A little catch-up for those who don't know me: I just finished hosting OctopodiCon, a steampunk convention that apparently everyone thinks is ground-breaking and new.
Except it's not a new concept, just a really old one. I reckon most attendees were young enough to think it's all spiffy and new.
They had a great time, all the attending students. Even the Visiting Professors enjoyed themselves. Everyone wants to do it again.
We had entertainers performing in the Spectacularium, then held the SteamMakers Ball there Saturday night, after the charity auction (over $700 raised for both the memorial scholarship fund for Prof. Ann-Amelia McAlden and the Wardenclyffe Tesla Museum), and the Masquerade.
The Scriptorium was an experiment that, with tweaking, could be highly successful. We placed the bookseller in the Scriptorium, then set up a theater-style seating arrangement in one corner and placed a round table with 10 chairs to fill out the rest of the room. Authors spent time in there reading, autographing their books, and students browsed to buy books, listen to their authors, and had a chance to meet them in an informal, bookstore-type setting. Next year, we'll place the book seller so he's visible through the doors, and hang posters of the authors book covers on the walls to liven it up. There's always room for improvement!
The Laboratorium was filled with activity most of the weekend as professors and students gathered to learn to make things like tiny top hats, autograph books, modifying toy guns into steampunk accessories, making holsters for those modified guns, learning to make cute little softies (this time, an octopus with a teeny top hat), and it's where we hosted the Automaton Contest and the Mad Engineer Contest.
The Spectacularium was filled with entertainment - with a few small first year glitches. Those should be resolved by next year.
The classrooms were filled with people as eager to learn as they were to share what they knew. It was exciting to see people interacting with such enthusiasm.
And the Pod experiment worked!
I wasn't sure that would.
I set up everyone in a Pod as they registered for OctopodiCon, and then at OctopodiCon, held Pod Meetings to introduce the Pods to everyone, helped them choose their Pod leader and Pod prime (the historian), got them on the road to selecting colors and mascots and mottos and secret handshakes and call and response cheers and more.
They loved it. I saw them sharing their secret handshakes all Saturday and Sunday, and they set up meetings to do things together, and now that the convention is over, they're setting up groups and emailing lists and planning projects together. It's pretty exciting to watch something I was so anxious about take off so well.
This young man was so excited about the Pod concept that he pushed his Pod to win the Pod Points contest, and that's the Traveling Pod Trophy he's displaying. He's the head of OrnithoPod and he'll tell you all about it.
This is the charming young woman who learned to weld just so she could make our trophies for us:
A pair of excellent photographers took numerous portrait and candid photos of the entire event, so we have enough photos to produce a really good yearbook. Next year, we'll have them set up better, with a decent backdrop and props. but for the first year, it will be very good. We're pre-selling the yearbooks - we need a guarantee of 100 copies before we can actually print them so we can get them at $25 a copy - hard cover, color photos. Some photos will be in sepias, the ones that look best that way, but as steampunks, we aren't limited to sepias and black and white.
These yearbooks will make not just excellent mementos, but will provide a great method to show and tell what steampunk is about.
Practically everyone wants to come back next year.
I want to thank everyone here at DKos who boosted the signal, who contributed to the fundraisers, who offered sound advice on putting it together - this was definitely a communal effort and I absolutely could not have done it by myself.