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Balticon

I took no pictures, although I had my camera with me the whole time, so I have no visual splendor to share. You get only my summary of things done and seen.

The hotel room left a few things to be desired. It was evident almost immediately that the air conditioning wasn't working, so we put in a complaint with the front desk, and maintenance took a look at it and got it working. Then it worked intermittently overnight. Saturday afternoon, rinse and repeat. Sunday afternoon when we complained again, the maintenance guy replaced the motor, which finally fixed the problem. The hotel did give us coupons for breakfast on Monday, although I was running too late to use them.

The bed also wobbled with the slightest movement, and was too squishy. The one night I slept soundly left me with a backache most of the following day. And I'm a light sleeper, and I'm not used to having other people in the room[1] when I sleep. So I came home exhausted. I slept for something like fourteen hours yesterday, and might have gone longer if I hadn't forced myself to get up and eat something. I'm very glad I took the extra day off.

Anyway, I shared the room all weekend with daeron and hughcasey, and jaedeth came up for the day on Saturday. It was very pleasant indeed to know several people there well enough that they would stop and talk to me when we ran into each other. Also, I think that in general, people are more likely to form positive subjective impressions of strangers who they have seen chatting with others, even if they don't know anyone involved, and more likely to form negative subjective impressions of strangers they have only ever seen wandering alone.[2] I know this is true for my perceptions. I perceive strangers who have friends as more likely to be friendly, and people who don't have friends as being more likely to either be unfriendly, or be creepy enough that no one will be their friend. So as well as having much more fun, I also think I look better when my friends are around.

I was seriously disinterested in the programming available. I had made up a list in advance, as usual, but I just didn't care about much of it. As each time slot came up, I kept finding something I'd rather do: read a book, eat a meal, take a nap, hang out in the ConSuite people-watching, and so on. And, honestly, for the most part I was probably choosing correctly. Attend a panel on experiences in fandom? Or listen to Hugh tell a story about his experiences, or better still go around and actually have my own experience in fandom? Attend a panel on women in gaming, or figure that after twenty years as a second-generation female gamer, I might just have the advantage over the male panelists? This is not to say that the programming wasn't good, just that most of it didn't interest me. I understand that the science track in particular was exceptional. I did enjoy both of the panels I did attend. Despite most of the Ice Age panelists having no idea what they were supposed to be talking about, they stuck fairly closely to the panel description, and kept it lively. As for The "Truth" About the Universe, it was almost indescribable and entirely hilarious. Attending that panel was my best random decision of the weekend.

Instead, I enjoyed some of the other parts of the con. I browsed the dealers' room thoroughly. I toured through the art show, a first for me. I spent a lot of time in the ConSuite. Balticon has the BEST location for the consuite. The hotel has an unused 50s-style restaurant that they allow groups to use. So, unlike other events, it's large enough, and set up for serving and consuming food and beverages. As busy as it could get, I never had trouble finding a table.

And then there were the people. Yes, the majority of the interactions I had were because I once again spent a lot of time playing Hugh's shadow. But, at least I'm interacting! And a couple of the people I met did recognize me and talk to me at other times when I was on my own. I'm getting better at making the conversations about my T-shirts flow naturally, although the one where my chest (among others) was compared to various mountain ranges of the Flanaess got way out of hand. I buttonholed an author in the dealers' room to tell him he'd made me cry earlier in the week (and then bought chapbooks from him of what I hadn't read). I got to observe a lot of group dynamics, of several different groups. As ShadowGirl, I heard quite a bit of politics and gossip and other fascinating things that I never would have learned on my own.

I don't know how exciting any of it sounds to those who weren't there, but I truly had a delightful weekend. I couldn't have asked for a better mini-vacation.

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[1] Interestingly, it was distinctly people-in-the-room that bothered me, not person-in-the-bed. I was surprised by this. I've shared rooms several times in the last six months alone. I can't remember the last time I shared a bed, but I know it's been years. But there was no added wakefulness from the additional proximity.

[2] I'm curious how closely others' experience matches mine. Comments welcomed.

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( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
(Deleted comment)
collacentaur
Jun. 2nd, 2010 10:43 pm (UTC)
No reason to be concerned. It's unfamiliar to me, I'm a light sleeper, and ordinary noises of people in the same room are DIFFERENT and thus wake me up. Known bug. ;-)

Besides, your little machine made you the quieter person.
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