kittylady: (teach the controversy)
So Sunday started bright and early with another hangover, a visit to the concession suite for some water and a bit of fruit for breakfast, and the Rob Wilkin's Kaffee Klatch, wherein I got to hear more out of Snuff! and it was awesome.

After that came two missed events in a row, the Publishers, Agents & Editors panel followed by the Nanny Sutra panel, both of which were standing-room only by the time I showed up, and I was not fit enough to deal with that. But I did manage to get into the Fireside Chat with Bernard, and that was very fun. In addition to hearing about him growing cannabis in the police yard, I got to hear the story of how Bernard met his wife and volunteered an entire pub into creating a pottery class for her to attend, and it may have been one of the sweetest things I've ever listened to. Totally worth missing getting into the Pratchett and the Pagans panel that I wanted to attend next.

Some bigger rooms would have been nice.

Then came the Good Omens panel, and here I must issue an apology to some people. I didn't know. I really didn't know. All I knew was that seat-saving had been going on the whole con, my friends had gotten an early spot, and I cut in front of many people to join them since the doors weren't open. I'm so sorry. Here I just thought that there were more rude people than I'd expected, when I'd totally earned their rudeness and more. How was I to know that Neil fucking Gaiman was going to walk through the door with Sir Terry? Nobody had told me. I had no psychic ability to read the crowd and find out. I'm so sorry. And it was still worth it.

It was amazing. They chatted, well, like two friends who hadn't seen each other in forever, and after a while it seemed that they even forgot they had an audience. They joked, they laughed, they sang, and they swore like they were in a bar. I loved every minute of it, and my hands shook so much I couldn't get a single decent picture. They mostly talked about the infinite amount of problems they had releasing their book, the aggravation of trying to bend to impossible standards when adapting a screenplay, the difference that twenty years of amazing success in their field can accomplish when combined with two decades of graphics improvement, and how completely fantastic the four-part miniseries is going to be.

*nerdgasm*

I confess to being a bit starstruck, and spent the next twenty minutes in a daze of happy adrenaline and hangover toxins. Then I nerded with some more really cool folk, saw some more costumes, and mused that hopefully the next con wouldn't be held during a record heatwave because most of the detailed costumes seemed to be really heavy.

After that, I enjoyed some quiet in my air-conditioned room, rinsed the sweat off, and got ready for the Gala Banquet, one of the pearls of the last con. I'm afraid it was not so enjoyable this time around. The food was decent, even if the potatoes had been frozen, and the cheese samples were delicious. The floral clock was an unexpected nice touch, and the loot at the table was just as nice as at the Tempe convention. Sir Terry came in wearing a foam cheese hat and necktie, much to the amusement of all, and there was a charming knighting ceremony for several people that I barely recognized, and there was a bar. And the catering staff were almost invisible, they were that efficient. That's pretty much it on the good things.

The entertainment was... well, it was certainly memorable, although I walked out after a few skits. Many others were sensible enough to make it out before me. Some local improv group called Chad Vader. I'm not the biggest fan of improv at the best of times, but seeing them completely fuck up what should have been several easy skits... Well, if you're going to be the entertainment at a themed convention during one of the pricier events, you should probably brush up on the theme. I should have stayed, though. I have the feeling that if more had stuck around we might have gotten to see a rare event of bad clowns commiting suicide by mob. Cracking a bad line about writers commiting suicide at that con... yeah, I really have nothing more to add to that.

And then came moar drinking! So much more. You'd think I would have learned by that point, but no. I had learned nothing. And I was also drinking to hide the sad at the fact that I would be leaving early the next morning, missing all of the events of the closing day.

Here is where the cowardice comes in; I could have stayed an extra day, but we'd spent most of our available cash, it was a ten hour drive home, the husband had to go back to work sooner than both of us liked, and I did not want to sit through the closing ceremony, because that would bring home the realization that everything was over and I would spend the drive home sad and grumpy and snappish. By leaving early, I spent the drive being sleep-deprived and grumpy and snappish, with alternating times of extreme bounciness as I sorted through my box of loot. And I got home to my kitties and my own bed and my own bathroom that much faster, the last of which I had missed far more than I expected.

And I really hope the 2013 con is a closer drive. New York would be awesome. Pennsylvania would be even better.
kittylady: (teach the controversy)
Saturday began far too early; I don't think I got more than five hours of sleep at a time the whole convention. But the very patient people at the hospitality suite provided a good bottle of water and a chance to eat some food that had actually been cooked and not processed.

The first convention activity on my agenda was the much anticipated Wizards of Warwick (which I found out is pronounced "warrick") chat via Skype. Ian Stewart and Jack Cohen are both brilliant, and if I'd gotten more sleep or been slightly less wasted from the nights before, I might have been able to at least keep up, instead of feeling brain drift every five minutes. It was still worth missing the second Wyrd Sisters performance, and I'm not just saying that because some douchey parents let their kids stand on the seat in front of me for the whole play the night before. There were some great questions, like "what happens to the Disc if A'tuin dies" and several others to which the answer was "I don't know". It didn't fill up right away, which meant I got a great seat, but when it let out I was surprised to see that about a third of the room had filled up.

And then I went and did some sight-seeing, and the Art room was excellent for that. There were some fantastic pieces, ranging from sculpey masterpieces to a quilted Librarian and all manner of things in between, and I was the dumbshit that did not get enough pictures of it all. But other people did. Yay for other people with better cameras!

The Long Earth panel came next, and that was very cool. New books! New books! And Stephen Baxter was very easy to listen to, and although my view wasn't the best, I could hear the enthusiasm in his voice. A lot of love went into the making of the new books, and I am really looking forward to them. Unfortunately, I think that's another thing that I'm not allowed to tell you more of. But it was really cool.

And then the last few days caught up with me. I did some quiet wandering in the Dealer's room, where the husband's eye caught some sterling silver hedgehog earrings; the lady running the booth was kind enough to sell me three of the larger hedgehog beads, and then all of my disappointment over missing the beading class disappeared entirely, with a bonus for the friend who had missed the class with me. Then I went and visited the Art Fair thing in the outside world that was happening with some more cool people, and made the mistake of getting a burger from one of the carny stalls. That mistake lasted for some time, and I missed the Talking with Terry panel, for which I am still pissed off at myself. One of these days I'll learn. But overall, I'm sure the other people are glad I stayed away.

After that, well, there was really nothing that was scheduled that made up for a cool shower and a light salad. The Maskerade was really hot and crowded, and I at least made the effort to be there for the photo call. Thankfully I missed most of the Morris dancing. The most awesome costume I saw was of a working clacks tower, and I think it was the same guy in the very detailed Ronnie Soak costume. There was also an excellent Nanny Ogg, a really cool Death of Rats, a Sybil complete with flame-retardant clothing and a beautiful Errol, and so many others that I could not get pictures of because my hands were shaking. Never again will I touch a carny burger. Or any carny food.

Then I went and joined in what was probably a collective mistake on the part of many people as we went to the Seamstress Guild party, and I'm damn glad I did, because Sir Terry kindly graced us with his presence again, and the look on his face when someone tried to present him with a balloon sculpture shaped like a giant penis was just a thing of beauty. My camera was not on, and I did not get a picture, but I assure you that it was golden.

And then I went and made the bigger mistake of listening to the staff again, and after me and several others had spent much longer than we thought trying to out-nerd each other, we realized it was three in the morning again. And then another hour passed untill we all finally parted and went in search of rest, if not sleep.
kittylady: (teach the controversy)
Every night of the convention, including thursday, featured an open bar courtesy of the Seamstresses Guild. Thursday, I met up with awesome old friends and got very wasted, and don't remember nearly as much as I would like. But what I do remember was fucking awesome, and I have an excellent picture of said awesome that a lucky few will get to see.

Friday, despite the mild hangover, was wonderful. Thanks to the hangover and being from a timezone an hour ahead, I woke up in time to get my name on the Thieves Guild sign-up sheet. I was fortunate enough to have a ticket for the first signing session, and Sir Terry was kind enough to give my passport book* a fingerprint. I was only a little bouncy about that. Just a little.

Then came mingling as everybody waited for the Opening Ceremony. Maybe not so much mingling as nerding. The nerding was cool, but the ceremony was better. Two guys and a stuffed turtle did a fantastic musical skit that should have earned them a standing ovation, the benediction started a running joke, and the costumes made me wish for a better camera and a steadier hand.

Then came what is still my favorite part of both conventions: the Thieves Guild meeting. Unfortunately, I got there a bit late and didn't get a seat, but that was perfectly all right as I still got my packet. It was crowded, but I'm not surprised, because it was completely worth standing in the back for the whole show. I also received an awesome extra stamp in my book.

After that was the Reading with Rob. And here I'm going to do my little happy dance, because I got to hear a whole bunch out of the upcoming book Snuff, featuring the always-cynical character of Vimes. And I don't think I'm allowed to tell you more than that.

The next big scheduled event was the movie premiere of "Terry Pratchett: Choosing to Die", and I really didn't want to harsh my happy, so I ordered a burger that was nearly as big as my head from the restaurant and sat quietly in my room for a bit and watched Spongebob. In hindsight, if I had done more of that I probably would be recovering faster.

Later me and a friend tried to get into the hedgehog beading class, but it turned out that it was sign-in only, and we hadn't found the sheet in time, or even known of its existence. It made us somewhat sad, so we went to the bar and got drinks, and that brought the happy right back.

Then came my second favorite part of the convention, and that is by no means saying that it was anything but wonderful: the Wyrd Sisters play, performed by The Cromulent Shakespeare Company. They were just amazing. The surprisingly young woman who played Granny totally stole the show, and was a treat just to watch. The sheer amount of creativity that went into the production was staggering, and you could feel the love of the original coming through every scene. Sir Terry was there, and from what I could tell, he was loving every second of it.

At the Seamstress Guild party that night, the talented folks from the play were hanging out with us non-thespian folk, and were kind enough to let me pester them until all but one signed my passport book, because he wasn't there. As it turned out, the actress playing Granny was also celebrating her birthday, and she was extra kind enough to share a sip of her flask with me. She opened it and it smelled like sugar, then I tried a sip and it tasted like frosting. I have since determined that cake vodka would likely be something wonderful to make very dangerously boozy treats with, and I will put that plan into motion when I get my bills caught up.

It was at that point that I learned something dangerous: the staff were some of the coolest people at the con, and had some damn entertaining stories. Next thing I knew, it was three in the morning and I was already wiped out from the night before, and I needed to wake up early for a panel that I'd been looking forward to.

All in all, friday was the busiest day for me at the convention. I never did quite get that level of energy again, even though I really tried. Growing old sucks ass.

*The passport was this really spiffy thing designed by Bernard Pearson, a totally awesome person that if you should meet him then you should buy him drinks and just listen to him talk. You had a blank passport book at the beginning, and you got different stamps in it for visiting different parts of the con. Considering that there were several rooms I didn't get to at the last one, this was a spiffy way to encourage me to see all the sights.
kittylady: (teach the controversy)
Today I shall talk of non con stuff, as I am still exhausted.

First off, Madison is absolutely beautiful. Just gorgeous. There were bike lanes that were in constant use, horse carriages that wandered around, museums everywhere and tons of little shops that had just about everything. The people were fantastic; just from the locals I met some amazingly creative people. Granted, they were locals that were also cool enough to go to a Discworld convention, but they still made their city look good. Even the hobos were far more tolerable.

The cheese is just as wonderful as everyone says it is. I can give no higher endorsement.

The hotel had an amazing restaurant, and I solemnly regret not trying the salad bar. I also regret not sliding down the beautiful grand staircase bannister. The staff were amazingly polite, the bartenders were fantastic, and the security were kind enough to inform the husband that the hotel had been built on the site of an old church and was rumored to be haunted. Unfortunately, we did not see any ghosts, but they probably would have blended right in.

The only complaint I have involves the drive: fuck Chicago. In fact, fuck Illinois and their entire construction-poxed toll system. If I never drive through that state again it will be too soon.

There will be pics in several days; there's lots to sort through as several people were kind enough to share photo albums with me, and I promise to share in turn with you. But here's a spoiler to let you know why you should all be insanely jealous:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/vampiress144/5924026018/

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