I'm Not Sure It Gets Better Than This.
Sure, Wiscon was a lot of fun--best one in years, quite frankly. (Upyernoz skipped coming this year. Coincidence? I think not.) ((Actually, I did miss him a lot, the parties were dull without him and I missed him repeatedly texting me HELP THIS PANEL IS BORING GAHHHHHH. But on the upside, I didn't get norovirus this year.)) Panels were good, though I'm not sure if this was because panels were better generally or because I chose more wisely than I usually do... I adopted Jake and Jeremy's rule of panel selection, which is to read the description of the panel in the program book, and then imagine EVERY POSSIBLE WAY the panel could go horribly horribly wrong and off topic. If you would find this derailment more amusing that annoying, then go to the panel! If not, skip it. This works pretty well generally. Good panels at WisCon are really really good, but bad ones are either hilarious or horrible depending on your perspective. I skipped going to the one called "Are we done believing in god yet?" partly because it was opposite something else I wanted to go to, and partly because I knew it would just irritate me. ("No, I'm not. Are you done being an intolerant jerkface yet? OK, status quo for both of us, then! High five!") But I went to a fabulous one on bisexuality in fiction, where some genuinely interesting things got said and many laughs were had; and I went to a fun one on Internet Drama, which I attended solely for the purpose of trying to understand what for me is an extremely alien mindset: caring what other people on the internet do or say. I did get some insight into this, and I can sort of grok it a bit better (though I still don't personally care what some dipshit typing away in his basement bomb shelter thinks about gay marriage, or race politics, or the price of a cup of coffee. Just...can't....care....) But more importantly I got to hear Karen's One Asshole Theory of Systems, which was HILARIOUS.
So yes, the panels were good. And yes, Madison is ALWAYS lovely this time of year--even a downpour during the farmer's market only dampened my hoodie, not my spirits. But the high spot of the con was NOT the panels, or the farmer's market, or the meeting up with a fellow mod from McKinley's forum, or even this:
Which is, for the mercifully uninitiated, a Bacon and Cheese Beer-tini. Don't get me wrong, I'm a lover of all things beer and cheese, and I've been giving serious thought to joining the Bacon-of-the-Month club. But this--an unholy confluence of microwaved pre-cooked bacon, Cheez-Whiz, and Pabst--was like a work of concept art. I love the idea of it, and yet I don't ever want it in my living room. No, the beertini was not the apex, ladies and gentlemen. The Apex of Joy for this year's Wiscon was our unexpectedly wonderful stop at Beef-a-Roo, a hilariously-named fast food joint at Beloit Exit 1. We stopped because I needed a drink (not a Drink, mind you--though the prospect of facing the Illinois toll roads does kind of call for mild sedation) and I figured that a place called "Beef-a-Roo" had to be at least a little bit hilarious, especially since my driving partner is a vegetarian. But it exceeded my wildest expectations. From its gorgeous retro-sign to its Route 66 mural to its menu of shakes, fries, malts and--yes--beef, Beef-a-Roo won me over instantly. I gather that other Beef-a-Roos (Beef-a-Rim?) have different decorative themes, but this one, frozen in fake 1962 glory, has captured my heart forever. It's now a permanent stop on the Wiscon tour. Oh, Beef-a-Roo... you make me smile.