Stef (firecat) wrote,

Belated Wiscon report

Some things I did at Wiscon 28 and in Madison before and after, in no particular order:
  • read A Woman of the Iron People. I saw why people think it's a superb work. I can't say it really grabbed me, though. But I think it's not intended to. I think it's intended to quietly sit next to you for a while.
  • attended LiveJournal party. I didn't have proper dressup clothes or pirate clothes, but I made do by tying up my hawaiian shirt and putting a sparkly star on my belly and wearing my kitty ears hat.
  • ate at Vietnamese restaurant, Turkish restaurant, and noodle place.
  • bought necklace with fused glass and charms.
  • bought piece of labradorite from elisem.
  • bought pirate hair ornament for kyubi from elisem
  • hung out with porcinea and alexanderjasper.
  • attended panel on writing scene and description.
  • brought leftover pizza to the Dead Dog Party in the con suite and hung out for several hours listening to folks talk about this and that.
  • drank several "red eyes" (that's what they call a regular coffee w/ a shot of espresso around here. there seems to be no standard name for that drink). I love Michelangelo's coffee house.
  • went the farmer's market in the pouring rain, with a side trip, led by redbird, to a nearby bakery that had a yummy salmon and cream cheese croissant. sampled a bunch of flavored cheese curds and smelled flowers.
  • made a badge necklace using a braiding technique called "jewel in the middle," at The Gathering.
  • helped talk kalmn into buying a corset at the Makeover booth at The Gathering. (not that I think she needed a lot of convincing.)
  • sat with elisem at her table and helped her unpack some pendants of unusual stone and lampworked glass beads.
  • went to panels:
    • "harlequins in space" was supposed to be about redefining sf as romance using the classical definition of romance, but it turned into a discussion that suited the title.
    • a panel on redefining gender roles was mostly a discussion among several women who went into the hard sciences talking about how they ended up there.
    • "older female characters," unlike last year's panel of the same name, included a note of tension between the panelists and the audience, with the audience demanding more older female characters, as if writers should write to specific demands, and the writers (most of whom were fantasy writers) saying that publishers won't buy fantasy with older protagonists, while a subset of the audience asserted that old people can do everything that young people can do so what's the big deal.
    • "maim 'em right," where Dr Freitag answered writers' questions about illness and injury and healing, was a lot of fun and I learned some stuff about epidemiology and sucking chest wounds and enjoyed the snarking about heroes with head injuries that rendered them unconscious suddenly waking up and rushing out to fight a sword fight five minutes later.
    • "back to basics: scene" was excellent; I loved hearing the different ways the panelists went about creating scene and description, especially the trick of writing the book and going back and putting in the descriptions later!
    • "writers' groups" had some useful information, but I found it a bit disappointing because there was no one on the panel who had much experience with online writers' groups, and no one talking about how to write seriously without using a writers' group. I'm deeply ambivalent about writers' groups but I felt there wasn't room in the discussion for expressing my ambivalence.

  • volunteered 4 hours in the con suite, 2 shifts, making pizzas,
    serving hot dogs, replenishing ice in the drink bins, etc.; and at the art show, unpacking/putting up one artist's work. I really appreciated how easy it was to volunteer - people were very helpful in showing me what to do even though I was completely new to all of it, and people went out of their way to answer my questions, and people were really appreciative of the volunteers.
  • bid on something at the art show, including vulturing over it at closing time.
  • donated 2 necklaces to the auction; I think they didn't get any bids, so I don't know what happens to them now.
  • had dinner with Lee.
  • had dinner with kyubi and bcholmes; we talked a lot about cartooning.
  • went swimming three times. I love the Concourse's pool and jacuzzi.
  • went to enough of the auction to see the Jane Austen Book Club and watch bcholmes win the Space Babe Purse and lcohen win the Space Babe Wrist Guards
I missed the haiku earring party and the Tiptree ceremony, and regretted it. Of course I also missed a bunch of panels I wanted to see.

I didn't hang out and chat with as many people as last year. Last year there were seats in the 2d floor corridor; kyubi and I hung out a a lot there and people would come by and chat with us. This year there were many fewer seats. Instead, there were more freebie tables, notably a table full of movie posters that nobody seemed to want (only the Spiderman II poster disappeared).

I overall enjoyed the con quite a bit. Not quite as much as last year, but that was mostly my fault; I didn't make enough of an effort to make plans with people I like. I did encounter less of a feminist sensibility this year than last year, which probably has something to do with my having not chosen the best panels for feminist discussion. I agree mildly with the objections I've been hearing in others' reports about Republican-bashing (criticizing I don't mind, but bashing irritates me, no matter who it's directed at), but I think the attendees and committee members will be able to figure out ways to improve the atmosphere in the future.

I have lots of panel ideas to submit for next year!

There are two barriers to my going back.

One is the apparent impossibility of getting a relatively uncrowded flight out and back near Memorial Day Weekend. This year I flew there the Wednesday before the weekend and back the Wednesday after, in an attempt to get unfull flights. No dice, both of the long flights were completely full (on the hop from Minneapolis to Madison on the way there, we had an empty seat between us).

I must have been a veal in a past life because I get really uncomfortable being squeezed into one position for three or four hours, even when my sweetie has kindly volunteered to take the middle seat so I don't have to sit next to a stranger.

On the flight out, I was fantasizing about driving the next time. I guess I could drive it in four days there and four days back. With four days at the con, that would work out to well over a week away from home, which is more than the OH would be happy with, as well as a lot of driving. I don't think a train would be much more comfortable for me unless I were able to get a disabled person sleeper car, which I understand is iffy, probably especially on peak travel dates. I guess I could buy two seats on the airplane.

The other is that Fat Fest (women-only fat activism con) ended up being on the same weekend. Fat Fest and Wiscon are the only two cons I care about enough to travel to. (Except alt.polycon.) I haven't been to a Fat Fest since November 2001, and I miss it. Plus it takes place in the Bay Area and in Seattle, so it's either no travel or much easier travel for me than to Wisconsin.

If Fat Fest continues to happen on Memorial Day weekend, I guess I will need to start alternating between that and Wiscon.
  • Post a new comment


    Anonymous comments are disabled in this journal

    default userpic

    Your reply will be screened

    Your IP address will be recorded