kleenexwoman: A caricature of me looking future-y.  (Cephalohat)
[personal profile] kleenexwoman

Wow, the con was a blast.

There was some poor management. Some bands that were promised to come did not. The weekend pass was, I am told, very high for a small first-year con. The badges did not arrive until 7 PM the first night. Programs were being sold for $5 each and they ran out of them the first day. The con management put up a notice on the Facebook page the day before the con that anyone underage had to get a waiver signed via their parents, and had to never leave their parents' side during the whole con, which scuttled the plans of a lot of teenagers to attend. Also, a really crucial party was moved around five times before it even began. But on the whole it was a good time.

Colleen and I wanted to be one of THOSE COUPLES so we tried to match. The first day, I wore a cowboy outfit, and she came later from work and wore a short leather skirt. I got to the con a bit early to get my badge, but they hadn't gotten the badges so I got a chintzy little bracelet. I ended up hanging out at a panel run by a friend of mine. She was doing a metal-imprinting workshop, and I got to hammer on some metals and also be taught how to acid-etch metals. I made a janky metal plaque saying RAYS 8OOZE (because I couldn't find the B) and then she told me that she'd help me rivet it onto my cheap little flask holder to cover up the liquor logo stamped on it. Then Colleen finally made it there, and we hung out with her friend Spence and talked shit about people. I also went to find my friend Vespertine, who makes AMAZING jewelry. She was in the vendor's room and had told me she could put some of my stuff onto her table. I only ended up selling one wire-wrapped key, but she was really nice about putting stuff on her table, and she said that she loved my work and was happy to have it on her table.

Then we went to an authors' panel. I forget precisely what the focus was, but I was a bit drunk and dressed like a cowboy and was 1/5 of the audience, so we all had a very interesting talk. Scott Lynch and Elizabeth Bear were there, as were Pip Ballantine and a couple of local authors. I sort of fell in love with Elizabeth and Scott. They are dating. Oh, okay, I just checked the program grid on the website...it was about defining steampunk, which is always kind of a bullshit question, but it was still a really cool talk and I was slightly too drunk to remember what everyone said, but still it was awesome. No, it was "Stump the Author." I got in halfway through in time to hear everyone talk about their favorite authors. The military guy was into Heinlein, which was unsurprising. Scott Lynch confessed his adolescent love of L. Ron Hubbard and his experience being turned on to fantasy by the most annoying nerd in his gaming group, and talked about what he thought the difference between litfic and genre fic was. Then they threw the question over to the audience, and I ended up afterwards chatting with Elizabeth Bear about Man from UNCLE fandom and activism and how to-read piles are a reminder of your own mortality. FUCKING AWESOME.

Then we got hungry, so we went out to eat. I have been to this hotel multiple times for conventions and I was really sick of going out to the mall across the street or the Wendy's next door for food, and we were in Dearborn, which is a very Arabic area, and I was fucking determined to find some shawarma that wasn't crap mall shawarma. We drove several miles down the main drag until we were too hungry to be picky and stopped in a little place that had $3 sandwiches and amazing tabbouleh. It was nice to get to hang out with Spence. We didn't want to go to the opening ceremonies and there wasn't much going on until later, so we ended up going to Target and shopping for con necessities. It's really weird to hang out with someone who goes "EWWWW" whenever you and your girlfriend kiss and then admits that they need KY so they can more easily fuck their friend with benefits who is coming to see them on Sunday.

Hmm. I sincerely don't remember what we did after that. I believe we went to the other authors' panel that day, and then Colleen wanted to go to a Stone Clover concert. We wanted to change--I had a green velvet thing that makes me look like Oscar Wilde. We ended up in the room of the friend who was running that workshop. Unfortunately, by the time we both got changed, Colleen was not in a very good mood and we ended up eating leftovers sullenly in the hall while avoiding the conrunner, who Colleen doesn't like. I ran into the romance writer in the bathroom and said that my girlfriend was unhappy so we were not going to be partying that night, and the romance writer told me that sex comes in waves, like real estate, and she should know because she is getting divorced and selling her house.

We ended up drinking and wandering around until we collected the Spence and left. Spence was crashing at my house that night, so we all ended up crawling into bed topless. To Colleen's disappointment, no sex happened, but Spence appears to be a giant bed hog.

DAY TWO. We meant to get to the con at 10:30 when it opened, but didn't get there until nearly noon because nobody can fucking get out of bed. The first panel I went to was Steampunk World Building, which pretty much turned into Scott Lynch and Pip Ballantine talking about British food and culture shock. Pip is from New Zealand, so her experience with American culture was pretty different.

We were considering going to LGBTQIA in Victorian Times, but realized the group that was putting it on was mostly composed of a group of people I really don't like and don't want to hang around with, so we went to Red Robin for burgers and I babbled at Colleen a bit about the worldbuilding for some novels I want to write. She helped me figure out how to make a Tolkien-in-reverse story about Detroit I've been tossing around really work. We also ran into some people on the way who were intrigued by our costumes. Colleen noticed more people who seemed to be displeased by them, but I didn't. I'm not sure if it's because she's used to and expects people who disapprove of her appearance (she makes an effort to wear short skirts and have dyed hair in a small town in the next county over, whereas I tool around the suburbs of a larger city and stick to jeans and flannel), or whether I just don't really notice people until they come up and ask me why I'm wearing goggles.

Then we went to the connections panel, done by my friend. Learned how to connect metal or metal + other stuff using cold rivets, which was very useful. Colleen sort of snoozed during that panel. She is friends with the lady who ran it, but she was not super interested in learning how to cold rivet. Which is totally fine. I enjoyed the hands-on experience.

After that, we tooled around the con and checked up on how people were doing. There was a wedding going on in the main hall. It turned out that the people who had scheduled the wedding had REALLY wanted to have it there because that was where they had church every week and it HAD to be that weekend...They had mimes. I don't get it, either, but they had mimes. Anyway, it was interesting to watch people milling around the wedding trying to be respectful. The bride did not seem super happy, but everyone else in the wedding party was interested and liked talking to the steampunks. Some people got pictures.

We did pop into a HANDS ON SCIENCE workshop that some of Colleen's friends were doing, but stayed for a short time because the room was full of small kids and very hot. When we left, they were testing to see the voltaic measure of various citrus fruits. We got coffee from the hotel bar--never get hotel coffee unless it's Starbucks, it was awful--and I got annoyed at paying $3 for crap coffee, then I had some flask booze and went into the vendor's room, which is not always a good idea. I bought a fancy TARDIS pin and some patches for my dieselpunkdyke outfit. The vendor's room was a bit more sparse than I am used to at a con, probably because it is a smaller first-year con and most of the vendors were local. Also $300 for a table, which is why some people decided to drop out. A few people who make more expensive and unique stuff cleaned up, but I know a few vendors who won't be coming back next year because they didn't even break even.

Then we went to a panel on distilling gin. To my disappointment, it was not about how to make bathtub gin, but how to make gin flavoring to put into alcohol. Still interesting, but the process was a lot more work-intensive and dangerous than I cared to try.

We kind of drifted around looking for a party after that. Ended up at a social with vodka lemonade and cheese and crackers, and I actually had a decent time talking to a gigantically dorky cute guy who tried to convince me to cosplay as anime characters I had never heard of. Then he asked me if he came off as gay. Colleen said she thought he was angling for a threesome. I got sick of nerdboy, so I dragged Colleen elsewhere to look for a party. We went to use Spence's room to change, and we might have had a quickie in Spence's hotel room. Yep. That's how I roll. We didn't really feel like going out to party after that, so Spence dragged in a guy with a fake but convincing English accent who said he was an empath and informed me that I was very hard to read. He decided to call me "Q." We hung out in Spence's hotel room all night and just talked until I fell asleep, which was perfectly all right with me and precisely what I had really wanted to do that evening.

The next morning saw us rushing out before noon to get to what I thought was the second iteration of a panel on steampunk cooking led by a local gent who is dapper and that everyone wants to sleep with. It was actually the second part of a two-parter, which apparently nobody had known because the schedules that were up on the walls were bare-bones and misspelled. So we watched him make some tomato salad and croquettes and  talk about cooking and Victorian cooking--apparently Victorian cookbooks were mostly creative suggestions for the otherwise experienced chef rather than step-by-step manuals like you get now, and they actually were not into vegetables, and also seasonality is good...He made a shrub, which is 1 part vinegar flavored with stuff (in this case, raspberries which had sat in it), plus one part sugar, plus 4 parts water, and was super delicious.

Then we did a panel about getting published. I took copious notes. Then Colleen and I hung out with Scott and Bear and we had a conversation about skinny male models and Iggy Pop's chesticles and I got traumatized and turned even more lesbian. After that was a panel on "What's Hot and What's Next," which was all about fads in steampunk and getting steampunk out to the masses. We all agreed that everyone was super eager to predict the death of anything, especially steampunk with the whole Justin Bieber robot arm thing, and I put in my 2 cents about trendiness, and afterwards Scott and Elizabeth and Colleen and I all agreed that G.D. Falksen's projected Steampunk Symposium, at which he would write down all of the rules for steampunk, was dumb, and we hoped that the community as a whole would pay no attention to it whatsoever.

Then we went out and got some sketchy Chinese food and chatted with Spence and the poet they were about to screw. I said that I thought steampunk worked because fat nerds got 100x hotter when they put on corsets and vests. In my defense, I was blood-sugar low and about to stuff my face with General Tsao's. I also realized that while I love talking about fiction with fiction authors, I hate talking about poetry with poets. Weird, eh?

After that, a friend of mine was doing a lecture on A History of Hats, so we went and chilled out there while I tried to sew a button back onto my flashy red jacket. It was a pretty interesting lecture, all things considered, and she was sort of nervous about it so we all went up and told her how great she was and gave her a little constructive feedback after.

Then it was LADIES OF AETHER. All of the lady authors in the place met to discuss ladies in steampunk. We talked about historical characters who could be made steampunk--Harriet Tubman, some famous suffragettes, lady pirates, Sylvia Plath, STEAMPUNK ELEANOR ROOSEVELT. I asked about consciously including feminism in books and whether it was appropriate to dump lectures on the reader or not. After it was over, Scott Lynch came up to me and was like, "I'm gonna be devil's advocate, but if Neal Stephenson can lecture the reader about anything he wants, you as a woman should be able to lecture readers about feminism," and we chatted a bit about Joanna Russ and Neal Stephenson (Bear is not impressed with Stephenson's lectures) and it got into "Oh god, straight people love," and Scott was both the token feminist guy and token heterosexual.

All this totally doesn't make sense maybe, but we just had awesome short little conversations and it was great.

After that, we mostly just needed to go party. We found a Starbucks bathroom to change in since nobody had a room we could borrow. Colleen got waylaid by a small child insisting that Colleen was a lizard (green hair) and the child was Batman because she had black hair. Attempting to do flapper makeup back at the con, I was found by a Makeup Fairy who drunkenly did my makeup as a whorish flapper and she kissed me through a blotting tissue.

Then we partied, and the party was finally awesome, and I conked out in the middle of it and had to be taken home.

Thus endeth the con.
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kleenexwoman: A caricature of me looking future-y.  (Default)

April 2015

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