Saturday, August 13, 2011

Blognapping: Discworld

In which this blog about crafts is shanghaied in a dark alley and put to dark and nefarious purposes.  Like talking about the Second North American Discworld Convention, held in Madison, WI in the middle of July.

Molly and I drove out.  It took two days and then we went to Noah's Ark Waterpark, in Wisconsin Dells, against which all other waterparks will now seem woefully inadequate.

The convention was fantastic.  It pretty much had to be.  You put a thousand other Discworld fans in one hotel, and then run into friends you haven't seen in five years (we knew we were all going to be there, but I had no idea how we'd find each other, and then we find each other before we'd even registered) and wander around and talk to people and admire costumes and discover you can buy a tin labeled Dried Frog Pills, and that there are people trading stamps for countries that don't exist (the stamps are pretty awesome), and listen to authors talk about books -- Patrick Rothfuss was there -- and listen to bits of the newest Pratchett book being read, and hear Sir Terry tell funny stories, and talk to other fans, and go to panels, and discover what Morris Dancing is, and, well.

It's the perfect recipe for fantastic, is what it is.

A dozen or so Discworld gods and goddess paraded in for the Opening Ceremonies, and welcomed Sir Terry the Creator.  He sat down and told a story about waking up one morning, and going downstairs and noticing that the straps on the slab are torn, and then realizing the significance of the monster-shaped hole in the door.  Then going down to the village -- or at least where the village was -- and the villagers -- at least the surviving villagers -- come out and point and say "See what you've done!"

And then Sir Terry got up and peered round at all the assembled gods and goddesses.

This is Anonia, Goddess of Things That Get Stuck in Drawers.

There was a man who was very good with balloons.

One of several Feegles.  This one really liked my Feegle.

Death of Rats, and Moist von Lipwig for some reason.

Sally, Cheri, and Angua kept order, especially during the Pratchett stampings.

Here, Dr Hix, Vetinari, and an Igor judge ideas in the Evil Genius, Good-ish Samaritan panel.  I laughed.  A lot.

Someone proposed cursing students you don't like.  Dr Hix responded: "That can be shorted to 'students.'  And students pay for dinners."

I learned that the plural of Nac Mac Feegle is "invasion."

Igor: If you can't be a good example, you can at least be a horrible example.

Morris Dancing!  It is something you should run away from.  Earlier there was a man dressed in a cow suit, and you can still see the man in a pink dress.  Both of these features are authentic (well, normally it's a man dressed as a horse, but this is Wisconsin).  Nobody really knows why Morris Dancing is the way it is, except that it was an ancient pagan fertility ritual.

Twoflower with his camera and luggage.  The camera takes pictures.  There is an imp inside.  The Luggage moves around and opens and closes its mouth.  Some people have skills, and enough craziness to use them.

Gaiman! And Pratchett!  They rambled on about Good Omens for nearly two hours.
"This book what we wrote ... accidentally.  By post." 
Terry would call Neil in the early afternoon, before Neil was awake, and leave messages on his voicemail: "Wake up! Wake up, you bastard, I've written a good bit!"
They extensively footnoted each other's bits, and there's one joke that neither one of them can remember writing, so at some point the book wrote itself.  Terry is the nice one; he made it a kinder book with fewer dead babies.  Neil's responsible for the maggots.

There was a radio interview, back when it came out, and the interviewer didn't know it was fiction.  Terry eventually explained; Neil Gaiman, being evil, would have let it go on for the whole interview.

Another interviewer started off by saying "I haven't the foggiest clue who Terry Pratchett is."  Then her phone board went red.  After a few calls, she said "Now I know."

Mort is apparently Gaiman's fault, because Terry outlined an idea for his next book, and Neil said "that's a good idea, but you should write one about Death."  And then Neil got a phone call: "You bastard, it's called Mort."

For quite a bit of it I was laughing too much to take notes or otherwise commit anything specific to memory. 

Granny Weatherwax.

The Hogfather.  I just love that something like this exists, and makes perfect sense.  Of course there's a little girl sitting on the knee of a man in a red and white suit with a big white beard who's a bit bony around the face.

Sir Terry Pratchett and Granny Weatherwax.

So the day after the convention we started driving home.  Well first we went to the zoo, because it had a baby lion.

We wandered around most of the zoo.  This was probably not the best way to begin a 450-mile drive.  But there was this White Cockatoo doing a Godzilla impression ... he'd stalk up and down a branch, feathers up, making this angry squawk bird-roar sound.

Then we got lost, and found the Toilet Graveyard.  This may have been Ohio?

We had lunch with Glen and Krissy, who are soon going to move to Madison.  And then we got home.

* * * 

I have also now enjoyed my fifteen seconds of anonymous internet fame. 

The Good Omens panel was very full.  But there was a table up against a wall with a perfect view of the stage.  Tables are like chairs, so we sat there.

And then there was a Neil Gaiman.  And somebody took a picture of him walking in with Terry Pratchett, and Neil Gaiman posted it on his blog (in the second half of the entry), and the happy fan clapping her hands in the air in the background is me.

It seems like I can repost the picture here without upsetting the photographer, so.  My fifteen seconds of anonymous internet fame, or at least of showing up somewhere on the internet that's associated with fame.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Sarah,

    Great summary post of fun NADWCon events, thanks! I'm so glad you had a good time! Also, haha, I loved that pic of you being excited in the background of the Terry/Neil entrance so much that I sent the link to Neil before his post. It made me happy to see someone who was so unabashedly joyful about the event. :)

    - Emily, Chair, NADWCon2011