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Balticon Retrospective

On the plane home now. I really should be reading slush, or answering mail, or sleeping. This is what I'm doing instead.

Here are the things I remember doing:

  • Being silly with Jared and J.R. in our hotel room and reading manga we'd just discovered from the apparently vast "Boy is possessed by the spirits of women and macks on other boys" genre. They are the most excessively cute people in the community when they're together, by the way. Rock on.

  • Buying Earl Newton a drink and listening to his single regret.

  • Writing the essay for Mur's Geek Fu 100 over the course of a day-and-a-half, because every time I sat down to do it there was more company to talk to instead. It did get finished, however, and went over very well.

  • Pulling my roast of Evo and Michael out of my ass, because I never sat down to write it, but it went over brilliantly anyway. ("Evo: you've given me the inspiration, the confidence, and the persistence to succeed at podcasting. You bastard! I remember sleep!")

  • Falling for Tee's tricking me out of our bet money. I had bet him $20 that he couldn't make it through a panel without saying more than eight words. He got my money early and then copped out -- but the money went to the Joe Murphy Fund, so I can't complain.

  • (Actually, the Steve and Tee Show at the roast was pretty damn good in general. "And I'm not talking about last night!")

  • Being warned about the Wingin' It Alternate Reality Zone before entering, and realizing what was meant when I crawled up to sit near the front.

  • Listening to a new clit essay from Mur that, based on my later questioning, no one in the audience remembers clearly, because we were all watching George Hrab take his clothes off on every four-syllable word.

  • Recording just about everything on my Zoom. Beautiful device.

  • Losing my Giant Squid. Dammit.

  • Hitting some of the posted parties for brief periods. What was up with the scarcity and lameness of the public parties? I'm sorry, folks, but you have got to have more than a bowl full of peanuts if you want to promote something. This con is actually quite cool during the day. It needs to liven up a lot more at night.

  • Not caring too much about the above, because I spent hours in Dirty Fifteen (room 3015). I know we eventually wore out Tee and Phil and Jack, but they were welcoming anyway, and it was The Place To Be every night. Until moving down to the courtyard.

  • Mellowing out with the gazebo concert by Matt, Jack, and Heather.

  • Being amazed, initially weirded, and finally comfortable with the stuff people were saying about Escape Pod. I have fangirls. Fangirls!

  • Flirting with Heather, and being flirted with. You've got soul, girl. When you open up in your singing, the world opens up.

  • Flirting with Laura the World's Cutest Rocket Scientist.

  • Giving Matt his first kiss from a guy since 1984.

  • Making out briefly with both Leann and Phil in the front row of Wingin' It, then wondering if that was a bad idea after hearing about all the drama going down. I'm still not totally sure what was up, and I didn't spend much time asking people, but I hope things are okay for everyone at this point.

  • Spending a wonderful amount of time with M.A. Kissing her a lot. Making her blush by telling her what I saw. Genuinely enjoying her company.

  • "Blissing out," as J.R. kept calling it.

  • Giving solid well-received advice and opinion on four panels.

  • Getting confused at why the Sex in Podcasting panel kept coming back to Pseudopod.

  • Recording the "Technology of Orgasm" presentation for Minx.

  • Playing Dark Mask Jr. in the Mister Adventure! podplay. People thought my voice was clever, but it was really just Mandark from Dexter's Lab.

  • Playing Lancelot Biggs again in the next adventure of Lancelot Biggs: Spaceman! Nailing it. Enjoying the ad libs. ("I'll be in your bunk!")

  • Reading Lord Dunsany's "The Quest of the Queen's Tears" for Jared's new podcast, The Department of Public Words.

  • Having my one fanboy moment at meeting Jamie Noguchi, the artist behind Erfworld. I bought a Wanda button. It is not rational how happy this makes me.

  • Buying three CDs from George Hrab at his concert. Did I mention that he is awesome? Did I mention the country version of "Brains Body Both?"

  • Watching Christiana rock at the "Are You Smarter Than a Podcaster?" game show.

  • Giving blood. Then having a beer too soon after giving blood.

  • Having a lot of drinks bought for me. Buying a lot of drinks for others.

  • Getting a taste of Paul's Glenmorangie 15 Year Sauternes Finish. You folks need to understand: this is the Scotch I'd intended to buy when I sold my novel. Getting to taste it was a true experience for me.

  • Telling Paul he'd done a superior job bringing out the energy of this community, and meaning it.

  • Living in the moment.

  • Loving it.

...Here's the thing. I wasn't all that enthusiastic about Balticon before I went. You saw the post. I really didn't want to be alone there.

I was not alone once during the con. Even the few points where I walked off to find a quiet corner by myself, I wasn't alone.

cunningminx posted that she wasn't looking forward to her weekend either -- she wanted to be at Balticon with me -- but that the gathering she went to this weekend was what she needed. Everything she received this weekend, the support and the energy work and the kindness of strangers and simply dancing naked in the rain, was good for her. Being with me would not have been bad, but this was the better time and place for her. This delights me.

If I hadn't gone to Balticon alone, I could not have lived in the moment. If I'd been with Anna, I'd be worrying too much about giving her a break from Alex, and having some time for us, and any evening things I did after they went to bed would be with a bit of guilt. If I'd been with Minx, I'd have been in conflict every evening hour: I'd have to decide between spending rare time alone with her, or enjoy the other people who were there. If both of them had come (which was a possibility), then there'd have been far too many options for every moment. Not having those choices meant I could devote myself to the time I was having, and to other wonderful people.

M.A.: I want to thank you in particular. It's largely because of you that I can say I wasn't really alone at any point. I'm glad I could give you a fun time, and you gave me one. We both deserved it. Best wishes with your Grand Plan this year, and I hope you'll stay in touch so I can follow how it goes.

Whatever you did this weekend, I hope your time has been as good as mine.


( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 29th, 2007 03:02 am (UTC)
I couldn't have asked for a better weekend. It was great to get to meet you, and hang out like we did.

Keep in touch? Definitely.
May. 29th, 2007 04:04 pm (UTC)
Ah, was the manga you were reading Eerie Queerie by any change? It's very cute.
May. 29th, 2007 04:11 pm (UTC)
Re: Manga?
Yes, in fact it was Eerie Queerie. Though Jared tells me that there are a number of titles with that basic plot.

I picked it up because the very first table we saw at the dealer's room was a manga table where every book was $6, or two for $10, or ten for $40. I picked up two, Eerie Queerie and Comic Party, on a funky impulse. And I had some notion that perhaps we could read it aloud at a party for laughs if we got bored, a la the Eye of Argon readings from last year. That never happened, but I'm still pleased I bought the manga.
May. 29th, 2007 04:34 pm (UTC)
Re: Manga?
Ah indeed, the genre is called "Boys Love" in Japan, and often referred to as yaoi or shounen-ai here in the west (go figure). It's a very interesting genre - written by women for women, and it features stories ranging from cute innocent fun like Eerie Queerie to really explicit violent porn... basically whatever rocks your boat.

The idea is that female readers find it easier to deal with difficult issues when the often oppressive element of gender is removed from the story. No one is going get pregnant and no women are harmed during the stories that typically have some kind of non-consensual elements, and the reader is left to enjoy her fantasies without feeling guilty. And hot guys making out is... well, a plus ;)

For more, check out review sites like Boys on Boys on Film:

May. 30th, 2007 05:46 pm (UTC)
Damn son. I wish I coulda macked as much as you sir.

you did an awesome job as Dark Mask Jr. I knew you would, as I told Davey to specifically create that role for you. I look forward to using you more. And I learned a lot about you man. things I never knew. And I'm so glad I got to. I mean that. Because of this weekend, the cool Steve Eley I knew got cooler by 500.
May. 30th, 2007 08:39 pm (UTC)
I look forward to using you more.

Cool, Rich. I look forward to being used by you! (I mean...um... Hey, look! Beer!)

And I learned a lot about you man. things I never knew. And I'm so glad I got to. I mean that. Because of this weekend, the cool Steve Eley I knew got cooler by 500.

Heh. Thanks. Whatever those things were, I'll take the result. >8-> You're a good man too, Podcasting's Rich Sigfrit.
May. 31st, 2007 01:33 pm (UTC)
I still blush a little when I remember that there wasn't a room I went into that someone didn't announce me as Podcasting's Rich Sigfrit. That was so awesome.
Jun. 4th, 2007 04:37 am (UTC)
Indeed, a great weekend. I appreciate your perspective and candor, as always.

I was great to meet you again, and to play the Master of Zombies to your Dark Mask, Jr.!
Jun. 10th, 2007 01:20 pm (UTC)
Is it sad to say that I think I'm becoming a fangirl? Especially hearing you and Minx (I'm stalking you across podcasts.) It is so awesome to hear someone who I "met" in a completely different context being all happy and loving and poly and healthy. They should make a movie...
Jun. 10th, 2007 03:33 pm (UTC)
Hooray! Thanks very much!

I'd have posted this an hour earlier, BTW, but I started reading your LiveJournal. And then was captivated. You certainly have a strong sense of...narrative. >8->

Keep on living like your're living! And tell us about it!
( 10 comments — Leave a comment )