Penguicon 2011 was a bit different for me compared to other years and I can't quite place what happened or why, exactly. A couple things are obvious, and I am not blaming the con staff (who worked their butts off putting on the event) for any of it.
I seemed to get a late start on anything ACME, which didn't help, and there wasn't all that much of that, which was both good and bad. It's easy to (try to) do too much but it's nice to be able to more than just a couple outings. It became rather painfully obvious that I lost proper control of my weight and it's like it's January 2006 for me again. This is Not Good. It is being worked on. Again. It also became obvious that one 100-count box of Cow Tales (per flavor) is plenty. It's also probably most cost effective and reliable to order the 100-count boxes rather than deal with the supply the way(s) I have been. And I should probably rule out late night deliveries - I end up preparing for them rather than doing anything else and, hey, I'd like to see/do some of the convention too. For various reasons, the BarFleet party is best avoided: too dark, too loud, too many people who seem to lack clue sober, and they aren't.
Sal Sanfratello was not there (evidently he was not feeling well) and thus the usual Sunday evening gathering didn't happen. On the good side, I had time for a much needed nap and I saw the post-Penguicon stuff I usually don't. On the bad side, I didn't do the stuff or see the people I usually did each year.
Even with the limited ACME/Orvan outings I still only really made one panel if it can be called that. I had too much of a headache to deal with the loudness of a Tom Smith performance, but I could handle the slightly quieter Frank Hayes.
I didn't hear anything of badge ribbons before Penguicon this year, but then I didn't go out of my way to ask either. Perhaps I need to be on some mailing list I'm not on. I don't know. Just as well, I doubt I'd have ordered any more anyway. I had plenty of leftover ribbons from last year. The most popular or sought after (or at least the one that I heard "Ooh, I was looking for this one!" about) was the 'NOT WIL WHEATON' ribbon. I suspect I will not be able to stop doing that one whether I want to or not. I will need to order more ribbons (and not just the Wil Wheaton one) for 2012, but there's time for that.
It was good to see Howard Tayler, Eric & Cathy Raymond, and a bunch of PenguiPeople I see only about once a year. It also was amusing to hear Eric tell about a rare instance of pulling geek rank before he posted about it.
Other than the obvious less time as Orvan and no Sunday evening gathering I can't really point to anything that made this Penguicon seem sort of... well, "almost" compared to the last few years. That doesn't mean it wasn't good. An "almost" Penguicon is still quite good.