We (I was traveling with my mom) started the trip visiting Lori at the vets, which took longer than we had intended. (Dr. Lacoste was the vet on call Thursday, so we had to wait for him. And he wanted to explain things and have me sign papers to authorize treatment that might be necessary or euthanasia if things went badly.) Sitting there cooling my heels for all that time in a room whose decor consists primarily of racks of pamphlets on how to cope with dying pets wasn't a very good start to the trip. Thanks to the late start, and also because I relied on my memory which turned out to be a little fuzzy rather than checking the map, we stopped for the night at Hopkinsville, Kentucky. (We could/should have gone a little further, but it worked out OK.)
We made it to the hotel around 5 PM on Friday. The traffic was terrible in the other direction, but fortunately not too bad going south into Atlanta, with the single exception of a 5 minute backup at the intersection of I-75 and I-20. Checking in was smooth enough, but unfortunately efforts to find anyone to have dinner with were a dismal failure, so we got carryout from the Chinese place across the street and ate it in the con suite overflow room. (Note to self, or anyone else who cares -- the Happy Buddha is convenient, but the food is rather mediocre. Skip it next year.)
We did make it to the opening festivities, where I was happy to toast the departing backside of 2004. May 2005 be better than December 2004 was. Please. After the New Year celebration, we had a decent round of My Filk trivia questions, with what I thought was a good level of pain inflicted, either in straining to think of the answer that I knew I should know or it straining to not shout out the answer when I did. Sadly, the whole trivia contest was once again rendered moot because the song at the end is given so much more weight in the scoring. I remember the year I got tapped to be on the panel; I was good at the trivia questions, but I was no help at all in writing the song (hardly surprising; since I don't write songs at all, I'm not likely to suddenly be able to write one in 15 minutes) and my team lost because the other team's song was more popular. This year, Cat Faber on team B appeared to be the star player for both the trivia questions and the song writing. I thought Team 1's song about Origami Teapots was a quite creditable effort, but Cat came up with a whole ballad, several verses long, that actually evoked an interesting world and told a story that made some kind of sense, so Team 1 never had a chance. The official programming on Friday night ended with a kick ass concert by filker0 and spiritdance. Note to self: Get your lazy butt away from the computer and learn "When I Go"! Note to filker0:
After the concert I went up to my room and fetched my guitars and stuff. I then set these things down in the lobby while I went to look around to decide which filk room to invade, and I got stuck in a conversation for most of 2 hours and by the time I was done with that, I didn't really have any energy left to try to filk. Oh well.
I went to bed at an almost reasonable hour, and got up the next morning after an almost reasonable number of hours of sleep feeling like I'd filked all night. Staggered downstairs at about 11, and encountered billroper who was game for going to the Barbecue Kitchen next door. Not the best barbecue I've ever had, but quite decent, and they had a nice range of side dish choices to go with it. Recommended for next year. Bill and I chatted about work, mainly in the context of my job search, which on reflection convinces me that I like talking about working in my field a lot more than I actually like doing it. But my thanks to him for his attention.
We got back from lunch right on time for Tanya Huff's reading. (I will refrain from referring to the convention guests by LJ handle since I'm unsure of whose LJ identities are supposed to be known to the Internet world at large, and the guests at GaFilk are well known.) She gave us a delightful story about the bag lady from Gate of Darkness, Circle of Light. A thoroughly amusing character, and one that delivers a poke in the prejudices that I hope I am the better for, and since she's satisfied with how she came out in the story, it has to qualify as a good ending. And she gave us her song "Pervy Hobbit Fancier". Now, while I don't personally understand the obsession that so many people around me have with Peter Jackson's rendition of the hobbits, I figure that that's just a matter of their just not being my type. I think Tanya has plenty of company, and the fantasies expressed didn't seem to be particularly pervy. Would it be TMI to say that I was disappointed we didn't get anything juicier? ;->
Next was a concert by Interfilk guest Steve Savitsky. I've admired his songwriting for a long time -- how can we do less than worship the ground trod by the writer of both "Paper Wings" and "World Inside the Crystal" -- and it is a treat to hear him in person, even though he is not the strongest performer. And to hear his own self parody of "Paper Wings", chronicaling the historic experiment implementing the previously strictly theoretical RFC 1149, was to be reduced to jelly at the first occurrence of the phrase "paper pings". OK, maybe it was the sleep deprevation that made me not see it coming or that made it so completely hilarious -- but I was thoroughly amused. Thank you Interfilk.
Next was toastmaster Teri Wachowiak and her band. They had spirit, they had some good material, and it seemed to me that if their lead guitarist had been in tune they would have sounded great.
The 2x10s were lead off by Three Weird Sisters, who were unfortunately struck by technical problems. Mary's keyboard died, and after 15 minutes or so of fiddling with it, they hastily ad-libbed a pair of songs that didn't require it. Sad that we didn't get to hear what they intended. Fortunately, the keyboard worked later. I bailed on the rest of the 2x10's because I was feeling quite tired and I wanted to last into some open filk.
The next event was billed as a banquet with live music, but for me, it was a concert with food included. Jodi Krangle, Mary Crowell, Dave Rood, George Powell, Teresa Gibson Powell, and the drummer whose name I forget were the 2005 incarnation of the GaFilk House Band, and that's using incarnation in the same sense that it's used with deities. They were awesome. The food was good; the choices were a bit limited but the dishes were as good as steam table banquet food can be. And the dancing was wildly popular. It was quite frustrating to me to have no clue how to dance; I can feel the rhythm call me but I don't know how to answer it, and I'm too shy to ask a lady onto the dance floor when I feel so clueless about what to do once I get there.
After dinner, Guest of Honor Kathleen Sloan treated us to a concert. As she told us, it was pretty much the same set list as she'd had for her concert at FKO, but I still enjoy the songs.
The Interfilk auction this year had several big-ticket items, sadly, from the estate of Claire Maier, including the first copy of Quarks and Quests I've ever seen, and copies of Songs of the Dorsai and Rifles and Rhymes. But it was a typical Interfilk auction situation where there were a few things I actually wanted, which I knew would go far higher than I would pay for them, and a bunch of other things I didn't want. And even with the schtick that goes on in an Interfilk auction, I have a "seen one, seen 'em all" attitude to auctions as entertainment. So I didn't attend the auction. I'm glad it went well, but I wasn't going to buy anything.
Open filking was good Saturday night, though my memory isn't very clear. I set up in the alternate room, but so did pretty much everyone else, so it was a fairly crowded sing. The high point that I remember was doing "Dark Wine and Roses" with Mary Crowell and the House Band drummer backing me up. I still have some issues with timing in that song, but I think it sounded OK. The funniest thing that happened was when a woman I don't know whose name I didn't catch told a story of how she had worked with a puppet troupe. Enacting parts of the Gilgamesh epic. Specifically, the taming of Enkidu. The technical details of presenting explicit puppet sex. I guess you had to be there, but believe me you should have been.
I am falling asleep at my keyboard here, so I will have to finish this report later.