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posted by [personal profile] cathyr19355 at 09:44pm on 31/05/2010 under , ,
I just returned from Balticon, the annual Baltimore-area regional science-fiction convention, less than an hour ago. Since I never managed to write about Penguicon, which I attended at the beginning of the month, it seems as good a time as any to talk about both of them. For those of my LJ friends who don't know or care about science-fiction fandom, I'll put the rest of this under an lj-cut.

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Mood:: 'pleased' pleased
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posted by [personal profile] cathyr19355 at 09:58pm on 03/05/2010 under ,
[ profile] esrblog and I have just returned from a fun-filled extended weekend that included the Tribeca Disruptive Innovation Awards ceremony and Penguicon.

I should write about both, but our plane home today was delayed for four hours, and I'm too exhausted to say anything witty, or meaningful, about either event right now. Later this week, I should blog both.
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posted by [personal profile] cathyr19355 at 10:35pm on 31/05/2009 under
Okay, it's been a month now. Time to finish my Penguicon report.

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It is ironic, though, that despite all the wonderful activities Penguicon has, I usually spend my time there socializing, instead of going to panels, or buying from dealers, or even gaming. Since the con attracts the people I like, it's still a good time.
Mood:: 'accomplished' accomplished
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posted by [personal profile] cathyr19355 at 11:14pm on 06/05/2009 under
my con report for Penguicon. The fact that I got home midday Monday because of a flight cancellation (and had to get up at 5:00 a.m. for the privilege of making my rescheduled flight), had an early morning appointment today and have one tomorrow are contributing factors to the tiredness.

I will do a con report, and comment on the Penguicon mailing list about the beef. Promise.
Mood:: 'tired' tired
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posted by [personal profile] cathyr19355 at 10:15pm on 02/05/2009 under ,
At 3:45 exactly, I returned to the Beef Deployment Zone, to learn about salting Brazilian beef and provide other help with the next stage--the grilling.

Unfortunately, at 3:45 the grill was still heating up to the correct temperature--as it would be doing for the next hour-and-a-half or so. Grilling had been scheduled to start at 4 o'clock (and the fen had been told to expect meat soon after.)

We started out short of person-power to do everything other than the salting of the beef itself. The idea is to place the beef in trays, with a layer of rock salt above and below, for about 15 minutes before actually grilling it. This way, the salt softens the meat, and the excess salt either falls off or can be knocked off right before grilling.

But even after putting out successful emergency calls for volunteers, we still found ourselves way behind. Why? Well, unlike last year, we had only one grill available. Last year, we'd had two. Big, big difference. Everyone thought that the meat cutting, which took place while the grilling was going on, had been the bottleneck and reason for the delays.

Maybe it was then, but this year, we had the meat cut in advance. The problem we had was the grilling. Even as I type, people are still waiting for beef--and [ profile] esrblog is still grilling.

I, sadly, had to leave at 6:30 to help judge the Masquerade. That seems to have been a roaring success. We got 18 entries (and 5 entries in the "Conjure up a costume" speed round)--possibly a Penguicon record. The room was packed with spectators, and the Dr. Horrible sing-along was quite entertaining and much enjoyed (verdict: acting, good; singing, inconsistent, but fun nonetheless).

So I've spent about 7 hours of my day on beef alone. [ profile] esrblog will have spent more by the time he's done. There may have been panels, but I can't swear to it--the only program item I've made other than the Masquerade was Opening Ceremonies.

Still, it's been a good con so far--even if serving fen is more difficult than I'd realized.
Mood:: 'drained' drained
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posted by [personal profile] cathyr19355 at 02:33pm on 02/05/2009 under ,
No, not in that sense, dammit. But I have spent the last four hours cutting 12-pound chunks of beef into strips, to feed hundreds of carnivorous fen....

Maybe I'd better explain myself. I am at Penguicon, the world's first combination Linux conference and science-fiction convention, which is being held this year in Romulus, Michigan, at a hotel less than two miles from the Detroit Metro airport.

Penguicon is known for having events and activities that cater to a broad range of interests--some of which have no obvious connection either to Linux or to science fiction. One of those interests is food. Food tastings and panels about food and food preparation have been on the schedule for several years.

More recently, one local fan volunteered to cook some beef, Brazilian style, from the terrace outside the con suite. That led to a mass feast, the following year, in which nearly 400 pounds of beef were cut, grilled, and consumed, all by eager fans.

When this year's convention was in the planning stages, one of the con committee members expressed doubt that we could do the Brazilian beef again. It had been a logistical nightmare, the fan who had spearheaded it would be unable to help, we just couldn't do it this year....

A number of us spoke out on the con's mailing list in protest, and volunteered to help with the actual production. [ profile] esrblog and I were two of them. He had worked the grill for about an hour and a half last year, and really enjoyed it. And I thought that the beef I had eaten last year was yummy. I didn't want to see the tradition die for lack of a few pairs of hands, when I could dedicate at least one pair to the cause.

So this morning, [ profile] esrblog and I showed up outside the consuite, along with four to six other fen, to help cut beef. Now, as I type, the last few chunks are being cut and bagged for refrigeration until late afternoon, when they will be coated in salt crystals and, ultimately, grilled. (I'll be back, of course, for the salting.)

In that sense, we are "serving" fen--helping to bring a tasty communal beef feast to the con. Fen, fortunately, are not on the menu. But the pun was irresistible, and after I'd voiced it, I knew I had to write this post.

There will be a Penguicon review later, after I get home.
Mood:: 'accomplished' accomplished
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posted by [personal profile] cathyr19355 at 09:08pm on 21/04/2008 under
and I am tired.

There was an awful lot to do at Penguicon (like seeing the Giant Tesla Coils, or not getting trampled by the Morton's List Ark of the Raven), but I still have stuff to do tonight, so I'll write about it later this week.
location: home again
Mood:: 'tired' tired
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posted by [personal profile] cathyr19355 at 10:32pm on 17/04/2008 under
Penguicon 6.0!

Okay, so the con doesn't officially start until tomorrow. But [ profile] esrblog and [ profile] fadethecat and I have just had Mongolian barbecue with Randall Munroe and a bunch of other fen, and right now there are people in the con suite, talking and laughing.

It's started, all right. More as things progress.
Mood:: 'happy' happy
location: Troy, MI
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posted by [personal profile] cathyr19355 at 11:11pm on 26/04/2007 under
After reading through the post-convention flood of e-mails on the penguicon-general list, I've realized that I will get no rest until I have posted my comments on Penguicon 5.0. So here it finally is.

I may as well start by talking about what I did during Penguicon, though I suspect my experiences are not only atypical of most fen but would bore most fen silly. Accordingly, I shall put that part of this post under an lj-cut.

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As the disjointed ramble above should make clear, the only significant complaint I had about Penguicon was that there wasn't time to do everything I wanted to do. That includes spending time with my friends, ridiculous numbers of whom were present (including, but by no means limited to, many readers of this LiveJournal). There were a lot of things I really, really liked, and since some of them may be things nobody else noticed (just as there were many things at the con that I never even heard about until the con reports started coming out on Monday) I'd like to share them here.

--The energy level. This year's Penguicon had about 800-850 attendees. The size of the con meant the energy level rose high, and stayed high throughout the weekend.

--The Con Suite. It was large enough to hold a lot of people before it began to feel crowded, and it held an excellent supply of beverage and a reasonable supply of food throughout, as well as being the focus for our marvelous....

--Food Track. I was fortunate enough to participate in this track by hosting (with Lady Sarah) a Dark Chocolate Tasting, but the other food items were more than enough to make a meal of, with sushi, chupaquesos (think cheese-stuffed tacos with a cheese shell), and fine Brazilian grilled steak represented.

--The Chaos Machine. Back for another appearance, and never the same twice. Next year, maybe with strobe lights?

--The wonderful Masquerade participants. I don't just mean the costumers, though there were some really good entries this year. I also mean my fellow judges, [ profile] matociquala and [ profile] xaina. Ladies, it was wonderful working with you.

--Orvan, The Delivery Ox. A wonderful bit of fanac courtesy of [ profile] vakkotaur and [ profile] jmaynard. Thank Ghu [ profile] jmaynard visited Malvern today; otherwise I might still be wondering why the abacuses were different!

--The Food Art Display in the Lobby. Some of it was amazingly clever (I liked the Morton's List logo done in broken pretzel sticks the best).

--The Ribbons. You say every con does ribbons nowadays? Yes, but not nearly as many, or as original, as Penguicon does. I got 18, my record--and I wasn't even trying. People who *were* trying got dozens.

--My Fellow Panelists, and the wonderful panel audiences, who proved that I'm not lying when I say that even the Penguicon panels are interactive.

--The People. I mean everyone, from the GOH and Nifties to the congoers themselves. They were all bright and friendly, and for some reason, every single one of them knew my name--even the ones I'd never met. Wow.

Will I come back? Is the Pope Catholic? I can't imagine not coming back! Though every Penguicon has been a treat, this year's has been the biggest, boldest, most varied one yet. I want to be part of making Penguicon 6.0 even better.
location: home
Mood:: 'nostalgic' nostalgic
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posted by [personal profile] cathyr19355 at 11:24pm on 23/04/2007 under ,
Like so many of the people on my Friends list, I spent this past weekend at Penguicon in Troy, Michigan.

I feel ashamed when I remember how little I was able to accomplish at work today, I was that exhausted. I'm also aching in quite a few joints and muscles.

It was a really good con, but it's going to be at least 24 more hours before I get back enough energy/brainpower to write about it.
Music:: none
Mood:: 'exhausted, but satisfied' exhausted, but satisfied
location: home