ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Weston Ochse is a former intelligence officer and special operations soldier who has engaged enemy combatants, terrorists, narco smugglers, and human traffickers. His personal war stories include performing humanitarian operations over Bangladesh, being deployed to Afghanistan, and a near miss being cannibalized in Papua New Guinea. His fiction and non-fiction has been praised by USA Today, The Atlantic, The New York Post, The Financial Times of London, and Publishers Weekly. The American Library Association labeled him one of the Major Horror Authors of the 21st Century. His work has also won the Bram Stoker Award, been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, and won multiple New Mexico-Arizona Book Awards. A writer of more than 26 books in multiple genres, his military supernatural series SEAL Team 666 has been optioned to be a movie starring Dwayne Johnson. His military sci fi series, which starts with Grunt Life, has been praised for its PTSD-positive depiction of soldiers at peace and at war. Weston likes to be called a chaotic good paladin and challenges anyone to disagree. After all, no one can really stand a goody two-shoes lawful good character. They can be so annoying. It's so much more fun to be chaotic, even when you're striving to save the world. You can argue with him about this and other things online at Living Dangerously or on Facebook at Badasswriter. All content of this blog is copywrited by Weston Ochse.

Friday, July 28, 2017

After Action Report for NECON Guest of Honor Appearance



1. SUMMARY: NECON is an annual horror writers convention that takes place at Roger Williams University in Rhode Island. The convention has been continuously run for thirty-seven years. Founded by the late great Bob Booth, the Booth family continues to run it through multiple generations. Although this is a classic literary event, the convention is unlike any other writing convention. Imagine if director Wes Anderson, author Stephen King, and Anheuser-Busch hosted a weekend camp for itinerant authors and fans to come together, drink, chat, break bread, and refresh depleted creative resources. NECON is frequently referred to as Camp NECON because of its similarity to a summer camp. This year there were three guests of honor: Laird Barron, Gemma Files and Weston Ochse (me).

1. Saugies

a. TOPIC: Regional Sausage-based Meat Dog

b. DISCUSSION: NECON has a tradition of providing every camper Saugies at 10PM on the Thursday before the convention officially begins. The Saugies must be burnt. They must be consumed in the semi-dark and in the quad. Saugies are again provided under similar circumstances after the Roast (see below) on the Saturday night of the convention. Saugies have a unique taste. The skin snaps when you bite into them. Although they are filling, they are known to cause flatulence and coma-like symptoms.

c. RECOMMENDATION: Retain Tradition.

2. Humidity

a. TOPIC: Water-Filled Air
b. DISCUSSION: Being from Arizona, I am unfamiliar with this environmental phenomena. Evidently, there are places on planet earth where there is enough liquid in the air that one can sweat by only breathing. I verified this with SNOPES. Locals refer to this bizarre effect as humidity. This humidity also draws liquid from the human epidermis, frequently causing severe loss of body fluid. Continual intake of replacement fluids are necessary, often in the forms of  fermented beverages. Much like tornadoes are to Oklahoma and hurricanes are to Florida, this environmental phenomena is something to be considered before traveling through or to the region known as Rhode Island.
c. RECOMMENDATION: Although humidity can be unpleasant and even cause comas, in some cases if not treated with fermented beverages, this is a necessary evil if one wants to attend this convention. Wear appropriate attire. Prepare to consume liquids.

3. Unicorns

a. TOPIC: Masturbating Unicorns

b. DISCUSSION: As unlikely as it sounds, masturbating unicorns made several appearances at this year's NECON. Unleashed by new camper Allison Pang, these masturbating unicorns are often found in underwear drawers. Evidently, they are the miniature versions, which is good, because a continuous flow of cryptid semen from a regular-sized unicorn would be awful, even if it comes out as a rainbow.

c. RECOMMENDATION: Avoid masturbating unicorns.

4. Roast

a. TOPIC: The Roast

b. DISCUSSION: A continuous NECON tradition is to roast someone on Saturday night of the convention. This roast is defined as a meeting in honor of one or more people (I was dually roasted with Yvonne Navarro) who are then subjected to offending, yet good-natured ridicule. The roastee is usually kept secret. The roastee never learns until it's too late that they are being roasted. If Christopher Golden approaches you at any time during the weekend, avoid speaking with him at all costs, seek shelter and hunker down. This years roastee was author P.D Cacek. She survived the roast medium rare. Being roasted is one of the prerequisites to becoming a NECON Legend.

c. RECOMMENDATION: Retain tradition.

5. Whores

a. TOPIC: NECON Whores

b. DISCUSSION: NECON has their own coterie of whores. They dance and sing. They do not do this well. They dress strangely. If you see one, I recommend doing the same thing I advised if Christopher Golden approaches you. I do not know in what form they are paid. I do not know what other services they perform. They also have a queen. She is Mary Booth. Do not look into her eyes or play cards with her. 

c. RECOMMENDATION: Reconsider necessity of whores. Seek temp agency for replacements.
6. John McIlvine's Daughters

a. TOPIC. Danger Will Robinson

b. DISCUSSION: Longtime NECON camper John McIlvine has made it a tradition to bring his daughters to NECON since his first attendance. These daughters are considered handsome by many and should be avoided at all times. If one approaches you, I recommend doing the same thing I advised if Christopher Golden approaches you--avoid speaking with her at all costs, seek shelter and hunker down. Jack Ketchum wasn't present this year, so this year's designated daughter was considered to be safe.

c. RECOMMENDATION: Retain Tradition, but be wary.

7. Single Track Paneling.

a. TOPIC: Individualized Attention

b. DISCUSSION: NECON has single track programming. This means that panels are not competing against other panels. This forces attendees to sit together and participate in the convention.

c. RECOMMENDATION: Retain Tradition.

8. Swimming Pool

a. TOPIC:Synchronized Drowning

b. DISCUSSION: John Skipp had made it a tradition to put together yearly performances of synchronized drowning. This cannot occur anymore because the swimming pool was stolen and replaced with a sunken room that lacks air conditioning.

c. RECOMMENDATION: Find new pool. Fund Skipp to NECON.

9. Guest of Honor Treatment

a. TOPIC: Guest of Honor(s)

b. DISCUSSION: NECON currently invites three guests of honor. They are provided travel expenses, room, and board. They are waited on hand and foot, unless they get to the convention early when they are forced to unload all of the trucks amidst the phenomena referred to as humidity. Guest of Honor are taken out to dinner and are treated like royalty.

c. RECOMMENDATION: Retain Tradition.
10. General Comments. I have attended probably seven NECONs over the last fifteen years. This one was the best one yet. I was honored to have been invited as a Guest of Honor. I immensely enjoyed meeting new people and getting more FOWs (Friends of Weston). I was also honored to meet and share the air with Gemma Files and Laird Barron, two incredibly talented and wonderful human beings. 

11. Point of contact for this AAR is Weston Ochse. He can be contacted at www.westonochse.com.