Chatter #84: February 02, 2005

12/14/2001 — I started the Chatter section on July 27, 2000 when I noticed that the rest of my site was sometimes getting cluttered with lots of text. I'm a talkative guy, after all! So now I talk about my life here, instead of all over the place. Originally this was one huge section, but in December of 2001 it simply became too large to remain as one page, and I broke it into dated sections, as you can see. —>PM

February 02, 2005

It has been a while since the last installment of Chatter! Here's a con report for Arisia 2005. It's from my journal, but I'd like to put it in the slightly more permanent medium of, well, Chatter.

Arisia 2005 Con Report

All in all, a great con. But first, a little background for those who haven't read my 15 previous Arisia reports.


The first Arisia was the first con I ever went to, and I have never missed one since...that's since 1990, which means that this is the 16th Arisia I've been to. My old friend Lois (she's not currently on LJ, unfortunately) brought me to that first one; I was nervous, but obviously I liked it. Even that first year we were program participants, of a sort. We had an amateur video for the amateur video contest. Won an award, as I recall.

We went on with amateur videos for several years, encountering various degrees of cooperation and difficulty from the staff. In the most memorable year, we had been promised that there would be some sort of contest or at least a show, but it was never scheduled. The guy who'd promised us a show was also hosting the Masquerade that year.

When the Masquerade half-time started Lois said "Come on!", grabbed my hand, and we ran down the side of the hall. In through the hotel's kitchen (the kitchen staff stared in amazement), found our way somehow to the entrance to the backstage area, through the large door marked STAGE - DO NOT ENTER in big red letters, past the people who tried to stop us, the stage lights dazzling us, the audience visible past the host standing at the podium...

...and Lois came up behind the host like an avenging angel.

No, she didn't kill him. But she did grab him and hiss in the most intense way I've ever heard that he had better keep his promise.

It seemed to shake him, because he immediately announced a time for the amateur video competition to the audience and apologized for not having done so earlier. (He actually apologized several more times throughout the con, and even the next year. He really wasn't a bad guy at all, just overworked like most Arisia staff.)

A few years later I got involved in doing panels. My primary areas of expertise were amateur press, amateur video, and roleplaying games, of course. But despite initial fears I soon found that I really enjoyed public speaking, and that what's more, I was pretty good at it; I could come up with funny ad-libs and get an audience to laugh. And since I'm a bibliophile and polymath with a trick memory, I was able to do panels on a wide variety of subjects.

Before long Arisia was the high point of my year. I even dream about the con regularly, strange as that might sound.

Okay, just in case this is anyone's first encounter with me: I do have a life. I'm happily married, have a three-year-old red-headed son that is the pride of my life, and have many other interests. It's just the con, I can wear white tie and tails, and look great. I can get audiences to laugh, to ask questions, to get excited. I wear a ribbon, and I'm a VIP (although unlike some, I'm not an asshole about it). For those 48 hours or so I'm a minor celebrity, and I like it.

Nor do I think that's anything to be ashamed of.

Anyway, for the past three years there were...problems. For various reasons I missed large chunks of Arisia, could not wear fancy dress or go dancing, had to deal with unexpected disasters, etc. I won't go into why, but the situation was quite unfair. I was upset, friends were was a bad situation.

Mind you, in all that time I only missed ONE panel, and I was able to give Programming substantial warning on that one. But I didn't get to do a lot of the things I enjoyed, see the friends that I only got to see once a year...I just can't tell you how much it all sucked.

So this year, things had to be different. But there were already problems: for the first time in a decade I was too poor to afford a hotel room (thank you, George W. Bush - nice to know that the richest 1% have their tax cut). I could sleep at my parents' place in Brookline, but it sucks to not be in the hotel. It also sucks to not be able to afford food, or to go shopping at the con, or do the breakfast buffets with my friends (a longstanding Arisia tradition for us), etc.

Teri (my wife) was committed to volunteering at an animal shelter on Saturday, and would not be able to come. She's not really a member of that curious subculture which falls under the heading of "fan", though, so she wasn't too disappointed. On the other hand...well, no point in complicating things further. She wouldn't be coming up to sleep in Brookline.

Another complication was taking care of my son, Sebastian. If I had my choice he and Teri would both be at the con with me, and Sebastian would be in a cool costume that Teri made for him: here's a photo from two years ago.

It was all very complicated, and not at all promising. Read previous entries in my journal if you're insane enough to want more details. Okay, hold it. This report is going to be pretty huge. There are a bunch of pictures and lots and lots of my patented babbling. So here's an lj-cut.


There was one pre-con disappointment. I'd been fairly active on the Programming email list, suggesting panels: to my amazement, most of my ideas were used. But the most amazing of all was the RuneQuest panel, something I'd suggested for years but that was never accepted.

Until now, that is.

But there had been some glitch (there's always a glitch when it comes to me), and for some reason I'd been left off of all the panels I'd suggested and requested except one, fan website design. My RuneQuest site has been #1 on Google for more than two years now, so being left off the RuneQuest panel was really bizarre!

The problem was soon fixed, though. I emailed Programming, and was put back on four panels, including the RQ one. Stoked, I put a couple of announcements out on RQ-related mailing lists. I also wrote to Chaosium, asking them if there was anything they'd like me to include in the panel about their new Deluxe Roleplaying System, which is RuneQuest in everything but name.

It was therefore inevitable that the RuneQuest panel be cancelled shortly thereafter, I guess. A lack of space was the reason I was given, but I did notice that there were quite a few panel rooms empty during regular panel hours throughout the con. Perhaps there was a legal or contractual issue with the hotel, but it was a little hard to take - particularly since there were less than half as many gaming-related panels this year compared to past Arisias.


The con started Friday, and was supposed to go through Sunday afternoon. Wednesday I started feeling sick. Thursday I was in hell; a vicious head cold, with sinus pain like you wouldn't believe. Friday morning Teri gave me Tylenol sinus allergy pills, and I stayed in bed for an extra three hours; by the time I woke up, I felt human. At which point I talked things over with Teri, and realized that taking the 5:27 PM train would be risky. But the only alternative was to pack in ten minutes and take the 10:53AM train instead.

Which I did. I'm a fast packer.

I made it into the hotel before 1pm; that's quite early, and there weren't many people around. So I hung around for a while and scouted out the territory.


Years ago there were sometimes problems at Registration. Not so this year, possibly because I was there so early. Programming Ops wasn't open yet. Later, I ran into Rich Staats (aka Dr. Games) at Registration; we only had a few minutes, but it was great to see him.

Later I ran into unquietsoul5 and his wife Kiralee, and had dinner with them; it felt so good to talk with members of the clan! To clarify, by "clan" in this case I mean science fiction/fantasy people. If I were a decade or two older and spoke Fannish regularly, I'd say that I'd been FAFIAted for years.

Friday, 9PM Panel: Fredric Brown, Forgotten Great

My 9pm panel was about the science fiction/mystery author Fredric Brown. The panel had been suggested by me, as were a surprising number of the panels this year; I was mildly shocked to see how many panels this year had been suggested by me (they even used the descriptions I’d written up). There were ten at a minimum, although looking back there are others that might also have been mine; I'm not sure.

I'm always a little nervous about author panels. For one thing, I'm usually the least qualified person on the panel. And what are we supposed to say? "X was a great writer, go try him/her"...and then what? Plus, often the audience have all already read that author, and are fans. So what can I say that will interest them?

Fortunately I have a couple of arrows in my quiver: my odd memory, and my ability to research. There have been times when I've winged panels, and they often go quite well, but I'm much happier if I get a chance to research the topic, print up some notes, perhaps even a handout for the audience. At the least, I'd like a chance to sit for half an hour or so to think about the subject, and make notes of talking points. That can be a lifesaver.

But I tend to underestimate myself, or something. I know stories and facts about authors, and I always figure that everyone who's interested already knows them. But often they don't! And at the Fredric Brown: Forgotten Great panel that turned out to be the case once again. I was lucky to have two steady, skilled co-panelists, both of whom were published authors, and that was a big help too. We had 8 people in the audience, which was respectable and maybe even surprising for a Friday night panel on an obscure subject.

It helped that Lois was in the audience. In several cases she helped the panel by feeding us useful questions. I've noticed that there are two kinds of questions from the audience in panels: one kind is an excuse for the questioner to tell a story about themselves, and the other is, well, a real question.

Which brings me to the first of my quotes from the con, whispered to Lois during a different panel. An audience member was demonstrating a Type A question; she was going on and on about her own opinions and experiences, and wasn't anywhere NEAR a question for the panelists.

Me (whispering): "Lady, you're not on the bleeping panel. Spare us your life's story!"

The panel done, I headed out for my parents' place. I would need to wake up early, drive down to Rhode Island, pick up Sebastian before 9:30am, and come back up the same morning. I needed sleep!


Up in the morning, down to Rhode Island, a quick shower at home, and back up with Sebastian. The news was that a nor'easter or blizzard was coming, but it might be pushed out to sea; if not, we could be looking at 14-18 inches of snow. Fortunately the schedule was such that Sebastian and I were safely in Boston by then.

I hung out with Sebastian for a while at my parents' place, and then hopped on the Green line to get to the con. For the next few hours I did as much as I could without money; hung out with friends, spent time in the Green Room (outstanding food this year once again), and sat in on a panel or two. My two panels were scheduled for 5 and 6pm that afternoon; I was quite looking forward to them. After that, I wasn't sure what to do; the news reports indicated that the storm was going to be worse than expected.

(I should mention that I was using saline, taking Tylenol Sinus, and sucking on vitamin C drops throughout the con. The worst of my symptoms were gone by Friday, though.)

Back at the con, I hooked up again with Lois. We walked around a bit, looked in on the Green Room…it was kind of like the old days. I mentioned that I didn’t know what I would do after my last panel ended at 7pm, so Lois suggested that I help her with her entry for the Masquerade. I was kind of nervous about the thought of going into the Masquerade Green Room, though, so I left that tentative.

Saturday, 5PM panel: Party Origin Stories

The 5pm panel was one that I was really looking forward to. It was one that I was totally qualified to be on, because it was about a concept that I created: Party Origin Scenarios. I’d printed out a lot of copies of the original article that I’d written for Interregnum to use as a handout for the audience.

woodwardiocom was moderating. One of these years I really must spend a con tracking him from panel to panel and taking notes; he’s a damned good moderator. Better than me, for sure.

In this case he needed to be, because it was a difficult situation. I was exploding with ideas, and had done a lot of work on the subject; as a result I, well, I fear that I was not a good panelist. I couldn't help talking, you see; everything anyone said was already covered in my article in some way, and I was excited.

Now I'm embarrassed.

Still, I think overall it was a good panel. The 13 people in the audience seemed to enjoy it, and a few audience members came up afterwards to thank us for doing it. I also noticed that nobody had left their copy of the article behind.

Incidentally, I'd put out the extra copies of that article on the FREE rack, along with a copy of "The GameMaster's Hall of Shame" and the Pete's RQ! flier. I don't know if it means anything, but the Origin Scenario articles went the fastest; true, there were fewer of them, but I suspect that they went quickly because they were the only multi-page handout.

Saturday, 6PM panel: Cordwainer Smith The next panel was about the author Cordwainer Smith. This had been a staple of Arisia for years, and I'd been on it almost every time; for some reason it was always more successful than I expected it to be, although that makes no sense at all.

For the past two years it hadn't been scheduled, but once again I urged Programming to have one, and this time they agreed. There were three panelists, and twelve people in the audience, which I think is pretty respectable for a literary panel. I'd expected that someone from NESFA Press would be on the panel, but there wasn't. Nonetheless, it went really well. I don't remember if I said this during the CS panel, but I might as well stick it here. As the panel began I heard jingling sounds from the hallway.

"I hear Morris dancers. Which is kind of like seeing dead people, but more annoying."

Actually, I don't dislike Morris dancers. My mouth just can't resist a good joke.

My panels done, I ran over to the Green Room - and I will take a moment here to say that the people who run the Green Room once again were AWESOME. Great food, and a great atmosphere! I particularly love the Italian meatballs, because that guarantees me a source of hot food that I will like for the entire con. I basically live on meatball sandwiches during Arisia.

The Masquerade

After that, I wasn't sure what to do. Lois had asked me to come and help her in the Masquerade Green Room; she was doing a costume again this year, a new version of the riding bird that had gotten an honorable mention last year. On the one hand, I was curious. The costumer's green room is one of the few parts of Arisia that I've never seen. On the other hand, I was nervous; I strongly suspected that I'd be stopped at the door. Some volunteers get a bit over-officious when they're handed a bit of power (like being in charge of security at a door), and I tend to over-react massively when I encounter something like that. Deep in my bones, I hate authority. I admit it: I'm not really rational on the subject.

On the gripping hand, I was still sick. The medication was helping, but going back to my parents' place and going to sleep early had a certain appeal.

But this was Arisia - it only comes once a year! And something told me that I should go ahead and try something new. So I headed over to the Terrace room.

Fortunately no one was watching the door. Nonetheless I stood in the entranceway and looked for Lois. I saw her just before she spotted me, and she came over and grabbed me.

Wow! The Masquerade Green Room is cool. There were some outstanding costumes there, including some gorgeous women dressed in costumes from the original Star Trek! My favorite. And there was a Kirk, too. Plus a lot of other costumes, many of them really cool. I'd never had such a great view of the costumes before.

Lo's costume looked...well...I thought it looked kind of ragged. She told me that a little while ago the workmanship judge had walked up, looked her over, and just sneered. She was a bit upset.

I could understand that. Close up, the bird definitely needed a bit of work. There were flaps of loose cloth here and there; she'd safety-pinned things as best she could, but it needed work. There were loose threads all over. And the illusion of legs didn't look right, either. The fake thighs looked much too thin, and the legs were somehow a little off. She needed more padding and some re-pinning.

I surprised myself by jumping into action. We added padding in her "legs", and re-pinned things. I found some scissors and started snipping away the many loose threads. Another costumer, a really nice guy, helped out too; he started giving her advice on how to change her walk, to make it more birdlike. As soon as he brought up the subject I saw what he meant, and gave her some tips too. Then we did some quick practice.

Meanwhile the other costumer (I wish I knew his name) grabbed some string and we made a quick set of reins for the bird. By the time we were done, Lois looked a lot better. Here's a picture of her in the Green Room.

Unfortunately I didn't have the nerve to ask anyone else if I could take their picture. It's a pity, because I'd have loved a few pictures of Kirk's Accessories.

Quick interjection: There were a lot of great costumes. I REALLY liked the Trek one, and they certainly deserved the Best In Show award that they later won. some Arisias there was a costume (never more than one per year) that just took your breath away. A combination of craftsmanship, special effects, and great presentation would end up with something that literally made the hair on the back of my neck stand up. There are three that I can think of. In chronological order:

The Banshee. This was almost certainly Rae Bradbury, and it was completely chilling. She wore a light gown, and had her hair up in a classical, possibly ancient Greek style. The recorded presentation was outstanding, real professional quality. She walked around on the stage as the announcer spoke: "...beware, for she is the Banshee. And her voice is death."

The lights went out.

Her hair and gown glowed blue, her eyes were red fire, and the most hellish scream I've ever heard tore through the loudspeakers. Absolute silence from the audience as she disappeared. And when the lights went back on, I thought they'd tear the place apart. She won Best In Show, of course. All of the hair-raising ones did.

A later one was (and my memory for names is fuzzy, so this is probably wrong) The Demon. This was a huge winged demon. What made it work was that it was really big (I'd guess more than eight feet tall), REALLY well made, and that the's hard to explain. The legs were jointed backwards at the knees. I later found out that the costumer was walking on stilts. I still don't know how he managed to keep his balance. The wings stuck a little before they spread out, but once again, this was an absolutely astonishing production. I really felt as if I was in the presence of the supernatural.

The last one is the last one there was, so far. It was a few years ago, and I don't remember the name. It was essentially an armored warrior without a head. Or rather, his head was held in one hand; he had an axe in the other.

What made this work? Again, it was a subtle thing. The "headless" shtick has been done a million times in Hollywood. You can always tell that it's some guy with his head pulled down and the shoulders of the costume built up. The motion of the arms gives it away.

That's what made this costume work. We all knew the old trick, but this costume had NONE of the giveaway signs. The proportions of the body, the movement of the arms, they were all incredibly natural and just right. And that's what took everyone's breath away. You could feel the chill in the room.

Afterwards the top of the costume was removed, and it turned out that it was actually a very short guy in there. His head was actually well down in the chest of the costume, and the arms weren't his at all - they were fake, and he was operating them with wires! But it was so well done that we couldn't tell. Again, just wonderful.

There hasn't been a hair-raiser like that for quite a few years. It's a real pity. Nonetheless, it was an excellent Masquerade.

I watched Lois go on stage on the monitor in the Masquerade Green Room. The first camera shot was at an odd angle, but she actually looked very good indeed; she'd captured the bird style of walking perfectly. The picture was blurry, but the riding illusion seemed to work well. The sound (jungle noises, I believe) worked well too; Lois is really good with sound. The voice-over announcement was read by the host, and it was kind of an "up yours" to the workmanship judge. Rather than give a story about the bird and its rider, it talked about the bird being a soft sculpture designed for transportation. It finished with "Is there an award for the best use of safety pins? This contestant hopes to carry that one away!" The applause didn't sound thunderous over the monitor, but then, nothing did.

Eventually Lois came back, but we didn't stay there for too long. The children in the room rushed over; for some reason they couldn't resist her costume. They asked her questions about the bird (most of them impossible to answer), and played with her "feet". One robust little girl in particular kept kicking Lois in the face with her own "foot" - again and again and again and again. After a while we decided to head over to the auditorium. We stayed near the front, to one side, mostly out of view. We were both pretty sure that she wouldn't win anything. Privately, I estimated the odds at 80% that she wouldn't win anything, and 20% that she might win "Best Use of Safety Pins" if the judges had a sense of humor. As one award after another for the Novice category was announced and she didn't win, that 80/20 changed to 99/1.

All that was left was the Best In Class for novices...which she won! We were both totally stunned and shocked. Here's a photo of Lois up on the stage after receiving the award.

My guess is that the illusion worked better at a distance. And the workmanship judge must have been outvoted.

Here's a photo of more winners, including the Star Trek girls:

We strolled around a little, and then hung around at Lois' room watching the rebroadcast of the Masquerade. During one presentation...okay, this is going to be a little dicey.

Sometimes I find myself saying really cruel but really funny things, okay? And this was one of those times. With my luck the person in question is going to read this and get her feelings hurt, and then I'll feel bad. Which reminds me of an old story. Yes, this is a digression, but so what? It's my journal, after all!

A long time ago in high school I took a creative writing class. That class is the reason I never took English in college, by the way; the teacher was very hostile to genre writing. He didn't understand it, but he knew he didn't like it.

What did he like? The same goddamned story over and over: "My Dying Goldfish", "My Dying Aunt", "My Dying Mother" - anything, as long as it was dying and oozing with pathos. I eventually ended up writing a fake "My Dying Dog" story which was later published in the school magazine. After the story was printed people would come up to me in the hall and commiserate on my loss. They were always a bit indignant when I explained that the story was fiction, and that I didn't actually have a dog.

Anyway, each day in the Creative Writing class a student-authored story would be read aloud by the teacher. Students were then invited to critique it. For "My Dying Grandfather", I couldn't resist commenting that it was all a bit unbelievable; I don't remember the details now, but basically the grandfather died on his wedding anniversary, or something. The author, as I recall, was an extremely cute and extremely innocent girl. Blonde, if memory serves.

She stopped me after class, of course, and (inevitably) told me very sweetly that the whole story was true: her grandfather really had died on his wedding anniversary.

You may imagine my reaction.

Later that day I was walking down the hall and telling one of my very few friends about the whole thing. Suddenly I heard a sweet voice from behind me: "I'm sorry you were embarrassed, Peter." You guessed it: the author was right behind us, well within earshot. She'd heard everything.

I was mortified.

Incidentally, don't jump to the conclusion that she liked me, or anything like that; very few women ever have. I went until the age of 33 without ever going on a date which is pretty conclusive evidence that I'm rather loathsome. Or shy, anyway.

Still later that day I was hanging out in the library, reading, when an acquaintance sat near me. I couldn't resist telling the whole story, including the coda in the hall. As I finished my story I had a truly horrible premonition...and yes, there she was in the seat behind me. She'd heard everything.

I didn't tell that story again until after I graduated.

Anyway, one of the entries in the Masquerade was...a dress. A brown dress. A DULL brown dress. I'm sure that the craftsmanship was truly exquisite, but...a dress?

So I said:

"Lady, this is a science fiction/fantasy convention. At least stick a fucking antenna on your head!"

Lois cracked up. Which is, incidentally, the standard I've used to decide whether or not to box a quote here: whether or not it got a laugh.

Anyway, around 10:30 or so I decided to brave the storm and go to Brookline to sleep.

The blizzard was amazing. Snow was blasting everywhere, but fortunately it had warmed up a little . That morning the temperature had been nine below zero (-22 Centigrade), but now it was right at the freezing point - which is, of course, the most dangerous and productive temperature for snow and ice.

When I got to the condo I had a small surprise: my father was sleeping in the guestroom, where I expected Sebastian to be. And I was sure that meant that Sebastian was sleeping with my mother in the big bed. That boy does tend to kick and shove in his sleep.

There wasn't really space for me to sleep next to my father, so I curled up on the much-too-short couch and tried to sleep. Half an hour later my father woke up and straightened everything out, sort of. He and my mother took the guestroom bed, and Sebastian and I took the big bed. I was too tired to object.


Sebastian woke up just before 6am. We hung around for a few hours, but I had a panel at noon that day. There was more than two feet (0.6m) of snow on the ground, and more was coming down at a furious rate, but the Green Line trolleys were still running, albeit much less often than usual.

So I trudged out into the blizzard.

It wasn't that bad, actually. Not too cold, and although the wind was blowing pretty strongly, it wasn't painful to exposed skin. My face got a bit numb, but that was about it.

But the snow was so high that it was actually well above the height of the rails. Trains had been plowing a trough in the snow with their undercarriages for some time. As I got to the trolley stop, I saw a guy who for no reason that I could see was standing in the middle of the tracks, staring into the distance.

Not being crazy, I decided to wait in the trolley stop shelter instead. At least that offered a small roof over my head, although there was no door. The wind was gusting through the small gap around the bottom of the floor and blowing a snowdrift was quite strange to see. Here's what it looked like:

That's a bench on the left, covered with about a foot and a half of snow.

Eventually the trolley arrived (the track-stander having joined me in the shelter), and I clambered on.

My memory of Sunday is a little hazy. I hung out with unquietsoul5 for quite a while; then we ran into Rich Staats. Rich and I did a panel together.

Sunday, 12 noon panel: Introduction to Fan Web Design

The less said about this one the better; I did a shameful job as moderator, I am sorry to say. On the other hand, there were only six or seven people in the audience, at most. I hope they got something useful out of the panel. At least from the handout, if nothing else.

Sunday I did something a little unusual for me: I sat in the audience of a panel. I'd asked to be on this one, but was told by Programming that they were trying to gender-balance it. I wasn't willing to have a sex change operation just to be on a panel.

The panel was Hey Babe, What's Your LJ-Name?. Great panel, extremely well moderated by the ever-reliable woodwardiocom (unquietsoul5 was on the panel too), and simply jammed to the gills - I'd bet that there were at least fifty people there, and it was standing room only.

But there wasn't enough time to really get into things. There were a number of really interesting and provocative comments from the panel (and even some from the audience), but they only skimmed the surface; there just wasn't time to discuss the subject properly. The Six Apart takeover wasn't even discussed, nor the Great LJ Outage!

It was also clear that a lot of people there would have really liked to exchange LJ names, presumably to enlarge their friends lists, but again, there wasn't time. Next year I'll suggest a LiveJournal mixer to Programming. We'll see what happens.

After that, I pretty much hung out with unquietsoul5 and Lois in the Green Room. Lo was stranded, because Greyhound had shut down; the police were in the hotel lobby, stopping anyone who wanted to drive. I soon realized that there was no way that Sebastian and I could get home safely, even by train.

So late that afternoon I headed out (Lois figured she could crash somewhere, but if not, I told her to come over to my parents' place). The snow was so deep that the stairs down to the train station were invisible; they were just a huge steep slide of snow. But I made it there, and then to Brookline, and passed a peaceful evening and night with Sebastian and my parents. The next day Sebastian and I took the trolley to the train, and after a long slow ride (all the trains were running 30 minutes or more late), we got to the station, where Teri was waiting for us.

And safely drove us home.

Oh, one thing: this was the first Arisia in many years at which I didn’t see Matt Saroff. I also didn't see dobie (does he have a LiveJournal?). Here's hoping I see them next year. Almost forgot: here are some photos of the blizzard, and our ride home on the train.

A shot from the trolley on Sunday. Notice that the snow is up to the tops of the benches.

Someone taking a sled ride down Beacon Street in Brookline, which would not normally be possible. I also saw some skiers and snowboarders, but couldn't get the camera out in time.

A view from the train. Kinda dramatic, huh? That's the Gillette World Shaving Headquarters building on the left side. Of course, a week later they announced that they were being acquired by Procter & Gamble.

Sebastian and Harry Bear. Next year I hope to bring Sebastian to the con, in a costume if at all possible. I think he'd enjoy it. We might even enter the Masquerade together!

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[email protected] Copyright 2005 by Peter Maranci. Revised: February 02, 2005. version 1.0