When I woke up on Thursday morning, I still hadn't decided whether I was going to go to Arisia this year. But we decided that, on the whole, seeing people and socializing is a Good Thing for me, and we were right.
Arisia is probably my favorite of the Boston-area science fiction conventions -- partially because of all the people I know who help run it, partially because it's the first science fiction convention I ever went to. It's really not so much a science fiction convention as a all-sorts-of-geeky-fandom convention -- science fiction, fantasy, superheroes, other comics, anime, steampunk, filking, costuming, historical recreation martial arts, gaming, and what-have-you. I don't THINK there's much "My Little Pony" fandom in Arisia right now, but I didn't actually look for it, and wouldn't be surprised if there was. All I saw were two MLP-based roleplaying games someone ran. Arisia has tried, in recent years, to be a sort of "big tent" convention, which I really like, because I get a chance to see lots of different kinds of fandoms that I wouldn't otherwise know about. This kind of cross-fertilization is generally a good thing.
The main things I did this weekend were gaming, and wandering the halls taking pictures of people's hall costumes. They're on my Facebook, if you haven't seen them. Hall costumes are SO much better nowadays than they were when I started going to cons twenty years ago. It's the anime people -- anime cons do a LOT with cosplay, and so, when that cross-fertilized with other cons, it both raised and lowered the bar -- it gave people very good, high-quality examples of costumes to aspire to, and it ALSO increased the number of costumes around, so that people are more comfortable wearing them. Not only are there more amazingly high-quality, impressive costumes, there are ALSO more people wearing simple costumes. These are both good things.
Friday night, I sat in on a simplified RuneQuest game, which was a basic scenario to sort of teach the rules. It wasn't my favorite game ever, but it wasn't bad.
Saturday, I got there and wasn't sure what I wanted to do, so I went into the Volunteer Lounge, figuring I could probably help out for an hour or two while I was deciding what else to do -- carrying stuff, putting up posters, that sort of thing. But Crystal was there, and she asked me if I'd been contacted about doing massage.
So I ended up doing skilled volunteering, rather than the sort of unskilled basic stuff I'd been intending to volunteer for. I ended up doing about five hours of massage over the weekend, which isn't enough to earn a T-shirt (that's eight hours of volunteering), but, because Massage Den is a "staff" position, I got to get a "Staff" ribbon instead of a "Volunteer" ribbon, which meant that I got to eat food in the Staff Den. I did less work than anybody else with a Staff ribbon, but I DID do enough that I didn't feel bad about eating and hanging out there.
So, in gaming, I got to see a bunch of the people who I only see once a year. William, Andrea, and Erin were three of the people who'd I'd been in a Firefly game with last year, and we'd all signed up for a Firefly game with the same GM, Sofia. I also had brought a copy of the game FIASCO, and told them that I'd love to play that with them, too. The Firefly game was scheduled for Sunday morning, and we agreed that we'd play FIASCO afterward.
I'll post about the FIASCO game separately. Because that game was, honestly, the highlight of my weekend.
I didn't go to any of the shows; I didn't go to any parties; I didn't watch any of the movies, videos, or anime. I didn't go to any panels. I COULD have done any of those things, but I didn't feel like it -- I was enjoying just wandering the halls and taking pictures of costumes, talking to people, hanging out in Staff Den, hanging out in the game room.
Sunday morning, we found out that Sofia was sick as a dog and the game had been cancelled. We were deeply disappointed in not getting to play, but even more upset that Sofia was sick. We'd only met her the once, last year, but we really liked her. And it has GOT to suck to prepare to run a game, and GO to a con, and ACTUALLY BE THERE, and be too sick to DO anything about it. So -- Sofia, where-ever you are -- feel better, okay? Because we were okay. As long as we were there, and Sofia wasn't, we decided that we could just go ahead and play FIASCO.
After that, more hall-wandering, more staff-den-hanging-out, more massage volunteering. And, in the evening, I hit the hot tub with a bunch of friends.
The con was still going on Monday, but I didn't go, spending the day with Lis, instead.
So, all in all, a very good weekend. There were lots of friends who were there whom I didn't see (partially because I didn't go to parties, choosing instead to be home by 1 AM each night, which meant leaving before midnight). And of the people I did see, I didn't spend a lot of time with them. But, in general, I had a very good time.