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:
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!