July 30th - August 1st, 2004
Imperial Palace Hotel - Las Vegas, NV

Jane Espenson: Mutant Enemy Writer (BtVS/AtS/Firefly)
Glenn Yeffeth: Author of The Seven Seasons of Buffy
David Lavery: Buffy scholar and critic
Don DeBrandt: SFWA member and author of Angel tie-in #5 Shakedown
Nan Dibble: SFWA member and author of Plot - Elements of Fiction Writing
Jacqueline Lichtenberg: SFWA member and featured in Seven Seasons of Buffy

Writercon rocked. I miss everyone so much. And I *so* don't want to wait two years before I see any of you guys again. *sniffle*

So let's see. I'm going to throw together some kind of little con report here, but I'm veerrrry tired so I can't promise that I'll remember everything.


Okay, so. It started Tuesday evening; after work, I took the L train to the A train to the AirTrain to JFK airport. I really don't recommend doing this with heavy luggage during rush hour, but it was the cheapest way and I did arrive on time. (I had this huuuge bag that they marked as HEAVY with a big red tag.)

My flight was delayed, and then sat (with us in it) on the runway for two hours. That sucked. It was freezing, but the snooty flight attendant refused to give me a blanket because "our policy is not to give blankets until after take-off." Then the guy added insult to injury by giving one to the woman right in front of me, and then snapping "well, she was cold!" when I asked why I couldn't have one. Yeah, okay. So I couldn't really sleep until we took off, because I was too busy huddling for warmth.

Overall? So not impressed by JetBlue. (In addition to the late takeoff, snooty flight attendant, and wacky blanket policy, the seats were as tiny as any other airline's, the DirectTV barely worked, they have a weird policy where those checking luggage can't check themselves in and so have to wait in a huge line, and their staff seemed completely overstaffed and panicked.)

I got into Las Vegas after midnight LV time (after 3am NY time) and took a shuttle to Mandalay Bay, where I was staying with drujan. Originally, we had planned to fly together, but at the last minute she changed her flight and left earlier in the day, thus giving her eight more hours in Vegas and leaving me to fly alone. It was nice to find the room all ready and checked in, so we chatted a bit and then I slept.

The room, btw, was gorgeous, though I wasn't that impressed with the rest of the hotel. The beds were huuuge and soft and so comfy, with three pillows each. The bathroom was also gigantic, with a big tub, big shower, phone, multiple sinks, and lots of exciting bath salts and soaps and such. Plus, drujan made sure to get a lovely view of the strip, of which we took many photos.


The reason we stayed at Mandalay Bay was to check out their supposedly-awesome pool. So we requested late checkout, put on our bathing suits, and headed down. We stopped for breakfast at the House of Blues, which was decent (I had hash browns and fruit), and then jaydk arrived. Unfortunately, we couldn't sneak her into the pool, so she waited while drujan and I swam.

The lazy river was nice, although not that long, and once you went around a few times it got boring. The sandy beach wasn't impressive, since the sand was actually separated from the water--what's the point? Just the thrill of walking to your chair on sand instead of tile, I suppose. The wave pool was terribly lame--I wouldn't call them so much "waves" as "slight bumps in the water that you barely feel unless you're looking." So much for the brilliant Mandalay Bay pool; just a lot of hype.

We then checked out and proceeded to the shark reef, since we were already at Mandalay Bay. Unfortunately, once we got there, we found the line to be prohibitively long--who wants to spend their first day in Vegas standing in line for two hours? So instead, we just ate at a nice restaurant right near the exhibit called the Border Grill, which served "modern Mexican." It was awesome--lots of vegan stuff, great chips and three very interesting dips, portabella mushrooms, rice and beans, wonderful fried plantains, and the best mojito I've ever had.

Then we headed over to Mirage, the next stop on our (well, drujan's, at least) hotel-testing experiment. Mirage is definitely my favorite hotel in Vegas--it's comparatively peaceful and at least somewhat natural, without the constantly intrusive glitter and glitz and smoke and electronics and trying-too-hard fake class you get everywhere else. Behind the registration desk is a huge aquarium full of gorgeous tropical fish, and when walking through the hotel you're constantly seeing real palm trees and plants and waterfalls. You can actually breathe in there. I went back to that hotel every chance I got.

Our room was decent; nothing special, really, but functional and fine. drujan swam while jaydk showered and I wandered around (I found a coffee place that had soymilk for the coffee, and the spa which I'm sad I never found time for; a massage would've been nice....)

Then we headed over to the Bellagio (through Caesar's Palace and the forum shops, where we took photos in front of pretty statues) because we had tickets for Cirque du Soleil's show O. Our seats were great, actually--front row, but off the to the very very far side, so they were cheaper (limited view) but still "wet seats" (and we did end up getting splashed). It was interesting, but I must say, I'm not at all fond of the circus, so I was pretty bored. Theoretically it was fine: surreal images, synchronized swimming, acrobatics, clowns, dancing ... but no linear, logical plot, and no English words, so I was constantly drifting away and having to force myself to pay attention. I'm too much of a left brain person, I guess.

After the show I discovered the first of many problems with the Imperial Palace--irfikos had been leaving messages on my cell phone because she and inobunny, my roommates, were having trouble checking into our room at the Imperial Palace. Her name was on the room, but they refused to let her check in without paying the entire five nights in advance. (Despite the fact that the first night was already paid, and that I was coming the next day and could pay the rest then.) She managed to talk them into letting her in the room, but they insisted that I pay before noon the next day or they'd cancel the reservation.

So drujan, jaydk, and I headed in that direction, stopping first to explore New York, New York, since it was on the way back. It was kind of dingy and silly and lame, especially, y'know, coming from the real New York. The Coney Island arcade looked kind of fun though I didn't have time to explore it (I love arcades; I also spent time in the Mirage arcade playing the old Simpsons four-player game). However, drujan wanted to go on the roller coaster, and somehow we all agreed. So we checked our purses into a locker, paid $12.50 each, and placed our lives into the hands of a bunch of bored-looking teenagers and a rickety Vegas hotel attraction.

I seemed fine at first, but as we neared the front of the line I started to really freak out. I hate roller coasters, I hate heights, etc. Why did I agree to go on this ride? I experienced a moment of terror when I realized that the coaster only seats two together and that one of us would have to be alone, so I decided (in that split second of time) that jaydk was likely to be more reassuring. Partly because she was as terrified as I was, partly because drujan didn't seem scared at all, and, y'know, misery loves company. Also, drujan was sitting in the back, and I felt a slight bit safer not being in the very last car.

It was cool that we did the coaster at night, as the view of the strip (during those brief moments when I opened my eyes) was lovely. As we inched up the incline, jaydk and I reassured ourselves by imagining what Remus and Sirius would do in this situation (Sirius, especially, would have a wonderful time and wouldn't get all panicked by a little roller coaster). That actually helped quite a bit. Then we zoomed down and I spent the entire time shrieking and cursing, with my eyes mostly squeezed shut, taking little glimpses every few seconds. We went upside down and the only thing between me and a horrible fall to my death on the Las Vegas street was this little roller coaster safety bar. Finally we cruised to a stop and I staggered out--god, it's making me motion sick just thinking about it. (I get very motion sick; yet another reason not to ride roller coasters). I walked very slowly, looking straight ahead and breathing deeply, and found some water to drink. But I spent the rest of the night feeling nauseated, with my head pounding. (That's part of why I agreed to do it--it was so late in the day, almost midnight, that I figured at least it wouldn't ruin a whole day.)

So then we took the monorail over Imperial Palace, which we barely managed, as the monorail closes at midnight. Midnight! In Vegas! What the hell are they thinking? I then attempted to check in and pay for the Imperial Palace room. I went through the process, except when they handed me the bill, they had charged me an exorbitant room rate that was definitely not what I'd booked. I told them this, and they refused to believe me, and insisted they'd never offered the room at the rate I had (which was $47 on weeknights, $66 on Friday and Saturday, and which I'd booked online in March). Luckily I'd brought my confirmation letter, but unfortunately it was back in my room at the Mirage. (It was also nearly 1am at this point, btw.) They told me that if I brought it to them, they'd give me the correct rate.

So I headed back over to Mirage to get the confirmation letter. I also arranged to meet there with irfikos and inobunny, who had been out exploring, since we wanted to meet in person. We found them in the Mirage lobby, and they, jaydk, and I had food at a little place in the Mirage (drujan went to bed). irfikos and inobunny turned out to be totally awesome, and weren't pissed at me about the room situation or anything. I knew I'd get along with irfikos, since I've known her online forever (ever since I archived her story Chain way back in the day). inobunny, who I didn't know at all, turned out to be shy but very sweet and smart and fun to talk with.

After eating (I had a huge salad of gross wilted greens and no salad dressing), I walked with irfikos and inobunny back over to Imperial Palace, where I showed my confirmation letter. They still didn't adjust my rates (despite the fact that they said they would if I showed them the letter), but instead insisted that they had to check with the company that had done the original booking, which was closed and wouldn't open until 8am. Which didn't resolve the situation, as they still said that they were going to cancel my entire weekend reservation if I hadn't paid by noon. (I had actual things to do that morning, and really didn't want to waste it at the Imperial Palace registration desk.) I offered to pay for the first two nights, so that I wouldn't have such a time-crunch the next morning, and they also wouldn't accept that. Did I mention I hate the Imperial Palace?

So I left them with a copy of my confirmation letter, said goodnight to irfikos and inobunny, and headed back over to the Mirage to sleep.


Thursday morning, first thing, I went over to the Imperial Palace and paid for the room. Thankfully they had finally heard back from the booking company and sorted out the situation. But, y'know, I really shouldn't have had to go through all this trouble--three unnecessary trips to sort it out? Not to mention horribly rude front desk service.

So anyway, that morning, drujan went on an expedition to see red rocks in the desert. jaydk and I took advantage of the Mirage pool. It's a very, very nice pool--better than Mandalay Bay, actually. It's got plants and trees everywhere, so lots of shade, and a bunch of different pool shapes that connect and meander in different directions. It's got lots of waterfalls, a few slides, and several hot tubs.

jaydk put on at least half a bottle of sunscreen (she's just a little paranoid about sunburn), and then we went in the pool. It was sooo nice. We swam around, went under a bridge, hung out under a waterfall, and went in the hot tub. I even got her to go down the water slide (she was hesitant because it was being used mostly by little kids, but she agreed to go after we saw other adults using it). All the while, we were making up this "Remus and Sirius go to Vegas" story. (They were on a mission from Dumbledore trying to find a wizard in disguise at one of the Vegas casinos, so they had to try out every hotel. They also went in the Mirage pool--Remus was self-conscious about his scars, Sirius talked him into going down the water slide, and then they made out in the cove under the water falls. And there was a full moon, so Snape had to come to Vegas to bring Remus the wolfsbane potion, and we were trying to figure out how to work other characters into it....)

So eventually, we left the pool and met up with irfikos and inobunny, and the four of us headed to the Star Trek Experience. We spent quite a while looking through the museum of Star Trek props and reading through the "historical" timeline. Then we went on the Borg ride (a 3D ride in which the Borg try to assimilate you) and the Klingon ride (a motion simulator in which the Klingons chase you.) Both were pretty fun, and the live actors were neat, although the Klingon ride also made me motion sick. I bought a Borg teddy bear in the gift shop, because it was just too cute. Then we ate at the theme restaurant, which was very neat-looking, although the food was awful. (It was nice that the waiter was concerned, but it took them an hour to sautee a few vegetables in soy sauce, and they turned out to be some of the hardest/wiltiest/grossest veggies I've ever attempted to eat. And certainly the worst thing that I've ever paid $17 for.)

Afterwards, we headed over to Tequila Joe's for the Writercon Hootenanny. They had two-for-one drinks (alas, I'm a wuss and mine was too strong for me to actually drink), and the bar was full of fandom women wandering around peering at each others' chests and then squeeing. (The nametags were in rather small print.) I met up with bunches of people there, and certainly did my share of squeeing. I also realized that I should've posted an announcement that my hair is now red, because a lot of people didn't recognize me, or wouldn't have until I went over to them first. I'm trying to think of everyone I saw, but alas, there's no way I could remember each person. (Also, that drink was strong!) I did definitely meet monanotlisa and ladycat777 there for the first time.

I then headed up to registration, which wasn't going to open until eight, so I went to the con suite instead. There I saw shaddyr again, who did absolutely the most amazing job running the con suite all weekend. Then I went to registration, where I got my badge (along with a schedule, unsharpened pencil, notepad, and caffeinated mints, which are definitely the best thing ever provided at a convention.) Lots of folks were registering, so I did quite a bit more squeeing.

Then I went off with jaydk and drujan to see the Venetian and try to ride in a gondola, but the wait for that was too long. So instead we went over the pirate show at Treasure Island, where we were in the front row. Unfortunately, after waiting for a half hour, it was cancelled due to wind. That sucked. So instead we met irfikos and 10zlaine and had dinner at a Mexican place in Treasure Island. (All I could eat was the salad, but it was a good salad with jalapeno-lime dressing, pumpkin seeds, and avocado). We rushed out of dinner to try for the pirate show again, but once again it was cancelled due to wind. I never did see it.

Eventually, I ended up back at the con suite, hanging out. At some point a group decided to go find food, so I followed along with them. I totally can't remember who all was there--nautibitz and lovebytez, for sure, plus 10zlaine, and I was sitting near monanotlisa and across from devilpiglet. It was totally awesome to see devilpiglet again. I met her at the con in Secaucus in March, but we'd known each other online forever, so it was good to catch up. I wish we'd had more time to talk throughout the weekend.

Eventually I ended up back at the Mirage--I think that this was the night that 10zlaine walked me back, because it was late, I was wearing a short skirt, and Vegas is creepy. Thank you, Tammy.


Friday morning, drujan, jaydk, and I all woke up to go swim in the pool at the Mirage one last time. We had fun, went down the waterslide a few times, and got someone to take photos of us in the water. We also went to Siegfried and Roy's Secret Garden, where you pay $12 to see dolphins, white tigers, white lions, leopards, various other big scary/beautiful cats, and, for some reason, an elephant. The dolphins were swimming around excitedly, and we got to see them being fed--several were jumping around, sort of doing tricks. I also got to see a very cool demonstration of how smart they are--the trainer had three shapes in the water, would show the dolphin one shape, and then the dolphin would choose the correct shape. When she did (correctly, every time), she got food. It's sad to see animals in captivity, but these guys seemed happy, and it's better than being hunted.

Then we had to check out, and I headed over to the Imperial Palace while drujan and jaydk went to the Flamingo. I showered quickly and hurried to the Homoeroticism Yay! panel, for which I was late anyway. So I crept in and sat in the back, and waved to saussy and _jolielaide (who I'd met before) and a woman who could only be witling.

The panel itself wasn't that great. They spent way too long talking about Buffy's masculine qualities, which probably would've been much more appropriate for a panel on gender. The rest of it didn't really cover much new ground. (Jane Espenson's Q&A ended up having much more to say about homoeroticism than the actual hoyay panel--apparently Jane is a S/X shipper....)

So afterwards I managed to find miggy, who I'd been looking for (she was staying with us but we couldn't find her to give her her room key; apparently her cell phone wasn't working, or at least, my cell phone couldn't connect to hers). I also finally got to meet witling, who is awesome. We've been talking online for something like two years now, and she wrote several of my all-time favorite fics. Plus, Modus Vivendi was the very first slash fic I read, it got me over my mental slash barrier, it was responsible for getting me into S/X, and the fact that I archived it totally brought my website to a higher level of quality. Happily, witling turned out to be just as kind and smart as you'd expect from knowing her online. It was also excellent to see _jolielaide and saussy again--I ended up getting to know them much better this weekend, and I'm very glad that I had the opportunity to spend time with the three of them.

After that, I also attended the philosophy panel with members of Tea at the Ford, which was interesting. They just did a brief talk and then sat at various tables conversing with small groups. I ended up at a table with lordshiva (another of my all-time favorite writers; Daemons Luminati is the story that first convinced me that fanfiction can be literature). The conversation wasn't really anything I was into, though, so I mostly just lurked.

I had planned to attend "Shades of Grey: Morality in the Jossverse" after that, but I ran into 10zlaine instead, and spent time with her, kellyhk, and others. Then 10zlaine and I went over to the Mirage to eat--we went to the California Pizza Kitchen, where I had pea soup and a bowl of hummus (without pita bread or chips; just hummus). It was good to chat with 10zlaine. Then we headed back over to the Imperial Palace, where I got ready for the cocktail party.

I had brought this purple corset-thing, but hadn't really planned on wearing it. However, I figured that since I brought it, I may as well wear it. (Also, I was already running out of clothes). So I squeezed into that, then headed down to the cocktail party. I also had my brief moment of being able to chat with miggy, where we discussed (what else?) fun and violent ways for Buffy to die horribly.

The cocktail party kicked ass, naturally. It was more of the peering at people's breasts and shrieking, which is always fun, plus lots of chatting and drinking and dancing (first hour: open bar). I didn't feel too weird in my sort-of-corset, since other people had dressed up -- soundingsea had an awesome corset-thingy, witling had a very, very red wig, and so on. I think I just walked around and chatted with as many people as I could, though I still ended up missing quite a few. I met so many people that it's impossible to list them; at this moment I remember meeting for the first time: carolyn_claire, margotlefaye, ck594us, _dellamore, ascian3, danawoods, db2305, essene, knotted_rose, mezzibelle, nandibble, Mary of Journeys fame, pukajen, rabid1st, rubywisp.... (I can't guarantee that I met all of them at this exact party but I know I met them at some point), plus so many people that I knew from before and was glad to catch up with. And I missed taramisu, spikewriter, and klytaimnestra, but made up for it by meeting them later.

Eventually the cocktail party turned into a dance, with loud music, so those of us who wanted to talk quietly retreated to the con suite. I spent a while up there, then eventually drifted off to my room to sleep. I crawled into the bed next to miggy, who was already asleep. Those beds were tiny. I was okay curled up in my little corner, plus I'm used to sleeping with people I barely know at cons (not that way!), but I hope it wasn't too uncomfortable for her. If I ever stay in Vegas again (not that it's likely), I'm definitely staying at the Mirage. In addition to the tiny Imperial Palace beds, the bathroom was gross--the toilet lacked a lid and barely flushed, and the bathtub would fill up with water every time you took a shower.


I slept in on Saturday and got up in time for an excursion to the M&M Factory with witling, _jolielaide, saussy, ros_fod, swmbo, and journalkitten (I think? I hadn't met the last three before.) Unfortunately, when we got to the M&M Factory, we found that it was just a store that sold M&M junk. They used to give tours of the actual factory, but weren't doing it when we were there.

So then we walked over to the MGM Grand to see the lions. We saw two in a rather small area, which was disturbing, although the sign said that they normally have 12 acres on which to run around. They were both asleep on top of this clear walkway, so you could walk underneath and peer at them from below. You haven't lived until you've stood with a sleeping lion immediately above you. They were both huge and strong and gorgeous, and slept through all the tourists wandering through and banging on the glass. (Poor kitties.)

Then we tried to walk to Mandalay Bay to see the shark reef, but, y'know, Vegas is hot. We made it to Luxor, where we looked around the lobby, then decided to head back (we were tired, and wanted to make it back in time for Jane Espenson's talk at 3pm). _jolielaide and witling decided to continue on to the shark reef, while the rest of us took a cab back to the hotel. (Turns out the shark reef line was, once again, too long to be practical, so I'm glad we didn't try for that.)

Jane's Q&A was awesome, of course. She's brilliant and articulate and funny, and totally gets online fandom. She's a slasher, and intentionally inserts homoerotic subtext. She believes that Buffy loved Spike at the end of Chosen, but that Spike's self-esteem was too low for him to believe it. She believes that the attempted rape was a bad idea, and that they should've made it obvious that, at that moment, Spike looked into himself and decided to get a soul. She insisted that Spike was seeking a soul all along, but that they had been trying to mislead and then surprise the audience, and she wishes they had made it clearer what he was really feeling. She didn't watch the last season of Angel, because she couldn't stand seeing Spike and not knowing what he was going to say next. She admitted that they made mistakes in season seven, largely because everything had to go through Joss, but Joss wasn't around much, and plus they were all very tired. Ooh, and she said that the reason Ethan liked to pick on Giles was that Ethan is a trickster character, but more than that, he chose Giles because they had a relationship in the past (she pointed out that they were in public school together) and she always felt that Ethan was bitter because he loved Giles more than Giles ever loved him. Hee! swmbo has a much more thorough write-up in her journal.

I got Jane to autograph my season five DVD (over a picture of Spike and Glory, since Intervention is my all-time favorite episode). Then I went to an Indian place called Ghandi's with 10zlaine and jaydk. It was delicious, and only about a 5-minute cab ride away. (Though the cab driver was freaky; drivers in Vegas love to chat, apparently.)

I headed to the erotica panel at 9pm, which was okay. It didn't really get into anything I hadn't heard before, and some of the advice was a little ... well, sort of close-minded, maybe? Like they were dictating unbreakable rules, rather than encouraging open discussion. I love lordshiva, but I don't think it's true that you shouldn't write sex if you haven't done it. None of us women have had male/male sex, yet we write slash. And there are, believe it or not, virgins who have written great sex scenes. I know at least two (I'm not going to name names, of course, but I suspect that most people would never guess that they were virgins when they wrote what they wrote). It's more true that you shouldn't write sex if you're clueless about the human body--which can be true of virgins and non-virgins alike.

Anyway, so after the erotica panel, I ended up back at the con suite, where I hung out with various people. Around 11:30 I went to the cracktrailer gathering, because I was curious and because I was with _jolielaide and witling--_jolielaide was the one who started the community. I've still never read Cracktrailer, though, but it was interesting.

I ended up back at the con suite, and then eventually went to bed.


I got up on Sunday in time for Gay Me Up!: Gay Love Scenes for Straight Writers, which was definitely the best panel I attended all weekend. inobunny kicked total ass, and wasn't shy at all, as he explained details of gay male sex to a roomful of curious women. The panel was informative and fun, and not at all lectury.

After that, I attended Are You Now or Have You Ever Been: The Problem of Vampirism as Metaphor, which was also good. It would've been nice if it was longer, as we were just getting into the meat of the topic when it ended. However, klytaimnestra did an awesome job explaining just what the "problem" was as she saw it (it helped that I totally agreed). The gist was that once you start using vampires to represent "the other" instead of as just plain evil, and you start making vampires into complicated, understandable, even sympathetic characters, you can't just reassert the "evil" metaphor without running into similarities with how other "others" (anyone outside the mainstream) are also demonized unfairly by mainstream cultures.

Then I attended the Writercon wrap-up, which was lots of thank yous from and for the wonderful and amazing concom (who did such a stellar job, and ran so smoothly what was definitely the best con I've ever attended). Afterwards we watched the raffle winners announced, and then went back to the yummy Indian place with 10zlaine, witling, _jolielaide, saussy, irfikos, and inobunny. This time they were offering a buffet, which completely rocked, as I was able to sample a bit of many things. The eggplant bartha was heavenly, and the company was great.

Afterwards witling, _jolielaide, and saussy were going to a movie, but I wanted to do something more interactive, so I decided to go with rubywisp and ladycat777 to see the art at the Bellagio. Unfortunately that got cancelled and they just decided to go to the con suite, so I called up witling about the movie and found that they had also just decided to go to the con suite. So I joined everyone at the con suite.

I missed the badfic reading at the con suite, but I did catch the tail end of the filk (shaddyr was playing guitar, and nautibitz was singing songs from "Once More, with Feeling," with the audience joining in). Oh, and I met taramisu! And Mr. Gordo, of course.

Then I sat on the bed and talked with ladycat777, who I hadn't spent much time with yet. We chatted for a while--it was great to catch up with her. But next to us, nautibitz, lovebytez, and vixkitten had instigated a game of Truth or Dare, and I couldn't resist joining that.

I didn't get too embarrassed--I always choose Truth, and I'm very boring. However, vixkitten ended up in nothing but lingerie, devilpiglet ended up topless, and _jolielaide and nautibitz both ended up without pants. I made witling tell her wackiest sexual experience (or something like that--someone had asked me so I repeated the question), estepheia had to tell her most embarrassing fic kink, and I made _dellamore serenade the group with her favorite part of Once More, with Feeling. It got a bit uncomfortable, though, as more people joined the group that most of us didn't know; I think Truth or Dare is better with people who all know each other. We were very insistent that you couldn't listen if you didn't play, and that none of it would be repeated later....

Eventually the Truth or Dare broke up, so I ended up hanging out and chatting with soundingsea and pukajen. We talked for quite a while, estepheia dropped by and gave me chocolate, I saw nashvillain615 for a brief moment (oh, I wish I'd had more time to catch up with her!), and then finally I drifted off to bed.


I woke up Monday morning and sadly started packing up. (Well, sad to leave Writercon, but happy to get the hell out of the Imperial Palace.) I went downstairs to check out, and irfikos, inobunny, and I dropped off our luggage with the hotel. Then we met up with witling, _jolielaide, and saussy again (who I somehow managed to get along with despite the fact that they do wacky things like wake up early to run and do yoga....)

We headed over to this mall where supposedly you could find great deals. But first we ate, because we were all starving. I actually had a very decent meal of pasta and artichokes at one of the little restaurants. I eat really slowly, though, so I stayed behind with irfikos and inobunny while witling, _jolielaide, and saussy went off to get some shopping done.

I had my final *cries* conversation with irfikos and inobunny, who are totally awesome and who were the best roomies ever. I'm so, so glad that I got to meet them and spend time with them. I said goodbye to them outside the mall, and then they went off to collect their stuff and catch their plane.

Then I went back into the mall and met up with witling and _jolielaide in Frederick's of Hollywood, where we drooled over pretty lingerie. We explored the mall a bit, then headed back to the hotel, met up with saussy again, and they checked out and left their bags with the hotel. Then we went exploring for a bit with nautibitz, lovebytez, and vixkitten--nautibitz and vixkitten tried out the oxygen bar, while the rest of us stood in the cool mist and explored the souveneir store.

The others headed off to the Star Trek ride, while witling, _jolielaide, saussy, and I headed back to the Mirage. I'd definitely take any excuse to go back there--it's so much more soothing compared to the rest of Vegas. We walked past the waterfalls, saw the white tiger, and spent a while watching the tropical fish in the aquarium at the front desk. So calming and pretty.

Then we went to the Siegried and Roy Secret Garden (again, for me). The dolphins were sleepy and not so playful this time, but they did have baby dolphins that I hadn't seen the first time. It was nice to sit near the dolphins and just watch them.

Then we went to see the lovely elephant and the big cats. This time around, we got to see the trainers playing with three baby leopards. They were absolutely the cutest creatures I've ever seen in my life. We spent something like fifteen minutes just watching them, enthralled. The trainers had a laundry basket full of big stuffed animals, and were using that to play with the leopards. They were like really big dangerous kittens--still clumsy and figuring things out. They kept falling and bumping their noses, but they were so sweet and enthusiastic. The other big cats were cool, but nothing can compare with gorgeous, adorable little leopards.

Then we headed back into the Mirage to gamble--_jolielaide had found a bunch of quarters, so we divided them up and promised to share our winnings four ways if any of us won. We then played the quarter slot machines. I won twice--probably like $5 and then $2, or something like that. But I just kept putting the quarters in the machine until I ran out. (But hey, now I can say that I won in Vegas....)

Then we tried to go eat at this pretty bar near the waterfalls, but it turns out they only serve drinks. So we ended up at a cheesy fancy place, where I had a yummy mojito and a few olives and artichokes. We sat around and chatted for a while, then headed back to the Imperial Palace, picked up our bags, and took a cab to the airport.

We were all in the same terminal, so we checked in (I got through right away--there was only a tiny line for Jet Blue this time around). Then we went for one last drink in a little sports bar. Finally, we said goodbye to saussy, whose plane was leaving first. Then _jolielaide, witling, and I went to our gates, which turned out to be right by each other (and our flights were leaving at nearly the same time), so we hung out and talked some more. drujan eventually showed up, since we were flying back together. Then witling and _jolielaide discovered that their flight was moved and delayed, so we said our goodbyes and they went off. (I sincerely hope that their plane actually left that night, as I know they were dreading another night in Vegas.) Have I mentioned how cool it was to hang out with them? I'm so glad we were all at this con and got to spend time together.

drujan introduced me to her mother, who she'd brought and who spoke a bit of English. Thankfully, our plane left only a bit late, and I spent the whole ride sleeping (uncomfortably, but sleeping). A full day, two drinks, and two Drammamines will do that to you.


Our plane got in about 7:30am New York time (4:30am Las Vegas time). Then we had to get our baggage, take the Air Train to the parking lot, take a bus to the car, pay for parking, drive back and get a refund because they'd overcharged for parking, and then drive into Manhattan. Thanks to Tuesday morning traffic and a terror alert, the ride took forever. drujan was late for work at 9am, and I just barely made it into work at 10am. I didn't even have time to stop at home--just brought my suitcase with me, brushed my teeth, changed my clothes, and worked.

I was so tired that I snuck outside in the middle of the day and took a half hour nap on a bench in Union Square park. Red eye flights? Really not such a great idea.

Then I got home, saw my kitties (who were happy to see me, and very clingy, but seemed fine and didn't ruin any furniture!), and slept for a very long time.

Overall, I totally loved the con, even though Vegas was icky and the hotel sucked. The panels were thought-provoking and well done, and the people were just wonderful. I'm so glad I got to meet everyone that I did. In particular, it was great to spend time with irfikos, inobunny, witling, _jolielaide, and saussy.

The con itself ran so smoothly, and was so perfectly done. I mean, it was clear that the organizers were there to make sure everyone had the best experience possible. They were totally in it to make it the best con possible, not to make money or fame for themselves. I'm so proud that these people, most of whom I've known since I got into fandom, managed to pull off Writercon and make it such an astounding success. And I'm so proud that our fandom has such amazing, interesting, talented, brilliant people.

My regrets: I wish I'd gone to more panels. I wish there had been longer and more specific panels (maybe character, pairing, show, or era specific somehow?) since my interest in the Jossverse is mostly Spike and male/male slash specific at this point. And because a more specific panel would be able to go in depth even further, which was really when things get interesting.

I met tons of neat people, but with a con this big, I guess you're bound to miss a few. I'm sad that I somehow managed to miss talking to many cool folks that I wanted to see (like fallowdoe, rahirah, shadowlass, fenchurche, Cynthia Martin, and several others). I'm sad that I was only able to speak very briefly with some people (especially members of the concom, who I know were insanely busy). And I really felt the absence of those who couldn't attend, especially kita0610, anniesj, and circe_tigana.

But those are just tiny regrets compared to the complete awesomeness of this con. Man, I so don't want to wait two years for another one. :*(