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mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)

Tired, missing my Cat, but well-fed and happy to be home. Managed to aggravate the tendinitis in my right knee going up and down stairs during loadout; took the last loads down by elevator. By that time there were only two left operating. We got the final load out with mere minutes to spare before the checkout time of 12:00.

In spite of our early start, we got home about an hour later than usual -- traffic was awful. Over 7 1/2 hours of driving. Ugh. Didn't help my knee much, either.

Mongolian for dinner. Yum. Inexpensive, and the kids love it. Even Emmy, who has sense enough to ask them to clean the grill so as not to trigger her mushroom allergy.

Met a few new people at Loscon, and had some wonderful conversations. I'm a moderately happy Bear. Also a very tired one. And I get to see my Cat tomorrow! That will make me a very happy Bear.

mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)

Except for the afternoon filk concerts I spent pretty much all day Saturday talking with people. Mainly the lovely Moira Stern (who should comment to tell me whether I should use her LJ ID, real name, or both interchangably), whose concert came after mine. With a concert harp and three kids, she certainly needed help gear-wrangling, and it made a good excuse to talk.

Had dinner with the Rubins, after which I hooked up with Moira again (we were at the same restaurant in the hotel). After that I party-hopped, which made for a couple more good conversations and a fair amount of tasty stuff containing ethanol. Trying to be gluten-free is annoying.

The concert went well; the Wolfling was trailing the beat a little -- we need to work on that -- but I was mostly on. It was all stuff I've been singing recently, so I was actually able to look at the audience a little. Tearful hug from Moira by way of a review. We really should have swapped sets; she needed time to tune the harp. And it's really hard to follow QV, or start one's set after one has been crying.

No, I'm not sorry about that.

My setlist, cobbled together mere minutes before the concert, consisted of:

1 The Toolmakers (3:06)
2 The River (4:00)
3 Wheelin' (3:15)
4 Keep the Dream Alive (4:18)
5 Quiet Victories (12:00)

Side note on gear: I took my notebook up on stage, which let me jam my watch fob into one of the rings where I could see it. Very useful. I found myself wishing that I'd taken one of the cup-holders, though.

I find the fact that I spent essentially the entire con as the Middle-Sized Bear to be deeply odd. I have noticed that I've been spending more time talking to people, and much less time in programming. And I've noticed a tendency recently to spend a lot of my time talking to one person during a con, usually somebody I want to know better. (It was [livejournal.com profile] cflute at Baycon, for example, and [livejournal.com profile] joecoustic at OVFF.) I love it, but it does mean that I get to meet fewer new people. (On the gripping hand, I've always had trouble meeting new people.)

On the whole, I'd rather spend my time deepening old friendships and making new ones than sitting around in a circle waiting for a good opening to slip a song into. Swapping songs with a small number of people is a lot of fun, though; I'm not sure how to find a good balance there.

mdlbear: portrait of me holding a guitar, by Kelly Freas (freas)

As predicted, Loscon is being weird. Good, mostly, but weird. Got pounce-hugged by [livejournal.com profile] snobahr in the lobby, and much later had a good conversation in the elevator lobby. Spent a lovely couple of hours talking to [livejournal.com profile] impresaria1 by the pool as she watched her three kids. Then we went out for dinner, to the nearby Mongolian barbecue, with Bill and Carole (WINOLJ), and the Y. D.

What [livejournal.com profile] impresaria1 failed to mention -- or think of -- was that she's seriously allergic to soy. As in soy sauce. Can you say dumb? Thought so. Spent most of the evening taking care of her. She seemed OK when I left her around midnight, but an emergency call was only minutes away a couple of times.

Spent about 45 minutes down at the filk circle after that; sang Toolmakers and QV off-book using KR's 12-string. Not entirely sure I like QV capoed up on a 12 -- it could stand to be lower. (It's in C; I play it capo 5 with G fingerings, because that works better on a 6 with my fingerpicking style. So it can go either way.) Sang Wheelin' up in the lobby, and spent a lot of time noodling.

The whole day was punctuated with calls to Colleen. She managed to get out and go shopping in the afternoon. So that's very good progress.

mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)

There are only two functioning elevators. It's going to be a disaster. I'm rather glad Colleen's not here -- we're already looking at 20-minute waits; it'll be an hour or two in line by tomorrow.

At least my room number, 640, is easy to remember. And I can handle 5 floors worth of walking as long as my knees hold out.

mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)

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 [livejournal.com profile] cflute's and [livejournal.com profile] 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: [livejournal.com profile] cflute on Tuesday, [livejournal.com profile] 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.

mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)

This year's OVFF marked the first anniversary of the late-night conversation and song-swapping session with [livejournal.com profile] pocketnaomi (briefly mentioned here) that I think of as the first sign of the changes that eventually led to the River posts.

It was particularly appropriate, then, that she spent the con crashing in my room. It was something of an experiment, and a very successful one: I experienced much the same level of casual friendliness that's become familiar from years of sharing hotel rooms with my daughters. (Without arguments over who sleeps in which bed or what time curfew is -- a definite plus.)

The con was a good opportunity to re-connect with many of the friends I made last year, and to try to make a few new ones (though not as many as I would have liked). Few of my conversations got as deep as I would have liked them to, and there wasn't nearly enough time for all the conversations I wanted to have. *sigh*

I found it a little easier to start conversations with strangers, including three of my four airplane seatmates. Part of the trick, I think, is simply using my time better: I used to hang out on the edge of a conversation waiting for someone to notice me or for an opening to appear; it never worked and left me feeling left out. Now I try to stand or sit next to someone who isn't in a conversation. I'm still not very good at getting things started, but improving. Sharing a table at breakfast or dinner is always a good strategy.


On the negative side, just because I'm increasingly aware of things like body language, subtext, and tacit messages doesn't mean that I'm any damned good at either sending or interpreting them. In fact, it's probably worse: if I recognize but totally misread a message that I would have ignored a year ago, the results are at best highly embarassing. And in my little bear-like brain there's nothing worse than being embarassed. Similarly if I notice that I'd sent a totally unintended tacit message to someone I had no wish to offend. I spent quite a bit of time Sunday evening wondering whether I'd ever be any good at this whole "being human" thing.

I had one of each; no need to go into details on the first one. In the second case, yes, I really did want to finish a LJ post, which I was working on through an ssh connection, without having to worry about the battery dying and the connection dropping. It wasn't a rejection. There are lots of reasons why I'll leave a conversation: I might think it's over, I might have something that needs doing, or I might be feeling left out. I might even be bored, but that's rare, and never happened at OVFF. I'm afraid the person I'd been talking to thought I was rejecting her. Or something.


Public Service Announcements:

  • You can't count on me to interpret your body language, tone of voice, or implied messages correctly, even if I sort-of notice that they're there. Use words, if at all possible.
  • There's rarely, if ever, an unspoken subtext to anything I do. What you see me doing is what I'm doing, and I'll tell you why if you ask.
mdlbear: (hacker traveling)

This is basically just a set of random notes. First the health notes:

Didn't manage to get out for a walk at all; did some walking Thursday and Monday in the DFW airport.

Stayed on the gluten-free diet pretty well, modulo a couple of brownies in the con suite and a slice of German chocolate cake at the Pegasus dinner.

I forgot my Claritin. Stupid bear. From now on I'll just add it to the evening pill salad.

Made it through the weekend without resorting to the ankle brace; I wore it on the trip out but started having leg cramps; I took it off in the plane.


Now the travel notes:

It's reasonable to leave the hotel at 11am for a 12:50 flight. Could have gone a little later, but not much later, and one wants to allow for traffic, delays, and so on.

It's not necessary to take both the raincoat and a flannel shirt; probably a sport jacket and the stuff-sack rain shell would be fine if I remember to wear long sleeves through the airport.

I seem to have found the optimum luggage setup. Wearing the backpack and carrying Plink works best for, e.g., going through security and actually boarding the plane. For the layover, it's best to sling Plink on my back and put the backpack on the little Samsonite folding luggage cart. Takes a couple of minutes to switch over, but it's worth it. The folded cart can be wedged between Plink's handles.

DFW does not provide free wi-fi, but there's at least one kiosk (provided by Clearchannel, somewhere around A30) with free wired ethernet and power. I need to make sure the Zip-Link ethernet cable is where it's easy to find.

mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)

Many hugs and goodbyes this morning. Didn't sing even once in the Dead Dog, but there was a little hallway filk on the way back to the room at midnight, where I sang The River for [livejournal.com profile] quadrivium (who I particularly wanted to hear it because it's just crying out for a piano arrangement), [livejournal.com profile] weirdsister, [livejournal.com profile] sweetmusic_27, and others I've forgotten. Also had my hair and beard trimmed by the marvelous [livejournal.com profile] museinred.

All-in-all a very good convention: not much singing, but lots of great conversation and catching-up, and meeting a few new people (though I'm still not nearly as good at that as I'd like to be)

Met a fellow OVFF attendee in the Columbus airport, and had a great talk on the plane with Paul (last name forgotten, of course), an old folk music fan who'd spotted Plink in the airport.

Time to go, I think.

mdlbear: portrait of me holding a guitar, by Kelly Freas (freas)

Not much to say about Saturday, really. Lots of good conversation, but I've forgotten most of the details.

Sang The River as a one-shot in the morning group, and took in the concerts, which were wonderful as usual.

People have already posted the details of the Pegasus awards, so I don't have to.

After the Peggies I crawled off to a thinly-populated filk room so I could sing The River to [livejournal.com profile] joecoustic, who had missed the one-shots and wanted to hear it. It was starting to fill up around midnight, when I decamped to the Just Plain Folks theme circle. This was followed by childrens' songs in the Pajama Party circle, which turned into open filking at 1:00 by way of Daddy's World. Went off to bath and bed at 2:45.

mdlbear: portrait of me holding a guitar, by Kelly Freas (freas)

I think I'm going to do this in reverse chronological order:

Just got back from the Sunday evening expedition to BD's Mongolian Barbecue. Only had one serving, though I opted for the 2-bowl "unlimited" variety. Asked for tea and got iced with some kind of fruit mixed in. Sigh. OTOH, it has a huge variety of fixin's, and the conversation was fantastic.

Rode to BD's with [livejournal.com profile] joecoustic, continuing a conversation we'd started earlier in the con suite. We were joined by Kanef and Ben Newman, continuing a conversation on the computational linguistics of songwriting. Notable quote (about a bit of Smalltalk trivia I tossed into the mix) "You mean they implemented Boolean as a union of two unit classes? Cool." They did, and it is.

I'd found myself in the con suite because I'd been sent to deliver a message to Peter Alway; ended up in a good discussion on dulcimer. It's been like that all weekend -- the main reason I haven't been blogging much is that I've been spending most of my time (outside of concerts) talking to people.

Won a handsome gourd/guiro/rainstick in the Interfilk auction; it'll be interesting seeing how it fits into my luggage. I didn't mind bidding it up to $30 because I'd been lazy and hadn't brought anything to donate.

Caught the song contest and a couple of the morning two-fers.

Breakfast was interesting -- Came in by myself (through not immediately asking the two young ladies ahead of me in line if I could join them), but another table had already mentioned to the greeter that they were looking for more. They were all locals; the woman next to me was a children's librarian named Lin -- short for Linea. The series of coincidences was impressive: Mom is Lynn, short for Evelyn, and a (retired) librarian; the young lady whose wedding we attended last weekend was named Linea. Fun.

Table-hopped after breakfast, with conversations with [livejournal.com profile] musicahumana and Barry and Sally Childs-Helton, and the GOHs, [livejournal.com profile] stevieannie and [livejournal.com profile] micktim.

Saturday to follow, to prevent this from getting too long.

mdlbear: (nike)

Sang QV -- all 9 verses of it -- as a "twofer" this evening. First one after the Pegasus Nominee concert, and thinly attended but not as thinly as the ones after it. Not much visible reaction, but several good comments afterward. So, yay!

Spent almost the entire time after that in the con suite talking. That's really what I go the cons for these days. Fair amount of time talking with Becca Leathers, who's co-toastmastering. She's giving a fingerpicking workshop tomorrow; my work on QV managed to impress her. We swapped stories about Pete Seeger and Joan Baez, among many other things.

Now I have to decide whether to gp back downstairs and try to squeeze in a few songs, or go crash. Probably best to take a bath and crash -- I'm getting fuzzy.

mdlbear: (hacker traveling)
One place where location-aware computing would be really useful would be for setting the timezone on a laptop. Of course, in the absence of a GPS in the laptop, you'd need something like location passed in by DHCP.

And I wonder whether ssh passes timezone in the environment. Worth checking.

In other notes, ssh bandwidth between here and home sucks rocks. Seems OK to dreamhost.com; probably a routing problem.
mdlbear: (hacker traveling)

DFW, 4:52pm: grumps

The oncologist was called away for an emergency, so Colleen's ultrasound was done by a tech who wouldn't tell her anything. I'll keep you posted.

There doesn't appear to be any free net in the terminal: all tmobile. Damned if I'll pay $10 or whatever for less than an hour ten minutes on the net. At least I can charge for free.

8:12pm OVFF: Grins

A really pleasant flight, with a good conversation with my seatmate, Carol, who was heading to an Information Science conference. Gave her a promo copy of CC&S.

About to head downstairs to socialize and maybe even sing.

mdlbear: (sparkly rose)
Colleen's CAT scan (seems appropriate for a Cheshire Cat, doesn't it) a couple of weeks ago showed what appear to be cysts on her ovaries and kidneys. She's going in for an ultrasound this morning; it's being done by the oncologist herself, so she'll probably have preliminary results by the time I get to Dallas.

Wish her luck, please.


2008-10-22 07:43 pm
mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)

Several things that I know were with me at ConChord seem to have gone missing, among them a little white power strip with a short cord, and my top hat. Very weird.

They'll turn up, of course, long after they're no longer needed.

Other than that, I'm packed.

9:25 The power strip showed up in Colleen's computer bag.

mdlbear: portrait of me holding a guitar, by Kelly Freas (freas)

Once again it's way too close to a con, and I've done way too little to get ready. I can, at least, post my itinerary.

AA 1588 SJC Oct 23 10:10am -> DFW 03:30pm  27B
AA 3597 DFW Oct 23 05:30pm -> CMH 09:00pm  14B

AA 2249 CMH Oct 27 12:50pm -> DFW 02:25pm  26D
AA 1355 DFW Oct 27 05:30pm -> SJC 07:10pm  27B

You can find my cell phone number on the contact page at Grand Central Starport.

mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)

Didn't spend much time at all at the drama llama petting zoo Silicon this year. A panel on Saturday, dinner with the Cat, and Peter Beagle's concert in the evening. A quick turn around the dealer's room, which didn't take long. The kids gofered, and Colleen spent a couple of hours there today.

Very small con, and the hotel, once the local SF con hotel, sucks. We won't bother going next year, I don't think.

Didn't get much else done, though, beyond running errands, taking care of Colleen, and some writing, mostly working on a big river post on love and friendship. Music? Not nearly as much work as I intended.

mdlbear: (audacity)

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.

mdlbear: portrait of me holding a guitar, by Kelly Freas (freas)

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 [livejournal.com profile] cflute and [livejournal.com profile] 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 [livejournal.com profile] 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.

mdlbear: portrait of me holding a guitar, by Kelly Freas (freas)

Busy being toast. Concert last went pretty well; good reaction to Wheelin' and QV. Lost a longer update because of stupid Apple keyboard conflicting with 30 years of Emacs habits. Pants not bankrupt, but required a large infusion of cash this morning. Set list later.

mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)

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 [livejournal.com profile] 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.

mdlbear: portrait of me holding a guitar, by Kelly Freas (freas)

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.

mdlbear: portrait of me holding a guitar, by Kelly Freas (freas)

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.

mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)

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.

mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)

Here's the tentative setlist for ConChord. It's looking suspiciously like a Tres Gique set, but there's a lot of stuff that's either new or old but recently revived. Order is, of course, up in the air at the moment.

probably of interest mainly to co-conspirators )
mdlbear: portrait of me holding a guitar, by Kelly Freas (freas)

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.


2008-08-15 07:27 pm
mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)

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.

mdlbear: portrait of me holding a guitar, by Kelly Freas (freas)

Exactly one month from now I'll be eating breakfast in the Warner Center Marriott, getting ready for my Toastmaster gig at ConChord 21. EEEEP!!

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.


2008-08-07 09:00 pm
mdlbear: portrait of me holding a guitar, by Kelly Freas (freas)

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,...

[livejournal.com profile] tibicina, are you still thinking of bringing handbells?

I think I've just acquired a couple more projects for this weekend.

mdlbear: (hacker traveling)

It's been a good day. Met the [livejournal.com profile] flower_cat in SEA; she'd arranged for someone to meet her and wheel her around, so all I had to do was collect the baggage and rent the car. Avis gave us a PT Cruiser -- cool-looking, and drives well, but the controls are confusingly different from my Honda, and cargo space is quite limited. Ended up with two bags and the walker in the back seat to accomodate the wheelchair and large suitacase in the back. Even then it was tight, and the rear visibility was nil with the wheelchair in the way.

But now, we've been well fed and made welcome in the Big Green Monster, and the Cat is sleeping beside me even as I type. Folks seem to go to bed early around here; I'd been kind of looking forward to some late-night conversation. Tomorrow, perhaps.

No idea what's happening tomorrow. Real-time scheduling, and likely to be pretty relaxed. I'm hoping that everyone will get the one-on-one time they need with me and/or Colleen respectively, and that there will be music and burlesque at one time or another. Other than that it's all pretty open.

mdlbear: (hacker traveling)

Went to a good party last night at the invitation of [livejournal.com profile] webmaven, who's on the program committee. Sold a CD to Julie Steele, a recent O'Reilly employee and Guy's daughter. Fun conversation. Several good conversations, but confirmed that I can only handle one or at most two people at a time.

The attendees at this conference, and cons in general, are getting younger and more decorative all the time. Especially the women; I'm greatly encouraged by the increasing number of women in open source.

The elevator music in the hotel was the stuff I was hearing in my teens. Scary.

 ;;; LISP using a distributed hash table.
 (defun cons (car cdr)
         (put (concat car "." cdr)))

(assuming hash returns a hex string and (put s) stores string s in a distributed hash table at a location given by its cryptographic hash, and returns the location. You don't have to take out the garbage for a long time. If the DHT implements a time-to-live, you can implement a mark-and-wait garbage collector by simply refreshing everything you can reach once in a while.

If I'd known ahead of time that Colleen was planning to take her walker, I'd have planned on renting a car and printed out maps and directions ahead of time. As it is, there's no real problem except that we'll be using the Mac instead of a printout.

mdlbear: (hacker traveling)

I've been having breakfast in the hotel this trip rather than the Continental breakfast at the con: protein and potassium are my friends.

I'm really glad I've developed the habit of keeping my room key in my right-hand pants pocket. I hardly ever leave a room without my pants. I have been known to leave without my shoulder bag. Recently.

The Red Lion at the convention center is undergoing extensive renovation. Sure, the carpets have been torn up most of the weekend. OTOH, the WiFi works perfectly in the rooms; this is the first year that's been true.

I've been trying to figure out how many years I've been coming to OSCon. This must be the fourth; first year I believe I was in the Inn at the Convention Center, and I've been at the RL at least twice before. I see LJ tags for OSCon 2006 and 2007. OK, also posts in 2005, and apparently none in 2004.

I've taken to wearing a luggage strap as a belt. Infinitely adjustable instantly, and no metal at all. Needs a way of temporarily attaching something that looks like a buckle when I want to be dressy.

The San Jose airport is also being extensively renovated; Terminal C has been rejiggered to put all of the shops inside the security zone. Finally. They also have free WiFi. Finally.

I still hate the Mac. The apple key, which exists only because they're using a one-button mouse, is exactly where I expect the ALT key to be. Emacs uses Alt-Q to rewrap a paragraph, and Alt-W to copy a selection. Fortunately you can configure the terminal to ask before closing a window or a tab, so as long as I run emacs in a terminal window and not the native version, I'm comparatively safe. (It also took me a long time to figure out how to configure the terminal to treat option as alt.)

The Mac laptop's keyboard is still wretched.

The food has been very good, though I don't like the fact that breakfast has been being served downstairs in the exhibit hall instead of upstairs outside the room where the keynotes are given.

I've been taking realtime notes (in a text file, using emacs). It would have been possible to turn that into real-time blogging using a couple of well-designed scripts and makefiles, but that will have to wait for the next time.

mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)

Well, so much for keeping a trip report up to date in realtime. I'm taking real-time notes in a text file; I *might* be able to upload them to steve.savitzky.net. They'll probably still be text. Yeah, I could probably cut-and-paste them into LJ, but that's a manual process and it ain't gonna happen.

Lunch with [livejournal.com profile] webmaven (*waves*) and several other good conversations. I'm starting to have the same problem here that I have at filk cons: the hallway conversations are more fun than the sessions now. That's probably a Good Thing.

mdlbear: (hacker traveling)

The continental breakfast was down in the exhibit hall this morning; I bagged it and went back to the hotel for something with protein and potassium (i.e. hash browns).

I don't really like eating alone, though. Grabbed coffee and conversation back at the conference; the hotel may have bacon and eggs, but the con has melon and Charbuck's. Need both.

mdlbear: (hacker traveling)

Last night's keynotes were Mark Shuttleworth (Mr. Ubuntu), Robert Lefkowitz, and Damian Conway.

Shuttleworth spoke without slides, bouncing back and forth between technical and community issues. Conway was, um..., indescribable. Quantum computing, special and general relativity, and some hilariously funny and totally faked Perl demos illustrating "positronic variables" that get set backwards in time.

Lefkowitz was the most interesting: he talked about software development methodology, using Quintilian's Instititutio Oratoria as a framework. The interesting thing about the open source process (in his version, which I don't necessarily agree with) is that it starts with a commit to version control, and includes users. There's no requirements phase; it's replaced by bug reports and feature requests.

Right now I'm in the morning keynotes; I'm probably not going to have much time to blog. Tim O'Reilly just came onstage. This is the 10th OSCon, and the 12th anniversary of the first Perl conference, which I attended in San Jose.

Net's getting laggy. *cheery wave*

mdlbear: (hacker traveling)

Well, here I am. The afternoon has been filled with wonderful conversations. My seatmate on the plane, a student at SJ State interning in the marketing department of an open source company, and here to work their booth. A woman on the train, going to OSCon for the first time now that her company has gone open source.

The woman handing out badges and bags, who turns out to be a long-time Tolkein fan -- she told me about the badge ribbons they've started using and I mentioned that I was familiar with them from SF conventions. (I added one of my CC&S ribbons left over from Baycon.) A guy in the hall with a home-made PVC-pipe didgeridoo.

MaryBeth Panagos, business relations person for OpenMediaNow.org, the people behind the GNASH flash clone, which it turns out is optimized for use in embedded systems, making it ideal for things like user interfaces on gadgets. Turns out she has a copy of my CD; we mostly talked about recording and my upcoming projects. We apparently met last year when I had preorder bonus disks in hand.

Yeah, I'm a little different these days. But only a little. I still have trouble with phones, and have yet to get in touch with didn't even leave a message when I called [livejournal.com profile] _amethyst_fire_ to give her contact info for this weekend. I'll try a couple more times tonight. But she called me back anyway! Today has been made of win, with awesome sauce.

And I'm still really bad with names.

mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)

...I'll be up in Portland attending the opening keynotes of OSCon. Eep!

I don't think I know anyone in Portland anymore; they've all moved up to Seattle.

mdlbear: (audacity)

The Tres Gique concert from last Friday at Baycon can be found, in a rather unsatisfactory and preliminary form, here. It has ogg and mp3 files, but essentially nothing else. More this evening after I've had a few more hours to jump up and down on it.

mdlbear: (audacity)

The Tres Gique concert has been split, but not yet annotated or uploaded. Unfortunately, I've done a lot of directory re-arranging, so the old makefile-based workflow neither works nor flows as it used to. We have a termite inspection scheduled for Friday noonish, so I'll have it up for sure by then.

I have listened to it. It's good. Not pure hammered awesome, but it's been hammered pretty well, and there's a good bit of awesome sauce poured on. One thing I like is that we're starting to sound like a group that's been working together, rather than a singer-songwriter and a couple of backup musicians. Another is that we're not doing just my stuff, and I'm not always singing lead. Callie singing "Cryptographer's Anthem" solo was inspired -- the audience was suitably mind-boggled. There were a couple of songs where I don't think we were sure who was singing lead, but we're probably the only ones who'll notice.

The recording quality is pretty dubious -- I set it up too far back in the audience and too close to the door. Need to remember in the future to bring a lightweight stand to set up in the front.

A couple of big thank-you's: [livejournal.com profile] donsimpson came by Colleen's corner of the lobby on Monday and dropped off a small guitar amp to go with Plink (runs on a 9V battery, and small enough to pack). And [livejournal.com profile] hvideo came by the Starport tonight to deliver two different videos: widescreen (squished down to 4x3) and traditional. Hopefully I'll be able to get sound off them; I also need to investigate uploading to youtube. I have permission.

I also need to mention the latest version of Audacity, and give profuse thanks for its "export multiple" feature. Basically you just label each song with its filename, and it splits exports them all to whatever directory you point it at. Cool. If only it would save the export directory with the project...

mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)

Not much to say about load-out day, except that we would have been able to check out a lot sooner if we hadn't had to wait so long for a table in the coffeeshop, or an elevator down that wasn't completely full. Would have taken forever if a maid hadn't shown us where the service elevator was. They would have done better if they'd allowed people to get late checkout, which would have spread out the peak a little, but they didn't. They would also have done better if they'd been faster at turning around tables in the restaurant.

Took [livejournal.com profile] cflute to the airport in the early afternoon. A nice chat in the car, but too short.

Colleen's main mode of social interaction at conventions has always been to plop herself down either in the lobby, filk lounge, or (at filk cons) con suite, and collect a group of people around her. These days I, on the other hand, prefer to have a series of one-on-one or small-group conversations, and gravitate in the evening toward the smallest available circle. Often I'll latch onto one person, as I did with Callie this con and [livejournal.com profile] pocketnaomi at Conflikt, especially if we seem to have a lot to talk about.

I seem to be rather bad about finding new people to talk to; usually I'll talk to the ones I know. Sometimes friends of the ones I know. I'm still shy, and have trouble starting conversations with people I don't know. Feel free to come up and talk to me, though. Remind me of your name, if it isn't on your badge, and maybe where we met; I'll have forgotten.

mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)

Sunday morning started with [livejournal.com profile] cflute, the [livejournal.com profile] flower_cat and me having a huge brunch at the El Torito about a mile from the con hotel. (Well, actually it started with LJ on the Mac, coffee in the room now that I'd brought the coffeemaker and filters from home. But you get the idea.)

El Torito's Mexican Sunday brunch is made of yum. Chile verde, chile colorado, chile rellenos, enchiladas... fresh tortillas... flan and rice pudding... Have to go back there with the kids. Often.

One reason we went out for lunch was that the hotel's coffeeshop was made of fail, especially the buffet. The bacon, as far as I could tell, was deep-fried in the same oil used for french fries and fish. Bletch. But the other reason was to give Callie and Colleen some time for conversation. If we'd gotten started a little earlier they could have gone out shopping together, but Callie needed the sleep. Still, they talk on the phone a fair amount. I need to do that more.

I ended up not having any dinner which, with a 90-minute wait for the restaurant, was a Good Thing. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

The main event for the afternoon was the Recording Music panel. I was moderator, and some of the panelists were rather out-of-hand. Professional sound people, very experienced, but all of that experience was doing live sound with professional performers, big venues, and analog equipment. One or two good tips, but not as useful to a home recordist as it would have been if Jeff Bohnhoff (for example) had gotten more air time.

Callie spent much of the late afternoon and early evening in our room; a little conversation but mostly trying to get enough spoons back to play flute on a couple of songs in the evening's concerts.

Got to the first two concerts: Paul, Taunya, and Seanna; and Seanan McGuire and friends. Skipped the last one (The Roving Tars) in order to get more time in the open filk, meaning more time with Colleen and Callie. This time, the circle achieved what [livejournal.com profile] cflute called critical mass, and a lot of good songs got performed. Sang "Another Country", which Callie had wanted to hear, "World Inside the Crystal" (which [livejournal.com profile] mysticfig suggested as a follower to "Where the Magic is Real"), "Bound for Hacker's Heaven". Might have been one or two others. Got a bit sleepy between songs; somewhere in there Colleen decided to turn in, so I ran her upstairs in Igor at about 1:30.

Callie and I went out on "Demon Lover"; I finally got to bed around 2:30.

mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)

Yesterday was surprisingly hassle-free. Breakfast with the [livejournal.com profile] flower_cat and Y.D., joined by [livejournal.com profile] cflute a little later. She and the newlyweds had knocked on our door hoping for coffee, but not only had we gone down for breakfast, but we'd forgotten to bring a coffeemaker.

The hotel's buffet breakfast was only $10. You get what you pay for -- it was still overpriced. The bacon was particularly awful. Going out today.

After breakfast and a little running around, I went home to fetch coffeemaker, filters, kleenex, and a few other last-minute items. Didn't even glance at the computer, which is a little unusual for me.

I was on two panels: "Every OS %$#@!", and "Filking for kids" The first was particularly wide-ranging, in spite of my efforts as moderator to keep it somewhat on topic. The latter included the Bohnhoffs, Paul Kwinn, and Taunya Gren. [livejournal.com profile] cflute had been planning to join us, but dropped by only to beg off from lack of spoons. I handed her a room key and sent her off to bed.

Between the two panels I was actually on was the "Growing Up Geek" one that the [livejournal.com profile] chaoswolf and Jordan were on. Ended up being mostly about how geek kids cope with middle school and high school. Interesting, but could have been better.

There was a 90-minute wait for tables in the hotel's little coffeeshop; we cobbled some chairs together and ate in the bar. It is occasionally useful to have a wheelchair in the family.

After dinner, [livejournal.com profile] chaoswolf, [livejournal.com profile] selkit, and I went up to the room for coffee, and were eventually joined by [livejournal.com profile] cflute. Got a call from the Cat just before the concerts started, but was just settling in to another talk with Callie. Both of us would much rather talk or make music with a small number of friends than sit quietly in a room listening to someone else sing.

[river] )

Got down to open filk a little after it started. Small circle, but good people. I set up directly across the circle from the niche where Colleen was ensconced with Igor, and started off with "Eyes Like the Morning". Like "The River", that was a Valentine's Day present for Colleen; the two will bookend the next CD. Other songs included "World Inside the Crystal" (following "Where the Magic is Real") and... I forget.

We went up and crashed about 12:40.

mdlbear: (fandom)

Friday of Baycon began with eggs and large quantities of excellent bacon for breakfast -- [livejournal.com profile] cflute seemed impressed that I remembered her preference for skillet over microwave. I explained that, while I don't have the [livejournal.com profile] flower_cat's memory for tastes, allergies, and ingredients, I do pretty well on processes.

We loaded up the Cat's van, and she and the Younger Daughter (home early from school) shipped out to the hotel. The [livejournal.com profile] chaoswolf and [livejournal.com profile] selkit headed off the bus stop at about the same time.

There followed a late morning and early afternoon of delightful catch-up conversation with [livejournal.com profile] cflute, punctuated by a trip out to Michael's and CommuKnity in an unsuccessful search for what turned out to be a Japanese braiding device. Many thanks to the woman at CommuKnity who positively ID'ed the device from the description, though I'd been pretty sure that's what it had to be based on descriptions I'd seen.

It seems Callie and I had a lot of catching up to do. Probably still do -- we really haven't had an extended conversation since, what? OSCon nearly two years ago? About right. My recent changes may have had something to do with it.

We'd planned on meeting the Ugglas for a rehearsal at 4pm, but they hadn't arrived by then, and [livejournal.com profile] cflute was tired, so she had a nap instead. We finally got it together around 7pm IIRC, and ran through most of the set -- at least enough on the older ones to make sure we were still solid and make last-minute adjustments.

We followed the Bohnhoffs (with [livejournal.com profile] vixyish), who set the bar pretty high, but I don't recall a mass exodus, so it must have gone OK. That's a bit of an understatement, actually -- we got some positive feedback from a few people in the audience, and I don't think the audience noticed the flubs. Probably wouldn't have noticed the biggest one at all if Callie hadn't called their attention to the fact that I'd left the capo off on "The Stuff That Dreams are Made Of". But if that was the worst flub, we did pretty well.

Set list here

A little open filking, and turned in around 1:30.

mdlbear: portrait of me holding a guitar, by Kelly Freas (freas)

Rather than give this stupid Mac laptop a chance to eat my post again, I'm just going to post the songs with quick notes, and and post the "oficial" notes later when I have it uploaded and have some time on a machine I can actually type on.

1 Rocket Rider's Prayer
2 High Barratry I've taken to putting the explanation of Barratry after the first verse as a voiceover.
3 The World Inside the Crystal
4 The River
5 The Merry Man and his Maid
6 The Toolmakers We've added an instrumental verse. Bass flute love.
7 Ferret Went A-Courtin' Two-voice arrangement worked up by me and Joyce.
8 The Owl and the Pussycat This really sounds good with three voices.
9 Cryptographer's Anthem (Callie solo - whee!)
10 The Little Computing Machine
11 The Programmer's Alphabet
12 The Rambling Silver Rose
13 The Stuff that Dreams are Made Of
14 Keep the Dream Alive
15 Ship of Stone


2008-05-24 06:48 am
mdlbear: (facehugger)

... so instead of taking the [livejournal.com profile] flower_cat's sensible advice around 4am, rolling over, putting on my facehugger, and going back to sleep, I decided to go for the snuggle. Seemed like a good idea at the time. So here I am reading LJ at some ridiculous hour in the morning after altogether too little sleep the first night of Baycon. Clever bear!

The Tres Gique concert last night went very well -- a couple of glitches, but I don't think the audience heard many of them. More on that later.

mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)
Friday     	5/23/2008 	22:00  	Concert: Tres Gique 
Saturday 	5/24/2008 	13:00 	Every OS @%*^& 	
Saturday 	5/24/2008 	16:00 	Filk for Kids 	
Sunday  	5/25/2008 	14:30 	Recording Music 
mdlbear: portrait of me holding a guitar, by Kelly Freas (freas)

Went to Dave and Joyce's for a Tres Gique rehearsal tonight, with the [livejournal.com profile] chaoswolf and [livejournal.com profile] flower_cat in tow. Yes, Tres Gique has two drummers: Kat and Jordan. Kat does occasional vocals. Not every gig, of course.

The set list so far )

Getting there, but I'm sleepy. Possibly an effect of the Zyrtec I took ~3:30pm to ensure that my throat didn't dry out. It didn't; but whether because of the zyrtec or the extra nose-watering is hard to tell. I'm not sure it was worth it; I was noticeably drowsy on parts of the drive home.

mdlbear: portrait of me holding a guitar, by Kelly Freas (freas)

Just got back from a Tres Gique rehearsal at Joyce's. I think I may be allergic to something in that house; my throat got very dry and constricted, so we didn't get through even the songs I had on the list. There's still room for a few more, and suggestions (waves at [livejournal.com profile] cflute and [livejournal.com profile] pocketnaomi) are welcome.

The set list so far, with a few notes )
mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)
... should probably just skip this post. )
mdlbear: (hacker glider)

Went to the Embedded Systems Conference yesterday in the San Jose convention center. A little disappointing -- smaller than last year, and nothing really new except some of the swag. Oh, and a booth with the slogan: "Seeing is Believing, but Touching is More Fun". Yeah; I can get behind that...

There was a moderate amount of Linux in evidence: in addition to the usual distros (Montavista, LynuxWorks) most of the single-board computers and evaluation boards support it as a matter of course.

The nice thing about doing a trade show on a Wednesday is that I can come home, dump the swag on a chair, and expect most of it to disappear by the end of the evening. The only things I found worth keeping were one of the bags (black, with the sides extended into a single long shoulder strap rather than the usual pair of loops) and a pen in the shape of a squid, that opens in a particularly interesting way (from Reach Technology). The patent drawings do not show the mechanism, which is fun to watch.

10:27 Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] rowanf, we now know that this is called a "Transformer Pen". The minimum order appears to be 200...

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