Penny's Story

A cute little drummer living her dream.

Arisia ’09 was just super

There is more to Arisia going on tomorrow, but I won’t be heading back into Boston to attend the few events left.

I did manage to crawl out of bed this morning at 8:00 AM after getting to sleep sometime around 3:30 AM with the plan of getting into the hotel by 9:45 AM so I  could have breakfast before the first panel I wanted to attend at 11:00 AM. So, it decided to snow last night and this morning, so the drive in was complicated slightly, but I got a space in the MIT garage, where Arisia attendees could park for free. I was purely giddy on my walk to the hotel; I was so excited to be on my way back to the con, and the snow was lovely falling so fluffy. Yay.

I made it into the hotel by 9:45 AM, even in the snow, checked my coat, and headed up to the restaurant for the breakfast buffet. Because I was there alone I sat at the bar. I sat next to this really nice guy who’s a literary agent and we had a great chat about other conventions and people in general. While we were chatting he gave what I thought was a great description of Arisia, and that is that it’s a lifestyle convention with a permanent sci-fi contingent. This is one of those things that just would not have happened in the olden days, I probably wouldn’t even have gone to the restaurant by myself, let alone chat for an hour with someone who just happened to be sitting next to me at the bar.

So, at 11:00 I went to “Responsible Monogamy.” The panel was great, and I feel like I got a lot of good advice for dealing with being in a relationship for the long term and handling things like fighting and communication; it was brilliant. I even talked about my previous relationships and asked about dealing with my current situation. I’ve always been very “fast-track” when it comes to relationships and now I’m dating a man who seems decidely “slow-track;” it’s interesting balancing that out. Though, the real thing that I think is complicating things isn’t so much the fast-track/slow-track thing, as much as it is the 300 miles that separate Tim and I. Anyway, it was a great panel and I felt like I got a lot out of it; and they’re advice for me was basically to be patient – heh, like I’ve never had anyone tell me ~that~ before.  lol

Next I went to a panel on bioethics. This panel went all over the place, from the process of kidney donation and how the kidneys are allocated to autonomy and who gets to decide what’s best for someone and if it isn’t themselves, why. I talked in this panel too, and told of how my therapist had committed me when she considered me a danger to myself (we were talking about autonomy).

After that I went to a panel called: “The Nature of Gender: Past, Present & Future.” This was a really good one, too. And, I talked in this panel, as well; I guess once I found my voice it got easier and easier. We gradually got to talking about transgender folks being able to change their birth certificates. A man in room said that he had problems with changing a birth certificate seemed like trying to change history and he couldn’t see that ever being a good thing. So, first I outed myself as trans (and I definitely heard most of the room go: “ohhhhhh” – it’s really cool to pass as well as I do), and then I explained that from my perspective changing a birth certificate is about correcting a mistake. The man still stuck to his point, though and seemed to prefer maintaining the mistake to correcting it. He and I ended up talking after the panel, and it just seemed like he didn’t really understand all the ramifications involved.

After that panel I went up to the art show and really ahd a good look at everything. Some of the artists works were really stunning. I also got to really stare at the work that bought yesterday for a little bit (the artist has a pic of it on her website here); it’s just awesome. It’s a steampunk character, and I think that this work of art has spurred an interest in steampunk that I never knew I had. I want to create a costume for next year’s Arisia based on the costume the girl in the drawing is wearing.

Next Sarah and I went to “Coming Out Stories.” You guessed it, I talked in this panel, too. I told how when I came out to my gram she was so cool, and how my mom has said that I’m the daughter that she always wanted. I also talked a little bit about how I believe that the fact that I have transitioned to being a straight woman makes my transition easier for people to understand. Most of other coming out stories had to do with folks coming out as poly or kinky or bi. At the end of the hour, another transgendered person was talking, and they were comparing “normal” people and “transgendered” people – and it really pissed me off; I guess my face was really obvious, because one of the panelists came up to me afterward and said that she could see how upset I was and that she was sorry I had to deal with that (I think she agreed that the “N-word” wasn’t a good choice for the other transperson to use).

I got to talk to Tim for a little bit during a break; I’ve been so busy this weekend that it’s been hard for us to talk much at all, so it was really nice that I got to talk to him.

We went to “Body Modifications: Past and Future” after that. This was a really good panel, talking about all sorts of extreme and not-so-extreme body modifications. I found it fascinating, but I was starting to get really tired, so I pretty much just sat there and took this one in.

Finally we went to “The Singularity: The SF Rapture.” The “singularity” is a hypothesis that some development will happen that will cause such amazing advancement that we can’t even predict the slightest bit of what that future will look like. This panel was awesome; this was one of those psycho over-the-top brilliant groups of folks. I loved it, and I think I followed most of what was said, but my brain was turning very sleepy. It was a perfect way to end the weekend

I’m thinking that I’d actually being on a panel next year; I’ve been bitten by the bug, I’d say.

I can’t wait till Arisia 2010!


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