Every year on the Wednesday closest to Valentine's, the Young Women's organization at church holds their "Daddy-Daughter Date." This is the second year running that it's coincided with the pre-convention activities for Life, The Universe, and Everything. Fortunately, the daughter I'd be taking to whatever activity the church is sponsoring would MUCH rather LARP at the Space Education Center in Pleasant Grove. Thus it was that my 10-year-old daughter served as my first officer aboard the Federation Starship Voyager Wednesday night. We had a bridge crew of eleven, including ourselves, and a mission worthy of some of the worst Trek morality plays -- in our case, an escaped slave arrived just outside the neutral zone, followed closely by armed pursuit (where "armed" = "armed better than us"). It was fun, but frustrating. I found out after the fact that the team running the simulator decided that instead of running us at "Level Two," which is for adults with little or no experience, they'd run us at "Level Three," which is for crews fully familiar with the systems. Naturally, this meant we got blown up. As Captain, I accept full responsibility. While I'm very competent as a commanding officer, I should have shed the veneer of competence, and taken the green nature of my staff as a cue to begin manipulating the game-master -- sending my 10-year-old first officer to ask "stupid" questions of the computer, complete with a pleading look in those big, brown eyes would probably have done the trick. One unforseen (because I'm an idiot) side-effect... functioning for two hours "in charge" raised my stress level to places where it hasn't been since leaving Novell. Management is like that. The alternative -- letting someone ELSE be in charge -- would have been little better. I did that LAST year, and was similarly stressed. The only way to win, it would seem, is not to play. Next year Kiki and I will probably do the church spaghetti dinner thing, which is good, because I'll have another daughter in tow by then, and the last thing I want is for BOTH my girls to get blown up by space-slavers. The rest of the evening was fine. We ate, I met Kevin J. Anderson (which reminds me... I need to haul a book or two of his along for signing), I reconnected with a bunch of the local uber-geeks (several published SF/F authors live in the area), and I got my laptop on the BYU wireless network (this involved configuring DHCP with a hard-coded gateway address, and then downing and restarting the network interface "eth1" from a terminal window). Hopefully the wireless connection will allow me to write fun blog posts about Day One live from the event. Then again, I could hope that I'm so busy cranking out paid commissions that I have no time to open my laptop.