Friday evening, I went to the opening ceremonies first. It was a slow start, really just a set of announcements made by the Con Chair. I fidgeted through it because there was a costume contest scheduled to start soon after the opening stuff, and I had a fairly involved costume to get into. I met a couple of livejournal people there, chatted for a couple of minutes, and then ran down to my room to transform myself into Blue Mary Sue, a glittery blue-skinned character written into the Star Trek universe, the last of her kind from a planet called Indigo Prime. I'll post pictures in another entry. I made it back up to the convention floor by 7, and learned that I had a form to fill out in order to participate in the contest. It was being run by a high-energy lady (Kat?) who is a professional costume person; it's her plan to make the costume contest a big yearly part of Context, but this was its first year, and there were only seven contestants. The most outrageous one was worn by Linda Dunn--it was a perfect replica of a costume from the front of a book by Mike Resnick. Eros Ascending, I think. I had already intended to meet Linda's husband, Greg, at the convention--I know him from the Tim Powers email list we're both on--but I didn't know what he looked like, so we stood there chatting for a few minutes before he somehow heard or saw my name and realized who I was and introduced himself.
Long costume contest story short, everyone who participated got a prize, but I got the Judges' Choice award (a book that looks great, but I cannot seem to internalize the name of it!), and Linda rightfully won the award for the Best Costume.
The thing about dressing like a sparkly, blue, vaguely anime-inspired chick early in the evening at a science fiction convention is that you end up meeting *everyone*. I highly recommend it--the ultimate ice-breaker. People were very friendly all the time there, but the costume helped me to mingle in a big way.
I went to a great panel on writing for interactive media, where I saw ssines, zhai, and James Daniel Ross talking about the possibilities for incorporating good story into games, mostly computer games. I have ideas about that from my years of association with Raven Software and my observations of the way things used to work at Id Software back when I lived in Dallas, so it was very cool to hear more about it from people with different affiliations and experiences in the industry. I particularly liked Shawn's thoughts on the future of shorter games (which I immediately thought of in terms of short stories, instead of the more novel-esque long games), and also Erin's opinions on world-building and player self-governance, which I think could bring about social revolutions in the real world as well as online.
After that panel, I wandered down to the room party of the night, where I met hordes of great people, and I apologize in advance to those I will forget, or whose usernames I don't know, but you know how it is, don't you? So, I met las, jasonbsizemore, haceldama, franfriel, and then Tim Waggoner, who doesn't have a livejournal but must be harassed into starting one. I think there might have been an audible click when I met Tim W.; we stood there and talked for a long time that night, and I ended up spending more time with him, throughout the convention, than with any of the other completely fabulous and adorable people I met over the weekend.
Eventually my feet began to rebel against the heels I was wearing with the costume, and I was wiped out from the six hours of driving plus six hours of convention I'd been experiencing for the last twelve hours, so I went down to my room and took about an hour to remove my blue makeup and settle down enough to sleep.
Watch for Part 2, in which I meet Tim Powers, my number one writing idol!