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Windycon XXV

Copyright 1998 by Leigh Kimmel

Windycon XXV was held over the weekend of November 13-15 at the Hyatt Woodfield in Shaumberg, Illinois, right across the street from the Woodfield Mall. Although we set out as early as possible to get there, we didn't arrive as early as we'd planned because of a traffic jam on I-290 just a few miles from the exit we needed (and right after the exit we could have used to avoid it).

Since we weren't dealing at this con, we didn't have the massive moving chore to do -- just a few items that were going to go on the tables of a friend. Once that was taken care of, I brought my art in and got it on the art show. Then we went to Ops and got signed up as gophers so we'd be able to use the gopher crash space. We then lugged our stuff in and stowed it in the crash-space room before reporting to help at registration.

Fortunately most registration stuff went pretty smoothly, and I just had to put name stickers on badges. When we weren't busy, I was able to work in my sketchbook, developing ideas for some stationery I'd promised to do on commission for yet another friend. We did have one guy who seemed to be trying to scam a free membership out of us, but I just referred her to the department head and let her take care of it.

Friday evening we went out with another couple to a stir-fry buffet. There we were able to select ingredients from a huge table, then hand our bowl over to professional cooks who did the actual cooking on an enormous wok. I'd been afraid that I wouldn't be able to fit enough food into the bowl, but once I actually sat down and started eating, I had some major regrets about all the junk food I'd nibbled while doing my gopher hours -- I really wished I had more room to eat all the wonderful stir-fry.

Then we got back to the hotel in time for the parties. These were actually pretty good, and we made the rounds before deciding to turn in for the night, since I had a panel to attend at 10AM the next morning.

As it turned out, we got up in plenty of time. My first panel was "That Ain't How it Happened," which focussed on alternate history. I learned some surprising things from my fellow panellists, including the odd fact that Elvis Presley was a sf fan. (Allen Steele is working on a story in which Elvis becomes a sf writer while Harlan Ellison becomes a rock star, and there'll be all kinds of plays on the titles of the two men's respective works).

I then headed over to the art show and got some time to make a complete round of all the art there. I also got to talk with some old friends, including Cheryl Storm, who originally encouraged me to start exhibiting my art. I also went downstairs to make a complete round of the dealers' room.

I then went back upstairs to catch the "Developing and Promoting a Successful Web Site" panel before appearing on my own panel. I was able to pick up some really good tips for improving my own site, although I knew I wouldn't get much chance to work on it until the pressure of my schoolwork let up. My own panel was "Is There Fandom Beyond Cons?" I was on it with a number of the people from the previous panel. We talked about such things as fanzines, APAs and online fandom. I got a chance to mention my own APA, The Tecton Star (dedicated to the fandom of Jacqueline Lichtenberg's Sime~Gen universe) and the listserv mailing list I run for Sime~Gen fandom.

I made another brief run to the art show before going back to the panel rooms to catch Dean Wesley Smith and Kristen Kathryn Rusch's "How to Become a Professional Writer." I'd already heard most of it when I attended the Kris and Dean Show at InConJunction earlier this year, but they did have a few new tidbits.

After that it was time for supper. Because of the tight timing and the growing crunch in the parking lot (we were worried we might not find a parking spot when we got back) we decided to get the buffet in the hotel restaurant. However, we were severely unimpressed by the service. The servers couldn't seem to be bothered to bring us water until we were well into our meals, and then let our glasses stand empty for a long time before refilling them. When we were ready to leave, the server then took forever to bring the check and take care of the transaction. While we were talking about it, some people who'd just been seated at the next table made a snippy comment about it possibly being our attitude rather than the service.

Then I headed off to the art auction. It was an unusually long one, and I was happy to see that the item I'd donated toward Ogre's liver transplant went for a decent amount of money, even if none of my regular works were even bid upon. I also enjoyed seeing all of Cheryl Storm's dragon sculptures go for good prices.

By the time the art auction was over, there wasn't much time left to go to parties before hitting the sack. Most of the parties had closed down anyway.

On Sunday morning we got up early enough to have time to get my art back from the art show before the first panel of the morning. I went to Richard Crowe's slide show on haunted sites in Chicago and its environs.

After that, we made a visit to the con suite and got some munchies. I spent some time talking to an electrical engineer from ComEd about such fascinating things as phase angles and power distribution. Then we headed down to the dealers' room to wind things up. I met up with my stationery commissioner and turned over the completed design. When the dealers' room closed, we packed up our unsold stuff and settled accounts with the friend who had put our stuff on his table.

After that, we made one last trip to the con suite to say our good-byes. Then it was time to make the long trip back to mundania.

Copyright 1998 by Leigh Kimmel

For permission to quote or reprint, contact Leigh Kimmel

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