Kevin G. Austin was born on September 4th, 1961 in St. Paul, Minnesota and spent most of his childhood in Lake Elmo, Minnesota. He got an early start with computers and the online world-- he wrote his first computer program at age 10 and sent email, and participated in online chat sessions and online forums, as early as 1980.
He was raised by Robert and Gloria Austin, along with his brother Jeff who is two years younger than Kevin. The family would often spend holidays with family in Mason City, Iowa. His Dad worked at 3M in the Transportion Safety Materials divison as an engineer, his mother was a teacher before she had Kevin and later worked various jobs including in a fabric store and a school cafeteria.
As a child, Kevin enjoyed reading, mostly science or science fiction. When in high school, he lettered in soccer and was in "The Vagabonds" (the school's traveling choir).
Kevin attended Mankato State University where he majored in Mathematics with a minor in Physics. He's worked as a computer programmer and has had a number of interesting jobs. He's currently working as a programmer (as an independent contractor) at Digital River.
It was while Kevin was attending college that he first heard about science fiction conventions and made it to his first Minicon (Minicon 19) in 1983.
Laurel started attending Minicon in 1988, and it was at about that time where Kevin and Laurel's interests and social activities began to overlap a lot, even though they didn't become friends until years later.
Kevin has been elected to the Minnesota Science Fiction Society Board, he's also served as the club president. He's attended every Demicon and he's been to twenty-three Minicons in a row. He's volunteered in a variety of positions at conventions and really enjoys getting to conventions whenever he can.
Kevin enjoys going to concerts, ballgames, computer stores, playing with computers and software, surfing the web, playing all sorts of games, and reading and listening to science fiction.
Laurel Krahn was born on July 5th, 1971 in Minneapolis, Minnesota and was raised by Richard and Janice Krahn in Mound, Minnesota on the shore of Lake Minnetonka. She grew up surrounded by hundreds of varieties of iris and daylilies and hostas, with a woods and lake behind the back yard. Laurel was lucky enough to have a giant weeping willow tree outside her bedroom window and huge blue spruce trees in the front yard. Her parents took her to flower shows, ballgames, plays, concerts, art exhibits, and many other cool places; she was very lucky. Laurel shared that home and childhood with her brother Chris, who is two years younger than her and who now lives in Chicago where he works as a mechanical engineer.
She was lucky to have four wonderful grandparents around the entire time she was growing up. Her grandfathers built her dollhouses, a playhouse, and countless toys; they played games with her and let her drive riding lawnmowers all over the place. Her mother's parents taught her to ride ponies and all about farm life in South Dakota; her father's parents taught her to cook and play a mean game of Spite & Malice. Laurel's life was greatly enriched by her grandparents Anne Keen Krahn, Carl R. Krahn, Edwin Lee Olson, and Florence Bradwisch Olson. She misses them all more than she can say, but cherishes her memories of them. More than anything she wishes they were still around to share her wedding day.
Laurel's Dad (a metallurgist) became president and owner of his own engineering company while Laurel was still a kid, her Mom was an art teacher before she had Laurel.
As a child, Laurel read a lot and watched a lot of TV. One hot summer she discovered Star Trek novels and those led her to science fiction and its fandom. When Laurel attended Lutheran High School in Mayer, Minnesota, she lettered in journalism (newspaper and yearbook), was an honor student, and took Advanced Placement U.S. History and English.
Laurel, like Kevin, got an early start with computers and the online world-- she started hanging out on BBSes and Q-Link while she was still in grade school; she was reading FIDOnet and Usenet by the time she was in high school.
It was while Laurel was attending high school that she first made it to Star Trek conventions and then to Minicon in 1988, she's attended every Minicon since then (that's eighteen in a row as of this writing). She and Kevin surely crossed paths first at Minicon (at the hotel then known as the Radisson South, which is now the Sheraton Bloomington-- our reception hotel), they also went to many of the same concerts and other social events starting around 1988 or 1989-- but they didn't become friends 'til years later.
Laurel attended Augustana College in Sioux Falls, South Dakota where she majored in English. She was elected President of her resident hall and also served on the hall board and as a substitute resident advisor. She was a founding member of Augustana College's first environmental committee and she helped get recycling efforts started on campus. She had a morning radio show for at least one semester and also worked as a reporter for the campus newspaper.
She was the first employee at the first internet service provider in South Dakota, she helped launch the first website where you could buy (and configure) computer systems online while she worked at Gateway 2000, and she helped create Freetime while she worked at startribune.com. She's written articles for publication in magazines and online about the internet and she's taught a number of courses about the internet.
She built her first webpage in 1993 and she was among the first 100 or so people on the net to have an online journal. And she created one of the first 30 weblogs ever in 1998, her TV picks started on the weblog and were spun off onto their own page in March 1999.
Laurel is currently vice president and co-webmaster of the Minnesota Science Fiction Society (a.k.a. Minn-StF); she's volunteered in a variety of capacities for the club over the years. She's also volunteered to help run Minicon in the past; she's been a badger, a gopher, a consuite subhead, a guest liaison, and a programming participant. She's written and edited publications, put together websites, done publicity, helped throw room parties, helped out in the green room, and helped chair the convention (with a bunch of other folks). Laurel's also been to plenty of other conventions, including: Arcana, Capricon, Congenial, CONvergence, Demicon, Diversicon, a number of Minn-StF Fallcons, Fourth Street Fantasy, Marscon, PolarisCon, Reinconation, Supercon, World Fantasy, Wiscon, and possibly some others she's forgetting. She's volunteered in a variety of positions at conventions and really enjoys getting to conventions whenever she can.
Laurel enjoys reading, writing, watching TV, going to movies, listening to music, going to concerts, camping, gardening, building websites, gardening, shopping, attending science fiction conventions (and sometimes working on them), and may have too many hobbies.
These days she writes about TV at TVPicks.net almost every day and has done so for more than six years. She's still not quite sure what she wants to do when she "grows up," but she definitely knows she wants to spend her life with Kevin.
Laurel Krahn & Kevin G. Austin