Saturday morning, I actually got going around 10 AM and headed up to Wisconsin. I visited VOTK, where they were busy enough that they decided they could let me walk around by myself rather than with a guide. I gave out a few chicken legs and took a few pictures, and I was able to buy a copy of the calendar that they finally have printed. It's a Cafe Press job, and I'm a wee bit disappointed with the looks of it, which leaves me wondering if they didn't submit good master images, or if Cafe Press's printing isn't quite what I'd hoped for.
Then I headed on to Milwaukee, where I had dinner with my good friend Art WINOLJ and a mutual friend, Sue, who also INOLJ before we headed to the New Year's Eve bash at the fannish rooming house Lytheria. Lee, the owner, puts out a big spread, and pretty much all of Milwaukee fandom shows up, so it's a good time. One of the annual events is Lee's showing of his collection of the year's oddest commercials. Since I don't watch TV, they're pretty much all new to me, even though most of the rest of the room recognize a lot of them. Some of them are pretty funny, when seen once as entertainment, rather than a zillion times interrupting what you wanted to be watching, but with a lot of them, it's hard to see how they'd be very effective as advertising -- when there's no connection between the ad and the product, does it really help if people watch and remember the ad but forget what it was for? Also watched the last half or so of the Leminy Snickett (however that's spelled) movie. I had not thought I would like that much based on what I'd heard about it, but it was wonderful. I do have to wonder what fraction of the audience thought that the herpetologist guy's (Uncle Montgomery Montgomery, I guess his name was) house was a really cool place they'd love to visit. I think it was supposed to be creepy, but those were cool snakes. After this, the filkers present went off to filk for a few hours (with a little interruption to actually join the toast at midnight). In addition to Art and myself, we had beige_alert, Joyce, and Emory actually singing. I did not want to lug two guitars to this filk, and I wanted to play a couple of 6-string things, so I brought Tiger instead of my 12. I felt good about how I was playing; I actually felt like I was getting within shouting distance of being a real guitarist on some stuff. Tiger is a very nice guitar to play; on good days, he can pull more musicianship out of me than I usually can find, and this was mostly a good day, until I hit a wall of fatigue about 1 AM and splattered all over it. beige_alert also showed some real progress; he's starting to pick up some fingerpicking, his rhythm is getting better, and his singing is picking up too. If he keeps improving at this rate, us old guys are gonna be left in the dust pretty soon. Joyce is also showing signs of practicing. She sang a few songs a capella, and while her voice is very soft and she still seems somewhat strained, she was following tune and rhythm quite well.
After I dragged myself out of bed at noon, Sue got a phone call and had to leave. Art and I had sushi for lunch, and we went back to his place and watched The Return of the King, which I'd not seen before and had been particularly wanting to since seeing the LOTR exhibit a couple of weeks ago. The trilogy as a whole is amazing; even though some of the characters really don't fit with my mental images of what they should be like, they do work very well. Seeing it on screen made me think about how profoundly depressing the ending is to me -- the good guys win in the end, but the magic still sails away over the ocean and leaves a much diminished world behind.
Then I got in the car and drove home, without even having any real trouble staying awake, even though RotK kept me from leaving until later than I'd meant to stay. But I think bed is in my immediate future now, and I'm not going to read my friends page in depth.