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Farpoint 05

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      The Desk's master plan was to cover this year's edition of the Farpoint Science-Fiction Convention at the Hunt Valley Marriot in Baltimore from 'behind the scenes'.
      What does it take to put on a major show like this? Who does the programming, how are the time slots arranged for minimal conflict, what is Plan 'D', when 'A' falls apart, 'B' won't work and 'C' is out with the flu? Who approves or controls what? And over half a page of other carefully thought out and well worded questions.
      STRIKE ONE... The Desk was in Baltimore and the questions were on its desk a hundred miles away.
      No problem. We can work through this. We'll ask questions on the fly and just sit back and watch from time to time.

      The Desk had specifically requested and paid for a Staff Badge to allow it to get to parts of the Con that most people don't see. Namely; backstage, into various skull sessions, deal with some of the functionaries of the hotel, and so on. The Desk thought it would just make things a little easier.
      STRIKE TWO... Daughter Number One was staff so she could work Registration. But the Desk had a weekend badge. No Staff label, no Press label, no nothing.
      No problem. We can deal with this too. The Desk is an accomplished BS artist after several years of covering politics.

      The Desk had two digital cameras and a slew of backup batteries both store bought and rechargeable. One for it to use, one for its wife to use. Plus two laptops and a flash memory card for backup. Also, it had arranged with a friend to come over and play Official Photographer with a better quality camera and associated props. We shall do this one up right!
      STRIKE THREE... Friend has the flu. Sick in bed with high fever and multiple heavy medications. The Desk's camera craps out Saturday morning. It simply sits there and blinks, the Desk was lucky to get the pictures off the thing before it died all together. Then the other camera began eating batteries like they were cheese popcorn. What had seemed to be an inexhaustible supply of AA batteries was getting a little thin Sunday morning.
      No Problem. We can handle this. Careful rationing of flashes and multiple backups and we'll make it.

      Well. If it went off like the script, it wouldn't be FARPOINT. Would it?
      The Desk can't say. It's never gone by the script even when there was a script.
      Blizzards, midnight DJ sessions, food poisoning, drunken aliens… none of it was ever in the script, but we went with it anyway.
      Now is no different.

      Change of plans… Instead of a Behind the Scenes workup, this one shall be pure Gonzo.
      Hit the ground running and see what happens.

      Royce Essig can probably relate to that. He's "1 of 5" in Rising Phoenix productions, an independent production company based in Harrisburg, PA. They are in the middle pf putting together a film called "Dark Operations". It is a totally original production and if the props are any indication at all, its going to be a good one.
      Mr. Essig's title of 'Chief of Staff' of the production company simply means: "My bank account has been assimilated."
Rising Phoenix Productions.

      The Klingon Woman with the Tequila Boots can probably relate as well. She had spent considerable time and thought (not to mention money) on her costume with a chain mail skirt, only to come down with a really bad cold a couple of days before the Con.
      She didn't have a voice, and was moving in a Klingon version of slow motion, but she said she'd make it the whole weekend.

      The IFT officer with most of an authentic Star Trek uniform can relate as well. Her belt was made at Paramount. Her 20 year old boots were from a movie. She had an actual prop phaser from the sixth movie. "It's the Hero Prop" she said.
      Only the boots didn't quite fit, she had to wear heavy socks so she could walk in them. The Desk used its tool to make a hole in the belt to fasten it so it wasn't either falling off her or strangling her. And the heavy dress uniform jacket was sweltering inside the hotel. But she got through the meeting with her dignity still intact.

      Even the Hubble Space Telescope Team can relate. The telescope is doing some of its best science ever. They've used it in conjunction with newer instruments and advancing knowledge to push the limits of Cosmology beyond even what was imagined in Star Trek. In one of the hard science presentations the scientist showed a recently taken picture of what may actually be the first extra-solar planet ever photographed some two hundred light years away.
      Yet the Hubble is coming up on fifteen years old, there is no way to return it to Earth. The budget for repairs has dried up. And some of the instruments on board it are beginning to show signs of age. If the batteries or gyros, which are original equipment from launch, begin to die, the entire instrument will have to be ditched into an ocean. Otherwise somebody may find a chunk of hot metal the size of a bus and nearly as heavy coming through their dining room ceiling.
The Space Telescope people-

      So, on the whole...
      ...even given the stupidity the Desk went through with the Masquerade Door Warden. The misdirection and confusion surrounding the IFT table (even the Desk can't be in three places at one time). The normal Con Scheduling snafus. And all the rest…
      ... how was it?
There is Good News-
      Farpoint as a Con IS a success. The Convention and its staff have matured. Things go a certain way MOST of the time. The people that come know what to expect and what they want to see and do and where everything is with Minimal surprise. You go, you do, you go home.

And there is Bad News-
      Farpoint as a Con IS a success. The Convention and its staff have matured. Things go a certain way MOST of the time. The people that come know what to expect and what they want to see and do and where everything is with Minimal surprise. You go, you do, you go home.

FARPOINT 2006 will be President's Day Weekend.

      And now for what most everybody wants to see... PICTURES!

[NOTE: All Photos Are Taken By and Remain Property of the Desk, or have been assigned to the Desk for its use. Use for Educational Purposes with credit to The Media Desk website is permitted. Star Trek and other properties belong to their owner, no infringment is intended. Thank you. ]
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