Yet Another Journal

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» Sunday, November 19, 2023
Conjuring the Week
It was an ultra-typical week. Thank the Lord nothing bad happened. In fact, I finally "ate a frog." Our garage door openers——we have six, but one is missing——are from 2006, when we bought the house. Two quit working, we figured, because the batteries were dead. The holder on my keyring one finally broke, so I swapped it out for the opener that was inside next to the garage. Now the working two, one each on our keyrings, were getting cranky. I kept saying "We need to bring them to Batteries Plus."

Naw, didn't need to do that at all. Looked 'em up, they take a standard 2032 round battery that we keep in stock because our scale and James' diabetes meter use the same battery. Pried them all open, put in new batteries. Now they all work. Win.

This was the silly part: I said at the beginning of the month that, "Hey, Conjuration should be coming up soon. Let me see if a schedule is up." It wasn't. Then I totally forgot about it, and only remembered when I saw a friend's Facebook post.

We couldn't do anything about it on Friday anyway, since James had a doctor's appointment, and then it turned out the doctor put in a new scrip for his arthritis that we had to go pick up. The convention was in a new location (Gwinnett County) rather than down near the airport, which suited us fine, but by the time we got there in rush hour traffic after going to Kaiser, we'd have to turn around and come home.

So Saturday morning we got up and went.

The new hotel is very nice. The old was a nice venue, but the food there was insanely expensive (a plate of spaghetti with one meatball for nearly $30???; even the sports bar was pricy, and you had to pay for parking), so we always had to bring our own sandwiches (although this helped keep the sodium down for James). It mainly catered to business travelers on expense accounts. The Sonesta had free parking, and during the weekend they put out a "floating" meal stand that had breakfast things in the morning and then lunch things until 3 p.m. I had chicken soup both times and it was flavorful, not overly salted, and had lots of noodles in it (and it wasn't Progresso; yeah, I'm looking at you, Panera Bread!). James had sliders both days. There was also a restaurant where, while the main meals were expensive, you could get a big burger for a reasonable $15, and they had these Philly cheese steak egg rolls that were to die for. We had them Saturday night, and should have ordered two each instead of one. Oh, and did I mention it was pet friendly? We met some really sweet dogs during the weekend.

Anyway, enough with that. Conjuration basically has a Harry Potter theme with the names filed off; one of the co-founders told a very funny story about how, after they started the call, they got a very polite call from the Warner Brothers people about "your little Harry Potter convention" and he was quick to say that it was a convention about magical media of all kinds, and they had to do a couple of tweaks, but WB was cool about it.

Saturday I did the following panels (lots of writing panels, as usual). James went to a few of his own things.
  • "Fandom Funerals and Repass" (half) (fictional deaths that got to you...yes, Old Yeller was mentioned!...mostly they mentioned fandoms we're not into, like Game of Thrones)
  • "Dungeons and Dragons: Honor Among Screenwriters" (about the movie and all the D&D "Easter eggs" and how fun it was)
  • "Editing Feng Shui" (this panel had some positive qualities about getting rid of verbal clutter but I don't think the presenter was as prepared as she could have been)
  • "Positive Mental Health Methods for the Creative" (basically coping with stress from real life)
  • "Dragons, Wizards & Pens" (a fun panel: given a subject prompt, four writers had to come up with the best opening line for a book--we went to this last year and it's always fun)
  • "People Who Live in Your Book" (designing characters for your stories)
Sunday, alas, we didn't get up early enough for me to get to the Harry Dresden panel, but:
  • "Sort This--Identifying and Sorting Plots and Characters" (using "sorting methods" like the Hogwarts houses to give your characters personality--also things like horoscopes, Myers-Briggs; I even suggested Gretchen Rubin's Four Tendencies)
  • "Learning from Luna Lovegood" (panel about neurodivergencies, mostly autism, which I found interesting because I'm thinking about introducing an autistic character in my fanfic)
  • "Fanfiction 101" (not that I needed the 101, but there were several people here who really wanted to know the basics, like "where do you find it?" and "is this legal"?)
  • "It Ain't Easy Being Geek" (how nerds/geeks are perceived by media—Big Bang Theory anyone?—and acceptance)
  • "To Tell the Truth--Or Not" (one of our favorites from last year, too: four writers get together and, given a prompt ["the most way out thing you've ever seen at a convention," for example], they have to tell a story and the audience guesses if it's true or not—heard some great true stories this way!)

Talked with Alice for a while afterwards. James pre-paid for next year. Sadly, the restaurant was closed today and we couldn't get more egg rolls for supper.

Dear folks: next year, please keep the singalongs way away from the panel rooms, please? On some panels we could barely hear the panelists speaking.

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