The quick version of my New Year's trip:
I wasn't as ready to go Sunday morning as I should have been, and I got stressed out about taking longer than I meant to about getting packed. But even though I ended up leaving something like 45 minutes later than I meant to, I was able to grab a sandwich and get to VOTK when I meant to. I got my calendar and the folks there were really happy with the several years' worth of aluminum cans that I dropped off -- out of proportion to how much 40 lbs or so of cans could be worth. I then headed up to Milwaukee and got to filkart's, where we piled into his car and we went to Barisha's for an event that was scheduled to be a group singalong with the local public radio's folk music show. We didn't end up doing much singing, instead hanging out and chatting.
Monday morning Art and I went off to the Milwaukee Public Museum, leaving ithiriel to do work she had to do. From there, we walked to Thai Palace, our favorite Thai place over the years, where ithiriel met us. Unfortunately, Thai Palace seems to started watering down their menu. My "hot" Nam Sod was quite hot, but the curry that followed, while tasty, didn't deserve to be called more than medium, and itheriel ordered her food "Thai style" and survived. From there, we headed to New Year's Eve at Lytheria. The party was fun; I had a good chat with beige_alert, played one game of cutthroat and actually managed to look like I knew what I was doing with a pool cue, and ate more than I should have. The first round of filking was good, with more people than would fit in the filk space, and I did several songs without falling on my face. Then we toasted the New Year, and most of the filkers got sucked into the stupid vortex watching the commercials tape a second time. The second round of the filk was just me and Michael, and I was getting tired. We started leaving around 2, and were actually on our way by about 2:30. We'd decided that ithiriel would ride home with me while filkart drove Jim home in her car. And as I was crossing 8th street on Locust, some girl blew the red light and hit my car. No injuries, but I didn't have the sense to turn off my car before the cops showed up, and my battery went dead. I couldn't start the car to tell if it was functional (it wasn't obviously non-drivable). ithiriel has AAA, and a wrecker eventually showed up, but the driver informed me that he couldn't give me a jump, and he would either tow me somewhere or leave. We ended up having him tow us to a station next to Art's, but I discovered that with a dead battery I couldn't lock my car (I don't think there's a manual lock on the lift gate). So despite being very tired, we jumped my car. It started OK, so I cautiously started driving around the block, and as I was doing so, I attracted the attention of a cop who thought I had to be drunk. I pulled over and he told me to stay there and left, so rather than have to spend a lot more time explaining that I really wasn't drunk, I left it at that. I finally got to bed at 5:00.
Tuesday, after a bit of lunch, and verifying that the car seemed to be drivable, I started home, and started running into Weather. High winds causing a few very brief bits of white out and a few brief patches of nastily snow covered highway, with things fairly OK between those bits, but white knuckle driving from about I-80 to Champaign. With the winds so high, I feared that my driveway would be drifted in, and I was too tired to keep driving, so I stayed the night at birder2's. So I only got home an hour ago, after leaving work a little early; it turned out there was so little snow here that there were no snowdrifts to worry about, but I really wouldn't have wanted to have had to turn around and go back to Urbana last night, or worse, get stuck in a snowdrift, so just as well I didn't try to drive the last 20 minutes last night.