Normally, we take two days to drive to Boston area conventions, but Worcester is closer to us than Boston and Shabbat is late this time ofyear. We also made a commitment to start early (for us.) Because of this, we were packed - clothes, knitting, filkbooks and food - and ready to go by 10AM, and at the car rental place by 10:30. We forgot a couple of items, but nothing necessary.
The trip in only hit one snag. While we don't own a car, we do have an E-Z Pass - we keep it in a suction cup holder so we can adhere it to any windshield. It makes trips to New Jersey and other places in the North East *much* easier. And when we got to the toll booth after the Whitestone Bridge, we found out it wasn't working. This *after* we'd ensured we had enough in our account *and* had told them our new credit card number.
And the officer who told us? Was extremely rude. Made me feel like a criminal, in fact, and threatened to confiscate the unit. I paid the toll in cash (of course), I drove on to the Hutch and Jonathan called EZPass. And so far as they were concerned, it was working. We also had a bit of a fight because of the stress of the situation.
We stopped for lunch at a rest stop - I made turkey breast sandwiches on rye bread and we had a tomato-onion salad my local supermarket makes. Jonathan had a bunch of recordings on his iRiver clone, so we listened to a fascinating lecture on eruv in New York ( a way to make it possible to carry on Shabbat.) We eventually encountered a plaza that had tollbooths that could do both cash and EZPass and went to that - and it didn't work again, but we could pay and that was fine. We resigned ourselves to paying tolls the rest of the weekend.
We went to one more rest stop, marveled at the car's mileage (we started with 2/3 tank, and we were still about 1/4 when we got to our destination - I will always take a Camry if offered) and listened to Ben Newman until we got to the hotel. I missed the turn, but we found our way there eventually, and, as it was about 4PM, had plenty of time to get settled.
We got the room, and we got the car stowed ($4/night is wonderful given what we'd paid for Arisia) and we got registered for the convention - all very, very painless. I had a bite to eat and we wandered around the dealer's room greeting people, and the con suite, greeting people, and then back to the room, where we found we had a fridge and could store our food. Then Jonathan needed to practice, and I have a problem with higher range recorders, so I left.
The lobby of that hotel is wonderful - a gas fireplace surrounded by a ring of cushions (where a couple of boys, sons of friends, chased each other) and then arm chairs and loveseats. So I took a seat and took out my sock and knitted. And when people came in, there were hugs and chatting, and someone had a guitar, and then there was the scheduled Encore game. I didn't take part, but it was fun to watch. The teams were informal - if you were on one side, you were on one team. Eventually, I made my way back to the room, enjoying the elevators while I could, and got ready for Shabbat. Jonathan managed to sign up for the 2x10s as soon as they were available to be signed up for - they were Shabbat afternoon, but as he sings unaccompanied, that's not a problem.
This would be the first time he'd do such a thing - he'd signed up for Contata, but, well. Stuff happened.
I lit my candles and we went to Lucy Schmiedler's room for Shabbat dinner, which were sdavido, vettecat, ladymondegreen, akawil, sdelmonte, batyatoon, plus Ben and Sarah, who, if they have ljs, I don't know them. tigerbright and teddywolf were supposed to join us, but it was moving day for them. We had to scramble a bit for paper goods, but we managed.
We broke up and began to take in the con, joining the open filking and, you know, meeting people.
The Listener guests, Mabel and Bob, had a Ladies and Gentleman's Sewing Circle and Terrorists Association meeting in the con suite. I couldn't bring my sock, of course, but it was still fun.
We were asleep by 1AM.
Wine for breakfast! :) I went to the con suite for coffee, where I chatted with Ellen Weingart and her sons, and eventually I went to the theater (this hotel has a real theater!) in time for the 2x10s. In these, people sign up for two songs or ten minutes, which ever comes first. There was some fussing with the microphones because Jonathan is taller than the person who went ahead of him (Seanan McGuire, who was wonderful), which stopped when they remembered it was Shabbat, and he wasn't going to worry about microphones.
Also, he can fill a room.
I'm biased, but I think he did well - he sang two "transit" songs and people seemed to like them.
I stayed for the rest of the 2x10s and the Toastmistress' concert (Or was that before?) She writes filk in a jazz vein, which is lovely and different than the normal folky version, or even the less common rock version.
Shabbat ended about 9PM, during the Interfilk auction. Jonathan bid on a bracelet made by Talis, and didn't get it, but it was interesting...
See, one of the things about Interfilk auctions is the wenches - often scantily clad women (although the ten year old wore a harem outfit) plus men in normal con garb (which is NOT fair. Tuxes. Male wenches should wear tuxes.) who vamp the prospective buyers. There was one amusing moment when gorgeousgary was vamped by his own wife. However, before Jonathan could be vamped (by the ten year old selling her own bracelet), the word went out. "Don't touch Jonathan!"
We didn't get the bracelet but I bought another one later on. He did get an Edison cylinder, plus an autographed Berryman CD in the silent auction.
And then Shabbat was over, and we'd scheduled a NYMFO meeting after the auction. It took some doing, and we ended up in the lobby, not our room, and there were other factors, and I caused some problems but I think it was productive.
I am not running Contata next time, and that's hard for me to say, but it's someone else's turn. On the other hand, maybe I'll try my hand at a slash convention.
And then I paid for some things I'd set aside in the dealer's room and there was more filking (and I could knit again!) and all was well.
We were to stay until Monday, so Sunday we could relax - hang out in the con suite and the lobby, go to the short concerts and Lady Mondegreen - first time I'd ever seen Lady Mondegreen on stage. I've been missing *a lot*. Jonathan is determined I should not have an at-con job again so I get to enjoy more of the con. The good-byes started that afternoon, of course.
We met mabfan and gnomi for dinner, taking Bob and Mabel with us, and that was fun, as it always is. And when we returned, the filk room was full. It was a wonderful dead dog, in fact. Lots of people, lots of good songs, and people slowly peeling off.
Also, tigerbright, teddywolf, Joshua, and browngirl all managed to show up for a while.
And Jonathan wrote a complete filk and sang it. Yay! I hope he writes more.
The long drive home, and utterly uneventful, which is the best kind. We played our new cds, and made two or three stops - including at the EZPass building, where we found out our unit had been reported stolen (!) We were given a new one and told not to use it for 24 hours in NY State and 48 out of state but since we had no more tolls to pay, that wasn't a problem. Even that was painless.
Lunch was dried salami sandwiches on whole wheat challah rolls, salt and pepper noodle kugel and bagged salad. As I set the table in the McDonald's rest stop (using napkins as placemats), a gentleman remarked that it looked better than what he was eating. :) There are advantages to keeping kosher.
We were home and parked (right in front of the house, too) by 5PM. We walked to dinner around seven, and on our way back, a neighbor came by, and I ended up going to a psalm reading circle with her. Such is my life. :)
Oh, and that sock I'd been knitting all weekend? I ripped it. It shrank in the knitting. Such is life in general.