I picked up Spike right on time (a remarkable achievement) and we went on to get birder2. We got all the stuff in the car and got on the road, and everything was fine, until we actually got to the general neighborhood, where I failed to find an exit for Lake Cook Road, and compounded the problem by not getting off on Half Day Road, even though I know Half Day is north of Lake Cook, because I was so sure I was going to see an exit for Lake Cook that I thought that there was some weirdness where an alternate path led to Half Day. By the time I was convinced that I had in fact missed my proper turn, I was another exit too far north, but I made it to Milwaukee Ave. and eventually to the hotel. This used up the extra time that we'd had, so we got to the cafe just slightly before tollers' set was to start. Just in time for the abomination that ericcoleman ended his set with. I know he did it at Windycon. I don't know if I'd heard the Eleanor Rigby verse before. But somehow, the utter wrongness of it just bent my brain. Still, I was able to enjoy tollers' set, even though the right speaker was not helping. billroper had a nice concert, and filkart had a nice concert. I was hoping to get to the dealer's room, but janmagic wanted to go to dinner right then. We went to Claim Jumper, which has the advantage of being just across the parking lot. The food was OK but the prices were higher than I would have preferred. The dealers were closed by the time I got back. I went into the Capricon birthday party, but I realized before I took a piece of cake that I was full enough already that I really didn't want any. And I discovered that the art show was still open, and this would give me time to see it. There were pretty pictures, but nothing that I really desperately wanted, which is good because I really have no money. I took a little break in the room and wandered down to the filk, and I did a few songs, but I found that lack of practice was bothering my chording hand and the dry hotel air was bothering my voice. And then the dry hotel air scored a critical on me and I developed a nosebleed, and this left me feeling ready to pack it in. An enthusiastic non-filker musician wandered in. He seemed to have no idea what a 12-string was, to say nothing of having played one, but oddly enough, he actually could play guitar. He claimed he'd been playing piano for years but had only started on the guitar a few months ago. Unfortunately, I'd already decided I was done before he came in, and I was too tired and headachy to really want to join in the fun. (It was filkart's guitar he was gushing over, not mine.)
I would have loved to hear Rob Sawyer read, but 10:00 is just too early. (Dear concoms, if you have to have programming at 10, could you at least make it sucky programming that I don't mind missing?) I ate food that I'd brought, and headed for the dealer's room. I picked up a couple of books that I meant to get from Larry Smith, but I discovered to my woe that Glen Cook was not at the con. Because I'd gotten a book from him back at Chambanacon without realizing that it was a 10 year old book that I was going to have trouble getting in person. And he had the others in the trilogy, but I hadn't yet red the first one and I didn't know how good it was. A great deal of my pre-con enthusiasm was actually wrapped up in getting these books, and I was pretty deflated that I wasn't going to be able to. The first concert in the cafe was supposed to be Barisha and Carol, but it turned out that Barisha was not there due to health problems. Carol did a fine concert, almost all songs I'd head before but songs I like a lot. I missed my New Year's trip to Milwaukee because I got sick, so I had Christmas presents for my Milwaukee friends, and filkart and ithiriel also had presents for me. Then sweetmusic_27 had a concert whose only flaw was being too short. Of course, she joined a lot of other people's concerts and made them wonderful (everything is better with fiddler), so I can't say I was acutely deprived. At this point, I'd finished the book that I'd brought with me, so I decided to just buy the small stack that I had at Larry's table and started reading the next one. filkertom gave us a fun an energetic concert. And then, again, we were heading to dinner early. It had been announced that we were going to a place called Hackney's because they had buffalo burgers, it was on Milwaukee and not too far. I didn't actually recognize the name but for some reason I got it into my head that they were talking about a place we'd passed on the way to the hotel that didn't look very promising to me, and I was feeling kind of down, like this was a place I didn't think I wanted to go, but it was where the people I wanted to be with were going. We had a little bother getting there, because ithiriel's GPS was a bit slow to pick up the ball, but it turned out that the restaurant was the other direction on Milwaukee, not the place I'd seen in passing at all. It turned out to be pretty good; I spent a lot less money than I had Friday night, and I had plenty to eat. And despite what I thought was an early departure, we only got back in time for the nominal start of billroper's main stage concert. The concert was delayed for sound checks, but it came off OK, in spite of the best efforts of the children. Katie was actually very entertaining. She was all over the stage and hamming it up with an unconnected microphone. Given that pop starts don't have to sing at all these days -- they just need to look good -- I assume she's ready for her big recording contract. Julie was much more disruptive, because she wasn't quiet. Next up came Toyboat. I brought earplugs, and even through them, it was a little loud, but I like a fair bit of the sound. Except when I realize that the lyrics under it are Mary O'Meara. The best part of the Toyboat concert, though, was that I got to sit next to exapno and snuggle. It was also highly entertaining, at least to me, to have the group of fursuiters come into the concert and dance and gesture. After the concert, we had open filking, and I did a lot of songs. We didn't have a whole lot of performers, but even so I might have been hogging just a bit a time or two. People seemed appreciative most of the time, but I really have to wonder what I'm doing wrong when I can't get anyone to sing along with Hope Eyrie. The filk broke up, but then almeda, wyld_dandelyon, and I got into a conversation about writing that I think I enjoyed as much as the filk, and I only got away and off to my room because I really had to use the bathroom.
Sunday I was mainly concerned with successfully escaping the room. Getting out of the hotel on Sunday is usually a big problem, especially given that my humidifier is so awkward to carry that it pretty much guarantees I won't be able to make it in one trip without a cart. Amazingly enough, it wasn't actually a problem -- I've never been in a tower hotel where the elevators worked so well. We got to the cafe and had a sandwich while wyld_dandelyon did a reading and we talked about writing stuff, and exapno gave me the bag of dark chocolate pomegranate cookies that she made. She kept apologizing because, due to some mild misstep in the preparation, they didn't hold their shape and it was more a bag of crumbles than actual cookies. But they're awesomely delicious crumbles, and I really love them. We rendezvoused with Spike and got stuff back in the car and were just leaving when I had a brief panic when I discovered that my phone was missing. But the one advantage of losing your phone, over losing any other thing you might be carrying, at least when you're with other people, is that someone else can call you and you can find the thing by its ringing. It had gotten itself attached to my belt pouch instead of my belt, so it was found and all was OK. The drive home was uneventful and we had good conversation, which continued for a few minutes after I'd actually gotten Spike home before we decided that we both needed dinner and we should continue by email.