January 19th, 2011


Odin's Day

Happy birthday to jlassen!

State of the 'Song
Oh you guys. Oh. You guys. This sucks.

I'm pretty sure the achiness is mostly thanks to the horrible slog through half a foot at least of snow yesterday. (I have a long walk from the bus stop, most of a mile.) I have hit the Robaxin for that.

But also I feel like my throat and lungs have been flayed. And the worst part is that I cannot breathe. Which always causes a low-grade panic reaction for me. I can only take shallow breaths, and when I cough, which is often, I can't get any more air in. So I have quiet little freakouts and have to constantly run the "be patient, air will come, shallow breaths" tape in my head.

I am additionally cranky that I have to baby my lungs so much in cold dry air. Having something like this means I pretty much can't leave my house without getting much worse.

Link Soup: Excellence Edition
* Excellent painting by flutterbychild, being auctioned to raise money for Haiti.
* Excellent post on lack of diversity in SF shows.
* Excellent post about celiac disease.
* Excellent story by shweta_narayan.
* Excellent new issue of Goblin Fruit.

Link Soup: Rape Culture Edition
* Which rape accusers are worth listening to? Spoiler: All of them.
* This is some bullshit right here.
* The sexual violence epidemic in Haiti.

Daily Science
The Orion Nebula: still full of surprises.

I would do BPAL reviews, but I'm a bit stuffy-nosed, too.

Rest. Rest. More rest. If I have the energy, I may write Arisia recaps. But I expect to spend the day in bed.

Oh hey.

My Valentinr - song
Get your own valentinr

Arisia! Friday.

Before I launch into my Arisia recaps, I will say a few things!

1. Dear everybody, thank you so, so much for respecting my "care and feeding" requests. Some of these, of course, are the sort that are invisible if done correctly - but I especially noticed a lot of you deliberately positioning yourself in my field of vision or making sure I heard you and knew you were there before glomping me. I appreciate the hell out of this. I didn't have one single surprise pounce the entire con, and thus I had a whole bunch of very happy hugs and cuddles and was not twitchy even once, and that really improves my quality of life.
2. You are all awesome and there is no way I can name-check all of you. Especially since I'm sure I didn't even see some of you (I had a "Wait, $PERSON was here?" "Yeah, she was standing right next to me." conversation on Monday). But I enjoyed all of you.
3. Speaking of the care and feeding post, one of my comments there was that I was not going to have sex at the con. This was a fantastic decision, and I will tell you why - but that gets a post of its own, after the recaps.

So Friday! I got to the hotel around 2, which was a good call - not too long a line for checkin. Bumped into hughcasey right away, which was fortunate, as he already knew where reg and program nexus were and was able to guide me. I'm never able to feel settled at a con until I'm fully checked in. Benefits of everyone knowing me: when I got my badge and program participant packet, I was able to get Adam's, Elayna's, and asim's as well. Anything that can reduce my family's stress level is good, especially considering what happened later.

asim was the next to arrive, and he had many tales of woe that I shall leave to him to tell. One tale, however, was medical. Darlings, I was sleeping with Patient Zero. *wince* From then on, I was mostly bouncing around the lobby and mezzanine like a ferret on crack. I'd been exhausted all day, but thankfully getting to the con got my energy back up, as I'd thought it would.

It soon became clear, however, that we had a problem.

I never pack a lunch for work, because I work part-time and just eat when I get home. So I hadn't packed a lunch. I thought about stopping for lunch on the way to the hotel, but didn't want poor sick asim waiting on me (the room was in my name). I looked up Staff Den's hours, determined that they'd be open, and figured I'd eat there.

They had no gluten-free food yet. And Green Room wasn't open.

I hate bananas, but that's what they had that I could eat, so I ferociously devoured bananas. There may have been baleful glares.

It was around this point that I texted Adam and Elayna, who were cabbing over with, among other things, my GF food for the weekend. "ETA?" I asked, 15 minutes before they were scheduled to be there.

"We haven't left yet."


It is worthy of note that Adam and I both had 5:00 panels. This conversation took place at 3:45. Oh dear.

I wandered downstairs, clutching an emergency pear, in need of protein. The text-message conversation continued. "Twenty minutes and five lies later, the cab is here." "We aren't even on the Pike yet." Aaaaagh. I informed trowa_barton that my-husband-his-moderator might not be here for his first panel ever. The panic was mostly fleeting. I wandered for a bit, unable to think about anything but protein, until trowa_barton hunted me down with orders from his lovely wife to haul me up to their room and feed me some string cheese so I could think straight. Bless you, y'all.

Adam and Elayna sped into the hotel at about ten minutes to go time. I got them situated. Then. Panels!

Food Communicating Culture in Literature
How do writers communicate things about their cultures and characters via the food they use? What can you discern about cultures based on if they get their food in pill form, if they are vegetarian/vegan, omnivores, carnivores? How does the anatomy and physiology of your aliens or magical creatures dictate their food requirements? What about the terrain? Does the diversity of food culture—and what it communicates—on Earth get shown in literature? John Bowker, Stephanie Clarkson, Shira Lipkin, Larissa Niec, Trisha Wooldridge (m)

This actually started out as the fiber arts panel, as Larissa and I were alone at the table for a bit, I was wearing my new shawl, and there were crocheters in the front row. Panel idea for next year: "Domestic Arts" in Genre Fiction. We decided this when y'all were not there. In all seriousness, we did have great attendance for a 5pm Friday panel, and Trisha dashed in just in time for panelist introductions. The panel itself was great - we got into a really broad range of food-related topics, including sensuality, communal rituals, the economics of food production and transportation, multiple food cultures within a story, dietary taboos, and class issues. It was a great start to a con, and exactly why I love doing panels - it's not just that I like to talk about this stuff, but I like to talk about this stuff with intelligent and thoughtful people who bring up cool stuff I hadn't considered. Great panel, should run again. Next year, we should bring snacks!

Interstitial Arts: A Discussion
Interstitial art refers to any work whose nature falls between, rather than within, the familiar boundaries of recognized genres, making the work difficult to categorize or describe. This open discussion will be moderated by the co-founder of the Interstitial Arts Foundation, with participation by members of the IAF's Board and Working Group eager to discuss what interstitial art means to our community and how the IAF could better support and encourage interstitial work. Wendy Ellertson, Andrea Hairston, Felice Kuan, Ellen Kushner (m), Shira Lipkin, Geoffrey Long, Larissa Niec, Delia Sherman, Sarah Smith

And everyone else. Like all IAF discussions, this was more a roundtable hanging-out than a formal panel. And again with the great ideas from smart people! I have dance/theater ideas to work out now. Yay. Major props to avivasedai for fetching me coffee during this, because I was about done for if I didn't get some caffeine. Yes, at the very beginning of the con. Yes, I know this spells doom.

The group adjourned upstairs for pizza; cluegirl, aquila_dominus, and I hied ourselves up to Green Room (food now, but not GF food yet) and then to Staff Den, where I got turkey chili nom. Future reference: the turkey chili is the only 'song-safe hot food in Staff Den, moar turkey chili forever please. We then joined the rest of the IAF, where we remained until cluegirl's wonderful reading.

I may have called cluegirl a tease. *koff*

From there, we hit tamidon's Con-Tiki party, which was a fabulous success from what I could tell! I don't think I got to any more parties that night. But I tell you what, that was the one to get to on Friday. :)

Then bed, at a somewhat reasonable hour.

Arisia! Saturday.

I knew that this would be my make-or-break day, for reasons that will become apparent. Note to all y'all: Nine panels + a reading? Don't do it. I don't care how awesome they all look.

I woke slowly and gradually. Thankfully, Adam's CPAP hadn't kept me awake. (That would change.) Leisurely breakfast of GF pumpkin bread, shower, quick wander through the lobby before going to feste_sylvain's First! Reading! Ever!

It will not come as a shock to you that I find feste_sylvain awesome. He read my favorite-piece-by-him-so-far and rocked it; and since he read first, as I had begged him to, I was able to slip out right after and go get my shit together for my reading. Because I hadn't. Of course.

Also, getting your shit together for your reading is annoying because you have to read the whole thing. Exactly as you'll read it at the reading. Because if you don't, you will find that you've run out of time at the actual reading, and you will not like it. This hasn't happened to me, but I've seen it happen to other people; I usually read flash fiction and poetry, so if I'm going long, I can just leave one piece off, but for Arisia I was reading four scenes from Cicatrix and I needed to make sure they flowed. So. 25 minutes of mumbling to myself in the hotel room. And then...

Take Back the Sci-Fi
Sexual assault and rape frequently get used as symbolic plot devices, with no consideration of how sexual violence actually affects survivors and the people around them. Let's discuss books that accurately portray the repercussions of and recovery from sexual assault, as well as those that merely use it as a shortcut to character development, those that end up glorifying it, and how sexual violence can be written in a way that is true to the character and respectful to survivors. Genevieve Iseult Eldredge, Catt Kingsgrave-Ernstein, Ken Kingsgrave-Ernstein, Shira Lipkin (m), Trisha Wooldridge

This is a panel that succeeds wildly or fails miserably depending on the panelists and the moderator. This is the third time overall that I've modded it, second time at Arisia, and the streak remains unbroken; we rocked it. One point of fail from the audience, and cluegirl lowered the hammer on the dude, and I am just overall happy with how it went once again. Go Team Us!

I'm sure I had lunch around then. I don't remember what. I believe it was one of a string on peanut butter sandwiches. I never want another peanut butter sandwich. After that, wandering and hanging out with people. I think that was also my first cursory sweep of the art show and dealer's room.

Next three items were back to back to back.

Alternative Activism
Many fans are also heavily involved in activism, advancing the rights of queer/poly/kink/trans/etc. folks. At this panel, you will learn the best ways to get your voice heard, and what organizations and causes could use your support. Come share your skills, meet some fellow activists, and get some ideas for how to best fight for your cause. Darkteddybear, Bendy Yoga Girl, Shira Lipkin (m), Lawrence Nelson, Mike Schneider

Everyone else knows each other but they made me the moderator, oh hai. This was one of the panels I honestly felt could benefit from an even longer timeslot, just because the topic is so broad. But we got a lot of great discussion and audience participation, yay! Darkteddybear was one of the Finds of the con for me, and we had several meals together afterward talking rapid-fire about activist stuff, thus proving the adage that if you get two activists in the same room they will form a committee. NEVER MORE TRUE.

This was also me breaking out of my rut a bit, branching out into the fan interest stuff after pretty exclusively doing literature, comics, and fast track for the past five or so Arisias, and I'm glad I did.

SF and Fantasy as the Modern Myth
John Campbell, Joseph Campbell, Tolkien, and George Lucas: What is the role of myth in F&SF, and F&SF in myth? Does the ubiquity of SF's tropes in society support the thesis that SF is our modern myth? And, if not, what is? Mark L. Amidon, Renée Johnson, Shira Lipkin (m), Gail Martin, John G. McDaid

Moderating my boyfriend, aw yeah.

One of the things I found most amusing about the panel was that audience members had already seen me running everywhere like crazy. My overscheduling was a known thing.

I feel like the panel went well despite. Despite the fact that at least one panelist seemed to not understand the panel topic and only wanted to talk about classical mythology. Despite some audience members assuming that us declaring that SF&F has become our modern myth meant that we were saying SF&F was the universal monomyth, which no it isn't. But we did have a great discussion besides that, and good audience interaction. Boyfriend was totally on point. Go boyfriend!

Reading—Lipkin, Rabuzzi, Sklar

So yeah. Scary.

I knew I wanted to read from Cicatrix. I knew that when I read from Cicatrix at Readercon, I was not happy with it - essentially, I knew I'd read the wrong pieces. All of the darkness, none of the redemption. For someone who usually has about 50% whimsy in her readings, that doesn't feel right. Cicatrix is just not going to be whimsical, but there are parts that are less depressing and more graceful.

I strung together four scenes, three of which were Ash-and-Aaron-centric to show the progress of their relationship, and one of which was Ash and Kai, to end on a note of impending doom. I made the decision to not infodump about what the elsewheres were and how one got there; originally I had an infodumpy scene in there, but it made the reading overlong and fucked up the pacing. And I have been realizing how different novels are from short stories, structurally. It doesn't work for Ash to infodump because that's not who Ash is and because with the pacing of a novel, it works better to unveil things slowly, and that's how Ash would do it anyway. Those of you who hasn't heard Cicatrix before - how did that pacing work for you?

And really, everyone at the reading - how was that?

Since I usually read whimsy, like I said, I'm used to continual audience feedback in the form of laughter at appropriate places. Here, dead silence. Which felisdemens later assured me was everyone holding their breath. I did hear thunderpigeon gasp at one point, which was a good point for him to be gasping. But. Nervous 'song is nervous! So. Feedback?

I read with thunderpigeon and Daniel Rabuzzi, who were both excellent. Our stuff is all very different, but I feel like we all fit together very well!

After the reading, dinner with asim, Darkteddybear and his wife, and badseed1980, then parties.

At the Barfleet party, the ladies from dinner and miss_lisa_ma declared ourselves the Rump Parliament.

Which resulted in poor feste_sylvain getting a drunken text message as he was right about to start moderating his 11pm panel that read "We are the Rump Parliament."

He has learned to take this in stride.

The official greeting of the Rump Parliament is "Welcome to the Rump Parliament. May we touch you?" This resulted in a puddle of men at our feet. But that's really not much different from any other party. Also much cuddling from awesome people of all genders, yum.

The Barfleet party was also notable for me convincing many lovely women to drink an incredibly nasty drink called a YT. I cannot tell you what that stands for, because if I say it I have to drink another one. Y'all, I am occasionally wicked and cruel. I blame scifantasy for convincing me to drink the damn thing in the first place.

I went from there to Ziggurat Labs, where I got the tour from co-host xthread, and bartender xiphias put up with my "I have to know what is in every drink please and thank you no surprises and no citrus" and gave me a Hugo Loser, which resulted in me wandering around for an hour or so informing the world at large that my bourbon was carbonated. Because that's what happens when you carbonate my bourbon. Let that be a lesson. I finally caught up with hammercock and rikibeth and fun conversations were had. And I had a great "oh! yes! I know you from The LiveJournal!" moment with crewgrrl and iambliss, and was given a beaker with an eyeball in it.

I finally wandered off to bed at around 3am.

Big mistake.

To be continued tomorrow.