All travel. I barely slept, either at home (sleep around midnight, awake at 2am, couldn't get back to sleep) or on the plane. We arrived around 4:30 and declared Texas way too flipping hot and humid for anyone to live here and actually get anything done. After checking in to the hotel, we went and got our badges, and then decided to go to the Cheesecake Factory. We had to find the bus stop first (turned right when we should have gone left), and then it was a good half hour bus ride away. It was so delicious, as usual. We got back at like 10:30 and I was sooooo ready for bed.
Mum and I declared it a casual costume day, so we didn't wear any haha. Just wore normal clothes. The halls opened at noon, so we went over around 11:30. We got into the hall at noon, where the con chair opened the fun by riding a mechanical bull. And then, anyone else could sign a waiver and ride it too! Alayna did it, and then I waffled for a few moments, but decided to do it too. If I'm going to ride a mechanical bull, I might as well do it in Texas.
There were a few panels I saw, and also was when I discovered that the convention centre is air conditioned very well, and I was actually cold for most of the afternoon. Mum, Alayna and I had supper around 5ish at the mall before going back to the con for other things. I know I took in a panel about getting the most out of writing workshops, since I had one the next day and had never attended one before. I'm pretty sure I was the first one into bed lol.
Jedi day! Headed out somewhat early (10ish) to get breakfast and go to panels. My robe is, sadly, a little small. It doesn't hold together well in front and the arm holes are tight. But I wore it ALL DAY, even when I was tempted to change. The robe was great for wrapping up in when the rooms got too cold! I took in panels for a few hours before coming back to the hotel to read my workshop stories again and then do the actual workshop (more on that later). Afterwards, I had dinner with my family again, and then back to the con, where the last panel ended at 11pm. Maxwell and I hit up the con suite for a few minutes for food and drinks (ended up being more like an hour, at one point with a full table of other con-goers and me the only girl in the room).
Upstairs Mum helped me pin up my hem in preparation for hand-sewing in the morning, and then it was bedtime at like 1am.
Woke up at 6am, actually got up and started sewing at 7am. The skirt didn't take long but all the buttons on the jacket did :/ There were only 8 of them, but it took so long... With showering and makeupping, I ended up being ready to go exactly when I said I'd have to be (10:30, to have enough time for a coffee run and get to my first panel). Took in some writing panels and wandered the exhibit hall for a short time, and then while I was getting food, a gentleman stopped me and handed me a hall costume award. I did attend a couple of panels that Ms Gail was on, but boo for me, did not work up enough courage to approach her and show it off (I have a hard time approaching people to start with, and also to say "look at what I did, validate me!" is extra hard in person...) My last panel was at 6, a reading by Brandon Sanderson that Joe twisted my arm into going to, which I quite enjoyed. He didn't use a mic but his voice still carried through the room, he is a rather good speaker. After that was over, I was QUITE done with my corset, and went to change. Mum joined me at the Mexican bistro downstairs while I ate dinner and she had dessert (SO DELICIOUS), and then I spent some time in the lobby writing. It was an early bedtime night again D:
I'd waffled on whether or not I wanted to go to a panel at 10am, and woke up early enough to get dressed (no costume, I couldn't bear to put the corset on again :( ), get coffee, and go. And I was so glad I did. It was so worth it (More details later). After the wonderful first panel, the rest of the day was a mish-mash. I browsed the art show for a short time, and then wandered the dealer's hall again. I'd been doing well on my budget so I could maybe buy a couple extra things, but there wasn't a lot to convince myself to buy. Book prices have evened out a lot, and most of the ones I looked at were only a dollar or two less than Canadian prices. My luggage is pretty packed and books weigh a lot, so I was reluctant to buy them there.
I decided to get food because it was now 12:15 and I hadn't eaten yet. I wasn't really hungry, but I ate everything I bought... Took in a panel on building a costume library, then one from a guy who works for Weta (the special effects company who did LOTR and the Hobbit), then one on how much research one might need to do for a historical novel. Finally, I took in one called "You can't cosplay that!" which was billed as addressing social issues facing costumers and cosplayers. It was pretty good, the panelists were all cosplayers and well-immersed in the community, but the audience just would not let them talk. It would have been fine if they had questions, but most people just wanted to interject a comment. Pretty much everyone agreed about everything that was being said, which is great, but why interrupt all the time?. Maybe it's just that I'm the kind of person who won't say anything if it's already been said, but it was really uncomfortable for me to listen to it.
We went to dinner, first trying to get into the Rainforest Cafe but it was an hour and a half wait, so we tried the Hard Rock Cafe, which was only a 20 minute wait (in reality, it was only 10). The music was WAY too loud, but the food was good and our waitress was utterly delightful. I could hardly believe that there were so many people around downtown the past couple nights. I guess I shouldn't be, since it IS a tourist area, there are three cons in town, AND it's a holiday weekend, but it still surprised me.
We settled into the hotel for a short time before getting dressed for the steampunk ball. I didn't want to dance, I just wanted to listen to the music and show off my tangerine gown. You should definitely check out Postmodern Jukebox XD I laughed quite a lot when Macklemore and Psy came up. We left after about an hour, probably before the party really got started.
Got up at like 9 to get ready for a 10 am panel on summer blocksbusters, and then an 11 am panel on novel writing presented by 4 authors, including Paolo Bacigalupi (mentioned solely because he had a very compelling presence on the stage). The short answer was that there was no one true way to write a novel. At the end of it, I had decided to make a declaration and made it on Facebook, so I will repeat it here:
It is very unlikely I will be going to London for next year's WorldCon, but I am definitely planning on going to Spokane in 2015. After all the inspiring panels I saw and the incredibly helpful workshop I did, I want to have a novel fully edited and prepared for shopping around by 2015's WorldCon. It won't matter if I have shopped it already, or have not yet done so, but it must be ready to send out queries by then.
The rest of the day was spent with one last tour of the hall, and then I watched an advance screening of Lakeside: A Year with Jay Lake. I came to hear about Jay Lake earlier this year when Gail Carriger posted about acts of whimsy in his honour, I think it was in March? There was a Kickstarter-like campaign going on to help raise money to fund genome sequencing of his aggressive cancer tumours and also pay for some of his living expenses, since he is unable to work during cancer treatments. They raised over double the campaign in the end, though at the time they were hovering right around the target amount and other authors and artists were pledging "acts of whimsy" to help raise awareness of the project, which had stretch goals up to $100k. I believe the final tally raised was $48k.
A videographer friend of his had started making a documentary on his cancer treatments and how much better he was doing when he got the news that he had new tumours, and the documentary started to follow the treatments and doctor's appointments and other news as he got it. It was utterly heartbreaking, and I have to give him mad props for holding it together so well through most of the footage. There was one segment that was close to 14 minutes long where he talked about how he hadn't yet been diagnosed as terminal but he was pretty sure this would be the last time he'd be treated for them, and how he hadn't told his daughter yet about the facts he did know because he still wasn't sure what the options were going to be and he wanted to give her concrete information. He talked about how he was 48, and he was unlikely to live to see 50, let alone 51. He ought to have 15 good years left in him, followed by 10-15 mediocre years after that. He WAS agitated about it, but he still held it together remarkably well. Mad props, Jay. I hope the genome sequencing helps.
After that, it was time for closing ceremonies, and the con is over :( Sad faaaace.
Went to the Rainforest Cafe for dinner (we made reservations yesterday heehee) and then I spent the evening internetting, reading, or sleeping.
I can't wait for Spokane :3
We took the half-hour river tour, which was quite pleasant. Then we went to the Alamo and looked around for an hour and a half or so. We decided to have lunch at the BBQ restaurant that was recommended by some locals as the best we're gonna find downtown, and it WAS pretty tasty. I was suuuuper full after. Then, for some reason, we decided to take a walk, in bright and sunny 43C (with humidity) weather. I was very tired when we got back ._. The rest of the day was spent packing and relaxing. I was so full all afternoon from the BBQ that I wasn't hungry even when we went to Denny's at 10pm for a last meal.
Our final Wednesday in San Antonio was largely spent in travel. We went to the airport at 10:30 and arrived home at 7:30. It was a long, absolutely full flight with several small children making lots of noise. I was really glad to be home :3