karl_lembke (karl_lembke) wrote,


Last week, I was at my first ever Worldcon.

Months ago, I failed a saving throw and agreed to run the Staff Lounge. I had been told it was about the same magnitude as the con-suite at a Gallifrey One. In fact, it was about twice as busy.

My deputy, second, and/or chief of staff was joansteward who did a heroic job of running the Lounge while I was out procuring food for the masses. I think I made an average of two shopping trips per day, as lists were developed.

Joan's task would have been impossible, except for the efforts of a great staff and absolutely wonderful volunteers. David Kushner helped a great deal, especially during the first half of the week, just doing those myriad little things that needed doing. Barb Spearman was in the Staff Lounge almost constantly, and Julie Ripley, a food service pro with 20 years' experience, worked some of the most amazing magic with leftovers and donated items.

One item that received a lot of favorable mention was the salad bar, which was in place every day from lunch until closing. The set-up was very simple – fill one of those under-the-bed storage bins with ice, and arrange dishes of salad ingredients in it. But it gave everyone access to fresh vegetables and salad makings.

Despite being frantically busy, I did manage to see a bit of the Worldcon. On a couple of occasions, I was thrown out of the Lounge so I could get a little rest.

I had brought my "adopted nephew" Kevin along, and this was his first Worldcon. Long about Thursday, I realized I had been a bit neglectful and gave him some spending money and specific hours during which he would be expected to work in the Lounge, and sent him off to enjoy the con.

Saturday afternoon, Eylat Poliner took over running the Lounge for an hour or so while the rest of us went over to the Convention Center for the wedding of Beckie Barbour and Bruce Rowan. Obi-Shawn conducted the wedding, and the happy couple was piped in and out by a bagpiper who was recruited at practically the last minute. Since we couldn't throw the traditional rice, or confetti, or flower petals, Marcia Zeff rounded up all of the toy rockets that had not yet been distributed by the "Name Brewster's Rocket" contest table and we launched those after the wedding.

I think everyone on the staff received dozens of compliments on how well run the Staff Lounge was, and on Saturday the Chairman of LA Con IV came in to give me a silver medal. This medal is given for performance above and beyond the call of duty reason sanity. I have since learned that these medals were awarded only by a unanimous vote of the Executive Committee, and that about 20 of them were awarded. Staff Lounge nabbed two silver medals, Joan having gotten the other one. Bronze "Hero of the Worldcon" medals were also given out to Joan, to Eylat Poliner and Beckie Barbour Rowan and to the three volunteers mentioned above.

Sunday afternoon and Monday morning were spent cleaning up the Lounge and moving stuff to a staging area where it would then be moved to the trucks. On Monday, we emptied out the rooms, packed the van, and headed home. I dropped Joan at her house and drove home with Kevin. After a couple of hours spent deleting a week's worth of accumulated spam, I drove Kevin to his house so he could show off his new toys (a collection of swords bought in the Dealer's Room).

Joan picked up a cold at the con, and the worst day of it was Saturday. Based on timing, I must have picked up the cold from her, and I was definitely feeling its effects Monday. My worst day with the cold was Tuesday, and today it's mostly faded.

I brougt a supply of copies of my book to the con, and the staff in the Lounge managed to sell half a dozen copies. Milt Stevens, who ran the Fanzine Lounge, managed to sell over a dozen copies. All told, this was almost enough to cover the cost of all the copies I bought. Feel free to help defray costs by buying your copy today!

Cheap, shameless book plug

Tuesday was the day of truck unloading at the storage locker and at the LASFS. I knew I was going to be useless for moving stuff, since I was dealing with this cold. Instead, I spent the day whipping up stuff to use the leftovers I brought home from the Staff Lounge. A double batch of rice pudding and a quintuple-size crustless quiche used up a couple of gallons of milk, the rest of the eggs, the rest of the broccoli florets, and about half of the remaining turkey. I brought that to the truck unload, and took home some of the boxes I had arranged to be shipped back on the moving van.

In between some additional errands, I stopped for a while at Joan's house and we had some ice cream. After the ice cream, I phoned to learn the status of my last errand of the day. When I learned the errand was going to be completed without further need of my attention, I went home and collapsed for the day.

All in all, it was a very intense week.

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