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Sunday, April 8, 2012

Everyone Does Chimeras

Only at Norwescon could one hear that title phrase and have it make sense. But it was a panel about cloning and technically that's what a chimera is - a thing made up of two or more distinctly different other things. And that's what I did this weekend, attended and participated in panels on everything from parenting to the aforementioned cloning, from women in fandom to writing.

My beloved spouse was invited to be a panelist to discuss the book about future technologies in which his short story was published. This turned into a book signing and he and I were both thrilled! 

The parenting and women's panels were especially interesting to me, partly because of the participants. Norwescon, like may conventions of its type, is generally seen as a haven for the weird and offbeat and alternative lifestyle choices. And in many ways it is. But I have always felt safe at cons, maybe not always comfortable - I'm not the full-body-hugs-with-strangers type - but always, always safe. This is not the same experience as some of my fellow women (can one say "fellow women"?) have had. It seems that this is because the percentage of sexist jerks at cons is perhaps lower than in the general population, it still exists. They were interesting panels.

I played games. I chatted with people I haven't seen for a year. I saw fabulous costumes and witty t-shirts and a Babythulu in a steampunk carriage with working steam and gears. I played nursemaid to an adorable toddler fairy while her mama used the restroom. I went yip-yip with Sesame Street Martians. I had a short massage from the incomparable Raven (Pam) and it was heavenly. We ate at Sharps Roasthouse (as we traditionally do) and they have for the record the best pot-stickers with spicy teriyaki ever. And wonderful customer service as always. I spoke with a wide-eyed pilot who clearly sought me out because I looked relatively "normal". I asked the hotel concierge if we were behaving ourselves because I saw a couple of King County Sheriffs wandering the con, and he said something that delighted me: "Oh, those two; they come every year because they get to come to the convention in exchange for offering security services." And when I asked him whether we - as a group - were an event he enjoyed or dreaded, he smiled and said, "Not only are you people interesting to look at and to talk to, but you're generally polite and you bring your own competent tech support. That's huge."

Te-le-phone yip yip uh-huh
I had a lot of fun, met some interesting people, and especially some local women authors of whose work I want to read more. And a podcaster who does a sort of perky goth twist on her casts; Abby will want to be her when she grows up. I did some shopping for the kids of course, and we'll give them out when Leanna is here next weekend. Some pretty hair-clips from Velvet Mechanism for Leanna, some purple niobium earrings for Abby (and a Bad Wolf button; she'll be thrilled) and a pretty little wooden box each for Abby and Leanna to keep these treasures in. I got Lizzy a coloring book and two finger puppets (a dragon and a knight).

And now it's Sunday and it's time for egg hunting and chocolate eating and the normal sorts of holiday weekend things. I have a horrible "con hangover" (haven't drunk a drop; this is simply a function of being on my feet about four times as much as I'm used to, not drinking enough water, etc) and I feel wonderful.

As I type this, Lizzy (4) has accessed My Little Pony on Netflix (I saw at least one Pinkie Pie Pony at the con). She says she's been dying to see this. I told her I hoped she wasn't really dying to and she said, "Um, Mom? It's an expwession." This suggests to me that although we don't take the kids with us to these things, the geekery of our daily lives is such that the kids have Geek vocabulary and comprehension. And that's a Good Thing.