Nebula Weekend 2012, Day 1 (Thursday): Or, the guy who spilled the sugar

A short, but very fun evening tonight at the Nebula Weekend 2012. I took the afternoon off work, got myself cleaned up and then headed over to the Nebula Awards hotel, the Hyatt in Crystal City, a short walk from my office, which was particularly convenient. I found my way down to registration and immediately ran into Alethea Kontis and Nancy Fulda,  talking with Lawrence Schoen and Tom Doyle. We chatted for a few minutes and while we chatted, Joe and Gay Haldeman walked up to say hello to the group. I immediately stood and offered my seat to Gay but they were moving on and she insisted I sit backdown. Despite my best efforts, I am still a big fanboy at heart.

Registration opened and I got to chat with the volunteers at the registration desk, including Bill Lawhorn and Steven Silver. Steven kindly pointed out that I’d forgotten to order Kelly’s meal for the banquet, but equally kindly corrected my oversight.

I chatted for a while with Nancy Fulda, who had huffed her way over to the event from Germany. We then found a quiet spot in the bar so that I could interview her for SF Signal. I was a little nervous because I haven’t done too many interviews and because this was the first one I was recording (using the voice recorder on my iPhone), but it all worked out well. Nancy answered my halting questions like a pro and I’m not just saying that–you’ll get to see for yourself when the interview is posted.

Later, I found my way up to the hospitality suite on the 18th floor, and was amused to discover I could see my office building from there. “Which one is it?” someone asked.

“The one with the dome.” I said.

“The Capitol building?”

“No, no, that other one there.”

Maybe I should have let them believe it was the Capitol.

Alethea, who was working the registration desk as a volunteer, had a break and so we headed up to 23rd street to have dinner at Chili’s. We almost didn’t make it out of the hotel as there were a flood of high school-aged kids in the lobby trying to organize themselves in such a way as to most efficiently board the busses outside. This organization involved blocking most of the routes for getting out to the sidewalk, until Alethea and I found ourselves cutting through the flowers and bushes to make our escape. Dinner was very cool. We talked shop and I noted several others from the hotel sitting around us.

Then it was back to the hotel. I headed back to the hospitality suite for the welcome reception. It was crowded with people this time. I saw John Scalzi and Myke Cole there. It was at about this time that a minor incident took place that singled me out as the guy who spilled the sugar, likely for the duration of the weekend. But in order to understand exactly what happened, a slight diversion is required.

When I checked into registration, I checked in for myself and for Kelly. I was therefore given two goodie bags loaded with all kinds of fun stuff, one for me and the other (presumably) for Kelly. My backpack was already stuffed, but I didn’t want to carry around these additional bags, so I managed to get their contents into my backpack and then fold up the tote bags and put them in my backpack as well. It made for a rather thick backpack.

Back up in the hospitality suite, I was attempting to shake Myke Cole’s hand in the crowded narrow spaces, I turned toward him, and in so turning, my body acted as a pivot for my backpack, sending it smashing into the dishes of packaged sugar and sweetener beside me, and they all went crashing to the floor. Myke and I then spent the next five minutes cleaning them up (and sorted them into their proper dishes. Myke promptly pronounced that I would heretofore be known as the guy who spilled the sugar.

At that point, it was getting late–not really late, but Kelly was home with both kids and I didn’t want to be home too late, so around 8:30 I started making my way home. In the lobby, I ran into Stan Schmidt and his wife and said a quick hello, promising him more stories at his humorous prompting. (“We had a baby in August,” I pleaded. “Excuses, excuses,” he said.)

And then I was on my way home and the evening was over. So much fun to hang out with everyone and I’m looking forward to getting back there for the rest of the weekend.



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