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Balticon 2014 (Convention Weekend)

Balticon 48, Maryland's regional science fiction convention, is being held this Memorial Day Weekend! We've attended for the past 2 years, and had an absolute blast. Balticon is a really fun weekend with roots as a literary con. If you're put off by the really big cons (like ComiCon), don't worry; Balticon is only about 2,000 attendees. There are excellent panel discussions, a great con suite, and some really fun events.

Since many members have expressed an interest in attending, we'll use this meetup to let members coordinate rides, roomsharing, and generally hanging out during the convention. The convention runs from Friday, May 23 through Monday, May 26.

For more information, and to register for the convention, please visit the Balticon 48 website.

Registration:

Registration is $60 through the 15th of April. Please don't delay in signing up!

Lodging:

The Baltimore Hunt Valley Inn (Wyndham Affiliate) is offering rooms at the con rate of $135 (book here). We have a block of rooms booked at the Inn, but in past years when the Inn filled up, additional rooms were made available across the street at the Embassy Suites Baltimore - North/Hunt Valley (bigger rooms and breakfast included) at the same rate. When this happens this year, we will transfer our room block to the Embassy Suites. You are, of course, encouraged to arrange your lodging independently if you do not wish to stay in our room block. Also, please confirm with us that you have a slot in our room block, rather than assuming. If you'd like to find a roommate, please use the Comments section below (or message other attendees individually). The same will go for carpooling to and from the con.

Meals:

Just like past years, we're planning to congregate for meals in the con suite as schedules permit. We will most likely go off-site for a Friday night dinner at California Pizza Kitchen (see menu here). We will probably put in large carry-out orders to Noodles and Company (see menu here) for dinner on Saturday and Sunday ($10). For lunches, we may or may not be able to coordinate, since it's a busier time at the con, but if we do, we'd prefer to have the lunch be something you can grab and go if you need to hit a panel. So we're most likely to put in group catering orders to Chipotle (burrito with shareable chips, salsa and guacamole for $10) for Saturday and Subway (6" sub, cookie, and chips or apple slices for $7, or $9 for a footlong) for Sunday.

You are, of course, more than welcome to get food independently and join us where we're sitting for meals in the con suite; this is just meant for the convenience of the group. You can expect more details (as well as a request to put in your orders as needed) closer to the weekend.

Convention Highlights:

Guest of Honor: Brandon Sanderson

Artist Guest of Honor: Halo Jankowski

Bard/Music Guest of Honor: Kenneth Anders

See the full list of who's coming

 

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  • Vijay

    Hi everyone, a note on meals... Every year, we try to share communal meals together, for those interested. It's a great way to meet up for breaks during the convention before we split back up to attend various panels and events. Except for Friday night, we meet up in the con suite (which is amazing), and snag a few tables, while I run out to pick up the food and bring it back.

    1 · May 22, 2014

    • James L C.

      I actually made it, and am lounging in front of the bar entrance.

      May 24, 2014

    • Heather

      Thanks a lot for taking the time and energy to organize the meals, etc.!

      1 · May 27, 2014

  • Halston

    Sorry y'all... I had a migraine today so I didn't make it back today. It was my first con, but definitely not my last. Thanks for making it a great experience =)

    2 · May 26, 2014

  • Leila Rowland Z.

    I played games until dawn last night so I didn't get a chance to say au revoir to y'all, but I'll try to make it down to Virginia for future meetups. Thanks to Vijay for amazing organizational skills, to Wes for offering me a ride, and to Jeremy for being a super-awesome roomie (even though I don't think we were in the room at the same time for more than a couple of hours, we had some good quality time). Safely home, had a blast, gotta get some sleep before my night shift tonight.

    3 · May 26, 2014

  • Rohit R.

    Hi everyone, I'll be there tomorrow and Monday. Look forward to seeing you then!

    May 24, 2014

    • Rohit R.

      Looks like my plans to come aren't gonna happen this year. :-/ Was ill today, not sure I'll be there tomorrow. See you all at a future event.

      May 26, 2014

  • Lara

    I had a great time today. Thanks for all your help Vijay! Hopefully I can go to the entire convention next year.

    2 · May 24, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    Games? One of these days I would like to see if we get a game time going. Please respond here if iterated.

    May 22, 2014

    • Caroline C.

      I bet Wes is thinking of Capclave, where the Con Suite and Gaming are co-located.

      2 · May 22, 2014

    • Wes R.

      Ahh, good point, Caroline. Sorry about that

      May 22, 2014

  • Judy

    Just a note, you all probably know this already, but the Maryland Police are usually out in force during Memorial Day weekend, so I'd recommend keeping the reckless speeding to a minimum. If you must pursue dangerous thrill-seeking activities, you can try to cross Shawan Road to get to Hunt Valley Towne Centre. Terrifying!

    1 · May 21, 2014

    • Vijay

      Also, there are speed cameras on I-95 some of the time. Just because you don't see a cop doesn't mean you're safe from a ticket.

      1 · May 21, 2014

    • A former member
      A former member

      If you have a smart phone try waze, s also up here they have installed a bunch of new red light came on York road.

      2 · May 22, 2014

  • Caroline C.

    Pocket program as an app for your phone now available:
    http://balticon.org/mobile/index.html

    You can use it to create a custom schedule for yourself. It is supposed to still be useable even in the bowels of the Hunt Valley Inn where no man has Internet access.

    2 · May 21, 2014

  • Judy

    Saturday at 8pm: Dueling Funny Stories or Puns. Aha!

    3 · May 20, 2014

  • Lisa K.

    Why do there have to be two panels at 8AM on Sunday that I want to go to??? Le sigh...

    May 19, 2014

    • Samuel L.

      Wow! That's awfully early. Even 9am is considered early at a con. And that's a lot of programming for so early. I foresee a lot of panels outnumbering the audience.

      1 · May 19, 2014

    • Leila Rowland Z.

      I rarely get up before noon unless it's absolutely required--8am might be feasible as a bedtime story.

      1 · May 20, 2014

  • Vijay

    Just a reminder that we'll be coordinating by text message this weekend. If you didn't answer the RSVP questions asking for your cellphone number, please update your RSVP and do so asap. Thanks!

    May 19, 2014

  • Vijay

    Also, day rates and in-person rates have been announced: http://balticon.org/registration.html

    For those of us who pre-registered, please make sure to bring a valid government ID with you. You may also wish to bring your registration confirmation e-mail (either as a printout or on your smartphone). I'd also suggest you bring some cash with you, in case the CC swipers go down in the dealer's room or artist's alley.

    For those of you sharing a room in our room block, you may also wish to bring cash or a check-book to pay your share of the room, or you can ask the hotel to split the charge across credit cards during checkout, or you can arrange to paypal whichever of you wants to pay the whole cost via credit card, etc.

    And lastly, if you're planning on doing communal meals with us, you'll want to bring cash or a credit card (more details to follow).

    May 19, 2014

  • Vijay

    Hi, everyone! The almost-finalized program is now available online!
    http://balticon.org/Preliminary%20Balticon%202014%20schedule%20v1.pdf

    1 · May 19, 2014

  • Lara

    So excited for this!

    2 · May 19, 2014

  • James L C.

    Trying to decide if a horror author has a place at Balticon... I don't know.

    May 18, 2014

    • Leila Rowland Z.

      Depends on the author, but I think probably yes. However, both the author and the fans should realize that it might not be everyone's cup of lukewarm blood ;)

      1 · May 19, 2014

  • Wes R.

    I will be driving up from DC (DuPont Circle area) on Friday afternoon (5/23), probably around 4 p.m. If anyone will be in the city (leaving work or live in the city), I'm happy to carpool. I'll drop you off in the city on Sunday as well, assuming you don't find another ride back. Just post here if interested!

    May 15, 2014

    • Wes R.

      Leila, I'm happy to give you a lift on Friday, if that time works for you. I will be returning on Monday, despite my mistype in the OP.

      May 15, 2014

    • Leila Rowland Z.

      Wes, yes, that would work for me, thank you :) Always happy to conserve fossil fuels. I can meet you in Dupont Circle at 4pm on Friday.

      May 15, 2014

  • Leila Rowland Z.

    Hi! I'm an ER doc who lives in DC. I've been busy with my career and haven't been to Balticon since I was an undergrad at Hopkins a loooooong time ago. I grabbed tickets to Balticon this year but did not jump on getting a hotel room, so now I'm looking for someone who already has a room at Hunt Valley and needs a roomate. Why you should pick me: 1) I have a good job and will pay my share up front in cash 2) I can sleep anywhere, anytime 3) I curl up on the floor nicely 4) I won't be in the room much as I plan to game as close to 24/7 as I can manage, stopping only for food and showers.

    Why you might not want to pick me: 1) I have been told I snore (but not that loudly) 2) I talk about Mars One alot 'cause I'm a round 2 applicant :)

    May 7, 2014

    • Leila Rowland Z.

      Jeremy, I'm in if you're in. We can potentially carpool, too if you're interested. Email me so we can let Vijay know the plan. [masked]

      May 15, 2014

    • Jeremy D. H.

      I'm game as well.

      May 15, 2014

  • Samuel L.

    I'll be volunteering (probably green room) so may not be visible for parts of the con

    March 24, 2014

    • Judy

      Does that mean that volunteering makes you invisible? Cool!

      1 · March 24, 2014

    • Samuel L.

      Yes, volunteering for a con is always a very cool thing. Cons always need more help. And Balticon will give you a T-shirt if you volunteer enough hours.

      May 14, 2014

  • Bill S.

    I know I'm looking forward to attending this year.

    1 · May 3, 2014

  • Vijay

    Hi everyone! Balticon is just a few weeks away, so I wanted to touch base on our hotel block, for those who wish to be a part of it. Unfortunately, because they didn't negotiate it in advance and other events are competing, the overflow arrangements at the Embassy Suites are not ideal. They only have kings available, and only offer the con rate for Fri & Sat, making the average nightly rate ~$32 more than the con rate. I'm assuming nobody wants to switch hotels mid-Con, so we'll be staying at the Hunt Valley Inn this year ($135/night without breakfast, but much more accessible). I apologize for any inconvenience. There are steps I'll try next year to proactively avoid this, but we're mostly dependent on how and when Balticon staff negotiates their overflow arrangements. :-/

    If you're interested in being a part of our room block, but haven't indicated so in your RSVP answers, please update them as soon as possible. We'll start finalizing room arrangements early next week. Thanks!

    May 1, 2014

    • A former member
      A former member

      VJ if things get really bad on space and since I love 2 miles from the place (I am not staying at the hotel) I could hep out by putting up 2 people I have a spa bed and one person can use a sleeping bag on the floor, as I said if things get bad.

      May 1, 2014

    • Vijay

      Thanks, Mike, but I don't think that will be necessary. We have plenty of rooms at the Hunt valley Inn; we were just hoping for the Embassy Suites instead. I appreciate the offer, though!

      May 2, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    VJ due to some things I have found my self living very near the con site (only 2 miles away) and have recently found a great place that could be good for one of the dinners.

    March 9, 2014

    • Vijay

      Thanks, Mike. Please send me the details here, and we'll take a look: http://www.meetup.com...­

      March 10, 2014

    • A former member
      A former member

      VJ did you my email?

      April 27, 2014

  • Elizabeth B.

    So, I had been thinking of just coming out for a day, but now that I can't make Worldcon, I'm thinking of coming for the weekend. Is anyone looking for someone to share their hotel room?

    1 · April 12, 2014

  • Judy

    Woohoo Balticon!

    1 · March 9, 2014

  • Prashant

    Out of town to attend a wedding.

    February 25, 2014

  • Vijay

    Online registration is now available for Balticon! The $55 rate is good through the end of February.
    https://questor.bsfs.org/cgi-bin/regform.cgi

    February 19, 2014

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