I was less than well organized getting ready for the con (sadly typical), so I got a minimal array of art together Friday morning and finally hit the road around 12:30. I got to the con a little after 3. I checked in smoothly and they told me at the front desk that my reservation had been properly reset to the convention rate. I had an inconvenience that was starting to work its way up to being a problem, when I pulled up to the front door and the valet parking dude told me that he'd called a luggage cart for me and it would be there momentarily, so I unloaded stuff from the back of the car and then stood waiting for what seemed like a really long time (mainly because I really needed to pee), but finally a bellman arrived with a cart. He took my stuff to my room while I parked, and when I got to the room, made a point of showing me the amenities of my room. Oddly enough, when it seemed like the appropriate moment for me to give him a tip, rather than pausing for me to give him one, he did a very quick exit, and I soon discovered the one thing that was really wrong with the hotel: it has fire trap doors on the stairwells (always locked from the inside, so you can't get out anywhere except at the bottom; if the bottom of the stairs is blocked by fire, you die in the stairwell -- hence "fire trap doors") so I had to spend the whole doggone weekend taking the elevator. Fortunately, the elevators weren't terribly oversubscribed and I didn't have any really bad elevator experiences -- but it is still a major flaw in the hotel.
I registered without any trouble, though I discovered that the at-the-door badges were distinctly inferior to pre-reg badges: the pre-reg badges were larger and included a pocket for a room key. Just part of the price I pay for not turning the internal decision that I'd go to the con into external action until the last minute. I then went to the art show, where I discovered that there was space and I would be able to put stuff up. They charged hanging fees by the panel (and $10 per panel struck me as very high), but things were smooth. They had both a quick sale and a Sunday sale price, and they actually had the show open on Sunday for people to walk through and buy art, so the art actually had more exposure to the public than usual for a weekend con. None of my pieces made it to the voice auction and neither did I, but I did sell Chillin' for $35 to the second bidder on the bid sheet, and Who, Me? on Sunday, so after commission and hanging fees, I almost paid for my con membership with art sales. A definite success, considering that I'd told myself after I put the stuff in the show that I wasn't really expecting to sell anything at all. So I'm happy there. Hopefully this will help motivate me to get more art prepared and to find a way to present things in a more normal, professional way than the cheesy document frames I currently use.
I'd arranged beforehand to have dinner with tollers. I hadn't been expecting to be joined by min0taur and Sally, but they're always great people to be with, and four people was still a reasonable sized party. We went to a sandwich-type place called something like Cajun-A-Go-Go, which was pretty good, though I'm still surprised at being served gumbo with so much rice in it that it's served as a dollop on a plate instead of soup in a bowl. After a slight delay because tollers had a flat tire when we got out, we got back to the hotel to enjoy the musical stylings of the Greg Morris Group. Except that I was unable to enjoy their stylings without first repairing to my room to procure earplugs; they sounded good, but they were too bloody loud. They describe themselves as folk-rock, but they didn't seem very folk to me; I heard them as rock with a little jazz influence. I couldn't fully follow the lyrics, but the sound textures were quite enjoyable. The Friday night filk rocked; filkertom, Juanita, min0taur, tollers, Chris Marks, and myself were there with instruments, along with travis_clemmons and some other people whose names I don't know who contributed a capella pieces. We had a very good filk that didn't run out of steam until 2:30.
Saturday I had lunch at the food court in the mall that the hotel connects to (only 5 restaurants, so it's not a great food court, but at least it's food). There's a game store in the mall, and I stopped in, and they actually have a respectable selection of board games -- a better selection than I think I've ever seen in a real brick and mortar store, in fact. But being in a mall, prices seemed high, and I wasn't really feeling like buying games I was unfamiliar with. I picked up a copy of Incan Gold, because it combines the features I look for in games these days: it's short, it's flexible in the number of players (up to 8 can play), and it actually seems to be a decent game. There is a fair bit of luck, but all the players have to share the same random events, and the main element of the game is guessing how the other players will react rather than beating the dice. Then filkertom gave us a great concert, and I went back to the dealer's room and arranged to have dinner with Chris and her husband Jeff. We were thinking of going to P. F. Chang's, but when they told us the wait would be over an hour, we decided to walk across the street to another Chinese place which we knew nothing about but the sign. It turned out to be a very good choice; we had excellent food at Shanghai Lil's with no wait and prices similar to what Chang's would have run (on the high end for Chinese, but for what I got, I'm not complaining).
The filk Saturday was scheduled to start at 9. Though some of us were there by then, we didn't get started for a while because the memorial service for Don Dailey ran over time. I didn't know the man, but he was an important and much missed figure in the local Trek group, and I certainly didn't want to rush them out. I was expecting more filkers for Saturday. We'd lost tollers, who, along with Sally, had to leave early on Saturday to go to Normal, IL -- they had a gig backing up, if I'm remembering this right, the Indianapolis Women's Chorus at the International Women's Music Festival. But we got Moonwulf, and someone whose name I failed to catch who played Irish stuff on a baritone? uke, and we had a good group for a while. But bedlamhouse and ladyat, who were expected, never appeared, and most of us were pretty tired, and things got pretty wobbly around midnight and were completely done by 1:00. Not a bad filk, but it didn't surpass Friday.
Sunday, I got more food court food, which this time I took back to eat in the con suite, got my unsold art and a check from the art show smoothly, and headed out.
Interspersed between the regular events were several extended conversations with various people. I did spend some time wandering around looking for something to do, but a fair bit more talking to people, both people I knew (especially filkertom, "Mad" Mike Williams, and Chris Marks) and a couple of people I didn't know (someone whose name badge gave his first name as Christian and his last name as something I forget, and the person manning the Capricon booth that I probably should know, but don't). Less hugging than I would have liked, but I didn't feel terribly lost. A decent con experience; I judge it worth both the time and money.
It felt good to be playing and singing, but I felt like a bit of a heel for being so out of practice. Fortunately, I guess I've managed to absorb enough performance skills that I don't actually merit a rotten tomato barrage even when I feel like I'm fumbling every other chord and ought to go drown myself in a bucket. I gave my contact info to someone who schedules housefilks in Indy, and I hope I will be able to manage to actually get to some. (I'm also hoping that once bedlamhouse and ladyat are fully established, they'll let me know sometimes when music is happening at their place, because I'm sure it will be happening a lot. If I get whacked with this feeling that I owe it to myself and to others to practice more often, maybe I can restore the habit I used to have of practicing regularly.)