Saturday, August 15, 2015

Looking Forward to Spokane

Each year I make at least two big convention trips each summer.  One is Comic-Con in San Diego, which I did about a month ago.  Next week is the second, to the World Science Fiction Convention, or WorldCon.  This year it's in Spokane, Washington.  
At this point I'm all set to go.  I've had the time off from work scheduled for months now.  I have my membership.  I have a hotel reservation.  Yesterday, I scheduled a ride-share van to come pick me up at my apartment and take me to the airport at 3:45 AM.  I doubt I'll get much sleep before they arrive.  That's just how it works.  
This will be my ninth WorldCon in a row.  It's become a "thing" with me, every since my first one in 2007 in Yokohama, Japan.  WorldCon is a smaller, more literary, older (both in terms of how long the convention has been held and the average age of the attendees) convention than Comic-Con.  And it gets me places I've not been to before.  Going has turned me into a world traveller, something I didn't think of myself as becoming when I was a kid.  It's one of the reasons I've set it into my head that I "always" go to WorldCon, no matter where it might be.  
This year should be, hopefully will be, a special one.  First off, I'll be meeting with a couple of the people who have agreed to be alpha readers for my novel.  This is a big thing for me because it makes the end of the first phase in the ongoing project of getting my novel completed and published.  
I'm still working away at it.  The epilogue is taking on a life of its own.  I've adopted a strategy of treating it like a little kid given too much sugar before bedtime.  I'll let it run around and do what it wants, and they when it crashes to the floor, I'll pick up its unconscious body, strip off its play clothes and tuck it into bed.  
But I should, SHOULD I say to myself, have it done before I go to the convention.  This is where I'll give my blessed, friendly, intelligent, insightful, gracious, generous (are you getting all this Jo, Russ and Ann?) readers to have them point out all the flaws I've become blind to.  Ann will have to get hers via download since she has made the incomprehensible decision of meeting up with her nerdy friends to deal with "Life" situations.  As if anything that happens in the so-called "real world" is more important that what goes on in our imaginations.  Huh.  Gonna have a talk with that girl soon.  
One of these readers I will meet for the first time.  Russ and I participated in the same online writing group formed at another WorldCon, Anticipation in Montreal in 2009, for years.  I always appreciated his feedback on my stories.  This will be the first time to meet him in the (living, non-zombie-like) flesh.  Dinner's on me Russ.  
It will also be the first WorldCon I've attended where I'll participate in the site selection process for where it will be held in 2017.  I've mention previously that there are four cities bidding to host the WorldCon that year.  I've made no secret that my preference is for Shizuoka, Japan.  It will be ten years after the first one I attended in Japan, Yokohama in 2007.  I think that's an auspicious length of time.  
I had hoped to become a one-man campaign to convince others to vote for Shizuoka as well.  It hasn't worked out that way.  But one of my goals will be to convince as many people as I can while there to pick Shizuoka for their first or second choice (WorldCon voting uses what I've heard referred to as the "Condorcet Method" where you rank the candidates in order of preference, where a 1st Place preference gets more points than a 2nd Place preference, which gets more points than a 3rd Place preference, etc..  The candidate that gets the most points over a majority threshold wins).  
My gut tells me that Shizuoka is a dark horse candidate, but I'm hoping that if enough people put it as their 2nd choice it might get in.  Crossing my fingers...
And then, there's baseball.  I associate going to WorldCon with baseball games, even though I don't go to a game at every WorldCon.  I've been to three so far.  In 2007, I got to see the BayStars beat the Giants in Yokohama Stadium.  In 2011, when the convention was in Reno, I went to my first minor league game, watching the Reno Aces play the Tacoma Rainiers.  The 2012 WorldCon in Chicago was a real treat, giving me a chance to see the Cubs play the Giants in Wrigley Field, the second oldest ballpark in the majors.  What made it even better was watching the Cubs beat the Giants.  A game where the San Francisco Giants lose is my third favorite baseball game to watch.  Can you guess what number two and number one might be?  
The game in 2012 was interesting for the connection it seems to have with the game in 2007.  Get this...  In 2007, my convention buddy Joe and I attended the game with another friend in Yokohama.  It was Friday, August 24th.  We were sitting along the left field foul line, just past third base.  The home team won the game, beating the visiting team, the (Yomiuri) Giants by scoring six runs.  In 2012, at Wrigley Field, Joe and I attended the game together with other convention friends on Friday, August 24th.  Our seats were along the left field foul line, just past third base.  We watched at the home team beat the (San Francisco) Giants by scoring six runs.  
When I pointed this out to Joe, he thought for a moment and said, "Woah.  Weird."  
The next Friday, August 24th will be in 2018.  There's only one city bidding for 2018 thus far, New Orleans.  There is a Triple-A team in New Orleans, the Zephyrs, a member of the Pacific Coast League.  The Giants affiliate in the league are the Sacramento River Cats.  We'll see if any other city with a baseball team tries to bid for 2018.  
Baseball is the office sport of Science Fiction, by the way.  I believe the 2013 WorldCon in San Antonio, Texas declared this.  I don't think any subsequent WorldCon committee overturned it.  So there.  
Wherever it is, if I'm still alive and able to get there, I'll be going.  Maybe one day as a Guest of Honor.  
That would definitely be something to look forward to. 


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