From my perspective, the hotel (the Sheraton at Keystone Crossing) was fine except for one thing: the stairways are exclusively fire escapes; they do not open into the function levels of the hotel. You cannot get to the sleeping rooms except by elevator, and waiting for elevators absolutely sets my teeth on edge. This isn't an elevator horror story if you're a normal person; I never had to actually wait a long time for an elevator. It's just a personal thing that even if I only have to wait five seconds for the elevator to show up, those five seconds are not pleasant ones. There's plenty of function space for a small con, and the concom did a good job keeping the noisy activities separated. It was announced that this is the last year at this hotel. I didn't notice any friction myself but I overheard some other attendees saying that last year (at least I think it was last year) the con had closed down all the room parties. So there may have been trouble that I avoided.
There were rather few people I knew there on Friday night, and I failed to find dinner companions. Then, come filking time, I had to choose between filking and programming. I feel somewhat guilty that I abandoned Juanita for an hour when she was the only guitar. Once I got back, we had some nice singing, but then, after a long period of scurrilous stories about Harlan Ellison, the filk broke up around 2.
Saturday started with filkertom's concert, rudely scheduled at 11. tollers was only there for the day, starting with that concert. She's been trying to get Tom to her favorite barbecue place for years -- apparently they are both more serious connoisseurs of BBQ than I. (I just like to eat it, I don't claim to know anything about different styles.) Schedules being what they were, she volunteered to fetch takeout, and she kindly let me join the party. Unfortunately, the restaurant messed up the plan by being closed for the 4th, and I ended up not having a real lunch. I spent the afternoon flittering like a butterfly between different author's tables and the con suite. The con provided lots tables for a bunch of authors to be in public talking to folks and selling stuff. A number of these authors were selling erotic sf/fantasy books, and I guess some people might have a problem with that, so I guess I'll risk being flamed by saying that I'm pleased that the con welcomed them. I enjoyed chatting with Tammy Jo Eckhart, Travis Clemmons, and some others. I also spent a fair bit of time chatting with C. S. Marks, whom I'm carefully not lumping in with the erotica writers. I bought a lot fewer books than I was tempted by because I truly don't have the money, and books are still coming in faster than I'm reading them.
Dinner ended up being organized by filkcook. We went to the Cheesecake Factory, because it was in the mall and it was raining. I'd never eaten at Cheesecake Factory, I was quite hungry by this time, I hadn't bought any food up to this point, and I went ahead and indulged. I had some perfectly decent buffalo wings, Jamaican black pepper shrimp that was really something to jump up and down and gush over, and a serious decadence for dessert, carrot cake cheesecake. I really love carrot cake. But I like cheesecake too, and it was the Cheesecake Factory. So given the chance to combine the two, I went for it. It was good, but next time I think I'll just go with regular carrot cake.
We returned to the hotel and unexpectedly found bedlamhouse and ladyat in the bar. It had previously been reported that they weren't going to make it due to a combination of money trouble and bedlamhouse being on call, so that was a pleasant surprise. A nice bar conversation got dragged down when Zach told bedlamhouse that Ken Moore passed away a few days ago. I wanted to stay for the conversation, but I really needed a little down time before the filk.
The Saturday filk room was much fuller. Kathy Mar was at the con, but she was in serious pain from a sprained ankle. She'd gone home early Friday night, but she was filking Saturday and sounded great for as long as she held out. bedlamhouse and ladyat, tollers, Chris Marks, and Naomi Pardue joined Juanita and yours truly. We had a couple of good hours, but the pain became too much for Kathy and most of the other folks were just there on day passes, and I suspect that Juanita was mostly used up from Friday. I was pretty tired myself, and worried about staying up late since I had to leave early. The whole sing pretty much imploded all at once around 1.
The InConJunction folks did a good job. It is not the con's fault that there were fewer of my friends there than I might have hoped, and it certainly isn't their fault that I was shorter than even my usual on emotional energy to connect with new people most of the time. There was a period in InConJunction's history when the con was actively hostile to filkers, but I certainly didn't have any complaints this year.