I’ve gotten behind on updating this journal, mostly from being so busy the last 2 weeks, between work and my personal life. I’ll try to keep on top of it better in the future. 🙂
The weekend after New Years, I went to see Shadow and Kender and their daughter (who I think I’ll call Elf, as she’s quite a lively little sprite ,) in Knoxville. This is the first time I’d been to see them since the somewhat disastrous trip in July, and it was nice to be able to go and enjoy their company and not feel on eggshells all the time. We had a marvelous weekend, ate lots of great food (Kender is a great cook), including more than a healthy share of biscuits with honey from Shadow’s beehives. Yum. Homemade honey is, I think, one of the rare perfect things on Earth.
Friday night when I arrived, shortly after 8pm, we exchanged Christmas gifts. Elf was very excited by the clothes I bought her, which was gratifying — although I’ve supplied a great number of outfits over the last 4 years, this was, I think, the first time I’d done so when she could actually form a real opinion of them. I also found her a little hardback collecting all four of the Harold and the Purple Crayon stories, which I loved as a kid (I bought two copies — one for Elf and one for me.) Saturday, we watched a somewhat unfortunate movie (Shadow wanted to see an action film, and so picked out Tomb Raider. It wasn’t bad for a piece of fluff, but I think we had more time MST3King it than actually watching it. . I had originally planned to come home on Sunday morning to attend the Gafilk concom meeting at Bedlam House that afternoon, but overnight Knoxville got 6 inches of snow dumped on it, and I decided to extend my trip another day. Monday morning, the roads were reporting as clear, but it was starting to flurry again, so more quickly than I would have liked, I packed up and headed south again. It snowed lightly all the way to Chattanooga, but the roads were clear and it was never hard enough to impair visibility. I actually made it to the office by 3pm and put in a half-day of work.
Tuesday was a mad rush to get 5 days worth of work done in one day so I could take my vacation starting on Wednesday. I did manage to accomplish this, and came home tuesday night and crashed out. Wednesday I took my car to the service department at Carmax so they could replace the windshield, which had a crack in it when I bought it and they had agreed to fix for free. Unfortunately, instead of having it done by around lunchtime, as originally we’d thought, they didn’t have the car ready for me until 4pm. Since I was supposed to meet someone at the airport at 4pm, I was vaguely unpleased by this, but traffic turned out to be unusually light for Atlanta rush hour, and I made it to the airport by five, where I picked up Filker0 and spiritdance and got them checked into their hotel. After getting them settled in, we went to Maggiano’s for an incredible dinner which couldn’t be beat, after which I dropped them off back at the hotel and headed home.
Thursday I got all my stuff packed for the weekend, ran some early errands, including getting my guitar checked over, just in case, and then headed down to pick up Filker0 and Spiritdancer and take them over to the Science Fiction and Mystery bookstore in Atlanta, since they had never been. Filker0 and I had a great time talking to Mark, the owner, while Spiritdancer piled up a stack of books she wanted to take home. Filker0 also found a British hardcover reissue of “Bored of the Rings”, which he bought and donated to the Interfilk auction.
Heading back to the hotel, we found people just starting to arrive, and also found that our first hotel troubles had arrived too. Most of these things we were able to handle behind the curtain, so I won’t go into them here.
I got checked into my room, then headed down to the bar for some dinner, and got caught up with some of the early arrivals. Filker0, Spiritdancer, BillS, Maureen, Keris, Surrdave and myself had burgers and chicken fingers and other bar food along with a heap of good conversation, and then headed up to the consuite to staple program books. We got this done by about 1am, even with the uncomfortable environment caused by the hotel having turned the heat on full blast on the fourth floor — this despite 65 degree weather outside! I had earlier turned the A/C up in my room to max, so it was very pleasent in there when I finally crashed about 2am.
Morning came and I got dressed and went down to find yet more people arriving. I had breakfast, and then headed down to Southgate Mall to pick up a few things before heading to the airport to pick up Kitanzi.
Kitanzi and I had been interested in each other for a long time, though neither of was aware how bidirectional the interest was. We finally saw each other again in person just as I was finally making my mind up that I was going to move out of my then-current situation at the earliest opportunity, so we took that meeting as a chance to explore how we felt about one another . This was the first weekend we were actually going to get to spend time alone together since we came to that understanding, though, so I was really looking forward to it. We had a wonderful reunion at the airport, then drove back to the hotel where we met up with a number of people who wanted to go and get dinner. Being on of the few people around with a car, I agreed to help ferry, so we headed down to Southgate again and ended up at the Ruby Tuesdays with Maureen, Keris, Filker0, Spiritdancer, ladymondegreen and her sweetie J, and a couple of other folks that I’ve suddenly blanked on.
We got back to the hotel with just enough time for me to get dressed for opening ceremonies. I actually own a tuxedo for just this purpose, and it’s fun wearing it. Anything worth doing is worth doing to wretched excess, I always say. Opening ceremonies included the usual new year’s toasts, and then it was time for the yearly game show, “My FIlk”.
“My Filk” is based loosely on the British radio panel game “My Word”, which many of the concom adore. I adapted it to filk three years ago and it’s been a big hit every year. The basic concept is various forms of filk trivia. This year, we did “Literary” filk (in honor of our Secret Guest: Lois McMaster Bujold), where I gave a line from a song and you had to identify the Title and author of both the song and the story it was based on, “Odd One Out”, where I named four times and you had to tell me which didn’t belong and why — this was actually less successful than I’d have liked, simply because there were often so MANY ways the question could be truthfully answered the round tended to drag on a bit long — and what seems to be the favourite category, “Second Lines”, where I gave a line from a filksong and you had to tell me the previous lyric, along with the title and author of the song. But the best part of ‘My Filk’ is the final round. Back between the first and second rounds, each team had to draw two cards from a hat, each of which had a topic on it. The teams were given 10 minutes after round three to go and compose an instafilk which combined the two topics. Team A got Mao-Tse Tung and The Euro, and Team 2 [sic] got Harry Potter and Easy Chairs. Team 2 did a cute little song with 3 full verses and a catch chorus, and looked in good shape. Then Team A did a song to the tune of “Both Sides Now” that just blew everyone away, and included a pun so vile and obvious that I never saw it coming.
Carla Ulbrich did a concert after that, and was her usual charming and witty self. I was amused that in her song “Won’t you please do something Stupid”, she changed the name of the person she would never go out with from “Steve” to “Rob” (and I’m told she alters that line a fair bit live from people who’ve seen her multiple times).
We went up to change into less formal attire after Carla’s concert, and came down to listen to the Bujold theme filk for about an hour or so. Lois really had a good time listening to all the filk written about her work. She told me later than even when she does manage to sneak down to a filk room at a con, she might here one or two Bujold themed songs in an hour or two, so getting a concentrated dose was a treat. After a while, we pumpkined out and left the assorted filkers to chase the dawn.
Saturday morning, Kitanzi and I got up and headed down for the breakfast buffet, where we managed to find a table with an old online friend of mine, Misterfive. I’d been wanting to meet her for a long time, and had managed to lure her to this con (she doesn’t normally do conventions) by enticing her with Lois Bujold (Misterfive is responsible for getting me into LMB some years ago, so it was a return of favour, if you will.) Just as we were finishing with breakfast, Hilfy (another concom member) came over to my table and asked if she could talk to me. Her message was short and drastic and I immediately had to go into crisis mode. Rushed to find BillS and huddle up to figure out how to handle the sudden problem. Formed plans and executed them, and put everything more or less to right in short order, but it wasn’t the way I’d intended to start my day.
Managed to get things settled enough to go and see LMB’s reading at noon, after which I decided that after all the unexpected activity, I should go and unwind a bit, so we headed up for a 2 hour nap. This means I unfortunately missed both the Toastmaster and Interfilk concerts. 🙁 We did get back down in time for the 2x10s, which were wonderful and varied. RobS was making instant CD recordings available to the performers, and the tracks that I’ve heard so far sounded great.
After the 2x10s, we went to the Saturday banquet, which featured the amazingly talented Mary Crowell. Mary just showed up out of the blue at last years Gafilk and blew everyone away, so we wanted to showcase her this year. Her torchy-jazz piano style was perfect for a nightclub style act for dinner entertainment, and everyone had a great time. Kitanzi and I had a great view of the piano, too, since we were at the head table with BillS and BrendaS, Cat Faber, Callie Hills and Lois Bujold. One of the perks of concom (though it meant we had to eat last, I didn’t mind at all!)
Echo’s Children (Cat and Callie) were the Guests of Honor, and their concert was a blast. This was the first time I’d ever gotten to see them actually perform a whole show live, and I wasn’t disappointed. There was a brief, unpleasant health-related interruption, but I very quickly moved the Interfilk auction to start immediately, which allowed the performer to regroup, get pulled together and come back out. After the auction, EC finished their set, to thunderous applause.
After the concert, we decided to skip on the Ice Cream social and go to bed, as I was pretty exhausted from the long day.
Sunday morning was pretty much reserved for goodbyes. Kitanzi and I somehow managed to enjoy our last morning together before she headed back up to New England, but I was reminded how I’ve always sucked at saying goodbye. I try to focus on it as “see you soon,” but parting with friends and especially lovers ranks fairly high on my list of things I enjoy less than emergency trips to the dentist. I’ve spent the last week focusing on the good time we had together (I imagine we induced a fair amount of insulin shock in most of our friends all weekend <g>) and the fact that she’ll be visiting again next month, but it was still hard.
This was also the beginning of my being airport taxi boy for the next two days. Not that I minded. I took Lois to the airport that afternoon, which was nice as I’d not had much time to just sit and chat with her all weekend. She had a great time, which was gratifying, as that was part of what we invited her to the con to do. I then took yet another friend over and packed her off for New England before finally getting to pick up my guitar and play some things at the dead dog. Was offered crash space that night by a lovely friend, who turns out to have much in common with me with regards to our current relationships, so we had a good time after pumpkining from the dead dog just chatting about that. The next morning after taking Filker0 and Spiritdancer to the airport, she and I went out to lunch with Keris, after which I took her to the airport, then Keris, and finally got home at about 8pm Monday night. Whew!
All in all, a great weekend. Getting to spend time with my new love, while surrounded by a hundred of my closest friends….it just doesn’t get any better.