This was my first WorldCon. It was about what I expected, based on what I've read about WorldCons in the past and other cons I've attended that are more literature focused.
The Hyatt Regency Chicago is downtown, which has some pluses and minuses. Like it's relatively convenient to a lot of places to eat, if you don't mind walking 15 minutes or so, but the really close food joints are closed evenings and weekends, since they're business-focused. One thing Dragon*Con has over this is that it's in the same place every year, so the restaurants in the attached office building food court know that 40000 hungry nerds are descending for the weekend, so if they're open, they'll make money, even if they pay their staff overtime.
I talked to a lot of people, picked up some cards, saw people I haven't seen in years, like Christie Yant, met internet friends-of-friends, and I even got to talk about stuff on panels.
I didn't buy many things. I bought a pin of the Grand Seal of Barrayar and a chapbook of "Movement," by Nancy Fulda (who I chatted with while she signed it). I gave London 2014 my $20 pre-support and voted in the site selection (unsurprisingly, London won). I bought a supporting membership in next year's WorldCon in San Antonio (which makes me eligible to vote for Hugos and 2015's site selection). I gave the bid for Spokane in 2015 $20 and left my card with a note on the back which reads "interested in helping with the bid," because they don't have much presence in the southeast. God help me, I volunteered for a thing.
I gave my card to a British man who said he really liked the bit of "Something There Is" I read on Friday at the Broad Universe reading. (Note to self: link that more prominently once you've recovered.)
There was a panel on the next H1N1 I was interested in Saturday afternoon, but it turns out it was a really popular subject, so by the time I got there, the room was packed. So I had a little sit in the chair outside the room, and I saw a couple people I know, who I didn't even know would be there. So we talked, and they abducted me for dinner then playing Apples to Apples in the hotel bar with Mur Lafferty, Ursula Vernon, Paul Cornell, Chuck Wendig, and some people whose names I didn't catch.
Sunday was awesome. I had 2 panels, one at 9 am on medical myths (which I didn't get much to talk about, because no one asked about nasty wound infections and this one brain trauma doc took all the questions himself, basically) and the anime fandom panel at 3. They were fun in different ways and for different reasons.
I bolted right after the 3 pm panel to go to Fado Irish Pub to wait for the fan/drunk bus to Toyota Park Stadium. I took a taxi, because I didn't trust that I could make it in time. My feet were pretty sore, and I was starting to get tired. The cab driver was weird and awesome.
The game, though! The Fire scored a minute into it, then again a bit later in the first half. Houston scored once, and right at the end, just before the final whistle, the Fire made it 3-1, and some dude standing a few rows back flung beer into the air when he threw his arms up in the "YEAH!!!" So I got beer in my hair and on my clothes. AND I WAS YARDS AWAY FROM ARNE FRIEDRICH YOU ALL OMG. I stood in the singing section. We sang and chanted and clapped the full 90+5 minutes. It was fun, even if I didn't get to actually WATCH much of the game.
Then I got back to the bus and obsessively checked twitter to find out who was winning the Hugos. I made it back to the hotel and into the Grand Ballroom during the Dramatic Presentation Short section, so I made it for all the "big" awards. I cheered and shouted "Ursula!" when she won for Best Graphic Story. (I ran into her and Kevin Monday morning on my way in from breakfast, and they were both so happy.)
I have thoughts on the Hugos (and I voted for a lot of the winners, which makes me happy), but they'll have to wait a bit. I have a lot of post-travel things to catch up on. I should also write up my thoughts on Spokane vs Orlando in 2015 (and Helsinki just threw in, so there are three bids for that year now). Those will be separate posts, most likely on my usual Monday/Thursday schedule.