I have decided not to go to Wiscon this year. I currently have a reservation for a room at the Concourse, arriving Thursday afternoon and leaving Monday morning. If you would like me to transfer it to you, let me know. (The next step is to post on wiscon.info and to the wiscon communities on LJ and Dreamwidth, but I'm offering it to people I already know first.)

Since someone asked when I posted this to Dreamwidth: there is nothing majorly wrong, I'm just recovering slowly from a bad infection, and while I probably could do Wiscon, I'm not sure that I should, or that I would enjoy it if I did go.
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I won't be going to Wiscon this year, and I have a reservation at the Concourse which I would like to pass along. It's for Thursday night through Sunday night (Monday departure). I told them one person, but if I specified one king bed or two smaller ones I don't see a record of that here.

I'm posting to my own journal first; if I don't get a reply here in a few days, I'll post to the DW and LJ Wiscon communities and the mailing list at wiscon.info.
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Two good GoH speeches: Joan Slonczweski about her family and her scientific work, and Jo Walton talked about reading and writing. I slipped out before the award ceremony, and am taking a break while I think about whether to go to parties in a bit.

I also went to Jo's reading this afternoon: she read the beginning of My Real Children, the book she recently finished; some poems; and bits of Thessaly, the book she is writing now (though not, I think, during Wiscon).

This morning I slept a little later than usual (about a quarter to nine), had a light breakfast in the con suite, and then joined [livejournal.com profile] brynnya for an exercise walk and conversation on the shore of Lake Monona, which was very good for me and included lots of flowers, including one very late violet, and some waterbirds. It's comforting to be back where more of the birds are familiar (though Bellevue Downtown Park also has mallard ducklings).

ETA: Hello to Lisa who was wearing the rainbow outfit.
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I am arriving Thursday afternoon, possibly in time for the Room of One's Own reception and readings, weather and traffic through O'Hare allowing, and will be leaving after breakfast on Monday. Seattle is a lot further from Madison than New York is, and there are no nonstop flights. I'm not on programming this year (I didn't volunteer, because I wasn't sure I could attend the con until after the sign-up deadline), which means either that I am more flexible than usual, or that I will spend more time wondering what to do when.
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If I'm going to Wiscon, I should get plane tickets soon. They are already looking expensive, but I'm not sure whether that's timing, this year versus last, or flying out of Seattle rather than New York. The thing is, a lot of what I'm finding involves getting up unreasonably early (6:50 out of SEA) meaning getting up I don't know when); is this just an artifact of stupid software that will let me specify "depart between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m." but not "anything that leaves between 9 a.m. and 7 p.m." (in which case I will take a deep breath and run umpteen searches and scribble notes on paper) or is it really showing me what's out there and/or halfway affordable, given that I'm looking at flying a significant distance east and making at least one connection?

Also, if there's anything non-obvious and useful that you know about this route, please tell me.
It's now the beginning of July, and my memories are fading (which of course is part of why I want to make these posts in the first place, so I can look at them in a year or three). This is mostly a version of notes I made shortly after the con (and the first section is from a comment to [personal profile] amaebi):

cut for length )
redbird: purple drawing of a trilobite (trilobite)
( May. 31st, 2012 02:36 pm)
The first thing I did on Friday morning of Wiscon was wake up much too early.

The second thing I did was go soak in the hotel's hot tub. It was a little weird being there that early: when I got there, someone was using a pool vacuum to clear out some sand. We chatted a little, and he showed me how to turn the jets on. There was nobody else in the water, but two or three people were using the exercise room. I soaked a bit, hoping it would ease my shoulder and back, which had been sore for a few days, slid into the cool pool to keep my body temperature okay, and repeated. (Usually I swim, slowly and awkwardly, in the cooldown stage, but this time I just stood around, rather than exert my sore shoulder.)

I had an early lunch Friday with [livejournal.com profile] elisem at Nick's, a Greek diner on State Street (which is, or was, a regular hangout for Madison fandom), lured in by the chance at avgolemono soup. We talked, which was good, and then went back to the con, where I helped her set up her dealer's table. I went to my room, got a pair of earrings I'd sent her a bug report on a little while ago, and she put on new earwires. This batch of earrings had been sold as experimental, so I thought, correctly, that she would appreciate the bug report; I wasn't expecting free repairs, especially as Elise's usual "guarantee" is "everything will break, sooner or later" (though my earrings seem to get lost more often than wearing out). I think part of Elise's reason for repairing them/replacing the ear wires is that it gave her a chance to examine them and confirm our guess as to what had gone wrong.

This was also a chance to hang out and talk to her, and [personal profile] roadnotes, a bit more. Eventually I wandered over to the Gathering, where I browsed the clothing swap (but found nothing I liked that fit), and got a cookie and some hot water for tea. Someone expressed surprise that I had brought my own tea, but I have accepted that the otherwise excellent hotel cannot boil water. So I had some jasmine pearls, because I'm happy with green tea brewed at temperatures that would be too cool for black.

I went out to dinner with [livejournal.com profile] ashnistrike, her wife Nameseeker, and their friends Brin and Gary, who I don't think are on DW or LJ. After dinner, we went back to the hotel and hung out in the lobby long enough to miss opening ceremonies, as I usually do. (I sometimes enjoy them when I go, but they don't feel important to me, unlike the GOH presentations on Sunday.) In the last couple of years I've fallen very naturally into spending large chunks of time with them at Wiscon; this is one of those friendships that, as [personal profile] bcholmes puts it, are years deep and three days wide. My friendship with Ashnistrike and Nameseeker may be getting a bit wider than that: I do read Ashnistrike's LJ, and am hoping to see Nameseeker here in New York in a couple of weeks. But I wouldn't have any idea of how to find Brin and Gary, whose company I enjoy, other than by asking them to put me in touch.

The only party I specifically remember going to on Friday evening was the LJ/Dreamwidth one, which had user icon stickers, cake, and mimosas ([personal profile] holyoutlaw's idea of a weak drink was still stronger than I'd asked for, but not problematically so). Random conversations, and so to a relatively early bed.

(I didn't get to any programming Friday, unless you count the Gathering.)
I went to this rather than the other good things in that time slot because the day before, Elise Matthesen and Debbie Notkin had told me and Velma we should be there in the front row, partly so she could point to us as an example of a very long-duration friendship. I might have gone without that push, and am glad I did, because there was good discussion about things including what friendship means, how to nurture a friendship, and some of the problems that can come up, of expectations and either person feeling that s/he isn't giving as much as she's getting. Cat Hanna talked about some of the ways that friendships overlap and affect each other, including social groups that seem to center on a couple, and the unfortunate fact that a breakup can cost the ex-couple's friends some of their friendships, not only with the couple but each other. This was in the context of the lesbian community, people for whom friends become chosen family. (No ideas on avoiding that sort of loss, alas.)

Before the panel, I was reminded that [livejournal.com profile] rysmiel will say "my friend" to me in email, or while we're talking in bed, because that is so large a part of the connection there. (We were friends for a long time before that became a romantic relationship.) Which connects to Debbie (wild_irises)'s saying that she dislikes "just friends" because it devalues something important and difficult, and that you don't hear "just lovers." (My thoughts, not stated on the panel, but connected: There's a cultural assumption that if it's more than a single encounter, a sexual relationship must be important, and should be foregrounded and given priority over other things; unfortunately, we don't have another good way to say "friends who are not romantically/sexually involved.") I really want more vocabulary here, vocabulary that if it doesn't map closely onto the specifics of my life and feelings, at least doesn't contradict them.
redbird: closeup of me drinking tea, in a friend's kitchen (Default)
( May. 25th, 2012 07:54 am)
The chiya was a mistake, alas.

[personal profile] roadnotes and I had a fine dinner at Chauttara last night, but I yielded to the temptation of caffeine, which meant that after much good talk with her, when I tried to sleep, my arms were badly tensed up. Still, I am here and starting to feel caught up on that connection; Debbie ([Unknown site tag]) and [livejournal.com profile] elisem reasonably want us at their panel on the anatomy of friendship tomorrow, partly I think for how long we've known each other.

And then I woke up too early; since my shoulders have been tense and sore all week, I went down to the hot tub. I am now caffeinated, and going to go back, eat last night's leftover lamb by way of breakfast, and then see. Missing both Cattitude and Adrian at the moment, though I am used to having the morning tea alone while everyone else sleeps. Also missing a real keyboard; just take that as read for the weekend.
I ran out of steam on my Wiscon report/posts, but because even sketchy may be better than nothing, this is based on notes I jotted down weeks ago.

Monday morning in the con suite, I got into a good discussion of language and dialect, which also included a FoaF story about a fan traveling in Tokyo, lost on the subway despite following his written directions, looking up and seeing someone with a Klingon t-shirt, saying something like "speak Klingon to me!" so he tried it, and got an astonished look and then directions in patched-together Klingon to get around the lack of some useful words. As the person who told us this said, the Japanese fan probably went home and told all his friens "you won't believe this foreigner I ran into on the train!" That conversation was good enough that I was late to the panel on "Tiptree winners you really ought to read," a discussion of winners (and shortlist and longlist works) that the panelists thought particularly well of, or had held up well. Matt Ruff's Set This House in Order came up briefly, someone mentioned that they weren't sure it was sf or fantasy, and I spoke up to say we'd discussed that at the time (that was my year on the jury). One very organized panelist had a list of what she recommended; I took a copy but may have forgotten to pack it. (She teaches literature, and has taught a large fraction of the Tiptree books and stories in one of her courses.)

I had a nice lunch Monday with Janet Lafler and Matt Austern. We walked around the capitol square first: there was a restaurant they thought might be open, and after a couple of days of overcast, I said I was quite willing to go for a random walk on the warm, sunny afternoon. The place they'd had in mind was closed, but most of the way back to the hotel we found a nice place, somewhat beer-focused but with quite good food as well. I resisted the urge to order poutine after finding out how large the serving was; I did order a pint of cider, expecting that I wouldn't finish it even if it was good. It was good, and I drank maybe a quarter of it, interspersed with iced tea. We finished lunch, walked out into the square, and heard and then saw that day's union/anti-Walker demonstration. I told my friends "I belong over there," crossed the street, and joined in on "Solidarity Forever"; someone cheerfully let me look over the shoulder for the verses (I know the chorus, of course). A couple of minutes of that, and then someone thanked us all and said something like "See you tomorrow, or Wednesday, or Thursday." I have no way of knowing if my participation did any good, but I'm sure it didn't hurt, and it felt right.

I spent some time on Monday talking to my friend L (who wishes to keep a low profile online), Matt and Janet some more, and to [livejournal.com profile] kateyule. I also had a nice conversation on Sunday with [livejournal.com profile] intelligentrix, who is still living in New Orleans and who I hadn't talked to in ages. (If I've left you out of all of these, it's not you, it's the nature of human memory.)
This is somewhat fragmentary, because I'm writing it two weeks after the fact.

people and conversation, plus one panel )
Con report, Friday of Wiscon 35 (27 May 2011):

I should note up-front that I talked to a lot of cool people during the weekend, and even if I get through to Monday, these posts are in no way complete. (I'm starting this one the Sunday after the con, with some brief notes I made mid-week.) As you know, Bob, Wiscon is a feminist science fiction convention held in Madison, Wisconsin. The con hotel is a block from the state capitol building. This was Wiscon 35, and I've been going almost every year since Wiscon 20.

Read more... )
The first panel I went to, "How Intersectionality Enlarges Feminist Community," was about politics and activism, and grouped under "Feminism and Other Social Change Movements." The pocket program description is:

item description cut for length )

cut because this got long. And a bit rambly. )
I'm leaving for Wiscon in a couple of hours. I am not taking a laptop, and will be online minimally if at all.

I am taking my cell phone, but it's likely to be on vibrate a lot of the time. Your best bet for reaching me at the con, other than random encounters in the lobby or con suite, is probably to leave a note on the magic message board near Registration.

My flight home lands at LaGuardia at 9 p.m. Monday, so don't expect to find me online until Tuesday evening.
I have booked my flights to and from Wiscon; I spent a little extra to go non-stop, rather than chance spending hours in the Detroit airport (which has happened) or needing to take a bus from O'Hare. (It's on one of those "commuter" partner airlines, but I'd be on such a flight in/out of Madison even if only as far as Milwaukee.) Delta Airlines seemed to be trying to confuse me, but it's all sorted out. (I wasn't expecting the LGA-MSN and MSN-LGA flights to have the same flight number; [personal profile] cattitude suggested that this means the plane flies from New York to Madison, unloads passengers, loads, refuels, and flies back with the same crew. There was also some website weirdness, also now sorted.)



A couple of days ago, I got a check from the "McKesson Claims Administrator." This is a class action suit I hadn't even heard of, about overcharging for prescription drugs. I suspect this is from when I had the insurance plan under which I paid for my prescriptions up front, and then was reimbursed after an annual deductible. The letter says that the court that approved the settlement "authorized counsel for the Class to obtain electronic information from members of the [Third Party Payer] class members [sic] whose beneficiaries are also eligible to be part of the Class." There are bits about privacy protections. I googled, and this is a real settlement, and a fairly large one, so I went deposited the check at lunchtime today. As with my recent bonus, I am tempted to spend part of it on sushi. This may just mean it's been too long since I had sushi.
redbird: closeup of me drinking tea, in a friend's kitchen (Default)
( Apr. 4th, 2011 08:31 pm)
I offered to be a moderator on up to two panels that needed moderators. I'm not sure if I forgot to say "but not consecutive" or if that got lost. So, should I accept "Outside the Hero's Journey," "We're All Mad Here: Madness in Fiction," or both? (In either case, I'd be moderating one person I know and like, one I know of but don't know personally, and two I know nothing about, so that's not a basis for deciding.)

I'm mostly thinking aloud, but suggestions are welcome.

That's the end of May. In a couple of weeks, I, [personal profile] cattitude, and [personal profile] adrian_turtle are invited to a seder at my aunt's house. It's tempting, but the timing is a little tight: I'm going to Montreal April 15-18, and the seder is the afternoon of Tuesday the 19th. (Adrian would come down the 19th, stay over with us Tuesday night, and go home Wednesday morning.) It would be a bit tight, but not ridiculously so: I have tickets that should get me home from Montreal before dinnertime on the 18th.

Again, the issue isn't "do I want to do this?" but "these things are closer together than would be ideal for me."

ETA: I have spoken to my aunt, confirmed the timing, and told her I will let her know by Thursday whether we'll be there.
Today was warm and sunny (it's still warm, but the sun has set). I took the afternoon off, to enjoy it in a low-key way. Subway down to Chinatown for lunch (Excellent Dumpling), and then walked up to Greenwich Village to buy socks. Which is to say, mostly, that I wanted a destination at a reasonable distance, and this was straight up Lafayette Street from the Chinese restaurant to Eighth Street. I stopped partway there (near Spring Street) and sat on a bench, reading, for ten or fifteen minutes. There is a lot of construction going on on Lafayette Street: not just the subway station, but a variety of unrelated things. The Sock Man didn't have the socks I wanted in purple, but the staff think they will again; I bought a half dozen in basic black, and took their card since the cashier said I should call in a while and see if they have them in.

Then I walked west and south to the A train; the eastern half of Washington Square Park is fenced off, apparently near the end of being renovated. So, socks, sunlight, and then the train back uptown. The local crocuses that we've been awaiting impatiently through days of apparently unchanging buds have finally opened, quite exuberantly. There are dwarf irises on Isham Street just east of Seaman Avenue ([livejournal.com profile] cattitude spotted those Wednesday and showed them to me yesterday morning), and lots of daffodils on the eastern slope of Isham Park, along Broadway north of the A train. I spotted those Tuesday, and was very glad of them; daffodils before crocuses are a little anomalous, but they're fine and cheerful and made me feel like it was spring.

I hadn't done this sort of walk for the sake of walking in far too long: first it was my knees, and then it was winter. The knees still need a bit of care, but I'm glad to be walking recreationally again. (Yes, I've been walking quite a bit, but it's been to get somewhere, rather than picking a somewhere as a reason for the walk.)

I had some tea, then went and sat in the park here for a bit as well; I took the afternoon off in order to be outdoors, not in here with my computer and cat, however happy Julian was for the company. I saw some tiny white flowers growing next to a wall, the first wildflowers of the spring. When Cattitude got home we walked a bit more, and I showed him those flowers. My knees are not entirely happy, but that was true when I started the walk; I may yet take some naproxen.

I have, slowly, been filling out the Wiscon programming questionnaire, with a bunch of things I said I would like to attend, but not offering to be on, because the ones I am interested in, I don't think I'm the right person to talk about. I put off deciding whether to offer to be a drop-in moderator (for panels that have enough panelists, either in advance or at the last minute), but today is the deadline. I decided I was willing. I also wrote a last-minute program participant bio that I hope I'll be okay with in two months. Two, actually, one very brief and one longer. I mentioned having been a Tiptree juror in both, because it's the most relevant fact about me for this context.
Nisi Shawl will be the only Guest of Honor at Wiscon 35: SF3 has withdrawn the invitation to Elizabeth Moon.

announcement linked here
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