I'm back from DucKon. The short version: I started the con very tired, and I didn't get much better. I did get to most of the music I wanted to, but little else, and I had some very good times once I finally got myself into con mode.
We'll start the story the night before the con, where I was feeling listless and fuzzy headed and just couldn't find the motivation to pack like I should have. I meant to go to bed early, but failed, and didn't get to sleep until 2:30 or so. I staggered out of bed at 9 and managed to shuffle through packing and getting ready to go without forgetting too much. I skipped lunch, substituting a little summer sausage and a slice of toast, and I was still half an hour late. I also forgot my high fiber breakfast cereal, which made me cranky with the expectation of being constipated all weekend. I picked up birder2 and we headed out. The hotel was right where we left it however many years ago when Windycon moved out. They provided us with room 3131, which was in the proper wing and the right floor, but all the way at the bitter end of the long twisting corridor. The room had no luggage racks and no comfy chair and was very hot. I cranked the A/C down and headed out to find the con. I found the stairway that dumps out in the lobby by the front door on my second try. I found reg and picked up my badge without a problem. I found the dealers room and bought the books I thought I really needed, including Deadline. I found the filk space, and discovered a room with a floor plan that I'm sure a real estate agent would describe with words like "quaint" and "unique". As the intrepid and awesome filk crew had set it up, it was actually a very nice space for filk concerts, with a small area of seating in rows in front of the stage for the hard core audience, and a slightly larger area set up with tables where people could hang out while the show was going on. There was pretty much nobody there at that point. I was getting cranky from lack of food and general tired, but I really want to have people to go eat with. We hiked up to the con suite, where they did have cold cuts, but a very thin selection of con suite munchies. I eventually gave up on my quest to find people to talk with over dinner, and went to my room to have a sandwich. And I just didn't have the energy to stand up, so I missed opening ceremonies. I was late getting to the guitar workshop. Once I got there, I tried to follow along, but I was so fatigued that I couldn't make my fingers move consistently through the patterns that I didn't already know well. If I can find the discipline to actually practice the material in the workshop, I will benefit. Next up was a concert by the Archon filk crew, showcasing the filkers from St. Louis other than GoH Gary Hanak, who would have his own concert. These folks have plenty of spirit, mixing filk classics, familiar non-filk songs, and originals, but, um, I'm not sure how to say this without the potential to offend, sometimes less than perfectly on key. After the concert, we reset the chairs for open filk, and the biggest problem of the weekend reared its ugly head: the layout of the room is such that there isn't a good place for a circle large enough for DucKon open filk. The circle was in the seating area in front of the stage, and it was small enough that there were only about a dozen seats in the circle, with maybe another dozen in the second row and corners. I was in the second row, and it was just impossible to shove a song in without throwing a grenade. It was a good circle to listen to, with markiv1111, chasophonic, and chirosinger forming the core of the jam band, and lots of percussion and other guitars, but I figure that if a circle is tough enough that I feel stepped on and unable to get a turn, I know that people who have less history than I do are likely to feel hurt. I gave up fighting the tired around 1, I think.
Despite not actually being out very late Friday, I was still too draggy to be up early Saturday. I'd never expected to get to the 10:00 furry panel. So I slept in as long as I could. I had a combined breakfast and lunch in the room, got a quick turn through the art show, and went to the 2:00 panel on furry etiquette, because I really wanted to get to at least one of the furry track panels, and all of them conflicted with the filk track. (Any panel at 10 AM conflicts with the filk track, because filkers are asleep at 10 AM. All of the others were across concerts.) It was moderately entertaining, if not deeply enlightening, and I got to hear a bit from artist GoH Ursula Vernon. But I'm sad that that meant missing sweetmusic_27's concert. I spent the rest of the afternoon in concerts, though, starting with Cheshire Moon, the musical high point of the weekend. lizziecrowe has a gorgeous voice, sings with passion, and knows how to use a microphone (which is good, because she sings very softly). ericcoleman very clearly demonstrates that his impressive collection of strange instruments, tunings, and electronic gadgets isn't just for geek appeal; he actually uses them to make beautiful music. Their rendition of "Temple of the King" particularly sent shivers down my spine that started with the opening chords and didn't fade until the song finished. Concerts from filk fund guests Nate and Louie Bucklin and Filk GoH Gary Hanak were mostly known quantities, good but familiar. It was fun to see Gary collecting guest musicians on stage. This was followed by a little bit of drama over getting to dinner, but eventually all of us managed to find our way to Todai, the sushi buffet in the mall. The sushi was not as good as I'd hoped, but it also wasn't as expensive as I'd feared; I could easily have spent as much at the Cheesecake Factory. We only missed the first few minutes of musicmutt's emergency fill in concert for filkertom, who unfortunately had to cancel at the last minute. Also missed the Tesla coils, which were at the same time. I managed to get a seat in the circle Saturday night, which helped a little bit with getting songs in; unfortunately, it was kind of wedged in the corner, so that I had to twist to sit in the chair, and my neck and right shoulder developed an objection, so I spent more of Saturday night out of my seat than I would have preferred.
Sunday I slept in again, because the other thing I couldn't bear to miss was Riverfolk's concert. chasophonic and chirosinger with their wonderful vocal duets and double guitars are fantastic by themselves, and anything is better with fiddle from sweetmusic_27 and bass from markiv1111. After their concert, there wasn't much going on until the pizza party, which was good, because I was still a little short on energy. I got pulled into a Pandemic game just before the pizza arrived, which gave me a chance to see and play a game I'd only heard about. We had pizza, which was good, even though it would have taken a crime lab to find the sausage on our pizza. And chirosinger and bonz_lizard pulled a bunch of us into another game, something called Money Duck. A bunch of people get around the table. Everyone writes a phrase on a piece of paper and passes it to the left. Then they take their new paper, draw a picture of the phrase, fold the paper so the words are hidden and only the picture is showing, and pass that to the left. Take the picture and try to describe it with a phrase, hide the picture, and pass it to the left. When everyone gets their original paper back, each in turn unfolds the paper and everyone laughs at how the idea gets warped on the journey. It is sort of the anti-Pictionary, because not being able to draw worth a damn makes it more fun because the results are sillier. Then we had to pick up and move to the dealer's room, because the hotel needed the filk room back. The dealers room was plenty big, but unfortunately, it was even less air conditioned than the filk room (which had been hot all weekend). We didn't let that stop us from having a great filk, though. I put my guitar away by 11 or 12 because my fingers were done, but I stuck around thinking to get in an a capella song or spoken piece or two. By 1, I decided that it was hurting too much to stay up, so I did Wings as a swan song and started packing up. But by the time I'd collected all my hugs, the filk was breaking up, and I ended up filk smoffing for another hour.
Coming home today was uneventful once the hotel finally brought us a cart. (I wish hotels would let guests use their carts to move their own luggage.) janmagic phoned the traffic fairy, who provided assurance that whatever had caused traffic on eastbound 290 to back up horribly on Friday afternoon when we were coming in wasn't being repeated Monday morning, so we could take our normal route home. I finally looked at the map at the Buckley rest area, and discovered that, no, it's not insane to take 355, 290 swings farther west than I'd remembered. But I'd still rather take 290 and 294, if there isn't a traffic backup, because the tolls are less, it's slightly shorter, and it offers a place to eat lunch.