LosCon, in Brief

Some quick, very loosely organized thoughts on LosCon 35:

* First, the bottom line: One of my best convention experiences ever. And in no small part that is due to the LosCon con committee, which went out of its way to make sure I was happy and taken care of. Now, admittedly, I’m a cheap date — give me Double-Doubles and Coke Zero and I’m a happy boy — but on the other hand, even a cheap date likes to feel special, and the LosCon folks really did an excellent job of that. If you ever get a chance to be a LosCon guest of honor, take them up on the offer. These are good folks.

* The Double-Double thing, incidentally, was a kick. I really was joking when I suggested they provide me with an In-N-Out caddy, but the con folks took the ball and ran with it, not just getting me burgers but incorporating the getting of the burgers into the convention itself, up to and including me theatrically swooning because I was faint from hunger whilst on the panel, followed by a caddy bursting into the room, burgers in a special briefcase, to deliver my food in front of the crowd. And the final burger delivery, courtesy of a very hot woman in a very slinky cat suit — well. Presentation was a factor in my enjoyment.

* That said, I came perilously close to reaching an actual limit on Double-Doubles. By the end of the con, I think I was actually sweating cheese.

* My panels went very well, which I guess shouldn’t be a surprise, but if you go to cons you know how panels can go horribly wrong at the drop of a hat. None of mine did, and all of them were pretty substantive. Good co-panelists helped quite a lot. There was one on which I ended up being the dude that just wouldn’t shut up (the “Movies 2008” panel, which I was on with Lee Whiteside and Gary Westfahl), but my co-panelists were patient with me, for which I thank them. Note to self: Send Lee Whiteside and Gary Westfahl each a nice fruit basket.

* The best panel, naturally enough, was the Wil and Scalzi Super Happy Fun Hour, in which Wil Wheaton and I basically stood in front of a crowd for an hour and just wouldn’t stop talking. It was a kick, and the best part of it was that Wil brought The Velvet Wesley, which was the first time I had seen it live and in person. We got more than 20 minutes of schtick out of the Velvet Wesley story, but then again, why wouldn’t we get 20 minutes of the Velvet Wesley? That’s what the Velvet Wesley is for. The good news about all of that was that Wil and I didn’t plan anything (other than him bringing the painting, which I didn’t know about), so we didn’t know how it would all come off. But people seemed to enjoy it, and we had fun, in any event.

* One of the great things about conventions is getting to see folks that you might not otherwise get to see, and LosCon was no exception. I met Larry Niven for the first time and had a very nice quick chat with him; I also got to see Jane Espenson again after having briefly met her at the 2006 Worldcon, joked about with David Gerrold (and bought two Tribbles from him, much to my daughter’s delight), congratulated J. Michael Straczynski on his Changling script, and got to spend a little time talking to Tim Powers, who was very cool. I joked about with Chris Garica and his fandom crew, and subscribed to John Hertz’s fanzine. And I spent a bunch of time hanging out with Doselle and Janine Young, Emma Bull and Will Shetterly, Diana Sherman and David Anthony Durham, to name just a few, and here I beg off naming more on the usual excuse that naming everyone would have me here all day. Suffice to say I stocked up on good conversation all weekend long.

* Finally, I still can’t get over the fact that someone actually dressed up as my cat, complete with taped bacon. That’s just crazy. But what’s even crazier is that if my cat actually was a human, I suspect she’s look almost exactly like the person who was dressed up as her. Seriously, when I first saw this young lady, I thought to myself, “huh, she kinda looks like my cat,” and then I saw the bacon scarf and realized she was supposed to be my cat. At which point I realized that I (and, to be fair, my cat) had crossed over into some sort of strange zone of fame that I can’t quite yet comprehend, and am not entirely sure I want to comprehend. That said, yeah, it’s kind of cool. So thank you, Bacon Cat Girl, whoever you are (her badge said “Fluffy,” which I am quite sure is not her real name). You’re adorable.

(Photo of me, Bacon Cat Girl, and Wil Wheaton by Lee Whiteside, who has other LosCon photos here.)

35 Comments on “LosCon, in Brief”

  1. Twas great fun! You and Wil had me laughing so hard my face still hurt on the subway ride home.

    And despite all of my crap-website-based reservations, it was a really great con. Smart LosCon people, booking my favorite reverse-migration author. Thanks for obligating me to go!

    Oh, and for letting me meet Len Wein. That was a serious highlight.

  2. Mensley:

    Those are ribbons. I’ll be doing a better shot of those reasonably soon, I think.


    It was lovely to meet you! I’m really glad you came out and that we had a little time to chat together.

  3. An enthusiastic GOH makes things fun for everyone, Super Happy Fun Time was excellent (I do hope Wheaton’s half-orc rant makes youtube or something), and thanks for visiting with us in the fanzine lounge.

  4. Gerrold didn’t drop any info on the Chtorr saga did he? Just curious. Flat cats, I mean tribbles, are cool – but I’d cry if he finished The War Against the Chtorr. And I never cry.

  5. I’d like a tribble. Or a flat cat from Mars. But I really want Gerrold to write more about the purple eco-infestation.

    You know, come to think about it, Mr. Scalzi sir, you could probably write a bang-up conclusion to that long-delayed saga if Gerrold were to inhospitably pass away before he ever gets done. :-)

  6. If ever you decide to collaborate on a story, I hope Tim Powers is on your short list – a Scalzi/Powers mash-up would be fantastic (and a quick sellout over at Subterranean!).

  7. We definitely enjoyed the “Wil and Scalzi Super Happy Fun Hour”. Patch bought your book because of the fun he had. Which, incedentally, he has not put down. Now I will be forced to buy all of your books just to keep my husband satiated during our honeymoon.

  8. Xana:

    I can think of better activities for a honeymoon than reading my books. But thank Patch for me anyway. And it was really great to meet the two of you!

  9. Hey John. Was great meeting you and you family at the con. We had a blast with y’all at Salt Creek Grille afterward. Hope to see you soon some time. Come on back out when you can.

  10. The Super Happy Fun Hour was, indeed, the highlight of the con.

    Thanks for answering my question about writing fiction versus nonfiction – I write mostly non-fiction (it pays some of the bills) but I play around with fiction and hope to do more than just play soon.

    Also, thanks for signing my copy of “Old Man’s War” outside of your regular signing slot. As it turned out, I did have to leave Sunday before your signing was scheduled.

  11. Struck me (ok, so I twittered it, then realized neither your nor wilw would probably read it) that you are now within three degrees of kevin BACON thanks to Mr. Wheaton.


  12. Wow, I finally realized that when you say double double you’re referring to a burger and not a coffee. That somehow makes it even funnier (I know enough coffee addicts that perhaps the stipulation of a coffee runner didn’t seem as outrageous as a burger runner).

  13. It was good to see you at Loscon and make sure that you got one of “The Wrong People” ribbons. Also glad that you got Diana to come down for the con, since she’s one of my favorite people, and my wife and I got to go out to dinner with her both Friday and Saturday.

    I still wish they’d done that panel with you and Jerry Pournelle discussing copyright and intellectual property. I would have offered to referee.

  14. It was good to meet you (for the second time) and have an actual conversation (for the first time.) You were very gracious, even with my child running wild the whole time, and the Wheaton and Scalzi hour was probably the most fun I’ve ever had at a con.

    And I’ve mentioned it elsewhere but I feel it bear repeating: The True Majesty of the Velvet Wesley just cannot be understood from a photo – one must stand within three feet of it to bathe in its crushed black velvety amazingness. And one will be forever changed by the experience.

  15. You know, I say this with the ultimate respect and whatever: John Scalzi, you make being a pear shaped nerd seem super sexy and exciting. Awesome.

  16. See, most authors would have to have their writing made into a Manga, then an anime, with the Big Eyed Small Mouth version of Jane Sagan leading to cosplay.

    Nope. Tradition bedamned, straight from “I’m bored, let’s fuck with the cat” to “bacon cat cosplay”.

    Sir, I salute you.

  17. @Corby

    True dat.

    The Velvet Wesley is funny online but actually quite terryfing ‘in the flesh’.

    Both Wheaton and Scalzi appear to have no problem dominating a stage and engaging an audience, so you’d think the combination of the two of them would be enough to draw attention from a black velvet painting… but regardless of what else was going on my eyes kept helplessly drifting back to it. The lips… they follow you across the room.

  18. Has anyone come up with a depraved sex act and/or luscious dessert to assign the name Velvet Wesley to yet, at the very least for the purposes of Urban Dictionary? You know it’s going to happen. We need to get on top of this before the internet takes matters out of our hands.

  19. I’ve been going to LosCon for over 15 years now … and this was one of THE best.

    The GoH makes the convention.

    Scalzi – Bacon – Cats – YUM!

  20. Check back later on my SFTVBlog for an actual report to go with the photos.

    John, no problem with dominating the Movies 2008 panel, you write a weekly column about those things while I only think about them every couple of months for ConNotations. What I didn’t get was any pictures of the panels I did with people like Straczynski, Jane Espenson, Marv Wolfman, Len Wein, Mojo and, of course, The Scalzi.

  21. I think the “Velvet Wesley” arrives in a shot glass and has layers, it’s too sweet and kind of creepy, and it’s the kind of drink you can only have one of, because more than one would give you nightmares and/or violent indigestion.

    Kind of like, you know, the Velvet Wesley.

  22. Lee @30 said:
    John, no problem with dominating the Movies 2008 panel, you write a weekly column about those things while I only think about them every couple of months for ConNotations. What I didn’t get was any pictures of the panels I did with people like Straczynski, Jane Espenson, Marv Wolfman, Len Wein, Mojo and, of course, The Scalzi.

    Hi Lee,

    I have only two shots of you with The Scalzi that turned out, as I’ve deleted the ones with excessive motion blur. (I normally shoot without a flash at events like this, as I consider using a flash during such times to be rude to everyone in the room, except when there is an intentional photo op such as the posed Bacon Cat shots. The resulting slow shutter speed hurts my number of keepers, but I did get two decent shots that include you.)

    If you would like those files, I’ll be happy to send them to you. Would you like the original 3000×2000 pixel files, or would you like them resized to some other dimensions?

    If you wish these images, you can reach me on Yahoo. My address there is ursa_major_007. Send me the address to which you want the pictures sent and I’ll get them off to you.

    With best wishes,
    – Tom –


    Did you want only pictures that include yourself, or are there any other panel participants for whom you are seeking images? I have shots of The Scalzi with the participants of most of his panels, and I also have photos from a number of other panels. (I’m assuming that these are all considered “public figure” images and that I would not be intruding upon anyone’s rights or privacy by providing them to you.) I also have some shots of a couple of the infamous Double-Double deliveries to The Scalzi, as well as several photos of The Scalzi at the LOSCON In-N-Out Command Center.

  23. Glad you had a blast, Scalzi.

    I bet Tim and Serena Powers were glad to be thawed-out home in SoCal after their snow-tinged visit to Philly the previous weekend.

    He commented to me while finishing a smoke outside before his SF & Religion panel that it seemed weird to see blue skies and bright sunshine yet be so cold.


  24. It was a blast, indeed!

    Gotta love a con with such a great awesome-guest-to-attendee ratio. I got to chat with Tim Powers, who’s my favourite writer these days.

    Next time we’re at the same con, you must try the PowerDouble, also known as Tractor Style

%d bloggers like this: