Monday, August 20, 2012

Can You Help a Ghetto Nerd Attend the World Science Fiction Convention Here in Chicago?

You know us black folks, we are always asking folks for something. It is one of our "black habits" as Redd Foxx would say.

Chicon 7, the 70th World Science Fiction Convention (also known as Worldcon), is one of the largest, and longest running, science fiction conferences in the United States (and to my knowledge on Earth). On a lark, and without complete information, I threw my name into the proverbial hat and offered myself up as a panelist for the event.

I very much enjoy giving talks at non-academic fan events and hanging out with fellow geeks and nerds. I also take it as a professional and personal obligation to talk about "serious" stuff, i.e. politics, race, culture, etc. with an audience that often "gets" that there is real substance to their hobby, but just needs the language and a few examples to help them along in realizing what they already know.

To my surprise, the organizers of Chicon 7 asked me to be on three panels--one of which is a meet and great "literary beer" where fans get to talk to authors and other such folks. Yes, I was surprised about that last one too. I was also surprised that panelists, all of them save for "honored guests," are expected to pay for their entry fees to the conference.

When confronted with having to pay for conferences I either 1) sneak in; 2) share a badge with a friend; or 3) ask my department for some money. These are not options for Worldcon here in Chicago as 1) I have been told they are pretty tight with security and checking badges; 2) only one person I know is going, and I don't think that I could pass as "Heather"; and 3) Worldcon falls between budgetary request cycles and my boss folks will also not pay for association memberships.

I am ultimately of two minds. I would like to go, and I think there could be some good professional networking done which will help me out with various projects including WARN. Life is funny, as you never know where and when good things can happen: for example, I may very well be offered one of the high honors of geekdom in the near future because of some folks I met at Chicago's C2E2. If it happens, I will of course share the good news with all of you.

I also think it would be great to represent for the ghetto nerd set. Science fiction and fandom can be very "white" spaces; it is good to shake things up a bit and make sure that a diversity of voices are represented.

On the other hand, I am not so moved as to come up with the 300 dollars out of pocket, in essence paying to present and do work, at a convention. I have other responsibilities regarding family and a 16 year old dog that I must prioritize, regardless of the temptation to do otherwise.

[For those of you who are justifiably curious, I did my research and Stamford Animal Rescue will be getting the money we collected a few months ago.]

This leaves me with hand open, and begging bowl out, to the friends and fans of We Are Respectable Negroes. I learned from my last semi-successful fundraising effort that you need to repeat your pleas for donations more than once. I cannot promise that I will do that, save for a few ghetto nerd related posts, in order to keep fundraising pitch in the foreground. To do more crosses over to nagging...and that isn't cool. 

Apparently, fundraisers are also most successful when they are time-limited. I need to confirm with the conference no later than Friday of this week (or Monday at the latest).

Finally, the experts on these matters suggest that you should give people who are kind enough to donate money a "thank you" or some type of gift and incentive. I like stories and sharing. Hopefully, those stories are not just interesting to me given my delusional state of sustained egomania and borderline narcissism. If we can get me to Worldcon I will offer up the following "gifts."

1. I will share some excerpts from my zombie novella. This will be your chance to laugh, mock, make fun of, and see me exposed as the literary wannabe hack that I really am. A few friends have read parts of Zombie Lives. The response ranges from "great" to "good, but do more of x,y,z" and "you have something solid here that you should send to an agent." One friend doesn't get the genre--and said it just wasn't her cup of tea despite her appreciation for what I was trying to bring to the table in writing a zombie novella that is "about something."

2. Here on WARN, I often, and in a playful manner, talk about sex and taking the ladies to Space Mountain (in reality the ride is more like The Tea Cups at Disneyland). Sometimes these episodes end in embarrassment, confusion, or laughter--usually at me and not with me.

We have two possibilities (of many here) from my catalog of epic sexual and romantic fails.

I can offer up a true story about a night of random intimacy, with a relative stranger which was ruined mid foreplay by an argument about Abraham Lincoln, the color line, and Emancipation.

Or, I can entertain and titillate, as I share a night of great shame and George from Seinfeld-like incompetence and bad luck. Details? Let's just say that this ruined night involves a sex goddess, a dog, pepper spray, and my wounded masculinity. 

It is August and the start of school is approaching. For those of you with kids, money is probably especially tight this time of year. However, if folks can find a dollar or two to throw in the virtual tip jar/donation box in the upper right hand part of the screen, I would very much appreciate the gesture.

If I am able to attend Worldcon I will of course share stories, gossip, photos, and any fun things that happen to transpire. Thank you for indulging me.


Invisible Man said...

Negro please! The two flat owned by da church lady (who stay down the street around the corner) is being foreclosed on by President Obama's golf buddy, Jamie Dimon! Partially because of her sham subprime loan made by Chase Bank and also cause Shequita who stay on the second floor, can't pay rent cause Jeffrey Immelt done closed down the G.E. plant and moved her J.O.B to China. This was right before Immelt was appointed Chairman of the President's Job Creation Council. But instead of coming out of yo own pockets, you begging on the internet for money to go to a SiFi Conference?

chaunceydevega said...

@Invisible Man. Yup, all politics is local. You should take a up a collection to help her. I have one brave contributor--the riches are grand.

Don't be so miserable.

SabrinaBee said...

I'd be happy to help.

chaunceydevega said...

@another kind soul. do you just want to hear my embarrassing stories?

chaunceydevega said...

@OTB. Why are you such a naysayer and contrarion who does so under the guise of being "innocent" and "just asking questions?"

You see OTB you need to include travel expenses, food, and money to buy drinks for folks who are in a position to do something for you in exchange for a few minutes of time.

I don't know if you are aware of such things.

Go back to your assorted misadventures. I know that you have a surplus of time. You offered me some money in exchange for information. If you are sincere throw that in the pot or be gone. My tutoring of you has to be worth at least 100 dollars--or a factor many times higher.

Invisible Man said...

Respectable Negro Chaunceydevega

Let the record state, "Shequita" and "da Church lady" are fictional characters representing true life stories of woe in our land, while the names and actions of Jamie Dimon and and Jeffrey Immelt are real. But I was more expecting a response of.... "N*gga stop counting My Money" But I guess Respectable Negro's don't need to "go there" So in the spirt of up lift and solidarity, please provide a postal address and I will donate, one bottle of Richard's Wild Irish Rose so you can get yo swerve on during the conventions after party like a true gentlemen of leisure. Needless to say, love the blog :-)

SabrinaBee said...

LOL. No need to humiliate yourself. To me you provide a service. It's not as if you have a pay to participate site, like some others. Nor, do you bombard us with advertisement. I am not a ghetto nerd, though I did read Game of Thrones and liked it and a few other series sugeested because of it. I even ordered CNu's Black Empire though, I have yet to read it. But, I haven't really given much attention to Sci-Fi. No, my contribution is purely in appreciation for what you do.

chaunceydevega said...

@Invisible. That is too top shelf for me. I figure a few thousands posts, why not ask. If folks can, they will, if not, so be it, times are hard. If you are ever here in Chicago we can meet up for a drink. You can bring the Cold Duck.

@Sabrina. Kind benefactor. Barring a miracle we will fall short with this begging bowl; but, your generosity is so noted and appreciated. If we don't get a decent sum I will email you and refund the money at your request.

annum natalem said...

I put a handful in the bucket. I hope, like the tale of the loaves and fishes, it ends up being enough.

Comrade Physioprof said...

Just chipped in for some of your beer money. Have fun!

chaunceydevega said...

@Fictional. Loaves and fishes? Geekdom and beers ;)

Thanks always.

@Comrade. Thanks brother. You have been a supporter for some time and are very much appreciated. I will do my best to represent for the ghetto nerd set as best I can.