Thirty years ago, an awkward high school kid, I found myself at Chambanacon VIII in the hotel across the street from Memorial Stadium in Champaign. It was a chain hotel then, a Ramada if I remember right. The convention landscape and the filk scene were very different then, but what I found there kept me coming back, and through all the changes, I've been to every Chambanacon since.
Chambanacon now is a very small convention, really more of a party for a few dozen people for whom it's their chosen-family Thanksgiving celebration than a con. The Historic Lincoln hotel is in bankruptcy again and falling apart, but the function space that was still operational was enough for the people who were there. Just a few dealers, a small art show, a small filk circle. But it still provides the feeling of being surrounded by friends, and I wouldn't be anywhere else on Thanksgiving weekend.
I had meant to make some plans by email earlier in the week, but I never did it, so I arrived without being sure if there would be a plan, but when I met bedlamhouse in the hallway, he confirmed that billroper was on the way and they were planning on Papa Del's, and when I found billroper a bit later, he said that he was planning on bringing pizza back to the con, and he was willing to add more pizza to the order. I arranged a pizza with birder2, filkart, and ithiriel. The pizza was wonderful. There were many conversations, a little bit of bughouse, and then the Friday night filk. The Suttons were too tired from the strains of Thanksgiving to filk and Juanita was having trouble with arthritis, but Art, Roper, and I had a good circle. We started a little after 9; things broke up early, but it wasn't that short a filk.
Since I don't have a job right now, I didn't have a room in the hotel. I got back in time for afternoon programming, starting with a reading by tcgtrf. I enjoy his stories and he reads well. Then we had a wonderful conversation with guest of honor Jody Lynn Nye. It was supposed to be the main programming item, but Jody preferred to have it in the fireplace nook where the reading had been, and she even brought cookies. I've been in a room with her but I'd never actually met Jody before, Then we had the annual session of the Never Ending Filk Panel, where I don't think we really revealed anything much about the general state of filk. birder2 and I went to the banquet more or less because it's what we always do. While we were waiting to be seated, I remember looking at one of the suits of armor on display which seems to have an unreasonably small head. I was thinking of the story that could be spun from the notion of finding a real medieval suit of armor that truly wouldn't have fit a human. We went on to have a good dinner, though somewhat limited in menu, and more good conversation. I ate far too much and pretty much put myself out of commission for the rest of the evening; I was too full to sing when the filk started around 9, and I was very sleepy by the time I was less full and just didn't have much of an urge to filk. The Saturday filk was at least half conversation anyway; it was certainly a pleasant time, and I wish that I had been feeling better so that I could have done more to keep it going instead of being part of what dragged it to a stop at 12:30.
I started trying to leave after the filk broke up, but I got caught in a couple of conversations that I would have loved to have go on much longer but I was just too tired. I hope that none of the people I was talking to felt slighted when I managed to say that I really needed to end the conversation. I wish that I had actually left sooner than I did, because it was snowing hard and the roads were getting worse as I drove home.
By the time I was able to move this morning, it was late enough that pretty much everyone would have been gone, so I didn't go back to the con. Not being there Sunday is the biggest loss when I don't have a room in the hotel.