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Penguicon 7 as an Attendee
All the fun without that nasty con-runner stuff in the way...

As I’ve discussed elsewhere, my weekend began with a wedding. Mine. That was a minor miscalculation in terms of time management. It did, however, kick the weekend off on a high note. The weekend was too long and packed with too much stuff for me to just do my typical “chronological dump”, so I’m going to try to hit the highlights.

Let me lead off by saying that there is absolutely no way I could have enjoyed this weekend at all were it not for Ron Blanchett and my new wife. Early Friday afternoon my left knee (affectionately known as the worse of two bad knees) had decided that all of my up and down the stairs action was too much, and gave out. I came very close to shoulder rolling down the stairs. It hurt a LOT. Shit, it hurts a lot NOW. Ron and Ger became my legs for the weekend. When I needed something, Ger was right there. When any of the A/V needs popped up or there was something time sensitive to be done that was far from my present location, Ron sprung into action. Seriously, I cannot say this enough, Ron fucking saved the con. At least, he saved the part of it that I handle, and that’s a not insignificant portion. Add to this the massive and profoundly useful efforts by Randy Bradakis and Chuck Child (the former in his role as “fixer of all that is not facility related” and the latter in his role as “assistant to the hotel liaison” and “budget dude extraordinaire”) and I was actually able to ENJOY much more of the convention than last year, where I filled pretty much all of the above roles.

But what were those things that I got to enjoy?

Dr Horrible’s Sing-a-long Blog
Many people pointed out that I was insane to manage the facilities for a convention while I was planning and executing a wedding at the same time. What they don’t realize is to what degree Ger was insane too. She was producing and directing a live presentation of Joss Whedon’s Internet hit. I was pretty excited about seeing good friends sing and dance along, but I had no illusions that the show would be “good” per se.

Oh my god was I wrong. The singing and acting was really well done and it actually gave me goose bumps when Misha included an already singing-along crowd in the show by having them sing the spooky background vocals in the final number. I hope that there exists video of this performance, and everyone involved have quite a bit to be proud of. I understand that there is a chance of a road show in the not too terribly distant future. I hope that’s a true rumor.

Brazilian Beef
I did NOT stand in line for Brazilian Beef. I saw the writing on the wall early on in the process and had a gut feeling that it wasn’t going to be optimally set up, so I went ahead and procured alternate food. As it turns out, my gut was right, so I feel vindicated. Sucks for those that had to wait, though. Basically I got to enjoy NOT waiting in an endless line.

Masquerade
As if Dr. Horrible wasn’t awesome enough, it was smack-dab in the middle of an absurdly professional masquerade. To me, the masquerade is always a “take it or leave it” prospect. I’m not a costumer, so there’s little draw for me there. This one is totally different. The same crew of folks that ran the most recent masquerade (whose name I don’t recall, but initials are WTF) rocked this one with absolutely amazing stage dressing and fanfare. This was a LOT of fun.

Charity Auction
This was the first year back for the charity auction and apparently it raised over $1600 for the EFF. I managed to get out of there for around $200 with an XO laptop, a copy of Diplomacy (which I’ve been wanting for years...anybody have a spare week to kill?), and a copy of some other board game that I think I will give to Cody for his birthday. It was really nice to see what a great job David Adams did with his first year, and I hope that he or someone picks up the banner and kicks it up a notch next year. Comedy duo Dawn and Greg auctioned the items...and occasionally their clothing (Dawn adding the removal of her shirt to the benefits of owning one lot, and Greg adding the donning of his pants as the benefit of owning another.) Oh, and they had the hottest sex scene ever to appear in a auction.

Dinner with Dawn and Greg
Due to yet another scheduling snafu, dinner with Dawn and Greg turned into a very small gathering of folks hanging with the very funny pair. If you ask me, that was about perfect. It was a chance to have the two largely to myself (plus or minus a few friends) for an hour or so. I laughed until my floating hinge was sore.

Free Space Game
Guest of Honor Jane McGonical ran her Free Space game with Penguicon as the HQ for this round. I actually got a prize! It was very cool to be able to take a breather, whip out my phone, and see what ideas have been thrown against the wall. I love this game. More importantly, I love Jane’s view of the world and our ability to change it through game. I only managed to hit one of her panels, but she was a brilliant and inspiring speaker.

Flirting for Geeks
Hrmm. I am not sure what to say about this panel. Let me begin by saying that I loved being on it. Scott and I were the first to show, so while we sat in front of a packed room, I took a few questions and in response to the question “How long do you wait to get naked” I responded “Oh, before she even shows up” and proceeded to remove my pants, placing them on Dawn’s chair. When Dawn and Greg showed up, she immediately pulled them on over her own pants.

The panel only went downhill from there...to give you an indication, I ended with very wet boxer-briefs and a crotch full of ice water (mostly self inflicted).

In all seriousness, I enjoyed the panel, and there were some very, very funny moments, but I feel like we missed an opportunity. One member of the panel, sadly, the most vocal, doesn’t as much “flirt” as “assault” and I feel like several of us spent the whole panel trying to subvert misinformation from that source through humor and direct refutation. I’ll get into this more when I do my write up of the con from a con-runner’s perspective, but let me leave it with the fact that I had a great time and we had a completely packed house...but I feel like more could have been done.

The Con Itself
HO-LY SHIT! We had 1100 warm bodies in that place. Seriously, that was insane. It was amazingly well run, and all the more fun for having been so well planned and laid out. Registration was brilliant, ops went well, the hotel stuff ran far more smoothly than it had any right to (the only noise complaint all weekend was against MY room when I wasn’t even having a party...ooops), scheduling was pretty damned solid... the consuite ran out of food and was crowded, but that was because it was so well done and so much fun. This was absolutely the most fun Penguicon I’ve attended...and the most fun convention I have attended as well. We have really set the bar high for future years.

I am 100% sure that I’m missing stuff here, but this is what percolates to the top of my sleep deprived mind (I’ll probably catch up on sleep somewhere in 2010, with luck). That’s okay, though, because I have all of YOUR con reports to remind me of the other fun I’ve had. So I’ll be compiling a list of convention reports just like last year, but in the interim, let me know what you think below... What were your favorite and least favorite parts?