We got up to Dublin Friday night, found some dinner somewhere (oh, at Elephant & Castle), then headed over to the hotel to see who was about. Quite a lot of people were about, in fact, though slovobooks and ephiriel were on their way out, so we only spoke to them for about two seconds (that seems to be a recurring theme, somehow). However, in those two seconds, Pádraig volunteered me for the 10am "Just A Minute" quiz, because nwhyte was coming in later than expected. (He's very good at volunteering people for things. Later in the weekend he volunteered me for another panel, too (Pictionary, actually, about which I go on far too long behind the cut. :))
I spent a lot of Friday night talking with Leah Moore and John Reppion and Paul Cornell, while Ted, just to my side, spent a lot of time talking to autopope and others. In a flash of brilliance, we opted to go back to the (sort of scuzzy) apartment and sleep at a sensible hour instead of staying up all night at the bar. Sadly, the apartment was across the street from two pubs, so at 3am when the pubs closed people came out and talked very loudly and cheerfully in French for quite a while. It was good, I thought, that they were speaking French, because instead of trying to make out what they were saying and getting increasingly annoyed by being unable to, I just sort of glazed over and wished they'd be quiet. And eventually they went away and we went back to sleep, only to get up what felt like Very Early Indeed so we could get to the hotel for the Just A Minute Quiz.
I was every bit as bad at it as I thought I'd be. The idea is you're given a topic and you speak on it for 60 seconds without hesitation, deviation or repetition. Given how much I like to talk, you'd think I'd be very good at it, but no, absolute crap. Someone later said that possibly being thrown into it without a lifetime's experience at the *idea* of the game was problematic, but wow, I did really badly. :) So did Michael Carroll (we tied for third), while jemck made off with the prize, leaving the afore-mentioned Paul Cornell in a respectable second place (he was only two points behind her).
There's pretty much no chance I'm going to remember everybody we met or re-met, but it was good to see natural20 again, and I got to actually meet pgmcc after chatting with him in comments and periodical email for the last year, and Anne from Octocon was also there, which I didn't expect and so was delighted to see. I also finally met and went out to lunch with hawkwing_lb, which was fun, and in a less "finally" manner met wyvernfriend, who proves to be a librarian and is of the (correct) opinion I need to get my books into the Dublin city libraries. :) And there were lots and lots of others, people from Octocon and MeCon and LJ and eeeverything!
I, at least, had an excellent time on all the panels I was on, though sadly the one on creating a graphic novel was cancelled. OTOH, it was cancelled because the charity auction was going so well, and the auction raised €950 for Childline, so you can't exactly go wrong with that, can you. :)
The Here Be Dragons panel with Debbie Miller and George Greene (and assistance by jemck) was neat, particularly when Juliet explained the Universal Monster Template Theory (scroll down a bit in the link and you'll get Juliet's explanation in full, thanks to the wonders of Google), and there was lots of audience participation and discussion, which is always good. Similarly with the panel on "how would we react, really, if superheroes were amongst us?", wherein we got into debates about whether we'd be good or bad or a little of both, if we had superheroic powers, and so on and so forth. I was a little surprised at the impulse people seemed to have to, yes, want superpowered people to have to register as such.
There were a _lot_ of LJers there! slovobooks had arranged an LJ meetup, and made up name tags, and Saturday night we all milled around in the bar chatting. kenmacleod said, at the blogging panel the next day, that he'd spoken with someone who was quite shy and hanging about the edges of the meetup, and had said, "Go on, just go up to a conversation and introduce yourself! It's like friending someone, only in real life!" (For this to have full effect, you must imagine it said in Ken's wonderful Scottish accent, but it's a great sentiment anyway. :))
We went out to dinner with a bunch of people on Saturday night, and slovobooks snagged the printout of Chance I'd brought for him to read. I *assume* he read it, but I *know* about six other people did, because they all talked to me about it. :) There was a lot of "oooh soooo pretty," and (to my delight) some genuine enthusiasm for the story itself. Yay! Now if Image would only answer me...
For some ungodly reason we woke up at 6:30am on Sunday and got up and wandered around taking a few pictures of Dublin before meeting up (unplannedly, but delightfully) with con-coordinator xnamkrad for breakfast, and going about the con for the day.
The panel on 'why bad boys get the girls' was surprisingly well-attended and well-interacted, for being held at 10am. We decided that part of why bad boys got the girl is because fiction is fantasy and wickedness is appealing in fantasy, but man, generally speaking, in real life, you don't want to hook up with genuinely bad people. However, their appeal is in charisma and confidence and black leather, we thought. :)
Raven Dane had been going to play Pictionary that afternoon, but had to leave early. Consequently, Leah and I ended up volunteered to play the part of Raven in the Pictionary game. I hadn't played it in so very long I was deeply nervous about it, but it actually turned out to be shoutingly good fun. It was boys against girls, and apparently the girls have lost *badly* every year, but this year it was a draw (er, so to speak)! And there were some very, very funny bits, including when jemck had a film that clearly every male in the audience recognized by the time she'd drawn the third item for it, but we couldn't figure out for the life of us. She said, helplessly, "You had to hang around with teenage male geeks in the 80s to know what this is!"
"OH!" said I. "The Last Starfighter!" I felt quite absurd for not recognizing it until she said that, and she was *astonished* that any of the women knew it at all. :) However, when she went up to draw a dragon attacking Parliament, while every single one of us knew what movie it was, none of us could remember the damned *name*. So the boys got the point for Reign of Fire, because they *could* remember the name. :)
feorag, I believe, drew a magnifying glass over a very little town while we made helpless guesses ("darby o'gill and the little people? the village? stepford wives? gulliver's travels?" until after somebody said, "Tiny village," Leah said, "Smallville?" which, lo, it was. *laughs* I think my favorite bit was Debbie getting up to draw what only resolved into recognizeability to me as a flying man in a cape when Leah said, in this teensy little-girl voice of hope and uncertainty, "Su-per-man?" (Again, one must imagine this spoken in Leah's British accent for best effect, and then combined with her BESM expression of hope, which is one of the best I've ever seen, and which helped make her guess just unbearably cute.) I was utterly astonished when my stick-figure Dracula and a heart with a stake in it actually got guessed correctly as Van Helsing. :)
However, hands-down best graphic was done by illustrator and writer Oisín McGann, whose rabbit next to a boat with a giant arrow pointing downward resolved beautifully to WATERSHIP DOWN. The boys got some really astonishing guesses right on things I'd never even heard of, much less would be able to tell with 3 lines of a drawing done. :) They did not, however, guess "Shrek" when Paul got up to draw it, and for some reason it popped into my head almost instantly, so we got that point. :) And I wish I could remember what title Paul guessed that reduced me to shaking laughter for the entire minute of the boys' turn. Something about pigs. :)
Anyway, it was an absolute blast. A big shout-out to xnamkrad, pgmcc, and jacobsmills, who managed to put it all together. I can't wait til next year.
...and really, the reason I can't wait for next year is *not* that they asked me to be Guest of Honor next year, although they did, and I accepted, but just because it's a great fun con. :) (I'm truly a bit astonished at having been asked: you can't even easily *buy* my books here, and I've only been on-scene in Ireland for a year, so wow! And my, aren't I feeling like running around to local bookshops to really try to get them to order my books...! Somebody said to me, "Ok, last year you were just an attendee, this year you're a guest, next year you're GoH. You're either going to have to be banned from the con after that, or they're going to have to make a new position. Queen of P-Con." *laughs*)
On the train thither and yon I read THE ETERNAL ROSE, which waaaaaaaaugh! wonderful! loved it! so happy to read it! yay! WAAAAAAAUGH! And I even did a little work on my own book.
And I've just received line edits for HEART OF STONE, the book I never, ever, ever want to look at again, which suggests to me that after the better part of a month of not working, it is time to get back on the horse.
miles to Dunharrow: 163