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Scheherazade in Blue Jeans
freelance alchemist
PhilCon, in brief 
22nd-Nov-2011 03:39 pm
Were there monkeys?
As brief as I get, anyway.

This was the most arduous con I've done in quite some time. No fault of the conrunners, mind. But I went into the weekend on very little sleep and riding a lot of stress. Our hypothetical 5-hour drive shaking out to be 8 1/2 hours, with much of that in heavy traffic, didn't help. Neither did arriving so close to my first panel. Matter of fact, let me get all of the stuff related to the arduousness out first so it isn't infecting the whole rest of this post... I woke up Friday night half-frozen, and woke up Saturday night (not morning, night) for no apparent reason other than that when my body isn't getting enough sleep, it falls into this vicious cycle where I get less and less, until I have a seizure that knocks me out for a few hours and I reset. So throughout the weekend, I had both massive exhaustion that impacted my ability to think properly and mounting dread because I know how this movie usually ends. I had a tearful Sunday morning thanks to that. But I feel out of the danger zone now, so don't worry.

Add to that: at my first panel, when an audience member supposedly wanted recommendations for non-Victorian-England steampunk, I recommended Steam-Powered I and II, and the instant I said "lesbian", she made a disgusted face. I throttled down the urge to throw something at her and explained that if she was looking for African, Asian, Middle Eastern, noncolonialist, really different steampunk, that was where she would find it, and moved on, but damn. And on my next panel I was treated like a very slow-witted child when I mentioned that I dislike Tolkein. So we're two hours in and I'm like "these are not my people and this is not my con and eight-hour drive and WHY THE HELL AM I HERE."

And then I got to s00j and stealthcello's concert and remembered.

And this is where I segue into the good stuff. Because there was some logistical crap and a lot of health crap, but there were some wonderful people there, and they made it all worthwhile.

We had planned to go to Philcon pretty much just because s00j was the musical guest of honor; I am her East Coast merch wench, after all! And I hadn't seen her, omnisti, and stealthcello since Wiscon, and I couldn't miss seeing them when they were that close by.They are beloved family, and the world sort of reset as soon as I saw them.

When I first said I was going to Philcon, ravenskye8 and blkstarsapphire actually offered to cater for me. Given my food restrictions, this was huge. They apparently viewed me as "an interesting challenge", and they brought me chili, chicken and GF dumplings, chicken fricassee, Delhi beans and apples, GF cheese blintzes, cheesy veggie casserole, olive tapenade, and chocolate cupcakes with ganache and buttercream. All 100% gluten-free, soy-free, all-'song-allergen free. And so much of it. Enough to feed me, sindrian, and even, for one meal, lightcastle - and we had sufficient leftovers to haul home in a cooler. I was just overwhelmed as blkstarsapphire kept pulling out containers of food. All for me? And all safe? That alleviated my #1 travel stressor right there. Just - I am hugely grateful. They do kosher catering, and I can testify to their greatness and their ability to work around dietary restrictions.

hughcasey was marvelous as always, and the man gives great hug. I don't get to see him nearly enough.

I bumped into farceur_rouge and his friends a bunch, too! And greylen and her fiancee, and the delectable stakebait! Benefits of a small con - you actually get to interact with people more, yay. :)

My reading! I read from Cicatrix, the same piece I read at Arisia and Wiscon. Hey, I like that piece. It's hard to gauge how it's going over, though, measured against my usual audience response; I'm used to reading a bunch of shorter, whimsical things. So I'm used to gauging success by the laughs, and I'm used to eye contact. At this reading, I glanced up, and everyone's eyes were closed! This was disconcerting! But I kept reading. And everyone had to take a deep breath at the end, which I think was good. Philcon gives hourlong readings, and the bit from Cicatrix is 25 minutes long on the nose, so I got to read more - "Valentines", by s00j's request, "The Portal to Heaven", by sindrian's, and I closed with poetry - "Nine Things About Oracles", my new Ereshkigal poem, and "The Changeling's Lament". Really good group of people at the reading, too. :)

Other panels! Versus was awesome fun, because we all just got to be ridiculous at each other. popfiend and I panelled together on Saturday, and it was great to finally meet him! He notes that y'all probably had faster internet speeds this weekend, being as he and hughcasey and I were all offline. You're welcome, internet. I remembered that I had an iPod and a speaker, so I started the Muppets panel with the Muppet Show theme song, and got the whole audience singing along, and lightcastle introduced the panel as the special guests...

...lightcastle was there! Yes! He came down from Montreal just for one day of Philcon! There were lots of hugs and lots of silliness!

There were other panels. Y'all, I was on 10 hours of programming in 27 hours, including two of the concerts. With no sleep. I was crispy fried. I cannot promise that I was making any sense at all.

Um. People. We drove part of the way down with crewgrrl and mbarr, and I was sadly able to see ysobelle only briefly, and I got a chance to talk to ladymondegreen, and there were new friends who may or may not have LJ accounts.

s00j and stealthcello did a thank-you concert for the people who'd chipped in to get stealthcello to the con, Sunday at 2. It is a measure of my exhaustion that when omnisti told me to stop working and go sit down, I actually did. (He was quite surprised.) And I closed the con with my family.

And, of course, with sindrian beside me, my wild wonderful man, my absolute rock, without whom I might have just curled up in bed on Friday and hidden from the world.

Today's been my recovery day - yesterday was all housecleaning and concert prep. Today my body sat me down and was like "stop." And I did, and will do all the Stuff I Gotta Do with Adam when he gets home. I will try to take tomorrow easy-ish, too, despite the baking of the everything. But yes. To all the people I got to see this weekend, thank you - you were awesome.
22nd-Nov-2011 09:14 pm (UTC)
I have got to say that when you characterized PhilCon as a "small con", my brain shorted out. But then, the last time I went to PhilCon was in, um, 1996, so it may have downsized since then...
22nd-Nov-2011 09:26 pm (UTC)
I'm used to Arisia!
23rd-Nov-2011 01:12 am (UTC)
Point. I'm still not used to Arisia (or Anime Boston for that matter). The only con I went to regularly for many years was the long-dead Sci-Con in Virginia Beach, which was So Very Tiny compared to PhilCon...
22nd-Nov-2011 09:16 pm (UTC)
I'm glad there was good mixed in there, since I mostly saw you when you were JUST SO TIRED.

Also, thanks for the food and I guess that means I must thank ravenskye8 and blkstarsapphire for the extensive deliciousness.
22nd-Nov-2011 09:25 pm (UTC)
Man, I hate it when I'm that bitterly exhausted. But it was *awesome* to see you.
22nd-Nov-2011 10:02 pm (UTC)
That's ok. I was happy to be a low-key recharge. (I was running on not much more than fumes, myself, recall.)
22nd-Nov-2011 09:49 pm (UTC)

Whoa. I am most impressed, because you did a great job moderating the Muppets panel - I wouldn't have known you were so exhausted.
30th-Nov-2011 04:46 pm (UTC)
I am apparently really good at faking functionality! :)

It was great to meet you, and I hope you loved the new movie as much as I did!
30th-Nov-2011 04:50 pm (UTC)
I just saw it last night.

The chorus girls in the closet totally got me - also the fart shoes.
22nd-Nov-2011 10:47 pm (UTC)
Holy powerhouse, 'Song! I got tired READING about everything you squeezed in over the weekend. (I'd totally forgotten it was 'con weekend.)

MUST. READ. SONG. FICTION. I'm always moved when I hear you read (i>The Spaces In Between</i> (did I get the title right?).
23rd-Nov-2011 02:42 am (UTC)
Well, it was great to see you at PhilCon anyway. Sorry you had such a rough time of it. I had a really great time for the roughly 12 hours I was there, though there were a couple of moments that felt like a tightrope across the abyss for no particular reason.

I completely missed the audience member wincing at the word lesbian during our Friday night panel. Though your description of Steam Powered makes me think the story idea I've been nursing along might be exactly the right thing, if I ever get to it.

Rachel really enjoyed your Muppets panel, by which time I was already driving home to put the kids in bed.

And the S.J. Tucker concert was wonderful. First time I'd heard her. And I wound up buying "Mischief" after listening to the whole thing in the car.

OK. Rambling now. Guess I should write my own damn' blog post...
30th-Nov-2011 04:46 pm (UTC)
JoSelle is planning to do a third Steam-Powered anthology... :)
23rd-Nov-2011 06:05 am (UTC)
Niko and I had such a great time, and it was lovely to see you. And also. . .um. . .your boyfriend smells amazing.

*runs away blushing*
30th-Nov-2011 04:47 pm (UTC)
He does, right? Yum!

Was great to see you too. :)
23rd-Nov-2011 04:33 pm (UTC)
I was treated like a very slow-witted child when I mentioned that I dislike Tolkein.

I'm gonna start a Group just for "people who dislike Tolkein, and don't give a damn what you think about that opinion."

Also: I have a Plane ticket for Arisia. The Food stuff reminds me that, once I get my head out of work (we're supposed to go into freeze next week), we should converse on that score amongst many others -- I'm also doing a restricted diet, these days. :)
30th-Nov-2011 04:48 pm (UTC)
I'm gonna start a Group just for "people who dislike Tolkein, and don't give a damn what you think about that opinion."

Aw yeah.

And yes! Food! E-mail me!
24th-Nov-2011 04:32 am (UTC)
Awesome panel and very good to finally meet you. :D
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