Wednesday, October 28, 2009

SteamCon 2009

This past week I took Friday off from work to attend SteamCon, the cleverly-named Steampunk convention here in Seattle. It was the first iteration of this convention, and succeeded well enough that the organizers have already started selling passes for SteamCon 2010. And yes, I already have one for next year.

Friday off meant I had a chance to do something I rarely get to do...have lunch at Salumi, one of my two favorite restaurants in Seattle (the other being Morton's). Salumi is owned and run by Armandino Batali, a retired Boeing engineer and father of my chef-hero, Mario Batali. After retiring from Boeing, Armandino spent a few years touring Italy and learning to cure meats in traditional Italian fashion. Then he opened up this wonderful little restaurant where he makes his own cured meats and serves them up as sandwiches with delicious soups on the side. Sadly, Salumi is only open Tuesday through Friday during the day. Since I work banker's hours, it is rare that I get to go. I had the salumi sandwich, basically just straight up salami, and shared a bowl of the wonderful black bean soup they were serving that day. Lunch:

After that, it was off to SteamCon to get our badges and such. We spent some time (and some money) in the Vendor's Market, where Jen got a very cute hat and some suspenders to help steampunk-ify her look. Didn't get to spend too much time at the Con Friday as we had something to go to at the boy's school, but did hang out with good ol' Travis:

And I also got to meet (albeit very briefly) one of my favorite steampunk "makers," Jake Von Slatt. Poor bastard was pretty jet-lagged and tired from travel, so I tried not to bother him for too long - just a quick handshake and a "love your work." Unfortunately, in my attempt to not be too annoying, I completely ignored the beautiful Libby Bulloff, with whom Von Slatt was sitting down for a drink. I was unintentionally rude to her, and felt bad about it afterward.

Saturday, back to the Con. Hung out with Charley during the day - he couldn't get a pass to the Con, but he hung out anyway. The kids (mine and Charley's) were pretty mental and out of control, but wehad some fun anyway.

Sat in on one panel, the talk by Tim Powers, author of (among other things) The Anubis Gates. He was very smart, engaging, and amusing. I asked him a couple of questions, which he answered intelligently. There was one confession I couldn't make to him, though - I've never actually read any of his books. I have a copy of The Anubis Gates, but I haven't gotten around to it yet. Still, it was awesome to listen to a smart novelist talk about writing.

It was the only panel I actually made it to in the whole Con. Oh well. I was mostly too busy just hanging out with the other Steampunks and checking out costumes. And of course hanging out with SteamRats -

The amazing artist Molly, a.k.a. Porkshanks:

Beth (a.k.a. Befu) and Eliana:

Guy (middle) and more:

I also sat in on the tag end of the performance by Robert Rial's Bakelite 78, an old-timey jazzy kind of band, who were very good. These lovely young ladies were dancing to Robert's tunes:

After that, went to dinner with the missus, the boy, Travis, his girl Terri, and friends Cat and Michael:

We went to a hibachi restaurant recommended by Travis and Terri. It was good stuff.

Then back to the Con for the concert of Unwoman, Vernian Process, and Abney Park. Unwoman was talented but not my kind of thing. Vernian Process was very loud and sounded like a cross between Depeche Mode and the music of Nightmare Before Christmas.

While the first couple of acts were going, I shook hands with and talked to Nathaniel Johnstone, guitarist/violinist for Abney Park, and discussed our shared roots in the Scottish clan Johnstone. When I went up to him, he was with the afore-mentioned Libby Bulloff. I had wanted to apologize to her for being unintentionally rude before, but I hesitated and she walked off before I was done talking to Nathan. Now she probably thinks I'm a jerk, which of course isn't far from the truth, but in this case I actually was trying not to be a jerk.

The truth? I have trouble getting up the nerve to say hello to her in the first place because I find her to be intimidatingly beautiful. I'm such a nerd.

I've seen Abney Park live once before, and they do put on a pretty good show. I enjoyed seeing them again.

Not ready to sleep after the concert, it was up to a hotel room with some of the SteamRats to hang out for awhile, which was one of the more enjoyable parts of the Con for me, actually. Once they started getting sleepy, I headed off to my own hotel room and conked out.

Along the way, I also got to briefly meet a few folks from the Brass Goggles forum that I have frequented for some time. Didn't get nearly as many pictures as I wanted. Oh well.

All in all, I had a great time and am looking forward to next year's Con.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Quick post of amusing things

Things I've found amusing lately:

Shhh Don't Tell Steve: college-age guy tweeting (I hate saying that) about his loser roommate's life without the knowledge of said roommate.

I'm dead and it's all my fault: Doug blogs the last words of his foolhardy friend, daily. Hard to explain, easy to laugh at.

How many people are in space right now?: Pretty self explanatory, and pretty awesome.