I have returned from the trackless wilds of Ohio, and here is my story. (Pictures, if any, will wait. Far too much to do to dig into that.)
I've been having enough trouble coping with life that my spoon supply was pretty much empty, and this meant that I had a pretty low key con and didn't actually get to very much filking, but I did get to spend time with friends which I really needed.
Despite having been too busy and frazzled to have been properly packed before Friday morning, I managed to get everything together almost on schedule, and amazingly enough I don't believe there was anything I forgot to pack. birder2 arrived slightly later than planned, and we actually got her stuff into my car and onto the road at 9:06, nearly making the 9:00 actual departure time that I was trying for. The drive was uneventful and we arrived at the hotel at approximately 3:00 EDT. I hadn't checked that I had my reservation confirmation in my briefcase (so I guess I did forget something), but my fears that I hadn't really made the reservation were groundless; my room was there. Slightly less than ideally located on the 3rd floor, but two floors of stairs is quite walkable, and I never took the elevator the whole weekend except when I needed it for the stuff I was carrying. I'd never stayed in a Crowne Plaza before, and the little details did seem to be a little nicer than I expect. The packet of sleep aids -- earplugs and a relaxation CD -- where a nice touch, even though I didn't actually use them. After getting checked into the room, I started milling about meeting people and distributing EFRC calendars. I had two immediate goals: arranging dinner on Friday and arranging dinner on Sunday. I found Kathy Mar and asked her if she was interested in going out for Thai instead of going to the Mongolian BBQ, and she she definitely was, so that was a complete success. Slightly less success for Friday dinner, because by the time I actually ran into robin_june, it was already pretty late, and while we managed to have yummy food at Aladdin's (the middle eastern place that's in the shopping center north off of 33 west of 290, highly recommended), we did not manage to get back in time for the opening parade or the start of the Mad Hatter's Tea Party.
I threw my name in the hat for a twofer, thinking that I was less ready than I really wanted to be, but I had actually practiced two songs with the idea of doing a twofer, and I would let fate decide if I would have one or not. The schedule was different than I expected; maybe I just wasn't paying attention last year, but I expected the twofers to be only Friday night in between the two halves of the Pegasus Nominees Concert and the rest of the showcases to be one-shots. I did not get a twofer Friday night, but the good part of that was that it meant I could enjoy the concert rather than having to panic about getting instruments tuned and ready and all. I had already voted, since there were only a few songs on the ballot that I didn't already know and I was pretty sure I wouldn't switch my vote to a song I'd only heard once. I feel that I might have changed my vote for Best Song of Home to "Emerald Green" if I'd actually heard it often enough to know it; the concert was the first time I'd heard the song, and it did impress me, but "Lullabye" is a sentimental favorite. After the concert I went to my room to exchange my camera for a guitar, but by the time I got to the room I was feeling so tired that I decided to forego the guitar. I just took my book and went to the memorial filk, which was smaller than I'd expected and also more specific to Dave Alway. I spoke briefly about how Dave made spoken word pieces a part of our Midwest filk experience and recited Dave's "Quad Drill". And shortly after that, I gave up and toddled off to bed.
Because I went to bed so early, I was ready to get up a little earlier than most people Saturday, which was good, because the restaurant was understaffed and apparently not expecting all the con attendees to be descending on the breakfast buffet. It was only a minor delay for me, but when I finished and left, there was a line way down the hall. I then decided that what I really needed was a walk, so I got my jacket and headed out of the hotel. I'd come around the hotel when bookwyrm_com's service dog Empath came running past. I was still in a mental fog, and it took several seconds for it to register that he was wearing his working vest and trailing his lead and this was bad, and by the time it penetrated he was way past me. I tried to follow him; he seemed to have headed around the hotel, but I wasn't sure. I went into the hotel and looked around for any sign that anyone was looking for a missing Empath, but eventually decided that if there weren't worried people hunting around for him by that time he must have been OK. Still, I was slightly worried that maybe I should be doing something more, so I was relieved later when he was safely back.
Saturday during the day I made a stack of books at Larry's table and listened to concerts. singlemaltsilk was awesome. I'd heard all the songs before, but I won't get tired of them, and the comedy sketch was hilarious. I'm kind of annoyed with myself for missing part of blueeyedtigress's concert (and all the more so after hearing what I did hear). The other concerts were good, but don't really stand out in my memory. Or maybe it's just that as I write this, I'm so tired that I can't remember much of anything. Sometime during the day I also found that the full schedule of one-shots and twofers had been posted, and I was leading off the set on Sunday morning.
After the concert, instead of going to the banquet, we snuck off to my cousin's for dinner and pleasant conversation. I previewed my twofer for them, but since I only brought the twelve, I was really sloppy on Bold Orion, because I have a 6-string specific arrangement and those extra strings make flatpicking melody notes a lot tougher. We talked a bit about filk, and when we discussed Tom Smith, they ended up wanting to go look on YouTube, where they did find a video of "A Boy and His Frog". The audio quality was lousy, but I still think my cousin was teary-eyed. I know I was. They also showed us a sidesplittingly funny video about how Rachmaninoff had very large hands and showing an unusual method whereby a pianist who had small hands ("BUT ONLY HANDS!") could play the piece. And my cousin finally got rid of the white elephant lamp that my father made that she'd been talking about passing on to me for years. We got back to the hotel after the Interfilk auction, but I was pretty tired. I decided to take Tiger (my 6 string) down to the filk, after having done some noodling in the room, but I only actually played one song.
Sunday, I got up earlier than I had to to make my one shot, had breakfast, and went out for a walk again. I actually went around the Metro Place circle, and realized that the office park is really quite a pleasant place on a weekend when there are no other people and only a few cars, and a perfect fall day. I wonder what sort of voodoo they've done to keep the geese off the ponds. I then hauled more stuff than I should have down to the filk room, but I managed to be on time going on stage. "Ferryman's Fee" was rough. I was sloppy on chords but I don't think people noticed. I'm much more upset with myself that I bobbled some lyrics; I didn't train-wreck but I should have done better, and I think it left me worrying too much about the words to do the different accents/emotional tones for the different characters in the song the way I mean to. I was happier with "Bold Orion"; even though it's a harder song and I think they'd had about equal practice, I was aware of fewer mistakes and imperfections. And somehow I never asked the sound guys if it was possible for me to get a recording. It turns out that even though it was at 12:30, leading off the main stage events was a lousy time slot (if you actually want an audience); there were a lot of empty seats. But if someone who was there got an audio recording, I'd like to actually hear for myself how I sounded.
More concerts through the day, paying for my stack of books, a pretty good jam session, and then as it started to roll around into dinnertime, Kathy disappeared and birder2 and I were running around like headless chickens trying to find her for a while. It seems that she'd been recruiting more people, and our small, intimate dinner where we were supposed to be able to converse ended up with 12 people. Shades of billroper's song. Thai Orchid is north on Sawmill Road, just off the food guide map, and the food is quite good there. The conversation at our end of the table was dominated by Ben Newman and Bob Kanefsky, who talked at length about issues like the origin of consciousness and the reproductive habits of parasitic wasps that were interesting, but which I found slightly intellectually overwhelming (especially for a dead dog dinner at a con). The food was quite good, though I overindulged. Still, we got back to the dead dog filk before quite everyone else was back (though the room was already frighteningly full) and I had more energy and will to sing than at any time earlier in the weekend. I did "Swing the Cat", since it is chirosinger's standing request and sweetmusic_27 was there to play fiddle. It was well received. I read "Horton Hears a Heart", which also got a good reaction, and which filkertom followed up with "Telly Taley Heart", which is probably my favorite of his parodies and which is almost always high on my list of things I'm hoping Tom will do if he's at the filk. Tom also sang his new "Undead Happy Trees" song, and the looks on cadhla's face as the song unfolded were enough by themselves to make the whole weekend worthwhile. The last song I did was Brian Leo's "The Sea", which I injected into a string of pirate and sea songs, which seemed to go over well and got one person to ask me for info on the song.
I had sold a few people EFRC calendars before the dead dog, but I went into higher gear at the dead dog and sold several more. But by around midnight, I got to the point where it was taking a strong effort of will to stay awake (a weak effort wasn't cutting it any more), and Kathy was trying to impose Poker Chip Bardic on the room which was still fairly crowded. I was glad I was leaving anyway, because I really didn't want to get into an argument with Kathy about why bardic -- even poker chip bardic -- is bad, and I also didn't want to participate in it.
This morning, despite getting up in time to get into the restaurant before breakfast ended at 10:00, we didn't get out of the hotel until after noon. So many people to hug. Too many people to hug. As I was packing, I realized that I'd gotten rid of 13 of the 20 calendars I started with, which was a lot more than I'd expected. And Kathy told me that several more people had looked at her calendar and wanted one. Thanks for the support, folks, and I will be at Windycon and Chambanacon with more. The biggest event on the drive home was that I missed the exit with the truck stop with the Popeye's, because for some reason I had it stuck in my mind that it was farther from Columbus than it actually is and I wasn't looking for it. We ended up stopping at a kinda mediocre barbecue joint instead. Pulled into my driveway at 4:00, which was pretty good time. I went for what will probably be my last weekday walk at Kickapoo until Daylight Saving Time starts again in the spring, then came home and made stuff to eat today and for the next few days for lunch at work, and started writing this as I ate. Now off to see if I can get my new printer printing before I collapse from exhaustion.