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January 27th, 2013

First full day of Conflikt, I was up and dressed just in time for the 11 am lunch. IMHO if it's before noon it isn't lunch. And this wasn't much of one. Salad buffet, pasta salad, sandwiches, soup. I plucked a tuna salad croissant from the pile, poured my own clam chowder because the server deserted her post to help a filker who was carrying food for three or more people.

Found a place at a table with 3 others, I think they seated 8 and eventually we had 5. I wanted to sit with some friends, but there was a baby there. We are talking baby too young to talk, but not too young to squeal. Maybe a year old. Maybe. The clam chowder was delicious until I came to a piece of shell and some rubber bits. The tuna salad tried valiantly to escape its prison, but somehow I kept it off my shirt.

There were many babies and children too young to be in a concert venue. They made a lot of noise, ran around, and their parents should be ashamed of themselves. Much applause to hsifyppah, who stayed home with her baby last year, and braved the con without him this year. And a slap on the wrist to concom for not making any arrangements to keep the children out of the concert hall.

There also seem to be more transvestites here than usual, I think I've seen 4. Three of them very tall for men, let alone women. Just an observation, not  a value judgment.

Once again the sound check process made everything late.

First concert today was Toronto's Heather Dale, who had Ben Deschamps mostly on guitar, and had gotten the incredibly talented cellist Betsy Tinney to join her. Heather is amazing, she has so much fun singing and playing music. Recorder, tin whistle, keyboard, lovely voice. I laughed a lot, especially when her pied piper conspiracy song ended with half the audience following her around the room. She made me cry twice, the most with a song about a French orphan girl who accepts a dowry from the King to go to Quebec and marry. The song is told fro the standpoint of a sailor on the ship carrying her to the New World, and of course ends with him proposing to her.

Some time after I went back to her table and bought the CD it was on, and I asked her if she knew the Jeanette MacDonald/Nelson Eddy musical Naughty Marietta, which has a French orphan girl with dowry going to New Orleans. She hadn't, so I told her a bit about the show. I expect she'll find a copy to watch. She is even more charming in person.

Next up were Interfilk guests Bob & Sue Esty, both on harps. Not my kind of music, I bailed after the 2nd tune.

Back in time for the Interfilk auction, where a "somewhat borked" music recorder which I thought I might snag for $50 went for > $200 as many of the musicians offered to record a piece on it if the bid was $xxx. By itself, worth maybe $100, with those recordings, priceless.

After my dark chocolate salmon sold for $45, it was time to head for the light rail. Got off at International District station, walked a couple of blocks toward the restaurant when I heard my name being called. It took me a while to triangulate it, and susandennis was there to lead us to Ho Ho Seafood. Got a seat right away, the waitress gave us a grand tour of the menu, but I was decided as soon as she said New Year special - lobster is the same price as fish. So we got lobster in black bean sauce with ginger, and Susan added a beef dish.

We chatted like old friends, which we are, kind of. Susan found me in an LJ search about 5 years ago and "friended" me, so I jokingly think of her as my stalker, since at the time all my LJ friends were people I had met. I friended her back and we have read each other's journals since then.

The food was delicious, the service excellent, and we had a great time. I took a photo of us (2 really) with the camera GPS's remote shutter release, I'll upload those when I get home to a real internet connection. Watch this space.

I totally forgot I'd brought one of my calendars to give her. Oh well.

She walked me back to the light rail tunnel, it was about 15 minutes before a train arrived. Back to the con just in time to hear the last three numbers by the GoHs Jeff & Maya Bohnhoff. They were spectacular as always, standing O, encore.

Waited around for open filk, but babies. OMGWTF?

So here I am in the bar, finishing off a quart bottle of sparkling water. There's no wi-fi and no Verizon signal at all in the convention center, huge-assed FAIL.

Also, in order to get from the hotel to the con, you have to walk outside under a covered walkway - covered but totally outdoors, so windy and wet and freezing-  up some stairs, up an elevator and to the end of the hall. No free wi-fi in the hotel rooms, just in the lobby & bar.

Bottom line - I won't be back next year.

Plans for tomorrow:
Lots of music to listen to
Lunch with lemmozine
Meet my sister & her husband for dinner at 13 coins

Should be trying to sleep

But wanted to journal a little. Plenty of time to sleep on the train tomorrow. Train leaves at 9:45, somehow I thought it was 9. Bonus.

Stuff I left out yesterday:
The Interfilk Guest concert - I said I bailed because it was not my kind of music, but was reminded that it was Mrs. E's being horribly off-key with her piercing operatic soprano voice. She no longer has the range she used to, but thinks she does and pushes too hard.

I forgot all about two-fers. Two-fers is a filk tradition where people who don't want to give a full concert or just want to try something new will get up in front of the mike and perform for 10 minutes or 2 songs, whichever comes first. The idea is to keep it simple, get up on stage, sing, get off and let the next person on. It doesn't work when the sound check takes longer than the performance. Sound folks here need to keep it simple, and not make like this is the symphony.

There were some good performances, but the only ones I remember were the way too complicated mini-concert featuring Betsy Tinney's daughter. We are talking about a talented girl with a fine voice who is working to overcome her inherent shyness. Reminds me of Seanan McGuire at that age, but with a prettier voice. But really, you don't need a full orchestra backup, just get up and sing. And Arianna, who looks kinda dumpy and dorky but sings beautifully and with showmanship and wit. lemmozine, I am sad to say, got bit by technical details.

Today started slowly, I went to the restaurant for the breakfast buffet at about 10:20 am. Here's what I told FB:
Seatac Hilton buffet: sausage patty is a Totems puck. Scrambled eggs one big lump. Oatmeal looks like the senior class of Highline HS threw up into that bowl last prom night. Orange juice is all pulp. I left out the part of waiting for 5 minutes for someone to show up to seat me.

There was zero maintenance on the buffet, they just set it up and leave it. And for $21.50, that's abysmal.

Over to the con, listened to the songwriting contest entries. Was not impressed with the first two, was impressed with the last one but didn't applaud because this is the guy whose infant is in the third row, making baby noises. While I was photographing the second contestant, he whispered something in my ear but I didn't hear it. It was either that he wanted copies or he didn't want to be photographed. either way I put my camera away, did not want him on my SD card.

Then came the band scramble, the first group did something long and I think classic filk, some adaptation of a song to a sci-fi theme. I couldn't hear the words very well (way too much percussion and bass and not enough treble voice). They probably were good. Next up waslemmozine's group, which consisted of a person with a box made from what looked like a wholesale juice carton, a trannie on bouzouki, himself on a tiny uke-like object and lead vocal, and an old guy who looked like the Marlboro man's father on bass. It took a while for me to make out the words, but once I did it was a funny song about "Thing" from The Adams Family from the hand's POV. Final group was Cecelia Eng, and two young omen whom I think are related to the sound guy, who did a highly entertaining version of Frank Hayes' Please Don't Set The Cat on Fire. Frank was at the con, I'm not sure if he was in the room at the time.

Next, a walk to Denny's with lemmozine for a late lunch and non-sequiters. We have both led interesting lives with much travel. Our waitress was Thai, and was amused to speak with me in her native language. Actually, I think she was born here, but her Thai was fluent.

Back to the hotel, I think this is when we went to the con suite, which had no sweets. Chatted with Frank Hayes and Kathy Mar.

Somewhere in there I went to the tea lady in the dealer's room, and wanted to buy a certain blend for my sister, but tea lady was down to the last already-promised batch, so I bought several $1 samplers instead. Also picked up the auction item's I'd won, a CD by bluesmancd's band, and two jars, one with rose jam and the other with walnut butter.

Caught the start or the farewell jam, chatted way in the back of the hall with Carole, but the Estys made it into  gospel sing-along, so i left early. Decided to be early to my dinner date in case sis was early driving around from Poulsbo.

I was early, they were on time. Had a very good dinner (way too much to finish) and a great chat. They gave me a ride back to the hotel (2 blocks) at about 9.

Plans for tomorrow:
6 am wakeup call
walk to light rail by 8
Amtrak by 9
Train at 9:45, 24-hour trip, but they have been an hour late to San Jose all week.

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