy Milholland: I was terrified to meet him because his online persona is so intimidating. It turns out that he's a gentle, funny, polite man with an easy smile and no weapons. He and I got to spend lots of time talking over the weekend, and I look forward to rubbing shoulders with him at conventions in the future.
I ended up getting a seat at the Celebrity Munchkin table, where Randy Milholland, Steve Jackson, and others were supposed to duke it out over a game of cards. As it turned out, Steve had to bow out early, so the rest of the table stood a chance. Randy played a mean game, as did Jay Maynard (his first!), but another newbie very nearly snuck up to level 10 without us noticing. Ultimately, however, yours truly nailed his 10th level looking for trouble on a poor 1st-level monster. I credit my win to the fact that everybody used their ammo beating down Randy and others on the previous round.
After that it was time to wander from room party to room party waiting for sleep to beckon. It beckoned at around midnight-thirty, and I zonked out in cheerful anticipation of Day 2.