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Wiscon 33 (my first!)

Wiscon notes, highlights, and silliness:

  • "Feminist SF convention" may evoke some strange ideas, at least it did for me. The differences between Wiscon and a "regular" convention were few. (Chris said he pretty much forgot that it was supposed to be a feminist con, while we were there.) Primarily, everyone was just really nice!

    First thing I noticed was the consideration for disabled people -- spaces kept open for wheelchairs and such. It was great to have the corridors kept clear, unlike the usual crush of bodies. (Which, yeah, must be impossible for people who can't just push their way through!) Also, there were two groups of people notably missing from Wiscon: the creepy guys of questionable intention, and the famous jerks.

  • At the end of the Gathering I found Mary and said hi, and met Ben Rosenbaum in person (who is still doodling on a book for me). I'm not sure how we got on the subject, but Mary started telling us about the thirteen Icelandic Santas, which include Door-Sniffer, Spoon-Licker, and Window-Peeper. [wikipedia link] Yeah...

  • What do pfriends do when they finally get together? Ignore each other and check email. :D

  • It is safe to trust in the awesomeness of Madison and just go wander around and look for food/drink/a place to hang out.

  • Quote heard while walking on State Street: "Oh look, it's the Hippie Shop!" (Wife said to husband. I laughed. Husband laughed and rolled his eyes, noticing my amusement. Don't know what the store was actually called, but it was a fair description -- all tie-dye and peace signs! They went in to shop.)

  • Malted milk ice cream. Mmmm.

  • I could track Ted Chiang's progress through the party floor on Twitter as various of my friends tweeted, "OMG, I just saw Ted Chiang!"

  • Speaking of Twitter, seeing someone engrossed in their iPhone/Blackberry/whatever no longer means that they must be bored. They may be having a great time and having to tweet about it!

  • At the Edgewater Hotel's pier on Lake Mendota, we enjoyed the view, and watched a duck drama unfold: one boy mallard tried to steal a girl away from her boyfriend, as his friend watched. Jodi narrated for the watching friend, "Don't do it, man, she's already broken your heart once. Stick with me." There was a lot of quacking.

  • The staff at the Concourse is fabulous. Friday around lunch (still stuffed from breakfast) Holly, Jodi, Chris, and I just wanted to sit somewhere quiet and have some tea. I asked if there would be a way for us to sit and have beverages in the rapidly-filling restaurant, without causing trouble. They opened up a sekrit private dining room in the back, just for us!

The Prototypical Wiscon Laurel-Day


Awaken a few minutes before the alarm. Too tired to manage to get ready in time for whatever the alarm was actually set for. Miss all the cool morning panels. Get ready, head to the con suite for snacks. Text pfriends to see what they are up to.


Having missed the start of all the cool panels, hang out with friends either somewhere in the hotel, or while walking outside.


Have (previously arranged) awesome lunch with cool people somewhere on State Street.


Do one or two things: a panel, a get-together, a convention event, talk with people, visit the dealers room.

A panel on online critique groups, where Carol Emshwiller and I were amused:

Dinner time

Either skip dinner entirely in favor of socializing/scavenging at the con suite, or, sit in the lobby until we find some people who seem to have an interesting destination in mind, and go eat with them. (I avoided especially large groups.)

Pizza at Ian's:

From left to right: "Papa Bandit" (potato slices, bbq sauce, ranch, bacon, cheddar), chicken alfredo, mac and cheese. (All amazingly good!)


Hang out in the bar until the parties get going.

Then: party time! The sensible thing to do would be visit all the different parties, but usually I headed for/wandered into one and stayed there until there was some reason to go somewhere else. (Usually better air conditioning. Occasionally the quest for someone or something specific.) I knew enough people that I could just hang out while people came and went and chatted with me.

Bonus evening options: visit with people in the lobby (chance for free pizza!) Go to friends' room to taste fancy scotch. Attend a late-night panel. Go for a walk in the dark. Sit by a random stranger and talk. (Poor guy was probably looking for some peace and quiet -- sorry, dude.) Find someone who doesn't know too many people and introduce him to everyone.

IN CONCLUSION: Supah fun. Best con ever. Definitely going back!



( 24 comments — Leave a comment )
(Deleted comment)
Jun. 1st, 2009 05:13 am (UTC)
<3 <3 <3
Jun. 1st, 2009 05:26 am (UTC)
And that's what I get for skipping out. (By the way, I take it nobody saw that you were the one who dropped off the postcards and tried to set you afire?)
Jun. 1st, 2009 04:34 pm (UTC)
There was no trouble with the postcard distribution. :D

I tried to guess how many had been taken by the end of the con, but I was incapable of processing information at that point. Couldn't even find them!
Jun. 1st, 2009 06:51 pm (UTC)
Don't worry about it. I'm just glad that you had that much fun. Again, I'm serious when I say that I regret that I wasn't able to get out there. I haven't been to a good convention, just for hanging out, in years, and this sounds like it would have broken that 10-year losing streak.
Jun. 1st, 2009 05:38 am (UTC)
So glad I got to sit and chat with you! Look forward to seeing the two of you later on!
Jun. 1st, 2009 04:36 pm (UTC)
Likewise! You are even awesomer than I'd imagined! Visiting will be fun. :) :) :)
Jun. 2nd, 2009 01:57 am (UTC)
Double ditto with extra awesome ditto sauce.
Jun. 1st, 2009 05:53 am (UTC)
You and I have nearly identical prototypical con days.
Jun. 1st, 2009 04:39 pm (UTC)
Not all that surprising, I suppose. Was great to see you, as always!
Jun. 1st, 2009 06:35 am (UTC)
They opened up a sekrit private dining room in the back, just for us!
Yay, you're a VIP :-)

Those pizza slices look disturbing, though. Don't think I'd be willing to risk eating them, but you're stronger than I ;-)
Jun. 1st, 2009 04:45 pm (UTC)
Yes, we did feel very fancy with our private dining room. :D

I know the pizzas look weird, but it's really just fairly ordinary combinations of food, on plain, flat bread.

Not that they don't offer truly weird combinations... but I didn't see any of those pre-made when we were there. I picked the "Papa Bandit" not even knowing what it was. I was hungry at it looked like it had a lot of ingredients. ;)

Hey, will you be going to Worldcon in 2010 (in Melbourne)?
Jun. 2nd, 2009 03:21 am (UTC)
Don't think I'll be able to come up with the hundreds of dollars to register, but I'd be happy to meet people in city, or at book signings :-) Only a 50-minute train ride from my place :-)
Jun. 1st, 2009 08:30 am (UTC)
I never knew it was supposed to be a feminist con--what does that entail?

Nice photos! I liked the ones of you on the panel and the ones of downtown Madison. It's also fun to see the gang of you together (but had seen those shots from Jodi and Holly as well).
Jun. 1st, 2009 04:52 pm (UTC)
Nowadays it doesn't seem so much feminist as diversity and special-groups focused. There were a lot of panels about gender, racial, sexuality, and disability issues, as related to science fiction. And Wiscon makes a special efforts for people who might not feel welcome at other conventions.

If you ever decide to travel to visit a con, I would recommend this one!
Jun. 1st, 2009 01:33 pm (UTC)
Nice report. Will you be at Duckon in a couple of weeks?
Jun. 1st, 2009 04:56 pm (UTC)
Thanks! Nice to finally meet you properly. (And thanks for the reading material, yay! I'll get back to you soon. :) )

I hadn't planned on going to Duckon, but hmm. I will mention the tesla coils to Chris... he may not be able to resist!
Jun. 1st, 2009 10:25 pm (UTC)
We're dropping in at Duckon on Saturday.
Jun. 3rd, 2009 11:33 am (UTC)
I'll have boxes for you on Saturday, then. Bring big car.
Jun. 1st, 2009 02:58 pm (UTC)
I'll make it to Wiscon one of these years, I swear.

(Also, no fair showing me pizza when I'm hungry! Now I may need to get lunch early.)
Jun. 1st, 2009 04:57 pm (UTC)
You better! And then I will meet you! Because I think I'm going to be a regular now. :)

(They really were good pizzas. Sigh.)
Jun. 1st, 2009 10:27 pm (UTC)
It was nice seeing you. I'm glad that somebody immortalized the BarCon portion of the weekend. :)
Jun. 2nd, 2009 05:30 pm (UTC)
Likewise! Always great to see you.

Yeah, I kind of like that bar picture. (jmeadows took it from her high perch). It's a little blurry, but that seems to reflect what was going on. :D
Jun. 2nd, 2009 03:01 pm (UTC)
Hey! I saw your post on the Wiscon LJ comm and went, "Hey! I recognize those people!"

I'm that short red-haired chick that went to pizza with you guys. (That pizza was ridiculous AND amazing) I think that panel picture is my favorite of all convention pics, it sums up what I love about Wiscon the most. (besides hanging out and food.) It was really nice to meet all of you, do you mind if I add you?

Jun. 2nd, 2009 05:33 pm (UTC)
Yay! Hi! I wondered if you had an LJ.

Would be honored to be added, and hope you don't mind as well. :)
( 24 comments — Leave a comment )