Thursday, I was at Holly's Thanksgiving Dinner for Wayward Souls. I believe there were 29 at dinner. Dinner was good, and there was some gaming. We stopped by again Friday briefly for Peter's Risotto, and some more conversation and hugs, until we headed out around 3:30.
Google's directions failed to make it fully clear where we were supposed to turn, so we spent more time driving in Normal than we should have, but we found the hotel and checked in. The Marriott in Normal is a pretty nice hotel with facilities for much larger gatherings than ours, but there's nothing else going on in town this weekend. (Ironically, we're in normal because there's usually football in Champaign on Thanksgiving, and by the time all the football had officially cleared out and the hotels in Champaign were calling back and saying please come stay with us,we already had a signed 2-year contract in Normal.) Eventually, we found ourselves in a very nice hotel in a pretty nice downtown with a fair number of nice people. There's a fairly nice (at least by my American standards) Irish pub called Molly Miley's, where a somewhat awkwardly large group of us went to dinner. I had shepherd's pie which was wonderful, and a an order of wings which were OK. Since I'd had the Risotto just a few hours before, I didn't try to tackle the Irish stew in a bread bowl or the boxty, but they looed good, and several people had fish and chips which they pronounced good. (Not being all that much of a fish and chips guy, I tried something else.) Back to the hotel, had a mug of cider, gamed a bit, and started filking. Not very many filkers but enough to have a good circle, and a good time was had. I had trouble sleeping the night before, so I wasn't pushing to stay up ultra late Friday, but still didn't get as much rest as I had in mind. Got up a bit past noon, caught some of Gene Wolfe's talk, played some more games, missing the beginning of the Never-Ending Filk Panel because I was deeply absorbed in Dominion. And about then I started having some digestive trouble. Went to the banquet, where I ate somewhat cautiously, but started feeling worse. The high point of the banquet was Michael Kube-McDowell returning to public life. He told us the story of how he'd been sent down a hole of depression and anxiety by his father's death 15 years ago, and was beginning to find his way out now. I decided that I needed to get some anti-diarrhea medicine and some gatorade (since I was craving it, which generally means I need it). Fortuitously there's a CVS across the street from the hotel, where I had to pay an annoying amount for the Gatorade -- it was on sale for only twice what I'd pay in the grocery store, but it turned out the sale price was only good if you had a customer card, so I had to pay closer to 3 times what it should have cost. And I made the fascinating discovery that if you wash down a dose of Immodium with Gatorade, you end up with an astonishingly foul taste in your mouth. But after a few minutes I felt well enough to head down to Bill Rintz' fan guest of honor concert, accompanied by Bill Furry. In case anyone is reading this who doesn't know who Bill Rintz is -- he was a fantastic old-time fiddler who had a major stroke a long time back. With a lot of hard work, he's managed to get back eoungh of his fiddle playing to be worth hearing, and this weekend with Bill, be was singing quite decently. We were glad to have him back. After that we had another good filk circle, but it broke up a bit after 2.
It turned out that birder2 wanted to be back in town for the Messiah sing along at 4, so we left by 2 and I missed the dead dog. Next year I'll just drive my own car.
Do come to Chambanacon next year. I'm the Fan Guest of Honor.