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Xray the Enforcer

A Reckoning of the Damage: Loncon3 After Action Report (post your own!)

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Another year, another post-con emo. You'd think that shit would get easier every year, but it doesn't. It gets harder.



I'm still pretty jetlagged, so this will be disjointed and likely incoherent. Which is fitting, as that pretty much describes EVERY WorldCon I've ever been to -- even the ones where I don't get Lodey'd.



This convention started early for me, at the Great British Beer Festival, where Mr. X and I drank lots of real ale with Slick Mongoose, Ginger Wolverine, Isis, MinDonner, Alex (#where'sthegermanbar?) and some friends of GW and Isis. Beer, fine. A couple were even good. But then Mr. X offered to get us some food and the jackanapes came back 20 minutes later with a styrofoam bowl of jellied eels.



Jellied motherfucking eels.



I ate three of the miserable, hateful, quivering things. So did Mr. X. But the eels got their revenge on Mr. X when he had "a difference of opinion" with them later in the evening and spent the rest of the night in the toilet.



Thursday, I went to the convention, saw some friends, got some incredibly crap news from work that nearly caused me to have a full meltdown on the goddamned concourse (I didn't, though, because I remembered the age-old BWB mantra: DON'T ACT LIKE PREY). Some things happened, I met a lot of people who I love, and then we escaped to get curry at Tayyab's because I was in such a state from my work-related bullshit that I was incapable of being a good Baroness. (Fuck you, work. May a meteorite crush all that you love.) When I was at least not on the verge of violence anymore, I went back to the con where I met Theda, karaddin, Brooke, lessthanluke, lugalirra, liffguard, Malts 1 & 2, MO!!!, Mormont, Kat (TALL GLASS NO ICE), Lyanna, Ran & Linda, Aratan, Flip & John, Neal, Skylark, and some people whose board names are escaping me: Sunny and Jenn and oh shit, my mind just gave up. I remember all of your faces, but the names oh god the names. I know I have forgotten to add a lot of people to this list -- believe me, it's not because you're not awesome. It's because I'm tired. I love you!



Friday, we went to the con and delivered a bunch of this year's shirts. Some things happened, and then Mr. X and Neal had an epic journey into south London to pick up Old Fishfoot, the 9% ABV strong dark ale that Ginger Wolverine, Isis, Mr. X, and I brewed last August specifically for this year's party. I embraced Ghost of Nymeria for an inappropriately long time. I met Tyria and Mr. Tyria in the dealers room. And Elgernon and his beautiful ladywife (who I had seen the night before, but only when my brain had shut down entirely). I bear-hugged Daj, and squealed at Mich and Pod. Eventually I delivered 7Up and Vitamin Water to Elder Sister, who was fighting her own battle against the allies of the jellied motherfucking eels.



I got to meet Squidgey and see Chaldanya again. That kid is freakin' adorable, and Chal radiant as ever.



Then came the task of setting up the tent for the party. Since this was totally new, I had a shitload of volunteers, and very little for them to do. No furniture to move. No ice to haul. No n00bs to pwn. But we did need decorations, so I asked Dracarya to organize the banners. (thanks to MountainGoat for bringing them!) Elg and A sorted Ser Barry's fairy lights. Aratan, who is one tall drink of water, and yolkboy hung the banners. The string of fairy lights in the shape of red stockings went over the bar because duh. Then catering showed up with all of our stuff, and it was already chilled! GENIUS. Baita SCHMETTERLINGED me, but I decided that Luke and Liff were pretty pretty princesses, and so they got SCHMETTERLING sparkly hair clips. Regina got a tiara. One of these days, I'm bringing blinged-up brass knuckles, goddammit. Once the party opened, shit got crazy and I ended up bartending (which I never do these days, since my job is to walk the floor of the party) while Mr. X sorted other shirts. Lugalirra, longtime BWB booze-slinger, destroyed all comers. Skylark the Red, one of the true greats in BWB party history, helped us with prep and moral support. We eventually roped Jenn and Maid of Woodlynne into bartending as well. I think we ran out of booze at 11:30pm or midnight, which is a terrible record in BWB history, but I think we made the best of a very difficult catering/budget situation. Getting home at 3am with no trains and no taxis in sight was a goddamned challenge. But we made it.



Wolfgang gave me an amazing t-shirt for my birthday. ELSTERKREBS: No fucks to give!



Saturday. Saturday was my birthday. I ended up drinking a lot of beer on an empty stomach. That made for an interesting afternoon. Mercifully, I sobered up before my panel. I've heard good things about the panel (from people who are not contractually obliged to be nice to me), so I guess it went OK. I was gutted to have missed Lugalirra's panel though. I spent most of the night hanging out with BWB and chatting. Best part of the evening was a drive-by hugging by Adz. Seriously, woman just appeared out of nowhere like a goddamned hugging ninja, wrapped her arms around me, and then faded into the jungle. I got to see the first two numbers of the Hardbitten Fleabottom Swingtime Band (tons of fun), but then we had to get the train back home.



Sunday, Mr. X and I went west to say hi to Hereward. I can happily report that his wife really does look like Melkor and his children are vicious guttersnipes is a delight to talk to, and his children are hilarious and awesome. Hereward's manservants, however, were a bit goofy and prone to sniffing people's butts and crotches.



The Hugos happened, but I just stayed in the back room with the karaoke equipment while Aoife and Lugalirra read me the results. Aiden!! Rains of Castamere!! Ancillary Justice!! Was gutted that Raya didn't walk away with one as well. I considered starting a riot, but I was wearing heels.



Then, the karaoke. First up: props go to JonpoT, Targh, Jo, and Ser Barry, for sorting that shit out proper. We got a rig and monitors, and the motherfucking thing had Iron Maiden. UP THE IRONS!!! Karaoke was hilarious and wonderful. Baita made us go all multi-kulti. We had multiple songs about killings and genocide and other unsavory things (including aforementioned Iron Maiden with Run To The Hills, which I sang with Maid of Woodlynne and a bunch of other miscreants whose ID I will get from the horrific video that is floating around. I was DEAD SOBER for all of this, mind). We had ABBA (which I saw Fenryng singing along to -- damned near had a heart attack at that). Peadar absolutely destroyed the competition with his rendition of the Smiths' There Is A Light That Never Goes Out. Malt #1 and Malt #2 walked 500 miles and then they walked 500 more. Targh and JonpoT started with Lou Reed's Perfect Day, which was genius. And the karaoke closed out with a group rendition of Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody. Then I had to go home because of an early flight on Monday. I got the serious con Emo going on now and I think I must take to the sea, like Ishmael.



To every one of the BWB, I thank you for the laughs and the camaraderie. I thank you for the hugs and for the snark. I thank you for your patience and support while we dealt with the new party situation. I thank you especially for your work on Friday. Yes, even those of you who felt like you weren't doing much. You all contributed to a great party atmosphere, and as someone who has been to a fair few shitty con parties, that's not trivial. To my crowd-wranglers, ID-checkers, nerd-whisperers, banner-hangers, and line-managers, I raise a glass and toast you. To my clean-up crew, especially those who stuck it out to the end, I raise my fist in proud salute. To my bar crew, I raise my voice and sing your praises. To all of my BWB, I raise my blackened and possibly gangrenous heart to the sky and offer it up so that the deity of your choice (or lack thereof) smiles upon you.



Stats:


Number of panels attended: 1 (the one I moderated)


Number of winged cats in the art show: N/A (never made it, first time ever)


Number of fairy lights Ser Barry delivered: 1,000,000


Number of times I ogled Eemeli's legs in that Uhura outfit on Saturday: I plead the Fifth


Number of times I yelled COCKS OUT at karaoke: between 4 and 7


Number of Iron Maiden songs karaoke'd: 1


Number of jellied motherfucking eel pieces eaten: 3


Number of times my heart swelled to 40,000 times its normal size because of my love for my fellow BWBers: 2,000,000


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For now, here's my stats:



Number of panels attended: 2 (grrm/connie & podcasters) - sad i missed the YA asoiaf panel where the panel hadn't read the books (!)



number of interviews conducted: 3 (xray, Ser mountain goat, Elio & Linda - all great and thankyou!)



number of half chickens consumed: 3 (100% per day ratio)



that's all I got, it's 3am :stillsick:

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I did not find any winged cats in the art show, just one painting of two winged wolves.

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what an awesome report, X-ray! Makes me want to relive it again!



This was such a great con. I want to thank everyone who made it so - the Xs, of course, the karaoke crew, Zoe and Misha who worked their bums off in the info desk, MountainGoat who herded us around for dinner and stuff (and ran after us to say hello the very first day when we were quietly escaping after the first panel). It was great to see everyone who we haven't seen in years and to meet all the new people. I wanted to at least say hello to everyone (and put faces to names) but I don't think I managed that.



we spent most of Thursday morning standing in the queue for registration. I think the problem was everyone decided Thursday morning was the best time to start their con experience, and there was just no way the registration crew could make the line move any faster than it did (as there was a fair number of desks and the registration itself only took like 30 seconds). But we made it in time for the GRRM/Connie Willis panel which was all that mattered.



I was really impressed with the programming this time. I don't know if I'm just getting older or if it was more interesting than other cons I've been to, but I went to a fair number of panels and readings (including some random readings of people I didn't know in order to be able to fit in the broom closet for the Lynch & Abercrombie gigs). We did find a boring-to-us few hours on Friday afternoon so we went to see the poppies at the tower.



The highlight (apart from the karaoke, which was too awesome for words), was the random "orchestra" dudes who came up to the table occupied by brook, karaddin, Theda, Aoife, Min, and (later) Lyanna in order to discuss sexism in Asoiaf. I also loved Paeder's ghost story on Thursday night.



There were cats in the art show, but I don't think they were winged. Ask Barry though, he wanted to buy one of them :P



I'm sad I didn't get to see Squidgey.


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It was EPIC!



That's my con report. Love you all and look forward to loving you all again.


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It was an amazing experience. Thanks to all who were involved in organising it.

We arrived late on Thursday, as I had an interview with Patrick Rothfuss in Leciester Square in the morning. We spent about an hour in the queue, but it wasn't too bad. Luckily we made it to the GRRM & Connie Willis panel at 3.

After that, I met some old faces and new (Regina: You're smaller than I thought you would be, which made me extremely happy - I'm always the shortest :p ), then we caught up with Little Miss Sunshine, AllMenMustRhyme and Buckwheat for a bit. Thursday evening, we went for a meal by the Tower with Elder Sister, Fragile Bird, Baitac, Kissdbyfire, Crannogman and the above ruffians. It was lovely, a great chance to chat and catch up.

Friday was my big interview day. We turned up for Scott Lynch's signing, but the queue was really long, and I had to rush off to interview George RR Martin (thanks again Mutha, you rock!). My boyfriend (red mohawk guy) got my book signed for me - Lynch wrote "Heard you got stuck interviewing some obscure indie author called George R.J. Martham" :lol:

Interviewing George was amazing. He is, of course, such a lovely guy. It was a pleasure to meet him, and Pat too. Then I had an hour before I had to head over to interview Leigh Bardugo. I love that woman. She is just fantastic.

Then we headed over to the partay area, to charge our phones and relax a bit. I hunted Mr X down for my shirts, then felt a bit awkward just standing around, so I offered to help Xray set up the tent. I actually had a lot of fun throwing the banners around the tent, and demonstrating how they would look to Lyanna Stark by hiding behind them. I'm just sorry we couldn't stay later.

All that excitement left me in a lot of pain, so I took Saturday off and stayed in bed, resting.

Sunday saw me back up, hobbling around with a stick. To those of you who saw me, thanks for not taking the piss (and thank you for your best Mad Eye Moody jokes! They made me feel a lot better). Armed and ready, I managed to nab some free books from the Harper Voyager stall, arrange more interviews, and get my book signed by Robin Hobb. Good to see Targh and Jon again, and meet Samantha - thanks for helping me kick my bag along! Having coffee with Peadar was a big highlight too. It was great to see you again. Also managed to see LMG before I left - sorry for interrupting your dinner!

We had a final dinner at Subway, before scuttling off home to sleep.

All in all, I had an amazing time. I'm so glad I managed to meet so many fantastic people - and finally get hugged by Pebble! - and I'm sad I didn't get to meet some others. Soon, soon.

:grouphug:

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Still recovering.

A few thoughts in lieu of a real report:

My daughter had a fantastic time at her first WorldCon and thanks to everyone for talking to her even when she was shy! And to Peadar in particular for escorting her back to the hotel. He takes care of his little cousin.

As usual I went to a fair few programme items - 12 panels, 3 readings and 2 signings - and that was still less than half of what I really wanted to go to. (Damn those programme clashes!) But I had to stop occasionally for food and coffee, particularly after all those late nights. Honestly, each and every item I went to was great, but a few stand out - particularly those featuring our own (Luga on the 'Travel in Fantasy' panel, Wert on 'My Opinions, Let Me Show You Them', Peadar on 'My Beautiful Dystopia') but also the Teen Romance panel, which was seriously the best panel I went to. Identity, sexuality, gender politics, it covered the lot.

I met so many old friends and new and could honestly have done with another five days just to hang out with all of you, without a convention getting in the way. I spent only a fraction of the time with each of you that you deserve, but enjoyed every minute of it. I would list all the terrific people and why they rock, but it would take ages and I would be bound to miss someone. So just thank you to everyone for being awesome.

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Sooooo, that is about how my con experience was like:



I arrived to Heathrow on Wednesday afternoon, where I met All Men Must Rhyme and Sunny - we had no trouble finding and recognising each other at all, although we met for the first time. We went to the pub/b&b where we were staying, then had a lovely dinner with Fragile Bird.



On Thursday, we were at the ExCel earlier than most and managed to get our badges before the queue got really out of hands, so we had time to attend a panel about hobbits. Later I attended one about German scifi/fantasy, and finally finally met Dracarya too. (I wish we had more time together, Drac, I really do! :grouphug: ) Rushed to the GRRM & Connie Willis interview, got a place to sit on the floor before the first row near to Sunny, AMMR, Lyanna Stark, Baitac and FB. At various points over the day, I also got chances to say hi and hug CrannogDweller, TMOW, Pebble, both Drac's friends following her around and carrying her bags :P, Adz, Wolfgang, Baitac, Kissdbyfire and probably some people I cannot think of now. In the evening, we had the best dinner near the Tower (I saw no poppies, though).



Friday started with the round BWB queue for GRRM's most excellent reading that I enjoyed a lot. Later I picked up my T-shirt and rused to the city centre to meet up with a friend for lunch and sightseeing (whoever is still in London, British Library's guided tour is awesome). I came back in time for the BWB party. Thank you, Xray, for organising, and whoever helped with the set-up and cleaning afterwards. I had a great time. I can vouch that palimpsest is funny and kind in both languages, that Pod is, of course, to blame for everything, and that Mountain Goat is a very cool person.



Saturday was the day for GRRM's signature after queueing with Sunny for quite some time, then sightseeing with Crannog at Cutty Sark. I came back in time for the 3/4 empty panel about translation, which I found quite instructive.



On Sunday, Fragile Bird, Drac, Sunny, AMMR and myself met at King's Cross to visit the very expensive Harry Potter shop and decide not to stay in the ridiculous queue for a picture of the trolley to the platform 9 3/4. After coming back to ExCel, I went to listen the interview with Hobb and later have her book signed. Thanks to Crannog, who heroically and obligingly kept place for me in the line, I managed to head to the dealer's room and unexpectedly win a free Fool's Assassin by answering the question from the book I just read two weeks ago. ;) Then I also managed to make a fool of myself for not recognising Mormont. :blushing: The signing was followed by dinner, saying goodbye to Dracarya, the Hugo ceremony and the karaoke night. The day/night sadly ended with getting ourselves locked out of the place we were staying at until a man on the first floor (I have no idea who you are, but I am eternally grateful to you, man) took pity on us and let us in.



So after about four or five hours of sleep I insisted to go sightseeing. I went to see the Obervatory and Maritime Museum by myself. They both deserve more attention that I could give them being so sleep-deprived, but I really did not want to spend the short days in London laying in bed. In the afternoon and evening, I just chatted with some BWBers and played mafia in the fan village. Pebble makes a great mod. ;)



Stats:



Number of interviews, panels, signings: 9


Number of BWBers I talked to, said hi, hugged: no idea, but you are all great and I am happy you were so welcoming of new people, I want to see you again and also talk to those with whom I got no chance to speak to this time


Number of times I was surprised somebody recognised me from the forum: 2


Hours of sleep missed: a lot


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I am back home in the land of cotton and am already missing my BwB brethren. It was such a high for me, getting to see the city of London, and I would have loved more time there. It's a beautiful place, and I'll be back. The con was very cool; I enjoyed the panels, bought myself a medieval chicken pin, found out that aliens are invading our minds (am fairly sure they took a peek in my brain and headed in the opposite direction, so no worries there. The rest of you cats are in trouble.), got my photo made with Ursula from Little Mermaid, heard George's fantastic reading, and enjoyed myself thoroughly.

But it was the BwB who made the trip for me. Special shout out to Lyanna Stark who is probably the most welcoming, adorable person I have ever met in my entire life. She was everywhere at once, making the newbies like me feel at ease, all while hanging with her old buddies as well. She's like the energizer bunny. I have seen photographic evidence; I'm not lying. I'm not sure how she did it, honestly, but I adore her. Meeting and visiting with Chaldanya, Aoife, Kat, Skylark, and MinDonner (!!!! She's so cute in person! Not a 30 ft warrior woman as expected) was awesome. I didn't get enough time playing with Squidgey. There are so many of the BwB who have welcomed me into the fold. I love y'all for this. Arataniello introduced himself, and was kind enough to loan me a book and offer advice on Oxford. I didn't make it this time, but it's on my bucket list. I was so impressed that he went to so much trouble to help an addled tourist. I got my 'damn Regina time', and was very thankful, and got some Maid of Woodlynne time as well. I know what a challenge the whole convention was for Maid. She's such a champ; so thankful that she gutted it out and came. Meeting Dracarya and her boyfriend was lovely. We had dinner together and I got about two hours of uninterrupted visit in with them, which is danged rare for a con. Two more charming, lovely people you couldn't find. The Bards are adorable; I want to adopt them all. And best of all, I got to hang with my sweet friend Baitac, who is hysterically funny and kind, gorgeous, and gentle-spirited. But don't mess with her in a queue to hear George, because she will cut you. And a big shout out to Mr. Baitac, who seemed to just jump right in there, bless his heart. He's another new friend, thanks to the BwB. He even sat through a 'feminism in fandom' panel like an old pro.

I met so many fantastic people that I can't possibly name them, got to see so many more old/new friends, and consider myself so blessed because of it. I love you, BwB. You never fail to pleasantly surprise me.

Lastly, thank you to X-Ray and Mr. X for all their hard work. During the party prep on Friday night, Xray stopped what she was doing to bring me 7up, and bless her soul, I needed it. That's a class act. I love you, Baroness!

Can't wait for next year. But I am ticked that I had to leave before the karaoke night. Am so, so ticked about that.

Stats:

# of panels attended: 4
# of pairs of cowboy boots brought: 3
# of new stalkers collected: 1. Am losing my touch.
# of times I was overwhelmed with love for the BwB folks: a gagillion

ETA: I finally met KissdbyFire! She is awesome!

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So I think the first point I'd like to make is just to thank all the BWBers for being so welcoming to all us con n00bs. At no point did I feel unwelcome and pretty much instantly felt like I had known all you guys for ages(which I guess I have online....)



I had a bit of travelling trouble(missed two buses) so got to London about 4 hours later than planned but when I finally got to the con Theda and I met up with Brook and Karaddin who immeaditely bought in a round of drinks which made me love them instantly. Met a load of people Thursday night who like others I won't list you but you were all awesome.



Friday I actually went to some panels most of which I enjoyed then the BwB party in the night which was a lot of fun, I tried my best to mingle and talk to as many folks as possible but there was just too many people lol.



Saturday I went to a few more panels in the afternoon with Peader(who is an awesome funny dude) including Luga's which was very good. Saturday night again just involved a lot of wandering around the fan village talking to people before going over to the 80s disco for 10 minutes at the end, watching a load of people going nuts to 80s music in a very brightly lit room was a bit surreal but Min and Theda had some moves!



Sunday I was feeling pretty tired so only went to like 2 things. then spent a few hours in the library to recharge my batteries(both figuratively and my phone battery) before the highlight of the weekend kareoke! So many great performances here :P, I just hope more videos surface (just not the one of me please)



So all in all a great first experience and hopefully the first of many. Big shout out to Xray, Mr.X and all the others who put a lot of work into it and everyone else for just being great people.



Stats



Number of times falling asleep in a panel : 1


Number of free drinks from parties : lost count...


Number of times I got stared at/people comented on my arms on Sunday : a billion


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Long Con-story is long



I arrived on Wednesday, wandered aimlessly for a while, decided to brave the Excel and quickly realised two things: 1. the Excel is really, really long. 2. It also didn't have any of Our People in it.



So I wandered and wandered and wandered, staring at and mildly stalking various people trying to discern whether they were BWB or not. Luckily, I did not get arrested for Highly Creepy Stalkerish Behaviour. Eventually I spotted Elder Sister whom I immidately accosted. Once she realised I was actually really from the Internet and not some creepy random stranger, we had a cup of coffee and a chat. Turns out she is if possible even nicer in person and she has the most amazing musical accent. I've walked around trying out "Bless your heart" to random people afterwards but it's just not the same.



After a while we also aquired Baitac and Mr Baitac who are both lovely people. We proceeded to have a discussion about Scottish horse thieves, although we decided that if a horse just happens to wander into your path, well then who can really blame you for giving the horse a hand in moving in the "correct" direction.



Eventually we met more of our people and had a nice meal with Kat/tenalpia and Jenn + Anders. Turned out we were at the wrong Fox (there were two), got to the right Fox and met some more of Our People. This may have been on the Thursday though because memory = fuzzy.




Part 1.5, in which I blame the Tolkien Society


Spent Thursday in the Tower of London with Elder Sister, Fragile Bird, Baitac and Mr Baitac. The poppies were lovely, the armours were exciting, the swords very sharp, the Steampunk dragon very dragony and the company very pleasant. I tried to talk Elder Sister into nicking a cannon that would look fab in her front garden. Better a cannon than vegetables cos then you'll be arrested as we know from Ser Scot's investigations.



The weather however decided to take a turn for the worse and once we got back to the DLR station by the Excel it was a tropical downpour situation. The conversation between George and Connie Willis panel was in 20 min. As I am a Certified Idiot I had left my Con pass at the hotel and had to run barefoot through the rain (high-heeled sandals + rain = soggy, slippery and really bad for moving around in) back to the hotel, fetch my Con pass and then leg it back, again barefoot in the rain. At which point the Excel was lit up by some massive forked lightning and I thought I was going to die by way of thunder or my own idiocy when I nearly felt arse over tit. I also managed to seem like a Really Strange Person at a WorldCon which is no mean feat.



Anyways, onwards to the conversation between George and Connie Willis, which was not set in the largest of the rooms. You can imagine what happened. Huge queue, lots of people who didn't make it in. We queued, got to the door, the doorman said "Sorry no more spaces". I saw mormont just inside the door and waved frantically, hoping for a miracle, and for once a miracle occurred. Baitac, myself and tenalpia just got through the door as part of the last five or so people they managed to squeeze in. It was a great panel, only slightly uncomfortable for me since I was like a small, sitting raincloud and dripped so much there must have been a puddle on the floor. Can report that George was great and Connie was hilarious.



Found karaddin and brook in the hotel and since it went so well with Elder Sister, I directly proceeded to accost them on the spot, and they managed to only look terrified for maybe 15 seconds. ("OMG who is this weird woman bearing down on us? Where did she come from? Should we call for help??") :P



Had foot malfunction and had to bow out of the dinner at Tower Bridge :crying: and instead went to low key stuff with MinDonner and tenalpia and later we joined up with Our People. Met more of the BWB in the fan village. I remember seeing Xray, Mr X, mormont, Malt 1+2, Mo, john and flip and a lot of other people, old and new. I think this was the evening the Tolkien Society had their party. They had mead. I drank some of it and can't remember much more than an urgent need to go pass out.



Part 2, in which MinDonner and Eefa explain the books by George Tolkien to a drunk guy


Friday was First Proper Panel Day! Started at 11 am with George's reading in the Auditorium. The BWB was at the head of the queue until a security guard wanted us to shuffle sideways, at which point a weirdo popped out and claimed he was First and Over His Dead Body would we get in before him. Elder Sister talked some sense into him and we found out he was indeed a Westeros virgin since he claimed he found the site once, read something that said "R+L=J" which he thought was outrageous madness and couldn't possibly make any sense and then never came back. We giggled.



Met up with Chaldanya and squidgey in the afternoon which was fab and I think I might have passed out as well in preparation for the BWB-party. Or maybe it was just the after effects of the mead. I blame the Tolkien society. They didn't even have real hobbits. Shocking, I tell you! I remember assisting Dracarya with decorating the BWB party tent (which happened to be the same one the Tolkien society had their party in the day before) giving her the extremely valuable advice that "Ned should be with Cat" (with regards to the house banners) since obviously that is key to a successful decorating session. She kindly indulged the Crazy Woman and the Stark banner got to hang next to the Tully one. Cat. Ned. :crying: I teared up in RL. Again, the Tolkien society's mead is clearly an Instrument of Evil and I blame it for my emotional instability.



Once I woke from my coma, had a fortifying sandwhich and made my way back to the Tolkien society's mead the BWB party it was already in full swing and Everyone And Their Dog were there. It was great. The Iron Throne was of course there and Pictures Were Taken. Xray and her Minions rocked the bar and the rest of us circled like the cannibals we are like good BWB-ers and talked to Everyone And Their Dog. Of course we ended up with a feminism round table (literally around a round table) which was all fun and games until this random dude came over and asked us to "Talk to me about the books by George Tolkien" and then to explain and "sell" feminism to him. At this point my eyes were glazing over and I left, but MinDonner and Eefa made heroic efforts to actually engage this plonker in conversation.



After much drinking and lots of other Stuff that is a bit Hazy, Peregrinus dragged myself, Chaldanya and Mrs Barry along to "Mark does stuff" Mark's reading of bad fanfic, which I have to say was as unexpected as it was delightful and utterly freaky. This dude Mark, who obviously has masochistic tendencies, had decided that for the Good of All, he was going to do dramatic readings of bad, or at least Very Doubtful, fanfic. When we got there I think it was at the tail end of a "Draco Malfoy loves an apple" fic. Without further ado, we then plowed straight into a Supernatural fic featuring lots of pies and poo shooting upwards, then an absolutely legendary Jesus wins the Hunger games fic and at the end an epic, really long and totally WTFBBQ Powerpuff girls fanfic featuring what must have been celestial sex. My drunken brain tried desperately to comfort me by telling me the exploding gonads of the sun must be a metaphor for *something* and that it couldn't possibly be that someone actually thought it a good idea to write about angry hate sex featuring the powerpuff girls and the sun. At 2 am we left, before getting caught up in an Oprah/One Direction fic which could only prove to be All Sorts of Wrong.



After very little sleep, it was time for Serious Panel Day! (You can sort of see how this may not be a 100% great idea after the night before). Managed to catch the tail end of "Sex in SF&F: the good, the bad and the ugly" featuring Foz Meadows and some woman who wrote secret baby pirate romance stories. I kid you not. I wish I had been more awake since this panel was epic in all sorts of ways and featured among other things, a cosplaying catholic priest and the mention and subsequent explanation of dinosaur porn. Apparently this is a Thing. I guess I never thought I'd see "dinosaur" and "porn" mentioned in the same sentence, ever.



This may also have been the day when Peadar convinced me over lunch that I should be a vegetarian. He's very convincing and somewhat intimidating, Peadar, plus I have a sneaking suspicion he knows Lots of Stuff about an amazing amount of subjects. I think he might be an Irish Severus Snape in disguise and I was definitely a Weasley of Gryffindor.



I flipfloped on afternoon panels, submitted to peer pressure and tagged along with tenalpia to the "Daughters of Buffy" panel where supposedly they were to discuss what TV-series etc had been inspired by Buffy (female lead, ensemble cast etc) and I kept thinking I should actually watch the original series proper like instead of watching everything over my husband's shoulder. At least the panelists seemed to have actually watched Buffy and most of them were really good and gave lots of good examples on Good Stuff to look out for. Orphan Black was namedropped like 37 times. Unfortunately, one of the panelists was either totally clueless or just couldn't speak in front of strangers. She didn't actually say anything that wasn't "uhm" "ah" or "so" during the entire panel. It got to the point where it was physically painful. Ouch. Oh and we got a trainwreck dude mansplaining why we shouldn't be looking for Strong Female Characters and Cast in places that weren't webcomics.



The on to "Feminism and Sexism in Fandom", which struck me immidiately as a panel where Lots of Trainwreck Could be Had. It started out promising with some guys behind the BWB row ( karaddin, brook, chaldanya, myself, theda and liffguard) whispering and giggling and making commentary about "cis" this or other, but unfortunately they left. Then a bit in some dude started interrupting the panelists and we thought "finally, some action!" :box: but the panelists shut him down almost immidiately and we never got to hear what he clearly wanted to mansplain. Shame! We couldn't see what he looked like either so we couldn't hunt him down afterwards and ask what trainwreck commentary he was going to make. Much sadness was had. The guys of the BWB also complained that the feminism in the feminism panel was too basic (they were not wrong). And the Swedish panelist claimed Sweden is free of sexism.



The Panel of DOOM


Then at 6 pm we actually had a Game of Thrones/Song of Ice and Fire panel. Yay, we thought and wandered in, a bunch of us, finally a decent discussion. "Coming of Age in Game of Thrones" with a special note that spoilers would be forthcoming for all five books. What can possibly go wrong, right?


It turned out quickly that the panelists did not have a clue. It started out with one of the panelists going on about how Dany was a force for order as she went and "sorted out that other continent" and "killed all those slavers". karaddin ended up having me on one side and brook on the other theater whispering "no no no no" and shaking our heads. Half way or so in one of the panelists got spoilt to the ending of "Dance of Dragons" which she hadn't read!



At this point, the BWB were alternating between shaking our heads, face-palming and furiously posting on the BWB- facebook threads with "WHAT ON EARTH I CAN'T EVEN!!" while the panelists plodded on with such gems as:



"Tommen is not important, he is not a POV character" and "Sansa is much improved in the show, she was just not that well written and so very boring and passive in the books.", "Arya is off in Braavos having a good time", "The most obvious coming of age stories are Jaime and Tyrion", "Do we even know how old Jaime is?" and when one of the BWB asked what their thoughts on Shireen Baratheon was (after some initial shuffling of "who is Shireen again?") "Do we even know where Shireen is"?



I swear to you, we had a chorus going with "She is at the Wall" and at this point, quite a few of the other people in the room had caught on to the fact that we probably knew more than the panelists, and that we at the very least strongly disagreed with the panelists.



We also were treated to some random theories that the panelists clearly thought were awesome and So Very New (Wouldn't it be awesome to warg a dragon??? OMG that is so cool, how did you think of that??) plus one totally out there theory of Dorne supporting Myrcella which made me suspect they hadn't actually read AFFC, just said that they had since you know, that kind of plot? Has already been covered. Unless they thought that it would work on the second try. It made absolutely no sense.



The pinnacle was probably still when someone asked about young Aegon Targaryen and what they thought of him. One burst out "I think he will die!" while a second one looked confused and asked "Is that a Dunk and Egg story?" Then they went on to tell us to buy their newly published books. Worst. Panel. Ever. Any of us on the boards could have done a much better job. Seriously, it was painful.



After this much drinking was needed to take away the pain although to my great Sorrow the Tolkien Society's mead was nowhere to be found when I really needed it. I might have used the BWB as an outlet for my frustration as they got subjected to Much Ranting and Raging. Ugh, just ugh. Hung out with the BWB in the evening and some went off to the 80s disco which I could not find. Mormont introduced me to Leigh Bardugo at some point who is a lovely and very funny woman. Plus her novels are now on my to read list. Yay!



On Sunday Peadar's panel "My beautiful dystopia" was set in the same place as the 80s disco and again I could not find it. -15 points to Gryffindor again for being fail. I randomly walked into another panel which was pretty good and for the life of me I cannot figure out which one it was. In my hung-over state they seemed to be talking about the fl00b and internet etiquette.



Academic Sex? Academic Sex!


After that it was Academic Sex! featuring works of China Mieville!!11, Hobb and Bujold. Oh yes. "Sex and Desire in Literature" on the academic track. Two academics held a 15 min presentation each on academic sex in Robin Hobb and Bujold. It was interesting and had powerpoint presentations with both text and images, for us plebs. Great stuff! Unfortunately the China Mieville academic sex consisted of an Austrian lady reading from her thesis in gender studies, which contained words that were often English but which I had never really heard in that order before, ("emotional substrate", "the constructive meaning of truth") and some German words with more than six syllables. Everyone's eyes glazed over and we took to facebook instead to talk about it, as you do. Luckily to spice things up we had a proper trainwreck dude mainsplaining why Heinlein should be included at feminist panels at the end! :D Although trainwreck dude did admit that Heinlein could maybe be considered sexist "by modern sensibilities", he did not let that stop him. To my great relief as Lessthanluke only went to that panel expecting a trainwreck and promised to blame me if there was none. Thanks Heinlein dude!



Then on to the book cover panels. With a subtitle "the good, the bad and the ugly" and Joe Abercrombie as one of the panelists, I thought it would have the potential for Much Snark, but it was really nice and tame and well, without much ugly art. After the rumours about many winged cats in the art exhibition, I was bracing myself for a deluge of winged cats, winged dogs, winged unicorns and winged slugs, but nothing was forthcoming.



After that it was the Hugos while many of us milled and waited for the KARAOKE OF LEGEND. After that there was nothing but Karaoke. I made Ran get up and do "Dancing Queen" with me and Baitac and it was totally worth the two warning points he threatened me with. The grande finale was "Bohemian Rhapsody" with almost the entire BWB singing it.



After that it was only sadness and wallowing left and a loooong trip home. I can't even blame the Tolkien Society either.


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Crap! I missed the legend that was Dancing Queen :( At least, in years to come, I can say I saw Tom Jones...


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Buckwheat, me too! Those few days seemed to fly by. I'm glad we met though, and we'll see each other again :D

I very much intend on keeping my promise & attending TitanCon next year, so I'm looking forward to seeing more of you again!

ES, that dinner was amazing. We were definitely at the cool end of the table. I'm glad you liked the boyfriend - he was so nervous about meeting you all, but everyone was really kind and welcoming (not that I expected anything different!).

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Crap! I missed the legend that was Dancing Queen :( At least, in years to come, I can say I saw Tom Jones...

Oh noes. Does this mean I get even more points withdrawn for Poor Planning of Dancing Queen? :eek:

I'm now even more crushed I couldn't come. But I leven that with the knowledge that y'all had such a great time.

:)

You'll be happy to know that we discussed your outrage for the Prevention of Vegetables in Front Gardens while at the Tower. :P

Further tidbits that we can say are Now Known.

- Lessthanluke doesn't look anything like a hobo. Nope, nada, not at all.

- Every sentence must now be prefaced with "As a misandrist..." which works great with "As a misandrist, I really want some beer" or "As a misandrist, I think Jawas playing quidditch is a sign of moral decay"***

- Yes the Jawas actually DID play quidditch

- Shia Labeouf is apparently a cannibal

- Theda and Lessthanluke admirably tried to convince us Wales actually exists. A for effort, but ultimately doomed to failure!

- I am trying to lead Chaldanya astray

- Academic sex is a brilliant contraceptive strategy

***both comments are authentic

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The good:


- Seeing long-standing BwBers & the newly-inducted mixing together


+ Squidgy and Nat in particular. And Elder Sister. And Prue. And everyone, pretty much. Oh, and definitely Eemeli's legs.


- Possibly the easiest party cleanup I've seen? Not even any strategic ice raids or hunts for empty bins


- Wibbly-wobbly, oceany-woceany, barfy-warfy


- Such a different crowd from normal!


- Theda's laugh


- The poppies


- Karaoke!


- Terrible fanfiction



The bad:


- Not getting to meet everyone


- I'm pretty sure my brain is leaking out of one ear now


- I'm suffering massive shame waves, but I'm pretty sure that any further attempt to apologise will just be even worse


- That Ops did need to take reports from people (though I have so far only heard good things about the responses)


- So many panel conflicts! So little space! So much stuff going on that I'm just now learning of things that were going on over the weekend!


- Terrible fanfiction



The ugly:


- Me running on 4 hours of sleep on Monday


- The ugly covers in the panel about good/bad/ugly covers


- Terrible fanfiction



PS What do your boyfriends and/or parents think about you all watching a show with so many boobs in it?



PPS I saw the orchestra friend on Sunday, and stared him down until he acknowledged me. I did it with a smile on my face, but he was definitely trying to weasel out of being part of that conversation.


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