Wiscon 2008

Wiscon rocked. Who knew that mid-west feminists knew how to party? (Obviously they did, but somehow word didn't get around to me). Other than this thing called "humidity", there was lots of good highlights.

Hanging out with Clarion buddies: Brad, Alex, Alex's better half Jen, and Will. Most especially being in the reading audience while Alex acted out "Zombie Romeo" and Will explained how we need consent from bears (for what, I don't know ;-)

Listening to to Ted Chiang narrate a This American Life: Mistakes were made episode wherein a cryonics (in)expert manages to spoil 6-odd cadavers, all while not making any money.

Meeting myriad new friends at an equal number of parties (if you remember me, please email me, as I can't quite recall who my new friends are after the copious *free* beer)

Forgetting, or failing, to sleep. I never sleep well in hotels, but the new sights and people made it hard to take sleep seriously.

Drinking beaucoup de café to compensate for the above.

Futilely chasing down an editor. (The anxiety and running around may have negatively contributed to the sickness that was to come.)

The Flight Back. This deserves a special section. The bathrooms at the Wiscon hotel warned that a stomach flu was going around the conference. I laughed at this, because as *everybody* knows, there is no such thing as the stomach flu; one cannot have a lung parasite infect one's rumen. Lo, it wasn't high-falutin snark, it was a dire warning.

During takeoff on my long flight from Chicago to San Francisco, (during *take off*!) my innards erupted and made a donation to the white paper bag+. American Airlines must be cutting more corners than just the salaries of their pilots and cabin crew (and now charging for the first piece of checked luggage) as the barf bag--whose sole function is to contain viscous fluid--leaked. A lot. The stewardess was less than helpful, a phrase that takes on special meaning when it became quite clear that she wasn't going to get up and was content to let me sop in my own vomit.

An important lesson I learned: in the future, always carry spare pants and underwear. The next four hours were miserable. When they finally turned off the fasten-seatbelt light, I cleaned up as best I could in the loo, but every twenty minutes I would return in a futile attempt to dislodge the odor of bile from my hands.

Tammy was at the airport waiting for me, whereupon she whisked away to home, to a hot shower, to a hot tea, and best of all, Bed. The sheets were clean, the mattress and pillows were firm, and I was far away from the stomach bug. That, I left on the plane along with my lunch.

+ I was going to write the cliché "violently ill", but "violent" and "ill" don't always caye bien. The only person who experienced violence was myself, and I imagine violence as externalized. While I feel bad for the stench and sounds that the nearby passengers had to endure, it can hardly be construed that I inflicted any serious harm. Perhaps "masochistically ill" comes closest.

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At 5/29/08, 10:54 AM, Anonymous Sarah K said...

Even with a contagious stomach flu going around I'm sorry I missed Wiscon and seeing you all there. Hope you feel better!

At 6/1/08, 6:21 AM, OpenID mroctober said...

It's always better to be chased by editors than chase them. And the editor in question attends lots of cons and she can be reached by querys, so perk up!

At 6/3/08, 1:32 AM, Blogger Les said...

Oh, it's so cool that you went. I've heard only good things about that con. I want to go some time.


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