Our flight left on Thursday morning, and was largely uneventful. We landed in Columbus, got our bags and picked up our rental car without any fuss at all, and drove over towards the con hotel. No one was actually there, so we decided to get a lunch at a nearby Longhorn Steaks before heading back to the airport to pick up cadhla. We ran into sibylle in the waiting area, and kept her company waiting for her ride to show up. Eventually, we had everyone together and took off for the hotel, stopping only briefly at a convenience store to get DDP for Seanan.
Back at the hotel, we met up with sweetmusic_27 and got settled into the room we were all sharing. (kitanzi and I didn’t have a room for Thursday or Sunday, because the hotel refused to book us rooms on those nights at the con rate, saying none were available.) Eventually, we headed out for dinner, opting to hit BD’s Mongolian Grill, even though we knew we’d be back on Sunday for the Dead Dog. This proved to be fortuitous, because Thursday night BD’s has a balloon animal artist wandering around doing tricks for the kids (and the kids at heart.) He made Seanan a pumpkin and a purple spider for Amy, and we made sure to give him a good tip for his time. (Amusing moment came when he asked if really enjoyed it here or if I was simply being someone’s dutiful husband. I said, with a slight grin, “No, I really want to be here. The company is great: this is my wife, and this is my girlfriend, and this is my other girlfriend.”)
Right next to BD’s was a Halloween Express. Did we resist the siren call of this retail establishment? Don’t be silly, of course we didn’t. We had a good time critiquing the various costumes, including a running discussion of the inherit sexism in the selections, and how there aren’t nearly enough cool costumes for women. I walked off with a fine purple pimp hat to wear for the Mad Hatter’s party, and I bought Seanan a chainsaw that made screaming noises when you pushed the button, because I just love her like that.
Full of food and loaded down with festival swag, we swung by Whole Foods for pumpkin parfait and other delights, then went back to the hotel, stopping by the early filk long enough to say high to the…..hrm, what’s the opposite of stragglers? Those people. We settled back in the room and watched VH1’s “Scream Queens” on my laptop. I’m not really a fan of reality shows in general, but I have to admit that this was far more entertaining than it really had any right to be. With everyone tuckered out, we eventually settled in for a good night’s sleep.
Friday morning, we got up bright and early and headed out a run on Target for chocolate and a new humidifier and other necessary goods and a stop at Golden Corral for lunch (since the Fuddrucker’s we’d started out for had apparently gone out of business, then returned to the hotel to start catching up with various people. I was delighted to see mysticfig and kaath9, as I had not known they were coming, and they are truly two of my favourite people in the word. As we wandered down to the newly opened con suite, I saw stevieannie and micktim, and did my best impression of a pogo stick at them. Not long after, I ran into tarkrai and katyhh. It’s such a lovely feeling to be home.
Larissa and I relocated into our own hotel room and got ourselves set up. I ended up spending a couple of hours hanging out on IRC with my friend with the crazy library job, as it was her last day and needed the moral support for one last day with the insane boss, so I chatted with her until it was time for her to go home. By that time, Larissa had gone and gotten us registered, so we went and grabbed a quick dinner at I don’t recall where before the con proper began. The Mad Hatter’s Tea Party was delightful as always, and then it was time for the Pegasus Nominees Concert, which is always a highlight of OVFF. There were many noteworthy performances, but really two stood out for me from all the rest. The first was Wild Mercy’s rendition on “Black Davie’s Ride”, which kicked serious ass on it’s own merits, but also highlighted one of the things I love about the filk community: how many bands up for a major performance award would give a “competing” musician a signature solo in the middle of their own performance piece? In the filk world, we don’t even give such a thing a second thought, and that’s one of e things that makes our community great. The second standout performance was andreweigel‘s performance of “Uplift” to close out the concert. I know I’ve heard him do the song over a dozen times, but tonight he was firing on all cylinders. It really was a great moment to wrap the night.
I’m sure we did something else Friday night, but I can no longer recall what it was. Saturday morning, I took cadhla to Whole Foods for brunch, and then we settled in for the long day of concerts. It appeared to be the Couples Concerts for much of the afternoon, with musicmutt and chirosinger, Steve and Katy, sexybass and Sue, and Tim and Annie all on the bill. (Sib performed alone, but she’s easily got enough talent for two people, so…). As all this was going on, I got my hair Franced, and i grabbed my guitar to attend Becca’s fingerpicking workshop; Fingerpicking being a skill that I’ve never managed to wrap my head around and that I’ve been wanting to learn. The lesson was quite helpful, though I’ve got an awful lot of work to do before I’m ready to actually *play* that way, I think. At least now I have a direction to practice towards.
The absolute peak of the concerts was Tim and Annie’s set, without question. They had 10 people on stage, and utterly kicked it from start to finish. There were a number of songs from their new recording that I’d not heard before, and the songs I had heard before were really enhanced by the full band.
I went upstairs after the concerts to change clothes for the banquet. We ended up being the last table to get food, which means I didn’t get nearly enough of the beef, which was almost gone by the time we went through the line, but the food was good all around the company couldn’t be beat. For the first year, I got to take the official role of announcing Gafilk during the round of “upcoming cons” speeches, and then it was time for the awards to be handed out. It’s always lovely to watch the winners when they’re in the room; I don’t think anyone ever actually expects it. cadhla gave the most succinct acceptance speech in the history of awards. (It went: “Thank you. (long pause) Thank you.” before she scurried back to her seat.) vixyish‘s disbelieving “I didn’t vote for us! Did you vote for us??” to tfabris was also a cute moment.
But I think the night belonged to Andy Eigel. When catalana announced that the winner of the Best Song award was “Uplift”, the room erupted into cheers and applause. After six nominations over nine years, it was wonderful to see him finally get to make an acceptance speech for it.
The Interfilk auction followed the banquet, but I elected to skip it in favour of spending some alone time with Erica, which means I also missed the apparently superlative “Whose Line Is It Anyway” panel. However, I haven’t a single regret about this decision. I had thought I might head for open filk afterwards, but I ended up going to bed instead.
Sunday morning, I actually got down to the breakfast buffet, where I got to spend a lovely time chatting with Tim and Annie, and then Larissa and I took Seanan and hsifyppah to Whole Foods for brunch (careful readers may have noticed a trend by this point). Over the course of the afternoon, I bought some CDs I’d been meaning to get for a while (most notable purchases: Tony&Vixy’s “Thirteen”, Jeff&Maya’s “Möbius Street” and Wilderwood’s “Dancing Through the Past”), and wandering in and out of the jam session. We then herded the cats for the traditional run to BDs (“Hi, we’re with the party of a billion…” “Right over there, sir.”).
I actually did get my guitar and take it down to the Dead Dog filk, and even managed to play one song that I’d been wanting to do for some time. it’s a setting of a poem Seanan wrote for me during a recent Iron Poet round, and I’d kept meaning to play it for her, so it was nice to finally perform it where she could hear it. (And being told afterwards “We really need to hear you sing more” made me feel very warm, I admit.) At some point, I went out to retune, and when I came back, someone had taken my seat. The room had also grown to a size that honestly was a bit more than I wanted to deal with, so I hung out in the hallway and chatted with some folks before finally deciding to go to bed, since we had a 10am flight to catch Monday.
We were sharing a room again with Seanan and Amy, who came to bed much later, so we carefully tried to slip out Monday morning without waking them. With no one about at 6:30am, we just decided to pack up the car and head over to the airport. This meant we got to the gate with a couple of hours to kill, but the airport has free Wi-Fi, and my laptop’s battery lasted nearly until time to board. Our flight home was on a small plane, but it’s not a very long trip, and for once our baggage popped right out quickly and let us get on our way home.
What an absolutely marvelous weekend. I certainly didn’t get to spend as much time with various people as I would have liked, and I didn’t get to spend as much time in circles as, in retrospect, would have been good for me. But I did get to spend time with three of my faraway sweeties, and celebrate my seventh anniversary with Larissa in the company of 300 or so of our closest friends. When you look at it that way, it’s kinda hard to beat.
I’ve said it before. I will say it again. I love you all.