Monday, June 13, 2005

An Habitual Creature

I am in some ways a creature of habit.

Every July I go to Baltimore (well, Hunt Valley, MD - about 20 miles north) to the one Star Trek convention I still regularly attend: SHORE LEAVE. I've been going to this convention since Shore Leave 2 in 1980, and apart from 1981 I don't believe I've missed one.

This year the plans are getting complicated, and I'm not completely certain at this writing if I'll be attending next month. On top of some fiscal concerns and some question about roommates, I've also had the stakes raised by a couple of friends inviting me to go instead to COMIC CON the weekend after in San Diego... which, ironically due to certain incentives in the invitation, may be cheaper than going to Baltimore compared to if I were to keep my (now solo) room in Maryland. The money still may not play out for San Diego because of the timing of everything, but it's a possibility.

Comic Con is probably the biggest media-focused science fiction convention help each year, featuring tons of special guests and programming, and movie sneak previews presented by the major studios themselves. And I've never been to San Diego, which is supposed to be a great city.

I haven't attended much of the actual programming at Shore Leave in a great many years. I go because it's become a very special, nostalgic place for me personally and a place where I see a great many friends and acquaintances. And, the Shore Leave hotel's Paddock Bar is one of my favorite casual hang-out bars (albeit only during conventions there)... indeed, the photo of me at the top of this blog was taken in the Paddock some years ago!

I've often felt that I need to return to Shore Leave each year, much as a salmon must return home... or a Vulcan perhaps! This year though there won't be as many of my "hanging out" friends there as other years, though there will still be some. Still, I may find myself spending more "alone time" in the Paddock than even I would enjoy, and less "with friends" time in the Paddock. (Outside of the Paddock? Well, I do get to the pool once in a while....)

In San Diego there will be tons of programming I actually would want to see, and I'd be there with two of my closest friends and hopefully get a chance to see another while on the west coast. And it could potentially be cheaper, though that's not to say it'd be cheap. Apart from the long air trip this would be a very fun experience if the money works out.

But a part of me screams out at the thought of missing Shore Leave, one of My Places since right after I graduated high school! To not be there would be Wrong, but San Diego has more to offer in many ways.

I actually suspect the money issues will make the decision for me as the timing (of paychecks, airfare necessities etc) seems unlikely to work out to my advantage. Either way though this is a tough decision....

I am in some ways a creature of habit.

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