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This was a difficult Arisia for me; I had a ton of urgent stuff dropped in my lap at the last minute, plus sleep dep, other serious health stuff, and landlord/tenant drama (still unresolved). I would not have survived this con without my awesome fellow panelists and my Backup Project staff, so major props to all of you!
Pretty much everything that could go wrong on the way to the con on Friday did. But I managed to get us all checked in and registered, and got to the Backup Project table in time. manycolored helped out on that first shift, which was really necessary, as asim and Elayna (and everyone's luggage), Judah, and Adam all arrived in shifts and needed to get situated in hotel rooms and set up with badges and food and plans. Which all happened more or less seamlessly, because manycolored was cool with starting her first con ever behind a table sometimes-alone talking about sexual harassment. Phew.
Also cool: We were next to the Warmer Winters table. The nice lady from Warmer Winters had brought skeins of chunky yarn and handmade needles to distribute to anyone who wanted them - to knit scarves for homeless veterans. Cast on 13, knit garter stitch, when you're done you have a scarf! So if you saw people knitting garter-stitch scarves with clearly-DIY needles during panels, that's what that was - a nifty MLK-weekend service project. I totally support this and hope they come to more cons. Apparently they got 13 scarves, which isn't bad for a first outing. Due to my ridiculous panel load and everything-else load, I didn't finish til Monday, so I'm mailing mine in tomorrow. But if you don't do cons like I do, and most of you don't, you can totally do a scarf in a weekend. For an excellent cause.
My first panel was Introduction to Arisia; I'd been put on it pretty much just to talk about our sexual harassment policy and the Backup Project, but of course I talked about panels and readings too. (Note: When our moderator was late, the other panelists both turned to me and asked me to moderate. I guess I have a mod vibe?)
I believe that I then proceeded to eat something? I failed at both the 5 and 2 parts of the 5-2-1 rule this Arisia, the 5 (hours of sleep) because of the usual stuff, the 2( hot meals) because staff den decided that they weren't going to provide any gluten-free food (but were going to label things that they knew weren't GF as GF - mine were not the only complaints), and no one in green room at any point that I was in there had any idea what any of the ingredients of the dishes were, save that the beef stew had beef in it. I lived on peanut butter sandwiches and, when we could coordinate schedules, some of fiddle_dragon's and asim's food. Since I've been having that constant-nausea thing, I often wasn't hungry, and without that hunger I was too busy to prioritize hunting down food - so often my body would be in full protest before I'd realize that I needed to administer some calories. (The 1 in the 5-2-1 rule is the shower. That, I did.)
Then there were parties, and I'm not going to break down all of the parties for you, save that I repeatedly took full advantage of the fact that Judah is amenable to dancing for lecherous women. *grin*
My sleep was the usual, and so I woke up late and not quite functional. I ended up punting on both of my 10am panels, which I never do - but given how sleep-deprived I've been and the fact that my medications have been far less effective, I had to put rest above professionalism. Because seizures are worse than missing panels.
Saturday was my hella-busy day even without the 10am panel. Given how January's been thus far, I had no time to perfect and hone my reading, so I just brought the 4,000 words I couldn't concentrate enough to cut and figured I'd read til I ran out of time (the privilege of going last).
The reading? Was awesome.
I'd dragged jzer in at the last minute to play cello for us! He played a bit before each reader. I also brought my becoming-famous oatmeal raisin cookies, and a free wish for everyone. (I'd advertised a stuffed bear, but alas! I forgot to pack Edgar!) skogkatt read first, an awesome Hansel & Gretel story (or, rather, a Gretel story what has some Hansel). cucumberseed read "Pony" - I have informed him that I consider that my story, as I get bedtime stories about space ponies, and he allowed as how that was just fine. And I read Cicatrix. Pretty much right from the beginning, though not the chunk of it that I read last Arisia. Yes - I got linear! The cuts I needed to make made themselves quite apparent during the reading - there are some parts that are super-triggery instead of the baseline level of triggery that runs throughout, so I didn't read the things that most directly access Ash's physical memories. If that makes sense. Poor cucumberseed was reading over my shoulder and therefore got the whole damn thing! But the rest of the audience was partially spared. I think it went really well overall, and I was able to get to a very good stopping point - and, after applause, upon still having five minutes, I did "The Changeling's Lament".
From there, I met my fellow BARCC volunteer Bobby downstairs; he'd come to help me do the Con Safety & Social Change workshop in the Teen Lounge. The Teen Lounge was in a terrible space this year - right off the con suite, no privacy, very noisy - but we actually had a really good group, ranging from about 8 to 12 people as people drifted in. BARCC workshops are usually pretty structured, but we figured the group had good background, so it was more of a roundtable discussion guided by me and Bobby than us lecturing. It went so well! <3 Also, while that was going on, the Backup Project ran out of buttons. Diane got us stickers, though, so we were able to keep distributing stuff! But yeah, 100 buttons distributed by 4pm Saturday. Awesome. :)
Bobby stuck around for the Sexual Harassment and Assault in Fandom panel. I was pretty crispy-fried at that point, so I am super-glad that cluegirl, asim, sweetmmeblue, and I are a total rockstar team. I was told later that it's really clear that we've done this before - we have great rapport, we're all on the same page, and we just bounce off each other really well. We had very little fail - just one point that got swiftly corrected (see here), and one serial predator who asked a few questions, didn't like the answers, and wandered off. Otherwise, fantastic audience! So engaged! So awesome! Which is especially good given that, at this point, I had spent my entire day talking about sexual violence, and if someone started shit, I might have just thrown my mic at them.
Also, maymay was there, which I did not know until after, when he told me he'd totally recapped the panel on his Tumblr as we were running it. Yes, that maymay. (!!!) His post appears to be down, but jnanacandra reblogged it, so you can still see it! And since maymay is sorta famous and tweeted about the panel, it went somewhat viral, to which I say AWESOME.
And then I waited forever for a bunless hamburger. And then there were parties. So many arties. Although not Barfleet, which got shut down! But we managed to Summon Party anyway, and our impromptu thing apparently sounded so fun that someone slipped a handwritten invitation to play Bananagrams with them under our door. With a picture of a banana. We are a good time, y'all.
I will post about Sunday and Monday later.