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.