Friday, October 5
Left Budapest in the afternoon, flying to New York -- the flight was nine hours long but I lucked out and there was no one in the seat next to mine, so I could be a total hor and use both seats for a bed -- I slept most of the way there, only waking up for the food. They showed Miss Congeniality 2 and Moulin Rouge during the in-flight entertainment programme, but I couldn't be arsed to watch either. I arrived in New York at 6PM after a slight delay waiting for a gate to become available.
Met the awesome and gorgeous midnitemaraud_r -- she was kind enough to pick me up at the airport and she totally showed me around for the next several hours. I didn't get to see much, really, but we did have dinner in the world's largest Applebee's! :D Mostly we were wandering around Times Square, but Lisa also drove us past Ground Zero, which was... an experience. I can't really explain it, but it was the first time I'd ever actually seen the site and wow -- just... my mind refuses to wrap around what happened, to this day. :|
Speaking of midnitemaraud_r -- thank you so much, again, honey, I really appreciate that you took the time. <3 We talked slash and wizarding culture, in addition to your regular Muggle stuff like reminiscences and religion, etc. And because I'm an idiot, I didn't get a single picture of her, though I did get a picture of a giant and comma-less GoF poster.
Thursday, October 6
I was taking a bus from New York to Portland, having to go through Boston at first -- the bus left the Port Authority at 12:30 AM and was in Boston shortly after 4AM -- then I had to wait until 6 for the connecting bus to Portland. That was not a fun experience, mostly because my bag ended up being pretty heavy and lugging it around to go all the way downstairs for a smoke and then back upstairs, that wasn't fun. I arrived in Portland after 26 hours of travelling; One (kai_ckul) picked me up and we started driving right down to Salem right away.
We first drove down to the Sheraton Ferncroft. When we arrived (at around 10AM or so), the registration people were already setting stuff up, and there were quite a few people already in there, but we drove down to the Waterfront hotel to see how to get there, because kai_ckul's registration was down there rather than at the Ferncroft. Registration for the con wasn't starting until noon, and we weren't supposed to meet tinkerpixy until then, so we figured we'd be OK. Got lost a few times; the roads in this town are confusing. Scratch that, the roads in this whole damn state are confusing. The biggest running joke while driving was Ballard Street -- I think it's somewhere in Peabody -- we were just aimlessly driving around for a while, and eventually the words "Ballard Street" became synonymous with "oh dear, are we lost again?" Well. We got back to the Sheraton with minutes to spare and tinkerpixy wasn't there yet, so I got in line for registration.
The attendees weren't supposed to know which house was which before the con itself, and everyone in Tony Toledo's house was so sure that we were Slytherins. Like, so sure. So imagine my surprise when the girl at the registration desk yelled "Gryffindor!" I facepalmed. XD allysonsedai came over from the line that had formed in the meantime to say hi, we grumped a bit about being Gryffindors but it was all good. I still don't understand why some people took the "sorting" so seriously -- it was completely random! There was a girl in our house who had put the same answers on her sorting quiz as her husband did, and yet she was in Gryffindor and he was in Slytherin. I mean, there were plenty of people walking around with Slytherin robes and Hufflepuff lanyards, hehe.
My registration package included a duelling tag, which stymied me for a bit because I don't remember having signed up for duelling (I had thought it would involve physical exertion XD) but whatever. I was supposed to find someone named Hummingfox, point my wand (wand? What wand?) at them and say Riddikulus! in a conversational tone. Well, easy enough. While I was going a little :O at being Gryffindor and having to duel, Becca (tinkerpixy) arrived. She's SO AWESOME. Omg. *squees* *misses*
It turned out that Becca's registration was at the Waterfront hotel as well, so we checked into our room, dropped our stuff off, and headed down to Salem to pick up her registration and One's, then for a spot of lunch. Becca already knew she'd be a Gryffindor since we both knew beforehand that we were in Tony Toledo's house. One ended up in Ravenclaw. I was endlessly amused when he said "If I'm a Hufflepuff, I'll leave." Because hi, "Imagine being in Hufflepuff. I think I'd leave." XD
We had lunch at Cilantro with allysonsedai, who is gorgeous, by the way. We also visited the Pirate Museum, where we bought pirate bandannas to wear as tokens of house pride (no way we were going to wear Gryffindor insignia XP) -- Tony Toledo's house was supposed to be the house of pirates (I suppose we should have figured out that it would be Gryff, but we were looking at the darker side of the pirate business. >.>
Went back to the Sheraton (met titti and jadziahp at the smokers' corner) and went upstairs to unpack and get changed and stuff. We met sophia_101 (who was also a Gryffindor) at her room, then went to the Welcoming Feast. Becca and I wore our pirate bandannas along with our Slytherin scarves, and got some weird looks from the happy and proud Gryffs XD We weren't hungry because we'd had lunch not too long before that, so just picked at our food and then took off to the H/D Room of Requirement.
On the way out, we met anjenue, starrysummer, themostepotente, and lauriegilbert. Oh, also, amanuensis1 was giving out "Yes, I'm here for the slash" buttons, which was dead awesome of her and we wore ours proudly until the con ended. :D
We were the first to arrive at the H/D Room of Requirement and mijan was just getting the keys from the hotel people. There wasn't much going on; people just sort of piled in and started talking amongst each other. At one point, this girl comes up to me "You're totally furiosity, aren't you?" and I look up at the name tag and omgsquee it's marksykins of whom I am a total fangirl (and who is absolutely beyond adorable, omg *crushes* :">).
More people showed up but it was all pretty disorganised and random, so Penny (themostepotente) and I went up to her room to get her cloves and went out for a smoke. While smoking outside, I saw Kat (spookykat), who was rooming with us) arrive and went back to the H/D RoR to get Becca, who was talking to akahannah. I felt bad about interrupting but I was flaily about Kat. It turned out that she'd put her luggage in another room in the meantime, so Becca and I went up to our room, grabbed our laptops and played hooky from the H/D RoR. >.>. Shortly afterwards, we saw a whole bunch of people leaving to go to the Pornish Pixies meetup and figured there would be no point going back to the RoR since so many of the people there already were Pornish members. Hung out on the internets for a while and talked to random fandomers, then went to bed as there was a fic panel we wanted to attend at 10AM.
Friday, October 7
The fiction panel was interesting; there was a lot of talk about the relationship between writers and editors, about starting to write, and all the different ways people got into writing. Sharyn November (an editor with Firebird) moderated the panel -- she is so awesome. I kept looking at her and going "God, I want her to be my editor."
One thing that sort of made me go o.O was that a lot of the authors present expressed distaste for criticism -- they all recognised it as a "necessary evil", as it were, but there was no real sense of "yeah, I appreciate it because it helps me improve". I may or may not have muttered, "Wusses" at one point. XD
After the panel, we had another hour to kill until the Gryffindor Room of Requirement, so we sat outside the Witch's Brew Café for a while, sipping Dunkin Donuts coffee, trying to wake up. Took a walk up a pier to a lighthouse-type structure -- it was a surprisingly warm day, felt like August rather than October.
The Gryffindor Room of Requirement was nothing to write home about -- we'd got there a little late and ended up sitting at a table that was away from everyone else, so we couldn't really participate in anything that was going on. We ended up taking off 20 minutes after the event began, after canellaphile took a picture of us. At some point, Becca's duelling partner came over to us shortly before that and tried to convince Becca to win, because she couldn't be arsed to show up for the duelling on Saturday night. Becca couldn't be arsed to show up for that, either, so they ended up pawning off their duelling tags onto someone else. Still no sign of my target at this point. XD
We went back to the hotel and chilled out for a bit until it was time to go to the writers' panel in the ballroom -- I don't remember the names of all the people who were there, but the panel was somewhat a disappointment, to be honest. I would have been more interested in what Holly Black had to say about fanfiction versus original fiction. That panel was obviously geared towards beginning writers who were interested in going beyond fanfiction, and a lot of us were fanficcers -- so the fanfic vs. original fic angle would have been far more interesting to explore.
One thing that Holly brought up as a definite disadvantage to making the move from fanfic to original fic was the lack of immediate feedback on original fic (if you're writing it with the goal of submitting it for publication) -- I've always actually found that an odd thing to call a disadvantage. I write both fanfic and original fic at the same time and while I'm not getting any feedback whatsoever on my original novel, some of the concrit I get on my fanfic does help me improve and I do work various things into my novel that I learn from fanfic feedback. So I'm not sure how much of a disadvantage it really is -- I guess if you quit fanfic cold turkey and write all original, all the time, it's a disadvantage, but otherwise I don't see why it would be.
We decided to go grab some dinner before the Weird Sisters concert -- one of us had seen a TGI Friday's not far from the hotel, so we decided to go there. Unfortunately, the roads here are so confusing and insane, there was no way to get off southbound Route 1 to go back north for many miles. >:0 We ended up stopping at a gas station just outside Boston and asking a guy to direct us to the nearest overpass. Instead of telling us where to go, he told us to follow him -- it turned out that the next overpass was less than half a mile from the gas station, so we didn't follow him for long. I suggested that we should have followed him home, just to freak him out. >.> But honestly, how hard would it have been for him to simply tell us that it was the next damn exit? XD
After we finally got to the TGI Friday's (after like an hour and a half of driving, lmao), we ran into Anj (anjenue), Robin (starrysummer), nqdonne, Tina (lauriegilbert), Aya (limmenel), and Penny (themostepotente) -- we ended up getting a table for ten near the back of the restaurant. Dinner was fun, with some discussion of squid (but no squid was consumed, as far as I can remember).
After dinner, we went back to the hotel and hung out at the Harry and the Potters concert. We met up with Pea (yamapea) and her roommate urbanpapaya, and there was squeeing over rum. Harry and the Potters had drawn quite an audience and were all about Voldemort Can't Stop the Rock until the concert was interrupted by a procession of Death Eaters with Chris Rankin in tow. There was a lot of screaming and yelling, and then the concert resumed. I don't actually know if the Weird Sisters ever showed up, because we left shortly afterwards to meet Snoy (happiestwhen), who was getting a cab from the Boston airport. The cab driver had no idea where he was going, too; it was funny. Snoy arrived and there was squeeing; there was also squeeing from me and Becca as gatewaygirl was standing outside at the time as well. Snoy was staying with Anj, Marks, Penny and Robin -- we went upstairs and ended up hanging out there for the rest of the night, until the Philosopher's Stone movie showing downstairs. At one point we'd gone back to our room and grabbed Margarita stuffs, and there was much bartending in the semi-dark! Lah (yeats) and Imo (imochan) showed up shortly after Snoy arrived; Tina picked them up from the train station. violet_quill was there also, as was seventybyheart, who gave me and Becca little squids to pin to our lanyards (squid is queerditch_pub's mascot, in case you didn't know, and the majority of us in that room were Queerditchers).
After we were almost out of margarita mix, a few of us went downstairs to watch the HP movie -- they were going to show the preview of GoF, but couldn't due to technical difficulties. Chris Rankin was also there with his girlfriend, and there was much cheering when Percy appeared on the screen. Watching the HP movies with other fen is so much fun -- there is screaming and footstomping when favourite characters appear, and some of the running commentary a few people kept up was just hilarious.
Marks and I discussed wallpreg -- you may or may not have seen me going on about it in various places. Basically, when Platform 9 and Platform 10 love each other very much, wallpreg happens and Platform Nine and Three Quarters is born. *still has to write this* There was much H/D squeeing (including the obligatory shouted "Take it!" from me when Draco held his hand out to Harry in the Entrance Hall >.>). We didn't actually make it to the end of the film as everyone was pretty tired. We just watched until the scene in the Forbidden Forest where Draco is shown running away screaming in the background as Quirrelmort stares at Harry.
Saturday, October 8
The weather took a turn for the worse; it was still warm but it rained pretty much all day. We got up early to go to the slash panel that was held at the Waterfront. The panel was more of a roundtable discussion, really. It wasn't really focussed on Potter slash, it was more about slash fandom in general (there was, of course, cheering for squid and incest). The words "Mpreg is canon" were spoken by one of the panellists (I think it was smaragdgrun) and shockingly, I didn't faint dead away. XP I exchanged a few words with bethbethbeth right before the panel started, which was nice as I didn't get to see her again afterwards. We had lunch with yamapea at a busy little diner on Washington Street. There was talk of crack and Big Bang, Baby.
The Draco roundtable at 2PM should have been called a presentation, because there really was no sense of discussion, but rather subverting the audience's opinions to fit into the presenter's view of Draco, and you may have guessed that I didn't like that so much. ;) This despite the fact that I agreed with the presenter on pretty much everything; I just think that a roundtable discussion should allow differing opinions to stand, and it didn't feel like this one did at all. I think the biggest problem with the Draco roundtable was that we only had 45 minutes (and there were about 50 people in the room) -- that's not nearly enough time to allow for a broad spectrum of opinions to be presented. I get that this panel was slotted into the programming late because it was supposed to incorporate HBP canon, but I maintain that we really should have gone to the genfic panel (that was happening elsewhere at that time) instead. I have yet to speak to someone who was actually satisfied with the Draco discussion -- everyone else I've talked to about it so far expressed varying degrees of disappointment.
We had to rush to the H/D roundtable after the Draco one was over; on the way, we talked about Draco, Snape and Dumbledore, redemption theories, and pie. Because there is no life without pie. The H/D roundtable was being held in the Boys & Girls Club Media Room and there were quite a few people there already when we finally arrived. Let me say outright -- I loved this discussion, couldn't get enough of it, and it was sad when it was over. We first did a round of introductions -- basically people said their names and how long they'd been in H/D fandom (because dammit, H/D is a fandom of its own. Shut up. XP) and what attracted them to the pairing. I said "Hi, I am f, and I'm trying not to squee" because I really was. Because, um. novembersnow, sherant, shaggirl, emmagrant01, shadowpryde, sabershadowkat, anjenue, marksykins, cjmarlowe, and geoviki, to name a few -- all in the same room. :O *squee*
emmagrant01 was leading the discussion and she definitely deserves kudos for an awesome job. She let people speak their minds freely but kept the discussion on track. We talked about the differences in perception of the ship between fans who were H/D shippers pre-OotP and fans who became shippers post-OotP. The atmosphere was definitely optimistic for more interesting, intense exploration of the ship now that we were handed a Draco in HBP who showed aspects of so many Dracos who had shown up in fanfic prior to this book. We also discussed setting -- post-Hogwarts vs. Hogwarts-era vs AU -- the split seems pretty even between people who like post-Hogwarts stories and stories set at Hogwarts; we'd also touched on the fact that Hogwarts era is pretty much over for Harry and Draco since they are both gone from the school as of the end of book 6, and so a lot of people anticipate new and exciting settings.
Another interesting point that came up was the lack of warfic in H/D -- as in, fics that are set during the war, not the "waiting in the trenches and having sex in random tents" kind of fic, but manoeuvres, battles, and whatever have you. Some suggested that a lot of war really is waiting and watching from one tension-filled action sequence to the next; others disagreed and said that warfic should be exciting and battle-y. I found out that I'm definitely not the only one who's sick of the "final battle" cliché, that made me happy. I'm definitely doing a lot of thinking about the war, now, and how H/D might fit into that setting. :)
We also discussed what people expect/want to see from the ship now that HBP is out, and where we want the ship to go -- it might have been just me, but people do seem excited about the new canon and what it's going to bring to the table. I was a total dork because I was so squeeful and talked about crack bunnies, but let's not talk about that. >.>
As I already said, this was definitely my favourite of all the thingers that we attended -- not only because I'm a H/D shipper, but also because it was really an awesome way to meet my fellow shippers -- we are squeeful and serious and cracktastic and earnest at the same time. I think if there hadn't been a time limit, we could have carried on for well over the two hours that we had; we all love H/D and that was what we came for, and we don't have to wank about whether Harry/Draco is canon or not because we all know that it clearly isn't and never will be, and so we can just focus on the characters and have fun instead of trying to snipe at, say, the Snarry shippers for being "less canon" or whatever.
Also, this was suggested near the end of the roundtable and I heartily agree -- the ship name "Guns and Handcuffs" needs to die. No, it really does. It comes from two fics that by no stretch of the imagination reflect the complexity of the H/D dynamic anymore, 'classic' though they might be. :P
It was raining in earnest after we got out of the H/D roundtable, but we headed down to the Common to watch the professional Quidditch final anyway. It turned out that the Quidditch schedule got shuffled around and the pro final had been played earlier; we did catch the tail end of the Gryffindor vs Hufflepuff final, where Gryffindor won (thereby also winning the Quidditch cup). Canon wot? XD
We went and exchanged our Quidditch picnic tickets for food in the Boys & Girls Club (I saw gmth here briefly and said hi), then headed back to the hotel, where we changed out of our omgsoakingwet clothes. Becca and I had a total crack discussion in our room; we discussed how Draco would totally defriend Harry on LJ and Harry would so totally capslock and the whole thing would end up on fandom_wank. XD *writes this fic liek whoa*
At 7:30, we headed back down to Salem for the queerditch_pub Room of Requirement. We ended up walking up the wrong street thanks to my nonexistent navigational skillz, and by the time we arrived at Engine House Pizza, we were soaking wet again and omgcold as the weather had definitely turned to autumn-y instead of August-y. We didn't stay there long, though -- it was kind of cold in there and a lot of people were wet. The Snupin meetup was happening at the same place, too -- snegurochka_lee, I totally thought of you!
scarah2 was there at the pizza place as well -- I'd also met her briefly while having a smoke outside the Harry and the Potters concert on the previous day. After leaving Engine House Pizza, we drove up to the hotel -- Penny and Pea rode with us, with Aya stretched across the laps of everyone in the backseat. There was much giggling and fandom-y discussion. When we got back, Becca and I brought our laptops downstairs to the lobby and we basically hung out there for the rest of the night, with a lot of crack discussion, IMing and giggles. Pea and Snoy were with us, as was Pea's rum. Robin joined us for a bit after she took a break from all the porn drabbling that was going on near the hotel doors. prydera and chasingtides found us in the lobby just before the Chamber of Secrets movie showing. We ended up ditching the movie to go and write; Penny came downstairs for a bit, then we all headed back to our rooms. I did some writing, as did Becca, then we went to bed. Oh, and while we were downstairs, the Draco cosplayer told us that there would be re-enactments of scenes from books 5 and 6 before the PoA showing on Sunday, so we decided we definitely wanted to see that.
Also, at some point between Friday and Saturday I was ignominiously defeated by E from Atlanta in a duel. XD
Sunday, October 9
We had breakfast at McDonald's then went down to the Boys & Girls Club, where fiendling was staffing the art booth -- we were originally going to attend the slash panel scheduled for 1PM but the line-up was long and we ended up staying and waiting -- and the art was so, so worth it. *stares at it* fiendling was awesome; she was there for hours drawing these omgamazing sketches for people. glockgal was staffing the sketch booth at 2, and the line split into two when she showed up -- Becca ended up getting H/D art from her. This was also a "trying hard not to squee" time for me because there were a bunch of other fandom artists in the room (they were just hanging out, not drawing) -- and hi, sherant, fiendling, glockgal, andreanna, waccawheels, tbranch and ani_bester, all in the same room! *combusts*
Since there wasn't much else to do after we left the sketchbooth, we went back to the hotel and hung out in the lobby with our laptops for a while, until it was time to go and get changed for the Halloween Ball. I worried that I'd be underdressed as my dress was far from formal, but it wasn't any less formal than everyone else, so that was OK. I hope. >.>
The Ball was preceded by a panel on death in the HP series, and while I did walk away with a few awesome plotbunnies, it was basically not so hot. I mean, one of the panellists misquoted Dumbledore's "but the next adventure" line. Three times. Sheesh.
We didn't stay long at the ball -- I took a few pictures of people but we were pretty hungry and there was no food, so we ditched the ball and went to Bennigan's instead. When we got back to the hotel, it was almost time for the movie showing, so we changed from our formal stuff into jeans and headed downstairs. We had to wait for the cosplayers to finish practising, so we stood outside and chatted with kriken for a bit. The re-enactments were brilliant and hilarious -- the cosplayers at TWH really stole the show; they were great, especially Lucius and Draco. They'd been in all sorts of shenanigans in and around Salem -- I didn't actually see any of this but the Oracle reports were highly amusing. XD We didn't stay for all of PoA; Becca went to bed about halfway through. I went and got Blaise, then hung out in the lobby for a bit with a bunch of other people, most of whom were mildly (or very XD) drunk as it was the last night of the con. Smoking with other fandomers while discussing Dumbledore theories is SO MUCH LOVE.
Monday, October 10
At the Leaving Brunch, we talked fic-writing with reddwarfer and ziasudra for a bit, wished cjmarlowe a happy birthday, and wandered around for a while waiting for the House Cup results to be announced. Hufflepuff won, but Becca and I got green house cups anyway. Yay for standing next to the Hufflepuff table when they're handing out the house cups. :-P
Then we just wandered around the hotel, said bye to everyone who was leaving; I chatted for a bit with scarah2 and glockgal about Lumos and how we wanted it to happen omg right now, thanks! Oh, and also? Just as a general observation? The HP fanartists really are hotter than everyone else. *admits this freely*
We were waiting for Snoy's shuttle (while making fun of her getting on the Knight Bus XD) but then it turned out that her flight was cancelled, so we went for lunch at Beddigan's, then hung out in our room until Snoy had to leave again (she was able to reschedule her flight, unlike a lot of other unlucky people who were stuck at the Boston airport for many hours that night).
After Snoy left, we went out to buy some Red Bull, Wildberry Jacks and wine coolers, then went back to the hotel where a small informal "the con that never ends" party was supposed to happen. In attendance were mijan, one of the cosplayers (whose name I didn't get *fails*), four other people whose names I've forgotten (*fails again*), waccawheels and fiendling plus the three of us. It wasn't any big party or anything, just hanging out. Becca and I read each other's fic and squeed at each other, snarked about fanwankery (like that idiot who posted "omg slash writers are all fat and ugly" the other day -- what a loser! Pfft.). We turned in relatively early as we had to check out at 11 AM.
Tuesday, October 11
In the morning, we drove around for a while looking for Denny's -- we'd seen it after getting lost on Thursday but couldn't for the life of us find it this time. Eventually, Endicott Road led us straight out to the Denny's which was funny, because we'd been seeing the damn sign for the road everywhere and never needed it for anything. After breakfast we got back to the hotel and got online until Becca's dad came to pick her up shortly after 2.
Then they were off; One and I made our way back to Maine. I typed most of this up in the car on the way up; we got in at around four. I called shikishi (who is just as awesome in person as she is online) and we hung out and talked fandom, life and stuffs at a local pizza house, and then out in front of the pizza house while smoking. And that was the end of the fandom-y stuff for me, and omgwoe I miss everybody. I'm here in Maine for another day after tonight; I begin the return trip of d00m on Thursday morning.
Right, yeah, so -- fun. Lots of fun. I've probably forgotten to mention a whole bunch of people I also met, but omgsomany! I should have made notes. ;_; I've been waffling about Lumos ever since they announced it, but I'm absolutely sure I'm going, now. I'm already planning proposals for a fandom-y roundtable and a fic-related panel/discussion thinger. *cryptic* Also, furiosity/tinkerpixy = roommate OTP forever, man. We so win at sharing space.
I do have quite a few pics (a lot of them are of the cosplayers, who were, I say again, omgbrilliant) and even a couple of videos, hoping to upload them tomorrow-ish. :) I've already asked a few of you, but if I haven't -- if you know I've taken your photo and you do not want me to post it publicly (or you don't mind if it's a group shot and you're not explicitly identified), please let me know.
And if I've forgotten to mention meeting anyone, I'm really sorry. I seriously should have taken notes. >.>