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Boba Fett Isn’t Dead
TTTO: “Bela Lugosi’s Dead” by Bauhaus

Red on green Mandalore armor
Back on the track

Boba Fett isn’t dead
The hunter left the sarlaac pit
The Jedi have all fled
Skywalker downs the sand skiff

Boba Fett isn’t dead
Boba Fett isn’t dead
Not dead! Not dead! Not dead!
Not dead! Not dead! Not dead!

The bounty hunters file past his tomb
Strewn with time’s lost contracts
Adrift in spacial slip
Alone on a darkened ship
The clone

Boba Fett isn’t dead
Boba Fett isn’t dead
Boba Fett isn’t dead
Not dead! Not dead! Not dead!
Not dead! Not dead! Not dead!
Not dead!

Oh Boba
Boba’s not dead
Oh Boba
Boba’s not dead

Boba’s not dead
Oh Boba
Boba’s not dead
Oh Boba

Boba Fett is an interesting character. He has about 20 minutes of screen time and five lines of dialogue in the original Star Wars trilogy, and still became one of its most enduring and popular characters. I can’t really think of anything else quite like it in popular culture.

If you’re like me and your Star Wars knowledge is primarily limited to the films, you may be unaware of the complex storyline that Boba Fett is at the centre of. In particular, you may not be aware that the character did not die in “Return of the Jedi”, but in fact escaped his fate and went on to have many more significant adventures in what is called the “Expanded Universe” of Star Wars lore.

I don’t recall with whom I was chatting about Star Wars (though I have a vague memory it was either Bryan Provost or Nigel Cox), but their reaction to my comment about Fett dying in RotJ was a forceful “Boba Fett isn’t dead!”, which managed to connect to the iconic refrain of this classic Bauhaus song. Not sure what to do with it, it sat in my unfinished songs folder for weeks, until the rest of it presented itself to me.

If you’re unfamiliar with the original tune and want to skip to the bit that has words in, jump to the 2:50 minute mark of the video linked above.

Mirrored from Home of the Autographed Cat.

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Party of Four
by Rob Wynne and Jeffrey Williams
TTTO: “All Along The Watchtower” by Bob Dylan

I just don’t see a way into here
Said the cleric to the thief
This keep is too well defended
With its iron and stone motif
All these walls are much too high
The courtyard far too wide
Unless you’ve somehow learned how to fly
There is no way inside

No reason to get discouraged
The thief he softly spoke
There are many doors to pass through
And all these locks are but a joke
But you and I, we’ve fought the hordes
their treasure is our due
So let us not speak loudly now
It’s time to sneak on through

Down below the watchtower
There was a secret door
While the guardsmen paced and prowled
Inside slipped the four

Deep inside the cold dungeon
A wandering monster passed
The warrior pulled out his sword
And the mage began to cast

Another Dungeons and Dragons filk, this one started by Jeff with the opening lines, which he sent me in an instant message a few weeks ago.  While the song is by Dylan, the filk is most certainly of Jimi Hendrix’s iconic cover.  Now if only I could actually play it like that. :)

Mirrored from Home of the Autographed Cat.

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The last week really has been a blur. Between getting ready for Gafilk, actually putting on Gafilk, and then immediately packing the car to start driving west for our move to Seattle, I haven't had a lot of time for posting. But there's a few thing I wanted to get down from the weekend.

An incomplete list of GaFilk highlights:

  • Visiting Atlanta's new International Terminal
    When I went to pick up Susan from the airport (Sam's flight having been delayed by bureaucracy), I left the hotel in what would normally be plenty of time...except that I forgot that all international flights were now landing at the new terminal. I also realised that I didn't actually know where that was. Fortunately, there were signs, but it's such a long way that I kept thinking I must have missed a turn until I'd see another sign directing me to continue. By the time I got there, I wasn't entirely sure that the terminal wasn't actually *in* Canada. Still, I got there just in time to meet Susan (and Morva and Alan) at the baggage claim.

  • Bill Sutton's "sound workshop".
    Since a lot of the people who normally help us out with sound didn't make it to the con this year, we decided to make a virtue out of the need for volunteers and announced that anyone who wanted to learn a bit about running sound was welcome to come and learn it from Bill. Several people volunteered, so the sound went off without a hitch.

  • Tim Griffin
    I'd actually heard (though not really met) Tim Griffin at a previous convention on the west coast, but I'd only heard him do a couple of songs. He was our choice to do the Friday night concert, and he was amazing. He does educational music that is both informational and funny (or, sometimes, poignant), and has a great audience rapport. He also is just a really fun guy to hang out with and talk to, and he was always pitching in here and there where an extra pair of hands was needed. Great guy, and I was so pleased to meet him.

  • George and Teresa as toastmasters
    Two great people who are such a big part of Gafilk since the early days; they did a fantastic job both MCing and on their concert. Since most of the time you see them as part of larger bands, it was really nice to see them do some stuff with just the two of them.

  • Fiana
    I didn't get to hear as much of them as I would have liked, but everything I heard was delightful. Thanks to Interfilk again for another wonderful guest. I did get to hang with Thom and Christina a bit during the weekend, and they were a lot of fun to talk to.

  • Sam Baardman and Susan Israel
    I already knew they were awesome musicians (that is, after all, why we invited them), but they are also just extraordinarily nice people. Their concert on Saturday was a delight. I'm often in and out of concerts at Gafilk because I'm always keeping an eye on what's going on elsewhere, but I usually have one that I just allow myself to sit and take in without interruption, and I'm glad I did for this one, because I wouldn't have wanted to miss a moment of it.

  • Play It With Moxie's banquet performance
    If you've been to a Gafilk banquet before, you know what this was like. Moxie just gets better and better every year, and I danced and danced and danced. Thanks to everyone who endured my inexpert steps; I have far more enthusiasm than skill, but I never don't have a good time.

  • Larry Niven
    Larry's hour was spent between a reading and telling entertaining fandom stories, and it was a great time. He seemed to have a good time listening to all the music, and I'm so glad he could make it out as our SSG this year.

  • Stray Dog jam
    A hallway filk broke out during (and after) the stray dog party, which started when the two fiddlers in residence wanted to trade some licks and ended up with a huge crowd. (I had a conversation with one person over the weekend about "sing-y" vs. "jam-y" circles, and this was definitely the latter.) I was only around for a part of it, but everything I heard was amazing.

As usual at Gafilk, I really didn't get a chance to play, because by the time open filk starts I'm usually ready to fall over. I never even took my guitar down from my room this year. But I did get to play one song, and it's my personal best moment of the weekend:

  • Getting to play my Talis Kimberley cover for Talis Kimberley
    Just having Talis there was a treat for me, because she really is one of my favourite people in the world and I don't get to spend nearly enough time with her. But one thing I wanted to do if I had the chance is play for her the one song of hers that I cover. So when i spotted her in a little circle near the registration table shortly after closing ceremonies, I stopped to listen for a bit, and then asked to borrow a guitar so i could play it for her. Amy was on hand to add Amyness, which honestly makes everything sound better than it would otherwise, and Talis liked what I did with her song.

    (The song in question is "Harbouring Hopes", which is the final track on her album Archetype Cafe. As I commented when I played it, "I'm sorry to say the song first came to my attention at a time I desperately needed it, and I'm happy to say that I haven't needed it for a very long time.")


There were some more personal non-music related highlights as well, but they all come down to "getting to spend time with people who are dear to me", and if I started to list them I'd leave someone out. Suffice it to say that I enjoyed every single moment of every single conversation, every single hug and cuddle, and every single story.

And so another year is kicked off in grand fashion with a successful Gafilk. Thanks to everyone who helped make it happen (I have the best concom ever), and thanks to everyone who came up to me and wished me and Larissa luck on our upcoming move. Gafilk has always been and will always be a family gathering, and I always feel blessed to be in the middle of it every year.
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Author Larry Niven has won Hugos (five of them) and a Nebula, and various other awards for his stories, including Ringworld and 50 other books. He co-authored The Mote in God's Eye and Lucifer's Hammer, and edited the Man-Kzin War series. He also loves filk music. He goes out of his way to attend filk conventions on the west coast, not seeking any attention, not asking for any of the perks that authors usually expect like readings and signings. He goes to filk cons because he wants to hear this music.

Misty Lackey even created a game around Larry’s love of filk called “Make Larry Cry”. It’s not very hard to do. You just write a beautiful melody and fill it with poignant, compelling lyrics…and make sure that the science is at the very least plausible, and sing it to Larry. (Ask Bill Sutton about his humbling attempt to win the contest with Pilot’s Eyes.)

Mendel’s Rules do apply, so we shouldn’t be too surprised that there are other filkers in the Niven closet. In fact, you'll be enjoying the song styling of Larry's filking nephew, Tim Griffin, at the ConCom's Choice concert. (Who knew!?!) Larry Niven is very approachable, enjoys a good conversation, and contributes to the circle in his own delightful ways. We’re extremely happy to have him as Super Secret Guest for GAFilk 2013.

You can get more information (and buy your membership!) at http://www.gafilk.org/
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Between 2005 and 2009, I didn't play a lot of music in public. It wasn't a decision I made to withdraw from the stage. It started because of struggles with depression that caused me to withdraw from a lot of social spheres, and then after I came out the other side of that particular emotional valley, I just...didn't. No one was asking me if I wanted to, and I wasn't volunteering, and the longer it went on, the more it just became...normal. This wasn't just not doing concert sets or one shots; many have noted that I absented myself from open filk, preferring instead to spend my con time socialising or lurking around the edges.

The last couple of years, I've been making an effort to get back to playing public, because...I enjoy it. So I've made an effort at cons to make itto at least a little bit of open filk, if only to justify having brought my guitar. And when [livejournal.com profile] mrgoodwraith asked me at OVFF a couple of yearsago if I'd like to come play a short set at Confluence in 2011, I eagerly agreed. Unfortunately, just before I was to book my flight, [livejournal.com profile] kitanzi unexpectedly lost her job, and I couldn't justify the expense. Randy understood, and extended an invitation to come up in 2012 instead.

The part where I talk about Confluence )

Not much more than a month later was Dragon*Con, a convention I've largely avoided for the last several years. Not that DragonCon isn't a good convention, but it's a lot more than I typically want to deal with. This year, however, I'd decided to go, in part because a lot of my podcasting friends were goign to be there, but also because the folks running the filk track at Dragon*Con have been doing a stellar job the last few years, and they've been really supportive of Gafilk, so I wanted to give them some support in return.

The part where I talk about Dragon*Con )

And those are the summer conventions. I hope to spend some time actually playing some music at OVFF in October. See you there!
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Hey, what's that? Why, it's the final ballot for the 2012 Pegasus Awards! Congratulations to all the nominees!

http://www.ovff.org/pegasus/2012finalballot.html
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It's the time again, Mr. and Mrs Filker and all the ships in C....time once again to send in your nominating ballot for the Pegasus awards!

And you can tell everybody, these are the songs
We should give out awards to, sometime in the fall
I hope you don't mind, I hope you don't mind, that we put it online
We all thought it best it be easy to find...

The brainstorming is done, and that means the nominating ballot is available for you to fill out!

The results of the brainstorming poll are here:

http://www.ovff.org/pegasus/opinions.html

And the actual nominating ballot is here:

http://www.ovff.org/pegasus/2012nomballot.html

If you aren't sure what the Pegasus awards are or who they're for, or whether or not you should nominate for them, well, i had a lot to say on the subject, but then Vixy went and said it all better than I was going to, so I'll just link to her piece here as well:

The Pegasus Award, what it is, and what it isn't


Let's make this happen!
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 Many years ago, [livejournal.com profile] fleetfootmike and I set up FilkNet and its IRC channel as a service to the filk community.  It became a place where filkers from all over the world could gather, a virtual space to call our own.  Over the years, it was vibrant and warm and a great place to be home on the Internet when we couldn't be in a filkcircle at a convention.

Of late, it's a bit of a ghost town.  

Maybe life got busy and you just fell out of the habit of checking in, or maybe you just don't have time.  Maybe something happened (either in or out of the #filkhaven space) that made you decide to stay away.  Maybe you were completely unaware of the existence of it, or don't even know what IRC is.

When I started to write this, it was as an administrator of a service, wanting to find out where the users had gone, but honestly, it's more personal than that.  I miss my friends and I want to see them in our big crazy chatroom again.  Or for the first time.  

Comments to this entry are screened.  If you'd like to say something private about your feelings about the #filkhaven channel, you can leave them here.  Or, as always, you can email me at autographedcat@gmail.com.

But if you've no particular reason to be away, come on in.  I'd love to see you.
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Our Super Secret Guest is...



Elise Matthesen



by Brenda Sutton


Elise MathesonSo let me 'splain...

We're not superstitious, no...but the thriteenth GAFilk experienced a series of unsettling circumstances, starting with Seanan McGuire losing her origianal backup band, and culminating with a wallapalooza of an ice storm that kept many at the con for two extra days. In the middle there, our Super Secret Guest, Patrick Nielsen Hayden and and his wife Teresa found themselves unable to attend, and therein lives our tale.

Not only was GAFilk going to be Patrick and Teresa's first filk con, but it was going to be their friend Elise’s first filk con, too. We all met "for real" in Australia at the WorldCon. (I say “for real” because I’d been communicating with and following Elise’s Live Journal since the tragic and untimely death of her dearest dear, John “Mike” Ford in 2006. Elise wrote a hauntingly beautiful love poem about their relationship that she graciously allowed me to publish in the Mythic Passages e-magazine. I urge you to go read it here, but take a box of tissues when you do. Since then, I’d been lurking over her website, watching her bravely wrestling with grief and gracefully getting on with life.) When GAFilk chose Patrick as our Super Secret Guest, he mentioned that Elise might be coming along, too. I was over the moon!

We were all looking forward to a bang-up GAFilk, hearing Patrick's music with The Deaftones, Teresa and Elise, backing him up. Elise flew out from Minneapolis to NYC, and the three of them planned to travel down to Georgia together. Then on Wednesday night Elise suffered a stroke. Fortunately, Teresa recognised the symptoms and they rushed her to a hospital, spending the weekend and then-some at her bedside until she was well enough to travel home. Naturally, we were all worried sick, and so very sad that they weren't coming to GAFilk, but grateful that Patrick and Teresa had been there to help. We were also very glad to learn that, because of their swift efforts, Elise suffered no lasting side affects from the stroke, and recovered swiftly. We were even happier when Patrick volunteered to come to GAFilk this year.

SO...when we started hunting for this year's Super Secret Guest, it seemed to us that Elise was the perfect choice. The Deaftones will ride again, and you'll finally get to meet the charming and talented Elise Matthesen. She is an exceptional jewelry artist. (Elise designed the famous tiara that graces the heads of John W. Campbell Best New Writer Award winners, including our own Seanan McGuire.) (Digression: She brought all her jewelry-making equipment Down Under for the Worldcon in Australia but, because of Customs restrictions, was not allowed to sell any of her beautiful pieces. So...she gave them away. This speaks miles to the character of this lovely woman. Not only was she just handing out her exquisite work, but, as is her custom, she was also naming each piece. At this year's GAFilk banquet I'll be wearing a lovely pair of amethyst crystals with silver full moons named “That Second Drink With the Man in the Moon”.)

Not only is Elise an accomplished artist, but she's also a talented poet who writes quite a bit of parody filk, too. Check out Elise's Live Journal for many delightful examples. She's a fine singer, as you'll all soon find out. When we asked her what she'd like to do at GAFilk, Elise suggested group a capella singing, and started right in compiling a songbook for us all to enjoy. What can we say...perfect fit.
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When the phone rings at 6am, it's never good news.

Got a call from [livejournal.com profile] telynor that Chris Croughton ([livejournal.com profile] keristor) was killed in an automobile collision last night. I'm absolutely heartbroken; he was a wonderful man, and a good friend, and I'm going to miss him very, very much.
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As is my custom, I've collected all the con reports from OVFF that I can locate in my memories, for both my own benefit and for the community.

A couple of caveats, since this has come up in the past:


  1. I find these by perusing my own friends list. Contrary to popular myth, I don't actually know every single person in filk (There must be at least 4 people I'm unacquainted with. I'm sure of it. *grin*), and also I'm doing it by hand and it's easy to miss one. If you know of a report that is not contained on my index, please point me to it.
  2. If an entry I link to is friends-locked such that you cannot see it, you'll need to discuss that with the journal's author, not me. I have no control over the locks other people put on their spaces.
That aside, here's the list so far. I'll add to it as people point me to more or I see new ones posted.

OVFF 2011 Con Reports
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Just a reminder that the online balloting for this year's Pegasus awards ends Monday night. So if you haven't yet cast your vote, you have just two days left to do so!

You will find the ballot at http://www.ovff.org/pegasus/2011finalballot.html
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Well, the nominations have been counted, and the final ballot has been prepared. Ladies and gentlemen, your 2011 Pegasus Ballot awaits:

http://www.ovff.org/pegasus/2011finalballot.html

And my, what a ballot we have. Perhaps I'm a romantic, but this is one bad-ass ballot. I could not compose a better one, at least not one that would perform as well. Truly, this ballot represents the best filk has to offer, and is destined to be a classic.

All that is left, dear friends, is for you to go and vote. In order to make sure you can evaluate every single song, composer, and performer nominated, sound samples are available right there on the ballot page. So go, listen, and vote your favourites.
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This past weekend was the Atlanta area housefilk, which very nearly snuck up on us, but we were reminded of it in time to make plans to attend, which was a goodness. Last year we decided to drop back to quarterly housefilks rather than monthly, in the hopes that people would make more of an effort to attend if they were held less often. So far, this plan has been working out quite well, as the last several have been very well attended. I didn't make an official count, but there were at least 15 people gathered at Dave and Signe's house to make some music.

I don't recall all of what I played, but here's a partial list:

Roland The Headless Thompson Gunner (Warren Zevon)
The Queen of Air and Darkness (Poul Andersen)
Sam's Song (Zander Nyrond)
Follow That Road (Anne Hills)
Brain Damage (Pink Floyd)

We got to hear a couple of new songs from [livejournal.com profile] catsittingstill, which is always a treat, and Harry did a lovely Viking song that I'd not heard before. [livejournal.com profile] thatcrazycajun and [livejournal.com profile] singing_phoenix arrived just before we were leaving, so we didn't get to hear either of them sing anything.

Sunday, I treated myself to a bit of imported nostalgia. The Taco Stand was already an institution in Athens when I moved there in 1989, and I had many a tasty meal there. It's one of the places I'd make a point to visit when I was back in Athens since moving away 13 years ago. Saturday, while returning from picking up some things at the tailor's, I spotted a Taco Stand sign in a shopping centre on Old Alabama Connector, so I stopped and asked them if they were connected to the ones in Athens. I was told they were, though this one was independently owned. Good enough for me. I took a menu with me and told them I'd return.

The Taco Stand is what I affectionately call "college food". Cheap, abundant, simple, and very tasty if it's the sort of thing you enjoy. It's the sort of thing I enjoy. I had the deluxe burrito and a quesadilla, and [livejournal.com profile] kitanzi had the chicken tacos. It was a delightful meal.

All in all, a good weekend.
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[livejournal.com profile] kitanzi and I have made it home with all of Gafilk's sound equipment and other assorted gear. [livejournal.com profile] museinred and [livejournal.com profile] decadentdave drove up in [livejournal.com profile] hawklady's truck, and are now heading back to the hotel, with hopes of heading out tomorrow to AL. Several people who couldn't get away on Monday got out today.

The ATL roads are still very uneven, even with a day above freezing for stuff to start melting. The worst driving I saw was when we'd hit a clear patch of pavement and everyone would suddenly assume that it was okay to zoom up to highway speeds, only to have to slow back to a crawl at the next icy sections.

The GA400 ramp looked like a ski jump from down the highway. Going over it was a slow affair, since there were basically a couple of tread-width patches clear up the centre of it, and the rest was still covered.

I don't think we got over 40mph the entire trip, and spent most of it between 15-25. But we're home safe, and home is nice.

I'm still running a check-in thread for people to let us know they got home safely. Sign in if you haven't.

Hope to see everyone next year. We'll make an effort to have less weather. :)
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I've seen some folks posting that they got home okay, but since I'm still at the convention hotel and haven't had a chance to thoroughly look through LJ yet, I figured I'd just post a general request here for people to leave a comment and let me know they got home okay.

More on the con later. I hope everyone had a wonderful time, despite the weather!
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Our Super Secret Guest is...

Patrick Nielsen Hayden!


Collage of Patrick Nielsen Hayden holding Hugos, editing, playing the guitar, lounging with wife TeresaPatrick Nielsen Hayden is a World Fantasy and Hugo Award-winning fiction editor at TOR Books. He's brought to our shelves amazing books by Emma Bull, John Scalzi, Charles de Lint, Ben Bova, George Alec Effinger, Cory Doctorow, Jo Walton, Susanna Clarke, Christopher Priest, Adam Stemple, Glen Cook, David Weber, David Langford, John Barnes, Robert Holdstock, George R. R. Martin, and Arthur C. Clarke. He's also an essayist and reviewer who teaches workshops in places like Viable Paradise and both Clarions.

And...he's also a very talented musician. Patrick plays two guitars. A Taylor acoustic ("I'm much more of a lifelong acoustic guitar player than electric.") and a year-2000 Fender-made reproduction of a classic 1952 Telecaster. ("Faithful to a fault, it's a commemorative edition that I bought used. The varnish on the body is nitro-cellulose, not acetylene; it's all 1952 ingredients. The pickups are wrapped in waxed string. The biggest downside to this is the authentic 1952 sucky tuning mechanism. Otherwise it's a gorgeous guitar, and it has that great authentic American twangy sound that all Telecasters have — in spades. The first time I played that guitar it had opinions about what kind of music it should be playing.") He plays the electric with the Americana rock quartet, Whisperado. If we're lucky he'll be playing both of them here at GAFilk, and singing along with his wife, the talented editor Teresa Nielsen Hayden.

When considering GAFilk's criteria of characteristics that make for a good Super Secret Guest, Patrick really stands out. He's genial, personable, and musical. He has interesting opinions about the stories we read and the world we share, and he loves to talk about them. Plus, he's contributed to the sf and fantasy community in ways that some people may never appreciate...but we all should. We think GAFilk will be an eye- (and ear) opener for all of us.


  • Read Making Light, the Nielsen Hayden's weblog, with contributions from James D. Macdonald, Avram Grumer, and Abi Sutherland.

  • Check out his band Whisperado.


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It's the Georgia Filk Convention, happening 7-9 January 2011 at the Crown Plaza Airport in Atlanta, GA.

Guest Of Honour: Seanan McGuire
Toastmaster: Matt Leger
Interfilk Guest: Howard Scrimgeour
PLUS another Super Secret Guest!

Come celebrate the fannish New Year with three days of fun, music, and friendship! We'll have great concerts, the annual dinner dance banquet featuring Play It With Moxie, and, of course, singing until the early hours.

Membership is only $40 through November 30, 2010. (That's tomorrow, so send in your registration today! We will announce the Super Secret Guest on Wednesday!

You can get more information about Gafilk, including online registration, at :

http://www.gafilk.org/

Hope to see you there!

(Please feel free to repost this to other appropriate communities and lists you think might be interested.)
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[livejournal.com profile] kitanzi and I are sitting at our gate at the Columbus airport, waiting for our slightly delayed flight to board. We had a fantastic weekend, and I will likely post a more complete report later.

Meanwhile, I've been scanning back to try and catch con reports that were made during the convention (laptops and smartphones have made this a much harder process than it was when I started doing it eight years ago!) and will continue to collect them going forward, as I see them. If you know of a report I don't have on hand, please drop me a note in comments.

Here's the complete list of reports that I have found.

If you're inclined towards Twitter, there are a number of entries from the last few days with the hashtag #ovff.

[NB. Due to the nature of friends-locking posts, some entries on this list may not be visible to all persons. Please contact any person whose entry you cannot see directly if you want to find out what they had to say. I apologise in advance for any inconvenience.]
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(As is my custom, I'm collecting Conterpoint con reports. Please alert me to any I've missed!)

Some while ago, I noticed that the floating East Coast filkcon fell on my birthday this year. And Conterpoint is one of the iterations of that entity I'd not yet attended, so what better time than to check it off my list? (It sure didn't hurt that [livejournal.com profile] folkmew and [livejournal.com profile] edstauff were GOHs and Char McKay was Interfilk Guest.) After some discussion back and forth, [livejournal.com profile] kitanzi decided she would stay home for this one, and so I prepared to go it alone into the wilds of Maryland.

Friday
Friday morning, I got up at the crack of stupid and Kitanzi drove me down to the North Springs station so I could catch the train to the airport. I got checked in, through security, and down to the gate in plenty of time, so I set up my laptop and bought a cup of wi-fi to tide me over until it was time to board.

On the plane, I was seated next to a very nice lady returning home from a work conference. She apparently works for one of the pipeline companies (not owned by BP, she stressed), and we chatted a bit about the Gulf situation, and then the conversation turned towards books. Having asked her if she liked urban fantasy, I recommended [livejournal.com profile] seanan_mcguire's Toby Daye books to her, and then said, offhand, "She also has a science-fiction/horror/political thriller about zombies and blogging.' 'Wow, that sounds really interesting!' my seatmate replied. So when the seat belt signs were off, I fetched my copy of Feed from my laptop bag and gave it to her. "You can keep that,' I said. 'I'll grab another copy when I pass a bookstore.' She put the book she had been reading away and spent the rest of the flight reading it instead, and declared herself well and truly hooked by the story when we landed. I gave her my email address and told her to write me and tell me how she liked it when she finished it.

Of course, having given my book away, I decided to occupy myself by trying out the in-flight wi-fi. The actual connection was amazing, but now I really seriously am jonesing for an iPad. The problem is that I'm very tall, and there's just no place to put a laptop where I can simultaneously see the screen well and type on it. My co-worker [livejournal.com profile] eloren brought hers into work today and let me play with it. Want. Wantwantwant. But, I digress...

Got my luggage and went to wait for the bus to the rental car station. and waited. and waited. Then a bus came by, full of people and didn't stop. And waited. And waited. And then another full bus came by without stopping. And waited. Finally, an empty bus arrived. Honestly, I was getting tired and cranky by this point. The line at the Hertz counter was awful, and then when I finally got to the front, they didn't have the car I'd actually asked for, gave me a reasonable alternative, and then told me to hike 4 miles to where it was parked to drive off. (Ok, it was likely more like 400 yards. But it felt like 4 miles. At this point, I'm *not* impressed with BWI's rental car facilities.)

Having acquired car with GPS, I punched in the destination and set out. The drive down to Rockville was pleasant and uneventful, and I imm3ediately ran into [livejournal.com profile] gorgeousgary and MEW at the registration desk. I got checked in and went to take a shower, since I had not gotten one in the morning, and it was hot as a sauna outside.

Suitably refreshed I met up with [livejournal.com profile] museinred and we went out for a late lunch/early dinner, ending up at a Burmese place nearby, where I had a delightful Orange Beef and an intriguing Ginger Salad that I wished I could have brought home to Kitanzi, because I know how much she loves ginger. We returned to the hotel and chatted a bit, and then I let France take a nap while I vegged and read email, before meeting up with MEW and Ed and Steven Joel for chat. I poked my head briefly into the filkroom afterwards, and then headed for bed.

Saturday

I went down for breakfast, since the buffet was included. There wasn't much of it, but it was reasonably filling, and I got sit and talk with [livejournal.com profile] kyttn and a couple of other folks, which was lovely. Collected hugs from some people, then went to enjoy the pool.

Which was closed. At nearly 10am. Pout.

I inquired to the front desk, who informed me that by county ordinance, the pool could not be open without a paid lifeguard, who would be on duty at 11am. I made noises as to my feelings about this, but being unable to charm the desk clerk into illegally opening the pool early, I went and changed back into normal clothes and then met up with France to shop for provisions and doughnuts. It appears that Rockville is home to one of the two remaining Krispy Kreme franchises in all of Maryland, and we got us some. I bought a bunch of fruit, some yoghurt, and a couple of two litres of Pepsi One from Safeway, and stashed them away in the full sized fridge my room was equipped with. I have to say, while there were issues with the hotel here and there, it's a very plush way to spend a weekend, with a full kitchen, including provided pots and pans and silverware.

Well stocked, I finally got down to the pool for a while, and enjoyed soaking in the whirlpool. I had woken up with a terrible pain in my neck and shoulders, which I can't quite figure out, but by the time I went from the whirlpool to the pool and back a couple of times, I felt well relaxed. I changed back into dry clothes and wandered to the con suite, where I sat and chatted for a while about the sorts of things one chats about in con suites. (I also got to buff my Boy Scout credentials, when the consuitista bemoaned the lack of salt and pepper for the veggies she was roasting. "I have a container of kosher salt in my room. Would you like some?' It's good to be prepared.)

Music was being piped up from the main room during this, so I was able to hear some of the 2x10s as I chatted. (As an aside, of all the things I invented for Gafilk programming over the years, the one I've been most pleased to see stolen by other cons is the 2x10s. It really warms my heart.)

I got rumour of a dinner run to a nearby sandwich place that was famous for its incredible variety. Turns out there were a couple of parties heading over there for the dinner break, because we all met up with each other in the parking lot. The restaurant certainly lived up to its billing...hundreds of sandwiches, all with colourful, punny menus. I had something with hot pastrami and cole slaw and Russian dressing which was delicious, and I had a great time chatting with Char and Randy and Stephen Joel and France, all of whom I knew of old, and with Marty Gear, who I think 'd met in passing but had never spent any time with, and who is a delightful storyteller. The only thing better than dinner with old friends is dinner with old friends and new friends. My only regret from dinner is forgetting to purchase a souvenir menu to bring home to Kitanzi, who would have found the whole thing delightful.

We returned to the hotel and encamped to the main room to hear Interfilk guest Char McKay's concert. Char had been nervous about her set, but she killed from start to finish. I"m still giggling over the Twinkie song, which I had not heard before. Char was followed by GOHs Ed and Mew, who were as superb as always. I still have "The Return" bouncing around in my head days later, because yo that song is made of awesome. And perhaps this concert set will be best known for the Lizardhawk incident, but that's a story for another day.

I decided to skip the Interfilk auction for reasons of economy and returned to my room to tune my guitar and gather my materials. For a variety of reasons, some good and some bad, I've largely not been making it to open filk in recent years, spending my time either socializing or (as often as not) hermitting and re-energizing after a long social day. I was determined that this con would be different, so I set out for the Jefferson Room, which was designated as the alternate room and already contained people I wanted to be in a room with (notably Ed & MEW and Paul Estin). Over the course of the evening, i still did more listening and singing along than playing, but I did perform three songs: "Arrowhead" (by Richard Shindell), "Ozymandias" by [livejournal.com profile] filkerdave (who was in Texas at Apollocon and thus needed proxy representation), and "Long Distance Love" (a poem by Seanan McGuire that I set to music). I flubbed up a couple of places on Ozymandias, but I blame the excellent scotch that [livejournal.com profile] osewalrus was sharing. My story and I'm sticking to it.

((I played 'Ozymandias' in part because someone did a song which they admitted afterwards they'd sort of lost the tune on, and that it didn't go quite how she sang it. We all pointed out that since we didn't know the song she was singing, it sounded perfectly fine to us, and then I told the story about how I turned Dave's Shelly-inspired folk ballad into a rock song, which in turn prompted [livejournal.com profile] ladymondegreen to remind me of how we first met: I was playing that song in an open circle at GaFilk, and she heard it from the hallway, ran in to stand behind me and started singing harmonies. Startled the heck out of me, since no one else in the south knew the song but me at the time. *grin*))

Around 3am, the circle started to thin out and I fell into bed for a short slumber.

Sunday

Got up reasonably early given the time I'd gone to bed and headed down for breakfast with Stephen Joel, France, Char, Randy, and Marty. Afterwards I hung out and chatted a bit with the other early birds, and at some point went to the room to check in with Kitanzi, who had told me she wasn't feeling well. Apparently, my body decided this was a good time to whack me on the back of the head and suggest that I needed more sleep. France came by sometime later to see if she could catch a couple of hours napping on my couch again, since they'd already checked out of their hotel room. Eventually slightly refreshed, we went and collected her son Alex and went looking for food. I have to tell you that at 9pm on a Sunday night, Rockville doesn't offer a robust night-life. We eventually found a reasonably serviceable pizza joint located in a hole in the wall in the back of a shopping centre, got something warm and filling to bring back to the hotel, which we ate while listening to the beginnings of the dead dog. At some point, Alex was offered the chance to earn a bit of spare pocket looking after MEW and Ed's kids, allowing them to come down to the Dead Dog and stay as long as they wanted. I spent the evening in listener mode, mostly because I was just too wiped out to actually go fetch my guitar, but there was a lot of great music to sing along to. Eventually, we all went to bed, and that was the end of Conterpoint.

Monday

Travelling home. I got out of the hotel and on the road in my rented Chevy Impala by 8am, and was back at BWI by 9am, which was right on target. I had a minor mishap returning the car; I was apparently tired enough that I got all the way to the shuttle bus that would take me to the terminal before realizing I was missing one of my bags. I realized it when I tried to put it into the luggage rack and I didn't have it, requiring me to pull both of my other bags out and trudge all the way back to where I'd parked the car at the return queue. The bag was sitting patiently next to it, right where I'd set it down after removing the trunk. Even with this detour, I made it to my gate in plenty of time, grabbed some breakfast, a pair of cheap earbuds for my iPod, and a copy of Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Songs of All Time for plane reading. (I have no idea what they mean by "500 Greatest Songs", plus I doubt it, but it made for an entertaining diversion during the flight.)

Down and safe in Atlanta, I collected my luggage and headed for the MARTA station, where we waited for a train. And waited. And waited. After what must have been 20 minutes, the Doraville train arrived, so I got on it, no wanting to trust how long the North Springs one might be. Changed trains at Lindburgh, got to North Springs, where I was picked up by my darling Kitanzi who took me home and poured me into bed, where I slept until 10pm. Got up just long enough to eat something and then went back to sleep and slept until morning.

All in all, an absolutely fabulous way to spend a birthday. Great friends, great food, great music, and great conversation. If I had a time-turner, I'd be awfully tempted to go back and have that weekend again.

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