LibertyCon AAR -David Pascoe
Part One (I tried to keep it short. You’d think, looking at my Amazon author page, I could write longer than a few tens of thousands of words. This thing’s going to get broken into parts. I just know it. /sigh)
Mrs. Dave and I talk fairly often about Family of Blood (Wife of Mi- /cough) and Family of Choice. Since I was wee – though not as wee as Wee Dave – I’ve lived far from most of my family of blood. Family reunions were a 25-hour drive, in the days when flying was prohibitively expensive (fast approaching those days, again). Our solution was to adopt people we liked. My sister and I had a set of adopted grandparents in easy driving distance.
Aside: now that I’m a parent, myself, I suspect this was as much for my parents sanity as it was for our well-being.
As I’ve grown, this trend has continued. Friends from high-school and college with whom I still interact. Military buddies (subtle, subtle shading of relationship, there) and then people I met at conventions.
Which brings us to LibertyCon, the largest family reunion I’ve ever attended. My first year, Herself adopted me (short story: quicker route to BbES grandbabies), and there’s been no looking back. This year, I went as a guest. I’ve been a professional the whole time, but I actually sat on panels and stuff for LC28, which was pretty cool.
One of the things about LC (there are so many) is the pro-to-attendee ratio. Of the 700 memberships this year, about 150 were professionals in one capacity or another. That’s better than 1-4. I’ve never heard of another convention with that low a ratio. And such (relatively: this is fandom, after all) high profile guests. Practicing scientists of many stripes, bestselling authors, recognizable artists (at least their art is recognizable), editors-of-awesomeness. Throw a rock (and you’ll get it thrown back, with better aim and greater force) and you’re certain to bounce it off of a few pros. It was delightful to be included in that number, this year. Which was great, especially when – but I’m getting ahead of myself.
We started packing up Tuesday, as we’ve learned we need some serious pre-game work to make things flow at all smoothly. Mrs. Dave took an extra day of leave on either end, which, as we travel with a just-over-one-year-old-and-refusing-to-walk and have a solid ten hours of driving each way, is a thing we like to do to maintain what little sanity we have left. (hint: s’not working terribly well) Packing: with the Creature, there’s a mess of extra things, clothes for a week for each of us, all the accoutrements of being a professional at a place. Oh, and everything for the Range Trip. Which I won’t detail, but it was a bunch. Not lots, but a bunch. And we left stuff, too. Which I then kinda regretted. Ah, well. Next time, perhaps.
We finally got on the road mid-afternoon, after a late night spent getting new material on Amazon, and making road and con food (homemade gummies, which sorta worked and sorta didn’t. Great in theory; the execution requires some … refining) and then packing like madmen (really, the addition of an almost-toddler (cheap to a good home) is a pretty serious complication to, well, pretty much any process. Especially for people who don’t do a great deal of traveling. Seriously, I barely manage my obligations during the day when I don’t have a looming professional engagement.) and trying to overcome the sleep debt with no time to make coffee.
We finally got on the road, and learned that our delightful son, Wee Dave the Excellent Traveler had been sorcerously replaced with a homunculus of the same size and shape, but with wildly different demeanor. The changeling creature had no interest in toys, in the Nature speeding past his window, or in sleeping the miles away (like a good baby does). Also, the aforementioned gummies didn’t agree with him, to all of our frustration and ill comfort. Lesson learned. We stopped for the night in southwest Virginia, and got on the road again late morning on Thursday, arriving in Chattanooga just in time for a parking lot on I-75 a few miles east of where it tangles with I-24. Not the most favoritest thing of mine, when it comes to times of “I have somewhere to be now, thanks.” Still, rather unavoidable until Docfather installs himself as Emperor and initiates the “Separate But Awesome” travel plan for people who don’t suck (more on that later).
We arrived at the Lady of Baen’s new abode, and – let me tell you – it’s quite the set of digs. I’m particularly envious of her kitchen, and the collection of Le Creuset taunting me from the shelves. And the island. And the ovens. And the … but I’m uncertain where she’s got the anti-lander cannons and the hypervelocity missile rack installed. That probably just wasn’t part of the tour. Her Ladyship, as well as Her BbES Highness (or, as I like to call her: Mum) and her Consort arrived mere moments after we pulled in, and so we were able to foist off The Creature (temporarily: diapers, sigh) in order to assist in carrying in the vittles. After the Tour, and some excellent chit-chat with such luminaries as David Drake and Robert Buettner, most of us decamped to prepare for the Wedding/Renewal of Vows at the Choo Choo. We were staying at the Marriott, so checked in and changed in time to arrive for the – waiting. Seriously, I think most of us Odds can’t start a thing on time to save our lives. Maybe our souls (still think that’s a Hellene conceit. Maybe).
There were many hugs and re-foisting of Wee Dave upon folk who like such things, and eventually, a ceremony in the still 90-something degree heat. All parties were stylishly accoutred, but my favorite was Lady Vivamus, over whom the couples leapt, as gracefully as young near-deer from Gamma Centauri. Afterward, and some cooling down in the Choo Choo lobby, we returned to our room and slept, as the Creature was done for the night, and let us know so in his inimitable manner. And so we slept the sleep of the exhausted.
Yeah, this thing’s going to take a bit. There was lots. Lots and lots.