Iraq and Roll!
First they beat Portugal. Now they’ve shut out Costa Rica, 2-0! Go, Iraq!
First they beat Portugal. Now they’ve shut out Costa Rica, 2-0! Go, Iraq!
I’ll be flying into Logan in the early afternoon. Very early. Unfortunately, I can’t check into my hotel room till 4 PM. So I need to find out if I can dump my stuff in the filk lounge or at the hotel. I’d love to kill time downtown, of course, but I’ll probably already have eaten and you can’t do the Freedom Trail encumbered with luggage! (Not after 9/11, anyway.) So I’ll try to dump my stuff and then head for that Gardner museum, or the MFA, or something. All this is of course subject to change; if I run into fans I know, I’ll probably head off with them.
Thursday morning I want to hit the Freedom Trail. If I go early, I won’t run into too many crowds. I can hit the North End for goodies, and get to see the Constitution as well. Then I’ll head back toward the hotel. If it’s early enough, I’ll visit one of the Russian bookstores for my Tanya Grotter fix. Maybe some more museum-ing. That’s about all the sightseeing I’ll probably do. (If there’d been any North End festas that weekend…but there aren’t.) Worldcon tends to be all-consuming. If I get to run up to Chinatown for dim sum and Chinese bakery goods, I’ll think I’m doing well.
So what will I be doing at Worldcon?
Filking, of course! In addition, I’ve agreed to be part of the chorus for The Filkado, so I’ll be attending rehearsals on Thursday and Friday nights and performing on Saturday afternoon.
Gawking: I really want to see the retro art show. The one at Chicon in 2000 was one of the highlights of the con and stood up well against the nearby Art Institute’s collections; this one is trying to be just as great, though with more emphasis on the post-pulp era. Another must-see is the Doc Smith exhibit. Anybody who thinks he wasn’t a heckuva writer has never tried to write that way. Fifty Years of Hugo Awards, Worldcon history, and fannish history exhibits also sound fascinating. This is the kind of stuff Seattle’s science fiction museum is apparently not going to do, so somebody has to. Also, I fully intend to gawk like a fangirl at all the cool hall costumes and writers I’ve adored since youth. (I’ll try to put on a cool exterior while I do so, but I’ll still gawk.)
Shopping: the huckster room, the art show, all that good stuff. I don’t have much money to spend or room to pack, and I’m slightly booked and CD’d out at the moment. But that’ll make it more fun to windowshop without guilt. (And if I find something I can’t live without, there’s always UPS.)
Talking: the real reason for Worldcon’s existence. I will attend panels and listen to other people talk, then mouth off myself in the ancient custom of fandom. I will also chatchatchatchat with pretty much everybody I meet, also in the ancient custom of fandom. I will also meet up for the first time with people I’ve known for years and years.
Swim: If I remember to bring my suit.
Eat: Either at really nice restaurants with food from heaven and plenty of company, or hurriedly at the cheapest greasy spoon I can find. The first option will probably occur fairly frequently. If it does, it will probably start with me and two other people trying to head out for dinner and end with twenty or more folks who agglomerated with us along the way. This fannish dining procedure can either occur speedily or take more than an hour. It is also quite possible that I will eat many meals for free in the filk lounge or con suite when someone brings in a pizza or some delectable dish, but I’m not counting on that. I do plan to get some seafood while I’m there…mmm, fresh! Dim sum from Chinatown for sure, as I must eat chicken feet and unidentifiable rolls of goodness. Spanish food if I can. Also, I’d like to get some Malaysian food (Tiger Lily nearby, Penang in Chinatown, Pinang in Quincy Market), since I still miss it from college.
Sleep: Probably from three in the morning until ten or so, if the curtains are thick. If not, I’ll wake up ravenous for breakfast at seven or earlier, and have to come back to my room for a nap afterward. My total number of sleep hours will probably be adjusted to include shower time, since everyone knows a shower equals two hours of sleep.
Church: there’s a Catholic chapel in the Prudential Center, right on my way to the Convention Center. It has about a zillion Masses a day as well as on the weekend, so getting my Sunday obligation done will not exactly entail hardship. After church, the Movenpick or dim sum!
So I fully expect to enjoy myself this Worldcon. If I don’t, it’ll probably be my fault.
Today’s the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary for Roman Catholics, and the Feast of the Dormition of the Holy Theotokos for the various flavors of Eastern Orthodox. Pretty much the same thing, though. Mary, the new Eve, joins her Son, the new Adam, in Heaven. Like Him, she must “fall asleep”, but also like Him, she lives and is taken body and soul into Heaven, leaving behind an empty tomb. All this is remembered according to the ancient traditions of the Church. But it’s not so surprising, really, considering that folks like Elijah and Enoch also got taken up into Heaven. (Btw, some believe that, like them, Mary didn’t even have to die. Official Catholic teaching doesn’t say either way — just that she was taken up into Heaven.)
In this, Mary represents not just herself, but the Church and all humanity. God uses Mary to show us what the end of life might have been for all of us, if Adam had not sinned — merely a step from one world into the next. But He also shows us that death is still not anything a Christian need really fear, for Jesus wouldn’t have sent his old mother into anything too dire.
The readings for the Vigil Mass on Saturday night are pretty interesting, by the way. The first reading is all about the Ark of the Covenant and the people, and the psalm is about the Ark and God: “Lord, go up to the place of your rest, you and the ark of your holiness.” This may seem weird, but why was the Ark holy? Because it contained the Commandments — the Word of God. And what did Mary contain for nine months but the Word? The first Ark also contained manna from the desert; Jesus is obviously our food provided by God. Finally, the first Ark contained Aaron’s budded staff — and if you can’t make the proper Flower of Jesse and virga/virgo poetic comparisons here…. (I’m sure you could also say much more meaningful things about how this compares to Jesus’ authority to speak.) After showing us Mary as daughter of Israel, we see her again in the Gospel as Christ’s first follower and Mother of the Church. Very cool.
But let’s face it: it’s the Sunday readings that we all like the best. We get the “woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars.” We get the psalm where “The queen stands at your right hand, arrayed in gold.” We get the “firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep” and the Magnificat.
This weekend, the Pope visited Lourdes. In Boston’s North End, they have a great Fisherman’s Feast celebrating the Madonna del Soccorso (Our Lady, Help of Christians). It’s a happy thing, this Ladymass. We celebrate not only Mary and God’s favor to her, but the eternal life we may look forward to ourselves.