Oh, ICC. Fickle and brief though your love is, it burns with a passion so great as to leave my stomach in knots, and take from me my vital life essence…fuck it, I’m already bored with this format.

So, ICC was a total blast. I’ve gotta say that I was highly and explicitly impressed with so many aspects of it. But why speak in generalities (and rhetorical questions), when I can simply go into details?

First, as per usual, the best thing was seeing people that I rarely get to otherwise. Granted, some I saw just a few short months ago at the wedding, but even ten days out of a year is not really a sufficient amount of time to really enjoy their company. And those whom I’ve only seen roughly three times in the past year or less, it made this con really worthwhile.

The venues were a blast. I had fun in Requiem in one of those rare instances that that happens outside of my home venue. A part of me is disappointed I missed the explosion and everybody frenzying, but I’m happy that I arrived just in time to see the throng of people flooding out of the room and being able to react to that IC. I had a moment where I heard Nick thinking, “Am I too late?” and really understood the depth of his feeling in that. The previous night was a pretty standard Req night until Gregorio turned human-ish. Loved the roleplay with Joe (sorry, don’t know your LJ), netbard, and northernminx during all of that. Also, got to broach the subject of the IC change I’m thinking of pulling with the character, which should be interesting. It occurs to me that I’m doing a lot of course correction with my characters as I’ve spent several years learning about them and now better understand where they should really be. This is providing a lot of fascinating roleplay for me.

Mage was one of the best games of its type that I’ve ever played. It’s chief advantage was that it managed to focus on personal stories without losing the con-oriented feel. More to the point, it was positively spun. The story didn’t deal with the end of the world, the corruption of souls, or the mass murder of the Sleeper population. There were no Seers trying to blow things up in the most spectacularly magical fashion. Rather, the goal was to gain something: conquer the mages’ fears and have a greater sense of self and purpose. The fate of reality wasn’t at risk, but rather continuing to live life without direction, having gained no knowledge of who you really are. It was a powerful and deeply spiritual plot that seemed to resonate with almost everyone there.

Lost was great. Playing Bandy was particularly interesting as I really got to explore how Bandy balances responsibility and his sense of fun, and started to get a better grasp on his role in the Praesidium and why he hangs around. The line that came to me and I said to Gaius that crystallizes that feeling is, “I keep seeing people I’d like to talk to, and in the back of my head I hear your and Kalen’s voice saying, ‘Stop playing with the pretty girls, you have work to do.'” Drove him nuts that I couldn’t flirt with everything and everyone, but he at least got his share in. And rescued five children from the Hedge, wondering why he was trailing bait for the Baba Yaga through the Hedge and all the hooks went in the other direction. “Here, Bandy, take all these things that we know the creature wants and will probably perceive as us having stolen them from it, and we’ll go over here and look for her far away from them.” Fortunately nothing happened, and the kids got Happy Meals instead. My only complaint is that I would have liked a more in-depth pre that mentioned important things like, “The host, who is claiming to be the ruling monarch, has no crown.” Otherwise, it was well-done and I have vast props for the ST staff for the wonderful job that they did.

My lips are pretty chapped and I’m just happy this didn’t happen until the day I left. I needed these lips this weekend for…stuff. Like licking them randomly and profusely during the Sabbat game. Yea, that’s the reason. Seriously, I think it was the cold that finally dried them out.

And on a vaguely related note, the Drinking Venue was really killer. Had a great time with some wonderful people. Got a few surprises that I cannot say I’m displeased with. Didn’t get an opportunity to demonstrate some of my more…esoteric talents, like lawn bowling and competitive linguistics (take what you will from that), but I did get to dance, I learned a bit about how good whiskey can actually be, and hung out with friends both old and new. Really had a great time meeting Ronan, a wonderfully interesting and friendly guy who is very easy to talk to, and I appreciate his relaxed attitude toward life and often subtle sense of humor. He also pointed me toward Middleton whiskey and within twenty-four hours of me being home had already emailed me a link to a place I can get it here in the States. Got closer with some old friends. Feel like I’ve moved away, emotionally from others, which is a bit of a shame. It’s not that I don’t think of them as friends, but I no longer feel like the level of intimacy we had achieved is there, and while that’s disappointing, it’s a natural cycle in human interaction and I can’t get too upset about it.

I’d also like to thank my fabulous room mate who put up with me with little or no complaints and had no comments about my stumbling in and trying to be quiet early in the morning, but in an inebriated fashion, which I think rather defeats the whole exercise.

Not even going to go into the horror of trying to get home other than to say that I got here safely and at a reasonable time. I missed M’lady quite a bit all weekend and seeing Her again was a real treat. For all the wonders and freedoms of con life, there’s a certain pleasure to be taken in being home with the people you’ve missed and can spend your time building up anticipation for the next time you’ll be able to let go for a few days. There are still people I’m looking forward to seeing whom I haven’t in a while and couldn’t make it, but this at least helped a little when it came to hanging out with others. Now that I’m home, I can enjoy things more here.