Penguicon: Day 2

I checked on the Chaos Machine first thing in the morning, and it was cranking along merrily. A couple of guys had been working on it all night, and by the time I arrived it was all tuned up and running pretty much optimally. And that's pretty much the LAST time it was so tidy. After breakfast, Chaos-poking, and blogging (the "Day 1" post), I took a 50-minute nap to tune myself up for the coming day. I checked out the Dealer's Room -- it was tightly packed and very crowded. It looks as if this particular venue has less than enough space for the dealers, which is kind of sad since the atrium area is so perfect for the rest of the convention stuff. Anyway, while there I picked up Rob Balder's newest book, and had a look at Michael Z. Williamson's table full of sharp things (including some books I need to get). My 1:00pm panel was fun -- Rob, Eric, Ferret, and I talked about "success" as webcartoonists, both in terms of defining it and in terms of achieving it once you've figured out what "it" is. At 2:00pm I talked hot peppers, hot sauces, and other hot-stuff with Eric Raymond and John Guest. Regaling people with hot-sauce anecdotes is always entertaining. At 3:00 we adjourned to the Con Suite where we had a hot-sauce tasting. My favorite was the 40,000-scoville-or-so "Pete's" sauce from Australia... poured over a bit of Oaxaca chocolate bar. Close behind it... stuffed olives. They'd been stuffed with habanero. Yum, followed by BANG! At 4:00 I took in the "Warfare in Science Fiction" panel. This was in "the Pit," an open living-room type setting that seats about 30. The hotel made an absurd request: Don't talk about Warfare in an open area. So the panelists rose to the challenge, and euphemistically discussed "Tea-Parties in Science Fiction" at euphemistic length. Starship Tea-Drinkers by Heinlein, Old Man's Tea-Party by John Scalzi, A Hymn Before Tea by John Ringo... the lengths to which this eupemism were stretched defy logic. It was hilarious and brilliant. And they managed to cover the material, even if there were a few disambiguation problems. At 6:00pm Jay Maynard and I made chupaquesos in the Con Suite -- the demonstration went well, and everybody enjoyed the eating part. Then I burned my hand on cheese grease. I got it into some ice water fairly quickly, but it still hurt a lot. Fortunately, Sal Sanfratello has a first-aid kit. He arrived within three minutes, slathered my hand with ointment, and wrapped it. As of this writing 13 hours later I have a blister on one knuckle, but no pain. That's the end of my scheduled activities for the evening. From 7:15pm until 1:30 am I poked the Chaos machine (which sprouted some very improbable towers and suspension bridges, none of which worked half so well as the stuff built on Friday), socialized, nibbled on treat-food, played with liquid Nitrogen, and basically "Con-puttered" myself into happy exhaustion. I won't trouble you with a blow-by-blow. Suffice it to say that during all that time I was never bored. I was fast asleep in bed by 2:00am. Tomorrow would come waaaay too fast, and getting everything packed and shipped promised to be a lot of work. I found out that I was to be scheduled for a 12:00 noon panel, too. Something about drawing stuff for the writers' workshop.
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