More Cons, Treehouses, and Games!

MountainCon II: John and I were invited to MountainCon II in Salt Lake City, where we were reunited with long-time fellow convention guests, Walter Koenig (Star Trek’s Chekov, Babylon 5’s Bester) and Richard Hatch (Battlestar Galactica), both of whom had lots to say about their current and future projects. This was a small fan-run convention with several local guests who once worked or still work in the film industry. I’d tell you about them, but I have hit a mental brick wall with names (fibro fog) and have no notes handy. I like small laid-back conventions a whole lot more than the larger ones where one is always running around trying to find someone or something.

TREEHOUSE MUSEUM: Before the convention, we were given a tour of the Elizabeth Stewart Treehouse Children’s Museum in nearby Ogden. Lynne Goodwin, wife of artist/cartoonist Michael Goodwin, is the museum administrator. We met Lynne when she started showing her artwork with husband Michael at science fiction conventions. Lynne does lovely fantasy art when she has time for it; Michael is known to Trek fans for his hilarious space cartoons.

We were enchanted by the Treehouse Museum. Every kid of any age dreams of a treehouse like this one! If you’re in Utah, be sure to see this unique children’s museum; it is truly one-of-a-kind. The museum has a fund-raising gala where, among other worthy goodies, a doll house is auctioned off. I offered to make a lighted miniature tree for the 2007 doll house. I’m using this holiday season to find Lilliputian items for a miniature Christmas tree. Others are interested, so the project may expand to a whole Christmas doll house, if we can find a large (but affordable) Victorian doll house kit.

ASTRONOMICON 10: John and I were also Guests of Honor at Astronomicon 10 in Rochester, NY. We flew in to Boston a week early to spend time with our darling foster daughter, Jenn, and her husband, Chris. We had a great time at their house for a few days, then Jenn drove us to Rochester. Chris was working on some computer deadline so didn’t join us. In Rochester, we found how to walk around a city without touching the ground; very unusual to people who don’t live in snow country. We were happy to be introduced to the Dinosaur BBQ, which served some of the finest meats and hot sauces since we left Texas.

The convention was a small, friendly event where we had the pleasure of meeting several very interesting people, including SF writer, Julie Czerneda, and her quietly funny husband, Roger. Her work is Asimovian in sheer sense-of-wonder alien scope, with less scientific explanation, and more character exposition. I’d already read her latest book, In the Company of Others, before the convention, and have since read her first book, A Thousand Words for Stranger, which kept me up all night to finish it. Now I am eager for more of her writing!

LOONEY BIN GAMES: Another interesting thing that happened at Astronomicon was ending up in the Game Room, which is a convention area we Trimbles seldom enter. John and I just aren’t into that much intensity for hours at a time with a whole convention going on around us. But we do play family games and are familiar with one of the games in-vented by Andrew Looney of Looney Bin Labs. In fact, we’d had Fluxx explained to us awhile ago, by a group of very drunken people, which seems the only way to explain that convoluted card game!

Andy and Kristin Looney are delightful people with a totally skewed sense of humor – a trait necessary for the people who produce such games as Nanofictionary, Chrononauts, Treehouse (different from the one in Utah), Just Desserts, Martian Coasters (the coasters can be used for beverage glasses if needed), Are You a Werewolf? (dressed up Mafia, a game of deception, paranoia and mob rule), and several Fluxx variations. John wondered what happened if you shuffled Stoner Fluxx, Jewish Fluxx, and Christian Fluxx together.

Kristin uses tie-dyed game tablecloths, which she says with a straight face are their corporate colors. Andy is a major Trekker, so we got along famously to the envy of daughter Jenn, who is an avid Fluxx fan. By the end of the convention I was an official Blab Rabbit but John has not so far gained that vaunted position. Obviously, he needs to work on his game. I’m not game-knowledgeable enough to be a true Looney Bin Lab Rabbit to test out the games. But we Blab Rabbits can tell others about the games, and share in the fun! Looney Bin Labs