Thursday, May 15, 2008

Today's painfully obscure moral dilemma

So here are the bizarre and embarrassing idle thoughts that hover on the edge of my consciousness, dispelling my nascent aura of productivity.

I've been tacitly invited to take over programming for the local science fiction convention, ConGlomeration. It's a task I completely don't have time for, between my day job with a time-sucking Internet startup, my side-gig writing trivia questions and geeky blog posts for my former employer, my vain attempts to become a fiction author (i.e. my membership in the local sci-fi writing group and, for educational purposes, the local sci-fi readers group to create stories I never feel are good enough to publish), and my regular appearances on TechTalk. (All of which fails to mention my duties as husband, father, and friend, to say nothing of a social life beyond professional geekery.) Heck, I'm close to earning Epic Fail as mere Webmaster for the ConGlom Web site.

That said, if I were to suicidally become Programming Director, I would almost certainly abuse the privilege to import persons that I want to meet as convention Guests of Honor. Wil Wheaton, for example would be the ideal guest as he is A) a media figure, B) a writer, C) a gamer, D) a techie and E) reputedly composed entirely of awesome and cupcakes. He's also connected out the wazoo to influential geeks of every persuasion, so if we were to somehow land the former Ensign Crusher as our headline guest and treat him with the worshipful courtesy for which ConGlomeration is known, it could raise our Con's profile and get our foot in the door with additional awesome-and-cupcakes personages. But my real reasons for crushing on the Wheaton? Dude is a Mike Doughty fan. I seriously thought I was the only one. In my dream scenario, Wil and his wife fly in (yes, we often fly in spouses of Guests of Honor, and we brought in most of Harry Turtledove's immediate family), we hang, hit it off, and agree to become mutual Twitter friends. Sad, I know, but there you have it.

Wheaton, at least, is a defensible dream guest. Where my self-centered guest list goes off the rails is with the likes of John Scalzi--of who I have cyberstalked at length, met previously, and gotten books signed acknowledging said cyberstalking. Scalzi has been nominated for the Hugo, won the Campbell, and is blogger of the first order, but I doubt many of our guests have heard of him. He's too new-school. Basically, I'd be bringing in a guy who'd be an awesome guest but who would do little to spike our attendance, simply so I could fawn in person. An abuse of power if ever there was one. On the plus side, Scalzi lives near Dayton, so we wouldn't have to fly him in.

Similar issues apply to one Cherie Priest, save that she has actual Kentucky ties, having attended High School here and with relatives in Lietchfield. Still, she is an exceedingly new-school (and fiendishly talented) horror writer--not exactly our core audience. But she's a blogstress par excellence and wicked funny to boot. Certainly worth flying in from Seattle. Again, a selfish guest choice I'd court in a heartbeat.

This, of course, is merely the beginning of the ways I'd subtly destroy my beloved Con by sheer virtue of temptation. I've long toyed with the idea of tacking a Ning social network onto the Con Web site and creating another don't-have-time-for-it task of making our attendee base more loyal and persistent via an active online meeting space. Worse yet, I've often wondered if the entire programming schedule couldn't be made open source, via a Google Doc or Wikia page, such that members and volunteers of all stripes could design the panels and programs they'd like to see us host--perhaps offering their services in the process.

Alas, I barely have time to write a blog post bitching about these possibilities, let alone act upon them. It's more an idle a lament than an actual moral dilemma, but hey, self-centered kvetching is what blogging's all about, isn't it?


  1. You're definitely not the only Mike Doughty fan out there. Looking at the World from the Bottom of a Well if one of my all time favorite songs. He is actually performing tonight (05/15) at The Pilot Light in Knoxville, which is only 2 1/2 hours from me. I want to go but alas, I'm on call tonight, and don't you just know the network would go down as soon as I walk in the door.

    *sigh* the life of a 24/7 IT guy....

  2. Yes! Wil Wheaton! Do it Jay!

    I haven't read anything (yet) by Cherie Priest but I follow her livejournal and really like it. My friend Rob Thurman turned me on to her.

    Thanks for pimping the meetups!

    Michael (reading group)

  3. You don't need a whole Wikia for it, you can just use to work on programs and stuff.... :)