Panels: I was on five panels this year. They were heavily skewed towards comics; I surmise that I must have filled out the first half of the "which panels are you interested in?" website, and failed to go finish the second half, resulting in three beginning-of-the-alphabet comic book panels. There was a bit of sameness to them, but they managed to cover a good range, from the uber-geeky panel on DC's Infinite Crisis morass to the fairly refined "No Capes!" panel on non-superhero comics, with the "Reviving Dead Comics" panel somewhere comfortably in the middle.
Bookending these were the non-comics panels. On Friday evening we had a lively argument about the current and future state of intellectual property in the US -- while there was a fair consensus that things are at least somewhat messed up, there was lots to discuss about the details. And Sunday wrapped up with "Panels from Hell", a fun roundtable of war stories with all names (except Harlan Ellison's) stripped away. I discovered only at the convention that I was moderating this panel, and then we all got to the room and found it locked; I prefer to believe that this was all due to forces of cosmic appropriateness, rather than the programming staff simply having fun with us.
Lodge: The highlight of the weekend, in part due to its sheer novelty, was a Special Communication of Mount Hollis Lodge AF&AM. A bunch of us have been joking for years that there are plenty enough Masons at Arisia to hold a Lodge meeting, and since Wor. Walter Hunt is in the East this year, he decided to take the idea seriously. So we took over a hotel room and held a brief but formal meeting.
Overall, it was rather fun. We had ten guys there -- not huge, but enough to feel like a real meeting. It included most of the Masonic fen I know (although neither Steffan nor Dr. Foo were there, which was a pity), plus one or two guys who I hadn't realized were Masons. Most of us had talked about the meeting in advance, but we did get one gentleman "off the street" -- an older fan who had heard about the meeting and came to join us as his first Lodge meeting in many years. We introduced ourselves, talked about our Lodges, and got regaled by a very effective inspirational speech from Wor. Hunt on the subject of where Masonry is going. And since it turns out that setting up the meeting was fairly easy (the official ruling from the Grand Secretary was that we don't need any special dispensation for it), we'll almost certainly do it again next year.
Catching up: After the Lodge meeting, we opened it up as a general public party. At this point, shava23 wandered in, and we wound up spending the next several hours schmoozing and catching up. I generally describe her as the sane member of Crystal Winds, the household that I sort of played mascot for during my first year or two in the SCA; she moved away about 16 years ago and only recently moved back, so there was a lot to talk about. The discussion wandered from personal history to chatting about practical mimetic engineering; I really need to introduce her to more of my friends, because I think there would be a lot sparked there.
Other details: Having slacked to excess and failed to get a hotel room, I decided to just save the money and commute this year. That's not optimal, but it's much easier to get to downtown Boston from the new house than it was from the old one, so it was decently practical. Between that and setting myself a forced march of reading comic books (so as to be up to date for the Infinite Crisis panel), I only went to about half the con. That seems to have been about the right amount this year, though.
Wound up in two dinner-mobs. Friday night a bunch of us wandered over to California Pizza Kitchen; I need to remember that, while their pizzas sound really good in theory, most of them seem to be kind of mediocre in practice. (But I gather their pasta is a bit better.) On Saturday a half-dozen of us went over to PF Chang's, and in a fit of good sense decided to do takeout and eat it on the Intercon party room floor.
The parties seemed quite well-attended. I went to the Intercon party until the Lodge meeting started, and it had about as many people as would fit into it. A bunch of us watched and kibitzed the Masquerade for a little while on the TV there; that seemed to be a decent middle-of-the-road show, but I didn't hugely regret not getting to see it in person this year.
Got to see the first half of the live rendition of Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Returns, which was good silliness (and had both alexx_kay and shava23 in the cast). Didn't get to hear Chicken Heart, sadly, because my last panel conflicted with it.
Did less shopping than in many years -- mostly, I shopped in the last hour of the con, after my final panel. Bought the obligatory Nancy Buttons (17 of them, 2 of those gifts), a couple more calendars for my cube (now up to 5 total, which seems like enough), the obligatory cookbooks from Poison Pen Press (the CD-ROM facsimile of Martino, and the new book on the Anglo-Saxon Mead-Hall), and, lord help me, fudge. Auntie Arwen has decided to utterly destroy all hopes of dieting by coming out with an enormous selection of strange flavors of fudge; I bought half a dozen small packets, with flavors ranging from Pumpkin Pie to Jalapeno Chocolate.
Didn't make it to the dance this year. That's unfortunate, but the confluence of factors pushed me to miss it. ladysprite (always an inspiration on the dance floor) wasn't able to dance much due to her knee being out, I'm mildly concerned about *my* knee (which has been giving me trouble on and off for a couple of months now), and I was deep in discussion with shava23; between all of those, motivation was hard to find. Hopefully the stars will align better at Intercon.