Conclave XXV was held over the weekend of October 20-22, 2000 at the Holiday Inn in Lansing, Michigan. It was unusually small this year, although many blamed this on the recent Worldcon having left many people with too little money and vacation time to attend.
We arrived early Friday morning and got checked into our room. After we got our personal belongings up to it, we double-checked on the time that the dealers' room was going to open. However, it was not opening until 2PM because another group still had it and the set-up was going to have to be changed before dealers could bring things in. So we checked about getting me signed up to do at least some of my gopher hours (I needed only six to earn my membership money), but nobody was ready yet. So we sat around and I got some writing done on my current work in progress.
Finally it was close enough to time to get things in that we started carrying in. We got everything brought in reasonably quickly and got everything set up in good time for the dealers' room to open to the general public. During the last part of set-up, I was walking by another used-book dealer's display and saw that he had some of Marion Zimmer Bradley's Sword and Sorceress anthologies, including the tenth volume, one of the ones I've been seeking for ages. I went ahead and bought it. A little later, I saw a ring at another dealer's display which looked almost exactly like the emblem of one of the major characters in my current WIP. Unfortunately, it was more than I could afford at the time, so I decided to simply wait and see how much money we made.
The art show took longer than the dealers' room to set up, and when they did finally get the panels up, I discovered that they were almost completely sold out. Fortunately one artist didn't need all of her space, and was glad to re-sell the remaining part to me. So I was able to put out some of my plaques.
The evening was somewhat disappointing, since we made only a few small sales. After the dealers' room closed, we ordered a pizza. After supper we went down to the hot tub and soaked out the aches and pains of having lugged in all those books. Then we made our rounds of the parties. We went to the Dementia 2000 party, which is for a Dr. Demento convention. We also checked out the Babylon 5 TV lounge, as well as the ClubFusion suite, which is for the January convention ConFusion. After that we turned in for the night.
Saturday we got up early and made the unhappy discovery that the shower was putting out only lukewarm water. So I decided to put off washing my hair until we could get the matter rectified, and took a quick shower that felt more like some of the ones I've had while camping out.
There was a continental breakfast in the con suite, with mega-muffins and hot chocolate, which helped repair the start of the day. Then we headed down to the dealers' room and got our tables set up for business.
Then I went to Ops and did my six hours of gophering to earn my membership. This consisted primarily of sitting behind the desk and being available to answer questions and run errands. However, during lull periods I was able to read Sword and Sorceress X.
After that I went back to our tables in the dealers' room. Sales had been rather disappointing, and I had not gotten any bids on my art in the art show.
When the dealers' room closed, we went to a nearby Chinese buffet and had a thoroughally superb dinner. Then we rested for a while and I did some more writing before we went down to the hot tub. Unfortunately this time someone had turned down the heat and it was lukewarm, more like bathwater than a proper hot tub.
After that we made the rounds of the parties. The Babylon 5 TV lounge was running again, and there was a party for a couple who were about to be married. We also went back to the ConFusion party before turning in for the night.
Sunday we got up early to get packed and out of our room. At least this time we had decently hot showers, so we were in a better mood when we went to the con suite for breakfast. While we were there I had a very interesting discussion with another fan about morals, ethics and changing technology. Then we gathered our belongings and got them cleared out of our sleeping room before heading down to the dealers' room.
We did get a few sales on Sunday, but business continued to be slow and disappointing. I got my art from the art show, then went back to Ops and got my membership refund. After that we packed our merchandise, although we did make a few last-minute sales even as the dealers' room was closing. Since sales had been so poor, there was no way I could afford to purchase that ring that I had been admiring all weekend. It hurt to have to walk away from it, but I didn't do to that dealer what somebody did to us -- while we were packing, we discovered that one of our Hallmark ornaments had gone missing. Since we looked under the tables very carefully, we hadn't just lost it, so it appears that someone took a five-finger discount.
Then we carried all the unsold merchandise (way too much of what we'd brought) back out and loaded it. After everything was loaded and we were ready to go, we made one last trip up to the con suite and said our last good-byes before hitting the road.
Copyright 2012 by Leigh Kimmel
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Last updated October 21, 2012.