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FKO report, part 2 - Phil's Rambling Rants
April 6th, 2006
11:42 pm

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FKO report, part 2
After the GoH concert is the big dinner break.  Some people go to the banquet, but I tend to find that banquet food -- in general, not to single out FKO -- is almost never good enough to justify the price, and I don't get very much out of watching awards presented.  When we were planning the trip, trektone said that he didn't think he'd go to the banquet either, and we made a plan that we'd have dinner together on Saturday.  When we were getting ready to leave (if I recall right), he said that he'd like to make the dinner a birthday present to me, which I appreciated.  Having decided I was going to this convention, I wasn't going to completely keep myself from enjoying it because I was worrying about money, but even with the room share, it was an expensive weekend.  We left the hotel thinking that we would go to one of the Caribbean restaurants mentioned in the food guide, but discovered that neither was open for dinner on Saturday.  So, after perusing the food guide, we decided to go with Indian.  There's an Indian restaurant in the same strip mall as the closed Caribbean places, but we'd eaten there last year, and my memory was that it wasn't bad but was somewhat less than outstanding, so we headed a couple miles farther down Dixie Rd. to a place called Havelly.  They were catering a big birthday party, and we arrived just before their buffet opened.  These factors combined to leave them apparently unprepared for us to order off the menu, but we decided to do that anyway.  They took a very long time to get the food to us, and when they did, they brought it all at once, instead of bringing the appetizers first and the decadent amount of other food later.  But while the service was below par, the food was quite good, at least in my opinion -- I'm hardly a connoisseur of Indian food.  Everything was delicious, except for the saag gosht which I thought was merely good, and the tandoori chicken that was part of the appetizer platter was superb.  We'd ordered plenty of food for three people, and we didn't try to eat it all, but we took the leftovers with us, except for the saag gosht which I really didn't think I would want to touch cold.  I definitely want to remember this place for future years, assuming FKO stays in the same area.

At this point in writing this report, I've gotten a feeling that I'm confused.  I think that Christo's concert was actually after the dinner break, and the time stamps from my photos seem to confirm this, but I can't seem to find my programme to refresh my memory.  However, after we'd gotten back from dinner, talking with people in general, I realized that if I didn't take a picture of spiritdance and baby David, somebody was probably going to confiscate my camera for being anti-social, so here ya go:


Whatever order things really happened in, the next thing on the schedule was the Interfilk auction.  I love Interfilk.  I was gratified to see that several people bid on the bottle of Redneck Whisky Wing Sauce and Chicken Depilatory that I put in.  But I think that auctions are overrated as a form of entertainment -- even auctions including Interfilk wenching -- and I'm frustrated that the prices on anything I have the least interest in go far beyond what I'd be willing to pay even when I have a job.  So I was happy to join the subversives in the Butternut room and get an early start on filk, especially since this was the first open filk I'd really gotten to at the con.  I did "Someday", an old song by Phillip Wayne that I've never heard anyone else do even though it's the very first song in Westerfilk, which I've been working on.  The chords shouldn't be difficult for me, but for some reason my fingers rebel at the G-D-Bm-Em-Am-D pattern and I seem to forget which chord comes next, randomly but averaging about once a verse.  anach did "It Never Rains on Mars", which I followed with Juanita Coulson's setting of Heinlein's poem "Along the Grand Canal" which anach asked for a copy of.  almeda drafted me as a stunt guitarist for "Nessie, Come Up", by the artist who was Dr. Jane when she wrote it and is now Dr. James, so which name is it appropriate to use when referring to the song?  I've never played it.  I don't actually know it, except to sing along on the chorus, and I had no idea that the chords were so complicated.  The verse isn't bad, it's A minor.  But the chorus shifts to A major, with a lot more than I-IV-V.  C#min?  I'm not actually used to jumping up there on the neck, but OK.  But then there's this fast bunch of changes, and there's a B in the middle, and B is still my bete noire of guitar chords... I pulled it off better than I expected to, and not too badly for not knowing it.  But the real treat of the evening was when this couple I didn't know came in.  I totally forgot their names, but I did see mentioned in tnatj's journal that they are Truly Carmichael and Tim Jennings.  They came in with a full-size harp, a lap harp (that stayed cased), bodhran, and whistles.  And they sang.  Although they aren't yet very well known in filk fandom, they are, if I understood correctly, known in the SCA -- Tim is a laureate bard, and certainly deserves to be.  They did some wonderful, if long, ballads.  Truly isn't a harp virtuoso, but she played moderately simple accompaniments quite well to my ear, she has a good voice, and sang well.  Tim played bodhran competently.  And he has a stunning voice.  All together, they really transported me to a much better place.  I'm really disappointed that they were only able to be there Saturday evening, and only those of us in that alternate room heard them, but I hope the FKO concom (and other concoms) will take notice and cajole them into spending more time at the con and give them a mainstage concert, because you've gotta hear these people, they're awesome!

The Butternut sing had been great for about 5 hours, but was starting to wind down, when I realized that it was nearly 2:00 AM, so when I ducked out to use the bathroom, I looked around to find out which room tarkrai was in so I could hear the Time Warp.  It turned out that he, along with at least half of the convention, were in Hawthorne 4, including Ookla.  And Adam had his big sketchpad and marker out, and was doing caricatures of people.  Adam does this professionally -- if I'm not mistaken, it is his main day job -- and he's very good at it.  And he was doing a caricature for anyone who cared to sit in the chair.  I was thrilled that I got to have one.  But by the time I got my caricature, the Butternut sing had pretty well broken up, and I was tired enough that I headed for bed.

Sunday began with eating the leftovers from Saturday's dinner in the con suite.  The biryani and chicken korma would have been better hot, but were still quite yummy cold.  I then wandered down to what is, in some sense, the main event of the convention -- the Filk Hall of Fame Inductees concert.


From left to right, Gretchen Roper, Steve Macdonald, Franklin Gunkelmann, and Lois Mangan.


It's nice to see Gretchen get credit in her own right for all she does.  I may have something visual from her part of the concert later, but it's more than a single image, and I'm going to hope that I can actually come up with a clever presentation of it, so I'm going to cop out on that now.

It was a little surprising to me that Smac was inducted this year -- not because I don't think he belongs in the Hall of Fame, but because I thought he was already there.  He did a bunch of cool things in his set, but the most entertaining visually was his cover of Ben Newman's "Dragon For Sale", casting billroper in the funny hat as the dragon.

Before this weekend, Franklin Gunkelmann was just a name that I'd heard mentioned on LiveJournal now and then.  It was a treat to hear him perform, and good to hear about how he does a lot to advance filking in Germany.  In this picture, he's giving us a very fine visual impression of another famous Frank, while he sings a song about Pon Farr to the tune of "New York, New York".  I hope the fans of that other Frank don't get him banned from returning to this side of the pond for his sacrilege.

I'd encountered Lois Mangan at a filkcon or two, but I didn't really know who she was.  She explained that for us.  She's a driving force behind M.A.S.S.F.I.L.C., and her particular thing is getting people singing in groups but not in unison.  She trained us in a round and in a quodlibet.  I'd heard the latter name, but I didn't know what it was.  It's sort of like a round, but instead of the different groups singing the same song but starting at different times, this involves the parts singing different songs.  She split the audience into three groups, with one group singing the first verse of "When the Saints Go Marching In", one group singing the chorus of "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot”, and the third part singing a gospel type song that I did not know that I mostly forget.  But the weird thing is that it works.  Even though the bits don’t seem like they’re the same length, they match up.  I couldn’t really hear the whole effect because I was singing my own part, but it sounded good.

After the HoF concert ended, there were some announcements.  I believe this was when it was actually announced that vixyish and tfabris would be guests of honor for 2008.  And they also announced the winners of the hugging contest.  Hugging contest?  Oh bother, I didn’t tell you about the hugging contest yet.  It seems that some subversive elements on the con committee, for their own nefarious purposes, instituted an official hugging contest as part of the convention.  At registration, you were asked to choose a color-coded sticker to put on your badge, green if you were open to hugs from strangers, red if you were not, and yellow if you wanted to be asked first.  There would be some secret judges roaming the halls, and whoever they decided gave the best hugs would get a prize.  Ingrid de Buda was the unanimous choice of the judges, and anyone who got a hug from her understands why.  Her hugs were, shall we say, enthusiastic.

After the end of the announcements, I ran off to get a guitar for the Great Canadian Filk Preserve (because polar bears don’t like jam, ya know), skipping out on the official performance of UT’s “Home to FilKONtario” song for what turned out to be no reason.  People just stood around talking and milling for a long time.  A little bit of music finally erupted, but it ended almost as soon as it started with people going off for dinner, and I didn’t play anything.  I ended up going across the street to Kelsey’s with janeg and Phil Mills (who is on LJ but whose user name I forget), where we had a decent meal and a pretty good conversation, though I would rather have spent less time talking about work in the field where I don’t have a job.

We got back from dinner, and I went to my room and got my guitars and headed to the big room.  We’d been told we were only supposed to have the middle two sections of Hawthorne, but the air walls had not been put up.  Still, we limited the circle to the middle area.  I found a spot on the stage right end of the circle, started to set up, and discovered The Disaster.  Somewhere along the line, I had found myself packing up after a filk with an extra unopened can of Mountain Dew, which I put in my filk bag and cunningly forgot.  I’m not quite sure how long it had been forgotten, but apparently it became fed up with being ignored, because it sprang a leak and anointed the bag with Dew.  This apparently occurred just as I was hauling my stuff down to the filk room, beause it was all fresh -- at least better than it being sticky.  But I spent at least the next half hour actively working to clean up the mess.  Luckily, nothing really important got badly soaked -- I may have to get a new copy of Rise Up Singing, but I can do that.  I couldn’t have replaced the Cindy McQuillin songbooks, but they were almost unharmed.  My whistles and my stands needed to be wiped off, but weren’t permanently harmed.  Assuming the bag itself and a couple of cloth items that were in the bag come through the wash, it will be OK.  I took my first turn in the circle to sing “O’Donnell Abu”, a very bloody Irish let’s-kill-all-the-British song.  (I’d have done “March of Cambreadth”, except I don’t actually know it.)  It was therapeutic.  It would have been more therapeutic if I’d fumbled the words and chords less, but it helped.  And filkerdave, when I encountered him in the lobby and told him the condensed version, offered me the last of his single malt.  I don’t really drink, so I only had a sip of it, but I must say that if I could afford booze like that I probably would drink more.

Sunday evening, I also got my pictures and souvenirs from my Ecuador trip and my professional portfolio out.  I particularly wanted to show them to trektone, but jhayman and Dave also looked at them, and jhayman in particular said very nice things about how good the pictures were and encouraged me to do more with them.  I didn’t want to make a big deal about showing the stuff off, because I thought that most people had already seen it -- I didn’t have anything new since I’d shown off at OVFF.

Monday morning, I woke up around 10:30, and trektone apparently woke up while I was working out how to actually extract myself from the bed.  He’d mentioned earlier that he wanted to try Popeye’s, just to see if it was any different in Canada, and I suggested that we could do that for lunch before I hit the road.  My plan was to get all my stuff into the car and get to the Popeye’s (which is in the same strip mall as most of the other restaurants) before the noon rush.  We didn’t make it until pretty much exactly noon, but oddly enough, there wasn’t much of any rush either.  I guess people in Mississauga eat lunch later than I’m used to.  Popeye’s in Ontario is no different from Popeye’s in the midwest US, as far as I can tell, but I still like it when I’m having fast food.  And trektone wanted to pay for my lunch, which I felt a little guilty about.  I got him back to the hotel a little before 1, so he could check out of the hotel, to discover that I’d gotten him in trouble with the Haymans, who had been planning on leaving earlier and were wondering where he was.

I got on the road without further incident, and made it home without trouble, though too late to pick up the dogs until Tuesday.  I hadn’t consciously missed them the four nights I’d been gone, but when I got home and they weren’t there, I really did miss them.

I would have gotten this report out sooner, but preparing and uploading the pictures and plugging them into the report makes it take a really long time.  I wish I could figure out a way to make it easier.

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[User Picture]
From:phillip2637
Date:April 7th, 2006 12:01 pm (UTC)
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"I would rather have spent less time talking about work in the field where I don’t have a job"

Sorry about that. I can revert to being a computer geek given any excuse...or none at all.

I really liked your Dead Penguin song about "not wearing green" and wanted to ask you about its background (i.e. age, title, author...).
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From:tigertoy
Date:April 7th, 2006 07:44 pm (UTC)
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"Dangerous Color" (or maybe it's officially called "Green Is a Dangerous Color") is a song by Anne Passovoy (who wrote Harbors, the tune for Mary O'Meara, and other stuff you may have heard) from back in the early 80's, when she was still active in filk before being fafiated by a kid that was jealous of her guitar and wouldn't let her practice. As far as I know, it's an original inspiration (that is, not based on any other material, except for some general folkloric concepts).
From:(Anonymous)
Date:May 1st, 2006 11:16 pm (UTC)

Thanks:)

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Thanks for the nice commmentary. Tru was suffering from a nasty case of allergies that night so was not up to form...but please know that she has a much better voice than I do and is also a laureate bard (as you put it) in the SCA. Look forweard to more Cons someday
Tim (n Tru)
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