But this year I only got into one panel (well, two, but one conflicting with the Ball), and was genuinely concerned of finding myself at loose ends: I don't really have a "posse" any more, and it's too easy to get lost in the crowd. So I decided it was time to jump into volunteering; it was a lot of fun.
I wound up splitting my time. I spent nine hours on-call as deputy Press Liaison -- when press showed up, getting them to go through all the paperwork, answering their questions and sending them on their way, all of which was low-impact fun. But mainly, I spent 16 hours at Arisia Headquarters, basically Volunteer Central. This got described to me as the center of the whirlwind, to which my reaction was, "Hey, I'm a serial autocrat -- I like whirlwind". And it was a blast: lots of activity, helping folks solve problems, with occasional pauses of working through the paperwork.
Of course, I still had to get in some arts-track time. The Renaissance Ball, was, as always, pretty great -- despite getting the sub-optimal slot of 5-6:30pm, we had a solid 50-60 people on the floor the entire time: enough to comfortably fill the place. It's always high-energy, full of new folks learning the dances with the help of a bunch of experienced people. And my one panel -- Feats of Memorization -- went surprisingly well for 10am on Monday. The three of us represented three different traditions: me with Masonic ritual, Grim talking about period poetry and bardic arts, and a fellow focusing on a combination of Talmud and trivia contests.
So between all that, and some good hangout time with metahacker, Berek, and my friend Katie from Minneapolis, this was one of my best cons in years. And the moral of the story seems to be that my tastes in SCA activities transfer to other places...