drwex: (pogo)
I contemplated using my "zero fucks" icon but that's not right either. There are a lot of things I care about a great deal and I cared a great deal about many things that happened this past weekend. I'm just worn out. This entry was started two days ago; now it's Thursday and I'm having trouble staying awake at work. I kind of spectacularly failed my 5-2-1 this year, mostly the 2.
I worked a lot this year )
I did have a Con and did some things )
Among the things I did were a couple panels )
Overall this Arisia gets a 6/10 from me. With better planning and foreknowledge on my part that would've been an 8/10. Live and learn.
drwex: (Troll)
I'm on two this year:

Navigating Non-Monogamy (Fri 10PM)

The World is Our Playground: Geo Games (Sun 4PM)

Unlike last year I indicated interest in more panels, gave more options for non-conflicting times, and wrote more extensive paragraphs on why I wanted to do the panels I'd picked. Still ended up with two - they did offer me a late option on a third but I'd already scheduled a conflict I couldn't back out of, so had to decline.

Being somewhat farther inside the factory this year I got a more detailed idea of how the program is put together than I've had in the past. I'm hesitant to say a lot because I don't know what's public knowledge, but it is a complex a multi-step dance that almost always involves disappointing a whole lot of people. Here are some things that happen:

- People have more ideas than there are room for panels
- Panels that seem like good ideas don't catch on, and without panelists they can't run
- Hotel spaces change; we only have X spaces that will hold Y people in Z timeslots so things that don't fit can't be run even if there is interest
- Guests of Honor will or will not do certain things or there is a desire to have certain things done. These tend to take precedence and can cause ripple disruptions in the whole schedule, not least because the GOH often have fixed items on their schedules already that cannot be adjusted.
- People back out and cancel at the last minute. If gaps can't be filled, panels don't run.
- People who want to do a given panel may not have the right temperament, personalities, or expertise for the panel. People who do not want to be on panels with certain other people cannot be scheduled for the same panels as those people, which might mean leaving off one or both. Or maybe the whole thing doesn't happen because without those people you don't have a good enough panel.
- Sometimes you have to choose between "good" and "great" and both are only semi-scientific guesses. If you need a particular panelist to make a panel great maybe you do that and sacrifice a good panel because until we get real-time cloning we still only have people in one place at a time.
- People have constraints on their schedules that make sense for them, but may not make it possible to put them onto their desired panels. They also have priorities and maybe you sac a panel that lots of people rated as "5" in order to get a couple people their #1 or #2 choices.

This entire process would be a fascinating grad-school-level constraint programming task; writing a small expert system that could generate possible schedules meeting all known constraints would be non-trivial but I think it's computationally solvable.
drwex: (Troll)
Arisia '16 is almost done for me. I will still need to attend the debrief and I have a few choice words I want to say to feedback@

(While I'm on the topic please if you have any thoughts about the con in general or specific things please send them to feedback@arisia.org - this input is taken seriously and can be influential.)

I had, overall, a good con. I saw a lot of people I like to see, met a few new great people, did a job I enjoy doing, stayed up late doing the sorts of things one does when staying up late at cons. At the same time I'm having a rough re-entry. Insomnia last night might be related. I have a lot of regrets about things I missed or did not get to do - those are likely exaggerated and will fade with time, but right now they're looming large in my mind.

This was the first time [livejournal.com profile] sweetmmeblue worked a significant position for Arisia and it caused some bumps and bruises. New experiences are learning experiences; we both enjoy working for the con and being part of the team that puts on this awesome show and we're learning how to do that better. I'm already plotting what job I'd like to apply to do for Arisia 2017 and might even have found a new sucker ... err, volunteer to take on my job that I feel safe and comfortable turning things over to.

Kid-wrangling was complex and doesn't easily fall into pro/con. Both kids worked this year, running games and Thing 2 put in some shifts volunteering. We gave them a lot more independence but it wasn't completely successful. There were also some significant losses that are going to cause headaches and Thing 2 pretty consistently failed some of his promised responsibilities. Nothing exploded and no one died, but it wasn't the easy ride I would've liked.
Details, mostly bullet points in sort of random order, likely not interesting to anyone else )
Looking back over this list I can see that the good things are clearly more numerous and weighty than the bad things. I just need to get some good sleep and I suspect I'll see the con in a different light.
drwex: (Troll)
This is the only Arisia I can recall in my 25 years of going that I went with a major illness or disability. For those whom I haven't told - my back seized up a week ago Tuesday. Guess I'll put that in a separate post. Suffice it to say that I am in a lot of pain, have trouble with some lifting and some motions, and it interferes a lot with my sleeping. So, yeah.

I was also working again this year - as Press Liaison. That had its own problems about which I need to write a post-mortem for Arisia, but the major effect on my con was that I missed part of one panel I wanted to see and most of the IgNobels.

I was on four panels this year, moderating three of them.
panels )
Parties, et alors on dance )
Other entertainment )
Overall this Arisia was about a 6 to 7 for me. If I had not been hampered by physical issues and dealing with family things it probably would've been a solid 7. I was sad that my panels Saturday meant I didn't get to see and photograph the belly dance show, usually one of my yearly shooting highlights. I also missed out on snuggle time with loved ones - between scheduling and working and body issues it was a lot harder to get to places and do what I wanted to do.
drwex: (Troll)
The Internet Hate Train: Moving Past Gamergate - Sat 5:30 PM

I think I've firmed up what I want to say, but I need to know how the moderator wants things to go. I see they've added another male-sounding name; looking at his Twitter feed gives me some hope.

Poly 301: When the Sh*t Hits the Fan - Sat 7:00 PM (mod)

With Wifey. It will be interesting. I have some definite ideas here. I hope the audience come to participate - this is going to be a sharing panel, not a definitive-statements panel.

Photographing Costumes and Conventions - Sat 8:30 PM

This one has a great set of panelists I know, but somehow I didn't realize it was adjacent to the other two. That appears to be a change from previous. This means that cocktails in the bar would be later than I had planned and getting dinner would be tricky as hell. I might see if I can drop this one in favor of something else.

Games as Interactive Literature - Sun 4:00 PM (mod)

This is a rerun topic from last year, but with all new panelists so we should be able to focus on different things this time. This will rise or fall on the quality of the panelists, none of whom I know.

Poly Parenting - Mon 10:00 AM (mod)

Good people, great topic, absolutely suck-ass timing. Again. What is it with Arisia and the parenting panels? Ah well, someone's gotta hold the short stick and I guess we get it again.
drwex: (VNV)
I had a good Arisia 2014. It was the 25th Arisia and I've been to 24 of them (started with #2).
Con ramble )
drwex: (pogo)
Just got word over email that Marty Gear, known to many thousands in fandom and in the MD/DC area, has died. His memory will always be a blessing to me.

Marty was someone I knew from, and always looked forward to seeing at, conventions. Usually we'd hang out behind the masquerade registration table and chat. Lately he had been among the convention early risers so I've seen him mornings over a cup of something warm. Marty had been around fandom so long he knew everyone - or at least everyone knew him. Getting time to sit and talk with him at a con was a rarity, but always a pleasure. I remember our last serious conversation at this past Arisia, about the need to get new young fans involved and working on the con in order to keep it healthy and growing. He was always an enthusiastic supporter of kids' events, kids' costuming, and reaching out to new fans.

Marty will probably be remembered most for his work with convention costuming; he spent countless hours judging masquerades, working with hall costumers, and of course MCing events - usually in his best vampire get-up with his worst vampire jokes. But I remember Marty best for a time when he decided he was tired of being sick and tired and was (dammit) going to do something new. He showed up with the tech crew, threw down with us, climbed and slung and did the tech jobs with kids half his age. I think he nearly gave his wife a heart attack when she saw him clambering around, but we all loved it.

And we loved him, and we are going to miss him.
drwex: (pogo)
https://plus.google.com/u/0/photos/105385377744489605309/albums/5895484642052347617

That URL should get you to the album. Let me know if it doesn't work. Also let me know if there's a picture of you up there that you'd rather wasn't on the Web.

I'm a little frustrated by the changes Google has made to how photos are handled - essentially all the useful functionality that was in Picasa/Picasaweb is gone now. I'm sure its auto-correct functionality is great for hobbyists who just want to blast whatever comes out of their camera onto the Web but it's a gigantic pain if you are an actual photographer.
nattering about the process )
drwex: (pogo)
Despite an early start and best intentions, getting the Arisia shots processed has taken longer than expected. I could blame the fact that this is my first time working in Lightroom, but really it's just me being my usual lame self.

Here you go:
https://plus.google.com/photos/105385377744489605309/albums/5843099862035750337?banner=pwa

As always if you see a photo of you or your family that you wish wasn't on the Web please let me know and I'll take it down.
drwex: (pogo)
I wrote a short form and thus I'm going to cut-tag this for people who don't care about details.

I did send a long thing to feedback@arisia. If you were an attendee and you have something to say about your con experience I urge you to email there or use the feedback form on the site. The input is read by people who worked this past year's con and by people who will be working on next year. Because Arisia is so big and so diverse it's hard to get a view of all the pieces without getting a lot of input from many people.
It was a good con, and some lessons were learned )
drwex: (pogo)
But... it's complicated. First I need to write up Something Very Long for feedback@ and then maybe I'll post something here.

That said, I think we made several Right Decisions this time around, even though some of them were decisions I would rather not have had to make. There will be adjustments for next year and we'll see how those go.

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