Party by the Rules

Did you hear about the caterer who was so self centered, he thought that parties were a place of business?

No?

Well, there are apparently a lot of writers who think so.  Because science fiction conferences are – for them – a place of business and a must-attend, they think that they are the same for everyone else.

As I’ve said before in this space, there is a set of my colleagues so strange that they think the important part of the gift is the box.

My cats think that too.

But I think it’s actually odder than that.  I think my colleagues have lived so long in fictional worlds that they think rules prevent things from happening.

If only there were rules about not robbing banks!

I’ve been getting the usual pitches for cons — mind you this year it’s Ravencon and Liberty con and that’s it, because a) money is tight and b) the reason money is tight is that nothing really got turned in last year, and it must be compensated for this year, so we can sell this house and move (which must be done for various reasons including this house is too much to keep up while having a full time writing job). — and reading them, and about half of them tell me they’ve signed on to the non-harassment rules, so you know, I’ll be perfectly safe.

They’re SO proud of it.  And I sit here and all I can think is of the non-harassment rules in work places, and of the normal behavior of fans, male and female, and then I think:

Before you start screaming, I’m not for harassment (who is?) and I’m not even against rules.  Some basic, enforceable rules are useful.  Say “don’t bring up pron on your computer in a con suite with children playing around.”  Or say “Don’t go feeling up people, or cornering them and trying to feel them up.  And don’t try to get into their rooms.”

Most cities/countries/human societies already have rules against being a total *sshole. They’re called laws.

Why, yes, that later has happened to me, (no, I wasn’t doing it, sillies.  Well,  I do this stuff to my husband — groping, not pron — but he doesn’t mind.)  I fail to see in the situation what a rule would have done about that, since the first instance (trying to corner me and feel me up) was done by a — then — powerful editor, late at night, in a semi-deserted corridor on the party floor.  Quite frankly, what he was trying to do was already against the rules — civil society rules.  I believe forcibly stopping someone and trying to grope them is assault, right?  Unfortunately, I also wasn’t carrying a handy policeman in my pocket.  I was carrying a knife (I usually am) but you know how con hotels are about blood stains on the carpet.

Fortunately I had my knee with me — and my foot.
To be fair to him, Darkship Thieves wouldn’t be published for another six years.

It never even occurred to me to report it, because a) he was a powerful editor.  b) I was a newly published writer.  c) No one saw it.  d) He was more than three sheets to the wind — and probably wouldn’t remember it in the morning.

Note that C is the killer.  It would be he said, she said, and no matter how many rules there are about it, and no matter that it was I saying it, he should be considered innocent until proven guilty.  And I couldn’t prove him guilty.  Had I been able to prove him guilty, I wouldn’t have bothered the con com.  I’d have gone straight to Tor.  (Yes, him.  Though I only figured that out recently.)

On the other hand, let’s not make of this more than it was — yeah.  He made me feel uncomfortable.  Am I the only woman in sci fi who went to bars when young?  Evading drunk gropers is par for the course, and it shouldn’t make you spend the rest of your life acting like a rape victim.

I had an uncomfortable minute.  I’m going to assume that he had a longer uncomfortable time.  Our transaction was cancelled in my favor.

That bill was paid with interest.

And right now you’re thinking “But if you had that happen to you, why would you object to a few sensible rules against harassment at cons?  Even if the rules don’t stop it, wouldn’t it be good to remind the troglodytes attending that there are rules?”

The most important part of my objection is this.  A con is not this to most people:

(Why does the male office worker look like Hitler?)

To most people — to the fans, the people that make a convention a convention — a con is this:

Okay, this is clearly a furry convention, but…

This means that a set of people who are so far from average they can’t see it with a periscope use conventions as a means of meeting potential mates; of talking to friends they haven’t seen in years; of — sometimes the only time in the entire year — letting their hair down and being themselves.  I know that I keep a running check at the back of my head not to freak the mundanes.  If I’m talking to someone at church, or in the park, or when the kids were little at school, I have to remember not to use sf references or the geek jokes that are the language of our people.  Because even in these days when geek=cool, the wrong word at the wrong time and suddenly you’re:

Don’t answer your art teacher’s injunction not to be afraid of dark tints with “Come to the dark side! We have COOKIES!” You’ve been warned.

So if people now have to mind their every word and be very careful what they say and do at a con, suddenly it’s not a place to go and relax anymore; it’s not a place to have fun.  Suddenly it’s:

Or depending on the rules, and on the rule creep, and on how much credence it’s given to “she said” versus “he said”, it becomes:

Of course, we don’t have to worry about this, because there are no people in science fiction and fantasy (either professionals or fandom), so exquisitely messed up that they suffer from pre-emptive ptsd.  PRE traumatic stress disorder, you could call it.  That is, there are no people who freak out at the mere thought of someone maybe, possibly, saying something that could, might, offend them, at a talk they can attend or not, as they prefer.

Because in an assemblage of geeks and outcasts, we never have anyone who either been stomped on so hard, or been raised as such a precious little princess (particularly the guys! ) that they think the right not to to be offended is a basic right.  And we NEVER have people who completely misinterpret someone else’s actions and think they’ve been “harassed”.

But it is worse than that.  In offices, things can be weird enough.  Studies have been done on what’s considered “sexual harassment.”  Did you know the same exact come-on from an unattractive man with poor hygiene and from an attractive man with signs of wealth are variously considered “harassment” or “Flirting”?

Mind you, in offices, the business of the company and the reason people are there takes precedence, and if there’s no flirting and no hanky-panky (to the extent that’s possible with human beings) it’s all to the good.

So why do I object to no flirting and no hanky-panky at cons?

Guys, do you hear yourselves?  The business of a con is this:

Cross that with the social skills of my people:

How many guys are going to have what they think is a perfectly respectful come-on mistaken for harassment?  How many geek girls are going to take offense at the fact that he is — let’s face it — often lame and think they were abused? (I should add here the only cases of SERIOUS sexual assault I know of at cons, and the ones that go largely unpunished/unreported are guy-on-guy.)

This is what is waiting to happen.  Over and over and over again:

How long, in fact, before conventions become a bit of a chore and something people avoid?

So I look at all these “rules” being put in place by people who think the world can and should be made safe for them, people who believe that not just sticks and stones, but words can break their bones, and I think of the royal families of Europe, when their kids were hemophiliac, trying to save the royal line by putting cushions around every tree and bush to keep the kids from hurting themselves.  It didn’t work for them.  For us… Knowing how overworked, tired, uncompensated the few people people willing to serve on con committees are (I put one on long ago, not in sci fi.  Trust me) I predict what they’re going to get is an avalanche of complaints from booth babes that some guy looked at them wrong.

The good news is that though rules can’t make a con safe — they can make the con com nuts; they can make everyone uncomfortable; they can create spectacularly involved he-said, she-said situations — people can make a con safe.

You need one rule: Jim Baen’s “Don’t be a butthead.”

And you need a bunch of people ready to enforce that rule.  You also need women (and men) who aren’t fainting flowers and, in the last instance, stand ready and willing to defend themselves.

Because no matter how many friends you have, or how many fans ready to defend you, they can’t always be with you at all times — for the same reason you can’t carry a policeman in your pocket —  if you do this:

You’re only giving the butthead power he shouldn’t have.  RULES CANNOT STOP BUTTHEADS.  And there is a hair-fine difference between buttheads and nice guys with zero social ability — which are abundant in our field.  Complaining about the nice guys will just make them run away and hide in the basement for the next fifty years.

So, be prepared to do this:

Because that’s something that both the buttheads and the misguided geeks will get and learn from.  And recover from — far more quickly than an involved, disciplinary “he said/she said” bureaucratic mess.

Do I expect this to be listened to?  What, with people who believe violence never solved anything and that rules will keep them safe?

Yes, I really DO like this GIF

Never mind.  Carry on with your:

But don’t come crying to me if after the first few crazy blowups, fans do this:

302 responses to “Party by the Rules

  1. Christopher M. Chupik

    GIF post! :-D

    My local comic-con/SF con has recently made a big deal about telling congoers: “Cosplay is not consent”. This was put into effect because “rape culture is on the rise”. Of course, this was at a con where the most reprehensible sexual behavior I saw was from a pack of young women. I’m going this year, but I’m very, very wary now.

    • “rape culture is on the rise”

      Whenever I hear a statement like that (and I know that it was the con, not you who said this) I wonder “based on what evidence?” Note the weasel word “rape culture.” That lets them point to any behavior they want to demonize, from actual rape to calling a girl “sugar,” and point to it as an example of “rape culture.”

      • Christopher M. Chupik

        “Rape culture” is so ill-defined it could mean anything they don’t like. Which is the point.

        • ‘When I use a word,’ Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, ‘it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.’

      • I was “debating” * the issue of “rape culture” with a sweet young thing and when I brought up the notion of presumption of innocence and having to prove the crime beyond a reasonable doubt, she whined, “That’s exactly what I mean!”

        * Scare quotes because the “debate” ran in the pattern,
        me: presents a rational statement
        sweet young thing: whines louder about “evil rape culture”

        • So she actually thinks things would work better if there was neither presumption of innocence nor evidentiary requirements to prove the crime of rape? Does it not occur to her that, under such standards, people she cares about — or herself — might wind up imprisoned on such chartes if they had any enemies willing to make them?

          • No. It’s what they have in college…

            • And that standard, in college, only applies to men, so she wouldn’t believe that it could happen to her.

              • They are driving men out. why would they want an all female environment?

              • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                I was thinking about this and had this thought.

                The best defense against fake charges of rape for the man is for the man to never be alone with the woman.

                So if she want to go off and “cuddle” with a guy, the guy insists on having an older woman in the same room with them.

                What would that “special snowflake” think of that idea. [Evil Grin]

              • It’s a good thing, then, that she has neither male friends nor relatives, and that if applied by actual courts would remain only applicable to men.

          • As others have mentioned, they seem to honestly think these rules would never be applied against them. After all, they’re the victims and nobody ever oppresses victims. (I know… pull out the fuse that just blew in your brain and replace it…)
            Any attempt to bring up what seem to me reasonable problems that might arise are dismissed as “scare tactics” by someone attempting to shore up “male privilege”.

    • And you should be. Fortunately, my wife is usually at the cons and with me so at least I have a witness.

    • I haven’t seen anything about that statement being because, “rape culture is on the rise,” but I follow some cosplayers on Facebook, and they have talked a lot about the frustrating dichotomy of the fact that a significant number of con-goers apparently really do see a revealing costume as an invitation for a walk-by groping, yet it’s trivialized by other cosplayers who wear revealing costumes and start hyperventilating if someone looks at them anywhere but in the eye.

      • Christopher M. Chupik

        That’s why I like the “free slap” idea. Of course, I’m sure some of the gropers would *like* getting slapped . . .

      • I think you hit it on the nose that actions that are *wrong* are trivialized by trivial complaints. (sort of a tautology, I suppose). Dressing up in revealing, sexy, costumes isn’t in invitation to a groping, but it certainly is an invitation to appreciate a revealing, sexy, costume… or what was the point? I suppose the point was to be attractive to the *attractive* guy… but… ya know… you can’t control who looks unless you only dress up in costumes for a particular person behind a closed door.

        • I suppose the point was to be attractive to the *attractive* guy… but… ya know… you can’t control who looks unless you only dress up in costumes for a particular person behind a closed door.

          This is a growing problem. A shocking number of folks seem to think dressing up (down?) in remarkably little is not an invitation for people to notice. Much behavior that has been described as ‘creepy’ of late has something to do with the ‘wrong’ people noticing what is on display.

          • I was walking in front of a couple of young men between classes the other day. Apparently they’ve got a “really hot” teacher who “wears yoga pants twice a week.”

            • As long as all parties accept that it was done to elicit (or that it can be reasonably expected to elicit) visual admiration (and only visual) and no parties decide that there’s a membership required for the admiration, then — more power to all involved.

              My college profs didn’t do that. And I believe I’m thankful…

              • Yeah. What’s appropriate is a different issue. Everyone really ought to ask themselves, “Am I presenting a professional image,” and “what does my choice of clothing say about me.” After all, most of the arguments against dress-code or uniforms is that clothing is self-expression.

                It’s a bit much to insist on self-expression and then insist that no one respond to what you’re expressing.

                But I absolutely agree that no amount of self-expression in clothing choices equates to “grab my ass”.

                I should mention that the guys I overheard weren’t being rude or denigrating. Just appreciative. The instructor involved might not have liked to know about it, though.

                • Oh, if we’re talking about professionalism, I gave up expecting that out of professors some time ago…
                  ;)

                • When you’re talking about young men in the height of their hormonal madness, even professional dress may not prevent such reactions. I once had a class with a female professor who wore business suits most of the time. However, her skirts had a tendency to be tight enough to be very distracting to me.

                  All I can say, is, it’s a good thing I was able to soak up the class instruction with only about 1/4 of my brain…

        • At the extreme, you get Femen, which claims that young woman running about topless are asserting their ownership of their bodies.

          Not, “Hey, look at ME!”

          They assert, apparently straight-faced, that they are protesting when they do — overlooking that every article I’ve ever read about them shoves their purported purpose far down from the lede.

    • Rape culture is on the rise, and the same people that are supporting new rules at cons are supporting the rise of an Islamic rape culture. It boggles the mind.

  2. This makes me glad I don’t write sci-fi. Because I would never EVER attend a conference where there are such asinine rules. (I know, not all sci-fi people are such rules-obsessed buttheads; it’s the 99% who give the remaining 10% their bad rep — oh wait, that’s lawyers, my bad.)

    I don’t even know whether historical fiction has cons — if there are, they’re probably more boring than the average high school history textbook — but if the Historical Fiction Writers Association of America* (HFWAA, or “huffwah”) does stage such things with similar rules, I’ll never attend one of them either.

    *I have no idea if this org exists.

    • They do, but I’ve never attended one.

    • Kim du Toit

      BTW: I know that 99% + 10% does not equal 100%. That’s an inside joke among historians — e.g we know that the Hundred Years War was actually 117 years long, and so on. Math isn’t our strong suit, but instead of being ashamed of our linnumeracy, we exalt it, in a boring, historian kind of way.

      • LOL– yes I have been in a party with historians … they were presenting papers during the food– and drinks.

      • Like the 19th Century is 1789 to 1914. *shrug* 95% of historians are not math people and the 15% of us that are didn’t do it voluntarily. Except for the Cliometricians, but they’re strange to begin with.

        • Silly historians! Everybody knows the 19th Century was 1815 to 1901. 1789–1815 and 1901–1914 weren’t part of any century. They were Bonus Prize Intercalary Years, which only wore numbers (and Groucho Marx glasses) so the mathematicians wouldn’t get suspicious upon seeing them in a crowd of other years.

        • TXRed, I had no idea that such a discipline existed.

          • It’s a term for the first and second “generations” of historians who used population statistics and population mapping to study social history (‘Cliometrics’). Some of the work is very well done and revealing, and some of it . . . well . . . the data tables are the exciting part of the prose.

            • The numbers are important since conclusions based derived by logic alone from philosophic premises are only so useful. At some point you have to show how it has occurred in the past, or explain why it hasn’t.
              History is very fun as a story, but it is useful to understand why, as well.

      • The Spanish “golden century” (siglo de oro) of flourishing of literature and arts in Spain was from around 1492 to around 1660. I believe no mathematicians were involved.

    • If you try to tell your version of the Zimmerman Telegram, I’m gonna cry harassment.

    • unfortunantly it’s becoming fashionable for all conventions to have these sorts of rules, because “any convention who isn’t willing to adopt these rules must only be unwilling because they encourage this sort of behavior” and the people pushing such rules are _very_ willing to generate press attention claiming this

    • A lot of SF and fantasy writers never attend. Even more readers. There was a time when a publishing house forbade its staff from attending lest they get a warped view of what their readership wanted to read. (Most their tastes other than political actually.)

  3. I like the whatever.gif too– I had a few instances in the workplace (a publishing company and then the Navy) when I had to defend myself. The first time I had been taught zero tolerance for hitting back so I didn’t realize that I could defend myself. It was actually worse than one grope. I eventually left the job–

    The second time I had gone through some self-defense so I defended myself and left the guy in question on the ground crying. My first class petty officers were hiding around the corner laughing at the guy’s pain. I found no reason to take it through the admin channels because the guy learned his lesson painfully. (Mat-shops were filled with Odds).

    As for parties– it happens in clubs and parties– I think some young girls and young men have NOT been given the tools to defend — considering the zero tolerance nowadays for any defense. Battery and domestic violence charges for slaps… (been watching too much COPs lately).

    • Cyn, if the kids are fresh out of high school the explicit rules are that if you defend yourself you get the same or worse as the aggressor. Which is not only creating generations of the easily bullied but a generation of tattle-tales as well.

      • I see– there is a time and place for telling… after you try to fix the problem and it gets worse … ;-)

      • I guess I’m setting my kids up for trouble then. They’re training in karate and I’ve explicitly told them to hit back if they have to, and to just hit the bully no matter what.

        Methinks I may have to school me some principals in the years to come. :) But then my oldest is 6, so maybe things will improve by the time she gets to High School.

        • Make sure you know what the local laws are with respect to assault and your rights when assaulted– and make sure your kids won’t be the ones initiating combat.

          A lot of the time when they try to expel the person who defended themselves, it stops when you inform them of their legal responsibilities should they be trying to conceal assault.

          • Oh certainly I will. Hadn’t thought about that angle with the schools, though. *evil grin*

          • *takes notes assiduously for the future*

            My thanks, Foxfier. That had not yet occurred to me, and it should have. Can’t make ‘em live by their own rulebook if you don’t know the rules backwards and forwards. I’m a gamer, I’m *used* to looking through a complicated rule set for holes to exploit.

            • I was almost suspended for “fighting” when I was five or six.

              A 14 year old who’d been held back to sixth grade walked up and hauled me off the playset to beat on, and I kicked him. A lot. In the knees.

              Since he was known to be “troubled,” he wasn’t punished, but if my mom wasn’t a blessed dragon they would’ve kicked me out.
              (They didn’t do him any favors. He died in a bar fight, trying to turn his life around as a bouncer, twenty years later.)

    • mikeweatherford

      I think the last time I had to physically defend myself was in 1972 or 73, against a German — in Germany. It was during some kind of public demonstration, can’t remember what for (Vietnam?). I told him four times to knock it off or I’d have to hurt him. Then I hurt him. The German police didn’t even lock him up. Two of them (off duty) were in the crowd, and vouched for what happened. I’ve never had to use the tricks I learned from Sergeant Han since then.

      I don’t do parties. Sound above a background level causes pain, and I’ve never been to a really QUIET party other than the ones with other people like me. I doubt I’ll ever attend a con. Maybe when I was younger — 30 years younger — I’d have found them interesting.

      • Mike– I have the same problem with noise… I worked in an after-school program for children between 6-11. I found out then that certain noises are just painful… plus I am not good in continuous noise. So no cons for me– plus I have problems with a suppressed immune-system.

      • Like you, I’ve been in one fight ever. But it was in Boy Scout camp, so I don’t think that really counts. Hasn’t stopped me from learning to fight though. Never know when you’ll need it. ;)

      • Haven’t been in a fight in quiet a few years, but when I was younger I used to think it was fun*. Once you get up in your twenties though it doesn’t seem near as much fun the next day.

        The last time I recall having to seriously physically defend myself I was with a drunk guy who was making fun of a guy who was crying (also drunk, I believe) because his girlfriend had broken up with him and then slammed the door ON his face when he tried to follow her outside. The other guy I was with and I tried to get our friend outside (who was under 21) before things got to out of hand. But then one of the crying guys buddies blindsided him and sucker punched him going through the door. Right in front of the security guard. We grabbed him, the security guard pepper sprayed the guy who sucker punched him, and radioed the cops, we hit the parking lot and threw our drunk friend in the truck. The guys buddies tried to stop us and teach us a lesson. We left three of them laying in the parking lot and exited one end of it as the cops were entering the other end. That has to have been around fifteen years ago now, and I’ve never been back to that place. They jumped us, at least one with a tire iron, other than an underage drunk we hadn’t did anything illegal, but didn’t really want to spend all night being interrogated by the cops, when the other guys had already learned their lesson.

        *Even at a younger age it is only fun when fighting someone you know and can trust to keep it a fairly even fight with no weapons involved.

  4. Cool story, bro. Needs more dragons.

      • Shhhh, no such thing ;-)

        • Depends on what one is talking about. If it glitters it’s just a romance cliche, so…? (Misdirection, good) (And no, I don’t think that actor makes for good eye candy, not my type at all :) )

          • What? You don’t like skinny and androgynous with a touch of gaunt?

            • I’m an adult. Maybe, with a decade or two more and lots of lifting iron that might mature into something okay, but as for now, no thanks. :)

              • I keep having the urge to give the kid a big bowl of stew with lots of beef and potatoes.

                Apparently he’s an OK guy– there’s video of him running away from a crowd of fan girls, his expression is priceless. (Also justifiable, but… it’s still funny.)

                • I’d be willing to subsidize a stew kitchen for the chronically underfed of entertainment and modeling…

                  • Think we could get tax exempt status?

                    • There’s a bunch of legal types bouncing around here, and some folks fighting the good fight in academia/government. I suspect we could put together a proposal of such epic obscurity it would be approved out of sheer admiration.

                      And because bureaucrats never want to admit they might not understand the lofty language.

                  • I know where we can get some free zucchini.

                    Lots of free zucchini. Just sayin’.

                    • I’ve no problem stretching the stew with some (ton or so) zucchini. But — we are trying to put some meat on them bones.

                    • There’s lots of beef in TX. I’m sujre we can find you some if you got the dough.

                    • Beef stew and dough… *excited* Are we making Cornish pasties? Haven’t had a good pasty in years. Nor a bad one for that matter.

                    • beef pot pie.

                    • Lots of sugars in zucchini. Just trying to do my capitalist duty to make this endeavor profitable… *grin*

                      Of course, I also know where one can go for free-range bacon (careful, has tusks). Two for one, reduce the population of wild pigs, feed skinny folks what need meat on their bones…

                    • Ooo..free-range pork. Very up-scale. And I could refine my carbine/rifle skills.

                      Hunting the zucchini, of course.

                • Yep, he’d need food too, and he might turn out okay after a while, with some luck we might get something like a shorter Liam Neesom once he’s (way) more mature. And yep, if the news stories can be trusted it seems he hasn’t gotten the swollen head syndrome yet, at least not badly. Let’s hope.

          • Here’s the thing about Twilight. What’s up with the 200+ year old stalking the 16-year old (is she even 16? Haven’t read them yet, but I did see Vampires Suck – which was pretty amusing. :) )? Can you say creepy? For that matter why is he even going near a High School? I don’t care how old you were when you were turned, High School sucks. 200+ years doesn’t make it suck any less. Hell they didn’t even HAVE High School back when… Never mind. It’s just..weird.

            *shudder*

            • Pedophilia chic? Although to the nitpickers it’s ephebophila.. Maybe it’s the possibility of corrupting innocence? 200 years ago 15 year olds were adults.

              • Hardly a “nitpick” — it’s the difference between being attracted to pre-pubescent versus post-pubescent individuals. Instinctive sexual attraction operates on biological markers, not the local legal age of consent. And the “local legal age of consent” has changed in most places over the last two centuries.

                If you lived to be 200 years old, starting today, and the age of consent changed from (for argument’s sake) 18 to 30 (roughly the equivalent to it changing from 10 to 16, which is what happened in many US States between 1814 and 2014), would you feel morally restrained from being attracted to 25 year old women? If not, why should the hypothetical vampire born in 1814 feel morally restrained from being attracted to 15 year old women?

                There are many other logical problems with the Twilight saga, but this isn’t one of them. This complaint is essentially the argument that the laws of today represent a firm moral standard which should be taken more seriously on a moral level than those of 1814 or 2214 — which is ridiculous.

                • I watched about 2/3 of the first movie (television was on, but it was rather boring so I did other things while watching). He was supposed to be about a hundred years old.

                  There is an old Finnish joke about what women supposedly want in men – ‘you’ll lead, I’ll whimper’ (said by the woman), and while the girl in the story did have to chase him a bit it seemed to be mostly like in that joke, he led, her job was just to persuade him that it was okay for him to, er, have her (except for the sex because he refused, having the standards of yesteryear). That can be quite appealing to a teenaged girl (I was one once…), a guy who knows what he is doing and also does it.

                  So yes, the writer did manage to wrap most things which many girls would find attractive into one package – looks young so less of the creepy factor because if you want to you can ignore the age as a practical issue, but has the age and what it brings so acts (more) like a man instead of a boy (in theory, anyway), has the standards of yesteryear which is romantic but would make a guy who was born now into a geek, but hey, this guy wasn’t born now, for him they come naturally, is a vampire so has also the appeal of the dangerous and the eternal life factor. The story was not told well enough (going by the movie, I have never tried the novel) to appeal well to most people who read a lot or are otherwise more familiar with storytelling tropes (or who are more prone to think through the implications or happen to like the traditional vampire tropes), but yep, while I was bored by it now maybe I would have liked it when I was about 14 or so.

                  • Late to the discussion, sorry, but one question: is there any reason to think a vampire would not be emotionally, attitudinally and intellectually frozen at the age when they became “immortal”?

                    Being undead they would cease to grow in any mode.

                    • Sounds plausible.

                      Heh. That could still leave the argument that the vamp should not have been interested in the girl, modern teenagers might seem pretty damn immature to a teen from a hundred years ago.

                    • If there’s no growth– or change– at all, then they wouldn’t be able to adapt to the whole “drink blood to survive” thing, or even move.

                      Traditionally, vampires fit your mold– they’re…zombies. The old kind. Once they’re crossed with the who succubus thing, the “logic” goes funky.

                      Funny to think of a vampire that returns to EXACTLY like he was the day of his death each evening, though– and it would limit the population to fairly young, highly intelligent/adaptable vampires. (OMG WHY ARE ALL THE CARRIAGES POSSESSED?!?!)

                    • Oh, no, you didn’t!

                    • O:-)
                      Hey, spent morning fixing my website. it’s not was I want it, but it’s functional. I DESERVED that outlet…

                    • Their Un-Life would last as long as that movie seemed to.

            • Be kind of hard to pick up adult women, no matter what Hollywood likes to pretend. Part of the appeal of a young guy is that you have control– doesn’t work when he’s an at least partly intelligent vampire. (Qualifier because I’m pretty sure a really ,really dumb vampire could manage to learn nothing in 200 years.)

              • Be kind of hard to pick up adult women, no matter what Hollywood likes to pretend.

                With the wealth and social skills acquired over two centuries? Please. It would be easy, especially since some women want to be picked up.

                • Social skills only get you so far when a woman looks at you and starts inquiring about if you washed behind your ears, and while it’s true that with enough money you can get a hooker of various levels of obvious…. eh.

                  The Twilight Mommy phenomena was largely because they “knew” him. Just a random 16 year old? You’ll get a reminder that the largest group of unpunished pedophiles are female school teachers preying on male students, but have trouble picking up normal-ish women.

                  I’m trying to figure out how a guy whose expectations were set two centuries ago would deal with constantly being hit on only by women who think THEY have power over HIM…..

                  • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                    I just finished Barbara Hambly’s latest Vampire novel.

                    One of her vampires would have enjoyed letting some woman *think* she had power over him until the time that he showed her just how powerful he was.

                    Note, Hambly’s vampires are killers not lovers even if they’re willing to “play” lovers for the thrill of the hunt. [Very Big Evil Grin]

                    • The one that introduces Don… Ysidro? Or further on in the series? “Those who hunt the night” or something?

                      I read the first one and was hugely impressed, read the second and…well, you can’t melt cheese twice. Too high of expectations from the first one. Probably would’ve responded the same if I’d read the second then the first. I think there was a third, and I know I buy any vampire book of hers I find, but they’re stuck at the bottom of the “maybe someday” pile.

                    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                      That’s the series. There are five of them. Don Simon Ysidro is IMO an interesting character. He is definitely a monster but is also the “lesser of evils” mostly because he acknowledges he’s one and knows it isn’t good for the living to associate with his kind. While he appears to be in love with Lydia Asher, he also takes care to remind her that he’s very dangerous.

                    • Reminds me that I don’t want to know anything about Ms. Hambly. I enjoy her writing too much, and don’t have the same intuitions about her as a person that I get from a lot of other authors. (My English teacher called that “voice”– I just know there are some folks who you can just tell who they are.)

                    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                      IMO Foxfier, Barbara Hambly allows her readers to “take no notice of her politics” which is a good thing. [Smile]

                      I suspect that she’s a liberal but is a “reality based one”.

                      She definitely knows “real history” not the fake history of the liberal kooks.

                    • *musing* Reminds me of an argument I had about who is a good actor….
                      I ended up arguing there were two different types– the Sean Connery (Here is Sean Connery as….) ones, and the Alan Rickman ones. (Wait, you’re saying that Snape was done by the same guy who was the bad guy in Quiggly down under? No way! Prove it!– oh, wow, I had no idea.)

                      The guy who played Mad Mordigan in Willow is an example of the type that becomes the character– I KNOW he’s been in lots of other movies, because he’s one of my sister’s favorites, but I can’t pick out the actor.

                      They’re both good, or can be good, but are different.

                      (I’m not sure if our hostess is one where you notice the storyteller or not– I was contaminated by “knowing” her before I read her cozies, so I don’t know if I’m detecting what I already know or not.)

                    • IMDB says it’s Val Kilmer in Willow.

                    • For a while I was a bit of a Kilmer fan–Willow, Top Gun, Real Genius. Somewhere between The Saint and Prince of Egypt, I lost interest.

                      So Kilmer would be a “Here is Sean Connery as…” type actor for me, thus demonstrating that YMVMDD.

                    • “For a while I was a bit of a Kilmer fan–Willow, Top Gun, Real Genius. Somewhere between The Saint and Prince of Egypt, I lost interest.”

                      Dude. Tombstone.

                      Seriously.

                    • That and Willow set of my sister’s fandom, I think; unless she points it out or I manage to remember, I never go “Oh, yes, that’s Val K as ____.”

                      He’s very good at becoming the character, at least to my mind.

                  • Sixteen is old enough that one can look like either a boy or a man, depending on how one dresses and acts. And money lets one dress the part; it subtly indicates status, and if one knows how to act the part as well.

                    And I think that you’re overestimating the differences between then and now in terms of relations between the sexes. In particular, male sexual restraint is still a major advantage to any man who can practice it (ironically, it actually helps one get sex!) and the women of 200 years ago were well aware of their power over men.

                    You’re also assuming that the guy has a time-stamp on his forehead showing the age at which he stopped growing. Most women, seeing a young-looking guy who acted with full adult maturity, would assume “man with a boyish face” rather than “boy..” The more so if they asked him his age (they might) and he simply, convincingly lied.

                    • If we’re going to be hyper-realistic, then the only way that a 16 year old would look like the kid from the Twilight movies is if that flavor of vampire has some sort of healing power that happens to mimic growing up with modern nutrition, medicine and stresses. (I think there’s a couple of stories that kind of do that– I vaguely remember someone angsting over their scars slowly vanishing.)

                      Compare my dad at 25 to my brother at 25 to our grandfather at 25 to dad’s grandfather at 25 and the indications of age are pretty confusing. (I’m going to ignore Hollywood and how their folks look massively different than their age because I’m a little familiar with how much makeup goes into getting that effect! I think it was actually on your blog where someone linked to Jonah Goldberg with and without full makeup on some talk shows. That’s before we get into things like surgery and spending 16 hours a day clinging to youth.)

                      Now, that aside– I suspect we’re saying “man” in a different way. I don’t mean just “legal,” I mean fully mature, a mate, rather than a manipulate-able.
                      It gets confusing because with females, there’s different signals for “suitable mate” than with males, and the notorious preference for more androgynous males coming from hormonal birth control, plus pressure to pretend females are identical to males, just from the opposite direction. I don’t even want to get started on attempted normalization of female predators.

                      One of my husband’s friends has the opposite problem from Sarah’s son– he’s in his 30s, and you’d swear he’s in high school. He just doesn’t get wrinkles, and he’s very blond, plus clean-shaven due to being in the air force.
                      He has a lot of relationship problems because the type of woman he attracts is looking for, to grossly simplify, someone she can control. Even controlling for him being polite while I’m around, he acts like a normal, fairly well adjusted adult, not too talkative but not silent– but he’ll get carded every time, and has had the cops called on suspicion of a false ID a few times.
                      I knew he couldn’t be as young as he looked because he’s been military for almost as long as my husband, but you could’ve knocked me over with a feather when I found out he’s older than I am. In a year or two he’ll be 40, and probably still being carded.

                    • Yep, added to the fact that a vampire is ghostly pale, which translates as feminine/immature and while I haven’t seen the movies, from what I recall of the one book I read he is fairly slight without obvious musculature. One of the major aspects of 16 year olds passing as older men is the fact that they have been doing a mans works and so have a mans muscle build. A vampire is stuck in the body he had when he was transformed, he may be superstrong, but this just means that working out won’t help him build more muscles (one of the major suspension of disbelief problems with vampire stories). So if he was a non-masculine teen when he is transformed (as he is described as being) he will be stuck in that form forever.

      • Barbarian warriors? (Hey, beefcake… nobody complains about that, do they? :) )

  5. I wish I could understand people who work so hard to make cons no fun for everybody else. The can’t seem to get it into their heads that the consequence isn’t a perfect nice and happy con, it’s no con at all.
    PS, where do you find those nice train wreck GIFs.

  6. Given da’ wife’s apparently-probable trajectory as a writer, it seems likely that at some point in the near-to-medium future, con attendance will become, for us (or at least her) a business proposition also. I therefore cannot say, with certainty, that I’ll never go to a con with such a policy. But I will say that, if her professional needs demand it, we will buy _one_ membership (for her), and I’ll be staying in the hotel room the whole time. Or maybe we’ll save half the airfare by her just going without me.

    I will neither dignify such lunacy with a membership fee for myself, nor expose myself any further than is already necessary in daily life, to the machinations of the hard-core paranoids. They’ve already gotten me both gang-raped and de jure banned from essentially the whole of the city where I grew up. Now they’ve essentially ruined fandom…sic transit gloria mundi, I guess. But now that I have a stable day-job, I really can’t afford to get entangled in legal trouble out of town. Or even extralegal trouble of the sort which would expose my day-job employer to a meaningful risk of public disrepute.

    As sorry as I feel, for young fen still in want of an acceptable and fruitful environment in which to seek out romantic companionship, I am (for this reason and many others besides) ever grateful to be permanently out of that market.

    It will nevertheless be kinda cool to see some of the folks I know online in meatspace at LibertyCon this year. As long as Liberty resists the encroachments of the paranoids, I’ll likely keep going back. But there is no con, whether a real one which exists today or a hypothetical-for-arguments-sake one which might plausibly be formed, which is so appealing on other dimensions as to cancel out the contempt, disgust, and naked fear provoked by these new “harassment policies” now coming to infest fandom.

    • For the vast majority of authors who attend conventions, attendance is not a business proposition. Yes, some publishers talk to some authors at conventions, attendance at a convention almost never makes any business sense. Trying to reach the fannish population? Well, first of all the fannish population isn’t going to be reached. We (for most values of “we”) want to read big name authors, not the guys starting out. Second of all, the fannish population is TINY, and and we so totally do not steer the taste of what are generally known in fandom as “readers.” In other words, there are thousands of people who go to SF conventions. There are millions of people who read SF books, and mostly the second group knows nothing of the first.

      If you think you’re going to show up with a couple of cases of books, rent a table, and sell them all, then you should know that you won’t. In fact, you probably won’t sell a single book. If you have a book out and want to attract a following, don’t take it to a convention. Instead, stay at home and write another book. And another. And another. (And now I’ve got Dory in my head singing “Just keep writing. Just keep writing.” Grrrrr! Get out!)

      Of course, if you like hanging out with fannish people, then you should totally go. Even with the PC crowd, it can still be a lot of fun. Most of the people there are fun and interesting. It’s not everybody’s cup of tea, though.

      Look, for a couple of years, I was chair of the local convention, and when one of our committee members mentioned the Scalzi “You need to have and publicize a formal policy against sexual harassment” thing when it came out, I made an impassioned plea opposing it to the effect that such a thing was both unnecessary and counterproductive. My logic was that since unpleasant enough behavior could get you kicked out, and it can, then it already covers every specific type of unpleasant-enough behavior. Also, since all of the committee members are responsible for enforcement of the policies, and we are, it would be best if we could all keep track of what the policies were.

      The counterargument was that a specific antiharassment policy makes people know that they’re safe because the policy protects them from all harm. I bet those people also think that MCP’s never take “Women’s Studies” classes to pick up chicks. I did lose the argument, but I tried, and many of the people who I expected to chime in on the other side were (strangely, I thought) absent. So, maybe it’s not universally considered as good an idea as people think. Maybe people think it’s just another box to check in a long list of things that really ought to be done.

      Anyway, speaking as a (now former) con chair, the thing that absolutely drives me batty is when people tell me about problems after the fact. Part of job of chair is explaining to drunk boors that they’re drunk and being boorish and suggesting maybe they should go to their room and sleep it off. It’s also about suggesting that the high school kids that are holding a screaming contest in the hallway just off the con suite that they should maybe cool it before people get upset.

      • Well, we’ve already paid for LibertyCon (at least, for the memberships, the flight, and the hotel…the car rental agency wouldn’t take payment in advance), so we’re still going to that, whether meeting people makes any sense or not.

        And hey, as long as they don’t jump on the bandwagon with one of those “everybody should feel welcome here, as long as they keep their eyes on the floor and never speak to a stranger without explicit permission — otherwise we’ll throw you out into the street, organize a public boycott of your employer, and try our very hardest to get you locked up” policies, we’ll probably go back.

  7. American Mensa does a number of Regional Gatherings that are close cousins to cons with many of the same issues and complaints. A large percentage of long term members are poorly socialized odds so much the same problems arise. When I was active I worked our local RG either in hospitality or security. As I recall most issues revolved around underage drinking, misunderstandings over badly handled flirting attempts, or the occasional free range buttheads. It is worth mentioning that most RG committee members rarely served more than two or three years running before burning out to the point that they withdrew from even local events. Eventually you run through everyone willing to work their butts off for a hell of a lot of work and precious little appreciation but a raft of complaints. As to the RG I worked on, we lost a few principal members and it has not been held for several years now.
    Working hospitality was always a grind. Our motto was if you love them feed them, but for a precious few nothing we did was ever enough. We always put on a pizza feast with a broad selection of pies. Caught one family playing do it yourself by scraping the toppings off several pizzas to build their very well topped frankenpizza. Another time I was cussed out for refusing to allow free access to our storeroom so the complainer could pick through our supply of premium beers rather than the cheap domestic we had out for use. Not only did they want to pick and choose, but they wanted to carry the good stuff back to their room in cases. We used to do a mimosa fountain, orange juice and sparkling wine, but had to quit when a couple of families with teenagers refused to keep their kids away. To top that all off one of the recalcitrant moms actually took a swing at a committee member who was trying to explain that such underage drinking would get us shut down and loose the venue for next year. Never did know whether it was the perceived insult of accusing her precious flower or that she was a bit sloshed herself as security promptly ejected them from the hotel.
    As to the original topic, the con should make it clearly understood that attendees are not exempt from any local laws and have a few standard rules such as peace bonding real weapons. Beyond that, I’m with Jim, just don’t be buttheads and have a few large folks working security to break up any altercations before they get out of hand, and take the rude or obnoxious off to the side for a little impromptu counseling session with the understanding that there is little more obnoxious that the perpetually offended for no good reason.

    • RG NC 1998 — burned me out and I’m still at large. AT VERY LARGE. I haven’t renewed in 12 years.

      • Charles Prael

        Heh. So…. I grew up in SFRM. Literally. Like “inducted at age 3, finally quit at age 28.”. I worked RGs and AGs for… 14 years? Something like that. 1980 AG through damnfino when I stopped. 2 AGs, Asilomar, helped get the Wine Country RG off the ground, the [not-an-RG] after the post-Asilomar RG shut down… you get the idea. The only reason I wasn’t a LocSec or ALS is I DIDN’T WANT THE JOB.

        Aaaand… I’ve worked >50 SF conventions, one way or another. Including ExComm for the 93 Worldcon. Co-founded the group that eventually went on to spawn AX and Fanime.

        I’ll be blunt. Mensans are, in their own unique way, MORE f’d up than SF fandom. That being said, fandom has a significantly larger population base to work from, thus a larger bell curve, and winds up generating more extreme behaviors out at the ends of the curve. Never had to call a meat wagon at a Mensa event. We’ve made that call repeatedly at SF cons.

        And yes, I can tell you stories until we’re all quite sick of it. Won’t do that for the moment.

        As to the security side of things…you generally don’t need a brute squad, so much as people willing and able to explain the facts of life, who clearly won’t be screwed with. I’ve had more folks take a swing at my brutes, than I have at my smaller team. People expect that to be a reasonable response when you’re dealing with brutes. [sigh]

      • After seeing and talking to some Mensa people I never joined…

        • *chuckle* I believe I got nagged for that a time or two…

          Said no thanks. Not only do I not consider myself qualified (I may have said “certifiable”), I knew a few people who were such. I doubt I’m missing much.

        • ONE decent chapter, and we were desperately lonely. But yes. Exactly.

          • I have considered from time to time. More men than women, and unattached men with whom I might actually be able to have a conversation, quite hard for me to find elsewhere since I can be pretty weird myself. But haven’t done it yet, apart from going to a couple of meetings of the local chapter. :)

            • William Newman

              From the “unattached” there I gather you’re pining for someone who’s not completely unglamorous for more than literally conversation, so maybe you should completely disregard the following remarks.:-| But if you don’t mind an overrepresentation of flatfooted earnestness and other glamour disabilities, you might do worse than groups devoted to challenging activities — no formal aptitude bar like Mensa, just intrinsically hard. My impression is that the self-selection for interest and for how it grates to try to participate in an activity when you’re Just Not Getting It Dammit naturally creates a strong selection for capable interesting people. I’m only familiar with Mensa second hand, but think I’m qualified for it (um, 780? 800? math SATs in the 1980s, all mixed up now with my memory of also-high verbal GREs and verbal tests; did reasonably well at Caltech). My impression is that that a majority of the long-term participants in the informally-smart activities below are qualified for Mensa, but that the informality selects for a somewhat different bundle of character traits than Mensa does. In grad school I was at the fringy edge of playing completely-amateur chamber music, and I suspect it might be such an informally-smart activity. Since then I’ve dropped in on robot-building groups and chess-playing groups, and I’ve spent lots of time with Go-playing groups. It seems to me that the Go-players and roboteers have the part-Mensa-part-something-else flavor strongly, while the chess-players have it noticeably but probably somewhat less strongly.

              I once attended a fannish con for a day — I was invited to teach an intro to Go at a local anime/manga con back when _Hikaru no Go_ was particularly popular. I’ve been to maybe half a dozen US “Go Congress” national annual tournaments/gatherings, and to a few other Go tournaments. It definitely seems easier to find really interesting conversations at the Go gatherings than it was at that anime/manga con, though the con was probably a better place to find a forget-your-cares party if I had been in the mood to try. I’ve been to less than a dozen robot-related get-togethers (almost all DPRG) and none in the last few years, so take my impression with a grain of salt, but it seemed to me that that activity also attracted a goodly number of really interesting people. And the Go and robot groups tend to do pretty well on the “more men than women” criterion.:-)

              (I also attended two IETF meetings back in the late-1990s telecom boom, and those were also quite good places to find interesting conversations, but I believe it’s qualitatively harder to just drop in on those than it is on your local chamber music or Go or robot club.)

              (Caveat: my “interesting”ness claim is pretty much contradicted by the noted authority Dr. Impossible: “My style of work takes a lot of preparation. I build things and test them out. I have to order parts, or cast them myself. I have to pull all-nighters to debug my robots’ pathfinding routines before an invasion. It isn’t that interesting to other people.”)

              • One reason why I never got married has probably something to do with the fact that most of my hobbies have been ones which draw either mostly women or people considerably younger than I am (SCA in Finland for one, it was just starting here when I was in my early thirties, but most of the people who participated were at most in their late 20’s, besides me there were usually a few other older women), so perhaps trying to find something with more men would not be a bad thing to try. Except at this age most of them are taken, and I’m not in the habit of stepping on other ladies’ territory. Well, Mensa members have bit of a reputation, but I am rather geeky, so who knows, maybe I should take a look… :D

    • “… as security promptly ejected them from the hotel.
      As to the original topic, the con should make it clearly understood that attendees are not exempt from any local laws…”

      I’m on the concom, but not involved with security. Still, from what I can gather from listening at meetings, this is exactly it. The HOTEL has security. It’s not up to the con to employ it’s own force of jack-booted thugs. If someone is misbehaving you go directly to the hotel. They call the cops if that is appropriate. They ban the miscreants from the halls or kick them out of their rooms.

      The con CAN’T do that. Because the con controls only the programming venues. You can’t keep anyone from hanging around in the hallways without paying membership and you can’t stop the mundane hotel guests from checking you out. Only the hotel can expel someone from the *hotel*.

      • It’s not up to the con to employ it’s own force of jack-booted thugs.

        Aw, but, but, but… *pouts*

      • Clark E Myers

        I’m on the concom, but not involved with security

        I’d say that’s part of the problem.

        A significant part of the problem is the expressed need to escalate to strangers – leading to a perhaps delayed and perhaps over-reaction to actions and issues that might be nipped in the bud. But again there’s a difference between a Dragon Con ( folks just might have been reluctant to bring certain issues to certain founders?) and friends and friends of friends and we didn’t take Ed Parker’s name in vain types who don’t look like bouncers but can and will do the job – and mostly don’t have to.

        • Okay… I’m not involved with security *policy*. The idea is absolutely that anyone aware of an “issue” needs to take care of the “issue”. I’ve got no patience for “not my job”. But what that’s going to BE, in practical terms, is getting hold of one of the con-chairs because it’s not good policy to have everyone just making up their own ideas about what to do and the con-chairs are the ones coordinating with the hotel.

      • Charles Prael

        Synova – There’s more that the concom can do – witness the SF con security forces out there – but you HAVE to know what you’re doing, and you HAVE to have a good working relationship with the facility.

        Which Mensa groups do not succeed at.

    • Actually I don’t know that peace bonding is such a great idea. If everyone knows that there are people packing lethal weapons, and they don’t necessarily know who is packing, it should cut down significantly on the true harassment (or assault, which is NOT the same thing). “An armed society is a polite society.”

  8. I’ve noticed you like the ‘whatever’ .gif. So I expect to see more of it in future. But the platinum blonde individual to the left of center — bugs me. Brain auger type of bugs me. I don’t know why. Obsessive staring at the image hoping they’ll stop doing that! sort of bugging. Because — canted brain.

    Back in the real world where it matters, the whole ‘right not to be offended’ is morphing more and more into a ‘right not to be disturbed.’ “I shouldn’t have to hear anything I don’t want to, see anything I don’t want to, be inconvenienced or in any way taken out of my perfect fantasy by anything at all, ever, anywhere, regardless of circumstances.”

    You can see touches of it in people complaining that somebody they find less than perfectly attractive chose to wear clothing they find distasteful. Because, they shouldn’t inflict that on the rest of us. You can see much more disastrous examples of it in people who move out to the country in close proximity to a pre-existing facility (gun range, feed lot, hot sauce factory…) and then sue to shut them down for daring to disturb the tranquility of their urban creep. And you can see the ultimate armageddon of it in the social hierarchy weeding going on with sexual harassment rules. As in your example above the undesirable and the desirable are perceived differently. But when you narrow the spectrum between them and you mix in real women/men of various life expectations — it’s going to be very difficult for person A to have any idea whether or not they’re on the healthy, wealthy and wise side or the stinky, awkward and poor side for any given person B.

    And all that’s for normal people. Sheesh.

    I say let ‘em all turn into no-binary-con, fade into obscurity and wonder why Hun-Con is hosting a free-for-all debate forum with the Swarthy Menace and MadMike as moderators and they’ve sold out every hotel in the city. And the suburbs. The campgrounds. Random living rooms… Sturgis, for SF/F.

    • Hey, you manage to arrange that Hun-Con and I will buy a plane ticket.

      • Little ol’ me? I lack the experience with cons and the contacts. But I’d be happy to throw that challenge out there…

        • I lack the experience with cons as well, but…
          * I have experience with organizing people and getting crap done
          * I know people who do know conventions. One of my good friends – everyone’s favorite amphibian – has run operations for conventions for about a decade.
          * One of my specialties is find out the things I don’t know. If I don’t have a contact for subject X, I will find one. And from past history, I’ll usually find a very good one.
          My only hesitation is that I’m not sure whether my area will support another con right now. We just picked up a twice-a-year Comic Con, there’s LTUE (not a con, but close enough), Salt City Steam Fest, ConDuit, and several smaller things that I can’t remember (e.g. I know there’s at least one anime con here).
          Thank you, folks; another exciting idea/project is *just* what I needed right now… /sarc :)

          • *wide-eyed look of extreme innocence/naivete*

            Oh, I’m so glad I could be of assistance sir! I just love the warm feeling that comes from helping people!

          • How about Galveston or Austin or lots of other places in TX.

          • Clorinda Madsen

            Hey! You’re local to me! And I probably know a few of the same con people you do. I was involved with LTUE many years ago but life has happened and I haven’t been able to pick it up again.

          • One of my good friends – everyone’s favorite amphibian …

            You’re a good friend of Kermit the Frog? I hear he’s a hoot when he’s drunk.

    • Short-haired Baby Sephiroth? (Or the skinny clone from the Final Fantasy movie, can’t remember his name…..pretty much any of them except for the boosaunt with the “victory” ring tone.)*

      http://images5.fanpop.com/image/photos/29000000/sad-sephiroth-sephiroth-29099080-640-480.gif

      The guy on the right who looks like a china doll is having a similar effect.

      *I guess this is what Sarah was talking about, with the ‘using geeky stuff’ comment. But it’s truuuuue!!!

    • A friend “of size” was hauled into the pokey for “indecent exposure” because she was wearing a tank top (that covered all relevant bits) while weeding. That was over 10 years ago now. It’s been going on for a while.

  9. Christopher M. Chupik

    During one of our cons here in my hometown, the family who was organizing it that year brought their teenage daughter. On Saturday, the party night, she was dressed in police tape. Everybody got the message, and had a good laugh.

    • But surely she’ll be indelibly scarred for having been subjected to the… *gack* /brainlock/

      Never mind. I can’t do it.

    • Christopher M. Chupik

      And please note, she was wearing more than just police tape.

    • One of the dealers in the dealer room was selling “jail bait” T-shirts last year. His kids had reached that age…

      • We almost made one and also “touch it and die” after Robert, at thirteen, came to ask me how politely decline offers “Three ladies and four gentlemen” or something to that effect. My response to that caused Dave Drake to spray his drink through his nose. To be fair to the ladies and gentlemen, Robert did NOT look 13 and had already grown to six one.

        • I find this terribly amusing, because knowing Mr. Drake only through his writing and some online presence I have this image of a proper and dignified fellow* (and having read much of his writing I know there are currents, deep and dark) and I can only imagine what advice you might give… The juxtaposition of the two poke my giggle-button.

          *For all I know, this is as far from reality as could be, just an impression formed by stuff he’s written. For my purposes, at this time and in this place, reality is irrelevant.

  10. Reblogged this on auntbea49 and commented:
    Sarah: Party by the rules?

  11. I think you have identified a point where our society has suffered significant loss. Violence. I had a friend from Lebanon who spoke of how they solved problems of spousal abuse. Suppose a bride showed evidence of being beaten. Her male relatives would consult with his male relatives about the behavior. They would agree that this shamed their respective families, whereupon they would organize a blanket party for the wife beater. He would then be pummeled so that he could experience what he’d been dishing out. No cops. No lawyers. No judges. No anger management or court-ordered counseling. Just a punishment fitting the crime administered by the family members closest to the perpetrator.

    Now apply this to the female con goer dressed like slave Leia who gets groped. Having suffered a battery (any unwanted touch), she responds in kind with a tight slap. Problem solved in 90% of the cases AND NO BALONEY RULES.

    Or how about this rule: If you’re dressed in a sexy costume, and someone makes you uncomfortable AND TOUCHES YOU, you get one free slap. Any guy who gets slapped too many times (twice?) is ejected from the Con.

    • Christopher M. Chupik

      Yes, well, you see, that would be promoting violence and thus bad.

    • Happened in America too. The paper my newspaper got sometimes had tidbits from old stories, and one, over two hundred years old, was of a time when a woman left her husband because he beat her, and went to her daughter’s farm, and that night some vigilantes come to his farm to flog him. He was found dead the next morning.

  12. Cross that with the social skills of my people:

    …Am I the only one that thinks that looks kinda fun?

  13. Jordan S. Bassior

    I believe forcibly stopping someone and trying to grope them is assault, right?

    (*nods*) And “battery” if he actually touched you. And “sexual assault” if he touched you in a sexual manner. So if he wasn’t afraid of being criminally prosecuted on these charges (probably because of either the lack of witnesses or because he was drunk enough to think that some woman NOT in love with him really wanted to be grabbed by him in such a fashion) or seriously injured (probably because he didn’t kinow you very well) then he probably wouldn’t have been restrained by rules against sexual harassment.

    Reminds me of the gun grabbers who argue “If we make gun possession illegal, people won’t be shooting other people because it will be illegal to own guns,” and ignore that shooting other people with guns has always been illegal under the laws against assault and battery.

    • And for many of the people who do so, them simply being in possession of a firearm is illegal.

  14. Jordan S. Bassior

    On the other hand, let’s not make of this more than it was — yeah. He made me feel uncomfortable. Am I the only woman in sci fi who went to bars when young? Evading drunk gropers is par for the course, and it shouldn’t make you spend the rest of your life acting like a rape victim.

    Yes, exactly. There are jerks in reality, and some of them will get inappropriately physical. One must avoid them or defend oneself as called for by the situation — this is an important life skill. Piling rules upon rules won’t make jerks less jerks, when the stupid and offensive things they want to do are already illegal anyway.

    The reason jerks act like jerks is that they are mildly sociopathic dumbasses. Extra rules won’t give them greater empathy or intelligence. And if they’re doing it because they’re drunk … anyone who imagines that drunk people care about the rules is truly living in a fantasy land, and not the kind that has maps in the book endpapers!

    Heck, I’m sure that you and I have done obnoxious and stupid things in our day. Maybe not as obnoxious or stupid as trying to grope complete strangers when logic would tell us that they would merely be offended by such advances, but I know for sure I’ve made mistakes that offended people, and I suspect you’ve unfairly offended someone or other, at some point in your life.

    The solution is not more rules. The solution is more kindness and maturity. And better manners.

  15. Clark E Myers

    I’ve seen a hint of rules are bad except peace bonding rules which are good. Anybody care to expand/expound on good rules and bad rules?

    I am reminded of a long ago lament by AJ Budrys that cons for him changed forever when the general run of filking got to be too professional for him to comfortably sing along.

    My own favorite and long lamented con was a small but very well run con with lots of past, current and future pros wandering around and a volunteer security staff that had most of the skills the TV A-team claimed. The origin was a consensus in the local and extended community that we’ve got to have one of those – got a fair amount of blood donated and other such then it died in the fullness of time. Crowds or friends and friends of friends are different things.

    Knives are good but I like to have a gradual escalation of force available including a couple Mini-Maglites in breast pockets for disguised Kubotans, spray, knives and on up. Where appropriate I’ve even got a red oak staff with a nice properly tempered 1095 blade in it but it’s really a joke – the staff is up to most anything the blade would offer – never been peace bonded though..

    • Rules that can easily be enforced and are on the face of it sane like “No porn where kids can see it.” And this is not a stretch of “if the kid looked through the vent in the ceiling” but just “if the kids are playing around you.” Easily enforceable because if an adult sees you with porn near kids, he can have you kicked out of the con. Period.
      OTOH stuff like “you won’t make anyone feel uncomfortable” … well.
      I wasn’t for instance, made uncomfortable by the editorling who wanted me to come to his room and “dominate” him. I was amused and vaguely puzzled, and definitely grossed out, but not made uncomfortable.

      • I felt mildly uneasy when a married university professor 20 years older than I was asked me for a lunch when I was in my early 20’s and a student there. I said no thanks, I already ate, and that was that. I suppose I could sue the university or something if the same scenario had happened now. Yep, if the professor, in that scenario, wouldn’t have taken the no thanks and kept asking (he taught classes I was in) the student should have some place to complain to, but it’s also possible that it was completely innocent, maybe he just wanted to be sociable. People interact, jumping to conclusions is bad form.

      • the editorling who wanted me to come to his room and “dominate” him.

        “Hurt me, beat me, make me buy bad books”?

        • I don’t know. He said I didn’t even have to touch him, just tell him to do things. But I thought “Jump out a window” would be mean…

          • Why is Larry the Cable Guy in my head???

            Hot woman in bar: “I’ll do anything you can tell me to do in three words or less…”
            Larry: “PAINT MY HOUSE!”

    • “Peace bonding” — now there is a foreign language term …. ;-)

      • Charles Prael

        My rules on that are simple. Carry what you like. Make sure it’s safetied. Make sure that it _can’t be unsafetied with use of a tool_. If it looks real, leave it in your room.

        If you can’t follow those rules, I’ll be happy to safety it to you in such a manner that they will first have to remove it and you from the wall before they remove it from you.

        That, or I will have you (forcibly, if necessary) ejected/barred from the site.

        2 examples:
        1. Kid with airsoft 16 gauge pump shotgun. “It looks too real. The action sounds entirely real. Fix that. But as it is, it’s too real. Not in my convention.”
        “You’re just the head of operations for the convention. You don’t have any authority.”
        “You’re right, I am. It means I have total operational authority over the convention, and have full signature authority with the hotel. So… as far as the convention side of things goes, if I say it, it happens. This gentleman to my right is the hotel head of security, and Day manager. So he has totally authority over the hotel. So… Not in my convention.”
        Hotel security: “And not in my hotel.”
        “Your choices are now ‘in your car’ or ‘go home’. Choose wisely.”

        2. Kid with sheathed sai wandering dealers room.
        “So, you need to peace bond that, per convention rules.”
        “I’m in army intelligence. I have to go armed at all times.”
        “Ooookay. Let’s go to my office to sort this out.”
        [cut through 45 minutes of going to Con Ops, determining his unit, calling the duty NCO, waiting while they roust the CO, talking with him]
        “So, your CO, who you just rousted from an enjoyable summer weekend, would like to talk with you.”
        [hands over phone]
        “Yes sir. Yes sir. Yes I did, sir. It’s a two hour drive, sir. Yes sir, I’ll meet you at the armory in 90 minutes, sir.”
        [click]
        “Oh, and while you’re at it, leave that badge here.”
        Turns out he was a PFC in an NG intel unit. His Capt. was _not_ amused.

        • I am my weapon’s safety. You will probably never see me carrying but, a weapon i cannot use at will is anathema. I will go so far as to carry concealed at a con. Disarm because some one wets his panties? Oh HELL NO!

          • I figure the “no gun zone” sign rule is in effect– I’ll still concealed carry, and if I screw up so big that they find out I am, I’ll leave.

            • I will carry wherever I’m legally allowed, although I was once in an uncomfortable situation where we went out to a restaurant and since the tables were full, we were offered a seat at the bar (which is the no-go area if you’re carrying).

              When I was on the ConCom of Conifer Northwest, I helped set the Weapon’s policy that allowed concealed carry and re-iterated that one must follow all state laws, and that you can’t take it out in public to show it to your other gunny buddies. “If it’s drawn, you’re gone”.

              Anything openly carries had to be peace bonded, naturally. But there are some real ninnies in Northwest Con Fandom, the kind who would throw a fit at the sight of a “Level Two Firearm replica”. *grin* And it’s remarkable the number of different individuals who claim that a SWAT team showed up and pointed their rifles in his face because someone was seen at the hotel with a realistic weapon and some Mundane called the cops. Although pressing them for details never produces any. I’ve heard the same story in three different states.

              (“Level Two Firearm Replica” From a news story this week about a kid getting suspended for making a “gun” with his forefinger and thumb.)

              • Stealing the “level two.”

                *********

                For anyone wondering: my justification for the rudeness of carrying where the “host” (such as a mall) has requested that there be no guns is that as long as they pretend to be responsible for my defense, I’ll pretend to not have a gun. As they are not able to actually take responsibility for my defense, I am not actually going to be defenseless.
                Should that illusion be broken, then I will of course have to withdraw in embarrassment.
                ***
                In one of the higher class parks in our area, an idiot cop nearly shot a guy who was entirely legally carrying an empty rifle. It was only because several other folks showed up that he didn’t do something stupid.
                (I’m still impressed with the self control of the Vet involved, some idiot is in melee range and waving a gun in my nose, I’m going to try to feed it to him. Illegal threat is illegal.)

                • I recall the park story, I have family that live somewhere in that area. My dad worked for the State (Department of Motor Vehicle Licensing) and would commonly have to travel across the state and at times stay in hotels overnight for work. Policy was no guns in state vehicles. He always carried. His statement was, “I never take it out, no one will know I am carrying unless I need it, and if I need it I won’t care. I would rather be fired than dead.”

                • And this makes me wonder how common that habit is. How often are these people who’d freak out at the thought of a gun passing people who are armed, and blissfully unaware of the fact. :)

                  • I recently read a post by someone asking in a legal question topic about how he saw a guy carrying a gun in a restaurant, freaked out, dumped money at his table instead of the register, and ran. The owner stopped him, and he was deeply indignant that the owner threatened to call the cops on him while it looked like he was breaking the law.

                  • Often enough that we’ve got more “bad guy goes into a no gun zone place and is stopped by a good guy before he gets a big enough body count to hit the news” stories than mass shootings.

                    It is very funny to have someone talking about how they are so scared of guns and are so glad that there aren’t any around… while you’re sitting there with your kids and a revolver in your diaper bag.
                    (The worst time, another lady and I managed to just freak a sweet young lady out by pointing out that there WERE a lot of concealed carry folks around, enough that the line to renew was always very long. Guns are just… unclean.)

              • Okay, if that is level two replica, what would levels one and three be? Just to clarify things…

                • I can guess “level three” would be personal ideation that leaks, as in: “Make him stop thinking BAD THOUGHTS AT ME!”

                • Simple:

                  Level 0: A device (such as an airsoft gun) which both actually looks like a real gun and actually dispenses projectiles from the muzzle end, although not by means of combusting nitrates (because, of course, that would make it an actual firearm, as opposed to a replica)
                  Level 1: A device which either looks similar to an actual gun or is modeled on a hypothetical gun-type weapon of some alternate fiction (such as a blaster), but does not actually function at all, making it purely a prop.
                  Level 2: (as stated)
                  Level 3: A piece of paper (or other recording medium) with the word “GUN” written on it, as if it were either a label (as in “this is a gun”) or a bearer bond or claim check for a gun.
                  Level 4: A conversation about guns. (For the sake of simplicity, we’ll lump conversations about guns in the abstract, and gun-nerdy debates about the merits and flaws of _particular_ guns, into a single level.)

                  Level 5 and above would cover thoughts which do not manifest in the observable world at all.

          • Charles Prael

            Well, if I see it, out here, you’ll be asked politely. OTOH, that’s the same rule we use across the board – like with the undercover PD. So it’s not like we’re being unequal in our application.

            But if you want to argue the point, I will, indeed, pull your badge and ask you to leave. And you will leave. At my request, escorted by my team, escorted by the hotel’s team, escorted by local PD, or in cuffs.

            BTW – the key there? “if I see it”. If you’re going to carry at my cons, make DAMN sure I don’t see it. Because if I do, someone else will. And I will have to clean up the mess. And I am _not_ being paid to do this.

            • I think that cons have the unique condition of people commonly using weapons as costumes. I think our con says “peace bonded” in the rules but in truth and practice a costume prop has to be clearly a costume prop. A real sword is not a costume prop.

              • This is why I sewed a sword of metallic fabric for Marshall to wear to kindergarten Halloween party…

              • Charles Prael

                Actually, real swords (and knives) commonly get used as props. Just gotta know the right dealers. We take care with them, and keep “in the know” about who’s carrying live steel vs. prop.

                That being said, we’re picky about “looks real” firearms. The ladies with the M72 LAW casing with some wood bits glued on were talked to, and a better paint job was suggested. The shotgun I mentioned above.

                Then there’s the semi-pro team that did a complete Aliens gig. Then did Terminator. The guy with the L85…_I_ knew what he was carrying, but nobody else. We had a discreet discussion later, and I asked him for a painted muzzle.

                • I’m saying that at *our* con, this is strenuously discouraged. As far as I know, *technically*, there are “peace bonding” rules that allow you do carry a real weapon but I might even be wrong about that. Practically, though, they’re going to tell you to leave it, not bring it, just say no. Costume or not. Don’t bring real weapons.

                  • Charles Prael

                    Got that. I’m simply reiterating policy and practice (and how they sometimes diverge a bit) at the 50+ bay area cons I’ve been involved with over the last couple decades.

                    A couple notes for the peanut gallery:
                    1) CA is still a “may issue” state. Which means there are vanishingly few legal CCWs out there. Which generally means if someone IS CCW, either (a) they’re PD, or (b) they’re illegal. Trust me, it’s not hard to sort out the sheep from the goats on this front, and that’s the law. So…until the law changes, we ask that folks respect it. Actually, we ask that folks respect the law regardless. Other jurisdictions have other laws.
                    2) Like I said, 90+% of people carrying costume weaponry. Ironically, I would note that most “real” weaponry is on our security staff, or people we know and/or train with. We’ve had one problem child on that front in 30 years, and he’s blackballed at this point. When it’s an issue, usually a discrete word is sufficient unto the cause. As noted in my example, earlier, where it isn’t, there are…other ways to resolve the matter.

                • Didn’t you just tell the story up above about booting the guy out and calling his commanding officer because he was carrying a sword? But now swords and knives are okay (but not guns, because guns are evil, or something) if you know who the people carrying them are?
                  Yep, that’s not discriminatory or anything.

                  • Charles Prael

                    The specific request was that he peacebond the sai (it’s not a sword, more a martial arts knife). He refused, claiming he was required to go armed at all times. That’s when we wound up contacting his CO.

                    So, no, not discriminatory.

                    But thanks for playing.

                • Well, given how much they jam, you were safe with the guy carrying a real L85 …

                  • I’m suffering from second hand twitter.

                    I read “L85″ and thought “Late what? Lates? Later? Lesbian haters?” (H8 is commonly used by the Campaign for Equal Hights espies on twitter, going from some of the statuses that get shared elsewhere.)

                  • Charles Prael

                    :) He was carrying it because it looked all Terminator Scifi. Which is fine. I didn’t _quite_ point out to him that the only thing he’d be able to do to a Terminator with one of those is club it…

        • Daniel Neely

          Idiot number 2 sounds like the platonic form of Military-Intelligence-Isn’t. I’m astounded he didn’t start backpedaling as soon as you started working the phones to find his CO.

          • Charles Prael

            I’ve found that idiots like that, once they get it stuck in, don’t really have any idea of “getting extracted from a bad scene”. And in practice, once we were talking with the company duty NCO, he was stick-a-fork-in-him done.

  16. I think “the social skills of my people” is a key point. Most of my con experience has been with gaming cons (GenCon, Origins, et al) but I’m sure it’s not too dissimilar to regular SF&F ones. A large percentage of geeks can come off as creepy even when they aren’t doing anything (some of my friends are Aspies or have other social skill defficiencies and their body language and ability to pick on cues is not what they should be). Mix them with hypersensitive people who are going to assume hostile contact even from harmless attempts at conversation, and a “zero tolerance” con policy, and it’s going to be chaos and old night time. It also means to me that cons are going to be selecting for “suave, good looking” people, and we’e back to high school where the geeks don’t get invited to parties, and geeks end up not going to cons anymore.
    Personally, I have nothing but loathing for actual harassment, non-consensual groping or threatening behavior. I’ve seen it happen, have gotten involved once (doing things about it that nowadays would have probably gotten me in legal trouble). And there is a significant subset of the geek community whose behavioral problems go beyond the socially awkward into the “mildly sociopathic” as Jordan put it above. But increasingly complex rules aren’t going to deal with that. Assuming that every male is a potential rapist held in check by copious amounts of red tape isn’t going to deal with that.

    • I attended a Gencon about ** mumble mumble ** years ago where two young ladies were selling chainmail bikinis. And modeling them. They didn’t sell many (think about how many people at Gencon you’d want to see in a chainmail bikini …) but they cleaned up charging a few dollars each for photographs …

    • It also means to me that cons are going to be selecting for “suave, good looking” people, and we’e back to high school where the geeks don’t get invited to parties, and geeks end up not going to cons anymore.

      Probably the idea.

    • Christopher M. Chupik

      I have the awful feeling that alot of young male geeks with unformed social skills (I used to be one) will get in huge trouble because they tried fumblingly to tell that hottie how good she looks in her Ramona costume.

  17. Science fiction conventions are pretty clearly Saturnalia, or Carnival, or Mardi Gras, or any of the various other holidays when the bounds of propriety are set aside.

    • No one said anything about setting “the bounds of propriety” aside. They merely complained about the assumption that they could be defended by creating complex rules difficult to enforce with any fairness, and likely to result in killing everyone’s joy and creating duels of litigation. What’s more, the proclaimed rules would do very little to prevent serious sexual abuse anyway, as most of the activities falling under the definitions of “serious sexual abuse” are ALREADY AGAINST THE LAWS. You know, the real laws? The ones which if you are convicted for violating you go to JAIL or PRISON, rather than merely being ejected from a damned convention?

  18. Christopher M. Chupik

    And it’s looking like our con isn’t even doing Geek Speed Dating this year, possibly for the same reason. I mean, why give us geeks an appropriate place where we can tell the opposite (or otherwise) sex what we think about them?

  19. One of the basic problems is that a lot of congoers today have? Less grip on the idea that what you do in the halls and function spaces is supposed to remain within the bounds of good public behavior. That room parties are supposed to get no wilder than is consonant with federal, state, and local law, that the party rules are those of the fans throwing the party and not of the party down the hall, and no noisier than is consonant with the wishes of other hotel guests in rooms on that same floor. (Which is why there is a party floor for a reason.)

    • Consonant with the general loss of understanding of the public space/private space behavioral dichotomy. And the fine gradations thereof.

      But then, noting that some behavior is appropriately private behavior is naturally oppressive.

    • *fails to be shocked*

      I wonder if the guy corrected for the change in who counts as high BMI…..

    • Right, oversampling people that genetically tend to be shorter and stockier (ie Mexicans) than the previous samples isn’t going to affect results at all.

  20. a couple other thoughts here

    if nobody is ever to be made uncomfortable how a geeds supposed to play “freek the mundanes”?

    Also note that it’s only specific types of people who are not ever supposed to be made uncomfortable. If you hold ‘unapproved’ opinions, making you uncomfortable is a very good thing.

    Think what their reaction would be to someone claiming that same-sex public displays of affection made them uncomfortable as an obvious exampld. their reaction would be to try to hold gay marriges in every hallway

  21. I’ve wondered how it could have taken so long for the business with that particularly editor to hit the fan. I’m not advocating a he said/she said showdown but it does seem like someone, or many someones, should have made formal complaints about the guy so it came to a head long ago. Something no one witnessed is one thing… three, four, or seven, separate complaints is something else. At least a person would hope so!

    But I suppose… in the old reality, who would ever tank their career by complaining, particularly if it couldn’t be proven?

    The thing that will fix this (to the extent that it gets fixed) isn’t yet another policy… it’s the breaking of the strangle-hold and monopoly that traditional publishers had on the careers of writers.

    And yes… we’re conditioning and training kids not to defend themselves by punishing self-defense in schools and treating defenders as if they were aggressors. Eff “one free slap”, “he grabbed my boob” or “he trapped me in the hallway and wouldn’t let me by” should be good enough explanation for blood on the floor. It’s *communication*. Dumb drunk gropers never quite twig to the notion that they’re out of line with much of anything less than writhing pain.

    • The thing that will fix this (to the extent that it gets fixed) isn’t yet another policy… it’s the breaking of the strangle-hold and monopoly that traditional publishers had on the careers of writers.
      BINGO

  22. OT, but I had to share.

    I’m not even sure how I landed on this book page – it’s a book by a conservative radio host with transcripts from some of his more egregious lefty callers with additional commentary – but true to form, there was a lefty reviewer there giving it one star, who openly admitted in the review that called him out that he hadn’t read the book, and eventually claimed to have only heard the show twice (after saying “If you’ve listened to the show, you don’t need to read the book”).

    I decided to take him on, and it is a PERFECT example of liberal arguing techniques. The big one being “Throw everything at your opponent and see what sticks to keep him bogged down and not doing other conservative things.”

    I shut him down pretty good through. But it was weird, he was reduced from saying Nazis are Right-wing totalitarians to complaining about Blue laws.

    If you wanna see the pathetic mess (and up-ding my comments if you are so inclined) http://www.amazon.com/review/R1SIYT8OKH9WG2?ref_=pe_623860_70668520

    • very nice.

      • Thank you. Apparently he has found a way to nullify criticism of his review by deleting it and reposting it, thus eliminating all the comments, so it’s a good thing I posted where I did.

        Now if only folks would buy my story. It’s tanking lately. I have one UK sale this month, which I’ve learned has nothing to do with the amazon.com rankings.

  23. How did fandom develop this inFATuation with Jonathan Ross?

  24. A sort of on topic question. I’m getting mixed signals from different blogs. Does Texas have open carry?
    On topic- this whole thing about conventions tells me one thing. I’ve never gone to one and expect that will be a permanent position. I don’t know if there is one in Tulsa; heard a hint on Facebook recently. Even so, I ain’t going to drive the forty-five miles to walk on pins and needles. Oh yes- I assume the pistol with circle and line in the window means- Human hunting preserve.

    • Texas does not have open carry, surprising as that is. As far as conventions, there are some that don’t suck. If you can make it, check out LibertyCon; I’ve heard good things about FenCon and BuboniCon as well.

      • New Mexico, before it was taken over by homesick Californian refugees did used to have open carry. The joke going around is that the only people who actually open carried in NM were Texans, because NM folk habitually conceal carried.

        There was a mall within a 45 mile drive of the Texas border that attracted many Texans because the sales tax was lower than TX, too. There was an attempted kidnapping at said mall, and the attempted child grabber found herself in a circle of very well armed people. She hadn’t even noticed the family of Texans at the front doors who were open carrying. The kid was returned to the rightful family, and the kidnapper was walked to the police station by a crowd of witnesses. This sort of thing never makes the news.

        • Doesn’t fit the agenda. I’ve heard of a man attacking school children by the simple expedient of trying to crush them with his car, driving onto the playground.

      • I enjoy FenCon every year, and the FenCon guys say good things about ApolloCon, which is my convention so I’m a little biased.

        • ApolloCon was nice when I went. We haven’t gone in the past few years because we couldn’t afford the time or the money. Hell, we don’t even make it to ConDFW and it’s quite close to us.

    • No, Texas is one of the few states (around ten I believe, would have to look it up) where open carry is illegal.

      I guess they define bear differently than most other states.

    • I don’t think so. I know that AZ has open carry.

    • We’re working on open carry. The problem is Harris County, Austonio, and parts of the Metroplex don’t want to participate because “for the children.”

  25. I’ve never been to a con, but even I understand how it goes. If you’re a moderately attractive girl, you’re probably going to get hit on. Get over it. It’s a part of geeky life. Love the GIFs by the way.

    • Actually I think that is true at about any gathering (I would except family reunions, but we have people from West Virginia on this blog), not just cons. Unless they never go out in public except at cons I would expect any moderately attractive girl (or guy for that matter) to expect being hit on by the opposite sex. In fact that is part of the attraction of the events to many if not most of the attendees.

      • You’ve got a point there.

      • You don’t need to be from West Virginia. My maternal grandparents were first cousins. (Sigh.)

        • I’ve never been able to understand the aversion to that. I grew up reading Louisa May Alcott, and at the end of one of her best series, Eight Cousins/Rose in Bloom, the heroine is married to one of her first cousins, and that’s presented as a romantic happy ending. I don’t know when American attitudes toward this changed, or why.

          • I’d guess that had to do with fewer kids (my cousins were more like siblings that happened to live in a different house) and “fashion” being set outside of the upper reaches, meaning more first-hand familiarity with livestock; add that to the eugenics fad and common knowledge of some of the horrible outcomes from inbreeding in the European royalty and it makes sense.

            Side note- jumping from “don’t cross cows that share a bull as a grandfather” to “never marry first cousins” isn’t really that similar, but it works emotionally. Different selection pressures and a much different pattern of genetic spreading.

    • You might get hit on less, if they’re intimidated. Or hit on crudely if they’re socially unskilled.

  26. Clark E Myers

    I’d say a Sai is more like a fork than a knife. A Monadnock® Baton owes a lot to a Tonfa though.

    The interviews mentioned are all well worth the effort. Colonel Kratman’s at least is accessible from his own site. See also Mr. Drake’s tale of his Lord of the Flies necrophilia for the first few pages only of a mailing to an editor – when said editor could reasonably assume a special relationship between Mr. Drake and the house. I think it’s on a Baen Free Radio Hour among other places.

    My wife carried a Morseth sleeve knife and other odds and ends – including a NFA wallet holster with a High Standard but for public view Gerber (Pete Gerber Al Mar days before Fiskar) offered their standard daggers in a fancy dress – A Mk1 with a jade handle and mirror polish – carefully edged is still a useful stiletto though the viewer take it for a fancy letter opener when sheathed with scissors on the desk and so it goes. Most people here will know (or know of) a famous sword cane poker game story but a sword cane is a mandatory year in California.

    A painted muzzle on the L85 has some very interesting or perhaps unfortunate legal issues in some jurisdictions – do not try this at home. Notice that no open carry as in Texas implies that printing or otherwise showing carrying is ticket to court – concealed means concealed.

  27. Rules are not sufficient? Next you’ll say that the “CAN-SPAM Act” did not eliminate spam.