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Capricon, part 3 - Phil's Rambling Rants
February 14th, 2006
03:05 am

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Capricon, part 3
Sunday morning, the first order of business after hauling myself out of bed was the concert for the participants in the Performance Master Class.  Because I assumed that the concert was in the same order as the class, I made an effort to be there 10 minutes before the concert was to begin.  I was a little surprised to see that there was a stage set up.  A nice touch, and probably the first time a couple of the participants had ever been on a stage.  Things were a little bit fannishly disorganized, but I did end up leading off, after a little confusion.  I introduced myself to the audience with the instafilk (see part 1) about Saturday, which I really had composed in the shower, which got laughs, and did “The Word of God”, as the masters had recommended, without the fingerpicks.  It felt fine, but I’ve been really amazed by the number and intensity of comments on how much of an improvement it made and how well I did.  Thanks, guys.

I’d made a point of wanting to stay first in the batting order because I wanted the option to leave if things got slowed down, and I had a schedule to keep: we’d gotten our checkout time extended from the hotel’s default (and highly annoying) 11:00, but only until 1:00.  As it happened, the concert moved smoothly, and I was able to hear all of the performers, even the couple I’d had to duck out on when the class itself ran over its scheduled time.  In general, the performances went smoothly, and even the weaker performers clearly showed that they had something to offer.  I would hate to have to try to be the teacher for one of these; it’s hard for me to point to specific things that need improvement, let alone to figure out how to say what needs improvement in a completely positive way.  The biggest problem I saw with my classmates as a group seemed to be lack of confidence/comfort, and the biggest improvements between the class and the concert were alymid and almeda, who both had rough spots in the class that seemed much smoother on the stage.  I don’t know how much that came from the advice and support from the masters, but I’ll give them the credit anyway.

After the end of the concert, I wanted to leave my guitar somewhere in the filk area while I got out of the room, because if I put the guitar in the car, it was staying there and I wouldn’t have it for the dead dog.  It took a bit of poking around, but eventually I found blur01 and got his blessing to leave it in Ops.  In the course of tracking BLuR down in the Green Room, I got a glimpse of how the other half lives -- they really had some fancy vittles in there!  I’ll have to try to get myself onto a couple of panels next year so I can score some of that.  Then I ran up to the room, ate a sandwich, got my art bag, and headed to the art show.  I somehow became confused about when the show closed, so I showed up at 5:25 to see if anybody’d bid on any of my stuff only to discover that the show had closed at 5:00.  So all I knew was that someone had mentioned that one of my pieces had had a bid on it Saturday morning.  When markbernstein escorted me to check off the pieces being returned to me, I was shocked to discover that I was only getting 5 of my 12 pieces back.  7 of them had sold!  Most of them for the minimum bid, and none of them went to auction, but all of the tigers, and oddly enough Mariposa para Rebecca, had all sold.  The checkout procedure was well designed and went smoothly, until I actually got in the line to get my check.  Before I could get into this line, I had already gone over my paperwork with Melissa, and signed off that it was in order and the amount it said to write the check for was the right amount.  So, I wonder, how was it that the two people in front of me, who I presume had followed the same procedure, needed to argue with the person writing the checks for a combined half an hour while I and the people behind me waited for the one person doing the checks?  I guess it just goes to show that no system is so intelligently designed that it can keep dumb people from messing it up.  (In case it’s not crystal clear, I mean no criticism of the art show people; they were doing it right, and in fact were much better organized than most of the shows I’ve been at.  It was the people who managed to get through the “Check the paperwork.  Is it right?  Do you agree that this total is how much we owe you?  Sign here.” and then complain that I’m railing about.)  By the time I actually got my check, it was 12:45 (remember, we’re supposed to be out of the room by 1:00).  Grumble.  We managed to get our stuff into the car without major trouble, and then I made it into the dealer’s room for the first time.  I actually browsed over the tables quickly, and bought a copy of Shadowbeast because “The Girl That’s Never Been” has been gnawing at my subconscious and I’ve been kicking myself since GaFilk for not getting it direct from vixyish.  And I found catalana, and the three of us decided that we’d hang around for some of the dead dog filk, leaving exactly when we would leave up in the air but holding to my pre-con plan of leaving no later than 6:00.

I wandered back to the filk room and discovered that almeda, beige_alert, and anach (I think it was) were already filking, a little ahead of schedule, so I retrieved my guitar and joined them.  We ended up with a pretty good circle for a while, as we were joined by filker0, Jen from Wild Mercy with her harp, Deirdre, probably a couple of other people who sang things, and bunches of listeners.  Both Sue (WINOLJ) and birder2 had apologized for missing the concert because they had been confused about when it was happening, and they asked me to reprise my performance, and no one else present howled in protest.  I did Cindy’s “Three Sisters”, which I want to mention to remind myself that I improvised a new arrangement on the spot, and I think I was onto something on the verses, though the chorus wasn’t terribly special.  It was another good circle, but birder2 was getting really antsy about leaving (and people were drifting off), so we hit the road around 5:30.  I really didn’t want it to be over, but it was.

The trip home was problem-free except for birder2 not being able to find her keys (I trust you found them eventually?); we stopped for Popeye’s and gas on the secret shortcut along 159th St. from I-294 to I-57; we talked mostly about things inconsequential enough that I don’t remember them, but it’s always nice to chat with catalana.  I noted that if the con had been a chocolate eating contest, I would have qualified for a prize.  We got into something close to an argument as we got back to Champaign, as birder2 expressed her disgust that the new Aldi is demanding a deposit from shoppers to use shopping carts, and catalana was arguing that businesses should be free to adopt obnoxious business practices, since customers are free to not shop there.  I’m not quite sure why it seemed to be almost degenerating into a shouting match, but I suspect it had more to do with lack of sleep getting in the way of communication than any real lack of respect for anyone else’s positions.  I got home 9:30-ish, and called Jim and Robin to see if they wanted me to get my dogs then, but they said to wait until Monday, which was probably for the best.  I could have done it, but I was probably tired enough that I should have stayed off the roads.  And considering how much of a pain Meg was about getting in the car, it is a good thing that I had daylight and was alert, even though I missed my puppies last night.

All in all, this is the most fun I’ve had at Capricon in a couple of decades.  Which is not to say that it isn’t usually fun, but this was the best the music has been in a long time, with the best support from the convention that it’s ever had.  There were some imperfections, like the con suite closing at 2, and the Internet Cafe apparently not looking at the schedule of other music events when deciding when to have performers, and the confusion about where the music would be Saturday night, but overall, I had a fantastic time, and I mainly thank singlemaltsilk for putting together such a great music program, and daddy_guido and the rest of the committee for letting her do it.  In fact, the only person who’s probably not happy is billroper, and that’s because he’s running filk next year and he’s going to have to work his ass off to clear the bar where singlemaltsilk has set it.

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From:msminlr
Date:February 14th, 2006 12:00 pm (UTC)
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I really hope, once I get retired and have the driving time, to get to one or another of the Chicago conventions at least once per year.
Note, though, that for my purposes, "Chicago area" extends as far south as Chambanacon, because that is where I first met most of the filkers I know who live there.
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From:tigertoy
Date:February 14th, 2006 09:39 pm (UTC)
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Seeing as how you're the only* filker on my list of people I think oughta be at Chamabacon for whom Spiffled is actually closer than Champaign, it bums me out when you don't make it. I want you to amend that resolution, to make it to Chambanacon AND a Chicago con every year.

* OK, I forgot about Bill Rintz, who's actually local to Springfield.
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From:msminlr
Date:February 14th, 2006 11:26 pm (UTC)
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Technically, Spiffled is pretty much the same distance as Champaign from here: both 9 hours driving.

My current problem with making it to Chambanacon is, Morris's folks are Very Old And Very Frail and we like to get to see them as often as possible, and Thanksgiving HAS to be at their place.

The last couple of times I made it to Chambanacon, I was at least taking Sharon back to college after the Thanksgiving Break, but she's driving herself to and fro nowadays, AND graduating this spring.

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From:filker0
Date:February 14th, 2006 02:10 pm (UTC)
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I'm glad that you got to stay as long as you did at the Dead Dog. I'm not sure who [Bad username in LJ tag] refers to... I quite like my username, and don't think it's bad at all, so I don't think it's me.

As for improvements -- yes, your voice sounds much better when you're not straining to be heard over the guitar. You've improved in many ways over the time that I've known you, and you continue to improve. I look forward to our next con.

I'm glad you got home without incident.

As far as billroper having a high bar, you're right; howver the new conchair is likely to make sure he doesn't slack off. Not that I've ever known him to in the past.
[User Picture]
From:tigertoy
Date:February 14th, 2006 09:27 pm (UTC)

mea culpa

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The "bad user name in LJ tag" actually covered half a paragraph. I need someone to stand behind me with a big hammer to remind me that when I post something I have to actually look at the whole post, behind the cut tag, to make sure that the stupid computer hasn't puked.
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From:almeda
Date:February 15th, 2006 01:51 am (UTC)

Re: mea culpa

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While we're typofixing, you've got me linked in as almdea up there near where you gook out the [bad LJ name] stuff.
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From:tigertoy
Date:February 15th, 2006 03:00 am (UTC)

Re: mea culpa

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feesed
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From:barbarakitten_t
Date:February 14th, 2006 02:14 pm (UTC)
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how totally cool that you sold some of your art!!!!!
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From:almeda
Date:February 14th, 2006 06:35 pm (UTC)
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During the Masterclass I got hit right between the eyes with the biggest set of gig nerves that I've had since ... gah. Since the GAFilk I did a two-shot at (which, consulting the audio files [Red-Haired Girl, Kingdom in the Sky] made then, was in 2001). And that time I dropped Succubus in the songchange and nearly knocked over three mikes.

I was still a little nervy for the recital, but MUCH less so, so, y'know, I hit more than half the chords properly, but still did screw up a couple times. :->
From:starstraf
Date:February 14th, 2006 07:05 pm (UTC)
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awsome about selling art!
From:birder2
Date:February 14th, 2006 11:46 pm (UTC)

Yes, it was great--but no keys

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I agree that this was the best Capricon in a long time--and I've been to all of them. (The only con I can say that about!) I would have enjoyed it a bit more if I had been able to breathe a little easier--my sinuses have STILL not recovered from the cold I picked up at Windycon and my voice sounded like a cement mixer. (Not that it is ever good, but this was worse than usual)
When I took my stuff to the car I unlocked it. When I locked up again, I used the car's button, not the key. I HAD to have put the keys in either my pocket or my purse but I have completely emptied both and the keys are gone. I assume they are in that alternate universe tangent to ours into which things fall. I have duplicates of the keys to MY house, car, and bike, but not to Phil's (Tigertoy's--I guess LJ etiquette is to use LJ name)house and car. GRRRRR!
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