...nothing here is promised, not one day... Lin-Manuel Miranda

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Those of you not familiar with the, er, shall we say arcane ways of science fiction fandom (arcane - good word) won't be familiar with the fannish term "smof". It stands for "secret master of fandom". If you say you are one, you're not. And if someone says you're one, you usually deny it.

It began wiht Bob Tucker aka Wilson Tucker aka the guy who brought us the term "Tuckerizing" but that's a different discussion (for hte record,I've been tuckerized several times) as a sort of snarky "those people who think they run things but don't/knowitall" term that was sort of meant, I think as a joke term. It sometimes meant someone sunk to his or her eyebrows in fannish politics and/or feuds, or knowing where the real power was or whatEVER. It's evolved, shall we say, over the years to mean fans involved in convention-running, planning; as opposed to those involved say in the world of fanzines. Which overlap. A lot. Especially a) when it's a fanzine fan's convention or b) in our house. and like many once derogatory terms, it's been spun around. Nowadays we hold SMOFcon; it's for some a weekend exercise in hair-pulling, eye-glazing boredom and for some, an opportunity to get ideas, plan, brainstorm with like minded people. This happens a) all over the place depending on where SMOFcon is held and b) at my house. While I have been to several fanzine fan conventions - CORFLU and Ditto both (well, the latter primarily cuz i was consort to the guest of honor), Stu would find most SMOFcons to be one of the circles of fannish hell. As would many - there are lots of people who will go to convention, even work on them, but don't see the point of getting together for a weekend to discuss details of convention organizing.

I'm going to SMOFcon. Okay, I admit that a part of the attraction to me of going is that it's in Portland which makes it reachable and cheap to get to (Amtrak from Seattle - did you know they offer discounts if you're disabled? Yep. Good ol Amtrak.) A bit more is that I haven't been around the s.f. community for a while, having missed NASFic this year (the same weekend as Bouchercon, dammit) and having not been ot Westercon or Worldcon in ages, even skipping Orycon, Norwescon (oh dear, it used to be so good) Potlatch, you name it. But the list of attendees was such a draw; not only are these some of my good friends, but they are some of the best con-runners I know AND some of the best people I know. Not all, but many. And the idea of sitting around picking their brains, while hanging out in the bar, or out to dinner, or just hanging out is one of my many ideas of fun. Hey you, in the back. Stop sneering. This is my mishpocha.

Here's the part where I start sniveling. I do that a lot, watch out. A month ago, I sent an email to the "Seattle Westercon Organizing Committee" requesting one of their stipends to attend SMOFcon. They were offering, I think incredibly graciously, 2 "scholarships" to cover membership (which is now like $75) and a stipend of $200 to help with travel, room and board. And I got the email yesterday that said I had been chosen to receive one of the stipends. Now mind you, I wrote to say "I'm working on a mystery convention, not an sf convention" but I knew there were things I could use, and learn from this gang. And I sure in hell hope to be at Worldcon in LA and to work on an s.f convention again. They didn't limit it - they just wanted to know what convention you were working on. And apparently they thought I was a good investment. And MAN I am SO touched and grateful. And bleary-eyed. Damn I really thought I'd STOPPED that yesterday. Scuze me. HONK. That money covers my hotel room AND trainfare. I just need to cover stuff like food.

Did I mention that apparently the "Winter Brewing Festival" is in downtown Portland the same weekend as SMOFcon? Something like 28 breweries. Oh my god.

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