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Windycon - Phil's Rambling Rants
November 13th, 2005
11:56 pm

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Windycon
I just got back from Windycon.  (I was going to make that word a hyperlink, but they've already got the site updated for next year's con, and I couldn't find a way to polint back to the site for this year's con, so why bother?)  I have been to every Windycon since 1979, and I didn't want to break the streak, but until I get a job I have to spend less money than normal, so things were different this year.  I actually worked at the convention enough that I think I qualify to get my membership money back (we'll see if I actually do), and the only meal I bought at the con was $4 for pizza on Saturday night.

I got to the con at 2ish, and after a little problem where my badge disappeared, and turned up stuck in the flap in my art bag that can go over the handle of a carryon bag only after I'd spent 10 minutes running around like a headless chicken looking for it, I got to the art show.  There was no problem with putting the pieces I had in the show, and they said I could put them anywhere that wasn't already taken.  There was one panel in the bay right in front of the door, which you could see from the hallway as you walked in.  Almost the best spot in the show (though only a single panel, since the rest of the bay was full).  I figured, what the heck, and put my stuff up.  Then I spent a couple of hours helping get things ready and running the bag check once the show opened.

I took a break at 5 to see the "We're friends but we've never met" panel (about online communities including LJ and the peculiarities of relationships with people we only know on-line).  A reasonably entertaining discussion with ericcoleman, almeda, and unclevlad on the panel, though perhaps not really coming out with insights that we haven't already seen on similar panels.

I grabbed a bite to eat, put in another couple of hours working at the art show, took advantage of my artist ribbon to actually look at the art show a little bit during the artists' reception, and went to the filk.  The filk was pretty good Friday night, even though I wasn't; I was tired and out of practice, and made enough of a hash of the Berryman's "After Life Goes By" that markiv1111 probably regretted having requested it in a conversation in the hall (though he would be too kind to say so).  It was definitely not up to my standards.  Later, I played "Benson, Arizona", and proved that I can't quite do it in my sleep, since I was mostly asleep and I made more mistakes than I thought I could, though I don't think it was that bad.  After that, having proved I could play both guitars badly, I did an a capella song -- Juanita's setting of Heinlein's "Along the Grand Canal".  Nobody threw any rotten tomatoes at me, but for all I know that only reflects that tomatoes are out of season.  (I think it was OK, I had a little bit of trouble on a note or two.)  I went to bed fairly early, being too tired.

Saturday started with Nate's guitar workshop, which turned out to be a repeat of the workshop he gave at Torcon.  Which I can't complain about, since it puts at least as much good stuff into one hour as an hour can possibly hold, and I have not actually practiced the exercises he introduced, so having him run me through them again is not a bad thing at all.  If I could attend the workshop twice a week, maybe after a few months I'd actually have done the exercises enough for my fingers to have learned something.  (It's all stuff I understand intellectually just fine.  It's the practice that I need.)

Next we had concerts.  First, my good friend Art Warneke had a solo billing for a slot, but he arranged to have Milwaukee drummer Joe Connolly and Filk GoH Nate Bucklin be his backup band.  It sounded really good.  I think it was really generous of a Guest of Honor to be a sideman, especially when he lives in a different state from the main performer and they couldn't rehearse much.  He played fairly basic bass lines, but he played them well.  Art and Joe have rehearsed a little more together.  They sounded really nice on stage.

Next, science guest Mark Osier had a concert slot.  (I didn't get to any of his science stuff, unfortunately.)  He did more tacky humor material than I hoped for, because that meant that he did less of what I think is his really good stuff, but still a good concert.

I did not stay for the remaining concerts because I needed to get more volunteer hours, and also because I have trouble sitting for too many hours of concerts in a row, and while I consider ericcoleman and filkertom friends and I also like their material, I wasn't expecting either concert to have stuff I hadn't heard so I didn't absolutely *have* to hear them.

Then the filk pizza party, where I indulged myself in a limited way (I had only one slice of Giordano's stuffed sausage and pepperoni), which became a little impromptu filk for a while, I caught a few minutes of Samuel Travis Clemmons (comedy storytelling, with material and delivery that would not be out of place on a stage in a venue that charged asmission), and then the Guest of Honor concert, where Nate and Louie gave us a really tasty hour.  They made a point of ending their concert after just one hour, and then we filkers promptly arranged the room into a circle and proceeded to sit around and converse in small groups for an hour.  I decided that this had gone on long enough, and launched into Hope Eyrie, where I proved that I still was less than completely awake as I stumbled over the words a little bit, and the audience didn't seem to be much into it (at least, most people weren't singing along very enthusiastically), but the filk started.  It was a good filk.  I think any filk where Nate is sitting in and putting bass behind most of the songs is going to be good.  I sang "Little Fuzzy Animals" because Sue had requested it earlier in our impromptu session, and it seemed to go pretty well.  I recited "Horrton Hears a Heart (by Dr. Edgar Allan Seuss)", and I think it went over pretty well, though I stumbled a little bit on the scansion-challenged places because I haven't practiced that enough either.  I think that was about when some schmuck pulled the fire alarm, and the hotel made us all go stand outside in the howling gale for 20 minutes.  I took my guitar out with me, and when I started getting cold, I started singing "Jim Root's Ride" because I thought I should sing about something hot.  The hotel let us back in about halfway through the song, and I kept singing.  birder2 said I looked like the Pied Piper leading people back in, but I was oblivious.  After we got back into the filk room, almeda did the almost obligatory rendition of Jeff Bohnhoff's song about the fire alarms at Baycon, with markiv1111 playing guitar.  I had a nice snuggle with exapno, where we agreed that it stinks that there's so much distance between us that we probably won't be in the same room again until Capricon.  Art asked me to do "Dangerous Color" when I asked if anyone wanted anything before I turned completely orange.

Sunday, I got to catalana's concert, where it was nice to hear a bunch of her songs while janmagic and I traded backscratches.  The rest of the day was devoted to the art show.  The greatest annoyance of the whole con came when I got my artist checkout sheet, and discovered that "Who, Me?" had been sold for $10, when it was supposed to be $20 minimum bid.  They showed me the bid sheet, and inconceivable unfathomable brainless twit that I am, I had written the numbers for the print run (print 5 of 10) in the blanks for the minimum bid and quick sale price on the bid sheet, and since neither I nor the art show staffer who checked me in noticed it, they sold the piece for the "10" that was written in the quick sale price blank.  After an hour or so I managed to calm down enough that I didn't actually want to borrow a morningstar and bash my own brains in, but as I write this, I'm still really annoyed that I could be that stupid.  I spent several hours loading flats into the truck, which was a really great workout -- I'll probably be sore all week -- but was pretty therapeutic.  If someone would pay me what I was making as a computer programmer to do work like that, I'd go for it.

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From:ericcoleman
Date:November 14th, 2005 12:48 pm (UTC)
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I wasn't expecting either concert to have stuff I hadn't heard so I didn't absolutely *have* to hear them.

I think I did everything new in the circles over the two nights. How Can I Miss You (and I've been doing that for awhile), Only Coffee House In Town and Nice Guys. The rest was the same old stuff.

It was good to see you ...
From:exapno
Date:November 14th, 2005 06:11 pm (UTC)
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Yes, it does stink....i know everyone has wonderous things to say about chambanacon, but with my (lack of) budget and my parents most likely being in town the whole weekend i know i can't make it again this year *sigh* It really is on my "Gonna get There" list for someday tho...really. Fusion looks fun too, but again there's that limited time-n-budget thing....

The snuggles were most definitely lovely *happysigh* As was the music....that was the first time i'd heard Little Fuzzy Animals *grin* Loved it! Also loved the mini-show you guys did after the pizza party *joy* so fun :)

*huggs* Glad you made it home safely, REALLY glad to see & snuggle you :)
From:markiv1111
Date:November 15th, 2005 10:28 pm (UTC)

A couple of things

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Phil, it was just great being in the same room with you again. I didn't have a problem with your rendition of "After Life Goes By" -- having heard it only twice, both times from you, I'm not in a position to nitpick one performance vs. another performance. "The Grand Canal" ws emphatically worth doing -- I'd rather hear a rendition that needs work, than to hear no addition at all. And I was totally blown away by "Horton Hears a Heart" -- a work of genius if I've ever heard one; glad you were able to give it to us!

About my bass playing at Art's concert: I'm of the belief that a good bass player should back people up without getting in the way. With that belief, I was definitely going to play simpler parts for Art, and to do so by choice. (Are you familiar with fantasy novelist Kara Dalkey? She plays that kind of bass all the time, and it really, really adds. She and I had two regular bands and have played a few miscellaneous gigs together, though she's currently living in Seattle.) I was hoping to be a bit tighter with Art and Joe than I actually managed, but the odds were a bit more with me than if I'd tried to play "fancy" stuff. Also, I really only have the one guitar workshop that I give -- the only way I'd be comfortable working up the follow-up to this workshop would be if I *knew* that there would be 15 or 20 people in the room who had mastered the stuff from the first one.

By the way, I have been really impressed by your book reviews and music reviews in the past. Are you at all inclined to do a review of *Water Over the Bridge*? I'd be very pleased to get your opinions.

Nate

From:markiv1111
Date:November 15th, 2005 11:43 pm (UTC)

Re: A couple of things

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So here I am technically "responding" to a comment I'd made to you. I'm going to go ahead and volunteer this. It is my recollection that you did not buy a copy of my new CD *Water Over the Bridge*, as you were tight with finances at this con. I will gladly send you a copy -- if you'll agree to review it on LJ. What do you think? (No, I'm *not* expecting undiluted praise -- the Riverfolk CD was pretty remarkable, and I do grasp that it needs to be something on that level for you to speak of it like that. But I'd like our mutual friends on LJ to know what you think. Also, I'm not making this offer to anybody else.)

Nate
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From:tigertoy
Date:November 16th, 2005 03:36 am (UTC)

Re: A couple of things

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I did buy a copy of the CD, and I will post something about it, but I've only played through it once while I was doing other things, not really paying close attention. My impression was positive, but I don't think I have the basis to write a review yet.
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