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GearCon, Friday
Daria proofreads
Arrived at the hotel to find that plenty of people were there ahead of me. Indeed i didnt even get inside before spotting the first gear - encumbered top hat.

The line at registration was pretty long but I discovered when the call went out for anyone with cash that I, at the far end of the line, was the only one who actually shown up with folding money . .. So I got a quick promotion to the Get Helped Right Now person who got me my membership very quickly. (She also had the most fascinating bolt and cotter pin tattoos on her shoulders; she said they made her very popular at hardware stores and I believed her. No surprise , here, that she knew about Benjamin Franklin fireplace - but I was not expecting the suggestion that I cosplay him! I'll have to think about that one.) The badges are straightforward and seem to be involved with some ARG that I'm not yet informed about. The program is lovely but too large to go into a pocket without folding.

Penguin arrived ahead of me and set up shop in the con suite. I've also seem both Letourneaus. I expect to see more soon.

Most of the dealer's room is irrelevant to me but I've spotted a few tempting items which I should resist. The pool is also very tempting in this weather and I have no intention of resisting all weekend.

A discussion of post-apocalyptic steampunk technology didn't turn nearly as nerdy as it could have.

It did lead me to think of a technology I hadn't seen at any dealer's table so when it was done I went off to investigate. A survey of the options revealed that nobody carried even a single sliderule! Frankly this mystifies me; there's a wide selection of nonfunctional props and random things with pointless gears glued to them. People seeking functional merchandise can find pouches, lenses, compasses, knives, holsters, belts, more pouches... (There are people here wearing enough pouches to satisfy Rob Leifeld.) Yet fans playing engineers or mad scientists cannot find one of the most common tools of actual engineers and scientists of the period. It seems odd - and it can't reasonably be chalked up to unavailability, a quick check of ebay shows plenty available at reasonable prices. Many even come with nifty belt sheaths. The best guess we've come up with so far is that steampunk artists don't draw sliderules, leading to a lack of interest. It's also speculated that younger fans don't know what they are; I think that may be pessemistic given the retro-tech focus found here but so far I haven't asked enough people young enough to never know sliderules as contemporary objects.

The hotel pool is a novelty to those of us used to this hotel for Orycon in November, but it's open in the summer and I took the opportunity to use it. Had i planned ahead a bit better my clothes bag (up in hospitality) would have been left in the main room rather than in a side room that got closed off when someone decided to take a shower.

The Westercon table turns out to be a counter right next to registration. It is conveniently located, is excellently easy to see in a high traffic area, and gives two people places to sit. It's also about four feet high, meaning that anyone who sits down is essentially invisible to the outer world. We'll see how this works out over the weekend...

Friday night seems to be fairly quiet after 9pm or so outside the central event all. We'll see if Saturday brings more small late events.

PS: Some parts of this were written on a tablet with rampaging autocorrect; please forgive any typos.

Quotations out of context:
"Eat five meatballs."
"Are you a shark?"
"I'm pronouncing my verbs."
"Remember, remember...something in November..."
"I think I have too much shoulder for this."
"It's a doorknob!"

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I'd love to know whatever happened to the scabbard for my 1940s sliderule. It's mahogany and plastic (probably, slight chance it's ivory).

I've also got a boring aluminum one for the 60s. And a tiny circular one with a slide out table of handy formulas and constants.

I'd love to have a "full sized" circular slide rule.

For that matter, a nifty project for someone with more time and space than I have would be to locate one of those *huge* (6 feet long? Longer?) slide rules they'd have mounted above the black board in math classes to teach you how to use a slide rule.

Add some gears and motors and do some precision etching and you could build a slide rule accurate to 4, maybe even 5 places. :-)

Another fun bit of old tech that I've seen and was even allowed to hold for a bit is the old Kurta(?) "fishing reel" mechanical calculators. Pocket sized and hand cranked. And hundreds of dollars.

Be very appropriate for such a con, but *way* too expensive for most of us.

Ooo, okay, that's a steam punk thing I could get behind! :)

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