I wopuld have posted some of this closer to real time, but our room was on the tenth floor of the Concourse, which is just at the limit of range for the hotel wireless and couldn't hook up.
We blew into town via car from Milwaukee with no difficulties, checked in about 2PM, and got into our room right away, unloading our baggage, two sets of costumes (for Opening Ceremonies and for the Fancy Dress Party), 30 or so bottles of various drinkables for said party, other party supplies, and 240 individually hand-decorated masks to give away as party favors. After unpacking and being frustrated by the computer, we went out to get dinner at Dottie Dumpling's Dowry, our favorite Madison burger spot, which was as good as ever.
We ambled back to the hotel and spent some time just chatting with the new arrivals before going over to A Room of One's Own for the reception and readings by Jane Yolen and Kate Wilhelm. Yolen read some very inspirational pieces and Wilhelm favored us with a harrowing but non-SF short story.
Back at the hotel, we dropped in to the OddCon party. I had hoped to score a bit of free beer (New Glarus brewery "Spotted Cow"), but a part was missing from the dispenser, and we went to bed when the dance music got intrusively loud.
Having done some scouting Thursday night, we had determined that Cafe Soleil (L'Etoil's downstairs breakfast outlet) was open Friday morning, so we repaired over there for breakfast. It was a very pleasant change to stroll right in instead of standing in line for half an hour as is usual on Saturday morning, and actually be able to sit at a table inside and enjoy the divine filled croissants and tea.
The first panel we got to was the afternoon's "Differential Diffusion of Created Languages," which compared and contrasted the L'aadan and Thlingan'hol (Klingon) invented languages. On the panel were Susette Hayden Elgin, crater of L'aadan, and John M. Ford, author of "The Final Reflection" which is a Star Trek Universe novel from the Klingon point of view which has a short vocabularly of its own version of a Klingon language, Klingonasse. I admired Suzette's scientific dedication, as she more-or-less cheerfully admitted that the L'aadan experiment had "failed"--or, more properly, yielded a negative result, indicating that women in general did not perceive a need for L'aadan. Several of us in the audience pointed out that the apparently wider acceptance of Klingon was associated with a "coolness" factor due to being part of the Star Trek Univers and figuring in several major motion pictures, and that if there had been a big-budget movie of "Native Tongue" with several glamorous stars as the Linguist women, things might have been different.
During The Gathering, I dropped off my contribution to the Tiptree auction, a 12" Space Babe action figure, customized from a Cy-Girls "Aurora" spacewoman, and including a display stand and case. Then, we rehearsed the Opening Ceremonies skit (written this year by Tracy Benton and Bill Bodden, with musical interlude by Jim Nichols), then took our first pass at the Dealer's Room.
Saturday dinner was at the Mediterranean Cafe, a little hole-in-the-wall on State Street which nevertheless has great Greek/Mideastern style food, fast and cheap.
Then, back to garb up for the Opening Ceremonies and tech rehearsal. Bill and Tracy played themselves as WisCon Opening Ceremonies script writers scrounging for inspiration at the last minute, Ruth Nichols as the Muse of Science Fiction and Fantasy, myself as the Muse of Classical Drama, Jim Nichols as the Muse of Humor, and Georgie as the Muse of Practicality. We got sound set pretty well, then stood around as the audience filed in and the "regular" part of the Opening Ceremonies failed to launch on schedule. This was partly due to a) waiting way too late to get started setting up the computer to be used for the slide show, and b) standardizing on Macintosh equipment for the con, since no one really understood how the Mac equivalent of the "Powerpoint" (TM) software worked. (I found this somewhat of a point other ways as well when using the public computers. The non-standard browser was clunky to use, did not seem to have control functions in common with either Netscape OR Internet Explorer, and was not compatible with at least one of the sites I wished to view). However, once commenced, the actual opening remarks were remarkably short, largely because Scott and Jeanne forbore trying to introduce all the notables in the room. When we got on, the playlet went very well, and seemed to be well received by the audience.
After, I had the "Gender in Gaming" panel, which I enjoyed. I rather dominated early remarks with my "old fart" tales of the early days of Role Playing Games, but the panel took off into a very lively discussion of sex and gender in different gaming genres and styles, including LARP (Live Action Role Playing) and MMPORG (Massively Multi-Player Online Games). Friends Victor Raymond and Bill Humphries were also on the panel and added a lot to it.
We hit a couple of the parties, including TOR (again until it got too loud) and went to bed at a not unreasonable hour by Con standards.