That's what I wanted to write yesterday. Today I'm feeling rather better. I had a nice visit with Rose tonight and last night I chatted with filkerdave. So positive outlook and all that. Picking out clothes for my trip and starting to pack.
The best part of packing is the moment when I realize that I get to wear something on the plane too so I can get in that one last item after all.
To keep my earlier flight plans and pay $300 round trip.
Book a flight earlier in the week and pay $170 round trip. E.g. Wednesday to Tuesday.
Wait for a better fare.
Any other suggestions for getting to Minneapolis/St. Paul?
David Goldfarb over on RASFF is looking for a roommate are you still looking for one Larry? Um... Also if I do stay afterwards would any of the people who have suggested they would like to hang out with me have house space? I think I can make it from the airport to the hotel under my own power using the bus system. I made it to the airport last time, so even if there isn't someone to pick me up I'll be there. Will the setting up be started by about 11am?
It has also been suggested that I should make chili, specifically turkey molé chili, for the con. Is there is still support for this idea and if so who is willing to chip in by buying stuff or bringing equipment? Obviously I can't bring my giant stockpot from Denver. It would be cheaper to buy a new one a Cub Foods.
Obviously I have to get my registration in the mail in the next few days to get in under the wire.
I awoke on my last day and got finished packing up. I had mostly done so the night before, so it was much easier than when I left the hotel. I snacked upon a few leftovers for breakfast. Sue gave me the wonderful present of an elf-boy drawing. Eeee! I'm so happy that I could burst.
Soon after I set off walking towards downtown. After about 20 blocks I realized that I had left behind the mobile phone my mom loaned me for the trip and I decided that I had enough time to go back for it. About half a block after turning back I encountered Elise Matthesen! "Matthew, give us a hug," she said. She was just done visiting John M. Ford who was recovering from successful cataract surgery. I seem to have some sort of strange luck associated with her and Minneapolis fandom in general.
I arrived back at the house to find I just barely made it before Sue got into the shower. Lucky again. Deciding this was karma, fate, or something I went the opposite direction this time, to Dreamhaven books. Which as luck would have it opens at 11am, just a little bit after I arrived at their front door. I was amused to see it was near the corner of Colfax and Lake, since Colfax is the name of a major avenue in Denver. Inside the Neil Gaiman shrine, holding his Hugo and other awards for American Gods also tickled my fancy. This was a good diversion, though also bad since I bought five more books and had them shipped to my parent's home (UPS is bad about being able to get me things at my apartment).
I managed to make all my bus connections out to the airport with very little effort, though I missed being able to take a picture of Solera due to time constraints. The plane ride home was less perfect. One of those silly things with the plane needing a mechanical check out and us being trapped on the plane in our seats for 45 minutes. My legs felt quite cramped by the time we descended into a rainy day in Denver. Everything came full circle with going from sun to rain on a plane journey.
 Look the storefront of Dreamhaven, exciting.
 I had to take a picture of the Case o' Gaiman awards.
The lovely and talented staff at Dreamhaven:
E.V. & Elizabeth.
Tuesday found me playing with my camera for much of the morning. Larry has a tripod so I couldn't help but start messing about with the timer to take a few pictures of my favorite person in the whole world. (Yes I'm kidding, mostly.) Also I thought no one had taken a picture of me in the Goth outfit, so I decided I would get that as well as me in my new tee shirt. 
As it was getting close to noon Sue informed me that there would be room in the junket to the Mall of America. I had been planning on doing some sight seeing around town, but hanging out with fans sounded outstanding to me, so that's how I came to be at the Mall of America with Sue, Alison, Steven, Jonathan, etc... (big group) The only way I can describe the experience is as Minnesota big. The mall is huge, but it doesn't feel that huge when walking around in it. The only time a person gets an impression of the scale is when looking across the little amusement park taking up a sort of covered courtyard space surrounded by the mall. It was interesting to see, but as usual I was out of luck in the shopping (just as well I technically had no money left). It was still fun to go once and now I'll be able to skip it the next time I go to Minneapolis. 
After we were done we went to the home of Dean Gahlon & Laura Krentz. Two things were planned barbecue and seeing the legendary player piano of Minneapolis Fandom! Sue Mason holds the opinion that it is somehow wrong for a player piano to be playing Meatloaf songs. I was quite amused, especially by putting on the ABBA's greatest hits roll. "Beelzebub, Beelzebub, has a devil for me!!" (Which is strange since Bohemian Rhapsody was by Queen.) Surprisingly it seemed like Jonathan and Marianna were not as fascinated as the adults were. The barbecue was good and I had a wonderful time. Fin day seven.
 Me in tee shirt and jeans. Hurm suspect I must work on being prettier than Legolas.
Me acting silly for the camera. Note the cute ass.
 Us at the Mall of America
 The famous player piano
And the great wall of piano rolls
No hangover greeted me on Sunday, so I count that as a minor victory. Two of my friends from the previous night invited me out to breakfast with them. That worked out just dandy and was not too expensive, though I was told later that I could have had an even better meal at Hell's Kitchen for about the same price. Maybe if I am able to go next year I'll try that. The one thing I was really annoyed with myself over is missing the slide show of early Worldcons including Denvention I. I would have liked to have seen that, I think I'll try tracking down whoever has the slides and seeing if they're going to do this again or might consider sending them to Milehicon.
About forty minutes later I was hanging under the dome with my fellow photograph aficionados. The light through the clouds was very good for taking pictures and the dome made for an interesting background. Especially for Alison who was taking and showing off her 3-D pictures. Everyone there had a go at looking through the little plastic image combiner at the photos on her laptop. Being fans we were all impressed by this combination of technological wizardry and a traditional pastime.
It was also noted that the dome was a hot spot for open wireless networks and many fans were logging on to check email or upload photos. This felt like what the future should be to me. Checking mail using electronic devices in a plexiglas dome.
Most of the day was filled with tasks of minor interest like buying more books, paying for my Sue art, claiming a tee shirt (size small, yay!), and helping out with some clean up of abandoned eating detritus. Things got interesting again after closing ceremonies (which I accidentally missed, much to my dismay). I got to join the Minsif and GoH dinner party at Ruth Chris's Steakhouse. Good food, great conversation, and very cool dinner companions! I got a nifty 1940s sort of dinner party picture of the group too.
When I got back to the con Alison was showing off even more photographs and we were having the usual fannish discussions about everything from employment issues to 'zine production. I was told that people were needed to come help finish off beer in the penthouse consuite and by the time the filking was winding down there were a fair number of us down there drinking and eating. Mostly drinking.
I had enough bad wine that I thought it would be a good idea to take off my shirt and wear Marti Gras beads instead. And it was tremendously bad wine, though not as bad as the turpentine kosher brandy which no one partook of. I didn't get totally drunk, though I kept myself nicely buzzed to mildly inebriated for the rest of the night. I again took over as bartender when the previous tender of that post left us around 2am. My good deed for the night was to keep pushing water on Alison, Sandy, and Lydia Nickerson when I could not convince them to slow or stop drinking. (Hey, you try to come between them and a drink!)
Many things were discussed, some of which I cannot reveal due to my sense of honor and self-preservation. But the conversation kept on circling around to certain points. About the sixth time the same point had been made, the sun was coming up and a small amount of beer was spilt upon me. (I had been on the floor.) At this point I decided it was time for me to leave the conversational merry-go-round and head to bed. So I washed out my shirt and turned in. It was 5am. I was told later that Alison and Lydia didn't go to sleep for another four hours (1) and were much worse off than me due to having a higher blood alcohol content at the end. (And still went for Sushi!) Sandra slept with Joel in the consuite while we were there... just in a same bed. They did it in the same room where the rest of us were drinking and talking under the theory that with lots of people around to see it would be clear that nothing happened. Though we didn't even notice they were asleep in bed for about two hours. Very little could have distracted us from our serious bout of drinking and talking.
 Alison in background with computer, general picture of the dome crowd.
 Our Dinner Party in Black and White
 Wheee, I'm shirtless! This would be at a tipsy stage.
And the rest of the drinking party.
The next morning I was on a mission from Alison. She had asked me to dress up in my terribly Goth outfit for Sue Mason's interview panel. So when I got up I took even longer than usual getting ready because it took me simply forever to paint my fingernails black. Not a look I'm going to do regularly, but it was a lot of fun this once. Along with my vinyl pants and a fishnet shirt (is it right to call something so insubstantial a shirt?) I was looking very fab.
I made quite a splash when I arrived downstairs for the panel. A guy with a Polaroid took pictures of me with Sue, as did Diane. During the panel I took pictures and ran questions from the audience up front for Alison to ask Sue. The whole thing was quite a blast and we got an explanation for all the mooses (sic) in Sue's art and some fun drawings of moose done on the chalkboard.
I followed Sue to her next program item: touring the art show and giving her take on the pieces in the show. There was a huge crowd so I didn't follow her too closely, but her talking about the art did inspire me to put a bid on a elf piece by her. After a break to hang around upstairs, during which I changed into my black jeans and red shirt Spike sort of outfit, I went back down to hang with Sue at an artist collaborative participating program. While there I tried to show off my inability to do art, but was unrelentingly encouraged by the many fan artists there. Feh on them for not being supportive of my negativity. I might actually have to go out and practice now.
More taking pictures of people and vague trying to be helpful in the con-suites. Then I was off to see a quick slice of the city and get some blank CDs for Andrew to burn my pictures onto. At approximately 5pm I went back to my room to clean off my nail polish and put on my vinyl pants, black tee shirt, boot, and Farscape vest. I thought this outfit would be okay for a Time Traveller's Ball since I didn't have anything 1940s or Victorian in my suitcase.
Arriving early I tried to take pictures of people as they came in using the nightvision function on my camera. Some of those came out excellent looking like classic 1940s photos. Sue Mason did two changes of clothing. The first was more medievaly blouse and skirt and the second was a very nice black dress with corset. Drinking a Brandy Alexander, a Scarlet O'Hara, and various other mixed drinks at the ball gently smashed me. Sue and Alison mocked my drinking abilities in comparison to British fans.
Part of the refreshments were little cheese cakes, cocktail shrimp, and a cake provided by Geri out of the Worldcon bid funds. She had decided that she could plausibly call the dance a Worldcon because it was a Time Traveller's Ball and so was part of an alternate future where she chairs Worldcon. Or else she only agreed to chair a Minneapolis Worldcon, not to actually bid for one. Either way she's planning on sending half the money to the next three Worldcons as pass along funds and the other half goes to Minicon to get it closer to being in the black.
Other doings at the ball include getting complements and questions about my peacekeeper uniform, meeting people from the Denver area and learning Rachael (from the dinner with Sue) may be moving here for school, and my playing bartender late in the game when we lost the official one. Jack had wandered off somewhere, probably to go party after being exhausted by the alcohol requirements of the fen. 
For a short while during and a longer time after the Ball had wound down I hung out in the drinking con-suite and various parties. And I met a really cute guy who I made out with for a while, though we decided against doing anything more than that due to each of us having roommates. C'est la vie. For some reason I then returned to my room, changed shirt and pants, again, then went back out to the parties for a while. I wandered upstairs in my velvet shirt, back down to the Tor Party, and generally hung out. I turned in a bit later than I would have liked.
 Me with Sue
 Artists at Work/Play
 Me later at night in the peacekeeper uniform. Once again picture by Diane Lacey.
 The opening of the Time Traveller's Ball
 Jack, the official purveyor of mixed drinks.
(Note, there are other pictures of doings besides the ones I'm featureing here.)
I generally awake after eight hours of sleep so I was up at about 9am. An hour later (yes, I take a while getting ready in the morning) I was dressed in my Levi 501s and a black DASFA t-shirt. I headed up to the Bar and got started cutting up the melons. With four down and two to go, I was grabbed to go back down to the loading dock to help unload food.
The pile of edibles was quite impressive. I particularly remember the 18 gallons of chocolate milk, skim milk, and orange juice. Back up to the con-suite to complete my task. A bit more organizing and set up and I was off for my first clothes change of the day. I wore an orange sleeveless top with my slim cut black jeans. It was my intention to get a picture of myself wearing this next to Orange Mike. I ran into him when I went downstairs, but he was just getting in so I left him alone and grabbed a sandwich from registration. (Those sandwiches from the Vietnamese restaurant were great, by the way. I'm not totally sure what was in them, but they were near perfect. I'm going to have to try to replicate them at home.)
After stopping in the "Online Communities" panel I was puttering about helping and taking pictures in the 14th floor con-suite when I ran into Alison. She asked if I would like to go for all you can eat sushi with her, Steven, and Sue. Yes! Sushi is v. good in my opinion and the company for this meal sounded ideal. I met them downstairs at 5pm and we walked down the block to Ichiban Japanese Steak House. The sushi, while not extraordinary, was very good and quite plentiful on the endlessly circling boats of the sushi bar.
I was surprised that Alison and Steven's children, Jonathan and Marianne (respectively two and five), were along and eating the same things as the rest of us. I thought it quite nifty that they were being treated as much like adults as they were willing to behave. I doubt that I would have eaten sushi at that age, or anything too "weird" for that matter. They were a bit of a handful, especially Jonathan, but for children they did pretty well. I tried to be helpful with Jonathan, telling him a story when he was getting wiggly towards the end. That's the system I use on Maya (the five year old daughter of my friends Richard Morman and Carol Angel back in Denver) at brunch, but that trick seems to work better with older children because it only kept Jonathan's attention for a little bit.
I enjoyed the eel and the roe sushi best out of all the different things I tried. We all left fairly well stuffed, though Alison said she could have crammed in a few more pieces. Inspired by Marianne I had a Shirley Temple and water with my sushi. Alison and Sue had beer, in some ways they are a good deal more butch than me. I also got Sue to sign my copy of her chapbook. Eeee! Such a wonderful convention, and it's only the first day!
Back to the con for opening ceremonies. At one point before it started the very cute daughter of Orange Mike caught my eye. Kelly was looking angelic and willing to play to the camera, so I snapped off some pictures of her. 
I'm told that I looked good flouncing about in my outfit and I got some excellent pictures of the goings on. Toastmaster David Levine, whose name is quite similar to someone I knew at Pyramid Magazine, was a good speaker. He also did an excellently brutal job of killing the messy inflatable alien as the example of what might happen to people who don't bathe regularly at the con. Our noble guests of honor all got up in turn to speak and in one case sing and they all appeared to be okay with the four or five people including me snapping their pictures.
The last speaker, Elise Matthesen, dressed up as the high priestess of Vegetology, the convention's new religion. Using the holy book of Burpee she pronounced the convention's vegetable to be multi-ton hybrid cabbage. Then there was more music and everyone took an alcoholic or non-alcoholic Bloody Mary as the sacrament of Vegetology. Smooth! (Though spicy.) Afterwards I got my picture with Orange Mike and then I changed into a slightly more sedate outfit of a black t-shirt with a embroidered shirt over that.
I wandered around, put out food in the con-suite and generally hung about until the 10pm panel; "Melbourne in 2010, why fans shouldn't drink at cons." In deference to the topic, almost everyone on the panel was drinking "tea." Late in the course of things, Geri Sullivan told Michael Bentley as he got up to leave, "The next person to leave the room has to chair a Worldcon™." Unfortunately, she forgot this fact five minutes later when she left to use the facilities, as is often necessitated when one has had large amounts of "tea." Almost the moment she left the room Erik Olson pointed out what she had said. In the twinkling of an eye her fellow panelists and friends from the audience were putting twenties on her chair and signing their names as pre-supporters for her Worldcon bid.
When Geri returned she was informed of her new position and she proceeded to fall down laughing and saying, "You bastards!" to the many conspirators. I was very happy to get a nice picture of the exact moment she was saying this. Very fun.
The panel broke up and we proceeded upstairs to the con-suite where people continued to bring Geri money and sign the pre-supporters sheet as word of what had happened spread. I was nominated as treasurer, a position for which I did almost no work other than counting the money because Geri wasn't totally sure that she had got it right the first time (she had). Sue Mason was located because we needed an illustration for the bid and she is the traditional choice for drunken bids (e.g. Melbourne in 2010). She drew a picture of Geri covered in money and looking rather annoyed which appeared in the next issue of the Bozo Bus Tribune. I eventually turned in around 2am after a lot more chatting and having fun with the fans.
 Online Communities Panel, picture by yours truly
 Kelly Lowery
 And here we are in all our Orangeness
 The Money
 Geri's Reaction
Knowing I would be helping out with set up on Thursday I dressed rather conservatively – well, conservative for me. I wore my black jeans, comfy moccasins, and a nifty t-shirt with metal studs on the shoulders.  I was just reading Humans by Robert J. Sawyer (one of the convention's guests of honor) when Joe arrived.
A relatively quick lunch at Einstein's Bagels with Romeo (a friend of Joe’s and a fan) and we were off the hotel. I immediately took my first pictures of the con and then I set to work with Marilee in blowing up some of the inflatable decorations and pool toys. I particularly remember two things. First I finally connected up things I knew from rasff with the fact this was Marilee sitting here in front of me, not just some random fan. Second I made a weak joke about feeling like Dr. Schlock inflating all these things.
After about an hour of that I was requisitioned to go help unload supplies from the truck. I was quite interested to see the different system used by Minicon to display their art. It consists of PVC pipes forming square frames with the sheet of particleboard suspended in the middle. It looks very good, but I think it does not store quite as well as Milehicon's all wood system. I'll have to participate in the set up process some other year to see how fast it goes up. It certainly looks very professional once assembled though I suspect most people do not notice what the art is on very often.
Then it was back upstairs where I helped do some more set up in the con suite (which was very sweet set of rooms) and I was assigned to cut up cantaloupe and honeydew melon the next morning.
'Round about 5pm Larry asked me if I would like to go out to dinner with him, Sue, and Rachel Lininger. Would I ever! I had been internally scheming to go out to dinner at some point in the weekend and here opportunity knocked the very first day! My only regret is not taking my camera, as we went to a new tapas bar called Solera.
The restaurant turned out to be a bit pricey in my penny-pinching opinion. The food was very good, but the staff was overworked and we sometimes had trouble being able to order new things. And our bill was wrong the first time around. We also heard Alison over at another table with another group of fans. This is the inevitable result of going out a restaurant near a con, many familiar faces, even when it is not planned.
Back to the hotel for some more work, changing into my red and yellow shirt, more photo taking, and encountering Jo Walton in the dome. People pestering her about what exactly happened at Boskone surrounded her. I had a message about that from a friend, basically saying that David Brin had deserved to have a Coke dumped on him for quite sometime. Jo is still embarrassed, perhaps more so by the outpouring of support for an action that she herself is not proud of. But things like this tend to take on a life of their own, so I'm afraid she'll just have to ride the wave. (Though I conveyed the message, I don't exactly agree with it. This is probably going to be a small social war straight out of _Dangerous Liaisons_ and I’m trying just going to back away slowly while maintaining eye contact with the argument.) I shared a room with Larry the first night.
 See Larry Sanderson’s Picture of Me
 Sluggy Freelance for more on Schlock
 Here is David Dyer-Bennet’s picture of the set up.
 And here we is Sue, myself, and Rachel Lininger at Solera
 And this is what it looked like. Jo Walton & "minions."
Piano Concerto in E flat, 3rd movement – W.A. Mozart
A truly wonderful fan, Joe Agee, picked me up at the airport and that went very smoothly despite my nervousness about traveling. Let us skim past Joe & Andrew's House, pizza, and a coffeehouse to arrive at Larry Sanderson's doorstep. He is the much-honored co-chair of Minicon and so I expected the work party at his house to be similar to one for MileHiCon - five people working in Linda Nelson's basement. Instead, there were twenty people in various states of working, chatting, and eating. Larry puts out a very nice spread and this combined with the presence of our fan guest of honor, Sue Mason, may have had something to do with the surplus of labor available.
It seemed like most of the work was already done when I got there, but I took a few rounds collating the program book. Eventually there were too many of us going around the table and the process slowed down, so I bowed out to go bother Alison Scott and Sue Mason. They are very fun people to be around, rather like my friend Rose Beetem. They have cheerful dispositions; they are kind to silly fans like me, and have interesting views on nearly everything.
In the blur I also met a number of people I've only known online, including Marilee J. Layman, David Dyer-Bennet, and Geri Sullivan. But my head was spinning from meeting so many new people all at once and I did not talk that much with them. Instead I anxiously wandered about snacking, helping here and there, and generally behaving like an awestruck fanboy.
Andrew Bertke (Joe’s husband and President of Minn-StF) showed up a bit later and we struck out for their house and bed around midnight. Joe said I could sleep in the next day and he would pick me up at noon to take me over to the hotel. (Very nice of him.)
 Alison, Catherine Crockett, Sue with the back of my head. Photo by DDB
 Me talking to David Dyer-Bennet, photo by Larry
Sandra, Geri, and the Scott/Cain clan
Well I went and got the live journal set up... Why? Because I needed a place to start doing public first drafts of my fanzine. Such as it is. So here's my very late report on Minicon back during my April week in Minneapolis.
MIFFED: The 'zine of the Mishalak Fan Fund
THE STATE OF THE FUND
Broke. The fund is at negative dollars due to overspending at Minicon 38... But boy, what a time! I hope to be back to even by the end of June. Also unless I suddenly come into money my Westercon plans are off and I'll just being going to Bubonicon.
Also I am sad to report that there is not yet a new job on the horizon so it is increasingly unlikely that I will be able to attend Torcon. If I am able to change this, e.g. I get a wonderful new job in the month of July, I will report on it in issue 5 or 6. As of this moment the convention plans for the rest of the year are: Changing Number Con in Colorado Springs (actually called XIV-Khan) on July 18-20, Bubonicon 35 Albuquerque on August 22-24, and MileHiCon 35 Denver on October 24-26. Due to very limited funds (my job is worse than ever, I'm down to 35 hours a week) and being forbidden from leaving certain weekends is the reason I'm not getting out of state.
A MIFFED CON REPORT: MINICON 38
Or Windsday to Wednesday
I left my humble apartment and my home state on a sunny Wednesday afternoon and descended into a grey rainy metropolis. But that was quite okay because I was determined to have fannish fun, which requires not a bit of the garish sun.