The dealers at Conflation vend out of their hotel rooms, so we stopped at Chaos Emporium's room and I bought a mass-market corset and a sheer blouse combo because it looked really cool on the mannequin. I also got a "sexy pirate" costume, because the buccaneer coat it came with was actually pretty cool. After food, I changed into the sheer blouse and wore it with one of my belly-dancer tops over it and a skirt, which was reasonably comfortable.
We ran into Tim in the hall, and he mentioned he was going to the figure drawing panel. Had I known the con had a figure drawing panel, I'd've brought art supplies! I begged some paper and a pencil off of Tim and went anyway. Drawing live models is great fun, and I have done very little of it since my college days. I volunteered to be the first model -- "will pose for drawing supplies" -- and had fun doing some of my regular streches as short two-minute poses. I am very rusty on drawing itself, but it was still nice practice. (All the models were panel attendees or organizers, which is a convenient and cheap way to get models). I was reminded of the website that simulates drawing classes with photo-references on a timer: I should frequent that regularly and get some more practice. My favorite part was the couple pose at the end, where two models posed together -- it's very rare that I've had the opportunity to draw people interacting with each other.
The drawing panel was two hours and I would not have minded it being longer. :) My one quibble about it was that it was at noon in the conference room off the restaurant, and the restaurant didn't unlock the doors until noon. So we spent the first 20 minutes or so of the scheduled time tidying and arranging the room into a suitable configuration for drawing. It would have been very nice to be able to do that before the start time - Tim and I were both there early enough that we would have started the arrangement if the room had been open. Still, a very minor thing. Another thing that would have been appreciated -- a schedule of events posted at registration.There was usually a conbook at registration that I could consult if I forgot my own (which I generally did) but registration had packed them all up when they closed Friday night and hadn't opened yet when we were trying to figure out where the figure drawing panel would be on Saturday.
After the drawing panel, I changed into the new "sexy pirate" outfit and went off to stalk bradhicks by attending the panel he was running on the history of sex & sexuality research. I mean, I figured the panel would be interesting -- I know from Brad's essays on LJ that he does in-depth research on topics that interest him, and I suspected his entertaining writing style would carry over to a presentation (it did). But mostly it was the easiest way I knew to make sure I got to meet him.
The talk was quite interesting -- lots of stuff on the way previous research did and did not influence later research, as well as curious factoids: for example, the earliest attempted-to-be-scientific study, Psychopathia Sexualis by Krafft-Ebbing, was on criminal sexuality. Because one of the hypotheses of the day was "porn causes crime", Krafft-Ebbing wrote the case notes in medical Latin and made sure the edition was a limited run, so that only medical professionals (whom one hopes are immune to the dangers of sexual material). The only reason it ended up widely distributed is that Grove Press (founded by a man who thought the whole "porn causes crime" thing was BS and made it his mission to publish anything and everything that might remotely be considered pornographic) bribed a cop for copy, translated it, and republished it. Brad had a copy and said that it was (a) extremely dull and (b) scientifically worthless -- the case notes were collected by a wide variety of police officers and psychotherapists, and the methodology was widely inconsistent, in terms of how much was collected and in how much detail.
Nothing else was scheduled in that room after the panel, so we all sat around and chatted about related topics until constaff came by to lock the door at about 4:30. I offered to take Brad out to dinner and he accepted, so we collected coats and Corwyn and went to the nearby plaza for food. We had intended to hit Panera -- which still had St. Louis Bread Company signage in at this location -- but they closed at 5PM. We went to the Trattoria, a fancy Italiam restuarant in the same plaza, instead. We chanced upon two other hungry congoers while picking the restaurant, Jonathan and Krissy (I have no idea how she actually spells her name) and invited them to dinner. We spent much of dinner swapping RP stories. Usually RP stories are not a great topic, but the table had a good selection of interesting ones. Corwyn talked about a group of his friends trying and failing to convince the local vampire LARP to let them play a werewolf clan led by a Malkavian whose insanity was that he thought he was a werewolf, and who had made the pack just crazy enough to believe him. They were going to have True Faith in peeps. It actually made a certain amount of sense in context with the setting, but the LARP organizers hated the idea. Alas! Brad's was about GMing a Mage: the Ascension game where combat was low and killing an NPC almost always made more problems than it solved. After many months of play, Brad had one of the PCs (unbeknownst to the others) playing not only her PC but two dopplegangers with secret agendas. The party finally caught on and captured on of the dopplegangers. They interrogated her about what she was up to. Her answer "Have you ever considered how much easier it would be to do magic if 98% of the mundanes were dead?" Party leader: "Kill her." Party: *unloads with every max-damage attack they have.* They did 63 points of damage in one round, in a game where max life is 7. GM: "A fine mist that is all that remains of her settles to the floor." The party later explained to him that the overkill was because it had been so long since the GM had given them a target they could feel good about killing. :D
After dinner, I went back to my room, ostensibly to change and in the event to lie down for a nap. I got dressed again around 8PM, in my blue satin dress, and did the room party/dealer circuit. One of the conversations I had was with a woman outside the. Chaos Emporium room,, where we talked about fashions we did and didn't like, starting with "suits are awesome, especially old-fashioned suit jackets with tails and elaborate neckcloths instead of ties". We had gotten to how freakishly ugly the crotch-around-knees-with-boxers look is when Brad stopped by to make fun of us for being old fogies complaining about youth styles. WHATEVAS. It still looks awful. GET OFFA MAH LAWN. From there we moved to leg warmers, the silly-yet-all-right-cute fashion trend of my own youth, and to furries because the big-furry-boot look which you see sometimes now reminds me of both leg warmers and furries. Also, my experience is that if you bring up the topic of furries with a note of "I am one", this circumvents any compulsion the people with you might have had to make fun of furries. I kind of want to find out how many other furries are at the non-furry cons I go to, but the subject does not come up often enough for me to uncover them. The other thing I've noticed is that even people who don't assume furry = sex in fursuits do assume furry = fursuit, which is weird given that most of the furries I know don't fursuit. One of the people who'd stopped to chat talked about his experience dealing at various cons, furry and otherwise. He was the first person I'd talked to who had vast experience dealing other people's wares -- he didn't actually have his own shop or wares.
I spent quite a bit of time (and some money) in the dealer rooms with the dealers who were friendliest to me, those being the Chaos Emporium and the room selling accessories and handmade plushies. She had three adorable plush bats that I somewhat inadvertently talked another attendee into buying as a set. (Her: "This pink bat is so cute! But I dunno about the price .... " Me: "It is! But the black one is cute too. Oh look, there's also a blue one!" Her: "I must have them ALL.")
At around 11PM, someone came around to announce that they'd started selling tickets for the "virgin auction". Conflation's definition of a "virgin" is "anyone who hasn't been to Conflation before", so I figured I'd participate. Also, it was at the dance and I always like dancing. So I changed into my very favorite look-at-me outfit, which is: 6" black platform stilettos, black fishnet hose, black leather bodysuit over off-white lace blouse, and a sheer cape thing I made several years ago, while visiting kagetsume and minor_architect. I promenaded up and down the party floor in it to general admiration. Brad had one of the best responses: "Dear Santa: I know what I want for Christmas."
Then I took the elevator down to hit the dance. At the first floor, the elevator door would not open. We got it to go back up to the second floor, where the doors did open. Everyone piled out. "I can walk down a flight of stairs. Even in 6" heels."
At the dance. Ben (I think that was his name?) explained the thing with the virgins to me. What I'd heard called a virgin auction is a raffle, not an auction. It used to be an auction (hence the name confusion) but that was depressing to the people who did not go for a good bid. In retrospect, the bad-ideaness here is obvious. The ulterior motives of the raffle are (a) to raise money for the con and (b) to pair newcomers with people familiar with the con and give them someone to talk to and perhaps introduce them around. Participation is optional, (obviously) and the raffle officially means "person raffled spends an hour at the dance with whomever won them."
I spent most of the next hour dancing, which was probably a mistake. Dancing in 6" heels is fine. Dancing in fishnets is fine. Dancing for several songs in 6" heels with fishnets means grinding the ball of your foot against a fine mesh for forty-five minutes. OW OW OW. I need to buy a pair of fishnets and mod them with a sock sole or something. Why does this product not exist already? Does this product exist already? IT DOES. Internet, I love you. Now I just need to find it in a size large. Anyway, when I sat down occasionally to drink, one rather tipsy man at the table would flirt enthusiastically with me and another man spent some time fanning me and another dancer, which was much appreciated. ♥
When the actual raffle started shortly after midnight, I sat to the side of the stage dutifully with 20+ other Conflation virgins. After about 20 minutes and about seven people had been raffled, I decided there were other things than the virgin raffle that I wanted to do with the rest of my Saturday night and quietly escaped.
I stalked Brad Hicks down again and we hung out a room party together where he rubbed my feet, carefully trying not to rub the mesh against the skin . This actually worked everywhere but the ball, where the skin was just too abraded to be touched through the mesh. A lovely woman at the party flirted with me hard enough for me to actually notice (I am somewhat oblivious to flirting in general, including to the flirting I do myself, and especially to women flirting with me).
Around 5AM, I finally went to sleep, and woke up three hours later. I repeated my routine from Saturday-morning of alternating resting with phone-fiddling, woke Corwyn around 10, and we packed up. We hit The Curious Cat to get a top hat Corwyn had his eye on, and then went to the consuite to forage for breakfast. After breakfast, we put our stuff in the car. Corwyn needed to stay for closing ceremonies, and I went back up to the consuite to retrieve the drink I had gone there to get and then accidentally abandoned.
But I was glad I'd went back up because I finally ran into Jason Carter there. Jason Carter was a surprise guest of honor at Conflation -- he showed up during the Vaudville act and performed some new (to me anyway) poems, to general delight. But I'd barely seen him since then. He did remember me, though. ♥ So I sat for a bit in the consuite, chatting with him and the others there. Eventually, I made my way down to closing ceremonies and dragged a seat over to Brad to snuggle him and listen to the closing events, which was mostly raffling stuff off and announcements. Steve, who'd been running the figure drawing panel, tracked me down and said "You need to go get something from the giveaway table."
Steve: "For modeling."
Me: "But I wasn't in the fashion show."
Steve: "Noooo, for modeling at the drawing panel."
Me: "Ohhhhh." So I grabbed one of the Stasheff Warlock books. I should re-read those sometime. I read the first 3 or 4 ages ago, after loving the first one until our copy literally fell apart. I probably won't like it as well now as I once did, given that I was like 10 when I read it, but still.
During closing ceremonies they gave Corwyn some time to plug Contra, and a box of stuff to give away at the con, which was very kind. A little after 1PM, we decided to sneak out while more raffling carried on. On the way out, we said goodbye and exchanged hugs with various people -- Steve, Josh, Gwendolyn, Megan, Tim, and some other people I forget and/or whose names I didn't catch during the con. Just outside, we ran into Jason Carter again and stopped to talk. Corwyn and he traded top hats. Corwyn's went over Jason's eyes and Jason's just perched on top of Corwyn's head. We went back inside to get pictures. At about 1:45PM, we actually made it to the car. "This is how long it takes us to get out of a con where we hardly know anyone," I marveled. It's a wonder we can leave Contra at all.
The drive back was fine, although I should have stopped for gas, a caffeinated drink, and munchies sooner, because I was not very alert for the first half of the drive and sugar + caffeine perked me up marvelously for the final 90 minutes. Then again, saving it for when I most needed it was probably wise too. Lut helped me drop off the rental car while they were closed, so I would not have to deal with it in the morning. I took a shower, sat down in front of my computer, and started to fall asleep. So I went to bed at 7PM, half-planning to sleep through the night. I woke up about 10:30 and got up to spend an hour or so writing about the con, then went to bed again. Actually pretty alert today, all things considered, though I was 20 minutes late to work because (a) I couldn't make myself move quickly and (b) we're anticipating another 7-11 inches of snow starting around 4PM, and I didn't want to drive home in it so I didn't want to drive to work.
Overall Conflation experience: Great con. Would do again. Glad it's a snow day today so I can catch up on my sleep. z_z