|WorldCon in 2002 was Aug. 29 - Sept. 2
in San Jose, California, only an hour's drive from my house. I had bought
a membership when San Jose won the bid. In January this year, I marked
the week before Labor Day on the vacation schedule at work. I had worked
at M&H Tobacco for 22 years, so I was high enough on the list to get
the week off.
On May 11th the owner of M&H, Gary
Dubnoff, called everyone in for a meeting. He told us he had sold the business
and did not know if the new company would hire any of us. Bad news, and
as the shock wore off, I realized there was no way I would get my vacation.
Our last day at work was May 31st and after
three weeks of unemployment, I was going crazy. In the Help Wanted section
of the newspaper I saw an ad from Foster Lumber Yard. I had worked there
before I went to work at M&H. On June 25th I went to see Dave Jones
at Foster Lumber and on the 28th he hired me. I was happy to get a job
and I thought it was cool that the same man who hired me 25 years earlier
had hired me again.
At the end of July, I asked Dave about
getting time off to go to the Con. Summer is the busy time of year in the
lumber business, so he couldn't give me a yes or no right away. In the
middle of August we worked it out so I could get off the days of the Con.
Everyone at work practiced their Vulcan hand signs when they saw me.
By then all of the downtown hotels were
full, but I got reservations at the TraveLodge a few miles away. My friends,
Brian and Marlene, were coming to the con and we made plans to meet for
dinner on Friday. I had worried all summer about missing the WorldCon so
close to home, but everything was working out.
On Thursday morning I drove to San Jose
and got there around noon. I found a parking lot across the street from
the Hilton. It was $7.00 for all day, not too bad of a price for a spot
very close to the Convention Center. I parked there Thursday and Friday,
but I found a free lot for the rest of the Con.
Registration was easy to find and only
one person was in front of me in the "G" line. The badge was a nylon zippered
wallet, but the names were in big print and easy to read. I dropped off
the registration packet at my pick-up truck and headed for the Dealer's
Room to check it out. Big room, wide aisles, lots of dealers, lots of neat
stuff. At 2:30 I went to the "Tolkien and the 21st Century" panel. The
panelists and the audience seemed to know everything about Tolkien; I knew
enough to be impressed.
After the panel I went by registration
again. No one was in the "L" line, so I went up and asked if Brian Lowe
had registered. His badge was still there. I thanked the guy and turned
around. About five feet away Brian was walking toward me. After he and
Marlene registered, we talked a while and at 5:30 we went to the "Star
Trek Jeopardy" Panel. I didn't know how much Star Trek trivia I would know,
but I could answer some of the questions. The three contestants knew almost
all of the answers. Everyone had a good time, and it was a lot of fun.
A group of us went to a Chinese restaurant
for dinner then back to Brian and Marlene's hotel, The Fairmont, where
we sat in the lobby and talked until way too late. We made plans to meet
for dinner the next night and then I drove home.
Friday morning my son, James, and I packed
up and drove to San Jose. I talked James into going with me by promising
pizza for dinner and a visit to the Tech Museum.
We found the TraveLodge, dropped off our
bags and drove the few miles to the Convention Center. We went to registration
and had no problems getting James a badge. We didn't want to carry around
the registration stuff, so we took it back to the truck. On the way back,
we ended up in the Hilton. As I turned to James to tell him we went in
the wrong door, I saw C.J. Cherryh sitting in the lobby. She waved us over
and we joined her group. C.J. was sitting with Jane Fancher, their cats
in travel cages, and two friends. C.J. and Jane were waiting for their
room. We talked about their drive down, baseball and the weather. When
their room was ready, James and I each carried a cat up for them.
When we got to the room, James helped assemble
the cat-keeper-cage thing. After it was set up, James and I headed back
to the Convention Center. In the Dealer's Room we met up with Brian and
Marlene and joined the rest of our dinner group at the Fairmont. We walked
to Pizza Chicago to sit down, talk and eat. We had good pizza and good
company. We all walked back to the Fairmont and sat and talked. Hours later,
James and I drove back to our hotel.
Saturday morning James and I went to The
Tech Museum of Innovation, right across the street from the Convention
Center, for a couple of hours and had fun. Check it out at www.thetech.org
. Back at the Convention Center, we looked through the Dealer's Room and
got a Power Puff Girls T-shirt for my daughter Beth, and James picket out
a skeleton warrior T-shirt.
We ran into Marlene as we were leaving
and I told her I was going to take James home and be back later that night.
She told me to meet them in the Fairmont lobby at 6:00 to go to dinner
and then the Masquerade.
We drove back to Vallejo and went to my
mom and dad's home. Beth was there with my sister and her family. We gave
the T-shirt to Beth, and she really liked it -- everyone thought
it was perfect for her. Mama had cooked dinner for the whole family, so
I stayed to eat.
After dinner I drove back to San Jose and
went to the Fairmont to look for Brian and Marlene, but they weren't there.
I knew they were going to the Masquerade, so I waited by the end of the
line until they showed up. We went in, sat down and enjoyed the show. It
was a good Masquerade, it went smoothly with only a few glitches.
Sunday morning I got to the Convention
Center in time for the 11:30 panels. I wanted to go to the "Torturing Your
Characters" panel to see Lois McMaster Bujold, but the room was packed.
There was a Tolkien panel across the hallway, so I went in and got a seat.
It was a very interesting discussion of Tolkien's works. I was again impressed
by how much everyone in the room knew about Tolkien.
After the panel, I was going to go to the
Dealer's Room to buy the DAW 30th Anniversary anthologies to take to the
2:30 mass signing. In the hallway, I ran into Brian. He was heading to
the "Multi-Volume Sagas: What was I Thinking?" panel, so I tagged along.
A very interesting panel, but I had to leave early to get the DAW books
in time for the signing.
Lots of people were waiting to get books
signed. The lines for Frederik Pohl and Tad Williams were long, but I think
C.J. Cherryh's line was the longest. I bounced from line to line and got
autographs from Jennifer Roberson, Melanie Rawn, Deborah J. Ross, Irene
Radford, Jane Fancher, Michelle West, Frederick Pohl, Tad Williams and
Charles Ingrid. When Jane signed my book, she invited me to join them that
night for C.J.'s birthday dinner. I accepted, of course.
I also had editors Betsy Wollheim, Sheila
Gilbert and DAW Managing Editor Debra Euler sign the books.
C.J. was one of the last authors to finish
signing. She saw me and came over and I wished her a happy birthday. She
hugged me and pulled me over to where Jane was talking. C.J. said to Jane,
"Look who I found." Jane told her she had already invited me to dinner
The plan was for everyone to meet in the
Hilton lobby at 6 p.m. On the way to the Hilton, C.J. and Jane went through
the Dealer's Room and autographed books for any book seller that wanted
anything signed. Outside the Dealer's Room, I saw Vera Nazarian and stopped
to talk to her. Jane startled Vera by running up to hug her. Vera had other
dinner plans, but walked with us to the Hilton.
Our group for dinner was C.J., Jane, Selina
Rosen, Betsy Wollheim, Michelle West, Steven Pagel, Gary and Gloria Moreau
and me. We walked to an Italian restaurant and enjoyed a nice dinner with
good company. We sang Happy Birthday to C.J. and had a great time. Betsy
Wollheim had to leave early to go to the Hugo Awards ceremony, but she
paid for everyone's dinner because she said that's the way her mother would
have wanted it.
C.J. and Jane were leaving town that night,
so they had to get their cats and luggage. Michelle West and I helped dismantle
the cat-keeper-cage-thing and put it and their bags into the car. We said
good-bye to C.J. and Jane, and they drove off. While Michelle and I were
talking in the Hilton lobby, Debra Euler came in and told us the Hugo results.
I walked to the Fairmont to look for Brian
and Marlene, and found them in the lobby. They told me they had looked
for me at the Hugos and had even saved a seat for me. When I told them
how I had spent the evening, Brian rolled his eyes and shook his head.
He can't believe the way I luck into things. We talked a while, then I
drove back to my hotel.
Monday morning I checked out of my hotel,
packed my truck and drove to the Convention Center for the Con's last day.
I went to the Tech Museum Gift Shop to get some Christmas presents. I rarely
buy Christmas gifts before December, but the Tech had a bunch of really
cool stuff I couldn't resist.
I got to the Convention Center in time
for a Walter Jon Williams reading. After the reading, I headed to the Dealer's
room and met up with Brian and Marlene. They were going home, so we said
I looked for Selena Rosen in the Dealer's
Room so I could buy one of her books, but she wasn't at their booth, so
I planned to try again later. I bought a couple of other presents while
I was there.
At the Walter Jon Williams Kaffee Klatsch
at 2:30 p.m., ten of us talked with him for an hour. He is one of my favorite
authors and always interesting to listen to.
The Dealer's Room was closing by the time
I returned to it. The hallways were crowded with people who weren't ready
for the convention to end. I drove home and relaxed after the long weekend.
I had a great time at ConJose, but I needed to catch up on sleep.
Tuesday morning when I got to work, I was
greeted with a chorus of "Live Long And Prosper" and a "Nanoo, Nanoo" from