Whew! I kid, but I LOVE Penguicon. It is, bar none, one of the best con experiences I’ve ever had! Open Source software plus Science Fiction/Fantasy with a healthy dollop of Anime and Gaming all brought together under one roof. It’s an odd mix, but it works! I’ll expect to see you all there next year.

It was an odd year for me. I’ve now been to four out of six of the conventions (I missed years one and five), and I usually spend the majority of my time at various computer talks trying to pick up programming and system tips. This year I went to exactly one computer-related talk. It was about the future of the OpenSuSE project and gave some specifics of OpenSuSE 11, the first beta of which is now available. OpenSuSE remains my favorite distro by a large margin for the simple reason that it works. Want to setup a dual-boot with windows? No problem, it’ll work. Odd hardware bits? No problem, it’ll find the drivers if they exist. I’ve tried to get behind Ubuntu (or more specifically, Kubuntu), but I’ve yet to own a piece of hardware that it installs on without error. It really is unfriendly to my laptop and video card choices.

My favorite talk was by Kat Burgett entitled "How to Kill a Character." It was actually a medical talk explaining what actually happens when someone is shot, stabbed, pounded, twisted or what not. Informative and humorous. A bonus lesson learned was that while a severed head won’t actually shoot blood so hard that it stains the ceiling, a syringe full of faygo soda will!

Other highlights included a talk by Randall Munroe of xkcd fame. He filled a ballroom and took audience questions the entire time. He’s actually quite entertaining to listen to, and has quite a rabid following. Tom Smith and Rob Balder gave concerts (I missed Luke Ski‘s) which were great! There was a group of folks giving a talk on Nanowrimo which was quite informative. The take home lesson seemed to be: "Yes, we know it’s crap, just finish it…get the 50,000 words…that’s an important skill…you can make it good later!" And, of course, I hit a number of webcomic talks. There seemed to be quite an emphasis on good art, but there were a few folks holding out for the primacy of dialogue. Clearly I will have to work on the artistic aspects of Slightly Off-Topic, but that will take time. Ferret was out and about. I kept meaning to stop and talk with him for a few minutes about his comic, but he was being grabbed by folks at every opportunity and was starting to look a bit exhaused by saturday afternoon, so I let it go for next time. The masquerade costumes I saw were amazing as usual, but I tend to duck out of sight at that point as it’s generally not appropriate for Brittany to be roaming the halls in the midst of that…oh…and the Tron guy was back again…and singing Tesla coils…and…well…something to do at every turn.

The people are, of course, what makes penguicon what it is. The team that puts it together is amazing. I’ll have to see if I can help with putting together Penguicon 7.0. Ann Arbor is a bit farther out than that group seems to be centered, but it’s such a great con, I want to help in any way I can. (Penguicon folks, if you happen to see this, consider it as an official offer to volunteer.)

Came home oddly schwagless though…the only item I walked away with was a pocket journal from the folks at Google. Laurie snagged it for me so that I could scratch down comic ideas wherever I am. She’s a sweety, what can I say? Oh…and Brittany was so involved in the anime talks that she got added to a panel on saturday afternoon…go figure.

So to some up…much fun…be there next year…sleep optional, showers not!