Back from Penguicon
The con is a soothing blend of Linux and hacker-lite events, gaming, and scifi and fantasy literature/fandom (my soul felt at peace). Although I suspect that catvalente felt slightly less at home, since the fantasy or poetry contingent there is less strong, and she was on horror and webcomic panels. The hotel is well laid out if gigantic -- the curved hallways are endless, and slightly paranoia-inducing while you're in 3am sleepless delirium. And I am seriously surprised at the caliber of panelists and special guests they keep having, for what is still a small to medium convention.
The programs and panels themselves were an embarassment of riches -- I went to way more panels than I usually do, and still managed to miss several brilliant-looking ones.
* By happy accident, I ended up sitting next to Vernor Vinge at breakfast (kindly sponsored by Subterranean Press). By not so happy accident, I spilled my coffee and narrowly avoided hitting him. I did get to fanboy briefly, and mention that his True Names and Other Dangers was the book that truly introduced me to the Net (and modeming, BBSs, virtual worlds, etc), even before Neuromancer.
* Eliezer Yudkowsky is very smart. I suspect, however, that given the power, he would legislate against suicide, assisted suicide and other such similar voluntary death. (How does he feel about abortion, I wonder?). Which is displeasing.
* The con suite was well-run, and had much delicious food.
* There are very few (or no) occasions on which having a fuzzy green tentacle on your left arm can fail to improve matters. It's great for when you're in the audience and asking questions, or when explaining to somebody why they should buy a book of brilliant nested fairy tales. It especially adds a certain gravitas when you're a panelist on the Anime and Comics panel, and the person next to you is a veritable schoolgirl (a president of a highschool anime club), and looks at you dubiously when you get your anime history wrong. Yes, I know this from first person experience.
* Aaron Diaz of Dresden Codak is incredibly smart and well-spoken, and I got to go to dinner with him and a couple of other brilliant webcomic peoples (Rob Balder, Jennie Breeden, Eric Milikin).
* catvalente and I took part in some sort of inexplicable lolcat type meme photos involving lots of people ironing and a guy in a Tron costume, all orchestrated by Randall Munroe of xkcd. Cat played the dead chick on the floor.
* theferrett, in proper attire and makeup, looks remarkably like Tim Curry from Rocky Horror.
* I got to meet briefly Megan Rose Gedris, artist and author of I Was Kidnapped By Lesbian Pirates From Outer Space (as well as YU+ME dream and possibly others), which looks just brilliant.
* Got to spend some much-missed time with mishamish and babymonkey, yakavenger and blazepoet, and sheryl67 and rbradakis
* Got to finally meet in person bleakenigma and tygerdsebat
* On getting back from the con exhausted, Cat and I proeceded to watch 28 Days Later (I've never seen it before). Which prompted the contractually obligated discussions of what we would do in case of zombie apocalypse. (Our plans would definitely involve fighting our way to the shore and stealing a sailboat). But, what can I say, I need a lot more skills for all of this; my post-apocalypse-readiness-meter is way low.
* Happy Birthday Misha!