TommyWorld Fifteen - The 'MikeCon' issue


The Fifteenth issue of a weekly, or thereabouts (job, life, love, etc., permitting), letter substitute from:
COA: 798 Manning Ave, Toronto, On. M6G 2W6 Phone:(416) 539 8992
Web Site:
Distribution in the UK by Eugene Doherty, 110 North Parade, Belfast, BT7 EMail: Available only via the net at the moment. Dated, already, 26/5/97.

"It's Now 'mano' y lesbian..."

There was this card game, you see. Then, when it got down to the final two, there was Mike and... Well, you know. You see that's the problem in wiring a convention, or even as in this case a birthday party report. You know all the gags and smart aleck remarks that occur at 2.30 in the morning and depend totally, and I mean totally, on context. When you write them up they are just vaguely amusing. MikeCon was like that.

Mike Glicksohn and his old friend Mike Harper host a weekend party every year on the occasion of their birthday, which is a week apart. This year was the eighteenth annual event and there are already a few traditions inherent: presence nor presents, the Friday party at Mike's, the Saturday formal night at Mike's and the Sunday barbecue, incorporating the infamous pig roast, at Mike's. So a bunch of pork chops, some bacon and stuff.? No. A pig. Roasted. On a spit. I'd heard about all these traditions at the previous Foxes Den (See below) and thought Now that sounds like a party.

So I invited Vikki Coven, the lifeguard from Confusion (see TommyWorld One) up for the weekend - knowing that a least there would be a bunch of other people at the party if things got iffy between us and if the party turned out to be a dog, well. As it happened that was the reason we hit it off - and we had a good weekend together.

Friday night at Mike's was a lot of fun. I've now found out what it is about North American fans - they don't drink beer like British fans, they play cards or smoke instead. That is it - the summation of the differences between our fandoms, plain and simple. They play games like Wizard - a variation on a trump game with a special pack, 'normal' games like Anaconda, Diabalo and Toilet all of which were quickly explained to me before I started playing them. Once you get the basic hang of the "mix - it - up rules" ("Take two of your cards and pass them to the right and one of your cards to the left. Then reject two more of your cards which should leave you with five. After that it is the best hand that wins. Or the worst hand that wins. Or you can bet that your is the best AND the worst.") I'm really glad that sounds as complicated written down as it was at 1.00 in the morning with about three litres of Mike's home made beer down my gullet.

The cards thing actually worked quite well in the melange of people at the party. First of all everyone was given a plastic mug for their beer, wine or pop upon which, with the aid of Mr. Masking Tape and Mrs. Marker, they inscribed their names. These cups were then re-used throughout the weekend meaning less dishes to wash and everyone had their own receptacle. Of course they also worked as name tags to the rich and famous. Given this though there was still a lot unknown people at the event, Vikki and I included, so after learning names briefly I constantly met people throughout the weekend who I had talked long and hard about the WorldCon in Toronto in 2003 (It will happen!) and then, on the Sunday, I had no idea who they were.

The card games helped a lot here, as I was saying. For example Raymond was a horror fan, who published Borderland a while back and is now a dealer hoping to own his store soon. He also had to match the pot in Diabalo to the tune of $3.05 - I counted. Subsequently, after daring to open the bid, I miscalculated dramatically, to the tune of $5.30 - he counted. Tim Pruitt was a fan from Buffalo, atypical but sans glasses, who I never talked to as much as I wanted but whom I did bluff out of $7.45 - Mike counted. And then there was Reets - her nicknames to whom, over the Sunday, I passed far too many cards. I've no idea who she was, what she did for a living or even if she was a fan but she got $3.10 off me - Tim counted. The sharing of communal experience, like Tim's 'groan' joke, which didn't even get a groan, helps to bond people who otherwise wouldn't know each other from a hole in the hedge.

As for hosts over the weekend - I didn't see that much of them. They flitted from one conversation to another, one card game to another and one huge plate of food to another. The beer provided was wonderful, the food amazing and here special mention must be made of Mike's chicken and Mike's salmon - I don't normally eat salmon, as it was Mike's was beautiful and I eat enough chicken already to know how good Mike's was. Our Hostesses with the mostest, Susan and Selma, were gracious with all these weirdoes, dozens of children and then there were the non-fans as well. To all four of you, I thank you from the heart of my bottom.

The Sunday pig roast was astonishing. Vikki and I took took some advice from Alison Freebairn the night before and on Sunday I took some advice from Lesley Reece so we arrived at the pig roast just as it was being carved up. This reflected my amazing timing that Lilian Edwards must be credited for and with them advice on driving that has made Evelyn Murray what she is today, meant that both Vikki and I were able to grab the just-off-the-carcass meat and stick it a burger: 'meat ina bun' indeed. Except Vikki of course, she's a veggie.

Sunday was a wonderful day. I played some more card games and then we settled down to the deck chairs, the booze and some great conversation. First with the he Hancock's (Co-Chair of the Toronto in '03 WorldCon bid with Mike Glicksohn) and Jo Wilson and gang and then, later, with the Penney's and Hope Leibowitrz. Of course belting into Mike's fast disappearing Smithwicks (for my Irish readers - a lot better than the real thing...and for my American friends the 'W' in Smithwicks is silent) and Cream Ale and then spending more time eating more stuff helped as well.

Vikki and I finally left at 8.30pm and went off for dinner at "Dark City" on the Danforth and thence to Allen's for "just one drink." So at 4.30 am I said no more and we finally got out of there with a couple of toys, a very drunk Julie and Mike in very good form. You're going have to guess which Mike that was...

What a great weekend - just what I needed after all those hard shifts at work recently. So why is TommyWorld late? I started back to work on Monday, three hours after all of the above...

Toronto in '03 On-Line at:

TommyWorld excerpts also made an appearance at MikeCon in the form of "One Shot One", part one of a series of three zines being produced for the Toronto Social season. Copies of all three zines should be available at the end of June for those interested. The next issue will be out in time for Ad Astra on the 15 June at which I'm hdoing a party and speaking on a panel; and the final issue will be out for my Weekend birthday bash at Chez Tommy on 21 June. Details of the latter were in TW 14 and you are all extremely welcome to come along and join the fun. If you think it will be all those fans whom you see every week ANYWAY there will also be some strangers as well... Is that enticing enough, or do you need more details?

Back to work this week for another couple of intensive weekends. At least the sun is out and the summer movie schedule is living down to all expectations, unlike you of course...

From: Geri Sullivan "Not a loc (which you thoroughly deserve, but I've got a deadline to meet), just a brief update: Tommy, the "TommyWorld 14 - Text version - Any problems folks?" file worked reasonably well with my e-mail program. Also, I'm much worse about my own mailing list than I'd like. I went to update your address there and discovered you weren't *on* the list in February. Did I mail you a copy of Idea #10 separately (as I fervently hope) or have I utterly failed to send one your way? (If so, *arrrgh!*) ((- The copy arrived today, with the map and instructions for Vikki Coven to get here last Friday, returned in the mail. Arrgh! -))

From: Nigel Rowe "Er, the binary bandits stole the attached file. Can you resend? Thanks. Are you still going to Westercon in Seattle? ((- Maybe. Hopefully. Doubtfully. -))

From: Lesley Reece "Okay, I got my Spanish homework finished at last -- stupid subjunctive, I'm glad it's dying in our language! Anyway I'm sorry to hear about all that. That woman *is* batfuck, in a clinical sense I mean, not just bizarre, so one has to feel a bit sorry for her. Yet the whole story makes me think of what Charles Bukowski said in one of his poems, "some people have to have war all the time." What he meant was that if there's no sturm und drang about, some people, even if they're otherwise sane, will just make some up out of unhappiness or sheer boredom. ((- Yeah, that hits the mark not only with her but with a bunch of people I know... -))

I do feel bad for Mike; I've lived in this place four years and if my landlord suddenly blew a gasket like that I don't know what I'd do. He's a decent guy, my landlord -- in fact, his mother, my downstairs neighbour, shares some characteristics with Stephanie! She accused me of stomping around on purpose to wake her up at night. I told the landlord I was hardly a herd of elephants and if I had to get out of bed at night I was bloody well going to -- luckily he agreed. Then she told him I was vomiting loudly every night on purpose to wake her up. When he told me that I laughed so hard I cried, and he was like "I know, I know, I'm sorry..." Never heard about it again.

Oh and BTW: As we used to say back home: 'Don't take to heart, take it to bed with your teddy bear.' Well, I used to say it anyway. I do have a teddy bear -- I know, I know, at my age it's totally embarrassing...well, those of us with two x chromosomes can get away with things like that. (if you insist on printing any of this then please don't print that bit, lest the other Apparatchiki accuse me of "fuzzy fandom!") ((- You can't write that to me and then ask me not to print it (Without a DNQ) and then expect not to print it... -))

Did you know there's one word in Esperanto which means "a very small woman who is rarely seen around these parts"? ((- Okay, this is one word that I need in my vocabulary. Mark..? -))

From: John Fairleigh Dear Tom, good to have your message - is the moving on moving back or moving further on? Hope that you are about to turn up in Belfast on the way to wherever you are set. ((- Sometimes, John, it just feels like moving. Moving from home, moving from my new family in St. Catherine's, moving to anew job, moving to two new apartments, moving to a new bunch of friends, the last 8 months have been 'Moving' in lots of physical and emotional ways... -))

From: Randy Byers Yo, Tommy. Just a quick complaint: I never got #13! ((- I mean, reelly, some people..! -))

From: Vicki Lee France ) Hi Tommy, Considering I don't understand attached files at all, and never have any luck 'downloading' them, TommyWorld 14 arrived safely at this end - complete and readable! Hugely enjoyed - and the very best of luck with your new flat. Steve, in Texas, is muleless at the moment whilst his system is undergoing repair. ((- See below -)) Apparently, 'on-site' maintenance in Texas means he's had to send the whole kit-an-kiboodle 350 miles north to San Antonio.

From: Steve Jeffrey The box is back, and the modem (cross wood and touch fingers) seems to work after they've replaced the modem, motherboard, floppy and hard drive (why?) and probably everything else not actually welded to the case. Just signed in and I have STACKS of mail after 10 days out. Just make-believe I've been on holiday for a bit (I don't - what's a holiday?- for that matter, what's a weekend?) Hi to everybode, and will get round to replying to everything as soon as I can. ((- Is this a relationship be EMail thing just a little too weird when it becomes via a third person via EMail - or is that 'stuck-in-the-woods-I-just-don't-get-polyamory' me? -))

From: Bernie Evans Hiyah Tommy, Sorry I haven't emocced the last few TWs, I got myself in a bind at work and brought some junk home to tidy up. Said junk was in 2 unfamiliar computer programmes. Just like playing games really, but so fuckin' time consuming! Anyway, just as I decide it's time I did more than surf a Lotus spreadsheet in the evenings, up pops TW14. And what a weird tale it contains. I've had some bad landlords in my time, but never an out and out nutter! Glad it all ended up OK for you and Mike, enjoy your party. ((- Kind words, as ever, Bernie. For more on the he tale let us consult Ulrika who turns up everywhere in fandom today and who I know loves Chasing Amy as much as I do - though she doesn't know that I know this... -))

From: Ulrika A. O'Brien Tommy- Thanks for e-mailing me TommyWorld 14. I can read it as a file attachment just fine, but have proven too lame or impatient to successfully download the software necessary to read the back issues on your web page -- now I no longer have to feel like Alice at the keyhole to the garden door. ((- you don't need any software. When you click on the icons for the TW you should get an option of "save to..." and try saving the files as RTF files, or even text/doc files and it should work. "Yeah, right Tommy..." -))

What luck that your "eviction" turned out so well for all (sane) parties concerned. Dealing with lunatics doesn't always come out so happily, as I can attest from the years since my mother's manic depressive condition became pronounced. I think your approach of finding the humorous side to events as they happened was very wise -- once you're in freefall, you might as well enjoy the ride, because like as not, you can't control it. (I really like Shawn Colvin's phrase, "riding shotgun down the avalanche" for this sort of thing). I do suspect that when you say "schizophrenic" though, you may actually mean Multiple Personality Disorder, judging by what you say, and by the common understanding that MPD and schizophrenia are one and the same. On the other, other hand, it doesn't take MPD or schizophrenia to produce wildly variable behaviour. I think alcoholism might do it, depending, and other conditions, like bi-polar disorder (manic depressive illness). Cheery subject. Brr. ((- I don't know what I mean when referring to this woman, and I appreciate some insight to her problems. However, being the selfish git (no, not shellfish - bloody computers...) that I am I think the vernacular 'absolutely BatFuck' seems simpler. -))

And speaking of alcoholism, I first heard the phrase "boat drinks" in a song (by that name, I think) by Jimmy Buffett, so I would certainly expect that it's still in wide currency, at least in the community of Parrotheads. ((- Okay, someone asked me what this meant. The film I first heard it in "Things to do in Denver When You're Dead" was gangster movie and the term referred to that great cruise in the sky where al gangsters go and upon which they will relax and have some Boat Drinks... I still get a chuckle over this concept,a and the movie, as well as shit load of other happy memories. In fact, change sig file time. -))

From: Murray Moore Dear Tommy, I attended a federal election all-candidates' meeting yesterday evening. We here in Simcoe North have a choice of Liberal, Conservative, New Democrat --I unkindly labelled her The Skunk Lady, because her hair was half solid black and half solid white-- Reform, Green Party, Canadian Action Party, and Natural Law Party. I was particularly taken with Peter Cameron, the Natural Law Party candidate. He wore one of those big rosettes (spelling?) I see candidates for office in England wearing.

He could have turned the meeting into chaos. Imagine, you are one of the other candidates. You are addressing the crowd, making a point. Suddenly the Natural Law Party candidate levitates a foot above the table. Could you hold the audience's attention in such a circumstance? Cameron advocates 10,000 members of the Army being trained in tantric yogic flying, an elite force that could be dispatched across the country, eliminating stress. They certainly could have been used in Manitoba during the flood. If such a group is formed, the appropriate name exists. The Canadian Airborne lives again! (Cameron confessed, they don't really fly. Tantric yogi hopping is more accurate.)

Toronto in '03 (oh yeah, you know), .

From: Daniel Farr Sorry that I missed your party - et move et et et, but I've been busy since I've been back and haven't even looked at any of my personal e-mail until today. Really what is the use of being wired if the fucking plug is always pulled right? Anyways sounded interesting and nice that you got out of landlord hell. Mind you the city if filled with tales such as yours - so don't feel quite so special----heh, heh.....!

Haven't had a chance to completely read thru TommyWorld - I'll try and send something a little more amusing when I do. PS - Anymore pub meetings scheduled - or note for month of June???? ((- First Thursday of each month, The Foxes Den, Bay St. Two blocks South of Bloor, on the East Side (beside Blockbuster Video) at 7pm. All Welcome - So that is Thursday 5 June 1997... -))

This is being distributed to a whole bunch of friends on the net, if you received this and would NOT like to be on the mailing list please accept my apologies for this intrusion and let me know so that you will not be bothered by further ramblings. If you know someone who would like to be on the mailing drop me a line.