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Penguicon 4.0 Con Report - Zer Netmouse
April 24th, 2006
03:08 pm

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Penguicon 4.0 Con Report
So, yes, let's see, Penguicon 4.0 was this past weekend. The Buffy show went well, I saw (and flirted with) lots of friends, I enjoyed hanging out with the guest I was liaison to, Chris DiBona, who was both interesting and easy to "handle," and as a bonus for the weekend, my husband Bill came home early on Saturday (He'll make it back out to the trail, we think, but he seems to have a toe or metatarsal injury that needs rest to heal). atdt1991 gave him a lift out to the con, so I got to have a reunion with him as well.


The weekend basically began for me at dinner on Thursday. The concom hosts a dinner with our guests of honor and I sat at a table with Howard Tayler, The Ferrett, Chris DiBona, Susan Harris, Maurita Plouff, and our author guests of honor, Steve Miller and Sharon Lee. Everyone was very nice and dinner was fun, if a trifle loud, contained as we were in a small room at The Ground Round. Matt and Aaron brought in program books and everyone had fun looking through them. I went home to more Buffy rehearsal, plus packing and getting caught up in Elizabeth Moon's Hunting Party... I was up later than I should have been (2 am), but oh well.

I stayed up pretty late on Friday too - had an evening of rehearsing and then performed Buffy late after doing a somewhat rushed adaptation to a stage setup that was different than what we expected. The audience response was terrific and everyone in the cast was very up, after. I was in pain, but thatguychuck got me some Ibuprofen beforehand (thanks, Kimba!) and Scott (atdt1991) rubbed the knots back out of my shoulder and back afterwards. rikhei helped me gather props and costumes and get back to my room, where I eagerly took out my remaining contact lense (one was knocked out of my eye accidentally early in the show --I found it, don't worry) and then got off my feet. It was lovely to be so cared for. I rapidly proceeded to the hot tub and had a lot of fun hanging out in tub and pool with Bill Putt, Matt Arnold, Rachel Sherman, and Rachel and Chuck, et al in a hot tub party that culminated in a group rendition of the Weird Al song Gonna be a Jedi ("my, my, this here Anakin guy... May be Vader someday later, now he's just a small fry... He left his home and kissed his mother goodbye, saying soon I'm gonna be a Jedi...")

Saturday was relatively quiet.. late breakfast with John Scalzi (author and nifty guest) and William Schafer (editor of Subterranean Press, for whom John and I have both done some work), then hooked up with Chris Dibona for his Keynote address on Science.

I have to admit, there are cons where I made myself aware of what programming was happening and considered what I wanted to attend, but this was not one of them. Partly that was due to my responsibilities as head GoH liaison/wrangler (or "GoH Mistress" as my badge read), and as a Buffy cast member. I was sorry later that I had not examined the program and the hotel map in more detail some ways beforehand, as it may have occurred to me to advise the programming department to switch locations around so fewer panelists and presenters had to fight to be heard over neighboring concerts. Lesson hopefully learned for next year.

Not sure if I would recommend returning to this hotel next year or not. The food at the pub next door was pretty mediocre, I understand we had a lot of problems with getting rooms reserved, and sold out the hotel Saturday night, and *still* were worried about making our room night obligation, and some people were having troubles with room keys not working, and there were problems with connecting to both wired and wireless internet. And the whole place smells like chlorine (and in places the roof dripped). BUT, the central holidome space is also fun, the pool and hot tub are lovely, the breakfast buffet was quite nice, and I felt the meeting room space was a good fit for the con.

Saturday afternoon, Geoff, Rennie and I taught Dancing for Geeks and got a lot more students than last year - definitely up for doing that workshop again next year. And maybe I'll get Geoff to teach me more couples dancing between now and then so I'm not so useless on that segment.

Bill and I wandered around the dealer's room and bought some books from Sally, as usual. Then we hooked up with Chris DiBona and Kathleen and Rob Malda for an early dinner at the irish pub, followed by Rob's Slashdot Panel. After that we retired for some personal time, which I will leave to your imagination, and then Bill departed to spend his first night in his own bed in a month, and I stuck around to go to the parties, etc.

The dance itself was oddly disappointing. I've definitely seen the Brick do a better job of keeping the flow going at other cons. Hard to make a good mix of geeky and danceable I guess. I would go for danceable every time. I had fun dancing with friends, anyway, but I had more fun dancing for the drummers in the holidome while I was wandering around with Matt... I was tired and went to bed early.

Sunday of a con where I've been having so much fun, I'm usually quite up, but this Sunday I was a bit down and seemed in a similar last-day-of-con haze as many others. I woke up early and had breakfast with Stitch and the afore-mentioned Elizabeth Moon book, then hooked up with Chris DiBona for a while (the Green Room, btw, was fabulous. Other than the Open Cola and the Liquid Nitrogen Ice cream --which were fabulous, so I hear --I wasn't drinking pop or eating ice cream, but the nitrogen games were fun to watch-- I wasn't too impressed by the offerings of the consuite (though I do have to credit the staff for finding meat and cheese for me late at night on Friday), but the Green Room was always a pleasant place to be, with a nice layout). Chris's Sunday talk on the history of Google and the Summer of Code program was really interesting. After that I spent some time hanging out in the hallway comfy chair area with Bill and friends, getting lower and lower on sugar until a group of us finally went to Big Boy around 4:30 or 5 after the gripe session and some teardown.

Hanging out at Big Boy was a lot of fun. Chuck and Scott and Scott and I played Fluxx, which was a first for Scott and Chuck so Scott and I had fun explaining. And it was nice to just sit among people special to me --Bill and Matt and Chuck and Rennie and Laura and Scott K and Scott C and Jeff Beeler and Neil someone... okay, so everyone wasn't close and special to me but they were fun to be with. Once Bill fed me soup and fruit I pepped right up and life got lots better. Back to the hotel for a bit of dead dog, and then home and early to bed. Fun Con overall.

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[User Picture]
From:tammylc
Date:April 24th, 2006 08:32 pm (UTC)
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I was sorry later that I had not examined the program and the hotel map in more detail some ways beforehand, as it may have occurred to me to advise the programming department to switch locations around so fewer panelists and presenters had to fight to be heard over neighboring concerts. Lesson hopefully learned for next year.

Yes, acoustic blocking seemed to have been considered not at all in planning the programming space allocations.
[User Picture]
From:matt_arnold
Date:April 24th, 2006 09:41 pm (UTC)
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a hot tub party that culminated in a group rendition of the Weird Al song Gonna be a Jedi

And the Google executive knew all the words and sung along!
(Deleted comment)
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From:marsgov
Date:April 24th, 2006 10:33 pm (UTC)
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You have failed to mention the most important bit of information: how do I get to see you and Rennie in the Buffy musical? Where's the film footage? (Or is that "memory bittage?")
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From:dagibbs
Date:April 25th, 2006 12:53 am (UTC)
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I had a couple hotel issues, myself. One minor, one I consider fairly major. I've already mentioned it to brendand, though.
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From:dionysus1999
Date:April 25th, 2006 07:03 pm (UTC)
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You were great again, btw, in Buffy. I had a great time too. I was jealous of the disparity between the green room and the consuite. Guess I'll have to volunteer, or get my book published so I can be a nifty guest.

It was nice recognizing more faces. I got to hang out with Janann and Rikhei for most of the weekend, while my lovely wife was attending other social obligations.

I think the time of year has something to do with the generally high humidity and chlorine smell at the hotel. I suspect when it gets hotter outside their air conditioning probably takes out most of the extra humidity.
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From:netmouse
Date:April 25th, 2006 08:08 pm (UTC)
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Thanks, I had fun doing Buffy. It was great to have minions/vampires to have rehearsed combat scenes with.

I hope Sarah will be sufficiently intrigued by the programming to get a membership. I always incourage people to be full participants in conventions instead of just ghosting.

You don't have to be a volunteer or a nifty guest to have access to the green room - any program participant is welcome there. If there are topics you can speak intelligently about or that you would propose, let Matt know (Matt Arnold is head of programming for next year).

I got used to the chlorine smell, like you do, and nearly used to the smell of smoke (I was in a supposedly non-smoking room but in a smoking hallway. I didn't smell it that strongly but then when I got home all my clothes and my pillow stank of smoke).
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