Michael's World

BayCon '98 Fan Guest of Honor

Note:  This detailed resume was written for publication in the BayCon '98 Program Book.  I was privileged to be Fan Guest of Honor that year.

How It All Started

Madeleine L'Engle's A Wrinkle In Time, and E.E. "Doc" Smith's Triplanetary.  Those were my introduction to Science Fiction.  Sometime back about the "Summer of Love", I got turned-on to Science Fiction by my high school Chess Club compatriot Chris Cagan.  Chris went on to become the youngest Ph.D. in Mathematics ever awarded from UCLA, and now holds a distinguished teaching Chair.  I went on to become chairman of Science Fiction conventions.  Ah, one of life's little ironies.

In 1972, I attended my first con -- EquiCon, the first West Coast Star Trek convention, hosted by Bjo and John Trimble.  They were expecting about 500 people.  Over 3,000 people showed up, coming in from all over the country.  I had a GREAT time, met a lot of wonderful people (many of whom I'm still in touch with), and got turned on to "Sci-Fi" conventions.  (Many thanks to Jim Rondeau for inspiring me to go to EquiCon.)

I attended a smattering of conventions over the next few years -- WesterCons, more EquiCons, and others -- and got invited by Evelyn Aguilar to work on her one-day convention, ImagiCon.  I think that that is when I decided that working on conventions made attending them much more fun.  (Thanks, Evelyn.)

So, I started traveling around the state (and western U.S.) to attend conventions, and work on them.  I joined the committee of SpaceCon, and worked on five of them, up and down the coast.  I met still more people, had lots more fun, made many friends in strange, far away places like Seattle, Portland, Los Angeles, San Diego, Phoenix and Santa Rosa.  And I photographed lots of Masquerade contestants.  (I think that Craige Howlett, Jim Pillsbury, Dave Clark and I were the first fans to organize the Photo Areas for masquerades so that we didn't have to keep getting in each other's way to take a picture of that green Orion Slave Girl.)

During the course of the SpaceCon era, I got connected with a lot of Bay Area fans, and joined PenSFA and The Elves, Gnomes and Littlemen's Science Fiction Chowder and Marching Society (where I eventually served two terms as President and one term as Treasurer).

Around 1981, a bunch of SpaceCon "survivors" decided to host a convention.  Under John McLaughlin's able leadership, a collection of San Jose fans bid to host WesterCon '83 in Oakland, while a group of Oakland fans bid for WesterCon in San Jose.  (I've always been amused by that little twist.) Well, the Oakland in San Jose group beat the San Jose in Oakland group (got that?).  Not to be out-done, John decided to host a convention anyway, and BayCon was born in his living room.  At that first meeting, I joined the BayCon staff as Hotel Liaison, and negotiated the contracts that brought BayCon to the Red Lion Hotel (now the DoubleTree).  Held over Thanksgiving weekend of 1982, BayCon was the first major convention in the Red Lion Hotel and we remain their oldest (and one of their largest) customers.  (Ask me about my "BayCon cats" Zaphod & Trillian sometime, and I'll tell you all about Lois and the curse of the cats.)

I ended up working on the Oakland in San Jose WesterCon after all, serving on the committee as Hotel Liaison (the position I held at the first BayCon).  I liked working with the Hotel, and doing all the things that a convention Hotel Liaison gets to do: negotiating the contracts, planning events schedules, making sure that rooms are set-up right, dealing with security considerations, discovering that the water supply to the hotel has been shut off at 6:00am because the city didn't realize that people would be in the building, and so much more.

In 1985, I co-chaired BayCon, along with Dave Clark and Nancy Cedeno.  BayCon switched weekends that year, from Thanksgiving to Memorial Day, in deference to our Southern California "cousin", LosCon.  Dave, Nancy and I put on a good convention, and I learned a lot about being a Chairman.  (Perhaps not enough, as I still like being a Chairman.)  In 1987, I got to "fly solo" and chaired BayCon by myself.

After 1987, I took a break from working on BayCon (although I still served on the Board of Directors), and worked on more WesterCons and WorldCons.  I took advantage of numerous learning experiences, and worked a lot of different positions (sort of rounding-out my resume.)  I was a member of the "Rovers" in Atlanta when we invented "Elevator Party Hosts".  (Take me to the Quiet Bar, buy me a large drink, and I may tell you all about that one.)

Also during the 80's, I worked on staff or committee, or acted as a "trouble shooting" advisor, to TimeCon, SiliCon, CostumeCon, World Fantasy Convention, and many other conventions.  What can I say -- I like working on conventions, and I like helping them succeed.

In 1993, I returned to chair BayCon, and have also chaired BayCon in 1995 and 1997.  Fortunately, I think that there are enough qualified people coming up through the ranks of BayCon that I don't think I'll get to chair again soon.   (By the way, BayCon is always looking for more volunteers -- is it your turn?)

For BayCon '93, I decided that BayCon should try something different, so the "Works In Progress" room was born.  It's a place were artists and craftsman have a chance to demonstrate their art, and show others how it's done.  We've had costumers, sculptors, painters, make up artists, jewelers, special effect prop makers, writers and many others lead demonstrations.  I'm particularly proud that Works In Progress rooms have spread to lots of other conventions.

Somewhere along the way, I became an auctioneer (remember to say "Oooh" and "Aaah" at the right place) and a Masquerade emcee (I'm not too good at that yet, but I'm learning.)  Visit the Benefit Auction or the Art Auction at BayCon, and you'll see me having fun.

One of my great joys is teaching others how to run successful conventions.  I founded BayCon College, which was designed to teach potential Chairmen how to be a Chairman (sort of a Chairman's Boot Camp), and I have guided its evolution into a weekend-long training available to all of BayCon's Staff.  I've also been Chairman (twice!) of ConStruction, the Bay Area convention organizer's convention, and I am chairing ConStruction again this year.

Well, I've gotten rather long winded, so I'll let the rest of my resume speak for itself.  (While trying to put together this "Fannish Resume", I realized that I'd totally lost track of all the conventions that I've attended or worked on.  I guess that time flies when you're having fun.)

Before I finish this, I want to extend to you my hope and wish that you have as much fun, and make as many friends, as I have through attending and working on conventions.  Please remember that Fandom is your community, too -- enjoy it and take care of it.

So, if you see me around the convention, it's okay to introduce yourself.  I promise that I won't force you to sign a Volunteer Form.  Or become the next BayCon chairman.

Real Life Intrudes

In "real" life, I'm a computer guy.  I've worked around Silicon Valley, at companies large and small.  I've been an applications programmer, a systems programmer, a researcher (talk to me about the early days of relational databases), an MIS manager and a Vice-President of Research & Development.  I'm reasonably proficient in many programming languages, familiar with more than I care to remember, and I am trying to master a few more (Perl and Java are what I'm currently working on.)  I have Windows, Macintosh and Linux systems at home (networked, of course!)  I currently work for Stanford University as the Technical Application Support Manager for Financial Aid systems (and, no, I can't arrange a student loan for you.)  Outside of conventions, I volunteer (irregularly) for Habitat for Humanity construction projects.

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Last updated 7/25/99