I’m Alive and Short Liberty Con AAR

I’m alive.  Sorry I didn’t post yesterday, but part of that “new plant” for the convention thing, forced on by change of hotel is that I missed seeing a lot of my friends. So after breakfast (we get concierge because Dan used to travel for work) I packed all my stuff and went in search of friends.

It was my intention to come back to the hotel room, finish packing and put in the promo post and stuff.  (Let me know if you have something urgent, because at this point I think it will wait till Saturday.)

Next thing I know Dan is waiting with all my stuff to go to the airport.

Now, the theme (bad theme) of THIS con was footwear.  My sandal strap broke in Charlotte airport while running for a tight connection.  To keep it from tripping me, I tied it.  The problem is it rubbed the back of my foot into a blisters and — by the time we got to Chattanooga — raw.

So we stopped at wallmart on the way in to get me footwear.  Being me, I bought a pair of nice sandals.  Fortunately I had an attack of “let’s have something else in case, and bought five dollar shoes.

Even the sandals were too hard on the foot (I should have bought slippers, or flip flops or SOMETHING) which is why you saw me limping around everywhere in the no-support, still rubbing my feet raw $5 shoes.

So, if you’re worried about how much I aged in a year, that wasn’t it.  It was more walking around on feet that were skinned and by the end of the con bleeding.

Which also affected my seeing people.

But also the whole hotel/convention center thing seemed to make it harder to find people.  Not a complaint, exactly.  I’ve been through this before.  After a while the flow of the con adapts to the hotel/accommodations, and we’re okay. And anyway, we won’t be there again next year (at least we’re not supposed to.  Fingers crossed.)

It’s just that in a way between the feet and the new plant it was a very weird con, and I kept getting tired (possibly the low level pain from feet, but, yes, I’m going to go to the doctor) and having to go to the room for a little while.

I did see everyone, in the end, except Laura Montgomery (!) I think, but didn’t have much time with anyone.

Gifts (!) this year include the autobiography of an ancestor, a stuffed mammoth that’s supposed to be Robert, and a nerf gun with which I shot the penguin.  (Evil Penguin.  One of the barflies.)

Differences noted: a lot more people discussing their indie business.  A lot fewer people chasing trad.

Things I missed: two teas and a dinner and a friend’s wedding reception. (Because I’d run out of energy by then.)

Everyone seemed to talk to my younger son, instead of me.

Les Johnson and I are in the early planning stages of a novel whose working title is The Princess and the Spaceman.  (You can call us sexist later.  These are particular people, hence the title.)

Now I’m back, working on an anthology (editing) a collection (going over edits) and finishing up Guardian.  Well, notionally at least.  Actually I got up about two hours ago, having defeated Greebo’s attempt to herd me into the office at 5 am, and Greebo’s licking my feet at 7 am.

I might write another post today.  Or not.

But I’m alive, and now I’m going to shower and catch up on work.

(Pets blog readers on their little fuzzy heads, and exits pursued by a deadline.)

171 responses to “I’m Alive and Short Liberty Con AAR

  1. Sorry to hear about feet. Glad you made it home safe. Congratulations on the new work!

  2. I was just thinking “…hope Mrs Hoyt is too busy having fun to post.” Too bad about the feet: they’ll really put a crimp in holiday trip. Hope all is otherwise well.

  3. BobtheRegisterredFool

    Reminder: Donate to Hoyt

  4. tregonsee314

    Hmm It appears Greebo is trying to make you work to make sure the crunchies keep coming. How Catly…

  5. “Pets blog readers on their little fuzzy heads, and exits pursued by a deadline.”

    I know what happened there, but I still like the phrasing.

  6. The Greebo Is a Harsh Mistress…Mister…Mistrix… WHATever…

  7. The Princess and the Spaceman.

    Here I was thinking: Interesting, an unanticipated way to extend on the George MacDonald creation, but, hey!, with you guys I’d give it a try.

      I’d buy it!

      • Not George MacDonald Fraser, but George MacDonald, the Scottish writer who had great influence on Lewis Carroll and C.S. Lewis. He wrote The Princess and the Goblin and The Princess and Curdie. They were both much loved by The Daughter when they were read aloud to her.

        OTOH … Flashman, while something altogether different, would be fun.

        • I think they’ve fractured this fairy tale.

          Do you think limericks would work to repel goblins?

          There once was a goblin named Smythe
          Who wanted a princess as wife
          He wrote her a verse
          Which got progressively worse
          Until his fellows interred him alive

          • Bah, thank you to the DMCA that people can’t get video digitizers any more and have to point cameras at screens to record video. Wish they’d get a frigging Tripod though.

    • I’m thinking more along the lines of the return of good old-fashioned Burroughsian planetary romance!

  8. 11B-Mailclerk

    New Balance sneakers are worth -every- Drachma. If you are going to be someplace where walking is a major part of the event, do not scrimp on shoes. Trust a former Infantryman on good footwear.

    I bought a pair for my Nurse-Midwife sister, and she never went back to cheapos.

    If you are working a convention, footwear count as -tools-.

    • What makes New Balance better than other varieties of sneakers (Adidas or Nike or whatever)? Curious because I work some cons and am always on the looking for good shoes.

      • lookOUT lookOUT. I’m apparently infected with the same virus cspschofield has.

        • William O. B'Livion

          New Balance–more so than other manufacturers–understands that people not only have different *length* feet, but also they have different *width* feet. On their website they list 6 widths 2a (x-narrow), B (narrow), D (standard), 2E (wide), 4E (x-wide) and 6E (“you poor bastage).

      • For some feet, it’s the ONLY shoe that corrects something (like a tendency to roll your foot inward.)

        • William O. B'Livion

          Most of your major brands of running shoes will be able to correct for overpronation. However for some people the problem is flexibility of the ankle or other “tightness” further upstream.

          I have wide feet and really like my Altra shoes. They also have some that provide support for over/under pronation.

        • thewerewife

          Go to your nearest Walking Company store (they are in Broomfield, Denver, and Littleton). They take the imprint of your feet and customize the shoes of your choice to the precise shape. Their house brand, “Abeo,” includes sandals, athletic shoes, pumps, heels, boots, sensible oxfords – ANYTHING you want. Everything else in the store comes with removable insoles that can accept the customized set they make for you. It’s like over-the-counter podiatric care crossed with DSW. Take it from a longtime sufferer of plantar fasciitis, plus at least one other foot condition for which no medical name seems to exist!

          • Ooh, that sounds great if an option. The absolute best fitting ‘shoes’ I have are custom (and I paid a bundle even Back When…) in that I drove the 3+ hours to the shoemaker for measurements and discussion. Some time later I got the results, with a note that I should wear them and walk around for some time (I forget how long… but about an hour min.?) for break-in. Put them on. Five (5) minutes later they were perfect. But they are decidedly not for everyday. They have, however, lasted me years and will continue to, with proper care.

      • Thirding or twenty-thirding, as the case may be– they actually make shoes where a lady’s wide is WIDE. And their men’s wide is actually decently freaking comfortable– I can wear shoes a size or two smaller than any other brand because they’re wide enough (when you can find a place that stocks the wide shoes) to fit my dang foot in!

      • I think that New Balance grew out of an American shoe company which made shoes for sport and mrdicsl / diabetic needs. Good last design, full range of accurate sizes from 6 to 16 by half sizes, and from 4A to 6E wide.
        I have worn them exclusively for the past 20+ years. Many are now made overseas, but they still have some made here.

      • snelson134

        Speaking for myself? They fit. I wear 6E width shoes, and they are pretty much the only company that makes them that wide in a variety of styles.

    • I’ve liked New Balance, too. Also, I’ve had some Clarks flats that required no breaking in before wearing, and I even wore them to a convention where I walked everywhere, right after I bought them.

    • I’ve found that propet works for me, even better than New Balance (which we use for son because of his tendency to turn his feet inwards)
      HOWEVER I had an attack of derp before the convention and thought “I will not spend $65 for a pair of sandals”. Instead, I bought a $15 pair on line. It was bad. Despite great reviews, it was REALLY bad. Sigh.

      • And even spending a bit can be dubious. “Try Dr. Scholl’s..” and they get a shock when the reply is, “Not again. Worst my feet ever hurt was from a pair of those.” (Alright, it’s not easy to fit hooves, EEExtra-wide. Still, I *can* get by for a while with the Walmart $15-$20 better than that, at least.)

        • My family tends towards square feet, and I’ve noticed that the Walmart cheepies are sometimes more comfortable BECAUSE they skimped on the sides– so they bow out, making room.

          • I’ve bought several pairs of expensive SAS shoes for myself and daughter because everything else was making my feet hurt after a few hours in them. (They are really good shoes, though, well worth what I paid for them.) But it’s too hot to wear them right now, so I got us each a pair of Walmart sandals — one pair flip-flops and one pair slip-ons with no heel — for just under twenty dollars each, and these are actually really good. The slip-ons are Earth Spirit brand; not sure about the flip-flops, but they were next to the slip-ons in the store. I can wear these all day with no problems, and they are a lot more durable than I expected for something from Walmart. I’ve had way too many pairs of uncomfortable shoes and way too many blisters on my heels to be casual about selecting our footwear; these pass my test.

      • William O. B'Livion

        “These look cute” sandals, or “These are for walking around in the hot” sandals?

        I had a REALLY awesome pair of the latter–they were made in Israel for the Israeli military and I ordered them when I was working in Iraq. They had the Star of David on the sole and I would leave *really* small imprints of it if the mud/sand was just right. However the sole eventually cracked, and I can’t buy them anymore.

        They were similar to these http://www.dafnafootwear.co.il/en/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&id=8086:new-mexico-zigzag-blue&Itemid=208&nonsef=1 but had 2 straps across the forefoot.

    • I liked my New Balance sneaks when I had them. I’m one of those people with oddly shaped feet (super wide in my case) where most shoe stores just can’t help me. A few years ago I found a New Balance outlet that carried super duper wide sizes. My feets were super duper happy… till they fell apart and I had to go looking for something else. 😦

    • Footwear and mattresses. And tools. Three things I will spend more on, because quality. For the first two, if you’re not in one, you are in the other. For the last, anyone who has cussed a blue streak when a cordless drill laid down on you three hours (or DAYS) from the nearest supply depot/store/friend’s house/etc knows. Get the good stuff. No or else. Just get it.

      • William O. B'Livion

        There is increasing evidence that there is little quality difference between the cheap stuff and the expensive stuff.

        Payless shoes will, if they fit your feet, last as long and be as comfortable as 500 Aldens.

        Most kitchen appliances are *literally* identical inside, with only the external skins bearing the brand, and the price differentiating them.

        There is apparently no correlation between mattress price and comfort (maybe longevity, but I’d rather replace a comfortable 500 piece of foam every 3 years than an uncomfortable 2000 mattress every 20 years).

        • Re: Kitchen Appliances, see:

          The sad truth about toasters

          And this is one time reading the comments is a Good Idea.

          • There’s a reason we’ve always gone for decent-quality toaster ovens instead of toasters. Not the cheap ones, but the ones that also function as a small tabletop oven. One reason is that with fewer moving parts, they don’t fail as easily—our first lasted well over a decade, including two major moves and near-continual use. Another is that you aren’t limited as to your thicknesses—you can toast bagels without freaking out or getting bits stuck. And you can cook small amounts of things, like chicken nuggets for the kids.

          • BobtheRegisterredFool

            Didn’t read all the comments, but there is another fatal flaw with the open source toaster design.

            I haven’t had the time to be involved in Upside. It looked good when I took a peek, but there is a lot that can go wrong, and the proof of the pudding is in the eating. That said, if the various flavors of engineering are done right, the challenging electrical and software work will be done, and the remaining tasks to produce a unit should be of moderate difficultly. (How challenging the mechanical side of building a unit is will probably depend on the quality of the mechanical engineering. And I haven’t stayed in touch, and probably couldn’t judge anyway.)

            Toasters? Those are moving parts. Unlike Upside’s circuit boards, it just wouldn’t make sense for the OpenToaster project to hire a manufacturer to produce parts. So either publish the detailed drawings, or identify parts suppliers currently available on the market. Easy peasy, problem solved, problem staying solved, right? Fabrication is skilled work, and can be fairly sensitive to materials. If the plan is fabrication, that skill gate limits it to very few end users. The home brew market probably isn’t going to be big enough to keep suppliers in business with parts in stock. Someone would likely need to be building a lot of toasters, expensively and at great opportunity cost, to be able to keep a useable part list up to date. (Even with fabrication, the right materials aren’t necessarily going to be in stock.)

          • Timothy Harris

            The sad thing is that they used to make really good toasters. Now you would think that a fully automatic toaster that feels like it’s taking the bread from your hand when you insert it and which raises it quickly but gently when done would have maintenance problems, but lots of these are still going after 60 years. Had one growing up but after 25 years or so of use an element burnt out & the folks decided to replace it rather than repair it.

        • I believe that The Original Mattress Factory does make a higher quality of mattress, but I really can’t say that I have proof, since I’m not in a position to go cutting up dozens of mattresses to study them, but I really like the one I bought from them 18 years ago.

    • SAS for in-town walking shoes and Hotter for dress, work, and wet-weather walking shoes. LLBean hiking boots.

    • Sandals? Flip-flops? $5 sneakers? Are you nuts? Life’s too short for injured feet on a walkabout.. Visit a local running store and have them fit you for some walkers/joggers. Then slavishly replace them every 500-600 miles (whenever they’re on sale elsewhere).

      • The replacement part is the problem: I replaced my very comfortable sandals that’s worn out with the same manufacturer and new style (the old was discontinued) shortly before LibertyCon. They turned out to be wonderfully comfortable for standing, and heck on my feet for walking. Unfortunately, my walking shoes are on their last legs: they’re very comfortable for walking, but not for standing still. Given my entire con was moving by brownian motion – a sort of hug-conversation-hug-conversation-hug-conversation-conversation-hug to get down the passage, neither pair worked well.

    • If you are working a convention, footwear count as -tools-.

      I have run the con’s Merch Booth at an anime con for several years now.  This entails four lengthy days on concrete floors.

      Last year I found I need new walking shoes not long before the con.  I got walking shoes that were a known brand on sale Sam’s at the end of the summer season.  I thought what the heck I’ll try them for walking.  They not only had good support, but also had memory foam.  That took a bit of getting used to.

      I wore those shoes at the con.  For the first time I got to the end of each day without my feet cussing me out and threatening to quit.  They were only tired and a bit moody.  That meant I was in a much better condition to deal with the public.

      Take care of the feet and they will take care of you … or at least they won’t undercut you.

      • The Goldilocks conundrum of editing — I really need to learn how to not over edit. On one end it is too little and the initial mistakes remain, on the other it is too much and new mistakes are added. SIGH!

      • The best damned shoes I ever got were a pair of Wolky sandals, $120 on sale. Freaked me out at the time, because that’s a lot of money for something that had velcro. But you know what? 11 out of 18 days at the State Fair, never less than five hours on my feet on cement, and no foot pain, no shin splints, no nothing to indicate that I’d been walking all day.

        Admittedly, they weren’t nearly as good the next summer, or the summer after that, but they’re not meant to be worn continuously for more than six months…

  9. The Princess and the Spaceman
    I love that title! It conjures up 3-4 stories all on its own. 🙂

    Maybe some day I’ll make it to a con, again. *sigh*

  10. Oh, and make a bit of moleskin part of your travel stuff, along with a couple of bandaids (large, the ‘cloth’ sort). Expressly for handling emerging foot/ankle issues. They can also help if you’ve got a computer bag rubbing your shoulder wrong.
    I often carry it even though I’ve got good shoes. (I just hiked a trail in Sabino Canyon, near Tucson, in my cowboy boots.)
    Also, carry some of those ankle socks for wearing on a plane. It’s comfier if you can take off shoes and put on the fresh socks.

    I hope you recover quickly! (And I’m glad that seems to be your only complaint.)

    Don’t mind us. We’ll keep things together. *discreetly pushes the empties under the couch*

    • Moleskin is absolutely awesome stuff, isn’t it

      • Oh, yeah, moleskin is a gift from God. On one of my vacations to Colorado, with a couple days left to go, I developed a blister on the bottom of toe. Moleskin let me get in another day of serious hiking, and a day of walking on sidewalks, on the hard floors of museums, and driving, without any real pain or problem.

      • I put moleskin on a pair of sandals I got last year, because there was a cut leather detail that was wearing my toes raw.

    • Peter Sanders

      Duck tape works in a pinch too…

  11. I couldn’t believe I didn’t see you guys. Even last year I at least got my hug if not much chatting. But I’ve figured it out. I see you at TVIW. So that’s good.

  12. There ain’t no fuzz on . . . ***feels head not shaved since Sunday night***

    • Yeah. Bachelorhood leads to fewer reminders that you need a trim. Only got around to cutting back my beard a couple of months ago. Was looking like some sort of civil war re-enactor out of uniform for a while there.

      • I have to wear a full facemask respirator from time to time, so I only have the ‘stache, and I keep it trimmed, and normally I shave about every other day, sunday night’s was rather early as well, so I’ma bit scratchy feeling than normal for a Tuesday (tend to shave monday morn)

    • Years ago, when our eldest son got his first “just like dad” buzz cut:

      *runs his hand over his head, cautiously, expression thunderous*
      *runs hand over head again, then again, expression slowly becoming shocked and delighted*
      Bellows at top volume:
      I HAVE FUR!!!!

      • (Pulls out shirt, looks down) Yeah, kid. When it’s everywhere, it’s not as entertaining. 🙂

      • SheSellsSeashells

        Kid actually did that in infancy. There was a period of a couple weeks where she would meditatively rub her hand over the top of her head, visibly boggle, and look up at me like “I seem to be fuzzy on top. Were you aware of this??”

        • This particular thread is getting a bit hairy.
          *ducks the inevitable carp barrage*

        • When I was that small, I had a baby seat with bells attached. I would move, the bells would ring, and I would look all around to find them — which, of course, stopped it.

          In due course I figured it out and my family suffered through a period of lots of bells.

      • Who sings the song about turning into a furred critter? dagnabbit. Radio Paradise plays it and KXT in Dallas did from time to time, and I am drawing a blank. A different song with the line “Feather, Fur, and Fin” is earworming me right now too so that doesn’t help.

  13. My daughters are fond of wearing ridiculous shoes. I always strongly suggest they take “emergency shoes” when they go somewhere where they’ll be out doing a lot of walking. Especially to something like a con. Wear whatever shes you want, but have a comfy pair of sensible shoes with you just in case.

    • I’ve had this conversation with my granddaughter — I think she finally got it after spending several hours in high-heeled boots that made her feet hurt.

  14. *throws a carpet over the crawling chaos emerging on the center of the bar floor and the mystic symbols scrawled on the floor around it*

    Uhm… hi! did y’all have fun?

  15. Put up a programmed post of a flag and do what is needful so you don’t get sick!

    Glad you had fun, even with pains.

  16. *waves from North Texas* It was good to see those of you that I saw.

  17. That hotel also had the most amazing variety of uniformly uncomfortable chairs.

    • I will quibble with that in that I found their uncomfortableness to be not so uniform.

    • yes, they seem to have ‘decorating experts’ that never sit at most hotels,

      • I figure they’re like the chairs at fast food restaurants, that are designed to be uncomfortable after 20 minutes to keep people from loitering after they eat.

        • Andrew Brew

          “Hostile design”, its called. It’s a real thing.

        • I remember that in the 70s, there was some study that showed that orange and brown made people eat more, so a bunch of places added a lot of orange and brown to their decor. Does anyone know if they have just decided to ignore that because it was ugly, or if later studies showed that the first one was wrong?

    • Not sure of that, but I spent most time on my hooves. Now there was the shabbiest Radisson that $HOUSEMATE and I stayed at in Iowa City… it was trying a bit too hard to make me feel ‘at home’ as it had that ‘damp underground’ aroma even on the third floor and the layout was as labyrinthine as I ever encountered at a hotel. I really do hope that after the nearby Hampton is done with renovation, some attention gets paid to the Radisson. It needs it. The light switches alone are worrisome, never mind the rest.

  18. LibertyCon next year should be at the Read House (http://www.thereadhousehotel.com/). It would have been there this year but the hotel was being renovated. If there’s any change to that I’ll be sure to let everyone know.

    There will be a special TVIW symposium in Oak Ridge, TN October 23-25 this year (https://tviw.us/tviw-symposium-on-the-power-of-synergy/), and the next regular interstellar symposium in Wichita, KS in early November of 2019. So LibertyCon next June, TVIW the November after (and maybe this October)!

  19. Oh, I should say that Sarah actually threw a fish at me! I was caught by surprise and so didn’t catch it, but I did pick it up and eat it later–it was delicious!

  20. The Princess and the Spaceman. (You can call us sexist later. …)

    It is only sexist if somebody assumes that a “Princess” must be female, or that a “Spaceman” is indubitably male. In which case that accusatory finger you point has three other fingers pointing back toward you.

  21. (I should have bought slippers, or flip flops or SOMETHING)

    There are several things that are kept in my suit case, one of them is a good pair of slippers. I have often been thankful that I do.

    • I think I might just need to add such to “the kit.”

    • I took a pair of Wal-Mart slippers that were like some down-market version of Crocs when I went to LibertyCon this year, and wound up leaving them in the hotel (not a major problem, I think they cost me $17, but it irritated me to realize that I did that).

      • At one point I was traveling once a minimum of once a month for con business. I lost a phone recharging cord and a very nice alarm clock. It became apparent to me that having a packing check list would be useful. So I made up a master list that I can print out and use whenever I travel. I am not traveling quite so often, and I am still working on it the master list. So far it has been helpful.

  22. I’d had no doubt your were alive and short, but I appreciate the Liberty Con After Action Report.

  23. Chrismouse

    Ooh, shoes. I have new uniform boots, and they are way too narrow (new manufacturer). I am thinking of getting the brown suede ones; they tend to fit better and I can wear them, being “forward deployed”.

    I packed a couple pairs of cute, walkable sandals to wear on leave, but now that I’m here in Japan, and walking several miles a day on base, I want good sneakers with proper ankle support. Even the “flat” roads have a bit of tilt to them, and there are some pretty good hills even this close to the water.

    Once I move into my house (which shouldn’t be more than another two to three weeks) I’ll have access to all the rest of my pairs of shoes, as well as a good soaking tub, but for now it’s sneakers–which means not wearing the cute sun dresses, either.

  24. Running around in the back of my head is a little earwurm muttering…

    I shot the penguin,
    But I did not shoot the…

    Don’t worry, I won’t feed him. I’m ignoring it. Trying…

  25. I think that New Balance grew out of an American shoe company which made shoes for sport and mrdicsl / diabetic needs. Good last design, full range of accurate sizes from 6 to 16 by half sizes, and from 4A to 6E wide, when special ordered. I have found a couple of styles and sizes that work, and order when I need new ones.
    I have worn them exclusively for the past 20+ years. Many are now made overseas, but they still have some made here.

  26. Congratulations on your survival, and hopefully I will be able to make it to LibertyCon next year.

  27. Christopher M. Chupik

    Glad you survived. I hear Larry Correia, Jon Del Arroz and Lou Antonelli were all there at the con, together. 😉

  28. Glad y’all got home okay, and hope your feet are better soon! It was great to see you, if only for 5 minutes, and yes, this was a ‘strange’ one, but the staff did good, all things considered!

  29. For flip-flops, nothing beats Bass Sunjuns. Reasonably priced, have narrow fit (need but hard to find in most lines), and feel great. Good cushioning and last a long time. Wear them year round here in Florida.