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Call Sign: Med/Stache

Hey, Gary asked TopatoCo President For Life Jeffrey Rowland, you want a walkie-talkie? It was a bit before 10:00am the day before the inaugural TopatoCon and I was there to help. I wasn’t sure I needed a walkie-talkie, but then he added You get an ear-piece with that. Sold. Three minutes later, I have a small speaker in my ear and a radio nestled in the small of my back, looking like the world’s least likely Secret Service agent on detail, except for the talking into the sleeves thing.

Not gonna lie, once I got the volume worked out to a comfortable level, it proved to be a lifesaver, as setup would take me up and down the length of the Eastworks building multiple times an hour, and finding the organizers to clarify a decision or get an assignment would have been nigh impossible otherwise. I dropped my trauma bag at the just-arranged registration desk — the closest thing to a central location — and hopped on the air: Med/Stache to all stations. Report all injuries to me, no matter how minor; thankfully, none needed to be.

And there was potential — a few dozen eight-foot tables got wheeled around, and a few hundred chairs. There were heavy-ass platform risers, toxic fume-laden spray adhesives, random bits of architecture with random bolts sticking out at odd angles, a ton or so of merch to deliver to tables — but each item was dealt with by a crew of a dozen or so volunteers. The main exhibit hall transformed itself over the course of a couple of hours while the Eastworks staff unpacked a significant shipment of booze for Topato’s Bar. A little after noon, the hall was ready for the first exhibitors to start setting up under the watchful eye of Chief of Security Special Agent Fox Mulder.

Showrunner Holly Rowland was everywhere, passing out assignments and indicating how things should be arranged. Showrunner Sara McHenry was running logistics from a command bunker in the basement, ably assisted by husband and MRA-bane Tom McHenry¹. BabyBird (formerly StinkBot), SparkleDog, and PizzaVessel wrangled the intake and outflow of volunteers.

Radio calls went out from Ferocious J and Agent Paperklip and things happened: goods bedecked tables in the TopatoCo pop-up store, dollies wheeled infrastructure out of the way, signage went up, airport runs occurred. Easthampton held its breath, waiting for a sign, a signal, anything to indicate that the attempts to beat chaos into order were bearing fruit. The portents were uncertain, but all remained cautiously optimistic.

And so stands the long hallway on this crisp autumn night. There will be the last-minute flurry of table setup from the late-arriving exhibitors, but all that needs to happen to make the show itself launch waits in watchful readiness. Eleven hours and forty-six minutes from now, the doors open.



Med/Stache to all stations — sleep well and be ready to dig deep tomorrow. It’s gonna be an adventure.

Spam of the day:


You know, you might get my immediate attention on your proposal if you actually included the damn things in your spam. Oh, well. Sucks to be you, what with not getting my immediate attenntion on your proposal and all.

¹ My plan is to find every fedora-wearing MRA/PUA/MGTOW type in the Pioneer Valley and show them that photo so their heads will go sploosh.

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