My flight out to Adelaide was uneventful. Despite my best efforts, my suitcase was 1.5kgs overweight. After having spent over an hour at home whittling down the books I was going to take, when the woman asked me if I wanted to take anything out of the bag, I nearly cried. I asked her how much it would cost me in overweight baggage and she looked at me really apologetically and said, "$8." To which I of course responded with, "Just charge me $8 then!" She was so apologetic. I was just glad to be done with the baggage issue. I happily finished 13 Little Blue Envelopes on the trip over. Though the flight felt long - I think when you know it's a short flight you expect it to be 30 mins and so 2.5hrs is a killer. Also, my nose ran, I think because of the aircon, and the woman next to me put her scarf over her nose and mouth every time I blew my nose. I was so indignant - how come when I behave that way, I have to go to therapy for 2 years and now all of a sudden this is considered totally acceptable behaviour? I am choosing to see this as me being ahead of the curve.
I landed early and saw that russellbfarr's plane was going to be late so I hopped in a taxi by myself to the hotel. Hmmm ... interesting street the hotel was on ... Not long afterwards I was esconsed in my single room with Queen size bed, sitting at the table eating room service - pizza and stickydate pudding - and watching an interesting piece on SBS about blogging. Just as I was debating whether or not to get an early night, I got a phonecall from jonathanstrahan and was summoned down to the bar. Had a good catchup chat. I don't remember much but I think I got to bed at a semi reasonable hour of 12.30 or so and read for a bit.
I was up brightish and early in the morning to register, meet up with flinthart who then came with me to meet jonathanstrahan and russellbfarr for breakfast. After a long breakfast, including very bad coffee, I went to find out that there was no dealers table for me. That was soon sorted out and I brought out all the books and set them up. Sat with russellbfarr for a bit and then nicked out for lunch with Ron and jonathanstrahan. We ended up at a Lebanese place called Jerusalem where Ron charmed the owner into bringing us an array of delights to bring "happiness in our mouth". The food was mightily excellent - I've eaten a lot of felafel in my life, this was definitely out there among the best. Also the babaganoush was damn fine. And we got baklava straight out of the oven, all warm and flakily good. The food was good and the company better.
Then we had a bit of a wander to walk off a lot of the calories and ended up at Haighs. Not sure that wasn't totally counterproductive but I did get my sister some thank you gifts. Back to the hotel where we had a good long talk with karenmiller about all things critique. And then I popped up to the dealer's room where I actually was not for most of the con - thanks to Russ, G and Nyssa who manned my spot instead. Dinner on Saturday night was a steamboat with flinthart and jonathanstrahan. I must admit I was wary - we walked in and my glasses instantly steamed up. And ... you know, we were in the dingiest part of Adelaide. But I was seriously impressed by the staff who not only remembered my peanut allergy but told the chef who mentioned it when he came to show us how to man the boat. I relaxed and enjoyed it. Was great to hang out with J and D too.
But time in Adelaide is different ... we were out for a very long time, both looking for somewhere to eat and then took our time at dinner. And then after all that, it was only 8pm! We wandered back to the hotel and had dessert and coffee in the restaurant. I tried the brulee. Then we headed down to the bar. About that, I might just say I had 5 cosmopolitans and leave it at that. I very much regretted them the next day. But it was much fun at the time and we had some really fun conversations and I had a really good D&M with some of my favourite men in the world, whom I deeply respect - J, D and dmw. A lot of stuff from that conversation, drunk as I was, needs to be processed and will take a while.
I went to bed at 3. Not nice when the room spins when you're lying in the dark with your eyes closed. At about 2.30, I realised that all the show stoppers for me were scheduled for the next day. And I had to do them all a little bit hungover with slightly unhappy Crohn's. The cosmos were pretty though!
I was up grossly early on Sunday. Had a very unhappy breakfast - half a piece of toast and half a pineapple juice for $19. austspecfic came over and kept me company though which was nice. Then I was off to the dealer's room for a bit.
Then to the Natcon Business Meeting. I really enjoyed the meeting. Lots of discussion on how the Ditmars new process went - what worked, what didn't, what they might change next time through. I asked that the tallies be made public which should happen along with a report that is going to be written. That will be good, I think. We also got an update on the Natcon and how it had gone - 185 people came, at that point - which was a good turnout and made for a nice, intimate, friendly con. And then there was some discussion about Natcon 2010. Noone bid for the con so last year some members at the Business Meeting put together Dudcon 3 which will happen during Aussiecon 4 and will have the business meeting and the Ditmars. Since this will not have its own con to fund it, Dudcon 3 is fundraising and selling memberships in order to pay for the Ditmars and a new idea - Ditmar nominee badges. I think that idea is fantastic. I also think that it would be good to support Dudcon 3 which represents continuity in the Natcon in a year where noone wanted to host it. I will be putting up more information on how you can support Dudcon 3 and I assume you will need to buy at least the cheapest membership in order to vote in the Ditmars if you weren't a member of Conjecture this year.
I also pitched for Natcon 2011, on behalf of Swancon 36, in the business meeting. There were no other bids and Swancon 36 won. Natcon 2011 will be the 50th Natcon which is very exciting!
I grabbed lunch after the meeting with J at Burp. Hmmm. I dunno how we felt about that meal. The less said the better. J walked up to Woolies with me and helped me carry back some champagne for the book lanch and we stopped in at Lush on the way back. I managed to get all the alcohol in my bar fridge. And then I had a good long chat with Ron. That's the best thing I think about a small con - you get to come back and finish conversations. You actually get to get things done or properly finalise deals and things without constantly feeling like you are on the run and being torn in different directions.
After that, it was a quick rush to bring down all the cold champers, half set up for the launch as the space was being used - thank you to Adam and Damian who had sorted out glasses when I hadn't even thought to ask! - dress for the evening and then rush onto the Editors and Publishers panel. Left the panel a bit early to finish the set up for the Horn launch and then it was time to launch. It was in the foyer just near the registration desk which I think was a good location and it was well attended. I think I bought just the right about of booze, on Ian N's advice. We had a lovely general introduction which was nice but kinda unrelated to the content of our book and then I said a few words. I suspect I came across not that pro the book, someone shouted "sell it!" from the crowd and tillianion has quoted me on FB saying I said "I never want to read this book again and after you've read it, you will feel the same way." Which is true btw but from me doesn't mean I don't think it's an awesome book that you shouldn't read, I say the same thing about Margo Lanagan. Peter wore a shirt with two unicorns mating in front of a rainbow. And I think that probably summarised the book better! Peter followed my speech with a short reading from the book and then he was asked by the crowd to read more. Which he did and go him for reading aloud naughty words and finishing with "raped by a unicorn."
We sold nearly all the rest of the books I had brought and Peter looked worried he wasn't going to be able to take any home with him! I let him take a few home in the end :)
After that I went off to dinner with Donna, Jason and Nicole. Jason lead us into the wilds of a windy, rainy Adelaide evening with a brisk, unquick walk to a very very good Thai restaurant. Seriously good food. And so lovely to hang with those three and get to chat without interruption. Then it was back for the Ditmars. Ditmars came with Haighs chocolate this year! This should become a tradition! Especially when you jointly win an award - Gene took the trophy and I got the chocolate and I think we were both secretly happier that we got the better deal! SO, yes, ASif! won the award for Best Fan Production which I was genuinely really surprised by and really proud. It's been so great working with Gene on ASif! over the last year or more and I was so excited to share the Ditmar with him. And a big shoutout to all our reviewers without whom there would be no website at all. Lots of other awesome things won - including both Dirk and Margo's short stories! Yay.
Drinks in the bar followed. And then I took some people up to my room to try and finish work on the room tab I had. We failed. And by then we were getting tired and I think quality of conversation was waning. A sort of early bedtime.
In the morning I woke early and took myself and my book down to breakfast. J joined me which was really lovely and we talked all things publishing - you'd think we surely have nothing left to say on this subject. Others progressively joined us and our crowd got thrown out in the end and sent down to the bar. I packed up my dealers table though kept having to stop to make sales which was ok by me!! Also had time to have a quick ASif! Editorial Board Meeting with Gene - we took minutes and noted actions and everything! And not long after that it was sadly time to leave. Just time for one quick last lunch with J and more Haighs shopping.
I think to sum up my con, to give an idea of what it was like the whole weekend - I found out I was on the same plane as Helen and Sarah so split a cab with them. J was watching over my shoulder when I was checking in online at the hotel, and said "don't sit there, sit there". And "there" turned out to be directly behind Helen and Sarah and with noone next to me. So the trip home was not the usual downer but filled with chatter and good friends.