Sunk costs: costs that cannot be recovered once they have been incurred.
I was up in Cambridge yesterday for Arisia '09. I'd never been before, and I daresay I won't be going again. Its focus is very different from the other two Boston-based sci-fi conventions. It's not really a sci-fi con at all, despite some of the trappings, but rather a geek lifestyle con. I only started to figure this out when I started looking at the preliminary program. The program is more extensive than Boskone, but despite that I could barely find anything on it to interest me. Unfortunately, this was after I'd sent in my $50. There were panels on flirting, cats, freemasonry, polyamory, costuming, and BDSM, lots of gaming, anime, and media stuff, but not a lot actually about science fiction in book form.
Still, I noticed a panel on story creation scheduled for 10 am, Saturday, and that it was part of a series of similar panels. Also, Barry Longyear, one of my favs, would be doing a signing at some point. Perhaps there would be enough for me to get by. So I stuck my copy of Elephant Song in my knapsack, and headed out into the single digits.
Things started going badly almost immediately. I went to open the third door on the pickup, and the door handle snapped off. This is the second time I've done this. When it gets real cold, the door mechanism freezes up, and the handle, being cheap plastic, can't handle the stress. Last time I did it, a couple years ago, it cost me $100 to have it replaced at the Chevy dealer*. No frelling wonder GM is near bankruptcy. They make crap vehicles.
* Some searching of the interbunny tells me that not only is this a common problem (some folks have snapped off three or four of the suckers), but one guy went so far as to address the problem by having an replacement handle machined out of aluminum. He sells them. They come with complete instructions and only cost $17.95, including postage. I have already ordered one. Huzzah!
Dismayed but undeterred, I went to Dunkies, got breakfast, then drove up to the T station in Quincy to catch the Red Line to Kendall Square. I timed it pretty well, as I heard the announcement for the next train as I was sticking a $5 bill into the Charlie Card machine. I grabbed my pass, used it to get through the turnstile, and started hustling up the steps to the platform as the train rumbled in. Halfway up I realized that I was no longer carrying my cup of coffee. I'd put it on top of the Charlie Card machine while I was fumbling with my wallet, you see. Feh. Nothing for it. I kept on climbing.
I got to the con well before 10, so I had plenty of time to wander around once I got my badge. I figured I'd take look in at the hucksters room, but there wasn't one. Huh. Still undismayed, I headed upstairs to the room where the "Create a Story" panel was going to be held. This was where dismay finally took hold. Instead of the usual panel format, the chairs, only ten of them, were arranged in a circle within the room. It was a workshop, not a panel. I fled. Sigh.
I looked at the program for alternatives. There was a panel on space activism, but it turned out to be the same guy whose panel I'd sat in on at ReaderCon last July. I finally settled for the "Miniatures in Gaming" panel. It was an introductory panel to the "Miniatures in Gaming - Painting Tips" panel I'd already planned to attend at 11. I'm not a big miniatures guy, but I do have a few, some that katie_m once gave me, and the original set of orcs in Napoleonic uniforms** that inspired Charpe, Chopper, and the rest of the Sang Sacre Watch.
** Double huh. I just discovered that the set was part of a whole gaming system. I'd just assumed it was a one off. Except their characters are Reckhardt Sharke and Harpy instead of Charpe and Chopper. I like theirs better***. Bother.) I also have been gearing up to build some plastic models, and many of the painting techniques are the same.
*** I've never been happy with Rockhard Charpe's name. It was fine when he was just a side character in that first adventure in Sang Sacre, but in retrospect, I should've gone for something else. I think I even considered Sharke at one point. Just as well I didn't go there. Maybe Sharrp? Scharrpe? OTOH, I do like my Ragman better than their Hagsmunn, and they have no equivalent for Harrass.
Those panels turned out to be fun. The first one wasn't well attended so there was a lot of conversation back and forth, which was very good. The knowitall geeks showed up for the second one, so noise to signal went up some, but it was still pretty good info.
So then it was 12, and I couldn't find I single panel that I wanted to attend. Not just at 12, but for the rest of the day. There were lots of gaming events, but they were all for games I had no knowledge of, and really, little interest in. There were some comics panels ("Misogyny in Comics," "Women in Comics"), but I sensed that I probably wouldn't be all that comfortable, especially since they were scheduled for that room with the seats all in a circle. Then I noticed that Longyear's signing had disappeared from the schedule. Feh, again. I decided that my time could be better spent elsewhere. I headed for home.
I looked at the schedule for today, and still couldn't find anything to make it worth my while to travel back up to Cambridge for, especially in the frelling snow, so I wrote off the rest of Arisia. Sadder but wiser. Boskone is next month, and I'll probably go to that, but not before I see a program.
Speaking of sunk cost, the Dodgers released Andruw Jones last week, despite still owing him $22M. I have never seen a player fall off a cliff as badly as Andruw did last year. Most of the pitchers had better years with the bat than Andruw did. It is really bad when you tell a guy that, yeah, we still owe you a dumptruck full of money, but you have so little value as a ballplayer that we don't even want you on the bench.