I Blame the Dutch (mpoetess) wrote,
I Blame the Dutch
mpoetess

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ConneXions 2004



Thursday

Because I am a smarty every day on certain rare occasions, I rented a car (which was cheaper than flying and meant no restrictions on what I could stuff into bags, trunks, and backseats) and started driving on Wednesday, stopping off at a rest stop to "nap" (aka "sleep from 8:30 pm til 5 am") then continuing on to Baltimore. Despite the fact that my route merged with the Pennsylvania turnpike for a bit, I didn't manage to get remotely lost (neener, wolfling), unlike last year. Despite driving in a fairly leisurely manner, I made it to the hotel by three, checked in, verified that yup, we'd got the mini-suite we reserved, changed into clothes that were somewhat less travel-worn, and went off to pick up wolfling at the airport. Yet another trip that, despite having never driven it before, I managed not to get lost on. God bless MapQuest when it's in an informative mood. Granted, on return to hourly parking, we couldn't find my car, but I take no doofusblame for that, as the signage across from the car clearly indicated a level that the car was not actually on. Which is what I get for parking at the closed end of a ramp, I suppose.

We met up with justhuman and wesleysgirl in the lobby, wandered back to our room to get much-coveted Canadian chocolate from Wolfling, then decided to Quest For Food. We requested a list of reasonably-priced restaurants from the front desk, and headed out into the wilds of Baltimore on the assumption that if nothing else, JH had seen a home Depot, and there's usually mid-priced restaurants situated in the same parking lot. Our Quest turned up a row of Greek restaurants whose potential pricing scared us, fast food that we could've procured in the hotel parking lot, and a widely-variable number of Home Depots -- it rises every time the story gets told, though I think the actual total was two -- and no restaurants of the type we were hoping for anywhere near them. (Though it was pointed out that at least we know where to go if we need ropes and chains during the weekend.) Plus of course the Restaurant Store, where we could, presumably, have requested one tailored to our very specific tastes and price range, if it hadn't been closed.

Yeah, so dinner in the hotel restaurant. However did you guess? Service was slow, but fine -- definitely not the waitress' fault -- though I think it was at this point that we really realized that only one elevator was working. In a 12 story tower. In a fully-booked hotel. Which was shortly going to contain at least 200 people who were spending most of their vacation *in* the hotel. Also, I realized my lip balm was missing, went back up to the room to get a second container (after peeking into the pool area and discovering that because the TV is now on a table in the weightroom instead of a remote and remoteless wall fixture, Guy/Big Stick is no longer the hotel's OTP! Wahhh.) and walked straight past the first container -- on the floor in front of the elevators. Wolf found it when we came back up.

We schlepped back to our room and watched Wonderfalls (it's cancelled? Whaa? Yes, I *am* reading wesleysgirl's con report as I type this, to remind me of things.), which was my first (and apparently last. grr) time catching it. Had me on the floor. Jaye (our heroine) answering cellphone of geeky love-interest bartender because he's busy, and discovering the person on the other end is the ex who dumped him hard: "Sorry, Eric can't talk right now; I'm servicing him sexually." Later she tells him that's how she answered the phone, and little cgi fireworks go off in his eyes.

We played with my new toy digital camera, using it to photograph Rupert Badger and Ethan Fox in all sorts of compromising positions. Stuffed Animal Porn!.

JH and WG headed off to the airport to pick up byrne, who was of course not there, and shortly thereafter Wolf and I received a call informing us that I was dead in a ditch, as I hadn't answered thebratqueen's voicemail. This being news to me since my phone was showing no messages, we trooped down to TBQ and cin1607's room to assure them (as well as lucifrix and ... I think Mischa was there as well) of my non-ditch-dead (undead in a ditch?) status. No message on my phone. Still. I showed TBQ mine. She showed me hers. Then we compared phones. (Thank you; I'll be here 'til Thursday; please try the veal and don't forget to tip your waitress.) She did indeed show an outgoing call to my cell number.

Ten freaking minutes later (and about 45 minutes after TBQ placed the call), my phone beeped at me. "You have new voicemail!" Rassenfrassen. (It was worse on the way home; I got voicemails from maeyan hours after they were sent.) "Message from [TBQ]: -- Hi, Amy & Jen's cellphone. It's TBQ, and you're dead in a ditch somewhere! I know it! You haven't called, and it's like, Thursday and you're dead in a ditch; you've died! So gimme a call on my cellphone, 'cause I wanna know where you are if not dead in a ditch. Bye!"

Seekrit msg to TBQ: Still not dead in a ditch; you'll have to keep trying!

We schmoozed for quite a while, getting to hear the sad tale of TBQ and Cin's suite (with its nonexistent, yet somehow disquietingly present, sofa), which did not go quite as smoothly as my own check-in, by a longshot. Though, since Cin checked in around the same time I did, and yet I did not see her, I strongly suspect that she actually was there about 10 minutes before me, and having their asses reamed by the lovely Cindy put the front desk staff in a much more accommodating mood for the next person to check in with a king suite. Eventually, though, Wolf and I trudged back to our room to shower and sleep and all those other things you're not technically supposed to do at a con. We did manage to hook up the VCR and watch the videotape I'd made of our collected songvids, which was so much better in quality than the SVCD version I'd sent in on disk, that we were flabbergasted.

Friday

Registration went pretty smoothly, then Wolfling and I caught slashmommy in the hall and asked if she could/would use the VHS version of our vids instead of the CD version. Since she hadn't had time to complete her master DVD before the con, it turned out not to be a problem, so we went back up to the room and retrieved it, then hung around in the Boston St. Theatre room where the banquet and vidshows (and some panels) go on, while they used our tape as the guinea pig for the AV setup. So we got to see bits and pieces of our vids on the big screen even before the vidshow.

Then there was food (which we brought back to the theatre room) and eventually panels. Half the group stayed for "Bisexuality, Anyone?" TBQ and I (and eventually JustHuman, I believe) ended up in Slasher Hanky Code, hosted by Zvi-zvi_likes_tv. Subtitled "How Can We Make It Easier For Zvi To Get Laid (or not come on to people who aren't interested)." The premise being, because so many fans are comfortable being touchy-feely and making sexual innuendo with friends/acquaintances, but don't necessarily mean more by it than friendship and joking around, it's hard to figure out who is open to sex/relationships. It was really an exercise in visual coding, which is the fun kind of math that I actually like to do.

What we ended up with was a fairly uncomplicated and unobtrusive code for con badges, LJ icons, etc. that can fit into a symbol the size and general shape of a standard gender symbol (the circle plus stick plus arrow or plus sign that stands for male or female) -- but can indicate sexuality, interest in short or long term relationships, attachments that already exist and whether it's an open relationship or you're sneaking around on them, what level of physical contact you're interested in with other fans -- hugging, kissing, naked touching, and whether you're only interested in platonic friendships. (Since the platonic part is designated in a different way than the physical contact part, it does leave open the fascinating possibility of platonic naked touching. Which I suppose is a thought for the nudist fans among us...) The overview chart ended up on the wall outside registration, and did I mention I love my new toy?

That was it for panels for me for the day; I spent the rest of the afternoon wandering the Dealers and Art rooms, schmoozing with various folks we met along the way like trkkr47, Paula, Marie-Christine, and probably more faces than I can put names to and vice versa. Then there was cake and presents for wesleysgirl's birthday, then the icebreaker.

Then the Friday night vidshow. Which was wonderful. Quite a few of the vids shown, I'd seen either on people's websites or on last year's Vividcon DVD, but seeing them on the big screen is a whole different experience. I adored (again) Diana Williams' Holmes/Watson vid to "Your Mistake" and Laura Shapiro's "The Wonder of Birds" (Due South, and I know this is a co-produced vid, but can't remember who Laura's partner was [ETA- morgandawn?]), especially. Wolfling's and mine were not the only Jossverse vids, which was a) great and b) distracting enough to help take my mind of being nervous when my own were shown. Despite some technical difficulties (and I give slashmommy huge props for keeping her sanity during same), it was a great show.

Some folks ended up in TBQ's room after; I considered it deeply, considered food deeply because I hadn't had dinner, then considered sleep deeply because the next day was Saturday. Panel-I-host-day, banquet day, premiering vidshow day, Angel Season 4 DVDs courtesy of taffymai day. Yeah. Sleep won.

Saturday

Saturday was "I love my dead gay shows" day, since Wolfling and TBQ hosted the Angel panel, then Wolfling and I hosted the Buffy panel. (TBQ thoughtfully walked over to the easel where she'd written "I love my dead gay show" for the Angel panel, and inserted "other" between my and dead, at the start of the Buffy panel.) Topics in both panels included "Joss has issues," "Joss has issues," and "Joss has issues." Also, "Other characters are slashy; Xander is just gay" (which not everyone agreed on) "Amy Acker is beautiful, Fred, not so much, BECAUSE YOU MADE HER THAT WAY, JOSS," aka "Joss has issues" and (poor unsuspecting wolfshark) "Xander's Lie." The room didn't get quite as heated up about that as, oh, the entire fandom at the end of Season 2, but it was amusing to see that even now (and I wasn't even watching in S2 - I just got fallout and legends) it's still such a debatable topic.

Lunch happened at some point. In TBQ's room, where astarte99 and her gorgeous red and black hair joined us.

We also caught "The Politics of Friending" hosted by natlyn, wherein people said many things that made sense, and a few things that made me turn my head, blink, and not for the first time join TBQ in bemoaning the lack of ability to PM (private message in irc) someone you're physically sitting next to... I informed TBQ that if she defriended me, I'd kick her ass, and she replied with "Honey, I hate to tell you..." Hee. (This was in the context of some people being on your list just for reading, and some because you communicate with them all the time, so if one of the latter suddenly drops your journal, it's not necessarily as insane to go "Whoa, wait, what's going on?") Needless to say the panel prompted a running gag for the weekend of "If you don't _____, I'm gonna defriend you, bitch...."

"Canon Fodder: Keeping Things Fresh" was interesting, but not quite what we were expecting; we were thinking "How do I keep newbies and oldbies interested in my no-new-canon fandom" and the actuality was more "How do we avoid writing the same story over and over again?"

"Slash & GLBT Rights" was again not quite what we were expecting (or perhaps it was, but only partially, which was a bit disappointing). I was thinking along the lines of "What is a slasher's responsibility in his/her stories, in terms of presenting gayness/the gay community, and what is NOT the responsibility of a fanfic writer" with digressions into the funky phenomenon of slash readers and even writers who don't support gay rights (or certain gay rights) in RL. While the panel touched on those things, it was far too brief a touch, I think, before it moved into "What can we as slashers do to be gay rights activists" -- to which most of the answers were things that anyone at all can do to be gay rights activists. A worthy topic, but it didn't feel like it had a lot to do with writing, fanfic, or fandom.

After which we had a hour to change for the banquet (You could follow my trail through the hotel by the glitter that showered from my blouse all evening.), and luckily by that time, more than one elevator was working.

The food was surprisingly good for banquety food, as usual. We also spent a lot of time playing with the centerpiece, which was a birdhouse "Love Shack" containing little bendy-people whose faces could be replaced with various character pictures. There was a lively trade going on for those pics -- "I'll give you Bodie and Doyle for your Jack -- I've already got a Daniel..."

After the food, there was the annual 'play' which was actually a fannish version of Match Game this year. The panel consisted of Paula, TBQ, Alan (our resident male femslasher and token straight guy), Natlyn, Minotaur, and Serpentsgarden - and the contestants were zvi_likes_tv and Sorka. Our emcee needed to find a balance between 'drunk enough to make this funny for me' and 'too drunk to avoid annoying everyone else' but there were moments of amusement.

Then, vidshow! Wheee! My mind is mostly a blur of "Please don't let them show Wolf's and my vids back to back because they use some of the same clips at different speeds and eek they're going to show my vid and eeek!" on this subject (and thus I can't wait for the con tape/DVD to come out so I can refresh my memory) but I do remember an amazing instrumental Due South vid, valarltd's multi-fandom vid to "Veteran of the Psychic Wars" which just blew people away with its connections and originality, and a damn fine Farscape vid to "Wild Boys". I know there were several more that I really enjoyed, so chalk the short list up to a long weekend and a lot of driving, not lack of good vids this year. The vidshow was shorter than usual this year though -- we need to pimp more good vidders into sending their stuff to Connexions even if they can't attend themselves.

After the show, we changed into comfy stuff and headed down to TBQ's room to watch Angel DVDs -- we saw the commentary on Spin the Bottle, (Joss/Alexis/Aly 4-eva! for Joss and Alexis in their co-commentary? Carson Kressley only wishes he were this gay.) then the outtakes, then the outtakes again, then the Season 4 overview, then... er. I KNOW we watched another ep, and I did not sleep through it, though I was blinking really hard at the end. But I cannot for the life of me think what it was. At which point, thank god, there was bed.

Sunday

Since slashmommy had kindly rearranged the schedule early on so Wolfling and I could go to the co-writing panel instead of it being opposite Buffy, we couldn't get away with sleeping in, since said panel was at 9 on Sunday. A 9 that was really 8, mind you, due to daylight savings time. It was a fun time, though -- half the room (Wolf, me, JH, WG, Byrne) had co-written with each other either via story or RPG, and the other half were into different fandoms and ways of writing, so there was a variety of viewpoints and problems/solutions. One of the interesting questions brought up was "How do you tell a co-writer that part of a piece needs work" (an example was given of how you definitely DON'T do it, if you don't want to send said co-writer spiraling into writer's block) -- I pointed out that it definitely helps when you're already each other's beta reader for solo stuff -- you know what kind of critique works and what kind is unhelpful.

Then Wolfling and I hit the art auction, where she got two pieces and I got (and bid on) nothing, but enjoyed the fannish stand-up routine by our auctioneer, very much. After the auction, there were two late-premiering vids by Remy Martin, including an Angel(us)/Xander that did a great job of showcasing one of the few ways I can find the pairing convincing. (S2 and 3 Xander torn between hatred and addiction, essentially.)

Then there was the antagonistic pairings panel (during which Byrne was taking off for home, I think -- we lost a few of our core group at a time, over the course of Sunday) which kept trying to focus but not quite getting there, I think. Too often it devolved into "N-factor is why I find such pairings interesting so if you don't do N, then why do a pairing like that?" (Where N=first times vs. established relationship, rape vs. non-con, etc. etc. etc.)

Then wandering and last-minute shopping (I probably bought most of my fannish purchases on Sunday, and aside from some magnets and a set of Buffy and Angel playing cards, these consisted of a metric buttload of new CDs; see previous post for Talis Kimberly love) followed by the "When fandom was new" panel chaired by Martha and Nancy. It was fascinating and at least 3 hours too short, but eventually it had to give way to the Dead Dog panel and the end of the con proper. It was announced at Dead Dog that the hotel is changing ownership but (at least for next year) our rates are staying the same, while the quality of the hotel itself is likely to go up exponentially due to the money the new owners are intending to sink into renovations, among other things. To which I say hurrah, though the only problem that directly affected me this time was the elevator malfunctions and the ice machines being out again. (Or possibly still.) Too many other people have had problems with the hotel being understaffed and physically decrepit, which may lead to entertaining stories but still lends a general atmosphere of tetchiness to the con.

After Dead Dog, there was schmoozing, particularly with taffymai, nakedwesley, and Adrian, about all things Jossverse, then nappage, then dinner. Food was again good if slow; the big disappointment came after dinner when we found out that the pool closed at 9. It being, in fact, 9. No Guy/Big Stick, and no hot tub which might or might not have working bubbles now. :-(

So instead, we went up to TBQ and Cin's room and watched a Due South ep (Mounty on the Bounty), which, once I got over the dialogue of the sailors and put myself into magical-realism-comedy-done-for-effect-move-on-now mode, was very much the hotfunnyslashyifanyonefeelslikesendingmetapesIwouldnotcomplaindeargodthoseboysarepretty. Then Diana Williams vids, a multimedia tape and an all-Sentinel, then Media Cannibals... three, I think. Possibly four. Vids good. Vids pretty. lucifrix hilarious, esp since a) she's at the peak of newfandomnewfandomnewfandom over Sentinel and can be reduced at any given moment to pointing at Jim, and going "arrrrrmmmmmssssss" and b) she's a walking encyclopedia of punchlines and injokes which then have to be explained or pimped, depending on if there's a story or just a fandom behind them.

Eventually, though, we had to admit defeat and go to bed.

Monday

Everyone had taken off by the time Wolf and I packed up (surprisingly easily; as she said, we're getting the hang of it) and checked out, so we tried (and failed, and btw, wolf, I never *did* get more cash, just survived on what I had) to find an ATM that wasn't out of money/order, hit McDonalds for food (success, although godalmighty are they slow and not especially courteous) and cash (failure, see above), then headed for the airport to drop Wolfling off. After one false start (wrong turn, and the one time I got remotely lost all weekend, go me), we got Wolf dropped off at the Air Canada departing doors, and me on the road home.

10-ish hours and at least 4 vid bunnies later (admittedly one of them happened on the drive to Baltimore), I was home. And online. And all y'all were asleep except for elke_tanzer, who was diligently cataloguing Connexions con reports. *lovessss herrrrr*
So I had to wait until today to catch up with mogigraphia and vylit and flaming_muse and everyone who didn't go, as well as those of us insane congoers who rose from sleep and have made it back online.

The Almost End


P.S. : Skip=950 ain't happening, and even that's not far enough back to pick up where I left off with my friendslist. If anybody has posted anything fun, fascinating, useful, poignant, or directly addressed to me, since Wednesday night, and you want me to see it, please be a wonderful human being and link me up?

P.P.S: Yes, I'm going to be posting my new vid in a bit. Probably today; I'm just tweaking some of the source. Meanwhile, though, here's the re-cut version of the Amanda/Dawn vid that was _green_'s Secret Santa present this year. It's got new opening and closing titles, completely re-cut footage from higher quality source, and quite a bit of internal tweakage in an effort to make it all-Amanda pov. I'll Believe You.

The Really End
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