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.. while lying on bed waiting for stomach to deflate enough to go down to the Dead Dog party..

I seem to have somewhat got the hang of the arranging meals thing, albeit belatedly. I also seem to have got the hang of sleeping. After the Indonesian meal with Luke, Karen and Julie on Saturday night (see previous post) I came upstairs , fell asleep and missed all the parties. Oh well. Sunday, I went out for really great Italian (best risotto I've ever had I think, with Italian sausage, pinot grigio and truffle oil) with Spike and Tom, came back, took Spike to the dessert party (lemon tart and wine poached pears : mm), watched the first half of a GoH speech, could not keep eyes open, went upstairs for little rest and er fell asleep and missed all the parties:<

(This dereliction of party duty can be seen as a good thing though: at least I missed the likely nexus of the food poisoning bug which has laid low half the con, inc Julie and one of my room mates, and it looks like something I'm glad to have missed :) I also did not have to eat and drink MORE FOOD!!! or MORE CAKE!.)

TONIGHT although I have had TWO enormous meals today, I am however going to make a party dammit!! As premonitory gesture, I put my party Thailand sundress on before going out to eat, so SOMEONE got to see it! Dinner was with Karen, [livejournal.com profile] cynthia1960 and [livejournal.com profile] whumpdotcom at Paisan's, facing out on to the lake on a huge terrace, the glorious view only slightly marred by the highway. Beautiful place for a beautiful evening. I also got to try my first Wisconsin wine!!! (oh and [livejournal.com profile] bohemiancoast, there was a beer called Moose Drool Beer! Lovely, I'm sure...)

Lunch meanwhile was Mexican huevos con chorizo (yay! tick off the wishlist:-) and a THREE DOLLAR peach margarita (god, things are cheap here) with Karen, Spike and Brad Lyau(?sp?) who had been fascinating on the Clinton/Obama panel, and who i was really keen to talk more to. Halfway through the meal, Spike reminded us we had actually met before; in fact Spike had commandeered Brad to take me on a trip down the California coast back in 2004 when I was on my Berkeley sabbatical.

Our jaws dropped simultaneously. "That was YOU?!" we chorused. Nice to find someone ELSE as bad at remembering names and faces as me :-) So I invited him to GikIII!

After lunch we hit A Room of her Own, the women's bookshop, where I bought a stack of cat-related presents for various girfriends (you'd almost think feminist women like cats:-) plus a YA novel on teen geeks for myself. Most of Wiscon seemed to be there too... Picked up Cory's Little Brother in the dealer's room too, plus a stack of "season 8" Buffy's, and equivalent Angels and Firefly's, so my comics itch is abated too. And as final triumph, accumulated almost everyone I knew at Wiscon! - Spike, Karen, John and Eileen, Maureen, Jeanne and Scott, Jae-Leslie et al in the usually deserted lobby bar. Wow, almost like being at a British con, even if I was drinking ice water!!! Jae looked great btw - has lost lots of weight, and looked very stylish. Nice to see.

OK, time to go hit parties - finally!!

Oh ps - yes I have been to some actual panels!! I've found them of varying quality, to put it mildly. The Clinton/Obama one was great and I thought the Philip Pullman one I was on was pretty good (no thanks to me). Several others seemed to have trouble sticking to their supposed topic (or even working out what it was) and the Torchwood one was so devoted to squee and no content that I admit I quietly left pretty quickly. These were mostly on Sunday: because in a bid to stay awake both Friday and Saturday, I took time out in the afternoon to explore the State St shops, hit Gap and Lands End, and sit quietly with a drink at both lakes (Madison is on an isthmus between two.) I also got a really nice massage. I think I am not, perhaps, a totally typical Wiscon-goer..
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Very good Indonesian food with [livejournal.com profile] bibliofile, [livejournal.com profile] juliebata and [livejournal.com profile] holyoutlaw . Luke and i ordered 2 Rijstaffels, got 1 by mistake, and didn't even notice! So we did well. Plus a huge mai tai was 3 dollars :) Afterwards, ducklings and lake. A very good idea:) Earlier, [livejournal.com profile] spikeiowa took me for breakfast of apple scone at Le soleil and we snagged monterey and chili scones at the farmer's market .. and then strawberry-rhubarb pie at the Tiptree bake sale. And the room meanwhile, relentlessly keeps filling up with cookies... sweet things really are the crack cocaine of Wiscon. I must admit I am slightly reminded of Raef from the Apprentice, wedding dresses and Cake. I went out and contrarily bought CHEESE.

aide memoire: have already had Mexican and Thai. next: afghan? and wine tasting!

Thanks so much to Spike and Karen for being real friends :)
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Suzy McKee Charnas has read my tarot. It still read just what it always says when I do it tho :( However Suzy's approach to tarot was kinda different than mine. She abhorred the Rider_Waite pack with all it's detail and fussiness of meaning. "I just pull meanings out the air" she said expansively, turning over the 6 of Pentacles. "Look - that's the card of unearned gains, of trickery. What does that mean?"

"Well plucking a meaning out the air," I say, "it means I got work to pay for my trip to Wiscon.."

Over at the BPAL stall, [livejournal.com profile] cynthia1960 was displaying for our olfactory pleasure her vast collection of cutely labelled perfumes from Black Phoenix Alchemy. There was a series of cute bottles based on Neil Gaiman novels, several based on maths and physic problems (Schrodinger's cat in art deco) and various on B movie riffs. I marvelled at how cunningly they'd found a market niche which combined geek obsessions, perfumerie and relentless collect-the-set-ism. I wished I was on the Apprentice right now and could copy this as a branding opportunity for the UK. Bearing in mind my Tarot reading, I took a free sample of Fallen, and Love Lies Bleeding. You can't be too deep when there aren't many freebies left.

Wisocn appears to be in some parallel universe to all the cons I've ever been to in the last 20 years. Not only do i hardly recognise any of the names of panellists - hell there are British fans here I swear I've never seen or heard of! Perhaps I've gone through some Philip Pullmanesque window into a feminist knitting convention where everyone has daemons shaped like cats? Everywhere there are cookies. But where is Spike??

I think I need more sleep :-)
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In hotel. In Madison. c 3.40 am my time and been travelling since 10.30am. Slightly wiped:)

But all v smooth. Immigration at Minneapolis is paradise compared to JFK - I was thru in c 10-15 mins. Even retrieving back, customs, and going through security again was ok. And what did I first see but a TEQUILERIA!! With Gran Centenario, Guy!! (But actually I had a strawberry margarit and a chalupa con barbacoa.) NW Plane turned out to be small and bijou - with per-seat not only videos ( saw Jumpers which wasn't half as bad as everyone said)but also games so I spent a happy hour remebering how to win at Bejeweled. You coukd even send email at $2.50 a pop!! I resisted, but only because I couldn't face unearthing my credit card.. Also was sat next to someone who was apparently UK and Europe no 1 at some kinda post-speedway motor cycling sport - you do it on dirt courses in parks?? Apparently I should have heard of him - Pete? Liam? - but was very amiable (and off to race tomorrow in St Louis. He trains during the week with the guy who's going to win at Isle of Man apparently..)

And,now having unpacked and found water and been hugged by sevral people who I'm not TOTALLY sure who they are, it occurs to me - it's 20 years, near as dammit , since I first came to the US in 1988, with Christina, on our TAFF trip, when we marvelled at the miracle of being in the mythical transatlantic world and got pissed on v cheap wine.

But 20 years on, America STILL never fails to give me a buzz:)
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I think I'll go to Wiscon.
I have a conference the week after in Montreal - I don't have exams or teaching - it's almost heaven sent.

I know the hotel is full - is anyone looking for a room mate? Is there anywhere I could ask this? I can get a room in the overflow but I hate overflows..

How warm is Madison in late May? !

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