The trip got off to a good start, actually leaving my mom's driveway at 12:34, which comes pretty close to being on the road by 12:30. I'd realized by then that I'd forgotten the battery charger for my camera (I thought I already told people to hit me with large blunt objects if I did that again), but I wasn't going to take most of an hour to go home and fetch it. Traffic was moderate and the drive went smoothly; we got to the hotel around 3:30 (I didn't note the exact time). It was easy to find the hotel, and the only problem I had was that I initially pulled in the wrong driveway, and it appeared to be necessary to make a left back onto Mannheim and another left in the right driveway. This was a pain but eventually accomplished.
I checked in. The hotel knew about my reservation but had apparently lost the instructions that I was supposed to be located near the filk. I think they said I was on the 10th floor, and definitely in the wrong tower. But when I told them that I'd been supposed to be located near janmagic's room, they quickly found another room. I got to the room and was slightly nonplused to realize that it was a handicap-accessible room; I could use the room just fine but I was worried that I would be displacing someone who genuinely needed it, so I called the front desk and checked to make sure they hadn't made a mistake and they assured me it was OK.
After hauling my crap to the room (which, with two guitars, absolutely requires either a cart or two trips; I went with the two trips this time, but I'm definitely thinking of buying a cart), I got registered and began getting oriented in the hotel, which was slightly confusing but not really that hard to understand. It would have helped a great deal if the hotel map printed in the pocket program had been labeled with not only the hotel's names of various rooms but also with what con functions were in them. This information was included on some of the maps that were posted on the walls but not in the program book.
I shortly ran into Filk GoH Barry Childs-Helton, and spent the next half an hour or so helping Barry and the rest of the band get all of their stuff to their rooms. (In addition to Barry and Sally, the other members of Barry's current (non-filk) band Wild Mercy were both there for a concert Friday night. Unfortunately, Jen the harper had prior professional commitments -- two weddings on Saturday -- so we only got to see her for the concert, but Debbie was there for the weekend and seemed to be enjoying it.) I helped Jan with some signage for the filk, and then my mom, Jan, her husband Nick, and I had dinner at the buffet in the hotel restaurant. The regular menu at this restaurant was a little too tony for most fans -- $20.50 for meatloaf?! -- but they had prepared an all-you-can-eat buffet for $9.95. The choices were limited but the food was good, it was there, and on Friday it wasn't very busy so it worked very well.
I went to Opening Ceremonies after dinner, where the usual boredom of opening ceremonies was lightened by someone -- my memory is fuzzy, I think it was last year's con chair Steven Silver -- doing an unscheduled presentation to this year's chair Bonnie Jones. It seems Bonnie made some remark on the occasion of taking on the mantle of chairman that she wished to be known as something approximating Her Royal High Chair-ness. The title did not catch on with the rest of the concom, but it was remembered, and she was presented with her throne -- a high chair. She went along with the gag to the extent of actually sitting in the high chair, which she could just manage since she's a fairly small woman. The other high point of Opening Ceremonies was hearing GoH Robert Sawyer speak. Funny, erudite, interesting, and I really wish I'd gotten to hear him more later in the con but somehow I didn't.
After Opening Ceremonies was an episode of the fannish version of Let's Make a Deal, with billroper as Monty Hall. Bill and Gretchen did a really great job of preparing this schtick, and also had managed to come up with some pretty cool prizes, and the actual presentation was handled very well. It was disappointing that so few people attended; I think more people would have shown up if they'd known that there were going to be real prizes that you'd actually want (culminating in two free room nights at the hotel). Also disappointing to me was that nobody seemed to pay any attention to the tarantula on my head. I thought it was appropriate to reprise my OVFF hat for Let's Make a Deal, but it wasn't enough to get me a prize.
After Let's Make a Deal was the largest schedule frustration of the weekend. ericcoleman's concert was scheduled at the same time as Christain Ready's Hubble slideshow. I really wanted to show up to show my support for my friend Eric and to try to connect actual songs to the titles I know from his LJ, but I also really wanted to see Chris' pictures. I ended up opting for Eric's concert, which was pretty cool.
After Eric's concert, there was a little open filk, with the highlight being singlemaltsilk's oh so cool vampire song (her music to Michael Longcor's words). And I simply cannot remember the name of the song, which is making me feel very senile. This brief bit of filking ended when it was time for Wild Mercy to start doing sound checks. Wild Mercy delivered a really kick ass concert, which was followed by a good open filk, where I got to tell the story of how I'd borrowed Barry's guitar at ConClave and liked it so much I bought one of my own, and to demonstrate why I wanted a 6-string, I played "Drunken Angel", pretty badly by the standards of what I'm trying to achieve but hopefully it didn't completely suck to the audience. Few details of the filk remain in my mind. There were a lot of Star Trek songs -- I remember doing Julia Ecklar's "Tribbles" -- and a good time seemed to be had by all until 3-ish.
I will continue this report in another post, since I'm late for dinner now.