Have Scarf Will Travel – Party Time at Capricon

Dublin 2019 chair James Bacon and scarf.

By James Bacon: The party scene is big part of Capricon.

Although I first encountered parties at Worldcon in 1995, the idea of a 1,000-person con having two floors of suites with large rooms, some much bigger than places I have lived, all hosting parties was mind-blowing.

Friendly and welcoming, going from room to room enjoying the hospitality and of course refreshments, I have yet to attend a convention where the party scene was better. Although I have heard amazing things about Norwescon and have loved great parties at both Arisia and Boskone.

Thursday night may be a quieter night, but it doesn’t feel quiet, and there are a number of parties taking place. I end up helping a couple of them prepare, moving furniture around and so on.

Tammys cocktails

Tammy Coxen is doing an amazing Tammy cocktail party with a series of drinks representing Worldcons and Worldcon bids.

Dublin 2019 is well represented here with a fresh take on the traditional whiskey and red lemonade. Tammy is serving the Whiskey with lemon juice, grenadine and club soda.

I have managed to bring some red lemonade from Europe, this uniquely Irish soft drink goes very well with Whiskey, so fans enjoy it, and we have some regular whiskeys, Bushmills, Red Bush, Powers to taste it with. I tell everyone it is the most popular way to have whiskey in Ireland, although I admit I read that online, but Red Lemonade is always available in Irish Pubs and in Dublin a Jammie and Red is very common drink.

The range of regular whiskey  is bolstered with the locally bought ‘Clontarf’ whiskey which I call ‘Clondalkin’ whiskey, which while very affordable at $18 a litre and possibly frowned upon by the connoisseur, is quite smooth with a stronger bourbon or caramel hint from it. It is great with the Red Lemonade.

DC in 2021 has a vermouth-based drink on Tammy’s menu, but Bill Lawhorn, Co-Chair of the bid, like myself deviates from the menu and produces a ‘DC Neapolitan,’  consisting of Baileys, chocolate liqueur and tequila rosa, incredibly tasty sweet creamy alcoholic shots that go down well.

Although unrepresented on the menu due to no bid, I have a Down East Cider from Boston.

Dave, Helen, and an Irish hand.

Helen Montgomery and Dave McCarthy are throwing a party for the Chicago 2022 bid. They have some great food, a creamy meatball thing, and a space theme to their drinks. ‘Take it to the Stars’ is their tag line, and I am offered a vodka and orange tang cocktail mix. I soon learn that the orange drink is the stuff of astronauts, and it goes down easy along with that other well know space drink, Earl Grey tea with scotch and honey. Also a few cases of Space Station Middle Finger, an American pale ale, from the Three Flyodds Brewing Company. The space theme is really nice, and there is a lot of buzz here for 2022.

I head to Rook Books, where Deanna Sjolander and Blake Hausladen are hosting an excellent Books and Beer party, where there is a wide variety of very interesting drinks. I go to the Rock Band party, and engine room parties, and eventually have a short snooze on a couch at around 2 a.m. in Tammys. It has slightly caught up with me, but it is a good night, and I eventually get to the bed by 4 a.m. after causing some consternation by drinking Balvenie 12-year-old single malt scotch, with red lemonade.

Books and Beer

Friday and Saturday will have a range of other parties. Barfleet are having a UBS Abandon 10-year celebration, there will be a ‘For the Love of Comics’ party, Minneapolis in 2073, more Books and Beer and a list of others, all to look forward to.

I admit that I am a bit conflicted as Erin Underwood has arranged a Dublin 2019 meet up at Boskone on Saturday night, in the Galleria at from 10:30 p.m.-12:00 midnight, with Irish snacks, drinks, and some Irish music and one of our GOH’s. Meanwhile over in Ireland, members of the Dublin 2019 team have also been making their way to Leprecon 39 at Goldsmith Hall in Trinity College Dublin. https://leprecon.ie/

Panels start at 10 a.m. for me, so time for sleep.

Have Scarf Will Travel. Part 1.

Dublin 2019 chair James Bacon and scarf.

By James Bacon: Two cons one weekend.

I have undertaken to do two conventions in one weekend. It is quite the endeavour and I am excited and petrified. Mike has kindly agreed to publish some words as we proceed.  I have arrived in Chicago via Boston, travelling over from London.

CAPRICON. The Westin North Shore in Wheeling, IL, home of Capricon, offers me a warm embrace, greeting me like a friend; distant enough that I don’t see them that often, but familiar enough that when we meet, it’s just the same as ever. A comfortable and familiar space, its large lobby is full of fans while the long high-ceilinged bright glass corridor, stretching the length of the front of the hotel, is abuzz with people setting up tables and going in and out of the many function rooms.

It’s a similar feeling I get when I walk into the Camden Court Hotel in Dublin, home of Octocon, or the Westin Boston Waterfront, home of Arisia and Boskone ,or the imperial College Student Bar in London, for Picocon. Relaxed, amongst friends, some yet to be made. Excitement, anticipation, and indeed expectancy of a good science fictional weekend to come.

Dealers Room

Doctor Who books

I feel I don’t deserve to that warmth. Why should I benefit, while so many here work so hard and have worked so hard? Con chair Terrence Miltner has been everpresent in my Facebook feed and at tables promoting the con. But then, isn’t that why he, and the con committee, and the volunteers, have worked so hard? They want to welcome people. Terrence greets me in the lobby in person.

I could never have imagined, in the late years of the 20th century, that I would be an irregular visitor Chicago for a February convention. And here I am for Capricorn 38.

I am looking forward to this con. I have packed books to be signed, booze to be imbibed and odd looking biscuits to be tasted. Books, Booze and Biscuits.

Capricon is an amazing convention. It fuses what I would consider to be a fun con with an excellently thought-out, engaging programme unafraid to discuss any subject, with an incredible guest line up and potentially the best party scene I have come across.

Today I have a lighter schedule: only four commitments, three of which are Dublin 2019 related. Meetings flood on my schedule, and I do want to get to the Blade Runner 2049 discussion and  Artist Guest of Honor Sarah Wilkinson’s live art session. In true con style, I get roped into helping, first with setup and then with some party prep, and I manage to miss both of them–although my first Dublin meeting goes exceptionally well, so one has to be grateful.

I visit the dealers room. It’s packed with the variety of dealers that one would hope for at a con. I take some time at Greg and Dave R’s book tables, checking out what are in my mind great bargains for classic works. The dealers room is full: new authors, clothing, games, vintage paperbacks, amazing T-Shirts from Off World.

I meet Author Guest of Honor Timothy Zahn at his table. He has a wide selection of books for sale, and it is lovely to chat to him and his wife Anna. Both are exceptionally welcoming and pleasant.

Timothy Zahn

Sarah Wilkinson, like Zahn, has already been on programme by the time I see her outstanding table with her partner Nigel Sade, and their fellow artist Sin. Sarah has done a picture of Princess Leia as part of her live art programming. It is beyond beautiful, and so cleanly done.  I am stunned.

Artist GoH Sarah Wilkinson

I help Tammy Coxen, the Head of Programming, set up her party, and make my way to Opening Ceremonies. It’s great fun. Terrence shares the stage with a pair of goats, who in true Star Trek fashion swing from side to side and keep the packed house laughing. Then the Guests of Honor are introduced, and we all head out to enjoy the evening.

Terence Miltner

Next: the parties.

[Extra credit to Will Frank, who stepped in as copy editor, and to Pablo MA Vazquez as “special drinks holder.”]

MAC II Statement on Data Release for EPH Testing

The Sasquan and MidAmeriCon II committees responded to File 770’s query about the transfer of anonymized raw 2015 Hugo nominating ballot data for use in testing the proposed E Pluribus Hugo vote tallying method.

Linda Deneroff, Sasquan’s WSFS (World Science Fiction Society) Division Head, wrote:

Sasquan passed its nominating data to MidAmeriCon II for analysis in the EPH process. Neither Glenn [Glazer], John [Lorentz], Ruth [Lorentz] nor I were involved in the analysis.

Tammy Coxen. MidAmeriCon II WSFS Division Head, explained what was done with the data:

After EPH passed at Sasquan, the MidAmeriCon II Hugo Administration team publicly committed to testing the system so that real data about its efficacy could be made available to WSFS members before the business meeting where ratification would take place. As part of that testing, MidAmeriCon II was collaborating with two researchers (Bruce Schneier and Jameson Quinn) in evaluating the system. As previously announced, it was determined that the data was unable to be sufficiently anonymized for a general release, so the researchers were provided data under a non-disclosure agreement.

There was to have been a coordinated release of the research findings between MidAmeriCon II and the researchers, which would have made clear the circumstances under which the data had been shared. Planning was already underway regarding that release, but as noted, analysis is still occurring. Our intention is to jointly share the research findings when they are complete, which will be well in advance of the business meeting at MidAmeriCon II.

The previously announced concerns that Coxen refers to were discussed here in a September 2015 post, “Hitch in Sasquan Nominating Data Turnover”.