Yikes. I just checked and Orkut was shutdown nearly 2 years ago :O
So I went to another Sci-Fi con at the weekend called Redemption. These cons generally open booking 2 years in advanced, so booking it with only a couple of weeks to spare is really short notice. And having never been to this particular one before and not really having any idea about the Guests of Honour, I had no idea what to expect.
The trip up was pretty plain sailing. Randomly, I bumped into eggwhite at Euston who happened to also be planning on catching the same train I was, although getting off a few stops before me. Managed to do a bit of Ingress on the way and didn't get lost wandering the streets of Coventry either. The hotel wasn't amazing - a bit shabby, with lifts that seemed to ignore whatever we wanted them to do and come and go as they pleased. Might make a good IoD venue though in terms of convention space as they have a private bar next to the main room.
I went to a variety of panels and talks, most of which were good. A few seemed to suffer a bit from having their topic being a forgone conclusion so the panelists waffled on, but what they said was still interesting. Hard to say if they just picked a flawed topic or could have picked people with more differing opinions. There was only one that I wished I had my time back.
Only made it to see one of the Guest of Honour's - Virginia Wey. I caught two of her sessions and was an absolute hoot and I'm sure if given the chance would have kept on talking until well into next week. Mostly she talked about her career, like how the sprung the need for her to have her head shaved for her role in Farscape (she was the blue one) at the very last minute. But she also talked a lot about spanking and other kinky stuff - which she isn't in to, but recognised that a lot of people there were and was clearly playing up to that.
Had fun at the disco, got taught the "appropriate" moves for some song from the Blues Brothers that I should know the name of, but I'm drawing a blank on at the moment. Mostly though I sucked at socialising and never at any point felt like I fitted in. Which I'm annoyed at myself for - I must try harder! But I feel there is a skill/ability/whatever of going up to a circle of strangers and joining in that I seem to have lost. Or maybe I project some kind of scary-go-away aura that makes people shun me?
Either way I think I shall return in 2 years time to the next one, time, cash and guests of honour permitting. And I'm going to try and get to more other conventions too.
So the weekend before last was spent at Picocon - Imperial College's very own sci-fi convention. Unlike previous years (that I've been to) they'd expanded from being just a 1 day event to 2 days, possibly because this was their 30th convention. Or at least they think it was their 30th - much like the problems IFIS has had finding out about it's own origins it seems common for sci-fi groups to have a dim and distant past.
The first day was very easy getting in to London and since most of us had already pre-reg'd, our sign in was much speedier than usual. I obtained the traditional "lousy t-shirt" and then we were launched into the first of many programme items. Nothing amazing stood out - they were all generally very good. I got roped in to help with the University Challenge quiz, for which they'd knocked together their own buzzer system. It was a bit flakey but unfortunately we can't really blame our loss on it. We got some of the questions, but mostly we were just too slow at pressing the button.
I failed utterly to witness the destruction of dodgy merchandise except for witnessing a bit of them dealing with some kind of video game soft drink. Which some foolish people had paid money to drink. The expressions of disgust and horror said it all really.I had to leave early though but by the sounds of it, those that remained had fun.
Day 2 was a bit more exciting getting in. I amazingly managed to make it to the bus stop in time to catch the first bus. The bus however couldn't be arsed and was almost so late I could have caught the next option. I had thought I was the only person who had bothered getting up in time, but our esteemed President had got on at an earlier stop. Despite the delay we managed to make it to the venue with more than enough time and gathered together all the various groups of us who'd come in from different places.
Again the talks and panels were awesome. I discovered a new author - Kate Griffin - to add to my ever growing list of authors I should probably read more by. There was some confusion in the "harmless fun" where at one point we were ahead 3-1 and yet we then lost on the 5th point. And after doing extremely well (ie we didn't come last) in the pub quiz we headed home - tired, but happy.
So it's been an interest week. Went to a pub social for IoD last Wednesday which wasn't too bad apart from the manic mad rush to catch the train. Next time I'm going to leave with enough time to walk it at a sensible pace rather than the super human pace that lucifermourning prefers.
I also went to a LOTNA meeting too which are a sci-fi group in London. It was in a lot of ways just like a much more populous IFIS meeting, although turn up was higher cos of some efforts at advertising they'd done at the recent London comic-con. Part way through the evening, one of the members ran a "game" which involved us coming up with a script for a trailer for a budget movie. Amazingly our team won with our quote-worthy trailer for Superman: Quest for the Bank Loan. Typically I'm led to believe they have a quiz though, which sounds a little bit less embaressing.
I've also been getting in a lot of coding which has found me suddenly noticing that it's gone well past midnight twice so far. When it's finished it's going to be a crossword generator for IFIS. It's not doing a bad job at the moment, but it needs more variety for the clues. And possibly symmetry. And I'm sure I could introduce some optimising and speed increases if I put my mind to it.
But mostly more variety of clues. I'd especially like to see if I can work in a way of doing clues that are related to other clues. Like "What book did the people in 3 down and 10 across" write together. And I've written some code to generate anagrams, but the dictionary file it's using is so full of crap words no-one will ever have heard of that looks like someone smashed their face on the keyboard that a lot of the time the anagrams look stupid.
I don't have anything planned for the weekend, so I fully imagine that I'll be hacking away some more and ruining my sleeping patterns :)
Yesterday was mostly uneventful. I spent the day playing Wurm which involved an awful lot of "f***! it's another troll! run away!!!" as a troll den had randomly appeared a short distance away from my house. This wouldn't ordinarily have been a problem as my guard is more than capable of taking out an average/normal troll, but the troll spawning were of the stupendously git hard variety. And this meant that one would wander on to my "deed", my guard would valiantly try and fight it and possibly would wound it a bit, but ultimately get herself killed. By the time she'd respawn the troll would have mostly healed itself and the cycle would continue.
Luckily the problem was solved by a group of us including cream_horn going and destroying the troll den and then culling any remaining trolls left. We did have bowel loosening moment of a troll spawning slap bang in the middle of the den whilst we were all clustered around it, but luckily we managed to take it down. And after all the excitement I decided it was high time I make and learn how to use bows and arrows, cos cream_horn was using them to great effect.
I also got to try out the newly renamed Caffe Gondola. Pretty decent food, but unfortunately lousy service as they only had 1 waitress on covering the entire restaurant. And rather than ensuring everyone was sat fairly close together, she let everyone (the 10 or so of us) spread out across the whole restaurant. Which meant she wasn't as attentive to our needs as she could have been.
So...that's the Buffy game over and done with. My character had a glorious death of a sorts. Turns out that he was the mcguffin all along (honest) that could prevent the big bad from doing their evil ritual. All he had to do, was willingly sacrifice himself for the greater good. Which he did with only a brief pause to confirm in his head that he'd understood the choices correctly. And thus when the big bad sacrificed him, instead of his soul fueling the dark ritual it rose up and became a glowing mighty smitey righteous ass kicking angel thingy of The Lord, thus helping to save the day and prevent the apocalypse of the week.
ION I also totally won at poker :D