autographedcat: (Default)

I fully intended to write this entry last night, but by the time we got here I was pretty brain dead.

Seattle rush hour traffic is awful at the best of times, but last night for whatever reason it was particularly bad.  You wouldn’t think an area as generally wet as the Pacific Northwest would produce a lot of people with water-soluble driving skills,1 but there you have it.  Our immediate neighbourhood was a parking lot in all directions, and as a result it took us well over an hour just to get from Lower Queen Anne to south of the airport.  Once we did, though things smoothed out and we made pretty good time from that point on.

We stopped at a Burger King outside of Mount Saint Helens,2 because we didn’t know what the late night food situation would be once we got to Portland.3 It’s been years since I ate at a Burger King, and I took a moment to scan the menu before ordering, which led me to ask a question I’d never asked before.

“What on earth,” I asked the lovely counter girl, “is an *angry* Whopper?”

It turns out that the Angry Whopper has jalapeños, onion rings, and pepper-jack cheese, along with bacon and “angry sauce”.  It was quite tasty, and their new crinkle-cut fries are a winner.

We got a bit turned around coming into the hotel area and ended up back on the Interstate, but our GPS helpfully navigated us back around, bringing us through an old downtownish area.  A pet store with a big neon sign declared its name as “Pets On Broadway”, leading me to imagine a chorus line of puppies and kittens.  We finally got to the hotel, checked in, and parked the car, and then collapsed into slumber.

  1. Thanks to France Andrews Zeve for this phrase. 

  2. “Home of the Volcano Burger” their sign entirely failed to say. 

  3. Note to future self:  southwest Washington is full of nothing.  Pack a lunch. 

Mirrored from Home of the Autographed Cat.

autographedcat: (Default)
I've been reluctant to weigh in on the TSA scanners because there simply wasn't enough data, pro or con, to really make a decision about their safety. Jason Bell goes a long way towards giving us more hard data to consider, and it's somewhat alarming.

I still maintain that the real problem with this sort of thing is that it doesn't actually improve the safety of air travel to any meaningful degree, unless the object is to make flying so onerous that no one bothers to do it anymore.

My Helical Tryst: Review of the TSA X-ray backscatter body scanner safety report: hide your kids, hide your wife
Last spring, a group of scientists at the University of California at San Francisco (UCSF) including John Sedat Ph.D., David Agard Ph.D., Robert Stroud, Ph.D. and Marc Shuman, M.D. sent a letter of concern to the TSA regarding the implementation of their 'Advanced Imaging Technology', or body scanners as a routine method of security screening in US airports. Of specific concern is the scanner that uses X-ray back-scattering. In the letter they raise some interesting points, which I've quoted below:
  • "Our overriding concern is the extent to which the safety of this scanning device has been adequately demonstrated. This can only be determined by a meeting of an impartial panel of experts that would include medical physicists and radiation biologists at which all of the available relevant data is reviewed."
  • "The X-ray dose from these devices has often been compared in the media to the cosmic ray exposure inherent to airplane travel or that of a chest X-ray. However, this comparison is very misleading: both the air travel cosmic ray exposure and chest X-rays have much higher X-ray energies and the health consequences are appropriately understood in terms of the whole body volume dose. In contrast, these new airport scanners are largely depositing their energy into the skin and immediately adjacent tissue, and since this is such a small fraction of body weight/vol, possibly by one to two orders of magnitude, the real dose to the skin is now high."
  • "In addition, it appears that real independent safety data do not exist."
  • "There is good reason to believe that these scanners will increase the risk of cancer to children and other vulnerable populations. We are unanimous in believing that the potential health consequences need to be rigorously studied before these scanners are adopted."
  • autographedcat: (travel - Doctor Who)
    The weekend was largely quiet, for one reason or another. Which isn't do say it wasn't filled with good social time.

    Friday night, I learned that City of Heroes was having a free reactivation weekend. Games like CoH do this periodically, where they turn on all the accounts of people who left the game and stopped paying for access, hoping to lure some of them back to look at the cool new things they've done in the mean time. The last time I'd logged into CoH was about 3 years ago, so I figured "What the heck", let's see what's new in Paragon City. It took me a while to get used to the controls, mostly because WoW and CoH have the Y axis of the mouse reversed. Once I adjusted for that, I bounced around on my old scrapper, Magic Librarian, and poked around the crafting system that has been added since I left, and ran some missions on the new alignment system, which looks cool. I'm tempted to start up my subscription again, just to have a fun little time-wasting game for days I'm especially bored. CoH is a superb "casual" game that you can dart in and out of, especially with some of the chances they've made. I'm particularly interested in exploring the new alignment system the recent expansion added.

    Saturday, I had plans farther afield. Dina ([ profile] onmeadmountain) was visiting her mom and dad for a week, including the weekend, and by the weekend her husband Don and their two oldest kids should also have arrived from their camping trip, making it an ideal time to see them. (Her parents live about 3 hours away, whereas they live between 6 and 7 hours away by car.) I got away from the house at about 10am, which was about an hour later than I'd hoped, but it was a soft clear day, and I had several long podcasts to listen to, so I was looking forward to taking my Prius out on its first proper road trip. ([ profile] kitanzi elected to stay home and unwind, rather than take the trip.)

    It was a reasonably uneventful trip until I got to Chattanooga, where I decided I wanted a beverage. I stopped at a gas station, and started to go inside, when I realized that I didn't have my wallet. I quickly checked the car, and in the jacket I had tossed in the back seat, but it was in neither. I had obviously left it at home, which meant I had no ID, no credit cards, and $2.50 in quarters to my name. Not an ideal circumstance, but since I was already well over halfway to my destination, I elected to skip the beverage and go on up to the house.

    I next had one of those lovely "I rely on technology too much" moments that are always interesting. When I approached Spring City, my GPS cheerfully informs me: "You are entering an uncharted area. Turn-by-turn directions will no longer be available." Um, okay. No worries, right? I have a mobile phone, i'll just call t hem and get the directions from here to the house. So I picked up my phone, and saw the words 'No Service'. Well, isn't that grand?

    I figured that in the worst case scenario, I could stop and borrow a phone from the fast food place on Main Street, but I drove back and forth a couple of times first, looking for a clue. "Hrm, that street looks familiar", I said, spotting a school about a block down from the main strip. So I turned down that side street and past the school, I found a road with a similar name to the road my destination was on, so I turned down it, and found the road I was looking for. I feel pretty impressed with myself for this bit of geographical memory; the last time I'd been to Dina's parents house was for her baby shower for Kailyn. Kailyn is now 12 years old. :)

    Having located my destination, I went inside to visit. I got to see the sailing ship Conner made out of tinkertoys, and Briana practice her rushing tackle. She packs quite a wallop for a not-yet-two year old. Kailyn was in the high energy whirlwind of someone who is just getting over being sick, which left her a bit wiped out and cranky by days end, and I'm afraid I may have spent some of the Good Uncle points I have accumulated when I brightly suggested she could practice her flute, a task I knew she was procrastinating on, when she complained of being bored. But she did in fact go and do that thing, and I heard her from up the stairs. She's getting pretty good on that thing. I hope she sticks with it.

    Most of the visit was just hanging out in quiet conversation, though. I geeked about sound reenforcement with Dina's father, looked at all the gemstones that Don and the kids had collected during their camping trip to North Carolina, and we talked a bit about the house in Kentucky that I have yet to go and see. Eventually came a delightful spaghetti dinner with homemade banana bread for dessert.

    Of course, no visit with Don & Dina and the children would be complete without some out of context quotes from the day:

  • "She hurt her face on my ear."
  • "I'm so perky! No wonder I'm sick!"
  • "There you go! I'm like the Prius of Christianity!"

    The only down moment of the visit came when it was time to go. Walking down the stairs to say goodbye to Conner, who was watching TV in the basement, I felt something twinge in my calf and my leg buckled slightly. It was very painful to walk on, but I figured it was just a cramp and didn't think much of it. I put ice on it briefly, tried to walk it off a bit, and figured it would work itself out. Since it wasn't terribly painful unless I put weight on it, I collected hugs and drove home, using the cruise control to make sure I didn't go too fast and attract any official attention, since I still didn't have any ID on me. I got home a little after 11 and fell into bed.

    Sunday, my leg still hurt, so I spent a very quiet day split between more City of Heroes and a four hour block of Leverage. Monday, I called my doctor and was lucky enough to get an immediate appointment, so I hobbled in to get it checked out.

    After being poked and prodded (and scolded for not following up on something I was instructed to follow up on last time I was in), I was sent to the facility next door to undergo a procedure that would determine if there was a blood clot causing the pain. This was the one possibility that could have serious consequences, so they wanted to make sure and rule it out. Fortunately, that came up clear, so I was sent on my way with a prescription for diclofenac and orders to rest my leg as much as possible.

    So that's all the news from Jefferson Creek. How was your weekend?
  • autographedcat: (Default)
    (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 [ profile] folkmew and [ profile] edstauff were GOHs and Char McKay was Interfilk Guest.) After some discussion back and forth, [ profile] kitanzi decided she would stay home for this one, and so I prepared to go it alone into the wilds of Maryland.

    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 [ 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 [ 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 [ 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 [ 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.


    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 [ 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 [ 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 [ 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 [ 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.


    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.


    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.
    autographedcat: (England Travel)

    I really miss the Uk. It's been too long.


    Oct. 29th, 2008 05:55 pm
    autographedcat: (Default)
    Music. Magic. Family. Love. What can I say? It's OVFF... )
    autographedcat: (Default)
    [ profile] kitanzi and I got home about 2:30pm, and have since been fed and watered.  All is well.  Con report to follow.

    As is my habit, I have collected all of the LJ reports regarding OVFF here.  Please link me to any I've missed, to create the most complete record possible.  Thanks!
    autographedcat: (Default)

    Last night I got a head start on the traditional post-con melancholy, but I had a fantastic weekend at OVFF.  Currently sitting at the airport waiting for our flight, for which we arrived insanely early (also traditional, but once we were both awake there was no real point in hanging out -- [ profile] cadhla and [ profile] sweetmusic_27 were both asleep still, and there was no one in the lobby, so we just came on out to the airport, dropped off the car, got through security and found some breakfast.  We should arrive in Atlanta sometime around noon, so we should be home by 2pm or so.

    More later.  I love you all.

    autographedcat: (Default)
    [ profile] kitanzi and I are on our way to the airport on our way to Boston. Looking forward to seeing all of you there (Well, all of you that are there anyway. *grin*
    autographedcat: (vicambulate - walking about in the stre)
    We've already told a few people about this, but in the interest of making sure that everyone who reads this space knows.

    [ profile] kitanzi and I will be visiting Massachusetts in September, specifically Sept 5-8. Our primary purpose for visiting is to visit some friends from outside our normal social circle and meet up with a group at the Ren Faire, but since we know a large number of you would likely hunt us down and do unpleasant bodily harm to us if we didn't make some effort to see you, we plan on attending the MASSFILC meeting on Saturday.

    So, if you're inclined to be the sort of person who wants to see us, that's the place to be. (It would have been great fun to just show up and surprise everyone, but I didn't want to risk someone being disappointed afterwards because they didn't end up going that month.)

    Hope to see all you New England types there!


    Oct. 29th, 2007 05:18 pm
    autographedcat: (Default)
    Home from OVFF. Fall down now go boom. More later.


    Sep. 11th, 2007 08:33 am
    autographedcat: (Default)
    Our plane tickets for OVFF have been purchased. Here's our itinerary, in case anyone's interested:

                                     Bkng                          Meals/ Seat/
    Day Date       Flight     Status Class       City        Time  Other  Cabin
    --- ----- --------------- ------ ----- ---------------- ------ ------ -------
    Thu 25OCT DELTA 958         OK     T   LV ATLANTA       244P           24D
                                           AR COLUMBUS OH   415P          COACH
    Mon 29OCT DELTA 6441*       OK     T   LV COLUMBUS OH   1149A          8C
                                           AR ATLANTA       128P          COACH

    Looking forward to seeing everyone who will be there? Who's coming? :)
    autographedcat: (More fun than a bucket of panda)
    The rest of my trip was both fun and relaxing. Here's the highlights.

    Bookstores, backyard bbqs, and big oceans... )
    autographedcat: (Default)
    Am home. Am safe. Am exhausted. Am in much pain.

    However, heart is light and full of joy. Much love.

    Am fall down now. More later.
    autographedcat: (Default)
    This has been a trip, thus far, of exceptionally useful voluntary purchases.

    If you're going to San Francisco, be sure to rent a magic talking box... )
    autographedcat: (Default)
    I am sitting on a train which will take me to a plane that will take me to a car that will take me to [ profile] cadhla!

    See you all on the flip side!
    autographedcat: (Default)

    • Our housewarming party was a great success! Thanks to Alice, [ profile] thatcrazycajun, [ profile] hilfy, [ profile] anaisdjuna, [ profile] joyeuse13, and [ profile] abovenyquist for coming over!

    • [ profile] kitanzi and I met up with Alice and [ profile] thatcrazycajun to see Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. I thought it was a fine film, and the gal playing Luna Lovegood is just spot-perfect. Thumbs up!

    • [ profile] hilfy came over for dinner Friday night. We had good food, good wine, and good conversation. A very enjoyable evening.

    • We went to see Ben Wakeman play on Saturday. I've been a big fan of Ben's for years, and have even covered a few of his songs in filk circles. He gave his usual great show, and I got chat with him briefly to let him know he has a fan in the UK ([ profile] bardling: he says hi and thanks!). One funny moment came when he forgot the first line to one of the songs on his new album. After two false starts, he said "Does anyone know the words to this song?" I carefully called out the first line for him, and he said "Thank you!" and launched into it. Later, by request, he did "White Male Folk Singer" and forgot the words to that too. *grin*

    • The check engine light (also known on some models of car as the "set aside $400" light) came on while we were driving back from the concert, and I noticed it was idling funny. We got home OK, but i made plans to put it in the shop on Monday.

    • Our 3rd wedding anniversary was Sunday! We celebrated by going out for lunch at Buffalo Wild Wings Cafe, and then went shopping for stuff for the cats. What glamorous lives we lead! Sunday night, we watched the premiere of "Masters of Science Fiction", an anthology series that ABC has already canceled. Which is a pity, because the debut episode was brilliant. I recommend picking up the 3 remaining episodes if you have a chance, and keep a look out for an eventual DVD release.

    • The auto place called me back this morning, after I dropped the car off yesterday afternoon. The actual thing I took it in for was pretty minor, but there's about $2600 worth of maintenance that need to be done. Fluid changes, full tune up with new spark plugs and cables, radiator hose, and, most expensively, new struts. We discussed the need and urgency of the various items, and I ended up authorizing them for about $1200 of the repairs. The remaining part will have to be budgeted out over the next few months.

    • Shortly after the car people called, I got a half-hour warning call from the delivery service that was bringing us our anniversary present to each other. We got a king-sized bed from The Original Mattress Factory. This is something we'd wanted for quite some time, because while there was nothing structurally wrong with our queen-sized bed, it had become to small. When I started sleeping with the CPAP, I started sleeping on my back, and suddenly was taking up a lot more bed than I used to. The queen bed will now be the guest room bed, and has already been moved into place. Who wants to come visit?

    • Speaking of visiting, I am going to be in San Francisco on Labor Day weekend! The reason for my trip is to visit [ profile] cadhla, so I have no idea what sort of availability I may have otherwise, but, hey, y'know, I'm gonna be there all weekend, including Monday. (My return flight leaves at 10:30pm Monday and will land me back in Atlanta at 6am, just in time to go to work on Tuesday morning.) I now proceed to do the bouncy I-get-to-see-Seanan chair dance, which I'm told is very cute in a demented sort of way.

    • [ profile] kitanzi just e-mailed me to let me know she'd won a pair of tickets to see Peter Paul and Mary at Chastain Park Amphitheatre on Friday! Wheee!

    • My friend Dina, who I have not seen in far too long, is coming down the last weekend of September with her two children, and we're going to go to the zoo and the aquarium and the pool and who knows what else?

    And that's most of the news that's fit to print. On the whole, it's mostly positive, and what isn't positive isn't really more than annoying. So I declare it, on the whole, good.
    autographedcat: (still flying)
    Kitanzi and I are sitting at the gate at SFO, waiting to board. Con was good, more later.
    autographedcat: (England Travel)


    Despite being one of the last people to go to bed on Friday, I woke up on Saturday morning in time to avail myself of the free breakfast. I sat with [ profile] filkerdave, and after finishing my food, later sat and chatted with [ profile] katyhh and [ profile] tarkrai. At some point, I realized the time and caught the last half of Lady Mondegreen's "Choose Your Own Adventure Workshop", where they had put a bunch of topics into a hat and drew a new one out every time they exhausted the previous topic.

    Once that was done, I wandered out into the lounge area and chatted with various people, so I missed the next couple of concerts. I was in and out of the Main Concert, but I did fortunately catch the Crooklets singing "Alien Salad Abduction" and also [ profile] demoneyes brilliant parody of [ profile] callylevy's "Just Beyond". I had stepped out to fetch some folks for [ profile] filkerdave's spot when I got waylaid by the charming photographer who was at the con to cover the vent for an Irish youth magazine, and I spent a good deal of the next hour chatting with her and letting her take my picture.

    The main concert was followed by a reunion of the original lineup of Three Weird Sisters. Since all three of them happened to be at the con, they decided to put on an hour set, and, while I admit to being greatly biased, they were fantastic. if you had told a total stranger that these three hadn't performed together in over a year, I'm not sure you could have convinced them. The set was tight, high energy, and a hell of a lot of fun, and it was really nice to see the old dynamic still exists when they get on stage.

    After the 3WS concert was supposed to be dinner, but that was when the first of the major hotel snafus struck. It seems that somehow the hotel had interpreted "Dinner from 5-7pm" as "Dinner at 7pm", so there was a scramble to get dinner out. Worse, at this time we discovered that the hotel had, despite a contractual prohibition against booking other noisy events into the facility, booked a disco and a skittle alley for Saturday night; in fact, they rather comically wanted to set the skittle alley up in the main Programming room. This led to a great number of the concom having to jump into crisis mode, but fortunately, everything was eventually sorted out, with the skittles being put out of doors, dinner moved to a function room on the far end of the hotel, and coordination between the disco DJ and the con's sound tech crew to try and ensure there'd be little interference from the dance.

    The fears of the noisy disco also required a slight rearrangement of the evening programming, moving UK GOH Mike Richards up an hour, as he would tend to be quieter than the other two performers. What with the delay of dinner and lending support to the committee, I didn't get to catch all of it, but I really enjoyed what I heard.

    After Mike was the band Chimes, who aptly demonstrated how you can make sure everyone at the con gets a concert slot despite limited time. I lost track of the number of personnel changes the band went through, as various people filled in for the band members who were sidelined by illness. All of it was amazing, but my favourite song had to be "Thief in Little Pieces", wherein [ profile] little_cinnamon learned to not to let Phil rewrite his lyrics without checking on them beforehand. This rule belongs in the same category as "Don't look at Judi Miller while you're on stage."

    The evening wrapped up with the absolutely fabulous Lady Mondegreen, who delivered everything I'd come to expect from them over the years since they debuted. I'm a sucker for harmony and pretty girls, and LMG is rather obviously strong in both suits, and I'm biased to begin with for various personal reasons, but to say they blew the room away is rank understatement. I especially loved the ultra funky filk of "Lady Marmelade", with [ profile] fleetfootmike and [ profile] demoneyes providing guitar and drum backing. The only regret I have is having the camera battery die shortly after [ profile] sweetmusic_27 joined the band to turn the trio into a quartet. But not being able to take pictures meant I got to kick back and enjoy the music.

    Once the concerts were officially over, I went to hang out with [ profile] cadhla and [ profile] sweetmusic_27, and we played the exciting parlour game called "Quick! Find something Seanan can eat!" This is no mean feat after 10pm on a Saturday night in Basingstoke, but the game was finally won by securing an expensive but indifferent cheese-and-veg pizza from room service. Once fortified, we wandered into Open Filk, where I recall singing a couple of [ profile] adamselzer's songs, and I don't remember what else. We stayed up until way too late singing, and then Amy and I stayed up talking until later still, and I finally got to sleep somewhere around 5am.

    End Part the Third...

    (Coming soon: Part the fourth, in which there is oversleeping, closing ceremonies, and we get in trouble for singing in a pub. Don't miss the thrilling conclusion, next time on Flashback!)
    autographedcat: (England Travel)
    Morning came, and soon the house was bustling with packing and organizing and all of that. [ profile] cadhla came over to join us on the trip down, and eventually we set off for Basingstoke, stopping briefly at Waterloo station for a Buger King lunch.

    The train trip down was relatively uneventful, though i sometimes wonder about the poor fellow who was sitting by the window in the section of seats we encamped on. Conversation between us was as varied and colourful as conversations involving this lot tend to be after all, and looked horribly trapped and put upon.

    Arriving at the hotel, we split into two groups and taxied over to the hotel, and checked in. This was where we discovered that the hotel would only allow us one key per room. This wasn't a problem for me, as I was the only person in my room, but [ profile] cadhla's roommate had gone off on a grocery run with others, and she couldn't get into her room. I invited her to drop her things in my room until she could get into hers.

    Having divested ourselves of stuff, we headed out to meet up with folks, and distribute hugs and generally hang out. Eventually, [ profile] sweetmusic_27 showed up with food and the room key, so I helped her carry her stuff in ("Are you happy to see me, or do you just want me for my labour?" "Well, just this minute...."), and eventually went and fetched Seanan's stuff as well.

    [ profile] telynor asked me if I'd be willing to help out with Opening Ceremonies. My complicated job, which will be difficult to explain to a layperson, but I'll try, was to stand by the door and look big. This all tied into the whole X-files/Torchwood/Area 51/Men in Black thing the concom was going for. My job was to Secure The Door. ("I'm on the brute squad." "You ARE the brute squad!")

    Saw a bit of [ profile] tarkrai's concert, and then agreed to walk to the city centre with Seanan so she could acquire diet soda. We actually turned the wrong way at first, and then doubled back on a bike trail, but eventually, we found our way to lovely downtown Basingstoke and located a Tescos, stocked up on beverages and stuff, and then walked over to the train station, where we took a taxi back to the hotel, so we wouldn't have to lug our bags.

    Friday night was mostly spent hanging out in the pub area with [ profile] telynor, [ profile] katyhh, and some other folks I'm not remembering at this point. I did wander into the open filk for a bit, and borrowed [ profile] ladymondegreen's guitar to play "Sauron" when a rash of silly Tolkien songs broke out, but otherwise spent most of my time socializing, ending up sitting at the bar with [ profile] bedlamhouse and [ profile] ladyat for as long as Bill was willing to keep buying me pints. Eventually, about three in the morning or so, the last folks wandered off to bed, and I wandered off as well.

    End Part the Second...

    (Coming soon: Part the Third, featuring a disco, a skittle alley, a relocated dinner, and a program shuffle. Stay tuned!)


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