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» Sunday, February 16, 2020The Somber End to a Fun Weekend
Well, this was it. The final Anachrocon.
We've been going to Anachrocon since it was a mostly steampunk convention at the Hilton at Perimeter Mall. (221B Con, the Sherlock Holmes convention, was also there for a while.) We sampled our first one just on a Sunday, enjoyed the few panels we saw (candy-making exhibitions, mostly), and signed up for the entire con the next year. The con branched out further once it moved to the Marriott at Century Center (where Timegate/WHOlanta was held after they moved from the Holiday Inn in Chamblee). They started having a whole track of history panels and there was also a Doctor Who track, along with costuming, fabrication, literature, and science. There are literature and science panels at DragonCon, but no real history tracks, just alternate history panels. It was so good to be able to talk to others about things that interested you in real history, like an infamous circus train crash in Georgia. Two men who re-enacted Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson also used to come to the con. Then there was a shake-up in the con committee, the con was held one year near our house (the Wyndham at Powers Ferry), and then they moved out to the Hilton at the airport like everyone (WHOlanta and 221B) else. But it was obvious at the Wyndham con that attendance was down. So...long story short, this year was the last.
We had our own obstacle this year since the lift on the truck had been broken and we were still waiting for the insurance claim to process so we could arrange to have a new one installed. There was no way James could get the power chair there. Instead we decided to take the Kia and the rollator, since it was supposed to rain most of the weekend anyway. So on Friday we packed up our food (since the restaurants in the hotel are too expensive for words; the "Italian" place has spaghetti and meatballs for $22! Even the sports bar is expensive and tiny portions; I don't want to know what the lah-de-dah "Magnolia Room" charges), headed down to the airport about 2:30, annoyed to find out rush hour had already started. I let James off at the door and went to park the car out back. Our friends Clay and Maggi had also just arrived and they turned up soon afterwards.
Spent most of this convention at the literature track, which, like last year, consisted of mostly writing panels. We spent Friday evening, in fact, solely in the literature track, where there was the one non-writing panel, the history of alternative history. The other Friday panels were about editing, writing effective villains, "That Took Me Out of the Story" (unforgivable errors mostly), and tropes.
Saturday we were there from eleven until 9:30 p.m. (and probably would have been later had I not considered poor Tucker's bladder). We did a cruise around the Dealer's Room when we arrived, then went to sit down in the 17th Century Medicine panel given by Jo Frost, waiting for the Writing Historical Fiction panel (which, as always, boils down to "research! research! research!"), and we both went to the "Writing Alternative Universes" panel.
At 2 p.m. I attended the Science Track's panel about "20s" technology. Debbie Viguie and a friend ran this as a humorous look at technology that came out in the 20s (1920s, 1820s, 1720s, 1620s...) doing a Bill and Ted riff. It was funny, and we voted for our favorite technologies and added things. (James had gone to a panel on tommy guns, and remarked wryly that he know more about tommy guns than the moderator.)
Attended the "Effective Research" panel back in "litrachure," then went wandering back to History track to see the "Untouchables" panel. Jeremiah Mitchell was still finishing the Battle of Atlanta, and it ran way, way over, so his "Untouchables" presentation was a bit truncated (but still ran over). Jeremiah loves to talk about the things that interest him, and, boy, can he talk. I'd seen the Capone/Ness presentation previously but he attacked it at a different angle this time.
So I was late getting out of that one and decided to give "Tesla vs. Edison" a miss.
The next panel was about unusual roles for women, which we all went to, but it was different from what I expected. The moderator was talking about specific people; I thought it was going to be more general (talking about women who became soldiers, perhaps, like Deborah Sampson, or about women being tram drivers in World War I, etc.). After that Clay, Maggi, James, and I stood around swapping pet stories—and watching the cute dachshund, Dobby, walk back and forth with his human, wearing a little doggy three piece suit.
The final Saturday panel was about the Kennedy assassination, which Maggi and I remember, but Clay and James don't, so they stayed outside and talked and we stayed in and watched Jeremiah, who had corralled all the conspiracy theory evidence (although there's enough non-conspiracy stuff to be puzzled about, like why no forensics teams ever saw that limousine) and started talking at 8:15, and, like the Energizer Bunny, kept going and going and going. Maggi left because her back was hurting, and I would have stayed if I hadn't started thinking Tucker was really going to need a walk—I tiptoed out at 9:30, Jeremiah having just reached the investigation that took place after the Warren Commission report.
So in we walk Sunday morning, and the first person I run into is Jeremiah. I ask "What time did you finish last night?" He said "Eleven." I just laughed.
We did three panels on Sunday, a literature one about developing story ideas, and then a panel in the history track about re-enactments and the value of historical accuracy. Instead, with the meager audience's help, it developed into funny re-enactment events and the crazy things re-enactors are asked (Jeremiah and Jo said they were both asked if their campfire was "real"). The third guy on the panel (Bill?) said that it was hard for beginners to attain historical accuracy anyway, because most re-enactors start in their teens when they have no money, and they don't have the cash to order handmade Civil War-era-like brogans ($400!). But, yeah, sneakers did kind of take you out of the moment. 😊
So we (well, Maggi and I at least) ended up back at the beginning for the last panel in Literature, "Give the Princess a Sword." Strong female characters—but don't make her a guy in a girl outfit. (The guys were outside in the open area, watching a demonstration swordfight.)
We probably should have stayed for closing ceremonies, but being on his feet was catching up with James, so instead we headed home. We did buy Girl Scout cookies before we left.
(And who was the last person we said goodbye to? Jeremiah. So he got the last word. 😉 )
There was one perk out of the Hilton this weekend: we never had to pay for parking! The ticket reader didn't work all three days—you couldn't insert the ticket into it; the feed did not work—and when you pressed the call button they just opened the gate for you. There's at least $15 saved.
Which, of course was a good thing, because as we got on the freeway we had problems in two ways: we just went straight up through downtown because I-285 had construction all weekend, only to find out the freeway was backed up all the way through downtown. Of course being stuck in traffic was the perfect time for the car to start giving me trouble. It was idling low (500 RPM) with a visible vibration, and it was fighting me as I tried to accelerate. Any speed under 2000 RPM and there was a vibration. (There was also a tick when it idled.)
We owe the hospital. We owe the IRS. And now this. Arrrrgh!