a late and brief Arisia report
Longer version: I am never ever ever being on that many panel items ever again because by the end of the con I was basically sleepwalking, and I really did not get to see all that much in the way of programming that I wasn't on, though I did get sufficient dealer's room and artshow time. Nine panels in four days is at least three panels too many. The problem was, I couldn't figure out what to drop, and I was worried that if I asked to be dropped from things without specifying what I'd get taken off something I really, really wanted. Next time I will have to triage harder.
Great Logistical Discovery: My favorite Malaysian restaurant, Penang, turns out to deliver to the con hotel via Foodler. Getting food in the Arisia area can be difficult if you are tightly scheduled, because the places that are walking distance all wind up mobbed, and the food options in the hotel itself are both crowded and terrible. This year there were food trucks which came and parked outside, which is an improvement, but they sold out of stock fairly quickly. The con suite and green room also wound up pretty stripped. All of that I expected. But being able to order food from a place I actively like and having it turn up in a reasonable amount of time-- yay internets! And many thanks to ckd for suggesting we order delivery. This is going to be my default for dinners for Arisia and Boskone from now on, basically.
Panels I Enjoyed Being On Most: Both the Welcome to Night Vale and Homestuck panels were so. much. fun. Rooms full of happy people who like the thing the panel was on, and are aware of its flaws and the issues in its fandoms but just love talking about it. Cosplayers, both rooms were filled with excellent cosplayers-- the WTNV panel had multiple hooded figures (one of whom pointed out that it is the easiest cosplay she has ever done) and a tiny LED Glow Cloud which changed colors. One of the other panelists was dressed as an Eternal Scout, with correct badges. I think I was the only person in an original-flavor WTNV shirt, but I saw instances of just about every shirt they make. It was also just a very good conversation which did not devolve into a quote-off, until the very end when that was a fun thing to do with five minutes. kate_nepveu had a better writeup; I was not taking notes because I can't do that and be on the panel at the same time.
One thing I love about Homestuck cosplayers is the ingenuity. There were an alternate-outfits godtier John and Vriska based on the idea that humans get (feathery) wings when they go godtier that were just magnificent. There was Cronus Ampora badly and disturbingly dressed as a human. He'd cut off his horns and there were just stumps and ew and I was impressed. And there was an entire cosplay group of trolls who'd dressed as things from other canons, so we had Karkat dressed as Harry Potter, and Terezi as Uhura (she looked great in the minidress), and Sollux as a Jedi with a double-bladed lightsaber, half-red half-blue. They had an Eridan with them, who just looked like, you know, Eridan, and I said to him 'So what are you supposed to be?' and he held up his hands, which were even more covered in blingy dimestore jewelry than usual, and said 'Lord of the Rings'. I have been laughing about that on and off ever since. The panel itself talked about the infinite canvas, and the difficulties of archiving the comic for future generations, and how much we want any idea at all of what the licensing deal Andrew Hussie and Namco worked out looks like because of the implications for creator control in webcomics and the comics industry generally. At one point the entire room, in unison, was asked to imitate Terezi's voice to see if we'd all come up with about the same sound for her and everybody had. Lovely experience, would do again.
Literary Discovery of the Con: Max Gladstone was the person I'd never met and hadn't heard of in my reading slot, and I am officially impressed and will be reading his books as soon as my fiction-reading brain is up to fiction I haven't already read fifty times. It is rare for me to hear something at a reading and wish to go purchase it immediately, and his stuff was that.
Worst Bits: I spent the entire weekend getting up at what, to my body, is approximately three in the morning. By Monday it had become physically painful. This is one of those things that I simply have to cope with given my specific sleep disorder, but probably I should just not try to do anything involving brain on Monday of a con.
Also, at one point, I introduced myself, as the moderator of the panel we were about to be on, to a panelist I had not met yet, and extended my hand for a shake. Instead he bowed over it and kissed it. I can see from here, maybe, if I squint, a universe in which this is polite-ish behavior, but I do not think it is this universe, and I do not think it is how one greets the moderator. It read as 'I am going to Be Chivalrous At People and not listen to a damn word you or anybody else has to say', which proved to be the case as the panel progressed. It's also right on that edge where, on the one hand, as I said, I can see from here a universe in which it might be vaguely polite, and said panelist was of a generation where I could see it being a thing people did in some formal situations, so I didn't actively yell at him. Just glowered. But on the other hand it was condescending and showed ignorance of boundaries and was somebody putting his mouth on part of my body without asking me, so I have been actively annoyed about it. I decided not to talk to him about it or report it to anyone official because it was balanced so precisely on that edge, which is why I am not using his name, but I am mentioning it because persons who still might consider hand-kissing polite should really be aware that you should ask first, and that the reaction to this incident in my social circle was 'aargh creepy did you have any Purell?'
All in all, though, a completely reasonable con with a lot of fun social time, good discussion, and interesting programming. I'll put my Boskone schedule up pretty soon.
ETA: okay, based on very sensible things a couple of people have said to me, I have emailed the con's incident report email and described the incident. It was not sexual harassment in the sense of being sexually pressuring; it was sexism, a demonstration that I could be treated differently because of my gender presentation, and an attempt to exercise some amount of social power over me based on gender and age. Which counts as harassment, and which I had rather he not do again. So I've reported it. I am not, however, giving his name here at this time. That may or may not be a thing I choose to do later. Please respect that.
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