rivka: (travel)
Michael and I talked a little bit about going to Wiscon tonight. We are still thinking.

The big conference in my field is being held in Montreal this year, at the end of April. I would like to go, and if I go, my grant will pay for my plane ticket and hotel room and other expenses. The rest of the family would come along too, at our personal expense.

I don't think it makes economic or practical sense to do two family trips by airplane in two months, with a very young baby.

An issue with Montreal is that, traveling by air, we would all have to have passports. Even the Niblet, who should be about ten weeks old at the time. Which would mean trying to get usable passport pictures for a newborn (the rules about what constitutes an acceptable photo are stringent), and scrambling to get the official birth certificate from the state and the passport application pushed through. That sounds complicated.

Once in Montreal, the Niblet would probably attend SBM with me, nursing and sleeping in the sling, while Michael and Alex hung out with [livejournal.com profile] papersky. We could all hang out with [livejournal.com profile] papersky in the evenings. If I were scheduled to give a talk (hopefully I would be, about my new research), Michael would take the Niblet while I was speaking. I would be able to network.

If we go to Wiscon, we wouldn't need passports. More of our friends would be there. The Niblet would be a month older, and I seem to recall that there can be a big sanity difference between a 10-week-old and a 14-week-old. We'd have to pay for everything - no billing the grant - and obviously, there would be no professional advantages. It would probably be a hell of a lot of fun.

I am tentatively leaning towards making a Wiscon hotel reservation now, just in case, and making the final decision about where to go after I find out if SBM would want me to give a talk, or not. If they just want me to present my research as a poster, it would have a lot less appeal.

Questions about Wiscon:

1. Are you going?
2. If we wait to buy memberships until January, are they likely to be sold out?
3. How hard is it to sell or transfer memberships in the late winter or early spring?
4. Is it at all possible to arrange for adjoining hotel rooms in case, say, you want to share after-the-kids-are-asleep monitoring duty with another family?
5. If (4) is possible, would you be interested?
6. Would you look askance at someone who brought a sleeping baby in a sling to a room party?

Questions about Montreal:

7. Has anyone here ever gotten a passport for an infant? How hard was it to arrange?
8. Is it insane to think about bringing an infant to a professional conference? I've seen other people do it, but I don't know how good of a conference experience they had. Obviously I wouldn't let the Niblet cry in a lecture room, or anything.

Questions about both:

9. Is it insane to think about traveling 600-1000 miles with a preschooler and a small infant and all staying together in one hotel room?
rivka: (feminazi)
I hang out with really intelligent, clueful people. Which is excellent.

The problem is that it distorts my sense of my wider social environment, and then threads like this one come as a nasty surprise.

[livejournal.com profile] james_nicoll linked to the Con Anti-Harassment Project (Read their FAQ), which aims to encourage SF and media cons to develop clearly-articulated sexual harassment policies. And within, no kidding, three comments, we hit "lol, women who go to cons are too fat and ugly to harass."

And it goes on from there, although that's probably the pinnacle. The rest of the predictable responses just make me tired: cons will become a Kafkaesque nightmare in which anyone and anything can be threatened with punishment; aren't the poor defenseless accused the real victims; if women would only call the cops/respond with physical violence, there wouldn't be any problems and we wouldn't have to think about this stuff, so why have a con policy.

This is where I feel as though I should insert a brilliant incisive feminist rant that simultaneously heartens the embattled, illuminates the clueless, and crushes the assholes utterly. But you know what? I'm too tired and disgusted to manage it.

If a community is threatened by the very proposition that women's bodies are their own, and not to be infringed upon - if simply spelling out the right to be sexually left alone is seen as a dangerous impingment on community enjoyment - then what the fuck am I even doing there?
rivka: (Baltimore)
The first thing I noticed when I got on the light rail this morning was a dwarf with a bright orange wig. The next thing I noticed that the train was much more full than usual - mostly older teenagers.

The orange-hair guy didn't strike me as all that odd, but as the train pulled away I tried to figure out why it was so crowded with teens. The crowd was way too white to be a public school field trip (also, duh, it didn't occur to me until now that public school isn't exactly in session on August 8), and they seemed a little too uniformly nerdy/uncool-looking to be, say, a field trip from a majority-white suburban school. ...Were they from the magnet school for science and math?

The kid in the seat in front of me was turned all the way around, talking excitedly to the kid next to me about manga. Yes, I am slow to catch on. Because it wasn't until he used the word "fanservice" in conversation (as a verb, no less) that the penny dropped.

"Oh!" I said out loud. "It's Otakon this weekend."

"Yes, it's Otakon," said the manga-talker happily. He looked at me: long tasteful flowered skirt, subdued scoopneck shirt, hair-colored hair, lack of makeup, general air of grownup-ness. I could almost hear him thinking A mundane! I can educate her!

"Were you trying to figure out our conversation?" he asked.

"Your conversation seemed pretty straightforward," I said. "I was trying to figure out why my train was so crowded with people who didn't look like light-rail riders. Have a good time."

When I got off the train, there was a big bunch of cosplaying kids hanging out in front of Dunkin' Donuts. Presumably seeing them would've made the Otakon connection clear even to oblivious me.

Ten years.

Jul. 11th, 2007 11:02 pm
rivka: (Rivka and Misha)
At playgroup this morning, Suzanne asked how Michael and I had met. I told her, and mentioned that it was ten years ago this month. So this evening, as I was casually surfing around, I decided that I should really try to figure out exactly when, ten years ago, we met.

Whoa! It was ten years ago TODAY.

Ten years ago today, I walked into a Nashville hotel room full of total strangers and met the man I would one day marry. Although we'd known each other in passing online, at that point we had no idea that we were, you know, destined for each other. As I recall, the first words he said directly to me were: "Bait? Y'all are going to eat bait?!"

It was the first ever alt.callahans Callahanicon. I'd only even been reading the newsgroup for about six months, and had never been to a convention of any kind. I don't even know what made me decide to hop on a plane from Iowa City to Nashville - it seems completely out-of-character for the person I was at the time. But I did it. And my life changed forever. Not just because I met Michael - I also met [livejournal.com profile] saoba that weekend, who became one of my dearest friends, performed our wedding, and helped ease Alex into the world. I met [livejournal.com profile] pixel, who, as I recall, jumped into my lap about five minutes after we met, and then fell off the bed. I talked to [livejournal.com profile] wcg for the first time, when he called in by phone. In a lot of ways, for the first time that weekend I felt like I had found my people. Geeky congoers who conducted their social life, and deep parts of their emotional life, over the Internet. It was the beginning of a whole lot of changes, for me.

Most of all, Michael. It really was almost as cliche as "our eyes met across a crowded room." For reasons that I couldn't articulate, I just felt incredibly drawn to him. We kept making casual excuses to sit near each other and talk to each other. By the time that this picture was taken on Saturday night, we were both already falling hard. A couple of hours after dinner, we kissed for the first time.

That's probably a good place to fade tastefully to black, huh?

Michael, I love you. Almost from the first day we met, I've felt such peace with you - such a sure and certain knowledge that, no matter what happened, we were always going to be on the same side. You are my rock and my refuge. Happy anniversary.




Oddly enough, even before we knew that tomorrow was our ten-year anniversary (if one dates from the first kiss), we had arranged to hire a babysitter so we could go on a date. Funny how these things work out. Not the most romantic of dates in the world - we're going to go shopping and see Ratatouille - but still, anything with a babysitter involved is kind of a big deal. Yay.
rivka: (Default)
Still at Capclave. I'm posting from our dimly lit hotel room, waiting for Michael to come back from his 8:00 panel. Alex is peacefully asleep in the middle of the bed. It's nice here.

This isn't my Capclave report, but I couldn't wait any longer to rave about the fooooood. Yesterday we went to a Moroccan restaurant with [livejournal.com profile] kip_w, Cathy, and their 3 1/2 year old daughter Sarah. Despite its location in a shopping center, it had little in common with the average mall restaurant. The walls had been painted to resemble mosaic tile, and we sat on couches strewn with cushions. They brought olives and a tasty flat bread to begin - it tasted a lot like the bread they serve at our local Afghan place. Then I had chicken with green olives and preserved lemons. It was good. I'd never had preserved lemons before. They're like a lemon pickle, so, unsurprisingly, I loved them. We finished with a plate of Moroccan pastries to share (I was unimpressed, unfortunately), and left before the belly dancing - to the headwaiter's distress.

But tonight... tonight we went with [livejournal.com profile] selki, [livejournal.com profile] stevendj, [livejournal.com profile] jonsinger, [livejournal.com profile] lisajulie, and Seth Breidbart to Mandalay, for Burmese food. Jon's been trying to get me to Mandalay for years, and now all I can do is mourn the lost opportunities behind me.

I don't even know how to begin to describe the food. Everything was delicious, but most of the dishes had strong, striking flavors that I was completely unable to identify. I don't think I could describe them, either. Ginger salad: shredded ginger and cabbage in a peanutty dressing, topped with crispy garlic and crisp fried yellow peas. Tea leaf salad, made with fermented tea leaves in a similar base to the ginger salad. Fritters made from yellow split peas, deep-fried but impossibly light and not a bit greasy. Pork with mango pickle. Chicken, bamboo shoots, and something completely startling which even Jon didn't seem to be able to name. Tofu with sour mustard greens. Lots of sour, tangy flavors - although not entirely; there was shrimp in coconut curry, for example, a much more familiar flavor. I loved every single thing on the table. And afterward I felt an overwhelming sense of peaceful well-being.

Why haven't we been eating at Mandalay all the time? Why haven't you been eating at Mandalay? Oh my God.

Capclave.

Oct. 10th, 2005 11:05 am
rivka: (Default)
This coming weekend, [livejournal.com profile] curiousangel, [livejournal.com profile] thelilalex, and I will be at Capclave in Silver Spring, MD.

Looks like I'll be seeing several of you there. Anyone want to make advance arrangements to get together for a meal? Anyone who's done it before have advice about babies and SF cons?
rivka: (Default)
[Poll #536764]

Advantages of Capclave: it's a short drive rather than a cross-country flight, it would be much cheaper, it will have Nielsen Haydens.

Advantages of apc13: it's an alt.polycon, it will be warm and beachy, I've always wanted to see the San Diego Zoo.

Yeesh. Going to both is so totally impractical.
rivka: (Default)
One thing I have to say in favor of apc12, compared to the other alt.polycons I've been to: it was much, much easier to get there. Compared to the cross-country flight required for apc7, or the long hot road trip to apc10, the five-minute drive to apc12 was a delight. I don't know why more con chairs don't take these location issues into consideration. *grin* Read more... )
rivka: (Default)
I'm still tired, and my cold is worse, so I'm not sure how brilliant and complete this is going to be. But I wanted to get some thoughts about apc12 down before the memories fade.

I enjoyed myself immensely, and I'm so delighted that other people had a good time. (Although, actually, on that front, I seem to be alternating between "proud" and "convinced that I personally did nothing and it was purely the unparalleled excellence of my concom that made it all come off so well.")

It was so good to see everyone. If I told you more than four times how happy I was that you were there, I apologize for the repetition - but the most frequently-occurring thought I had really was "Yay! ______ is here!" I hadn't seen most alt.polyites since Toronto, which was, um, August of 2003? And there were new people there I had never met, such as [livejournal.com profile] eeyorerin (with whom I got to have some great long conversations, yay!), and people I had only ever met for 30 seconds, such as the lovely, fascinating, and possessing-the-best-laugh-ever [livejournal.com profile] lcohen. So many great people! And not enough time, of course. There never is.

The most surprising thing about the weekend, for me, was how cherished I felt. A number of people brought me completely unexpected gifts - for example, [livejournal.com profile] dragon3 gave me a gorgeous ceramic gecko, because he knew I'd wanted to have a gecko at the con. [livejournal.com profile] kalmn organized a Secret Plot that culminated in the presentation of a beautiful silver-and-copper otter pin. There were gifts for the Li'l Critter and gifts for Michael and I as incipient parents. And then there were all the people encouraging me to sit down, bringing me drinks and treats of food, coming up at exactly the right moment to hold my hand or give me a hug... all weekend, I felt surrounded by loving care. It was beautiful.

There were some frustrating missteps with the hotel - the consuite wasn't available on Friday when we were told it would be (although we eventually got moved into another room ten stories higher up, which had a much better view, so that was just fine), the promised flip chart and markers never arrived despite repeated queries, there were ventilation problems in the programming rooms all weekend, an unexpected $100 charge was added to the brunch bill (which I managed to get removed again, fortunately), and the food for the brunch wasn't labeled with its ingredients, even though the contract spelled that out as a requirement and we confirmed it in person three different times. But in general, the hotel staff were helpful and friendly, the rooms were lovely, and the consuite was perfect for our needs. I'm still glad we chose the Tremont Plaza - I suspect that the problems we had would've been just as likely to occur at any other hotel, whereas the flexibility and courtesy might not have been.

Okay, I need to go to work - more later. I'll close with an explanation of my con badge.

Badge decoding: Read more... )
rivka: (Default)
So, who all is going to Worldcon?

I'd like to set up some of my social schedule in advance, so that (a) I don't wind up missing out on people I want to see, and (b) my social anxiety is calmed by knowing there are people who want to hang out with me.
rivka: (Rivka and Misha)
"Maybe LJ wasn't the best place to go for impartial advice," I said to [livejournal.com profile] curiousangel after a few hours had passed and a few comments had appeared. But by then it was too late. We've decided to go to Worldcon.

Now the attack of anticipatory shyness occurs.

But seriously. Worldcon seems like the kind of thing we should do at least once in our lives, and given that (a) if we miss this year, the next two Worldcons are both thousands of miles away, and (b) we're hoping to be burdened with small, expensive, difficult-to-transport creatures in the not-too-distant future, the Boston Worldcon seems like the one to try. So there we go.

Plus, I haven't seen [livejournal.com profile] papersky in way too long, and I want to meet [livejournal.com profile] ailsaek, and I want to attend one of [livejournal.com profile] marykaykare's famous parties, and I want to hang out with [livejournal.com profile] pnh, and so on for probably zillions of other people. And Michael has gaming people he's been corresponding with for years who will probably be at Worldcon, and... and... and so.

My sister lives a bus ride away from the Convention Center, so we're thinking we'll stay with her on Thursday and Sunday nights and get a hotel room for Friday and Saturday nights. (Anyone interested in quiet, nonsmoking roommates who have good personal hygiene?)

Yay! Worldcon! I'm excited.

Anyone have helpful advice for a Worldcon newbie, though? I'm pretty inexperienced with cons.
rivka: (Rivka and Misha)
Should [livejournal.com profile] curiousangel and I go to Worldcon?
rivka: (her majesty)
We've settled on a hotel for apc12. [livejournal.com profile] curiousangel and I met with our salesperson today to work out all the details over lunch. She's going to draft a contract and get her supervisor's approval on Monday, and then send it to us. ([livejournal.com profile] tammylc, I will absolutely take you up on your offer to look the contract over before we sign it.)

I couldn't be more pleased with the offer she's made us. It's a lovely hotel, the staff is very accommodating, and it's exactly the right size for a small (70-90 person) convention like ours.

here's the e-mail I just sent to the apc12 planning mailing list )
rivka: (Default)
I took the morning off so that [livejournal.com profile] curiousangel and I could visit potential hotels for alt.polycon 12. We had fun, and gathered a ton of information, and refined our hotel criteria. (Thanks, [livejournal.com profile] tammylc, for giving us ideas about what to look for.)

So far, we've crossed four potentials off our list - two for inadequate meeting space, one for the wrong kind of meeting space combined with lack of flexibility on the part of the sales manager, and one for failing to return our phone calls. We've requested quotes from two others, one of which seems very likely indeed. The other one is probably going to be too expensive, but I suppose it can't hurt to try - after all, apc9 was held in a Westin. Because it makes me nervous to only have two active options, we've got calls in to two more hotels.

It's nice to see salespeople's faces light up when you explain that you want to have a convention and a catered meal in their hotel in January. Hopefully we'll be able to get some good deals. I'm still a little nervous about negotiating a hotel contract - even though I know that negotiation is expected, part of me kind of expects them to be offended if I ask them to lower a price or comp something. We'll see what happens.

Arrgh.

Nov. 14th, 2002 01:38 pm
rivka: (her majesty)
I'm being an idiot. Read more... )
rivka: (Default)
Saturday morning I woke up before the alarm - which was a good thing because I hadn't set it correctly, and it didn't actually go off until sometime around midnight. [livejournal.com profile] curiousangel was supposed to be on the Living Shy panel at 10, so he wandered off in search of coffee while I went down to the mezzanine level to wait for delivery of the large-screen TV. When the truck showed up at the hotel entrance I left things in the hands of fmmo and went up to the consuite myself. While I was there, the phone rang. "Has anyone seen [fmmo]?" "She's downstairs taking delivery of the TV," I called back. "Um, this is the TV person on the phone." We got his directions sorted out, and I got a cup of strong tea and half a muffin. Then it was panel time.
Read more... )
rivka: (Default)
The first panel Friday night was "Coming Out, Staying In." A lot of people showed up (which, unfortunately, did not include one of the panelists). I knew that the panel would interest me and irritate me, and it did. The irritation is pretty much all self-directed. I'm not as out as I'd like to be. I can't really justify not being out to my family, but I don't want to come out to them, either. Being at the panel put pressure on me to examine my reasons and assumptions. One useful bit to hold on to: coming out doesn't necessarily mean sitting them down and giving a dramatic speech. I think that's how it's always looked in my head.

Next was the first non-panel programming item, "Beyond ASCII Art" - otherwise known as the 3D relationship model-building exercise. It was my idea and I was really excited about it, so I was a bit disappointed that only eight or nine people showed up. Tal showed up for a while, but seemed uncomfortable and barely spoke to anyone. (It was the closest contact I had with him all weekend. I feel a bit embarrassed that, as a member of the concom, I didn't do more to make him feel welcome... but he freaks me out.) The rest of us had a great time building models and telling each other about them. [livejournal.com profile] lilairen posted a picture of hers here. The models spent the rest of the con on the windowsill of one of the programming rooms, and a lot of people had positive things to say about them. So I guess it was a good program item even though not many people actually attended.

I wandered up to the consuite, which was huuuuge and had an enormous window overlooking the scenic suburban region. I had some of [livejournal.com profile] lilairen's cider mead, which was lovely enough to overcome my natural dislike of sweet drinks, and wound up in the bedroom, where some nice mellow cuddling and talking was going on. It was all very low-key and friendly and peaceful.
mild BDSMish content below )
rivka: (Default)
[livejournal.com profile] curiousangel and I arrived at the apc9 hotel around 10:30, after a mostly-smooth trip punctuated by minor traumas such as a 4:50am wake-up call and a stiletto-heeled, hot-pantsed taxi driver who ran out of gas just outside the Westin. ("It's okay, I got fuel injection. I know it's bad for the cah, but I got enough to get you folks to the door." Well, maybe to the mouth of the parking lot.) The hotel found us a vacant room so that we could check in right away, which [livejournal.com profile] curiousangel took immediate advantage of by settling in for a nap. I was too excited to sleep, so instead I went off to prowl the hotel.
Read more... )

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