24 hours in the air... Perth... Swancon day 1
After having kids, 30 hours without sleep doesn't faze you
The first time we went to Perth, seven years ago, we took a packed 747 and the flight was hellish. By the end the toilets were backed up, I was crawling under the seats to try to sleep, we'd run out of food and there was nothing to do. This time, the plane was a brand-new 777 with little movie screens in the seat-backs, we were fed at perfectly strategic times, the toilets were clean, and Paige was very well behaved. I wasn't even sore when we finally arrived in Perth.
This was good, because I was supposed to be in front of people, doing panels with Ken MacLeod and others, less than 24 hours after we'd arrived. Despite the 13-hour time difference between Toronto and Perth, this has turned out not to be a problem.
Swancon's being held at the All Seasons Hotel, not the one we're staying at, but about a mile distant. I sauntered over from our hotel about an hour before my first panel, through neighbourhoods that seem to have been utterly transformed since 2001. Downtown Perth's quite familiar to us, but last time parts of it had a rough look to them. These parts seem to have been bulldozed and replaced by new and upscale establishments; downtown is being gentrified.
The Good Friday morning was bright and warm (19 C overnight, warming up to 33 by the afternoon), with just a few people about; I passed through a gorgeous little park with gigantic, sprawling tropical trees and a dance troupe warming up on the lawn; past late-night clubs with their doors open to air out in the morning light; past 100-year-old stone buildings with wrap-around balconies, reminiscent of New Orleans.
Then it was time to talk about the Singularity with Ken MacLeod and Dirk Flintheart, and then the obsolescence of the "brain is computer" paradigm with Ken and David Cake. I sort of breezed through these despite being addled from lack of sleep; the real challenge was talking, without notes, for an hour by myself on the subject of foresight studies vs. traditional futurism. This talk was scheduled for 4:00 p.m., which is 3:00 a.m. Toronto time. I had a really great time and chatting with the attentive and interested audience for an hour was easy.
Tomorrow should be interesting. Either it all catches up to me and I collapse into a drooling mass of inappropriately cold-weather-oriented clothing; or I'll be fully adjusted to the time change and raring to go. I'll let you know.