WesterCon and Airport Security
- Hello All:
WesterCon was half the expected size this year. Some thought that it was
because of what happened at the airport. My thinking is that the rotten
economy made it so more people stuck close to home. People are probably still
nesting at this point.
Panels tended to wander more than usual at this convention. Part of it was poor
control on the podium (Lynn Myners was especially bad on this point.), and a
few cases where panelists decided to wander. While Lynn Mynders is a nice guy,
I would not have him on the podium with strong personalities. On the
Liberterian/Rand/Heinlein panel, David Brin *dominated* the panel. He should
have been reined in more to allow others to speak. Unfortunately, as nice as
Lynn is, he did not reign in David Brin.
This is not to say that David Brin is not an interesting speaker, just that it
would have been nice to hear the other panelists a bit more.
A lot of the panels seemed to be rather tired topics. I also would have liked
to have seen more hard science panels. Fandom has a lot of hard science types
available. For one, Dr. Jordan Kare is an excellent speaker, and his expertise
is launch systems. Yes, he is a rocket scientist.
Costuming panels were tried and true topics that had lots of talking heads. I
got some information out of them, but not as much as I would have liked to have.
The masquerade was small but reasonable. An interesting point came up for the
awards: no best novice was awarded. Several workmanship awards were given, but
no best novice. A total of 11 entries plus two exhibition presentations
If you can find a picture of the wood spirit, take a look at the applique. She
did an outstanding job on the cape, and the decorated corset/bodice was also
My dad (77 years) attended his first convention, and he had a great time. He
enjoyed the intelligent people he came across, and he really liked Harry
Turtledove and David Brin as speakers. He did two panels, lunch, art show, and
dealer's room (where he purchased a Harry Turtledove book). After that, he was
getting tired, so he left. It looks like he'll go to local conventions in L.A.,
but Anaheim is further than he wants to go.
Did not impact us, as far as we could tell. We flew into LAX, and we got in
after the shooting happened. The shuttle bus took about 10 minutes to get to us,
and we had no problem getting out of LAX. Of course, it turns out that we could
have just about walked to the hotel.
I won't go to a convention held there again, unless I am absolutely convinced
that everything is in operational order. One restaurant was in the process of
being remodeled during the convention, so only one hotel restaurant was
available with slow staff or very under staffed. Plus, the prices were rather
pricey - $9 hamburger. Not many restaurants were available within easy walking
On top of everything else, the retrofitting in the bathroom was not done
properly. We had a toilet that flooded because the retrofit part was too long,
so the overflow overflowed too much. This was on Thursday, a holiday, and it
did not get fixed until Saturday. By bringing up this issue, we got the hotel
to not charge us for a night.
My dad pointed out that if your hotel room is not fully functional, then you
should go to the front desk and report it, especially if the item is not fixed
right away. Some higher-class hotels might actually give you a free stay. You
don't ask, you don't get.
Going from San Jose (SJC) to LAX, I had no problem. I made sure not to wear any
metal, and I did not wear an underwire bra. However, on the way back, I made
the mistake of wearing my underwire bra, a button, and a chain belt. I really
need to get a wireless bra. Most of the sensors pick them up, now.
Of course, since I was being examined with the wand, my purse got examined.
Here's the pisser: My kit bag got essentially dumped out. The security drone
pulled out a hair ornament made out of metal that was like a pair of hairsticks.
I also had a pair of wooden hair sticks. She said that I either had to check
my bag with the metal hair ornament or "abandon" it at the security station.
Mind you, if she had been consistent and also insisted that the wooden hair
sticks had to also be packed, I probably would not have minded it so much.
However, she only insisted on the metal hair ornament - not the wooden ones
which were just as sharp and just as much a danger. This did not make me a
What does this teach be, besides the fact that airport security is inconsistent?
That I cannot carry pointy hair ornaments in my purse - especially if I'm
wearing an underwire bra. They either have to be in a checked bag (which I try
to avoid), or I have to leave it at home. Or I'll start traveling more by car
rather than using the airlines.
If the airlines want to look at the drop in passengers, they should take a look
at the inconsistent security. I'm not running around in fear, but if I knew
what to consistently expect at airports, it would make life *much* easier.
- Dear Andrew:
>And I'm not going to be there! WAHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!! or more properly
>I for one would totally love for somebody to run an Ankh-Morpork CC Bid
>party in the Costumers' Suite at ConJose. It would dovetail beautifully
>with the Discworld party planned for the ConSuite.
Be sure to invite Terry; he'd love it.
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