The Nerd Queen Journal: It’s Electric Eclectic

Nerd Queen sunIt’s been more than a week since Balticon 50 and I still feel like it was all a dream.

It wasn’t like one of those weird dreams that you think you’re having and you wished it would end. It was more like one of those dreams you wished would never end and you would never have to wake up from.

When I first saw George R.R. Martin at the convention, I was still helping the techies set up in the main ballroom. I had just returned from the ballroom next to it where I had crawled under the stage to run cables and wires. I’m only five-nothing, so I could easily fit in there. But the crowds were coming in quick that afternoon and it was already getting a little crowded when I followed one of the sound guys into the main ballroom.

Little did I know, George R.R. Martin was standing right there where people were taking pictures of him in his hat and suspenders. I got this close to bumping into him without looking, but I weaved out. He had waved his hand my direction as he talked, not even knowing that I was standing right there.

Then I saw him again on Saturday night after the masquerade. As people were filing out, he stopped in the hallway and started talking to people, including me. The first thing I said was along the lines of, “I’m sorry I almost bumped into you on Friday. I was one of the techies running into the ballroom to check on something.”

He said, “Oh, I wasn’t even here on Friday. There are a lot of guys dressed up as me.”

I laughed, of course, and then asked him if he liked the masquerade so far. He told me he was very impressed with the costumes and some of the Game of Thrones reenactments like the Dances With Wolves entry. There were at least three or four entries with people dressed up in Game of Thrones costumes, most of them made by the wearers. It’s impossible to find some decent costumes at Halloween stores unless you make them yourself, and then enter them for Workmanship awards.

Martin even went over to the table where the Hall Costume Contest was held in the hallway. All you had to do was cast your vote on whichever costume you liked every time you visited the table and whomever got the most votes won the big prize for it. And if you were a contestant, you had to go to behind the table and get your picture taken in your costume and have it printed out from the photographer’s computer to be voted on.

Well, when George R.R. Martin went to that table, he went to the photographer and had his picture taken in his hat and suspenders. Because on Sunday, I found his picture among all the other hall costumes of Mad Hatter with the White Queen and Duck Dodgers.

I’m pretty sure he didn’t vote for my costume, for I wore it to the hall contest, got my picture taken in it, and didn’t win anything. But at least I got some compliments on it as I went downstairs for the Steampunk Ball on Friday, despite the small kitchen fire that set off the alarms in the building and made everyone wait outside.

It’s what I mean. It was mayhem that weekend.

On the other hand, I meant to ask Martin about the ice bucket challenge because I saw in a video that author Neil Gaiman challenged him to make a donation to an organization to find a cure for ALS and get dumped with a bucket of ice water. But when it came time to meet him at last on Saturday, I fumbled over my words and left without another embarrassing word. I didn’t get an answer to my question.

Then again… Looks like I got my answer either way even though I was too chicken to ask him face-to-face.

Yes, you did hear him say, “Neil Gaiman that bastard.” Pffft. 😀

My first night of staying in the tech suite was exhausting, I will say that. I made my way up and down the elevators, bringing up cases and things up to the main ballroom so everyone could prep the sound and lighting for the main programs. It took a great deal of time putting up the stage and everything else, working almost overnight, and eventually taking a toll on my legs and feet. I was basically on my feet all day.

But I did enjoy some of the volunteers singing “Bohemian Rhapsody” as they were putting together goodie bags and programs.

So I got to meet George R.R. Martin and I saw some incredible costumes, including a couple of people dressed as Disney characters. Both of them, Cinderella and Mulan, won Workmanship awards for their painstaking attention to detail. (Particularly the rhinestones on the “glass” slippers) There was even a little girl dressed as the Golden Snitch from Harry Potter, and a woman dressed in a “computer dress” for her Apple II entry, “The House that Woz Built”. I even saw an old friend from college dress up in costume finery.

And I learned to dance as they did in the Regency Era. The woman running the dance, who also ran the Steampunk Ball, told me that movies like Pride and Prejudice got the dances wrong a little bit. Music and dance in Jane Austen’s time was supposed to be lively and full of energy, just like the scene where Jane dances with Mr. Bingley for the first time and Lizzie gets insulted by proud Mr. Darcy.

Yes, I danced, and I enjoyed it. It even gave me some more ideas for my Prisoner of Austen novel.

I half wished that I had gone to the tech party on Sunday night, but I needed the sleep at home. There was only so much of the convention I could take. But it was like a Boogie Knights song or like a good science fiction party, meeting everyone my dad knew from days of yore. It was truly a sight to see.

Even though it’s a long trip from Hunt Valley to the Inner Harbor to get to the Renaissance Hotel inside the Gallery building, 50 years of Balticon was well worth the wait and I look forward to going back again next year.

Maybe someday I’ll be a Guest of Honor. Wishful thinking.

Playlist selection- Some rocking good music from one of my favorite movies


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