- Rooms were smaller. The Office Space party hosted by turtleduck and hammercock was a huge success, but it was crowded much of the time. Still fear crowds. I spent as much time outside the room as inside as a result.
- Elevators. Others have commented on it already
+/- Panels were a hit or miss. Saw a Jedi Lightsaber demonstration. While the techniques were impressive and the references to longsword and katana techniques were great, the demonstrators had an area the size of my living room with a low ceiling and a room full of children. I was expecting Episode III and I got Episode IV. Hammercock and I attended a Worldcon in Japan panel which is informative. Scaling Mt. Fuji and staying in youth hostels are tempting.
+ Great merchandise in the Dealer's Room, Dealer's Row, and Art Show. I placed a bid for a lovely scarf that matched a hat which complemented hammercock's face.
- Being in the Art Show to witness the wrath of wren13 upon hearing about the thefts. Remind me never to piss her off. It is unfortunate that I am unable to spend more money on items like a Hillary Scott triceratops or a T-shirt that says "Yes, they're natural". I did purchase respective "Sex God" and "Sex Goddess" buttons from chanaleh
+ The hotel layout was perfect for partying. You saw everyone in multiple floors in costume. I didn't have a problem with the Skanks in Space party, but then again they took one look at my lightsaber and let my sweetie and I in.
+ The food services were wonderful. I was served a cheap hot dog by a woman in a tux. How cool is that? The buffet was great and filling. I recommend the cheese blintzes. Much better than the service of Park Plaza's "restaurant" and "bar" last year.
+ Got my ass kicked in bester's SFB scenario in the Game Room. It was all in good fun.
- The Game Room was smaller with slim pickings
+ The Masquarade was fun to watch on TV. I was dressed as Anakin, but there was somebody who was a dead ringer for Hayden Christensen.
+ No long term run-ins with Clueless Fangirl. Then again, I forgot to bring my "Good Kisser" button this year. In fact, the opposite happened in terms of flirtation and companionship.
+ Seeing my redheaded future wife in Princess Fiona green dress and the fact that she recently won an auction for ogre ears.
Look back, I am amazed as how hammercock and I have changed since the first time I visited Arisia in 2003. Back then, I had the extreme shyness and feel of someone who was way over his head. I knew hammercock 7 months then, and it was the first time I met cz_unit. I remember him giving me the skeptical look as if I was intruding on his territory. I went to a panel on polyamory hosted by miss_chance and sunspiral. I was terrified being in the presence of those with confidence and charisma of making Arisia society work. I only stayed a few hours as a result. At the time, I didn't know how long term the relationship was.
A lot has happened since January 2003
We both more confident and happier with people. She continues to look great in costumes and corsets while being the voice of grace and class in our duo. With the exception of tight crowds, I'm more comfortable with people. Saturday night, my future wife was dressed as Princess Fiona while I was Anakin Skywalker touring the con like a formal, geeky ballroom couple. There's nothing like the smile of two people mutually agreeing that life is good and the fun won't stop anytime soon.