Conglomeration excerpt ….

August 11, 2007

Sitting here in our room at Conglomeration, letting kayleigh take a quick nap while we wait or a panel on Fantasy Writing in Short Form to begin at four. Not too many panels of interest this year, but we have sat in on GoH Ben Bova’s “Artist’s Studio” interview last night, and a reading today, with a few things going on tonight. Bova has been very busy this convention. He’s in one of the rooms from 2-6 pm, with three different solo panels. Lon stretch, that. I wonder if he didn’t agree to pick up some of the time opened up by Allen Steele’s cancellation.

Two gripes though.

One, cell phones. What is it with people who don’t know how to mute or turn off their goddamned cell phones during a panel discussion? At the past several conventions, people in the audience have let their cell phones go off, disrupting the panel. Last night, some guy with a video camera had a cell phone conversation going on while Ben Bova, the Guest of Honor, was talking!

And this isn’t just an audience thing. Last week at Archon, one of the panelists left his cell phone on, and he let it keep ringing while the panel discussion was going on, and I’ve seen it happen at other conventions too.

Don’t people know how to mute their phone, or keep it on vibrate? Come on now!

Two, last night during the Bova interview, the front row was taken up by a group of people we’ve seen at several other conventions. I think they’re all related to one another. Anyway, one of them, a more-than-chubby man who, last year during Conglomeration, got shut down by Harry Turtledove for interrupting panelists, literally hiked up his leg and let a fart!

Now, one accidental misfire might be acceptable. But this guy did it four additional times, literally hiking his leg or bending over in his chair to rip one!

What the hell?! Is this the height of rudeness and total disregard of those around you? Here is Ben Bova sitting on a small stage talking, and less than 10 feet away is some fat guy audibly shitting his pants!

I felt sorry for the audience member sitting directly behind Fartman. Several in the audience were exchanging glances with one another, dumbstruck by this guy’s audacity.

At the end of the panel, kayleigh turned to one of the people beside her whom we had exchanged startled glances with. The lady vigorously agreed when kayleigh said, “Looks like we know where we won’t be sitting for the rest of the convention!”

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