As I waited to cross back into the United States (a very long wait, but a blessedly easy interaction with the customs official), I looked back with great joy on the days I spent with my fellow Caledonians at CaleCon. (Behind the cut is a long post with several photos.)
I rented a car and took the drive from Boston in two stages. On Thursday, I got a late start (no surprise for anyone who works with me) and drove as far as Rochester, New York, where I stayed overnight with Bromo Ivory, one of my earliest friends in Second Life. The next morning I drove to Toronto (with one long detour due to taking the wrong fork in the highway) and picked up my cousin Soliel Snook. We hit it off in “real life” just as we had in Second Life (a foretaste of the weekend). We proceeded without incident to St. Marys, Ontario, site of CaleCon. From our very arrival we felt welcome:
The Stone Willow Inn is on the edge of town, surrounded by fields, and includes a restaurant with outdoor terrace. The restaurant frequently had locals in it, always a good sign!
I will refer you to the Duchess of Loch Avie’s blog for photos from the cocktail party she hosted our first evening. Supplied with iced tea, wine, champagne, hors d’oeuvres, and old friends we were meeting for the first time, we never went to dinner. It is remarkable how like we are to our avatars, no matter the degree of role-playing or rearrangement of personal details. These were, indeed, old friends we were meeting for the first time.
Two related topics of conversation were alts (alternate avatars), which had also been recently discussed on the Caledon Forums, and avatars as alter-egos that allow us to express different aspects of our personalities. (And here I will refer you to the blog of the vicereine, Kamilah Hauptmann.) Two of us reflected on how our alts sometimes reflect different aspects of our personalities. (In my case, Otenth is somewhat nicer and more patient than the typist, while Hermione is somewhat more tart and less patient.)
We spent Saturday morning in yet more conversation, including a Skype call with Guvnah Desmond Shang, a great treat for all of us. And then, at length, we pursued our various interests. The Librarian of Caledon retreated to work (or a nap, perhaps), while five of our number went to see The Taming of the Shrew at the Shakespeare Festival in nearby Stratford, and four went into Stratford for lunch and a tea adventure.
For photos of our tea adventure, I will refer you to a post at homefries.org.
On the way back to Saint Marys, the two duchesses went AFK for a bit:
Saturday evening, after a fine meal prepared by the Stone Willow Inn kitchens, we were delighted that so many of you joined us via video at Coughton Court in Caledon Carntaigh. We had just as much fun watching you and listening in on your chat as you appeared to have watching us. We do apologize for the frequent failures of the stream. We were tasking the Inn’s connection as I doubt it had ever been tested before. (Again, the Duchess of Loch Avie has photos and will eventually have video clips of the party.)
Sunday was full of treats. The Vicereine gave a workshop on using qavimator to create poses and animations. It makes such a difference to have an experienced practitioner right there looking over your shoulder. Many thanks, your Lyonesse! In the afternoon, Sir JJ gave a symposium on chocolate (with a chocolate tasting), which the Marchioness of Giggleford capped off with a fine single malt whiskey hand-carried from the Highlands.
For Sunday evening, the Duchess of Loch Avie had organized a pub crawl. At the first pub we dined, at the second pub we began planning for the second CaleCon (watch for a survey soon!), and at the third pub (the very same location as the Saturday lunch reported above) several of us had desserts and many of us tried absinthe. And for this, I will refer you to Laird Brideswell’s blog.
Monday, of course, saw each of us beginning our journey home, some near, others far.
As I noted, the wait at the border was long. Ooh look, I wonder if I can get a good texture from those!