… or “The Most Expensive Free Drink Ever.”

Well, I almost completely missed the convention. The night before I was due to leave, my mechanic, friend, and white trash tour guide (the one whom I often tell that he will be the first person I step on when I become famous) informed me that my van had no business on the road. In fact, it would need $2500 worth of work to get back into road shape (though, because I am loved, this became me paying for parts and giving up a few Magic cards and comic books).

However, I was determined to make this convention, not because of potential business opportunities, not to see some old friends, but because Steven L. Shrewsbury owed me a drink. The long and short of my convention report is that WFC is a lot like WHC, except bigger. WFC might have the edge on the professional aspect of things, but only by a hair compared with this year’s WHC. Granted, I had to convince a couple of my compatriots that we didn’t need to attend every panel (read: none, “let’s hang out in the bar”). There were a couple good panels, but for the most part, I came down with a case of panel snobbery (a mix of “what time is it? Crap I missed another one” and “I should be GIVING that panel”).

By the way, for the record, my name is Maurice. Not Brandon. Not Wrath. I’m the other black guy. Also, if I’m wearing a name badge to the same conference you are attending, don’t ask me when I will be done cleaning the bathroom.

Two of my personal highlights involved my friends making complete asses of themselves, so for the sake of the anecdotes, they shall remain nameless. One friend followed a short, black woman around, haranguing her from behind about her ignoring him (thinking that Chesya Burke had decided to show up at the con). Turns out that it wasn’t Chesya (though luckily she did have a good sense of humor). He then turns to me with the realization “Oh my God! I’ve become one of those white people that can’t tell black people apart.”

[Okay, that led immediately into a round of “annoy my gay friend”, which meant asking such gems as “what up with Judy Garland?” “Cher?” “Why do gay people … ?” and my favorite “If I were gay, would I be your type?” Turns out the answer is no, and I took great umbrage at that.]

Another highlight involved a friend of mine being drunk off her behind and calling me on my cell phone with a nonsensical, profanity-laced tirade (sadly, a phenomena not that uncommon among my friends. The calling and cussing me out randomly, not the drunk off their behinds. Well, the drunk off their behinds too, now that I think about it).

Though I would completely like to unhave the furries vs. other kin discussion.

With my hurricane schedule, I have no idea why my wife mistakes attending conventions for me screwing around. Can she not recognize networking activities and the strict pursuit of business?

Thursday
7 am wake up to make arrangements for my 5 ½ hour road trip.
5:30 pm dinner
7:00 pm first panel
8:00 pm parties

Friday
10 am breakfast
11 am bar
7 pm parties

Saturday
12 pm wake up
1 pm panel (second and last)
3pm bar
6pm dinner (then back to the bar)
10 pm parties

Sunday
do I have to wake up?
do I have to eat?
do I have to go home?

There were a couple of other things, but they deserve their own blog entries (since they lead to other topics). At any rate, we’ve reached the shout out portion of this blog …

I loved touching base with my old friends [my fellow Bastard Sons of Mort Castle: Lucien Soulban, John C. Hay, Richard Dansky (though there was some confusion about whether they are part of my cabal or I a part of theirs) and Melinda Thielbar (um, honorary bastard? Bastard-in-law?)], Tina Jens, Tom Monteleone, John Edward Lawson (you won’t be confusing me with him anytime soon, either), Mike Arnzen, Judi Rohrig, Tim Lebbon, Chris Golden (who, without Doug Clegg around to stop us, shared a huge comic book geek moment), Bill Gagliani, Alice Henderson (who always manages to steal my heart with a glance. Yeah I said it!).

And getting to know new folks like Peter Straub (who also recognizes the genius of George Pelecanos’ King Suckerman), Nick Mamatas (who gave me my first experience with a slush pile and in so doing killed any desire I thought I had for doing an anthology), Eliani Torres, Maria Alexander, Matt Forbeck, the genius that is Scott Bakker, Rita Oakes, Chris Roberson, and the crew from Night Shade Books (a fine bunch to have a drink–or, uh, two–with and while talking religion and politics).

That’s my report and I’m sticking to it.

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