March 4th, 2009

Creative Joyous Cat

Capricon - Saturday and Sunday

So I was up by 9 on Saturday too--got to be some sort of a record for me at a con, but I had a panel at 10, and I think much better with food, so up I got.  The panel was on LiveJournal/Blogging and Fandom, and ranged from the differences between Amateur Press Associations and blogging, to how to collect things like blogs from the viewpoint of a university curator, to image management using blogs and websites.  The anonymity of people online was discussed, both in positive aspects (having a place to vent and discuss problems in your industry without harming your or your employer's reputation, for instance) and negative (flame wars).  I particularly liked the idea of "disemvoweling" - instead of censoring words altogether, simply taking the vowels out of "flaming" posts.  People who have seen this done said it makes it easy to skim over the fighting while still following the more level-headed/polite parts of a thread.  And the importance of managing your image online was discussed too.  I think it was Lynne Thomas who said she is careful to represent herself online because no one else can do that "for" you. 

After this, I went to the drumming panel/workshop.  I knew Debbie was taking over for the originally scheduled presenter for this (who was detained at home by medical issues that turned out to be not serious, thank goodness), and figured she could use a friendly face, and maybe someone not completely ignorant of drumming and drum circles.  I enjoyed it very much; she moved from the very basics (there were some very beginning people there) and talked about vocabulary and etiquette, but moved fast enough that we got to learn two rhythms, divide the room and do them together, talk about other rhythms (including hemiola, which I love) and even do a short drum circle where people could do what they wanted at the end.  Not bad for less than an hour and a half.

Then off to the panel I'd been looking most forward to, the women in SF, my drum still over my shoulder (15 minutes is still not enough time to brave the elevators and be sure I can get to the next panel on time).  Along the way, I heard an off-hand and truly unnecessary comment from a certain person to his daughter about not growing up to be a drum majorette.  Sigh.  Though, in retrospect, that does kind of lead in to the next (and last) panel I was on, which was the changing roles of women in SF.  Then, I was just glad that the panel I was looking most forward to was about to begin, a good distration from someone saying stuff for no reason that I can discern besides trying to look clever while subtly (and inaccurately--there's nothing wrong with being a drum majorette and I've never been one besides) putting someone else down.  Again, sigh. 

The panel was very interesting, and well attended.  We started with panelists' backgrounds, which led into a lot of discussion of the changing roles of women in real life in our lifetimes, from time to time touching on SF, or mentinoning SF examples of things we were discussing.  Having been assigned as moderator, I spent a lot of time watching the audience's faces--they were both interested and involved, so I didn't worry that we were technically off-topic, though I did ask panelists and audience, in the last five minutes, for books they would recommend.  We have come a long way from the time when to be taken seriously, women writers of SF had to use ambiguous or male pen names (though many still do, especially if they write hard SF, so I guess that prejudice isn't completely gone).  One panelist got into trouble for reading "boys' books" in her childhood; she later got around the proscription by stating (truthfully, she notes, though she didn't say how interested they were in said books) that she was reading the "boys' books" to her younger brothers to get the librarians to allow her to take SF books home.  Les than a decade later, and in a much bigger city, I never had that problem, for which I am heartily thankful.

Being out of work, I spent very little time in the dealer's room.  Normally, just buying books would have earned me a power shopper patch, though shopping really isn't a significant focus in my life, which the patch might otherwise imply.  I did go through the art show, and then hurried off to the Where to Find (and sell) Short Fiction panel.  Those notes were primarily a list of online sites; maybe I'll do a post on those when I find time to look them up, since I do want to get organized to be submitting stories.

I grabbed food in the green room and went to the Wild Mercy concert, which was wonderful despite having put together a whole new set list on the fly and lacking Barry and Sally's talents due to the aforementioned medical issues.  The filk was much better attended, and I borrowed Art's tuner so our guitars, at least, were in tune with each other.  (I was tired enough that I did not want to retune the 36 strings of even one autoharp, when each was still in perfect tune with itself!)

Sunday was another get-up-too-early day, this time due to hotels wanting extra money for all late checkouts, so far as I can discern, in these poor-economy days.  Did some shopping - a friend called to say she'd lost her Goddess figurine, and would I find her a replacement; went to pick up art but their computer was down (they were glad I could hang around a while, so they could close out artists who had time schedules to meet first).  Signed up for a Renaissance Fan patch.  Did get some new-to-me books, as someone brought some to give away at Cafe Capricon; as I understand it, they'd been offered to gophers first, as a thank-you for volunteering, then to everyone else only late on Sunday.  And eventually got my art (sold two pieces, tho not expensive ones) and headed home, after checking one last time with ops and the hotel for the sweatshirt that had disappeared on Friday.

The postscript is that ops called after we got all the way to Milwaukee, they'd found my shirt.  I'd love to know where, and why it wasn't turned in to them until 5 pm on Sunday, and who to call to figure out if I can get it back before next year.  But at least I should get it back, one way or another.  Driving back to the hotel for it, when I was tired and there was snow to shovel, would have been a bad idea even if I still had a job.

Still, all in all, a good con.