Wednesday before the con, we had a big nasty storm coming in. I decided to pack up and bring my stuff to birder2's Wednesday and spend the night there, because it was just possible that I would be snowed in Thursday morning. We had originally planned to leave Thursday morning so that we'd have a couple of spare hours of daylight in southern Illinois to walk around at Ferne Clyffe State Park or some other nice place. But with the weather bad and the forecast saying it was going to be getting worse, we changed our plans to leave as soon as we could just to get south of the storm. We got on the road around 9:30, and by the time we actually got to I-57, it was looking like staying home might have been a better idea. I refused to suggest turning around; if the forecast was to be believed, if we tried to wait we would not go at all. It took us close to four hours to drive the first hundred miles, and it was extremely stressful. By the time we got south of I-64 the road was pretty good, and once we got out of Illinois, it was completely fine. We stopped for an early dinner at a Red Lobster in Clarksville because I really needed a break, and if we'd kept driving we'd have hit Nashville shortly after 5:00, which I understand would be bad. That perked me up enough to keep driving, and we drove on to Monteagle. There's a very cheap motel in Monteagle, the Regency Inn. I know I'd stayed there in the past and it was OK, but this year it was just too run down to be satisfactory. It was clean enough, but very threadbare, the bed like a board, the shower control wonky, and I had to unplug the TV to plug in my humidifier because the other outlets didn't work.
I spent enough time in bed, but didn't fully recover from the stress. We made it to Atlanta in good time and socialized a bit. As soon as Larry had the table ready, I collected a fairly large pile of books that I'd been waiting to get. I was about to fall over when we went to Barbecue Kitchen with msminlr. Food helped some, but not enough, and I skipped opening ceremonies in favor of a little down time. I caught most of Dene Foye's concert and then took my guitar into the room where Alec, braider, and catsittingstill had tried to have a little instrumental circle, except that a bunch of people dropped in and formed a filk. I didn't stay out too late, with the tired from before and with programming starting early.
Saturday, after breakfast from the cooler, I staggered out into the pre-noon gloom to get to Terence's concert. Seriously, guys, not starting before noon is a good idea, and making jokes about "daylight saving time" doesn't actually make 11:00 not before noon. It was fun to hear Terence again. Interfilk guest Andrew Ross was a real treat, good lyrics, an impressive ability to sing fast, and a good voice. Super Secret Guest Delia Sherman's story was well-written and powerful, but the narrator was such a nasty person that I'd rather have missed it. Singing "Babylon Has Fallen" was fun; I imagine it would be even cooler in true Sacred Harp style, but I am harmony-challenged and I'm not sure I could really handle Sacred Harp. Plus, I'm afraid of meeting people like Delia's choir director. Ellen Kushner's presentation from her Tam Lin was quite tasty.
On the subject of tasty, at this point, I was wandering around during the break, and encountered a woman whose badge said Tanith with a plate of tasty looking meat. It was rare venison that she was sharing, and it was possibly the best meat I've ever tasted in my life. We had an interesting, though too short, conversation about animals (she's a vet tech and has some experience with tigers) and about food; sadly, I didn't manage to catch up with her again for the rest of the con. I mostly missed the 2x10's because I was still very tired. Next it was time for the banquet. I pulled out the slip of paper with our table number and got the coveted last table, which meant that we won the bottle of wine, which the waiter managed to share out so that the bottle was empty before it got to me. They brought me a glass of red wine which I'm not sure was the same as what was in the bottle. Later, they brought us another bottle, but I still had most of my glass, and I'm not that much into red wine anyway. We had enough wine drinkers at the table to make it go away. The food was all right, but for $35 it ought to be better than all right. (I am sure that it is the hotel, not the concom, that is to blame.) Of course, I don't go to the GAFilk banquet for the food; I go for the band. The music was wonderful, and the dance was fun even if a couple of my favorite dance partners weren't there this year. Since this is the only time all year that I dance, I'm not actually learning to be a better dancer, but either no one minds or I'm too oblivious to notice.
Guest of Honor Alexander James Adams has all the state presence that Heather Alexander did. His playing is solid and it doesn't seem like he's lost any skill with his hand surgery. His voice isn't quite as enthralling as Heather's, but he certainly gives a good show.
After the concert, I used the Interfilk auction as some more break time. I don't get into auctions as entertainment, and I don't have money right now. I came down to the alternate room and got set up, determined to get some songs in. I realized that I was right under an air conditioner vent, and moved my chair back toward the corner. museinred wanted to find a corner to set up for haircuts; I hope that I wasn't rude when I said that no, I really didn't want to move back forward out of the corner into the arctic blast. She did set up in another corner. And I got my haircut, after which birder2 accused me of being handsome. We seemed to have a decent filk, and I sang several things, but then Teri decreed that the room was now going to be bardic. I was far too tired to try to make my distaste for bardic into persuasive rhetoric, so I just left. I stopped for a few minutes in the other alternate room where braider and sweetmusic_27 were trying to keep up with Carly on an instrumental exercise. I was sufficiently fatigued that it took me a while to realize that the exercise was basically a descending scale with ornamentation, and not really as sophisticated as it sounded, but I still think that it's unfair that someone who's only 17 should be that good.
I missed closing ceremonies but got to the Ecumenifilk, where I did Brian Leo's "Solstice Song", and people complimented me, and with catsittingstill's approval I did "The Word of God", and then I did "Hope Eyrie" as part of the tranisition from Ecumenifilk to open dead stray dog filk. It was a good sing. There was a lot of the Sunday afternoon at GAFilk, as people who weren't staying over drifted away. We went to the Barbecue Kitchen again. Then back for the real dead dog filk, which was good, but I was getting tired and we had a long drive. I stayed just a little bit too long, though, perhaps, because I'm not sure I'll ever be able to look at quadrivium the same way again after hearing her do That Song. Seriously, that's the dirtiest song I've ever heard.
The roads were fine for the trip home, and we made without incident; the only problem was that I was getting pretty tired when we stopped for dinner at Tequilas in Marion, and eating didn't perk me up enough, so birder2 drove for a while and I dozed. I was operational again by the Effingham rest stop and got myself home.