Anything I don't post now, I'll probably never get around to posting, so here's a brief narrative of the trip.
birder2 picked me up around 2:30 on Thursday. We took her car, because I was not up to being the driver, and my car's shift is tricky for anyone else to drive. We were looking for a motel around Flint (darn Michigan welcome center on I-69 locks up the motel coupon books in the fancy tourism center when it's closed, so we couldn't get that travel aid), and there were no motels advertising/visible from the highway, so we stopped at the first thing we found, a Comfort Inn that I felt vaguely uncomfortable about. I was tired and cranky and didn't want to leave any of our stuff unsecured during the process of getting what we needed into the room, which took more than one trip. Nothing happened.
Travel the next day was routine until we got to the border, where birder2 ad-libbed to the border guard asking why we were coming to Canada that we were going to a "friendship festival". Does that sound like drugs to you? It did to the border guard too. I think that's the first time my vehicle has been searched, and we had to talk to the people at the desk, who didn't have any problem when we showed them the con flyer, but between that delay and some traffic on the 401, it was a little later than it seems like it should have been when we got in, I think around 4. andpuff got in just in time for us to have dinner at Kelsey's before the reception the hotel provided, complete with a pretty nice cake and a bowl of hummus that truly pushed the limits of Passovoy's Second Law. ("There is no such thing as too much garlic.")
Because this is supposed to be a quick report, I'm not going to look at my program to remember which concerts were when. There were a couple on Friday night. They were good. But I went up to my room after they were over, and I was just too dead to come back down for open filking.
Saturday, I dragged myself out of bed at the crack of noon (yes, even though I went to bed early Friday night, I needed to sleep in), had some very nice food in the con suite, and got downstairs for the concerts, which were a really stellar lineup. I know it led off with Karen Linsley, who I personally think is the finest female vocalist in filk, and I'm really hope that she'll be performing more going forward. Ghost of a Rose was in the middle somewhere, which was semi-new for me; I've heard Dene solo several times but never with his bandmates -- and they have lots of awesome. That, and many one shots, and another concert or two that I can't keep straight, were all leading up to the main event, Wild Mercy, and they rocked the house so hard that by rights it should have leveled the hotel. After the concerts, trektone took me to dinner for my birthday, because he's such a wonderful person. We didn't have a solid plan, and we ended up driving south on Dixie until we found a likely looking place, which turned out to be a noodle shop called Pho 99 (or at least whose name included the word Pho and the number 99). I knew pretty much nothing about Vietnamese food, so trektone ordered. The food was all wonderful. We had a basic pho, without any of the weird meat choices that were available, and the broth was a thing of sublime beauty, and a goat curry which was quite good, with a different seasoning than I can ever recall meeting before, and a couple of other dishes. We also had a couple of drinks that I thought were weird: a pickled plum soda and a durian milkshake. I found these weird and didn't really like them, but neither one was horrible. We made up for not actually being stuffed when we left the restaurant by returning to the con just in time for the dessert reception, where I finally got to have a piece of Karen's cheesecake that I'd been drooling over ever since I helped unload her car Friday afternoon. (It was worth the anticipation, the best of several desserts I pigged out on.) I then took a little more down time, but I did manage to make it down for the open filk. I found myself in the middle room, where Wild Mercy and Ghost of a Rose had set up. quadrivium and sweetmusic_27 joined the two bands, and the jamming that ensued was the musical high point of the convention. I only managed to get one song in, but I'm really glad I was in that room. I do need to actually learn some more jam-friendly songs, though.
Sunday I got up, got food in the con suite again, and made it downstairs for the end of the at-con song contest. The Hall of Fame concert featured the new inductees, Urban Tapestry, Howard Scrimgeour, and Ellen Kranzer, who together gave us a fine show with a bunch of well-loved familiar songs. min0taur led the Filk Preserve, so it was a real jam, not just another circle. It was fun, but pretty short, because the concert and closing ran late but the deadline to give the hotel the room back didn't. We immediately went off to dinner, which turned out to involve considerably more drama than going to dinner should, but we did eventually manage to get dinner. I'm not going to go into the details of the adventure here. The food was excellent. (Nirvana, on Brunel just off Hurontario.) I like most Indian food. Biryani is my favorite dish. The lamb biryani was solidly up to my high standards, and I sampled several people's curries and they were all delicious. We got back to the hotel late enough that Alderwood was already pretty full; it was a challenge getting set up, but I managed to get a couple of songs in, and then used up the last of my energy in coordinating with janmagic, filkart, and ithiriel so that we could have lunch at Tiger Jack's in London.
Checking out of the hotel was uneventful. We came astonishingly close to meeting our 9:00 target. They were a little slower, but we were on the road by 10. We had a little drama getting to the restaurant, but we made it there eventually, after our little tour of London, and had yummy food in the fun atmosphere. It took the US border guard 30 seconds to decide we should be allowed back in, and just routine driving after that.
Thanks to everyone who made the weekend awesome. If I was rude or whiny or draining to anyone, I apologize. It's been a tough time for me lately. I'm trying to be better.