So. First 24 hours at Wiscon. What have we done so far, kaffy_r ?
We've had an enjoyable drive up to Madison via the back roads, to avoid the traditional springtime Illinois-Wisconsin Construction Zone. It was lovely country, the pace was leisurely (relatively so, anyhow; I suspect ljgeoff doesn't do leisurely car travel. Heh.) and gave us plenty of time to talk about climate change, cows, families, politics, economics, writing and the need for story structure, and probably more that I can't recall now.
The Wiscon hotel lies cheek by jowl with the Wisconsin statehouse; not only is it a surprisingly beautiful and impressive building, it impressed me as the site of one of the most powerful expressions of democracy and union rebirth that the country has lately seen - the recent mass protests against the Wisconsin GOP's anti-union campaign.
In, registered, settled in to the room; re-met robling_t and met the lovely Susan, who is sharing her room with us, then hit my first panel; "Vampires, Werewolves and Witches." ljgeoff was one of the panelists and did herself proud (silly woman, wondering why she was on the panel ... for the trenchant observations she was able to toss out during the discussion, of course). I was impressed with the level of discourse, which was largely a lot of exploration of what we are drawn to in, and take from the nature or perceived natures of werewolves and vampires. I never did bring myself to throw out the idea of using vampires and werewolves as a way to experience danger and evil that is ultimately controllable via liturgically formal rules, and if that's the one thing I regret about the panel, then I regret precious little.
We stopped by the con suite (or would that be consuite?) and had a light supper courtesy of the worth-their-weight-in-gold-and-more volunteers who provided everything from hot dogs to sandwich makings, veggies, cookies, coffee, tea and much, much more. Later in the evening, we dropped by the LJ party - and promptly started talking to people with whom I was familiar from the ancient RASSF days. The brief discussion about Usenet conversation vs that on Live Journal (active vs passive. Thoughts? Anyone? Bueller?) was interesting. So was the cake. And the mimosa.
Seen during the evening: David Emerson, lsanderson , Lynn Litterer, apostle_of_eris and - this one croggled me - a fellow Pioneer Press employee. He's a talented, award winning writer within the genre, and I've been chary of speaking to him at work because ... damn ... award winning writer! But it was fun to see his eyes widen when he saw me.
I fell into bed fairly early after a momentary crisis of tears - being away from BB, plus the now-regular pain, plus some ankle sprain that developed, with malignantly epic timing, just before we took off from Chicago, plus being away from BB, plus being at my first con in ages, and wondering whether Wiscon was too sercon for me, or I too un-sercon for it, plus did I mention being away from BB? Two minutes of the teary thing in the bathroom, and things started getting better. A surprisingly good night's sleep on the floor, and things looked even brighter.
Breakfast in the con suite, and things were starting to look progressively shinier.
ljgeoff and I had another intellectually nutritious conversation (family, class, children and the spiritual maturation thereof, future plans, and more) and then we headed off to programming.
I took in three panels today - two on (imagine my, or your, surprise) fanfic issues, and one on how, when, or whether to use the Bechdel test in taking the measure of literature, movies or television - and I came out of them impressed with Wiscon's panel quality, and also reminded that serious and constructive can also be fun and stimulating, as opposed to, well, sercon.
(I'll admit that there were two or three other panels that looked exceedingly meaty that I avoided because I had too many conflicting spidey-sense tingles about them: class, race, intersectionality, etc. etc. I suspected the panels would be good, but they would be too large for me; they would contain too much for me to process.)
I dropped by the small but diverse dealer's room long enough to pick up "Chicks Dig Time Lords" then checked in with BB. And now I'm here.
Seen today: JJ Brutsman (enjoyable after all these years)., Beth Friedman (a particular delight, since we were able to discuss fanfic, and I went with her and a large group of people from one of the fanfic panels to a lovely and social lunch) and the incomparable Elise Matheson.
Since I took notes during two of today's panels that verged on reportorial, I'll probably write those up in some half-assed AP-like newspapery style. Later, though.