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

This is coming out on a Monday rather than Sunday because I spent the weekend at Conflikt, our local filk music convention. I'm usually too lazy to do a formal con report, and this lets me collect all the notes in one place that's easy to find .

Meta: rather than create tags like conflikt-2019, I use the two tags conflikt and 2019. This only works if the year tag is only used for events that occur annually. Using the same tag for every post in a year would be pretty useless. DW doesn't appear to give you boolean searches, but I can do it in my archive.

I didn't have a concert slot this year, and didn't feel up to a twofer, so my own music-making was confined to a little noodling in the hallways and a couple of songs on Sunday. One of those was following Frank Hayes's "When I Was a Boy" with my parody of it; that was a major win. Ad-libbed a reference to RFC-1149, and "talk about spaghetti code" after the line about plugboards. But, yeah; not enough singing. Not enough conversation, either.

I think my favorite concert was Lauren Cox's Interfilk Guest concert; her song about her cat made me tear up a little. That, and her joining Cat Faber on "I Will Remember" (about depression) on Sunday.

I got in my request for a concert slot next year; we'll see how far that goes.

The week also included a total lunar eclipse -- I didn't stay outside for the whole thing, but got a good look just at the start of totality.

Notes & links, as usual )

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

This past weekend was Conflikt, which is why you're seeing this on a Monday. Not my best Conflikt ever, and I didn't do much singing, but a few good conversations and a lot of terrific music. I didn't do much singing; almost all of it in the memorial circle. (Which was very sparsely attended -- I was the only one there with a guitar. Flame performed a lot more than I did, but I did put in a good performance of "Keep the Dream Alive" at Kat's request. I sang "When I Go" in honor of Ursula LeGuin for my own turn, and sang "The Engineer" after Rick Weiss sang "The Designer".)

... and then, of course, I went and pulled something in my lower back, probably twisting around to pick up my guitar case from behind the chair. Ouch! Took a cyclobenzaprine, some naproxen, and a hot bath. The pain was a lot less this morning as a result, but I took one look at our heavy suitcase and called for a bellhop to load up a cart with it, and hoist it into the van at the other end.

I don't always meet someone new at cons, but I did this time -- Fallon (we-are-spc on DW). I always don't get enough sleep at cons, and this was no exception.

The high point of the con came at the end of Saturday's twofers, when Kat's boyfriend sang his marriage proposal. Kat was crying through most of it -- I know because I was sitting next to her holding the box with the ring. She spent the rest of the con looking somewhat dazed. Colleen and I probably did, too. This means we have two daughters planning to get married.

The trip down was rough, for reasons I don't fully understand except to note that my self-confidence is somewhere south of nonexistent these days. (I appear to be taking this more-or-less in reverse chronological order.) I was somewhere a little north of Mercer St. when I suddenly noticed that I was nearly out of gas -- I'd misread the gauge when we set out. So there ensued a somewhat frantic search for a gas station, which I finally found on Lander, off Airport. At that point, not being confident of my ability to find I5 from an unfamiliar direction in the dark, I set out on First Avenue, which I expected to end up on or near International Blvd. Which it eventually did, but by that time I was a bit frazzled.

So by the time we finally got to the con hotel, the Doubletree, Colleen had been giving me strange directions for a few blocks because she was sure that the con was in the Red Lion. I pretty much lost it at that point.

I did get a little programming done, with the result that this post's filename and subject line were generated with the command "make since". I am getting slightly better at not procrastinating.

Notes & links, as usual )

mdlbear: (distress)

This last weekend was Conflikt, our local filk convention. GOH was the incomparable Judi Miller; Vixy and Tony were the toast-band, Mark Peters was Interfilk guest, and there was the usual assortment of other guests, including Mary Crowell doing a concert and album release party.

Mark's guest panel was unusual -- he's the sound person for OVFF, so it was a combination talk and live demo. Fun! Judi, in addition to being a simply amazing sign-language interpreter, has a beautiful singing voice as well.

I only sang a few songs: Windward, plus helping Chaos with Filk Inside the Circle (her filk of World Inside the Crystal) Saturday; The Bears and Millennium's Dawn on Sunday while the brunch was going on elsewhere.

Some lovely catching up with people, and I met a couple of new people (Halley and Becca)

I've been stressed all week about the impending move (impending -- that's what doom does, right?) plus the impending (see above) live tests that our project really isn't ready for. Last night was particularly bad; a combination of con drop, frantic sorting, and some highly stressful cleanup. When I finally got to bed I just curled up into a ball for a while. Cat therapy helps some.

Sorting is hard. There are a lot of old memories that I'm having trouble processing, not to mention just plain grieving. Still, there are bright spots. For a while now we've been tossing some items into boxes labeled "Interfilk". There were three of them. It took me an hour and a half to unpack everything and put bid sheets on it; I think we amounted to about a third of the items. *Sigh* a lot of history there. But when something's been in a box for the last five years, or ten, and you haven't missed it, there's really not much point in hanging on to it.

Doesn't keep me from wishing I didn't have to.

Notes & links, as usual )

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

Conflikt was this last weekend; I'm posting on Monday so as to get in the whole con, as well as the end of the month. It was a pretty good con, though I ended up doing very little singing. Missed the smoked salmon (dead dog) filk -- Colleen was fading and neither of us was willing to spend much more money on hotel food. Dinners were bar snacks, because they were cheaper.

I had conversations with two new (to me) people, and did a little catching up though not as much as I often do. I actually spent much of my time listening to concerts and working on my lyrics-to-html conversion. Which looks really good now, since it no longer relies on monospaced fonts. Not on the site yet, though.

Also not on the site yet is my Sasquan concert, which I finally got the audio for.

In other news, there are lots of good links, mostly related to tiny houses. If it wasn't for the possibility of eventually moving into someplace we can actually afford I would have no hope at all. Even with that, it will probably come too late, and our house will take too long to sell. I've been making some progress at work, but it's like slogging through mud.

Financial ruin is only a paycheck away, and despair is never far from the front of my mind. I have noone to blame but myself, of course.

raw notes, with links )
mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)

The two big items this week are my new song, and the apparent success of L-tryptophan in treating my depression. The song is definitely a keeper. I think it's probably too early to tell for sure about the tryptophan.

Music was big even without the song -- the week was bracketed by the last day of Conflikt at the far end, and last night's Tricky Pixie concert at the near end. Both were amazing.

The Wolfling recorded our debut performance of Travelers: you'll find her videos on YouTube. Watch Where The Heart Is and Windward. It came off surprisingly well for a brand-new song.

More links, as usual, in the notes.

raw notes, with links )
mdlbear: portrait of me holding a guitar, by Kelly Freas (freas)

I wrote a song last weekend, "Windward". (Here's the original post for reference; you'll note that the lyrics have changed somewhat since then.) It quickly became part of a matched set, since it made much more sense to sing it with the original. Thursday when we sang them for Emmy, Naomi came up with the title "Travelers" for the pair.

This is the second time we've done a pair of songs -- our first was "The Bears" -- "A Talk With the Middle-Sized Bear" and Naomi's brilliant "A Tribute to the Middle-Aged Bear". Only this time Naomi wrote the original and I wrote the parody.

Parody isn't exactly the right word for it, of course. Adaptation might be closer. In both cases, what started out as an obvious and silly throw-away ended up cutting deeper than expected, more of a complement than a commentary. It's an absolute delight when this happens. (It's also a delight when you approach the original songwriter worried about whether you'll still be friends after they've read your lyrics, and their response is ``This is brilliant!'')

ETA: The Wolfling recorded our debut performance; you'll find her videos on YouTube. Watch Where The Heart Is and Windward. It came off surprisingly well for a brand-new song.

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

So, yeah. This week's big news is that I wrote a song (see previous post, and maybe the next one as well). It feels good -- I should do it more often. We also did some more garage-clearing. There's now about a three-foot strip cleared -- only about 17 more to go :P.

Apart from the post-songwriting high I've been pretty depressed, and my back has been giving me trouble. Makes for bad evenings. At least I've been able to get out of going on call while I'm on loan to another team, so that took a little pressure off. And my L-tryptophan arrived, which may help my mood. (One of the reasons for stopping my SSRI was to see whether an alternative would work better. Too early to tell.)

Oh, yes. Conflikt. As is usual for cons I was frazzled and unhappy right up to the last minute before leaving, compounded this time by having to rent a scooter. Spinlife will be getting a bill for that, though I doubt they'll pay it. Not much singing so far -- we've been too tired to stay up for the circles. We will get to the Smoked Salmon this evening, though, since it starts at a sane time. And we have a song to sing.

Anyway. Links in the notes, as usual.

raw notes, with links )
mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)

This weekend's main event was Conflikt. The music was amazing. I may have time to put together a con report.

Colleen bought a catnip tribble in the dealer's room. Unfortunately, my poor little brain noticed that "catnip tribble" has the same scansion as "Plastic Jesus". The cats haven't destroyed it yet.

As has become usual, I didn't do much singing. "When I Go" and "The Rambling Silver Rose" Saturday night was about the extent of it. That's ok; I mostly go to cons to meet up with friends (which I also didn't do all that much of) and listen to music (which I did lots of).

Links in the notes.

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

Not such a long week. But both productive and exhausting in its own way.

Sunday of Conflikt was pretty good, especially Jeff Bohnhoff's "Alternate Guitar Chords" workshop, and some great music. But around, what, 4pm? Colleen's scooter abruptly stopped working. Dead in its tracks, with the battery indicator happily stuck at the halfway point, where it's always been for the last several months. The YD, who was accompanying Colleen between buildings, proceeded to panic. I talked her through pushing the scooter back indoors and plugging in the charger.

As soon as I could, I got down there, to find that there was enough charge in the battery to move slowly, but not fast -- push too far and it would simply cut off. So charging helps. I had some difficulty persuading the YD to help me get Colleen all the way into the conference center and up to the Conflikt lobby, where she would be warm and have music and company while the battery charged.

At which point it developed that the YD needed to get home and finish her homework. Due Monday. Oooooookay then. I drove her home, which gave me the opportunity to drop off most of the luggage, swap vehicles, and snag a walker at Naomi's in case charging the battery didn't help.

But of course it did help -- the battery finished charging, and the scooter was just fine. I still don't trust it.

Monday was reasonably productive, plus the inevitable odds and ends of paperwork. Despite coming down with the con crud. The chills came on the way home; I went to bed early, under a pile of blankets.

I woke up feeling as though I was swimming in sweat, of course, and wisely decided to work from home. I got through two new API methods that had been scheduled for two days each.

Which was a good thing, since I wasn't quite as productive Wednesday, when I had a urology appointment in the morning and got to sit around while Colleen had an MRI in the afternoon. All afternoon, as it turned out. So much for going in and pushing my changes to the local github in mid-afternoon. I started writing functional tests.

... but all in all not that bad a week, considering.

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

It's been a * l o n g * week, bracketed by cons. Last Saturday we day-tripped Rustycon (and decided that we probably won't bother next year -- it's small. This weekend was Conflikt. Which we will *definitely* be attending next year, but probably without the YD. She went this time because she was writing a term paper on it, but it didn't really seem to be her thing.

Last Sunday we put an offer down on the West Seattle house. It was down to the wire -- when we got there after having seen two places that were obviously unsuitable, we found that they were having an open house and had already received two offers. We offered $10K over the asking price. Monday was a nail-biter, but we got it! It's gorgeous. A full 2-bedroom apartment downstairs in the daylight basement, plus a 4-car garage on that level. Three bedrooms upstairs. And a great hall on top of the garage. I forsee parties, house filks, and house concerts in our future.

Needless to say, my work productivity suffered, as I spent far too much of my time on the phone or tracking down paperwork. The loan paperwork finally all came together at 4:45 on Friday, about the same time I got my functional tests running and marked "ready for QA".

Did I mention the lack of sleep? Mostly due to waking up at unreasonable hours with house worries. So we went into Conflikt already sleep-deprived.

I may have to leave most of Conflikt until later, but the music was fantastic and the Interfilk auction was one of the must entertaining in years. Even if I did end up winning a $100 bid to give the horrid wall-hangings, Harry and Henrietta Hemp, to Seanan. Who said she'd burn them in the parking lot. (The deal with the Hemps is that the winning bidder gets to say who they go to, and somebody had fingered us as people who hadn't had it yet.)

Health. We both had follow-up appointments with our PCP, Dr. Chopra, Saturday morning. Colleen had a dentist appointment Wednesday morning, I had an appointment with the sports medicine department Thursday morning. I got my SSRI dosage raised, and was told that my assorted joint, etc. problems would be solved if I lost (rather a lot of) weight. Thanks; I knew that.

I'd probably better go splat now (10:51 pm). Before I fall asleep at the keyboard. Again.

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

So, to make up for having missed a couple of weeks worth of Saturdays, you're getting a bonus this week.

After talking it over, Naomi and I decided that it'll be better -- or at least simpler -- to ask for forgiveness than permission, so the entire recording of Lookingglass Folk at Conflikt 2012 is now up on the web.

I don't like the way the guitar came out -- sorry about that; if I have time I'll try to process the other recording I got from [livejournal.com profile] hms42. But the performance? Yeah. That worked.

Please enjoy.

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

A reasonably productive couple of days. I mostly spent Sunday puttering about, but I also got the Conflikt concert split up, and ready to post when I get permissions.

Next time I have to tell the sound crew that the guitar has a built-in preamp and wants a line in rather than an instrument input; it came out sounding rather fuzzy and overdriven. That also suggests that Lookingglass Folk can get away with only two mic preamps at gigs.

The phone picture has gotten more complicated; I hadn't realized that there are actually two different versions of the Samsung Galaxy II S. The newer one is more expensive, larger, and heavier, but talks LTE. There's also the upcoming Galaxy Note, which is more of a tiny tablet. You'll find a handy table below near the end of the notes. At the moment I'm leaning toward the HTC again.

I may have to consider smaller, older phones as well, because I like the fact that I can easily pull a slider phone out of my pocket and answer it one-handed. Or wait several months to see if any new ones turn up with ITC. Growf!

I skipped my walk on Sunday, but took a shorter one -- about a mile and a half -- yesterday. Very little hip pain, but I'm rather glad I decided not to push it. My weight has been edging up again, too. Growf!

Quite a few interesting links in the notes; mostly entertaining for once.

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

I don't think weekly updates are a good idea. This thing is a monstrosity.

The last week began with a serious case of what appeared to be the flu, and ended with a communication slow-motion trainwreck. But in between...

The Lookingglass Folk concert at Conflikt came off very well indeed. We nailed Kitchen Heroes, with Talis in the audience. The other concerts were excellent. I didn't have nearly enough time to catch up with people. I read most of The Introvert Advantage on the plane (both ways) and in various interstices.

It was the best of times; it was the worst of times? Something like that. I overslept most days (I really needed it), and thanks to the flu lost over 4 pounds over the course of the week. The concert was a real high, of a sort that I rarely get (and, I suppose, even more rarely notice). Sunday, Monday and Tuesday were incredibly overstressed and draining. Probably would have been less so if the hotel's internet connection had worth more than we paid for it. Which was nothing. And so it went.

I'm sorry the con is over -- I needed more. I'm glad the week is over -- I need a vacation, and a couple of weeks worth of writing tech reports sounds like just the thing.

OK, the write-up is pretty small. You might want to skip the notes, which are 160 lines long.

raw notes )
mdlbear: (depleted)

I'm not sure batching my posts is significantly less work, but I seem to have fallen into that mode by default. We'll see how it goes; comments welcome.

It's been a rough month this last weekend. The back pain I felt yesterday was only part of it. Yeah, more exercise would probably help. Time? Ha!

Let's see... paid my sales tax, G&S (wonderful!), not as much practice as I wanted needed, helping friends (and trying to provide emotional support, which Middle-Sized Bears can apparently do, but don't really know how they do), making travel and other logistical arrangements, a couple of arguments with the YD, who seems to dig in her heels at every request or suggestion I or Colleen makes), ...

I didn't get nearly as much done as I wanted needed to. I can haz xtra hrs plz? The trouble with this planet is that it spins just too damned fast.

Plenty of links down there in the notes, plus bonus haiku (Friday) and some dream notes (Saturday).

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

I had a blast at Conflikt. I went in very apprehensive about my role in Ben Newman's SF musical, Walk In the Day, but when it came down to it the minor screw-ups were, indeed, comparatively minor; the audience liked it, and we all had a heck of a lot of fun performing it. Well outside what used to be my comfort zone; I'm gradually learning that there are fun things out there.

I met several new people, caught up with some old friends, and spent some time talking to people I sort-of knew but wanted to spend more time with. That's what I really go to conventions for.

A good weekend. Not all that much singing, although a request for QV was both a surprise and a delight.

Some good links up there under the cut, along with a lot more detail. It's getting late; I just wanted to post this before I went to bed.

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

A good day overall, I'd say. Andrew Ross's toastmaster concert rocked the house. And I can't complain about slow service at the restaurant when the company is good. Only bad thing, really, was that the con is over.

And that I ran out of copies of Coffee, Computers and Song to sell. Sold a total of 20. Let me remind you that it's still available on CD Baby, and that dealers ordering from me get free shipping on orders of 10 or more copies.

Swan-songed with Keep the Dream Alive, with Chaos on drum.

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

Good day. Tempered Glass sang "Gentle Arms of Eden" and "The October Country" in the twofers. Tom Smith's concert rocked mightily; I can now see why Naomi wants me to learn "Rocket Ride".

Nice long talk with Runnerwolf after I left the open filking.

The thing about cons is that if I don't keep running notes, the resulting posts are going to be pretty thin. Deal.

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

A good day. I even spent some time on a treadmill in the hotel's fitness center. I'm having a good time; rather laid-back. Lots of conversation, a lot of showing-off of the YD's pictures; not much singing. The evening concerts by CD and AJA were great. Only caught one song from New Bunk Foss -- once you bring the guitars and voices up to match the drum kit, it's way too loud for this old bear.

I probably ate too much, more because of socializing over food than because I needed three meals. Brunch today, so I probably won't want more than dinner this evening.

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

It started out as a very stressful morning, with the YD freaking out because she couldn't find her glasses. Neither could I. The feedback loop was toxic; I didn't handle it well at all. (They evetually turned up in the bathroom, on the floor.)

Packing involved some last-minute shopping (Kaiser for a prescription, for example. All done, though, and we got to the airport nice and early. I shudder to think what a disaster it would have been if I'd kept my original tickets for 7am.) Arriving at 3pm and leaving at 5:30 gave us time enough for snacks and bathroom breaks. I love Southwest -- we couldn't have done it without the free checked bags. Boarding, with the scooter down to the plane and an aisle chair thereafter, was a piece of cake.

We took a cab -- actually a van with a wheelchair ramp in the back -- to the hotel. Wouldn't have been possible at all without a van; I'll have to look into van rentals for Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday.

Drafted a "thankful Thursday" list on the plane -- let's hear it for distributed version control.

We ended up in a suite because they didn't have an accessible room available. It needed a toilet seat booster (which they didn't know how to install properly; I was able to figure it out) but will work out fine.

And the hotel was still serving dinner when we got downstairs. Yay! Good conversations, and Colleen got to meet some new people.

I was worried, but it was a very good day after all.

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

So here, for any who want/need to know our wherabouts for the next few days, is our itinerary:

Flying Southwest Airlines:
    Thursday, January 28, 2010 Travel Time 2 h 10 m (Nonstop)
	#94 	Depart San Jose, CA (SJC)	5:30 PM
	Arrive in Seattle/Tacoma, WA (SEA)   	7:40 PM

    Tuesday, February 2, 2010  Travel Time 2 h 10 m (Nonstop)
    #188 	Depart Seattle/Tacoma, WA (SEA)	7:00 PM
  	Arrive in San Jose, CA (SJC) 	  	9:10 PM

I have the vague feeling I may have told some people we'd be getting in at 9pm. Mind like a steel... colander.

See some of you at Conflikt!!!

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

I finally figured out how to capo Plink (and by extension any other guitar) without detuning her very much: position the (Kyser) capo on the previous fret, a little bit off-center toward the fret you need to capo up to. The rubber flexes just enough to push the strings down onto the next fret, but not enough to noticably affect the tuning.

Many thanks to Joyce for taking Plink into Gryphon last Tuesday to have her re-strung, re-batteried, and re-grounded. Worked like a dream. I'll have to stop using Martin strings on her, though; the silk wrap at the end insulates them from the grounding wire. :(

Next time I record a practice session I ought to put the H2 directly between the performers and record in 2-channel surround mode (two hemispherical patterns back to back).

"Landscapes" works for Callie in G; I probably need it down a whole step. Playing it in E or F is not an option. Use a 12-string? Tune Plink down? Can certainly do one or the other for a local con; it's impractical if I ever need to play "The Book Speaks" or QV (both capo 5) on the same guitar. Actually D would work; the necessary F#m is actually easier than the Bm it already uses. The 12-string option is tempting if I want to play QV with C fingerings, but it would mean not fingerpicking Landscapes. Can't win.

I really need to make an attachment for the tripod that lets me use it as a songbook stand. Wouldn't do for stand-up use on stage, but it would work for circles. May not need more than a shelf and a couple of clamps.

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

After half a week of nervousness, frantic practice, and raw fear, the concerts went well. Small audience, but that's to be expected mid-afternoon on Sunday. A few screw-ups: a swapped chorus in Middle-Sized Bear, and a large number of botched chords that probably nobody in the audience noticed. Nailed all the chord changes in Landscapes, which I wasn't expecting to do. And after taking out two verses in QV I ended up with room for one song. Callie came to my rescue by suggesting WitC, which we can nail cold.

Set list later; I'm about to head out to dinner.

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

After a day filled with alarums, excursions, and a minimal amount of practice with a recovering [livejournal.com profile] cflute, we finally arrived at the hotel mere minutes before the opening ceremonies. In spite of having been assured yesterday that I hadn't reserved a handicapped-accessible room I got one anyway, so no tub baths for me. On the other hand, there are advantages to a huge shower stall with a low sill.

Many hugs, to be passed along to Colleen.

After the concerts I had dinner with [livejournal.com profile] cflute and [livejournal.com profile] jeffreycornish, and finally made it down to the open filking around 11:30. Stayed until 2am, then spent another half-hour talking in the lobby with [livejournal.com profile] carmiel, who I met just as she was getting into an elevator.

What worked best for singing in the circle (I was one row back because I didn't want to go all the way around) was standing up to sing - this not only made me visible but made Plink audible. Win.

When I came in they were doing a blues theme, and I almost immediately got a request for Stuck Here (on a Starship for a Hundred Years Without No Body Blues) -- from Kanef. Wich was immediately followed by a mash-up to the tune of "Mal's Song" (which doesn't seem to be on his website yet. Vixy and I were, of course, reasonably well broken.

Also sang Cicero with Callie on flute, and World Inside the Crystal by request from, I believe, [livejournal.com profile] kendaer. (There might have been one more -- I don't remember.

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

It's been a good trip so far; relaxing. Got in some good rehearsing for [livejournal.com profile] pocketnaomi's set on Sunday, some of it with [livejournal.com profile] cflute listening in to double-check my chording -- some of the songs don't have lead sheets. Or they didn't.

A fair amount of socializing, but not as much as I'd like. Naturally. (It's basically impossible to get as much socializing in as I'd like, since one has to sleep sometime. :-) No walking. :(

I'm pretty sure that a larg part of my congestion is due to an allergy -- it's less here. But not gone completely.

Ordered flowers for Colleen, at her request demand. We miss one another, of course. Next time...

mdlbear: (wtf-logo)

I have no idea what the heck I'm doing awake at four in the morning. But as long as I'm here, I might as well post my itinerary for next week's trip to Seattle:

   Wed 1/28 Alaska flight 325 (SJC 1pm - SEA  3:11) 
   Mon 2/2  Alaska flight 322 (SEA 8pm - SJC 10:07)

I'll be staying at the Big Green Monster Wednesday, Thursday, and Sunday nights. Contact information, as usual, at Grand Central Starport.

(added 7:00) My half-hour concert set at Conflikt will be at 3pm on Sunday.

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

From this post by [livejournal.com profile] hsifyppah, come a couple of great pictures of [livejournal.com profile] cflute's concert: here and here. I don't quite recognize that old guy with the little guitar...

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

Spent a lot of Sunday in conversation, and managed to miss about half of the juried one-shots. Sorry about that; the ones I heard were good, and a lot of useful advice was given.

Passed on much of the Worldcon songwriting contest, but I heard the winning entry, which deserved it. Stayed for ASH Productions' and Merav's concerts. By that time people were melting down all over the con after the announcement of Greg McMullan's tragic death. I spent much of the rest of the day and evening with [livejournal.com profile] pocketnaomi in full Middle Sized Bear mode. It turns out to be something I hadn't realized I was pretty good at.

I got in two songs in the dead dog Smoked Salmon: "When I Was a Lad" as a follower to [livejournal.com profile] tarkrai's performance of "When I was a Boy" (which used up my one poker chip), and at the very end I led the group in "The Mary Ellen Carter". I was kind of surprised it hadn't been sung earlier, but it had to be sung sometime. Missed the second verse; I had stupidly printed out my songbook rather than the complete collection (including other peoples' stuff).

The rest of the Big Green Monster's household and houseguests left well before midnight; I'd kept my room, so crawled off to pack and sleep.

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

Saturday at Conflikt started with the buffet brunch. Unexciting; bacon, sausage, scrambled eggs, french toast (which I passed on because of its high glycemic index), potatoes (tasty, but I only took a little), toasted baguette with some kind of warm dip, pastries (passed on), and a few other breakfasty items I can't remember now. The con had ordered what the hotel thought was enough bacon for the number of people; they ran out. Filkers don't eat like "normal" people; for anyone on a low-carb diet the bacon and eggs were about the only things they could eat.

Every table had a couple of slips of paper with instafilk topics; ours technological, (don't remember exactly) but I was feeling uninspired. The conversation was great, though.

I skipped the role-playing singalong; putting the songs up on a screen with a projector was a good idea, though. Came in afterward to set up for recording the twofers. [livejournal.com profile] tibicina had the first slot; I had the second. Sang "The Toolmakers" (at [livejournal.com profile] pocketnaomi's request) and "The Stuff that Dreams are Made Of" (with [livejournal.com profile] cflute on flute). Went pretty well; [livejournal.com profile] cflute noted that I still need to be capo 2 on "Toolmakers"; I was bottoming out. Plink, my little Vagabond travel guitar, sounds awesome amplified. I'll definitely have to find myself a small portable amp. Or hack a preamp together and use it with my battery-powered speakers.

Skipped the songbook sing-along, and came back for the Interfilk guests' "concert". Since Steven Joel isn't a performer, this consisted of a mix of live and recorded performances by other people. Good to hear some of those old tapes again.

Went with [livejournal.com profile] cflute, [livejournal.com profile] jenkitty, [livejournal.com profile] pocietnaomi, and [livejournal.com profile] tibicina to an early dinner in the hotel restaurant.

[livejournal.com profile] sooj and [livejournal.com profile] stealthcello's concert was wonderful. I had no idea anyone made carbon-fiber cellos. The room, which would have been fine for the expected 80 members, was packed; I ended up on the right-hand end of the front row with [livejournal.com profile] cflute and her minions.

[livejournal.com profile] cflute's Toastmistress concert was next; I had a couple of pieces in the last third, and took advantage of the setup interval to tune. I sang "Cicero in the 21st Century" and "World Inside the Crystal" (probably our strongest songs), and played guitar on Harold Groot's "In Our Fathers' Footsteps" and (corrected:) Callie's "Circles of Music". We skipped "Demon Lover" because Callie's voice was weakening by that point.

Added: [livejournal.com profile] cflute's complete set list here.

This was followed by [livejournal.com profile] tarkrai's GOH concert, which was his usual high-energy amazingness. He ended by leading the group in "Many Hearts, One Voice", adding Conflikt to the Worldream chorus.

I don't recall spening any time at all in the open filking; spent most of the rest of the evening talking. I seem to do that more and more at filk cons, and I'm OK with that. Ended the night in a long, deep, wide-ranging conversation with [livejournal.com profile] pocketnaomi.

mdlbear: (hacker traveling)

The convoy from the Big Green Monster arrived at Conflikt around 1:30 and unloaded. Ended up swapping my suite (the only room left in the con's room block when I made the reservation) for a double/double at the convention rate (they had me at a higher rate in spite of the fact that I'd been told I'd be getting the con rate).

The rest of the afternoon was spent recording some songs for the brunch CD ("Jabberwocky" and "Stuff that Dreams are Made Of", and getting a haircut from (Interfilk guest) France Andrews. She's a professional hairdresser and has been doing haircuts at cons in exchange for an Interfilk contribution for years. She trimmed a couple of inches off the ponytail, and trimmed my beard rather aggressively with an eye toward having it grown out to the proper length in time for the wedding at Consonance.

By the time I noticed what time it was, it was after 6pm, so I had a soup-and-appetizer dinner in the hotel restaurant. I haven't been eating much this trip, and I'm not complaining. Perhaps the low-sugar diet is starting to work.

Concerts were predictably spectacular -- [livejournal.com profile] cadhla's started out with technical difficulties and included what she called a cursed song, but her usual amazing stage presence allowed her to make the mayhem feel like part of the set. Wow. [livejournal.com profile] jhitchen's set combined music and stand-up comedy, and [livejournal.com profile] katyhh's was simply beautiful.

I never made it back to the open filking, but there was some lots of good song-swapping in the con suite. Fun!

The only major hitch was losing track of the piece of paper where I'd written [livejournal.com profile] _amethyst_fire_'s parents' phone number, which I'd found earlier in the week and then both neglected to type in, and misplaced. Finally found it this morning, but haven't gotten a callback yet. Combination of phone phobia and procrastination strikes again. Dumb bear.

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

I'm sitting at the kitchen table of the Big Green Monster; good place. No, let me rephrase that: a Very Good Place. Lived-in. Too many stairs for the [livejournal.com profile] flower_cat; I'm afraid she would have had a difficult time getting around.

Long talk in the afternoon with [livejournal.com profile] pocketnaomi. She needs to read "Mark Elf" by Cordwainer Smith. So does anyone else who wants to understand the Mandelbear's origins as the Middle-Sized Bear.

Dinner last night at Outback with concom, guests, and friends. I had fish, like a good bear. Afterwards there was music with [livejournal.com profile] cflute, [livejournal.com profile] tibicina, and [livejournal.com profile] pocketnaomi (who persuaded me to stick "Toolmakers" into my twofer slot, if I get one).

Still haven't heard from [livejournal.com profile] _amethyst_fire_; I suspect she's busy with school; but... Should have tried last week to track her down by phone; my phone phobia really gets in the way some times.

mdlbear: (hacker traveling)
... or maybe that would be "Rolly II", since it's a different rolly than the one I used to travel with. See, I have this Microsoft backpack now that works better than the old rolly (holds more, stands up by itself, well-organized -- very atypical for M$). But I now have a CPAP machine, and although I *could* cram it into the backpack, it's not very convenient there. Its bag really *doesn't* fit.

Meanwhile, I have this travel guitar, and a raincoat. At the Container Store a while ago I found a great little rolly that's basically just a 2-foot deep bag on a rolling platform. The wheels fold flat, and the whole thing crams down into something that turns into a little outside pocket. The facehugger, Plink, a fleece jacket, and the raincoat all fit. Plink sticks out a little, but...

Going through security was pretty easy, though they now check your ID on the far side of the metal detector after having scrutinized it with a flashlight at the start of the line. Stupid.
mdlbear: (hacker traveling)

Gradually getting ready to go; spent altogether too much time last night and this morning on lingering household computer issues, and not enough on taxes. Hopefully I'll have time to deal with them today while I'm supposed to be working during lunch. Makes sense anyway, since I ought to copy the forms before I send them.

Did a preliminary test-pack -- I'm going to need a second carry-on for things -- mostly gifts -- that are light but bulky. I'm using the [livejournal.com profile] flower_cat's new purple suitcase that we got at Costco last year; the second carry-on will be an ancient Hartman duffel that my parents bought in Japan 30-odd years ago for a similar purpose. It'll squish down into the suitcase for the trip home.

I'll be taking up 50 or so copies of Coffee, Computers, and Song -- hopefully there will be some dealers to take some of them off my hands when I get there.

mdlbear: (hacker traveling)

Here's my itinerary for Conflikt:

    leave:  Alaska 339 SJC Thu 01-24 12:33 -> SEA 14:40	seat 23A
    return: Alaska 356 SEA Wed 01-30 17:45 -> SJC 19:54	seat 23A

... so I'll be getting in to Seattle at just before 3pm.

I'm going to be staying with [livejournal.com profile] cflute, et. al. in the Big Green Monster Thursday night, arriving at the hotel sometime Friday afternoon. I will also be there after the con, until sometime Wednesday afternoon.

Contact info in the next post upwhen, or see theStarport.org.

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

Have my plane tickets. It came to under $200, so I decided to just pay it and save the up-to-$500 points flights for a later occasion. Like maybe wedding guests.

Anyway, here's the itinerary:

    leave:  Alaska 339 SJC Thu 01-24 12:33 -> SEA 14:40	seat 23A
    return: Alaska 356 SEA Wed 01-30 17:45 -> SJC 19:54	seat 23A

... so I'll probably be checked in at the hotel by 5pm or so, and have the rest of Thursday evening free.

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

Current plan is to fly to SeaTac for Conflikt on Thursday January 24th; I'll probably get in late afternoon. I'll look around for a rental car on Monday so I'll be relatively mobile. Probably head home on Wednesday the 30th unless somebody gives me a good reason to stay through Thursday. I'll be making my plane reservation sometime this week.

Besides the departure date, about the only other things that need deciding are what gear to take. First category is instruments: I need to decide whether to take Plink, my travel guitar, or Ruby, my usually gig guitar. I'm leaning toward Plink, since I'm flying, and she sounds really good plugged in through a direct box.

The other question is computer hardware. I'm leaning toward taking the Macbook Pro and (assuming it arrives when it's supposed to) the OLPC. I don't think I'm quite crazy enough to attempt the trip with nothing but the OLPC or even the OLPC, an external keyboard, and a massive USB hard drive. I might, however, take the OLPC instead of my songbook.

Added: Comments on this post would be a convenient place to discuss trip logistics.

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