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Thursday, April 20, 2017

Minicon 53

And so it came to pass that Easter Weekend I found myself, for the 23rd year in a row, at Minicon.  Minicon 52 to be exact.

I'm still stuck on the fact I've been to 23 of these things.  Yaowza!

Four Guests of Honor:
Author - Jim C. Heins
Science - Brother Guy Consolmagno, Director of the Vatican Observatory
Fan - Mark Oshiro
Artist - Jeff Lee Johnson

This was a good year panel-wise.  I found myself engaged and interested in the con, rather than wandering around Minneapolis.  I went to three panels on Friday, five on Saturday, and Sunday headed home. 

Basic Astronomy -  was one of the panels where the title did not match what they discussed.  I'm not entirely sure what I was expecting (and I should know better than to have expectations going into these things), but not what I got.  They talked a lot about the forthcoming eclipse, the MN Amateur Astronomy society, the books the Stars and Turn Left at Orion, and how you don't need a telescope to enjoy the night sky, but if you want a telescope, start small and inexpensive. 

We Suck: the Importance of Failure - was hilarious, but again, not what I thought I was walking into.  I expected (there are those darn expectations again!) more of a serious discussion on screwing up, but it was the GoH's telling stories about where they humiliated themselves and thus, learned some humility.  

Life and Work in a Monarchy was delightful, though the room was so cold I couldn't get comfortable (the room with the stage and screen).  Brother Guy had a slide show of part of his life and adventures living at the Vatican and working at the observatory.  Facinating!

Amino Acids in Meteorites -  I never like to hear the panelist's going "I don't know what we're talking about" as they sit down, so I was a bit worried when the panel kicked off.  Brother Guy and another gentleman discussed science and the origins of life.  Some aspects were over my head, but overall, enjoyable. 

Turn Left at Orion - Not what I expected (SEE! Darn expectations.  Need to let them go...), thought I was getting something about stars.  This was Brother Guy talking about how the book by the same name came into existence, and how it continues to be a good resource for star gazing.  The book is now in my Amazon cart!

Interview with Jim Heins - much  more serious than I thought it would be, especially following the We Suck panel.  Jim talked about disabilities in fiction and in real life, including his own struggles with diabetes and depression.   I left with Things to Think About, such as romanticizing disabilities in fiction and what role does that play with reality.

Ask A Scientist - is roll of the dice.  Never know what's you're going to get. Premise is audience members ask the scientists questions and they answer them. Sometimes silly, sometimes not.  This was a not silly year.

Return to Jupiter - I realized about 15 minutes into Mr. Bill Higgin's presentation I was brain-dead.  His was panel #5 for the day and, unfortunately, it was information overload.  I usually enjoy his presentations and seek him out at conventions because he has slides, he is incredibly knowledgeable, and talks about really cool things in Space, 4p in the afternoon after a full day, my poor brain just said, Nope. We're done.   I should have skipped a panel earlier in the day as a mental break.  Live and learn.  ((shrugg))    This was a slide show on the Juno exploratory space probe.

Overall a good weekend - I fit in three yoga classes, ate a two new restaurants, several good meals at some tried and true restaurants, and recharged the geek batteries for another year.    This will probably be my only scifi convention this year.  Worldcon is in Finland in 2017.  I'll be going in 2018 when it's in San Jose, CA. 

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