The Rambling Writer at Westercon/Gearcon


Over the July 4th weekend, Thor and I ventured south on I5, braving horrendous traffic to arrive in Portland for Westercon 69 in conjunction with Gearcon (a Steampunk celebration). Since Thor already had his costume from his “Wizards of Western” dinosaur presentation for Western Washington University, and I had my Medieval Faire outfit, we dressed up for costume night. Since almost everyone else was dressing for the Steampunk theme, we were our usual anachronistic selves. And, as usual on the pro discussion panels — this time I participated in the “Is Technology Neutral?” and “Virtual Reality” presentations, among others — I was one of the few voices advising caution when adopting new tech. Like Miniver Cheevy, I may have been born to the wrong era.

This delightful couple sported appropriate Steampunk attire:


But the Mermaid contingent flouted all boundaries, and held demo swims in the hotel pool, undulating gracefully through the water with their fins.


My favorite couple visited the autograph table, dressed as the sweet aliens from “Galaxy Quest.”


Book View Cafe’s own David D. Levine was the Fan Guest of Honor, and I enjoyed finally meeting him in person during our panel on “Toxic Masculinity in SF/F” and later at a dinner with other Book View Cafe members. And kudos to our probational member Mark Ferrari, who won Artist Best of Show! Here is the beautiful trophy:

Westercon Award (1)

Taking a break for some mundane reality, Thor and I hopped on one of the terrific mass-transit trains into central Portland for a walking tour. Since we had left our sweet Bear dog to the care of his “Aunt Brenda” back home, I had to content myself with petting this denizen of a local park:


We didn’t need these facilities situated on a sidewalk, but appreciated the city planning:


No visit to Portland would be complete without dropping in to Powell’s Books, but we resisted loading up on too many books, as I already had started a pile at the con. Wandering through Chinatown on our way to the outdoor Saturday Market full of arts and crafts, we spotted these elegant elephants.


Portland is a city of many bridges over the rivers, and some striking architecture, the new…


…and older. The 100-year-old Pittock Mansion overlooks the city, with lovely views and design.



The designer had some forward-thinking ideas for the time, including this high-tech “Steampunk” shower with adjustable sprays from below and surrounding sides:


One last glimpse of the con — this elegant judge of the costume contest informed me that her outfit was created by the same designer who made costumes for David Bowie and Madonna. She was the “custodian” of the costume, allowed to wear it for special occasions. Check out the headpiece!


Now, back home with our critters, time to dive into that stack of new books….

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