Oh. Right. WesterConChord. A good, mostly-relaxing weekend, which sort of surprised me. Taking a teenager (the YD's friend K) along who was paying for her room and board by taking care of Colleen made all the difference.
I did a fair amount of singing, in circles and a two-shot (where I did Rosie and Riverheart, but not all that well).
The high point was definitely the Interfilk auction, where I got a black leather jacket. After the bidding got up to $75 I asked to try it on, at which point the person bidding against me said something to the effect of "ok, it's yours". N. said this meant I must have looked "seriously hot" in it, but my little bear-like brain is having a great deal of trouble with that concept. And somebody took my picture with the wenches; I hope that shows up on LJ soon. Then you can judge for yourselves.
And the Kazoo award -- "Paper Wings" won in the "Dragons" category. Being the only nominee who actually showed up at the concert to sing their own song undoubtedly helped. Plus the fact that it's serious, hopeful, and has a pretty melody. I wouldn't have minded losing to "Gilda and the Dragon", though.
Art show. We got a lovely print of a dragon and teapot by Sue Dawe (in the auction), a fused-glass tile titled "Eye of Argus", and a Cthulhu-themed ceramic butter keeper and spoon jar that I had come close to buying at a previous con.
The hotel had free internet for the duration of the con, but it wasn't fast enough to make ssh to home a pleasant experience. I did my note-taking on a local copy and synchronized (via git) when I got home. Hence the multi-day post.
Not nearly as much talking with friends as I would have liked, of course, but I introduced a couple of new people to my music.
Colleen was having a pretty bad time of it, between leg cramps, a lot of difficulty walking and getting between the car and the scooter, and the narrowness and height of the bed. Grump. She still enjoyed the con, though. As did I; a lot more than I expected to.
Somehow I seem to have neglected to mention the fact that my songwriting talents have been recognized once more in the form of another Kazoo Award. Specifically, Thrill-Seekers' Waltz was the winner in the "Recycled Fish" category. I am speechless.
It's worth noting that T-SW was the first of two songs I wrote after the Challenger disaster; the second was Keep the Dream Alive. Which I think is probably more worthy of recognition, though I suppose that's a matter of taste.
My half-hour concert came off without trainwrecks (and only a couple of glitches, which hopefully weren't too noticable to most of the audience. I got a couple of positive comments afterwards, including from the sound guy and GOH. I got the setlist keyed in and an unsplit ogg up on the web in record time, largely because I had nothing better to do while the laundry was running. Some good conversation, though. Not much singing outside the concert. A couple of songs by request in the con suite.
It was a very small con; well under 100 people. They don't have a date, a hotel, or guests for next year; it may well not happen. Sadness.
(ETA: Nick says that it will happen next year; we'll see.)
A good phone call to Callie, who I think needed a friendly voice about then.
It was a good day, and a good weekend.
As usual for cons, my note-taking is sketchier. But it was a good, relaxing day. Lots of good talks with people I don't see often enough.
Joe Giacoio's guitar workshop was great. I was the only one there at first, so I got to pick the topics: open tunings and cross-hand playing. Very, very informative. His technique is to give you the "aha" bit of information that tells you how to learn the rest on your own.
Colleen is enjoying the con, and her increased mobility, immensely, and needs comparatively little help. The bed is too high for her, though; I'm going to have words with the hotel on that (though I doubt it will do any good).
So, yesterday we drove down to ConChord. Despite my worries, Colleen handled the trip very well; we had to stop a little more often than usual, but she managed just fine in the public restrooms along the way. She took a spill at the hotel, going sideways along a very gentle slope, but escaped uninjured, undeterred, and cheerful. I love my turbo-snail!
It turned out to be a Forgetful Friday in a couple of ways -- Colleen left her phone at home, and I left the directions I printed. Fortunately all I had to remember was the exit: Topanga Canyon Road. It's 101 all the way down. I also realized too late that I should have packed a badge holder.
I also forgot to take my meds in the morning -- naturally I only found that out when I went to take them at night. I took the essential once/day stuff. The noteworthy thing about it was that I found this very amusing, rather than beating myself up over it. Go me.
No singing -- we crashed about 11pm after conversation in the con suite.
Over the course of the last couple of mornings I've finally finished
fixing my toolchain
software, and in particular the rather misnamed
album.make, to handle multiple named sessions (concerts,
for example) in a single directory. There are, needless to say, a few
bugs left, but I should have split copies of cflute's and tibicina's concerts at ConChord by
sometime this weekend.
My attempt to upgrade Matrix, the ancient Thinkpad that I've been using as the living-room browsing machine, to Lenny ended with no X and a mysterious hang. Considering its age and condition, I'm going to give up and either drop back to Etch, intall Puppy, or, more likely, give it an honorable burial in the attic. Harmony or one of the mini-ITX systems will work fine. I'll start with Dantooine, currently the bedroom computer, because Colleen won't be needing it for the next month or so. I'll have to come up with something to put it on.
Some good phone conversations: cflute on Tuesday, joecoustic today, and of course multiple conversations with Colleen. Still not as good as I'd like to be at originating calls -- it's all too easy for me to procrastinate them.
I slept fairly well last night, but woke up about 5:30 with a somewhat sore throat and the impression that I'd forgotten my facehugger. That or woken up, taken it off, and gone back to sleep. *sigh* I really resent the time I spend sleeping. Especially when I don't have anyone to sleep with. That's what I miss the most.
My toastmaster's concert at ConChord, which happened a week ago last Saturday, is finally split up, properly indexed, and uploaded. You can find it here. For field recordings, the sound quality is remarkably good; they were captured on my H2, just in front of the audience. The performances a little less so, but parts of it are, if not awesome, at least served up with win and a modest amount of awesome sauce. I did tear up at the ending of QV, so that says something.
It's been a good con. Colleen flaked out of the Dead Dog at about 10:30; I bailed at midnight. Colleen had me do QV before I left, in part because AJA hadn't heard the whole thing. Got a big smile of recognition on "Mirror, mirror". After Colleen left I played stunt guitar for a couple of songs that cflute and tibicina sang. Sang "Desolation, Oh, No!" in a sequence of self-referential songs, and "Keep the Dream Alive" as a follower to something Paul Estin sang. Probably one or two others..
Noticed, especially on QV, that I'm still not entirely comfortable with Flame even though I did most of my practicing on Ruby; there must be a slight difference in the neck. Was very glad I opted to perform with Plink; I was, apparently, much more relaxed once I made that decision during our Friday rehearsal.
Being Toastmaster keeps one very busy; I'm not sure I'll want to do that again. Probably not. One can't skip concerts to have conversations, the way I've been doing lately, or to squeeze in a last-minute run-through of something I'm not familiar with. Squeezed in a couple of rehearsals with tibicina so I could do "The Merryman and his Maid" in her set, and we pulled it off, but it was a near thing.( set list for my concert )
8:50 ETA: Managed to leave our hot-water pot and tea chest in the con suite room last night, figuring I'd collect them this morning. (Besides, I was already in bed when I remembered.) But they were already reconfiguring the room when I got down at 8:40. We'll probably reconnect with them at Loscon, unless somebody made other arrangements.
Went down with Colleen for the hotel's buffet breakfast around 8am; I'm eventually due to meet the rest of Tres Gique for "breakfast" but figure that it'll be more like a high-protein lunch. (ETA: have just heard from Joyce; they're heading down for breakfast now. Will join her for coffee; may ping cflute from there.)
Went up to the front desk to see about getting a room with a proper ADA height toilet; got a booster seat instead, which is much more practical for the current situation, since it means not having to change rooms. Win.
Inquired at the bell desk about drug stores; there's a Rite Aid a couple of long blocks away just on the other side of 101. Mainly we needed coffee filters, having discovered that the stupid bear had forgotten to pack them. Also plain aspirin and kleenex. Yesterday morning was hectic, to say the least -- I was too busy making mini-fliers for QV to do or think of much of anything else.
Between the drug store and the little park next to the hotel in that direction, I got in a nice hour's walk. There's a Denny's just this side of 101 at the corner of Topanga and Burbank.
Well, here we are at ConChord. Got in about 4:30 after an easy trip down 101. Stopped at Solvang for lunch at The Chef's Touch -- made of yum. Small place, very small menu written up on chalkboard. Two large-screen monitors showing the stove from above, so you can see what the chef is doing.
Dinner here at the hotel wasn't nearly as good, but made up for it by being more expensive. The company was good, though; Joyce, Dave and Jordan; Michael and Allison. Nobody else had shown up by the time we went upstairs at 11:30. Grump.
Spent all evening sitting in the lobby playing guitar: Plink before dinner, and Flame after.
We're borrowing a scooter from Michael for the weekend. It took up an enormous amount of space; we ended up using the back seat for additional stowage. We would not have been able to take two additional people plus luggage, though we could have managed one. So far, the only person who's actually used the scooter has been me.
Musical mayhem starts tomorrow.
Back an hour ago from a good practice session at Joyce's; things are coming along. Came up with a nice arrangement for the last verse of "Millennium's Dawn", and decided that, no, I really have to stick to one melody for the men's and women's ending choruses to "Quiet Victories". Good: it's simpler that way.
Spent most of the morning puttering around and ripping CDs. It's comparatively mindless work, except that it requires physical action and attention every 10 minutes or so, so I can't really do anything that requires concentration. Can read LJ. There's also the temptation to immediately go shelve the CD I just ripped.
I did, however, get almost all the CDs shelved, after picking up some 1" angle brackets on the way home from my walk. It's too tight; even with the extra shelf and removing duplicates and convention compilations they won't all fit. However, the stacks near the CD drive are gone, and there's room for more shelves in the corner stack and off to the right, especially if we move cassettes, gaming books, and the like out of the way.
The cassettes all need to be ripped, too. That's another huge project.
On the whole, not a very productive weekend. Lots of puttering done, and I'm glad to have some clutter out of the living room, but still... Sometimes things just get a little overwhelming.
Got in a good walk this afternoon after lunch, meaning (in this case) between about 3pm and 4pm. Good, solid exercise walk, three times around the Rose Garden. Or was it four? I lost count.
The route takes me past a high school; it was amusing to be strolling past kids a quarter my age. Of course, they were mostly in groups and more interested in their conversations than in covering ground. But still...
About 30-40 minutes of practicing; mostly stuff from the concert set. I still get distracted; it's usually safe to assume that there will be at least one trainwreck during the concert, but it's pretty solid otherwise. Discovered that I've been playing an F in the first line of third quatrain of QV, not the C that I originally notated. That, in turn, means that the second and third quatrains harmonize, and explains why I occasionally mix them up. Anyway, that means I can use the second (lower) melody with the men's ending, and it'll work.
Wheelin', meanwhile, may have acquired a C-C7-E7-F riff between what I still think of as the verse and the refrain sections. The C7-E7 slide is one I learned from my brother years and years ago, in "Railroad Bill" and "Freight Train". Always wanted an excuse to use it.
It feels like an odd sort of Sunday, not a Tuesday. Grumble. That means that tomorrow will probably feel like an odd sort of Monday, at least until I get home.
My Toastmaster gig at ConChord is now a mere three weeks away. And now that I have reasonably solid timings on QV and Wheelin', I can actually plan out my set list -- as long as I don't write anything new in the mean time. The probability of getting QV on a single is getting lower, but it's still non-zero.
Wednesday was fun. Colleen's friend Bev had to leave early, just after Joyce and Jordan arrived, but we managed to squeeze in her verse of QV, which she hadn't heard. Got the hoped-for reaction: shocked recognition, surprise, and laughter, in that order. Made of win.
Paper Wings [mp3] and Wheelin' [mp3] are coming together pretty well; the latter is especially not bad for having been written just this Monday. We also tried out Quiet Victories with all the extra verses (to date) and some audience participation on the ending. I'm still pretty much winging it there -- that and the intro need work -- but it is going to be flat flaming fantastic.( aside to cflute and tibicina )
If I'm going to record Wednesdays on a regular basis for more than just scratch tracks, I'm probably going to need separate mics for the performers to get a reasonable mix with the drum.
Just a couple of updates on this post about last weekend's shopping.
The Merrell slip-ons continue to be pretty comfortable; I expect they'll be even better if I replace the insoles with Superfeet. I seem to get the best support by re-tightening the ankle brace after putting the shoes on, which I suppose shouldn't surprise me. I'm beginning to wonder whether Ecco has hiking boots; their walking shoes have fit me pretty well in the past.
The more I use the new-style Eagle Creek sidekick bag, the more I like it. Finally moved almost all of the assorted stuff into it from the old bag; most of it sits comfortably on the bottom of the back compartment now that the phone and camera are safely and securely out of the way. There's a lot of room at the top of the larger front compartment; just right for a small water bottle (as I determined during my walk today).
The smaller, vertical Eagle Creek bag looks as though it'll fit in my backpack alongside an Asus Eee, so it might be good for accessories. OTOH there are probably better bags for that purpose.
In view of the amount of work that needs to be done around the house, not to mention Getting Ready for ConChord, I'm thinking I'll take off the Tuesday and Wednesday before the con. Probably not the Monday before, since I'll be taking the Monday after to drive home.
Went over to Joyce's last night for some practice; we worked on the three songs in the tentative setlist that we hadn't worked on before: "Paper Wings", "Millennium's Dawn", and "Quiet Victories". Also worked on "The River".
There's still a chance that Joyce won't make it down to ConChord. She just got laid off last week (anyone -- especially a startup in the Bay Area -- looking for a senior tech writer or documentation manager?) and is currently dealing with some medical/mobility problems. So the setlist for my concert Saturday night is still slightly up in the air. I need to practice more of my repertoire than just the setlist, though, so that's ok. I figure on running through about half the set plus a couple of other songs every day.
It's not at all clear whether I'll be able to get a single of QV put together in time for the con.
Exactly five weeks from now I'll be at ConChord, hanging out with friends and getting ready for my gig as Toastmaster. Eeep!
I just found out this afternoon that Joyce will be going; that means that my concert can include some Tres Gique material. Cool!
Does this mean that it's a good thing that I haven't completely settled on my set list? Err, I mean, ummmm,...
tibicina, are you still thinking of bringing handbells?
I think I've just acquired a couple more projects for this weekend.