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At the past two night's parties I went from room to room, mentally cataloging the number of food-handling violations each party was racking up. Thus, I was not that surprised this morning when Helen, Yoon and I went to breakfast and noted signs informing us that some con attendees had come down with 'stomach flu'. Nor was I surprised this afternoon when I started throwing up. (Knowledge and Wisdom, after all, are different traits.)

As you might imagine, this is pretty annoying. The good news (so far) is that it seems to be a somewhat mild case of illness--my episodes of intestinal upset are fairly severe, but in between them I feel perfectly fine. I am fighting the urge to go to the CDC website and try to figure out what bug I have.

ON THE BRIGHTER SIDE, I have been having a really good time (if you leave out the whole sickness thing). Saturday morning [livejournal.com profile] yhlee, [livejournal.com profile] helen_keeble and Pamela Freedman had our public reading at a local coffee house. We were scheduled against one of the guests of honor, so we weren't sure how much of a crowd we were going to get. In the end we had more listeners than readers, so we were happy. After that we split up for various activities, and then we got back together in the evening to have dinner together. We decided to go to one of the Afghan restaurants (it amazes me that a town this size can have two of them in close proximity) and had lovely food.

On our way back to the hotel we noticed a clothing shop that dealt in second-hand clothes, and they had kimono for sale. This was an irresistable thought, so we trooped in to investigate. Not only did they have kimono, they had obi and jackets as well! I ended up with a greenish-blue kimono with flowers, a cream jacket with a winter scene, and a blue obi with silver cranes. Yoon got a purple and white flowered kimono and two obi. Helen made her saving throw and managed not to get anything, though she did take photos of Yoon and I going through the racks.

Sunday Helen took us to a used book store she had discovered earlier, and all of us came away with books. This is pretty much all that happened that day from my point of view, as Sunday afternoon I came down with the sickness. Bummer.

daidoji_gisei: (Default)
Well. I'm blogging under the influence, having just spent a few hours making the rounds of parties with [livejournal.com profile] helen_keeble. Said parties included alcohol, giant slabs of chocolate, chili mangos, robot revolutions, do-it-yourself crowns, and oddly smoking drinks. It was a pretty good time, and Helen has photos of it here.

The earlier part of the day was also nice. Helen was at the writer's workshop in the early part of the day, so [livejournal.com profile] yhlee and I went out for lunch Before we could do anything like make up our minds we made contact with [livejournal.com profile] oyceter and [livejournal.com profile] coffeeandink and joined them. We found an underground Ethiopian restaurant and decided that was the place. I had chicken peanut stew that had been liberally spiked with lemon and served over injera, all of which was delicious. Someday I really need to learn how to make injera.

Then we went back to the hotel, where the Gathering had started. The Gathering is kind of a social mixer with events like BPAL sniffing, learning how to fold a towel into an elephant, and tarot card reading. I got the Daidoji mon inked on my left arm (while we were in line, I discussed the issue with Helen: "Do I the mon on my sword-arm, or the one closest to my heart?") and she got a very nice lizard. Yoon abandoned us at some point to hang out with the knitting circle, thus proving her superior line-avoidance skills.

Meanwhile, Helen and I waited to have Tarot card readings done. It's a good thing that I place no stock in Tarot because my spread was awful. It started with the five of swords crossed with the eight of swords and went on from the there. At least the Tower didn't show up anywhere.

Eventually the Gathering started to wind down, so we checked out the dealers room, and then went round the con putting up posters for our readings Saturday morning. Yoon separated off to have dinner with [livejournal.com profile] oyceter and [livejournal.com profile] coffeeandink, and Helen and I finished putting up posters, went to the Opening Ceremonies, and began our round of parties.

When we tired of that we went back to the room, and shortly after that Yoon and her party showed up. We chatted, fed our visitors baked goods, and generally had a pleasant time.

daidoji_gisei: (Default)
I finally arrived at the Concourse Hotel in Madison at 2 or 3 in the morning--I was too travel-tired to care enough to check. My train was running four hours behind schedule yesterday, a result of it having gotten stuck behind a damaged freight train for some distance on its eastward journey. As I had missed all the buses to Madison that Amtrak was affiliated with they refunded me my bus money, gave me cab fare, and shipped me off the the Greyhound bus terminal to catch one of their buses to Madison. Once in Madison I called the hotel, who helpfully called the cab company for me. (It was this point that I was extremely happy that I had 1) bought a cell phone and 2) had programmed the hotel number into its phone book.)

I woke up this morning somewhat after 10 am, and was greeted by a Helen who cheerily asked, "Do you want a cup of tea?" This made today about 1000% better than yesterday. After tea and email brousing we got dressed and hunted for lunch. We wandered around for a bit and settle on some place that had offered food from India, Nepal and Tibet. It was very good--I had the aloo chops and she had something involving skewered, broiled tofu. The we took a long walk by the lakeside, followed by as stop at an ice cream shop offering "genuine Wisconsin dairy goodness". How can anyone pass up something like that? Helen has something that involved a little of everything; while I contented myself with the darkest chocolate ice cream I'd ever had. It was advertised as having been made with special cocoa (from Zanzibar, I think), and the taste really lived up to the hype. Helen and I decided that this is a place we need to go back to.

Then we went hunting for the grocery store that was supposed to be in the area, as I need frosting for the cakes I bought. After some casting about we located it (along with a gaming store!) and bought apples, orange juice, potato chips, and Dr Pepper. The careful reader will have noticed that frosting is not on in that list, something that we did not notice until we got back to the hotel room. I pointed out that we could go back with Yoon, and then discuss which kind of chocolate frosting to get. "No!" Helen replied in mock-horror. "No more choices!"

I'm not sure what is happening the rest of the day. Helen has volunteered for some set-up duties, and will be off to them shortly. I'll probably write, as I have a fiction due soon. At some point dinner will happen, and then Yoon will show up. Hilarity will ensue, as I will almost certainly model the Hanbok of Cultural Appropriation.

daidoji_gisei: (Default)
Every day an adventure: I called the train station to get an update and my train is currently running 3 hours late. I'm not sure how this will affect me--the website says that they build delay time into their schedules, and I was going to have a 2+ hour layover at Union Station in Chicago in any event. I guess I'll see!

Meanwhile, I need to get dressed and finish packing. :-)
daidoji_gisei: (Default)
I usually spend the night before a trip running around frantically trying to get packed. For my Wiscon trip I'm having to change how I do things, and have to do my frantic running around now. I'm not sure if this is an improvement.

My friend [livejournal.com profile] cassandra_e graciously loaned me two wheeled suitcases, which will make hauling my stuff around a lot easier. Now I am about to decide what clothes to put in them. My general rule for trip planning is to take stuff that I can't wear to work, which means lots of black. Black...is not a good color for bakers. After some waffling I've decided to take this year's Kotei shirt, so that [livejournal.com profile] helen_keeble and [livejournal.com profile] yhlee can see it. Its art is somewhat problematic for a feminist sf/f con, but I've decided that if anyone asks I'll announce that all three of the figures are, in fact, female. (Tragically, there will be exactly three people at Wiscon who will be capable of fully appreciating the humor of this, but oh well.)

Meanwhile I am also finishing up the Hanbok of Cultural Appropriation. It has been a struggle, as both my fabric scissors and my seam guide have vanished. Happily, the chima part of the hanbok doesn't require a lot of cutting or seaming--or I wouldn't have been able to do it at all--but I still think that my work is suffering for lack of proper tools. At least it's colorful: the fabric I eventually settled on has wavey, marbled stripes of purple, hot pink, turquoise, and violet. I don't have the type of slip I need to make it bell out, though I think that if I went through my stash again I might find the right kind of fabric to make it. I don't have the *time* to make it, but if I just laid down the gathering line on the fabric I could jury-rig it once I got to Madison--I'm sure I could get a sewing kit and a stapler from the hotel.

Break time is over! Back to the frenzy.

daidoji_gisei: (Default)
So now that it is May I'm finalizing my plans for Wiscon, and feeling somewhat unsettled about it. My original plan had been to rent a car and drive up, but I did some pricing today and discovered that they are more expensive than I remembered. And then, of course, there is gasoline.

Thus, I have been investigating my bus and train options. Airplanes have been discarded because I'm not prepared for the sticker shock of traveling from one small city to another by air, and because the air travel system seems plagued with scheduling problems which I feel unable to cope with. I am a nervous traveler; I need to know with some degree of certainty that my planes will be where they are supposed to be when they are supposed to be.

Taking the bus would be cheaper, which is a consideration because I'm also trying to save money for Gencon and I'm still paying off my rabies shots from last summer. (Remember, kids, if you wake up in a room with a bat, catch that bat!) The schedule is somewhat horrific, though. Amtrack service is somewhat more expensive but the schedule is nicer and it's a train. Trains are inherently cool. Also, Amtrak appears to allow passengers to take ridiculous amounts of luggage with them, so I could bring a suitcase dedicated to baked goods and shoes. (Umm. I have issues regarding shoes and travel. My first three trips to New Jersey to visit Karin and Ami were marked by my bringing the left shoe of one pair of black pumps and the right shoes of a different pair of black pumps.)

I'm going to sleep on the issue tonight; I'm not the type who rushes into new relationships. Then I'll go on to the next phase of planning: Bring frosted cake, or pack cake and frosting separately? Or call Willy Street Co-op and see if they make my cake, and I can just buy it there?

daidoji_gisei: (Default)
My spring is going to be interesting and filled with travel.

Towards the end of April I'm going to attend the South Sioux City Kotei. (Kotei=a particular type of big L5R tournament.) It should be a lot of fun--Bob runs a nice Kotei, and Shawn will also be there. Someone else has volunteered to be the scorekeeper at the event (traditionally I've helped Bob run that), so I'll be playing this year. And losing a lot, unless I get some practice in!

I had wanted to go to more Kotei this year, but I don't think I"ll have the funds since I'm now going to Wiscon over Memorial Day weekend so that I can hang out with [livejournal.com profile] yhlee and [livejournal.com profile] helenkeeble. We shall drink tea and eat buttered crabs and giggle madly over exploding possums. I am, obviously, looking forward to it. Before that happens I need to confect a hanbok, which should help advance my resolution to do more sewing this year.


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