Here’s some family news worth mentioning. My brother, Geoff, and his wife, Shannon, had their second child yesterday. Lind Honus Roland Crowe was born at 10:48 AM MST, weighing in at 3.9 kg. Pictures? Yes.
So Jennifer and I attended SFContario a few weekends ago. As usual, I’m only getting around to telling you about it now.
As I mentioned last year, this was SFContario’s inaugural year, and, if you ask me, this year’s con augurs well for future cons. It was small, at least compared to Ad Astra, and the hotel was a little claustrophobic. Not everything went off hitch-free: the Dr. Horrible sing-a-long fell victim to technical issues, and no one but us showed up for the Eye of Argon reading. But these sorts of things can strike cons that have been running for decades, I suspect. I’ll cut a con a lot of slack its first time out.
The programming was pretty good, I thought. Despite the fact that there weren’t many concurrent panels — i.e., there were only a few to choose from — there was usually something I wanted to see. Sometimes, annoyingly, more than one thing I wanted to see at the same time, and I found it difficult to choose. This is not a bad problem to have. But in the event I missed roughly half the things I wanted to see because we made new friends and talked to writers, and that took precedence.
I made a point of limiting my photo-taking to the beginning of panels as much as possible, both to avoid disturbing the panelists and to allow me to enjoy the panels as an audience member rather than as a journalist. My SFContario photos are here; for photos taken by others, see the SFContario 2010 Flickr group. For the same reason, I gave up taking notes after the first panel, and just sat back to enjoy the show. There are plenty of reports online that give a sense of what went on:
- AE Magazine
- Karen Dales
- Henchminion’s detailed four-part con report: I, II, III, IV
- Stephen B. Pearl
- Jo Walton (on the Family Trees of Fantasy panel)
For us, highlights included meeting Michael Swanwick, in whose mighty presence I babbled like a total goof, and Jo Walton — but that’s another story.
Shawville’s grocery store — a Loblaws franchise — has been on strike for more than a week now. It’s the second grocery strike since we moved here in 2003; the last one lasted four months. From what we’ve heard, this one will go on at least until the new year. The Ottawa Citizen story reports the details we’d previously heard only as rumour and scuttlebutt: the union is asking for 12 percent over four years, and Loblaws is publicly musing about closing the store altogether, as it’s a marginal operation. It must be, if a dollar-an-hour raise is enough to put its viability into question; most of the employees are part-time as well (benefits, you know).
For the time being, we’re shopping in Renfrew, where the selection and prices are better. It’s half an hour away, but a lot of people were already shopping there for those reasons. If more of the store’s customers keep shopping over there after the strike is over — if they don’t come back — that may well be it.