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Buffy Philosophy Board Dinner

Some background, I’m completely and utterly addicted to Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I am likewise addicted to talking about Buffy on the Buffy Philosophy Board. Good stuff.

We had various people converging from out of town in the Bay area, so we met twice. Once on Thursday Evening. Once on Saturday evening.

Deeva, D’Herblay, Masquerade d'Herblay, Dead Soul and myself met at the Stinking Rose, a garlic oriented restaurant in the San Francisco, to which no vampire dare go.

It’s nice to put faces to names, even if they are self created. Especially if they are self created. 

We chatted about Spike (to whom all threads lead), Restless (about which all other threads lead), Joseph Campbell (to which all other other threads lead) and absent but thought of board members (about which threads sometimes revolve.) Actually, we made some effort to hit all the points that the board so often hits. I mean really, why not.

Most of the people (everyone but me) is involved in writing a summer boredom board fanfic, the Fanged Four. That way the chatting also wended.

It was a good evening. Certainly something worth doing again and again and again.


On August 16th, Crystal and I got up bright and early to drive down to Orange County for my cousin's wedding (congrats Meghan and Vinnie!). It was a quick, uneventful drive down Hwy 5. We made it to Valencia by 1pm. Unfortunately, my little brother was arriving at LAX at 3:45pm. So we hung out on Ventura Boulevard - shopping in funky vintage clothing stores and looking for a pair of shoes that matched my dress. I found squat, but Crystal bought shoes, a hat, and more. We only had 10 miles to go so we left a half hour before we needed to pick up Seth. Big mistake. Rush hour had started. It took us an hour. We despaired of getting anywhere on the 405 so we took the Pacific Coast Highway down to Camp Pendleton where the bride's family was staying in "cabins" on the beach. That took us 3 more hours and the cabins were run down trailer homes, but they were on the beach. It was all worth it because when we got there they had food, beer and wine, a beach bonfire, and singing. My family used to do this all the time, but it's been at least 10 years since the extended family was together like this. I had even more fun than I did as a kid because even though we had forgotten a lot of the words and were no where near on key, we were tipsy and together. It was marvelous. 

The wedding itself was at 2pm the next afternoon. The bride was beautiful, the groom was handsome, and they looked very happy. The priest (catholic service) was hilarious and moving by turns. He asked the people in the church who had come farthest for the wedding in the best standup comedian tradition, then turned his back to us and lifted his arms so that the long sleeves of his robe hid the bride and groom from view. Ha! After the service we took some pictures then headed over to the reception at Cannons Restaurant and Terrace in Dana Point. We were on the terrace with an amazing view down a straight cliff to the harbor and the Pacific Ocean below. We ate a delicious buffet, drank wine, and danced. I got to dance with my dad and both my brothers. I was totally shocked that they let family sentiment overcome their fear of being not-cool in public. They were very sweet. The best moments were the sentimental ones - when Grandad cut into the bride's dance with her father so he could dance with his granddaughter I think we all cried. It was a great way to start a life together.

The next day, we helped clean up the cabins then headed back home. We left early enough that we had time to do some wine tasting near San Luis Obispo. Yummy.

World Con

World Con was a whirlwind of panels, costumes, parties and exhaustion.

Let’s see :
* Costume – not so much. Work clothes, ‘cause you know, I came from work.

He’s Dead Jim, but what Killed Him?
Teresa Edgerton, Lois McMaster Bujold, Irene Radford, Cordelia Willis

The discussion focused mainly on ways to interestingly kill characters and the impact of those deaths. It boiled down to two types of deaths, thematically. 

Red shirts/spear carriers, whose function in the work is to demonstrate the seriousness of the threat. 

The second kind of death is the death of a beloved character, which serves to push anther character in a new direction or forces that character to grow/feel miserable. In a couple of instances, the panel authors mentioned creating characters far in advance with the intention of killing them when the plot reached such and such a point. 

Since Lois McMaster Bujold was on the panel
 (******spoilers for anyone who has not read The Warrior’s Apprentice) 
the discussion touched on the death of Sergeant Bothari, a scene that causes me to cry every time it. Bothari’s death (in the abstract) was the central plot pivot of the book. Bothari is not a red shirt and his death ripples throughout the series. 
(end spoilers ****)

Oh, and there was a third kind of death. Where authors kill their main character to shut them up so other characters get to say/do something. 

Reading by Lois McMaster Bujold 
New book, which is a sequel to Curse of Chalion, which she hasn’t finished yet, which is annoying and yet, cool focus. I’m not sure how many fantasy adventure novels focus on a middle aged woman figuring her post wife, mother, daughter phase of life. 

* Costume-Elementals. We have Fire, Earth, Water and Fire, but Air has been a little hard to see.

* Costume - Dendarri (from the Vorkosigan series by Lois McMaster Bujold). Gina wore a cool skirt and bodice. No picture.

Costuming Your Character
Sarah E. Goodman, Janet Wilson Anderson, Lois McMaster Bujold, Jess Miller

We talked about the psychology of clothes and how colors affect perception. The difference between military mad Barrayarans and Betans in sarongs and body paint. The differences between what an author imagines and what costumers create. Good stuff. Lots of note taking all around.

Creating Memorable Characters
Lois McMaster Bujold, James Patrick Kelly, Jennifer Roberson, Sharon Lee, Wen Spenser

It boiled down to some of the most interesting characters are the ones who are the most passionate about things. 

Although in a digression on characters being appropriate to the plot, I was quite taken by the vision of switching Hamlet and Othello, which would lead to two very short plays. Othello kills his uncle after speaking with the ghost. Hamlet dithers so much Iago kills himself in frustration and Desdemona’s innocence is proved through more dithering.

* Costume - Alice from American McGee’s Alice and the Red Queen

The Buffy Season Pattern
Jim Mann, Ben Yalow, Michelle Sagara West, Nicki Lynch
This was a very annoying panel. I didn’t get the impression that anyone had prepared for the discussion. I wanted to raise my hand and say, “Hey, lets all log onto the Philosophy Board essay section.”

Thus we left to go shopping.

Buffy Philosophy Board Other Dinner
This was much more pleasurable. Some background.

Anyway, we (Masq, D'herb, fresne [me], Vickie, Vickie's hubby, Dochawk my housemate Karen, and our friend Kevin from out of town) met in the hotel lobby, where we started by complaining about the previous panel. You may notice that we have secret identities. Names are like costumes. Of course all the costumes that I like are relevent to me.

You know I wish I could recapture the flavor of the event, but basically we chatted On Topic for the board and Off Topic cause you know, in person.

There was a brief discussion, about how people post, which got me to thinking about the nature of on-line communities and this one in particular. 

Liquidram caught up with us at the restaurant and brought her kids. Her daughter, with whom I had a chance to talk cartoons, (she quite right mindedly likes Sally from The Nightmare Before Christmas) was utterly adorable. Unfortunately, the table was long and it was a little difficult to hear/talk to people at the other end.

After dinner, Buffyboy, Dochawk, my housemate and myself went to the Masquerade (in no way affiliated with Masq)

There were some great costumes. I particularly liked Alien Elvis (which was very funny) and the Alien Conference (which was amazing and pulled off non-humanoid aliens. Just some beautiful craftmenship.) 

After the Masquerade, parties.
* Costume – Catwoman, Karen was a flapper and Gina was Countess de Muerte. No pictures.


* Godesses, Persephone of the Spring,Queen Hera, and Eris the Discordian

Myth as Source for Fiction
Katie Waitman, Carol Berg, Irene Radford, Laura Frankos, Judith Berman

We came very late, our costumes took awhile to assemble, but the last 15 min was very interesting. Okay, it was interesting, but Gina wanted to be seen. So, we goddessed off.

Torturing your Characters
Carol Berg, Lois McMaster Bujold, Susan R. Matthews, Liz Williams

Reasons for and how to put your characters through the emotional and physical wringer. Because it’s good for them.

Writing Romantic Sci-Fi
Sharon Lee, Pauline J. Alama Ph.D, Denise Little, Catherine Asaro

Very interesting panel. I particularly, like the comment about the evolution from boy meets girl, boy looses girl, boy saves the universe, boy gets girl back to girl meets boy, girl looses boy, girl saves the universe and looks good doing it, girl gets boy.

Steve Miller (who was in the audience and BTW, he and his wife Sharon Lee were as cute as buttons in their matching Liadan-esq costumes) made a very interesting comment about how, there is a tendency in current Western readers to read love relationships as sexual ones. Citing as an example the sheer number of letters he and Sharon Lee get asking if two of their male characters are gay. To which the response is, no, they are like brothers, they love each other, but it’s not that kind of love. 

Feminist Utopias: Deceptive Visions or Promising Realities?
Lois McMaster Bujold, Mari Kotani, Chris Moriarty, Dr. Janice Marie Bogstad

This panel tied very nicely into the previous one, and Steve Miller’s comment, given that one of the methods that writers try to get at the Feminist Utopia is the use of Aliens as a way of trying to get around/play with gender.

There was also some discussion of books which use role reversal (did you know that the Berkeley Physics Dept does not have a women’s restroom), which as I think about it Buffy plays with a good deal, and separation.

* Costume - Flapper (new and meshes interestingly to dancing to Goth/Industrial music), Gina was Pipi and Karen was just plain gothic. Leather skirt of evil, you know the drill.

* Costume - Come on that’s enough already.

Breaking Ground in Buffy
P.C. Hodgell, Chris Garcia, Nicki Lynch, Eric M. Van

Much better than the other Buffy panel that we attended.  Although mainly it boiled down to episodes that we liked and why.

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