I couldn’t decide if I wanted to describe my summer or my SpoCon. However, since my summer vacation from college started and then SpoCon needed help, they really are the same thing. When I say “SpoCon needed help,” I mean that I received an email from an old friend who requested my presence (along with as many friends as they could muster). And when I say “mine” I mean “where I go, Mason goes.” So our.
I cannot, and will not, claim that I have always been in love with SpoCon. It would be misleading to say that I was involved with SpoCon for a long time, also. I was a member of the Convention Committee back in 2010, and later a member of GameCon Spokane. But that was another life entirely, and when that life fell flaming over a clifftop—I was happy to abandon the body at the bottom of the river.
Flash forward six, seven years, four cats and two boyfriends later—and I would often cringe at the word “SpoCon.” I know now that this was unfair; it was never SpoCon that I was upset at, but the people who lurked beneath, the people who helped organize it, the people I could not avoid if I wanted to attend the convention.
And then an email came, and I knew the people who had once made my skin crawl—had been removed, or removed themselves, from my hometown convention. I took Mason aside and we both knew: we had to help SpoCon. No matter what bad memories or bad blood I had once had, that was all over now, and I realized: it was the convention that deserved to live. And under the right circumstances (now), I was ready to return to the convention that I had loved so long ago.
So when I say “summer” I really mean “SpoCon,” because that is what has consumed my daily activities from May until mid-August (and will continue until the end of August, and September, and October and… fuck, I’ll really be doing this all year round, who am I kidding?). SpoCon is also synonymous with two old friends: Edgar and Norma. I say “old” friends but really, we all met sometime in 2010 in another life. And, secretly, as that life burned away—I wished I had not forgotten them. Like so many others in my life: Bonnie, Josh, Monica, Sharpie, the list goes on and on of people I have slipped away from and just don’t know how to re-approach.
But life has a way of, after fucking you over completely, of offering a little mercy. A bit of grace, as Flannery O’Connor would say. It leaves the key to your manacles within reach. Mason and I found out after re-joining SpoCon that my dear friends lived only 4 blocks away from us and had been for the past year and a half that we've lived in Spokane Valley. So we started getting together to play board games (Pandemic: Legacy Edition, although we never “won” because that game is fucking mean; Machi Koro, Smallworld: Underground); then we started going for short walks, then my first real hike, then we graduated to playing Diablo III and watching Game of Thrones. We eat weird, gluten-free food that is always super tasty, and we hang out, and we re-connect. It just feels good to have friends again.
Without knowing all the details, I know that Edgar and Norma were involved in starting and running other Science Fiction and Fantasy conventions. They are knowledgeable, and funny, good people. They are my people. And they love SpoCon; they are invested in SpoCon emotionally, physically, financially—as are we all. Part of being a staff member to a small convention are the little things you do and don’t expect to be reimbursed for, whether it is hours of labor during load-in day, or bags of ice for a project, or using your personal computer and printer to print off fliers or buying and painting on sheets for hours (yes, that has happened). It’s these small acts of kindness that come together to get people what they need, when they need it, even if we can’t afford to do it. The long story short: I trust their vast knowledge of conventions, and respect it; and while we will not always get along, we can still be friends and continue to respect each other.
So, really, “coming back to SpoCon” was a bit like returning home. I knew what was in store: long meetings with ConCom members, hours of my life given away without pay (it’s all volunteer work!), losing sleep over internet trolls, finding ways to work with difficult people (again, volunteers, we don’t always see eye-to-eye), making good things happen without funding (“Why don’t you just fundraise?” Is the question; well, most of the volunteers already have full-time jobs and I’m a full-time college student, and some of them have families, and commitments outside of work, and it takes a lot to bring us together to do something to raise money. It’s not as easy as it sounds.). It’s difficult work on the best of days, but it is also incredibly rewarding.
I have met and made some really good friends while volunteering. I feel safe around my SpoCon family (although I keep an eye on one or two of them, and bite my tongue if they irritate me), we try hard to make the best out of the situation we’ve been given. And really, when all the hard work is over and you can take a moment to look around during the convention and see other people having fun, knowing you’re too busy yourself to enjoy it, it really pays off. And if it is a successful convention like this year, it pays well on an emotional level that just can’t be replicated. I am emotionally re-filled after four days of exhausting work (after 3 months of frantic emails, meetings and conversations). That “post con blues” is a real thing. Returning to “real life” just doesn’t cut it.
Mason and I re-joined SpoCon in May after the current Convention Committee lost quite a few members. Until that meeting, no one knew for certain if there would be a SpoCon 2017. That’s no secret; when you lose that many volunteers, the weight redistributes to the remaining bodies (who are already wearing 6 hats each) and the whole structure can buckle beneath the weight. With no convention in 2015 because of WorldCon and burn out from such a huge convention in town, and missing 2016—it had been a few years since SpoCon had been able to have a full-fledge con. And people would say: “SpoCon? I thought it was dead.” No, you are mistaken, or that’s a rumor being spread, SpoCon was laying low, conserving strength—but most assuredly not dead yet.
We re-joined as volunteers and quickly found places to settle in: I was able to take my laser focus and apply it to being Secretary, and Mason applied his people-skills to Volunteer Coordinator (a position he already fills for another non-profit organization: Havoc Squad). And then other hats were placed upon us (or taken by force) from other departments who needed help: I inherited a Facebook page and Mason inherited a website that looked like a monkey banged on a keyboard until it was happy (We love you, Dan, but the website was awful).
And suddenly we’re the website people, and the Facebook people, and the “I need a flier!” people and the “Why didn’t you send me a flier like you said you would,” people and the “The flier you sent me doesn’t talk about the Art Show,” people and the “I know, fucko, but it’s the only flier I got, and I made it myself, make your own flier if you want it, we don’t have a Marketing department or a budget, and don’t take that tone with me,” people.
And so I took my grumpy self and I made fliers, and I worked on the Facebook page, and suddenly I’m spending two hours in a meeting and four hours fixing my notes to email them to the volunteer staff members (who have no idea how long it actually took me to make my notes so goddamn pretty). And I’d be grumpy for a while, but then the next meeting would happen, and the cycle started anew.
This was my summer:
- Got a FitBit Blaze, swore off drinking so much Mt. Dew, started going on walks. Three months later, I’ve lost 20lbs and drink a Mt. Dew a day if I have it (and only if I have to, and usually a Throw Back version which has better sugar in it).
- Started using the Zombies, Run! App to help me walk more.
- Reconnected with my friend Dana; we talk story ideas, writing mechanics, NaNoWriMo and sometimes just eat lots of bad food and talk about nothing! It’s wonderful. And she was a super big help volunteering with me at SpoCon. Thank you, Dana.
- Decided I’d read for the summer (this was pre-SpoCon); read Black Unicorn, Gold Unicorn and Red Unicorn by Tanith Lee, The Summer Knight by Jim Butcher, Tail Chaser’s Song by Tad Williams (about half-way through, it is a physical book and the rest are audiobooks); and American Gods by Neil Gaiman (about 15% left remaining, love this story).
- Ordered Princess Nevermore by Dian Curtis Regan, Of Two Minds by Carol Matas and Perry Nodelman and Both Sides of Time by Caroline B. Cooney; all of these books were from my high school days (to compliment my Tanith Lee books), and they are all physical copies, which have remained unread.
- Managed to get a couple sunburns.
- For GameChat we played Batman: A TellTale Game; Emily is Away, A Night in the Woods, Orwell, What Remains of Edith Finch and we’re working through The Walking Dead: Season One (also TellTale)
- I finished (and really disliked) Mass Effect: Andromeda.
- I saw an amazing play called “Kiss Me Kate” by the Spokane Civic Theater and I fell in love with the cast.
- We walked and had a picnic with friends; I went and picked up trash at a folfing course, and went on an adventure to Wilbur, Washington, to find another folfing course. In the hot, hot sun.
- We ate no less than 100 hot dogs cooked on a tiny grill, on a tiny table, on a tiny patio (and I loved it).
- Went on our first hike up the Dishman Mica trailhead thingy. We had to start around 8 a.m. because it was so damn hot. 3 hours later…
- I worked through a portion of my dad’s old slides from Vietnam, then lost interest (I’ll resume it later when I’m not so busy).
- In the beginning of July (the last time I blogged) I started talking about NaNoWriMo and how the only thing keeping me back was fear. While I didn’t end up writing, I did spend the month working hard on an outline for my next story (and proving that it was, in fact, more than fear that stopped me—also time).
- We travelled to Seattle to attend a Convention on how to run Conventions (called C-Cubed) where we met a lot of great people. We ended up inviting two of those people to attend SpoCon!
- I made a flier for SpoCon’s first rock concert! It took me quite a few design tries but I finally made one that I liked.
- Saw Wonder Woman twice in the theaters and cried each time; not the least of which was during any fight scene, where the women were just empowered and beautiful and I got all weepy.
- Cleaned out our storage unit to help SpoCon do a yard sale. In 100 degree weather. We made about $400 for the convention, not a bad profit (the last yard sale, before mine and Mason’s time, had gotten closer to $800).
- Visited my mother’s mother and my uncle in the hospital on two separate occasions. I’ve re-assured them that they are not allowed to be hospitalized again for the next 12 months. My uncle responded with yet another surgery.
- Went to see The Offspring and Sublime with Rome in concert!
- Joined my first gym! (Haven't been to it since joining, been too busy but... joined...)
- Went to an event at North Idaho College campus, had hot dogs (yassss), went out on my first kayak! It was awesome and I could stay on the lake all day.
- I spent much of the summer working in RPG Maker to build a history video game for a teacher over in Georgia. This is the third game I’ve made for his middle schoolers, and he sent me some lovely photos (and paid me better than I had hoped, effectively saving my SpoCon weekend!). I had a real blast building the game for him, and I learned about the state of Georgia in the process. It was hours and hours of tedious work but it meant so much to me and the students, that I know if for some reason I hadn’t been paid, I would not have been upset. It sounds cheesy, I know.
- I decided to do a themed party at SpoCon for “Stranger Things,” and made it into a milk and cookies party. That meant I had to make decorations. One sheet, one bolt of cloth and 145’ of Christmas lights later…
- SpoCon needed a shed to store our items after the convention—and so we had to build one. I spent 8 hours in 90+ degree weather, without food or water! Because I didn’t pack a lunch and we were too busy to stop. But we build a shed and I never want to do it again!
I’m certain there are more things I’ve missed, but those are what I remember most (I used my phone’s camera to help jar my memory).
And then Thursday arrived, and SpoCon was upon us. It started quietly; Edgar picked me up and we went for a Costco run to get some things for my milk and cookies room party; Mason got off work early and met me at home. The plan was to meet up at 4pm to start loading a U-Haul full of SpoCon stuff to start bringing it over to the hotel. We finished packing up the car then stopped at a local store so I could get some work gloves ($1.00 from Spokane Discount store!).
Then we got lost heading to the pick-up zone. We were a half hour away. The whole “Ave” versus “Street” thing matters, apparently. So it was about that time my mood went south... then add manual labor to the mix, and you have yourself an Angry Michelle cocktail.
Fast forward a few hours, and a few more, after humping in some Art Flats (a creation by mankind that combines weight with awkwardness that must be carried by two people). We finally took a break at the local hotel coffee shop and spent $20 on some pumpkin bread, pastries and some drinks. I got a nosebleed at the price but we were so hungry and tired that we couldn’t go anywhere else. I’m all about supporting the local eateries, but we didn’t go back during the Convention. I spent less than $25 all weekend at our own Hospitality feeding myself, Mason and others in the process.
We finally got the U-Haul unloaded and all the Art Flats in place. I stumbled across a Dragon and made a new friend outside the Gaming Rooms (Salons II and III). We were sore, tired, sweaty and done with manual labor—and it wasn’t even opening day yet. We went home, slept for 3 hours (and slept in, we were nearly late) and then returned to the hotel to shoot a live segment for the local KXLY Channel 4 news station.
I can’t with a good conscious share this to the public because the title is misleading: “SpoCon to draw thousands downtown.” No, that isn’t accurate. We had about 500 people total including staff and volunteers, it was a slow year for us because we hadn’t had a convention for the past two years. Sadly, that’s what the news station chose to post, and we chose not to re-post it because it was misleading. However, now that SpoCon is over, I can look back and smile. At least they were optimistic for us. When we claw our way back to 2,000 attendees then it is accurate to say “thousands.”
After our commercial, we went home… slept for another 3 hours and then descended into madness. I mean, volunteerism. We discovered quickly that attendance was lower than we had hoped, but not unexpectedly so. We knew it was a risk after having been on hiatus. Many people believed (or perhaps wished) SpoCon was dead.
I settled into my Mad Marmot Market, collected books from various local authors (many of whom were self-published, perhaps even all) and tried very hard to stay in a good mood. I’m an awful, awful human being on 3 hours of sleep and I want to take this chance to apologize to Dana and Mason who got the full blast of my bitchiness. And, to their credit, still remained to help me when I didn’t deserve it.
There was a bit of a disaster for Mason and I around noon. We had asked the hotel if we could check into our room and they said, yes, at one o’clock. We went home and loaded our Civic with gallons of milk and cookies, only to return to the hotel and be told: no, in fact, our room was cancelled—oh, wait, no, you can’t get in until 4 p.m. I had a minor panic attack, stuck with all this milk, and rushed around to friends and other rooms (all of whom were already checked in) and managed to re-home about 8 gallons of milk and some meat and cheese trays, all while fuming over the fact that someone had told us we could get in earlier—or we misunderstood. No matter, problem solved, food saved, back to where I was supposed to be.
The truth about running conventions: you don’t actually see much of it. When I wasn’t at the merchandise table, I was running to find someone else, delivering something, checking on my favorite vendors or guests. I was able to attend Opening Ceremonies and I had a very special guest with me. I borrowed the young son of a Guest of Honor; a six-year-old boy with brown hair, lots of energy and who had never been to a convention before. He was adorable, and as I walked him to Opening Ceremonies—everyone who knew me stopped and looked on, concerned. “Is Michelle going to eat that boy? Burn him in front of a live audience?” It’s no secret: I don’t like kids. But I was terribly partial to this one, and so we went, and no one was harmed in the process.
There had been a secret about Opening Ceremonies that I had to keep from our convention chair. I mentioned my previous involvement with SpoCon and this specific secret had roots back before my time. A sword had been made for SpoCon by a great blacksmith, a man named Jess, who passed away a few years ago. He made our SpoCon sword, and within it, the spirit of SpoCon was placed. And until the Convention Chair pledges to honor SpoCon and the sword, they cannot be Convention Chair…
Our Convention Chair was presented the sword by Edgar the Barbarian (after it was smuggled in by a frightening looking Sith), and the honor of the sword was placed upon his shoulders. The sword was accepted, and SpoCon was reborn.
I had a vested interest in Opening Ceremonies since I worked hard to help co-write it. Overall I think it went really well; our MC was very funny, and the improvised introductions by our Guests of Honor went over really well. I had not met author Kat Richardson before, but she was funny and delightful on the stage. Artist Betsy Mott came on stage and spoke about her artwork as well, and we spoke on behalf of our Gaming Guest of Honor—while I pointed out their son, and embarrassed him completely. As I said, I have no “kid sense,” and I felt awful afterwards (although, I suspect, not as awful as him).
The time after Opening Ceremonies was a blur; I was cranky, and tired, and had a room party to set up for. Mason was busy as Volunteer Coordinator (and especially so since we had very few volunteers outside of a Corporate volunteer list that was only conscripted for Friday night) and I had to let him do his job. Of course I wasn’t thinking that at the time, it went something like, “God damn it Mason, where are you, why am I doing this all by myself, you sonuva—“ In retrospect, yes, I should have taken a deep breath, thanked Dana for helping me, cursed less, and maybe taken a nap. Except there wasn’t time for that, and so I am apologizing now.
SpoCon, with the help of the Washington State Liquor Control Board, decided to not have alcohol in room parties this year. As someone who has been to many room parties over the years and drank and puked my fair share: I didn’t mind this decision at all. I am a firm believer that people are (quite often) idiots once introduced to alcohol (to be fair, many of us are idiots without alcohol too). It was just a big stress reliever to not have to worry about getting a Banquet License, buying the expensive Washington State liquor, serving, not over-serving, carding, etc.
The room party that Mason and I came up with for no-alcohol was a Stranger Things theme and a milk and cookies bar. We spent the two weeks prior to the convention curating our cookie menu, and the few days prior tracking down milk. My favorite was the “Sir Bananas” chocolate banana milk! I spent two days painting the alphabet, and some shadow people for the background, and at least a few hours yelling at Mason about making a frame out of dowels, PVC pipe and magic. He did a great job, and my alphabet was eventually hung after some clever use of an Art Flat.
All things considered, I’d call our little room party a success. Financially? No, of course not. The majority of the milk and cookies was purchased by Mason and I; SpoCon was kind enough to reimburse us for what we asked for, and the rest was donated. We collected a few dollars in donations (thank you to Jesse and Warren on Friday night) and that helped cover more of the costs involved.
We played Stranger Things in the background, had Christmas lights and props strung about. I had a cool dragon lamp that I rescued from a friend’s garbage can a few years ago; some authentic Dungeons & Dragons manuals and a playmat from Norma; some pewter miniatures provided by our Convention Chair, a Retron and some NES games from our own library; some foam dice from Mason, some empty waffle boxes from Dana. It was a true collective effort to make the room party into something visually pleasing. Mason also helped print out posters and his daughter helped make a cool “Milk and Cookies” and “Party” sign for us. We had a few people wander in, watch an episode (one man watched three!), they very politely accepted cookies and asked for milk, and many were just as excited about Sir Bananas as I was.
I eventually lost my patience and had to close the room around 11 p.m. and after we closed up the room, secured everything, ran a few more errands—we were in bed by 1 a.m. and back up before 7 on Saturday. I felt a little better on Saturday, except that I believed (and had believed for months) that the Mad Marmot Market opened at 8 a.m., the same as our vendor’s room. Well, no, apparently someone had made a sign that said they opened at 10 a.m.. And then insisted it was our fault (the web team/Secretary) and that the information had been incorrect for some time now…
I resisted murdering anyone at the convention. That’s what convention committee meetings are for (more people to help hide bodies). I wished I could go back to sleep (it would have improved my mood considerably); but we just decided to open the Mad Marmot Market early. So there I spent my day, running errands, being a human switchboard (“I need to get a hold of this person, have you seen them?” “No? Can you call them for me?” “Here, text this person, tell them I need…”), slinging author wares and my own buttons/keychains. I’ve been informed I’m an introvert, and not well-suited to be selling things. It’s true, but when there is no one else available, you get what you’re given.
Lunch time came and I was very excited to eat a Cup Noodle. I should be sick of them by now, but it just sounded awesome. I was obviously still quite tired. Someone had moved the sign next to the coffee maker; which is right next to water. My Cup Noodle ended up being about ¼ coffee and ¾ water. I ate it anyways, it smelled like a hazelnut Cup Noodle and we have henceforth named it #ConRamen.
I also have to make a note about the stairs that were directly located by our room party. Stairs we walked often over the course of the weekend. Here are the stairs:
And here is what my FitBit thought of the stairs:
It looks kind of like my FitBit is giving me the middle finger, huh?
Then the room party came and went, and it was going lovely—and then we were commanded by the Forces That Be that we needed more bodies at the rock concert downstairs. And so I marched a small group of youngsters (hah!) down to the dance floor and we listened to some screamo-rock bands for a while. I was eventually joined by our Board President/Edgar the Barbarian (now wearing a toga); our Head of Security, our Art Show Chair and our Convention Chair. We were joined later by some other volunteers from the RPG Trailer; some friends of our Hotel Liaison, our Hotel Liaison herself—and with our powers combined, we had the best damn time possible.
At one point, Edgar let down his hair and was headbanging (elegantly) alongside two others; there was so much 80’s hair was amazing. The bands were all local and really energetic. Given a fairly empty dance floor, they could have just gone through the motions, but they didn’t; they gave it everything they had and we really had a fun time. The music was so loud. The hotel came and checked in—but only to see if we were having fun!
There we no noise complaints, no belligerent drunks on the dance floor, no security concerns at all. Just a group of tired volunteers and attendees getting a great show. The last band, Framework, even dressed up as the stunt doubles from SPACEBALLS and it was hilarious. Barf was on drums and Princess Vespa (a man in a dress and wig!) was playing guitar. They really had fun with the theme, and I’m so thankful we got to have a rock concert at SpoCon this year. At the very least: I needed it.
Briefly after the rock concert, as we helped the bands unload their equipment, we brought down some milk and cookies to snack on. The hotel noticed, and had to outdo us: a very nice woman brought down half a dozen DoubleTree cookies! The really, really good ones that you get when you rent a room, and let us have them. After a rock concert. Who does that?!
Mason and I went home around 2 a.m. to check on Boo Boo. He had eaten all of his food out of stress, so we refilled his bowl and changed clothes. We returned to the hotel room to find Jesse passed out (we like to share crash space at conventions because we know it’s expensive and we enjoy the company); we finally went to sleep… and slept in… until 8:45 a.m.! Back to the Mad Marmot, where authors were already picking up some of their books, and I was slowly, slowly, slowly setting up the shop. In my exhaustion, I forgot to put out the book of an author, who pointed it out to me. I explained that it was my fault entirely, and to please not fault SpoCon for my oversight. They insisted they would not cause a problem, but I cried when they left, anyways. Lack of sleep will do that to me.
I had a really wonderful meeting with Kat Richardson just before she left. We had only met briefly over the weekend in the hallways, had small conversations, but she was making a point to say goodbye to everyone. She gave me a hug, and said that she felt really good, comfortable, that she had a good convention. It made my heart pound in my chest; you know? Authors are my people (even the grumpy ones; see above), and that Kat made a point to stop and say thank you and to acknowledge us when she didn’t have to—what a wonderful woman.
I also had the pleasure of meeting various local authors (some I know from my peripheral vision/other conventions): Mark Rounds, Elizabeth R. Alix, James Glass, Guy Pace, Bob Brown, Fallon Jones and Dawn Vogel. I was very excited to learn that Mark and Elizabeth knew each other; and Guy was really kind (and interested in helping with Programming next year!). I appreciated meeting everyone, and hope that they were as happy with their book presentation as I was. I was even able to sell a couple SpoCon buttons (I don’t think any of my keychains sold); and will be splitting my small profits with SpoCon.
I want to be a self-published author when I grow up. I hope that someday I’ll get the courage to actually talk to Mark or Elizabeth (or Dana, or Norma or any of my local, accomplished writing friends and family). For now, it’s back to school for me on Monday…
Sunday was some limping, some new bruises (there was a mini-mosh-pit at the rock concert on Saturday… I have video evidence of our Con Chair running away to instigate one!); and a lot of hope for the future. I was able to talk to a few people during the convention (Andy, Bob, Seth, Mark, Ashley, Sarah and TJ); but mostly it was spent working or running or both. And I don’t say that to complain, only that in order for SpoCon to succeed, the thread-bare staff could not stop moving for long periods of time. We all knew that there was a chance we’d be short-staffed, and the Universe has a way of really emphasizing facts like that. Thank goodness our convention committee is as close as it was, since we were all wearing about ten hats each by the end of it. Mason spent much of Sunday morning frantically packing up two hotel rooms (the one we slept in, and the one that had the room party).
Mason and I only spent money on food from Hospitality—and a piece of art from the Art Show. We were checking out a board game or a T-Shirt but decided against them both. Instead, we invested in a sculpture by an artist named Jim Humble. Really, we invested for two reasons: one of which was that it was a pair, and our friends were buying the other piece. And it wasn’t really a “pair” as they’re not similar pieces of art, one being a tree-dragon and the other of stone or concrete, but they were a pair as in they shared the same Father-artist. James “Jim” Humble of Humble Studios was the artist of both of our gargoyles. I highly recommend his artwork! His studio website is here:
And then it was load-out time, and more dreadful Art Flats… I’ll be dreaming about Art Flats for years to come. We loaded the U-Haul, unloaded into the shed I helped build earlier in the week
…and then limped back to the hotel for a very tame Dead Marmot party. We gathered in the Hospitality room, closed the doors, and ate and drank, compared bruises and laughed and told stories until around 11 p.m. And then we all went home.
Except me, I was back with Edgar and our Treasurer early on Monday to finishing picking up hotel stuff, but... for most of us, SpoCon was over on Sunday. For our attendees, SpoCon was over for the year. For staff and volunteers? The work begins anew.
As of this update (on Thursday 8/17); we’re working to revamp the website, we’ve posted a job listing on the Facebook page for the Volunteer Coordinator position, we’re making plans to attend RadCon to help advocate for SpoCon, I’ve sent about 10 emails… and there’s still tons left to do. However, as I only have 4 days left of my summer vacation (and my 33rd birthday is in 3 days), I’m going to finish this blog post and step away from SpoCon for a few hours. I say a few, because we’ll be having a meeting to discuss website stuff in about 5 hours…
So hey, if you’re local and want to help a sweet non-profit run a convention once a year, why not send me an email? firstname.lastname@example.org – I’d love to work with you. Well, most of you. I can think of a few people I’d rather punch in the face. But if you are one of them, and you email me, I’ll have someone else punch you in the face on my behalf. 😊