Archive for November, 2011

or, I Worked at an Anime Convention and Didn’t Lose My Mind to Nyan-cat.

I did something very, very silly. I admit this. Unfortunately, it’s something I’m prone to doing: I volunteered to help out at a convention.

While I was at TCEP 18, I ended up talking to Imp and HotMamaB and YarnMouse, among other people, and eventually the topic of staffing conventions came up. (This topic always comes up at TCEP, being a relaxicon run for people who staff other conventions to have fun and relax at for a change.) Imp asked me if I wanted to help staff Guest Relations at Katsucon in February. I very quickly said no, because I’m foolish, but not that foolish. Unfortunately, then HotMamaB turned and fluttered her baby blues at me, and asked if wanted to be Medical’s gofer. I said no, but then Buls-i pointed out that the World Cosplay Summit’s US preliminary round would be hosted at Katsucon, so I promptly folded and offered up my soul services to Medical and signed on as their gofer. Somewhere along the way, I also found myself volunteering for AnimeUSA, since I figured, in for a penny, in for a pound. Why not go for the whole damned collection, if I was already volunteering for the biggest anime con in the area?

Either way, I ended up arriving at the hotel on Friday a bit after noon; the stupid real-life job thing interfered in my schedule, so I was late arriving on site. I was quickly run through staff reg and issued my badge and radio, then I hopped down to Medical and started my first shift.

Unlike Security, with their fixed, mostly-immutable shifts, Medical operates in a weird way, when it comes to schedules, but it generally works out: if you’re awake, and have your radio on, you’re on duty. If you’re not near your radio (or it’s turned off), your cell phone is a point of contact if they need backup. If you’re asleep, they likely won’t bother you unless it’s super-critical, but by then the hotel’s probably just exploded, anyway. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I figured I’d be at the Medical desk the whole time I was awake; I was mostly correct in my assumption, but I did end up violating the ‘6’ part of the 6/2/1 rule pretty badly.

Friday was pretty mild, with one exception: we ended up responding on a code yellow at 0330, so I was up for a while. Other than that, the only thing of note was that I was introduced to all the Medical personnel, most of whom I actually didn’t know (what a change from previous convention staffing experience!). I hit the sack at around 0500, then turned around and was back on duty (after getting out of bed, eating, and showering) at 1100.

Saturday was much the same until evening came, and then the line-up for Matenrou Opera started. Medical got drafted to do line-wrangling and water bearing; the crowd was fairly big, and they were sweating in the lobby of the ballroom. The concert itself, though, went off without a hitch; we were very glad for this. Some time during the rave following the concert, though, there was a bit of miscommunication: someone called over the radio: “There’s a wedding going on in the rave!” This was interpreted as “Code Red in the rave!”, which Security responded to…and then a call came out sounding like “Code Blue in the rave!”, at which point Medical fluttered like an angry hornet’s nest and promptly crashed the party. Apparently, it went over like clockwork; I was at the desk, ready with the pen to keep the records. Medical cleared the mistaken call from the rave very quickly, and everything went back to normal. Later that night, though, we had another Code Yellow in the hotel area at 0500 (right as we were all getting ready to head for bed) that kept us up until 0700. I hit the sack a few minutes shy of 0730 on Sunday (sadly, the sun had started coming up, so it really did count as Sunday, too), and then was back on duty again by 1130.

Sunday was pretty quiet; everything ended up going very smoothly. I checked out of the hotel room and packed everything out to the truck before I turned my radio on. Angel got her stuff together and hopped off to browse through a few more things before her mother came to get her for dinner. All in all, things went by without any trouble, and then we broke the con and headed out for dinner. Medical had ourselves a fabulous post-con celebration at the Chipotle up the street, and then I piled Frank into the truck and hauled him up to Union Station so he could catch his train home.

One thing of major note: congratulations to Kit and Em! It’s a fabulous thing that’s happening for a pair of fabulous people; I wish you both all the best going forward.

I’m already looking forward to next year’s Anime USA; we’re in a new hotel in 2012 (the same hotel ShmooCon is at!), so it’ll be all-new fun adventures in figuring out how to get from the desk to the medics when they call for the O2 bag. See y’all there!

Tonight, we played Innovation.

Players: Tony and Angel.

  • Tony won Innovation with 6, followed by Angel (0).
  • Tony won Innovation with 6, followed by Angel (5).

or, How to Deal With Pests That Are Too Big for Their Own Good.

So, Grannie’s had this venison sitting in her freezer for forever and a day, and hadn’t done anything with it. When Hurricane Irene came knocking in August, Grannie packed up a couple of days in advance and brought herself up here for a couple of weeks while she waited for power to be restored at Ayrfield. Part of what she brought was the complete contents of her fridge and freezer, including a number of packages of the most organic venison you can find.

Naturally, when she left, she left the venison here. We’d made arrangements to hand some off to friends, but there were still a couple of packages of ground venison left (nominally ‘hot venison sausage’) that had been pretty badly freezer-burnt. I hate to let a good, dead white-tail go to waste, so I plotted.

After a bit of plotting, I stumbled across Mommy’s recipe for sausage soup, and said to myself, “Self, that’s probably the best way to deal with freezer-burnt meat. So, get cooking!” Of course, I then promptly ended up losing my life to the office for a while, but today, I finally got around to using the meat.

I’d previously defrosted it, and then browned it over the weekend so it would be ready for today. I also acquired a hefty load of things-what-food-eats at the nearby Purveyor of Such Things, and thus was prepared to render the remains of this dead, over-sized pest into edible food.

First, I dumped some extra-virgin olive oil into a six-quart pot, and promptly followed it with a finely-diced large yellow onion and about a teaspoon of minced garlic (because I misplaced my fresh garlic again). I let that sit to sauté for a bit while I washed and finely diced the potatoes. After I’d diced three of the six potatoes I had out, I up-cocked the bag of browned venison into the pot with the onions, mixed it all up, and resumed dicing potatoes.

By the time I got three potatoes into the pot, along with one large (28 oz) can of diced tomatoes and two quarts of chicken stock, I realized, “Well, crap. Looks like I should have used the bigger pot,” whereupon I retrieved the twelve-quart stock pot from the cabinet and swapped it in for the six-quart. I shan’t make that mistake again…

I added another quart and a half of chicken stock, the other three potatoes, and two handfuls of baby carrots to the pot, gave everything a nice healthy stir, and left it on medium heat with the lid on. Then I went outside to observe asteroid YU55; I’m not entirely sure, but I think I saw it. Either way, after about 20 minutes outside or so, we came back in and I gave the pot another stir. By this time, the soup was bubbling merrily away, looking and smelling good enough to eat right then, but it wasn’t quite done.

I pulled out a large bundle of green chard and separated it roughly in half; the other half went back in the fridge. I chopped the leaves off the stems, and rendered them width-wise into strips about an inch and a half wide; this seemed to be a good size to work with. In my opinion, the chard is what makes this edible. Without it, the soup very much resembles pot roast that fragmented. With the chard, it has a bit extra zing, and definite green flavors which are good for you.

After the soup had been boiling for about 45 minutes, I turned the heat down and dumped in the chard. I let it cook over low flame for about five minutes, then added a healthy grinding of fresh salt and pepper, and let it cook another five minutes or so before proclaiming it done.

It turned out reasonably well; it’s not spectacular, but what do you expect for severely freezer-burnt meat?

As always, pix or it didn’t happen:

Soup in a bowl!

Soup in a pot!


For those of you who want a recipe, here’s something I cobbled together from the above:


  • 2-3 lb ground venison
  • 1 large yellow onion, finely diced
  • 1-ish tsp minced garlic
  • 6 medium potatoes, finely diced
  • 28 oz diced tomatoes
  • 3.5 qt chicken stock
  • 3-ish c red or green chard, chopped
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. Pour some olive oil in a rather large pot.
  2. Add the onion (finely diced) and the minced garlic, then sauté over a medium-high flame.
  3. Add the ground venison, and sauté the meat with the onion and garlic until the meat is slightly browned.
  4. When the meat is browned, add the potatoes (finely diced), tomatoes, carrots and chicken stock to the pot, then cover. Simmer for 30-45 minutes.
  5. Add the chopped chard the pot. Simmer uncovered for 5 minutes.
  6. Add salt and pepper to taste, then simmer for another 5 minutes.

Makes ~8 quarts of soup.

Tonight, we attended Ludus and played Eminent Domain.

Players: CT7, Byron, and Tony.

  • Byron won Eminent Domain with 49, followed by CT7 (35).
  • Tony won Eminent Domain with 12, followed by CT7 (9), and Byron (5).
  • Byron won Eminent Domain with 44, followed by Tony (34), and CT7 (23).

Afterward, we came home and played Innovation.

Players: Tony and Angel.

  • Tony won Innovation with 6, followed by Angel (3).
  • Tony won Innovation with 6, followed by Angel (0).