I had to be up in time for a 10am panel on Saturday. Since I went to bed at 3:30 or thereabouts, I spent much of the morning thinking "gaah. Gaaah. Brain no work. Go, brain. Brain. Braaaaiiiin."
I wandered over to Michaelangelo's for coffee. I got coffee. It wasn't enough. Then I was up to the green room for my 10am panel: ( Activism and Balance )
Day one of WisCon tends to start a bit late. I was up and registered by 9:30 (local time), and started hanging around some of the public spaces -- second floor (near registration) and the hotel lobby -- looking for people that I know.
And I conveniently ran into a lot of people. polyfrog, pokershaman, wild_irises, redbird, and so forth. Those first few, "Hey, what's new in your life?" moments. I had a good lunch with Ian H. at the Nepali restaurant, which is, I think, my favourite restaurant in Madison (there's something about their Dal that's tremendously tasty). After lunch, I went to the gathering. I really wanted to see hypatia's locksport table. Totally packed! Exceedingly popular event. So I wandered away, gabbed with deepforestowl and maevele and a few others. Eventually, I found a spot at the spillover locksport table, and tried to call up the information that I read 20 years ago. I managed to get one tricky five-pin lock to open, but all the others eluded me. I could feel pins "catch", but I was having difficulty maintaining the "right" amount of torque to ensure that the bottom part of the pins could drop without hindrance.
All-in-all, good fun. I'll probably look into getting a set of tools at home so I can practice more.
At 4:00, I went to the "Chicks Dig Time Lords" panel:
Chicks Dig Time Lords
There is a perception that there weren't many women in Doctor Who fandom before the New Series was launched. This is patently false. Women have had a major role in Doctor Who fandom since the inception of the show. Do women approach and experience their Doctor Who fandom (or other media fandoms) differently than men? This panel explores different approaches within an assumed male-dominated fandom. Approaches to fandom discussed will range feminist critique to costuming to fan fiction.
Mostly the panel had little to do with that write-up. There was some early acknowledgement that women attending Doctor Who conventions before the New Series were looked upon as odd creatures ("Will you be our mascot?"), but most of the rest of the panel was more "My Doctor Who squeee: let me describe it to you!" And that was kinda fun, but not really the Srus Kdemic Nalisis™ that the description made it out to be.
"Our fandom is bigger on the inside..."
"The sixth Doctor has a costume that was made for radio."
A lot of the conversation had to do with whether or not anyone was having sex on the Tardis. (Were Ian and Barbara lovers? Does the Doctor have a willie?) The conversation was fun and raucous. There was only a little tiny discussion of the Matt Smith episodes (mostly because people were trying to not spoil episodes that some people might not have seen). The consensus seems to be that people like Matt Smith, that people love Amy Pond, and that people hate the Mighty Morphin' Power Daleks.
I had dinner with the crowd including bookzombie, lcohen, j00j, boxofdelights, kalmn, clawfoot, eeyorerin, epi_lj and other people and partners and so forth. I was happy to put a face to j00j, who I've seen commenting on the DreamJournal and so forth. It was great to meet the juggler and bookzombie's SO.
Then it was off to the Opening Ceremonies, in which Ellen Klages and Pat Murphy did an incredibly funny performance as libraries talking about respectability and science fiction. "You're reading a book! Respectable! But it has a rocket on the cover. Too bad."
(Ooops. Running out of time. Must finish this a bit later).
I'm not a morning person, by any stretch of the imagination. But on Driving-to-Wiscon Day, I was out the door by 8:15, and off for adventure. The nearest adventure, in this case, involved lunch with my grandmother when I stopped in Sarnia.
It was a good lunch; my grandmother is still sorting through stuff that my grandfather had collected and gathered in his lifetime. He apparently had every bill he'd ever paid in his life in a filing cabinet. Out! Shredded! Away!
Question for librarians on my reading list: my grandfather has a complete set of an internal company (Imperial Oil) magazine going back to the '30s. My grandmother was going to chuck them. I suggested that she consider giving them to a library. Do libraries want stuff like this? Or is it just more crap?
My Aunt Bev dropped in: I hadn't seen her in about 15 years. She still a hoot, and a bit of a wild child. And I got news of a crop of cousins and other relatives. She was asking me about what I do in Haiti -- a question that I'm never sure how to answer concisely. I do a lot of things in Haiti. And I ranted at her. The topic that set me off was "Maybe the earthquake will mean that Haitians will learn to help each other instead of relying on outsiders for so much help." Gah. Where do you start?
But then it was back on the road. U.S. customs was being stunningly slow, and I was sitting in my car at the border for about an hour and a half.
And then it was lotsa driving. I hit Chicago at about 7 (Chicago time), and stopped for my traditional dinner with Mambo T. I met Mambo T on my first trip to Haiti, and we've kept in loose contact over the years. First, dinner was all about catching up on gossip: people we know, Head-Desk stories, sprinkled with copious amounts of "Oh god, she did what?!?" Then we were talking about the earthquake and what that was like for us. I don't think there are very many people in my life who have the same experience of the Haitian earthquake that I have; it was good to be able to talk about that stuff in an environment of comfortable familiarity.
Then it was back on the road for the final leg. I hit Madison around 11:30. No one I knew was hanging out in the lobby, but on the second floor, I bumped into kalikanzara and others playing Zar. Liz, who I only know as someone who knows kalikanzara, was there. I kept meaning to say that I still have the miniature princess rubber duckie that she gave me, randomly, in an earlier WisCon; duckie sits on my monitor at home, quietly observing all of my journal posts.
I played Zar once before, at last WisCon, and I wasn't great with the rules. But it was a few hours of good fun, bad puns, and advice on how to get dates (call the cops! Who knew?)
Now I'm here. It's WisCon, and I'm loving it.