Eins! Zwei! Drei! Der Affe ist frei!

FilkOntario 16
March 31-April 2, 2006
Delta Airport West Hotel, Missisagua, Ontario
GoH: Chris Conway
Filk Waif: Tanya Huff
Interfilk Guest: Judi Miller

FKO was a good con, I have to say, even if (for me) it was often defined by who wasn't there as much as who was. It was good to be "home," really, and much-needed. But the lack of presence was also very much felt often, especially at moments where I wasn't keeping busy; it made for sometimes thoughtful listening and music, and there were some songs that I found I didn't want to sing, even as I opened my songbook to the page. Overall though, it was quite good, and given how the weekend started off, Im extremely glad of that.

I wasn't actually sure I was going to make it to FKO this year. It all seemed so simple when I made plans, but no plan survives contact with waking up at 5:30 in the morning the way I did on Friday. I gave up trying to sleep and puttered around in the morning, left my flat at 10 and drove to LaGuardia airport, parking my car in an offsite longterm lot (much cheaper than the airport lot and there's a free shuttle bus to the airport) by about 10:45; my flight was at 12:37. By 11:00 I was at the counter to check in because you can't use the self-serve kiosks for international flights.

The agent looked at me. "I can't find you in our system. You're flying to Toronto...are you SURE you're going out of LaGuardia?" I looked down at the piece of paper in my hand. Sure enough, it said JFK, the other (and larger) major airport on Long Island. Now, the astute conrep reading will say, "Gee, Dave, why didn't you check that?" (short answer; Ive been flying in and out of LaGuardia a lot in the past few weeks and the last few times Ive been to Toronto I went out of LaGuardia and I was supposed to meet Taunya Gren at LaGuardia on Tuesday post-con; I must have chosen JFK so that I wouldn't need to take my car when I booked, but...well, I was either stupid or careless, take your pick). The even MORE astute reader will do what I did not until later in the day and say, "Well, why didn't you see about changing your flight to one out of LaGuardia since you were there anyway?"

Me, I grabbed my stuff and called the longterm lot and said, "I need my car, NOW!" They said they could send a shuttle for me in 20 minutes or so; I grabbed a cab for the half mile or so trip back to my car (easiest and quickest $5 that guy ever earned, I'm sure, but time was at a premium), waited impatiently for the lot attendant to finish dealing with the Japanese tourists who spoke almost no English so I could pay for day's parking that I didn't use, get my car and head for JFK. Now, Long Island is long but it's not very wide; the drive from one airport to the other is no more than 15, maybe 20 minutes. Cutting it tight, but still doable. Unless, of course, the Van Wyck Expressway has one lane shut down for construction (in the middle day during the workweek? What's up with that?) and you sit for a while, not as long as I thought, but it seemed forever. Once I got past that, though, it opened back up and I headed for longterm parking at the airport; not as cheap as the offsite ones but THERE and there's the AirTrain to the terminals. Longterm parking is called satellite parking, and Im convinced it's because you're about as far from the terminals as the average satellite orbits above the Earth. I parked, ran to the AirTrain and waited. The trains run every 9 minutes at that time of day, and I must have just missed one because 15 minutes later, the train pulled in. And went to the first station, at the OTHER longterm parking lot, a whole quarter mile closer to the terminals. And there we sat, for another 5 minutes, waiting for who-knows-what. (Im betting you can see what's coming here. I could, too, but there wasn't anything I could do about it). At every station, we waited a minute or two. Car rental, 3 minutes. Terminals 1 and 2, 5 minutes. Terminal 3, 2 minutes...

American Airlines is at Terminals 8 and 9 (I was flying out of 9). And I ran off that train as fast as I could go, CARRYING my luggage rather than stopping to put the handle up, carrying my guitar, huffing up to the counter...only to be told that theyd closed the flight. (I'm going to give the AA counter agent a great deal of credit; she was calling the gate to see if they really HAD closed the flight, and if there was any way to get me on board). Once those doors are closed, though, that's pretty much it; they're NOT letting you on the plane. I was about ready to cry at this point, cursing myself for not reading the ticket, wondering why I didn't just fly out of LaGuardia when I was there, wondering if I was going to miss FKO entirely. I asked if they could book me on the next flight, and the woman said, "There's a 6 o-clock flight, but it's overbooked." I was...unhappy, really, and was blinking back tears. She said, "There's a 1:30 and 2:30 I can try and get you on out of LaGuardia. Do you want to try either of those?" (There were also later ones, but they were oversold as well). I looked at the time. 12:45; almost no way to get to LGA and get the 1:30, so I asked her to yes please, book me on the 2:30 flight (for which I paid the $25 fee to get a confirmed seat rather than risk standby), asked her to check me in for the flight and had her print my boarding pass.. I was prepared for the $20 cab ride (barely) but there's a bus that runs between airports for only $13, and it JUST arrived as I got outside.

Unlike the southbound trip to JFK, the northbound lanes were free of construction, so the bus made it there in plenty of time; I probably could have made have made the 1:30 flight, but I just felt like vegging a bit, rather than try to switch flights, so I browsed duty-free and picked up a liter bottle of Dalwhinnie 15 year old to share around the con (it being on offer for $40, which is not at all a bad price).

The flight itself was uneventful and I slept through most of it; I'd gate-checked both my guitar and my suitcase so I had no wait at the airport; all I had to do was find the hotel shuttle so I walked out into a rainy Toronto day, following the signs for the hotel shuttles. And lo, as I was waiting for the shuttle, Hillary Sherwood walked by. On the shuttle, we were joined by a young woman carrying a banjo case who turned out to be Brooke Lunderville, filker from Vancouver. I related my tale of my trip and they promised that it was over; I refused to believe it til we actually got to the hotel!

Surprisingly, we got to the hotel, no problems (after that trip, I wasn't at all sure we would make it). I gave and got a few hugs, but not many. I was just way too frazzled and wanted to unpack and get my badge. Keris, with whom I was sharing a room, had already checked in, so got a key and went to the elevators so I could head up to our room. I'm SURE my jaw dropped to the floor and bounced several times when I turned the corner and there was Katy Droege, all the way from Germany! It was about this time that I started feeling the frazzle and stress from the trip to the convention starting to drain away.

Wow, this far into a conrep and I haven't even checked in to the hotel!

I dumped my stuff upstairs and headed down to con registration to get my badge, running into Debbie Ohi and Jodi Krangle of Urban Tapestry in the lobby (waiting for Allison), and then Tom Jeffers along the way (he wasn't supposed to be there and I was glad he was!). I got my badge from Heather Borean and her lovely sister Sue, hugged various people again and relaxed further. The signup sheets for the regular one-shots were already full up, well before opening ceremonies. That's a bit annoying, but no big deal (although I think that OVFF's method of "drop your name into a jar so that latecomers have an equal chance to sign up"), signed up for the "Songs Inspired by Tolkien" contest and the Saturday morning juried one-shots and got a green sticker for my badge. See, FKO had decided to hold a "Best Hugger" contest and the stickers came in three shades: green for "hug at will," yellow for "ask before hugging" and red for "Thou Shalt Not Hug" I chose green and used a green marker to make it bigger. Peter Alway, on the other hand, had taken 3 stickers and kitbashed them as a tricolor pie chart (very cleveryly done, in fact) I also chose a green ribbon so that the people from Market Street Films (who are making a film on filk and the filk community) could film me if they so desired. Throughout the weekend, they were video-ing concerts, circles and interviewing people (I may well be one of the few people that they DIDN't ask to interview, come to think of it. I guess Im not interesting enough!)

Since I wasn't needed to help just yet, I walked a bit saying hello and hugging people and ended up at Subway with Filk Waif Tanya Huff (TANYA! IT'S BEEN FOREVER!), GoH Chris Conway and his companion Georgina, Daniel and Melissa Glasser and their son David, Hillary and Keris; it was quick and cheap and close and quick, all of which were desireable. Especially quick, of course, since Christo and Tanya needed to be back before opening ceremonies. Tanya was kind enough to buy me dinner, because I didn't have enough Canadian cash (the hotel's ATM didn't like my card).

After opening ceremonies, guest introduction and a group singalong of Kathleen Sloan's "Take It Back," I skipped the Tie and Tails party so I could help Ken Lalonde and Keris with the Ookla the Mok setup they were on first and we had a few technical problems (yay Keris for noticing that we needed phantom power on the DI boxes!). In with the set up, I mingled with a few people who I hadn't seen in far too long. For example, Greg and Maya McMullan were there with Maya's daughter Faeryn and I don't think I've seen them since GaFilk 2 years ago. Mike Browne and Rennie Levine were there as well, with their son Liam (who asked me, very nicely, if my boys were at the convention).

Peggi Warner-Lalonde's miniconcert was first up and fun, with Phil Mills as stunt guitarist and joined by hubby Ken for a song. She was followed by Ookla the Mok, complete with drummer (Joe) and bass player (Wolfgang), both of whom have officially been inducted into the band, so there's a full lineup now and they sound great. Most of the Ookla concert was spend mic-wrangling in the front of the room, swapping cables and tweaking dials. Actually, that's not really true. MOST of it was spent dancing behind the sound board while Keris and Ken actually ran the board, but we had a number of minor problems with channels dropping out. Ookla was, of course, the single most complex thing we had to deal with, plugged in guitars, keyboards, bass, multiple vocal microphones.

After Ookla was the Interfilk Guest, Judi Miller, and her request concert. Judi is an unusual filker in that she generally, she doesn't sing (but, as I found out on Saturday night, she does and does well), but signs along in American Sign Language. And it's not merely that she signs, but she does it in such a way that she brings out the emotion and feeling of a song and what people are saying (her sign for filk, for example, looks a lot like headbanging air guitar). "Cranes over Hiroshima" with Joey Shoji, for exampleI suspect I'd have cried, even without the song itself. Those who want to think about a Pegasus for "Best Performer" would do well to look to her.

Friday night's circle, I sat down in the corner of the room with Ookla, Downtown Freddy Brown, Tony Fabris and Michelle "Vixy" Dockrey, Randy Hoffman, Bill and Gretchen Roper, Erica Neely, Decadent Dave, Gary and Sheryl Ehrlich and, perhaps a little more important emotionally, Franklin, Katy and Sibylle. It felt righter being there than elsewhere along with Keris, I tend to consider Katy and Sib (and Franklin, although to a lesser extent) part of "my" UK filk crowd, though none of us live there and I can't say that I'm close with any of them. That's a part of my life that I miss a great deal. And we were joined by Steve Macdonald (all around cool guy and Katy's fianc) when he showed up later on, Eloise Mason came on by for a lapsit and a song. The room was hot, really hot, but with good music and a nice vibe. I don't recall everything I sang; I know that since Katy, Sibylle and Franklin were all in the room (along Wolfgang) I sang "Geist" because there were people who understood German to sing it to (and, of course, they knew just how BAD my German is ;) ). I probably sang a few other things but because of my own headspace, don't recall most of the songs that anyone sung (other than Tony singing Jonathon Coulton's "Mandelbrot Set" and "Skullcrusher Mountain" Oh, and Sib's "Penguin" song. And Franklin's "A Thousand Chips" and Downtown Freddy Brown's "I'm Looking Back" and Randy Hoffman's...well, dunno what the title is, but it's about an apprentice wizard).

I lasted 'til about 2:30, dead tired, and headed on up to bed.

I got up Saturday morning with the full intention of having breakfast and getting to the juried one-shots; I wanted to see how I could improve my performance skills and do it with a song that I haven't yet settled into performance. Instead I made tea and sat chatting with Keris for an hour or so; we ended up walking over to the A&W, where we ran into Gary and Sheryl and had a nice breakfast. It wasn't all that relaxed for me, sadly, because of the time element, so I excused myself early and ran to get my guitar. On the way to the room, I ran into Sally Headford who asked how good I was at doing critiquing. Well, if a thing needs doing, I'm willing to, so I found myself on a panel with Erica Neely and Tom Jeffers (both of whom ARE qualified to do it in a way that I'm not), giving people pointers on their one-shot performances in that room. Phillip Mills sang, Peter Always sang, Blind Lemming Chiffon sang, Jane Garthson sang, Kathy Sands came in late but we had plenty of time -- I sang as well and I'm sure I'm missing someone or two. I should learn to take notes, eh? Christo sat in on that and made a few very good observations, especially about not putting yourself down before introducing a song. That's one Ill have to work on (although I screwed up "Man Without a Face" so many times itll be hard not to). Quite a bit of it came down to practice and confidence -- I suggested self-video and singing to the back of the room.

I spent most of the rest of Saturday either behind the sound desk or up front, moving the microphones back and forth as people came up onto stage. The first set of one-shots were up (and Im sorry, I can't remember who sang what and when during the one-shots -- Keris sang, Sibylle sang, Judith Hayman sang a completely hysterical song called "Yuck!", Randy Hoffman sang), followed by Filk Waif Tanya Huff. Tanya had been a special guest at FKO the year I was the Filk Waif (back in 2002 for FKO12) and has been with us ever since. Her first song really talked about that FKO (the refrain: Filking is just another word for "Who the hell needs sleep?" I actually did by the time the weekend was over, and Im still not caught up.). She also did a very cool version of "Dawson's Christian" and lots of other stuff. During a few breaks, I wandered over to the aution table to see what was there and had a pleasant chat with Trace Hageman.

The main exception to my time doing sound was during the beginning of the song contest entry. The theme was "Songs Based on Tolkien" and certainly Id plenty of songs to sing, what with all of my Morgoth & Sullivan songs. I settled on doing "Noble Numenorean" as it was the first of the bunch. Id found guitar chords for it Thursday night before the con, but a quick attempt made me realize that I couldn't do it smoothly enough even when I wasn't singing (and that's a fairly quick patter song). So I asked Tony Fabris if hed help out and, after few quick run-throughs in the hallway, we were ready. While mucking through it, he noticed that I had a song about Mirrormask (probably the best movie you probably haven't seen) and said I had to sing it for Vixy in the circle, which I was glad to do. I listened to a number of very good songs and then it was my turn. Oh, sure we both made a few flubs, but the audience laughed (which is all I really cared about!) and, amazingly, I took second when the awards were announced later on. The winning entry was Brooke's perky and very funny "I Fall Asleep," all about falling asleep over the Silmarillion (alas that Tim and Annie Walker weren't there to sing their song about the latter; it wouldn't have been eligible but it would have been the perfect follower), I also really liked Randy Hoffman's bit about how, in order to save fantasy literature, "Tolkien Must Die!" I believe that 3rd was taken by Katy, singing one of Julianne Honisch's songs. My prize was an around-the-neck keychain with notes on it, and a G-clef pocket keychain which made a PERFECT pendant to hang from the keychain and I promptly wore it that way with my badge hanging from it for the rest of the weekend.

After the song contest, Vixy and Tony had a 3-song set and MAN are they good. Their GoH slot at FKO in 2008 is so well-deserved and Im looking forward to hearing more of them. Three songs; "Mal's Song," "The Girl That's Never Been" and a new one called "Thirteen" More one shots, and then Erica Neely did a nice short set; I haven't heard her enough recently and it was good to hear her again.

After more one-shots, we had one may have been one of the silliest concerts Ive seen at a filkcon either Urban Gunkelmann or Franklin Tapestry; Im not sure which. Franklin and UT did a set together, y'see, and it worked really well. Some lovely silly moments, some lovely serious moments and all of it was good. The German folktale (was it, really?) with the puppet was excellent, and the toy spaceship made of a hamburger, action figures, etc...that was great. I was, not for the first or last time, struck with absence rather than presence, though, especially during their rendition of the Hockey Monkey song, complete with German chorus and ably assisted with signage auf Deutsch held by Wolfgang, Sib and...umm...someone else; not Franklin (who was up on stage). Also, during the set, Debbie's husband snuck in and sat in the front row. I've briefly seen (but not met) Allison and Jodi's husbands before, but I was half-convinced that Debbie's husband was actually a Photoshop artifact. He seemed to enjoy the concert, though and the look on Debbie's face when she saw him was priceless.

The main room needed to be cleared and locked after that because the Filk Hall of Fame banquet was about to happen, so while that was happening, Keris, Ken, Keshlam and I spent a little time sound-geeking over how to mic the nEarly Music Consort next year when they're GoH/Filk Waif/Interfilk Guest/whatever. It'll be interesting to do, but they won't need the sound reinforcment; it'll be strictly for recording purposes. Keris and Ken were both going to the banquet, which Id passed on, so in order to let them go get ready, I said that Id sit around and wait for the hotel to get the room locked. It took them a while to show up, and then one door took an extra person coming with a better key (i.e., one that worked). By the time everything was locked up, all the people who were going off to dinner outside of banqueting had already gone off and I found myself all by my lonesome and more than a bit lonely. Part of being at a con is seeing people, after all. I started walking over to Subway and thought to myself, "nah, Id rather have a slightly more substantial meal" and walked a bit further to Kelsey's. It was crowded by that point in the evening, so I volunteered to sit at the bar rather than take up a table just as well, since there were no other seats to be had. As I read the menu, still feeling a bit iffy on what I actually wanted and feeling the lack of company, I looked across the bar and there was Dan Raffsenberger sitting by himself as well. Since he didn't at all mind the company, I moved over and sat down by him and we had a nice enough meal, laughing at the bar's TV, chatting about work, life and the con. Oh, and Rogers Communications? Why can't I get my T-Mobile voicemail even when I dial the direct access number?

I got back a little early and hung out, waiting for the banquet to finish up and things to start up again. Since the main room was locked, I couldn't even sit down with my guitar (it having been left in there after Keris had borrowed it for a one-shot on Saturday afternoon). Still, as people wandered back in, I had company, and eventually the room opened up again.

A few more one-shots after the banquet (The Filk Hall of Fame inductees: Franklin Gunkelmann, Lois Mangan, Steve Macdonald (aha, so THAT's why Katy flew over) and Gretchen Roper). The awards are well-deserved on all counts; all of the inductees have done a lot for filk (Lois, for example, is a mainstay of Northeastern US filk).

After that, a few more one-shots and then on to Chris Conway's GoH slot. Christo hadn't been feeling well and been trying to conserve his voice and energy. But it did NOT show on stage; he opened up with "Alien Salad Abduction" and just went uphill from there. With guitar, theramin (he did a cool version of Jodi's "The Lady" while Allison played guitar), whistle (and whistles, given his gift for two songs at the same time) and guests (for example, Jodi on "Andromeda Bound" and his companion Georgina, a talented singer in her own right). UT became his three-headed girl, with Judith Hayman, Heather Borean and...umm..someone else doing the child. Judith has SUCH a good booboo face for that! And...wow, "Circle of One" is a great song, and one I was decidedly puddling during (despite being AT a con; I so know the feeling of being left out). And some very bizarre song about a "Hatrack Man" about which I can only say, "FISH!"

I sat out the Interfilk auction, sharing whisky in the hallway with Joey Shoji, Tanya, Roberta and a few other people Id bought a full liter of the stuff, after all, and it's best shared whenever possible. I did need a bit of a break for the main room and wanted social time and I didn't see anything that I thought I could afford in the auction (I did have other things I was going to spend money on; more about that later!). Mainly, though, I did want to spend time with people, talking and hugging (I did a lot of that this weekend). I understand that the auction did well, and rather than scantily-clad ladies, the wenching was done by tuxedo-clad gentlemen. At some point during the very long auction, Amy McNally came out with a bottle of herbed liqueur that shed won (donated by Franklin and it smelled wonderful), and people wandered back and forth 'til the open filk started. Tanya came by and pulled me into the far room so I could sing her my take on Talis Kimberly's "Uffington Hill." There were four open filks going on and I COULD have gone from one to the other but I chose to stay in the small circle. In a way, it was a lot like FKO 12. It was COLD in that room, and Tanya, Joey and I had all been guests at that con. We were joined in the circleby Keris, Art Warneke and Dierdre Murphy (who do Uffy far different than I do, BTW), Judith Hayman, Roberta, Judi Miller, Sibylle, Eloise Mason, Heather Borean, Rennie Levine (it was so good to see her there!), Jan of the Magic Fingers. It's probably more accurate to say that I joined them, since most of them were there before I was. There were a few other people in the circle, but my brain is going blank, quite possibly because I was there til 6 in the morning.

I woke up Sunday morning WAY too early, after about 3 hours of sleep. I was just in no way capable of dealing with much other than food or caffeine, so I wandered back over to A&W for doughnuts and tea. I was still groggy, right up until things started getting going. Debbie Ohi's n'MC fundraiser tee shirts and badges were available, so I grabbed my checkbook and got a size medium shirt and one of only 26 complete badge sets (see, I told you that I had things to spend money on!) and a membership for next year. I put all the badges onto my neck-hanging keychain and wore them for the rest of the con.

Then it was back to the soundboard, which I ran for most of the day. First up was the Penguin Song Contest; the concom gave a list of words, all of which needed to be included in the song (and they were nonobvious words). I admire that kind of songwriting. I generally need to be touched in some way to write a song. In many cases, of course, that's touched in the head rather than the heart, but I can't generally toss out a song just given a list of words. After that was the last "official" function of the convention, theFilk Hall of Fame concert, started off by Steve Macdonald with a long and very funny tale of his first OVFF and being intimidated by the presence of Big Name Filkers. I feel that myself a bit; there are people who are so good and so many of them that Im often feeling that I shouldn't bother pulling out my guitar (much as Steve was describing). Im also relatively deferential to people who want to do something, which means that even when ready to go, if someone jumps in or starts playing, Ill stop. (I don't do this when breaking in for other people, BTW). Lois led us in several rounds and group sings, which were quite cool. Franklin did "Sams Lied" which I can ALMOST sing along with without lyrics. Gretchen did a number of songs with Bill and at least one song done for her by Bill.

Finally, we got to closing ceremonies, where the concom thanked the guests and the final contest awards were announced.. Debbie Ohi, Bill Roper, Greg McMullan and I all got Honorable Mention in the hugging contest (yes, it should have been "Honourable" but I bet the certificates originally came from the US), but the prize was wrapped up in the arms of Ingrid de Buda. Tony and Vixy were announced as GoH for 2008, and then UT led us all in "Home to FilkOntario."

The convention being officially over, Ken and I played some n'MC over the sound system so that people would know WHY they wanted to come see them, and then commenced tearing down the sound system while people milled about saying goodbyes and making dinner plans. Id asked for volunteers, and we pretty much had the entire system packed up and stored away in a locked room in short order. Help was especially noted from Ingrid de Buda and Joel Polowin. Howard Scrimgeour had already started breaking down the stage while we were playing the n'MC stuff (and he's concom, so he doesn't count ;) ). The jam got going while we were finishing up, and it was around then that I got a haircut from France (the person, not the country, thank you!) -- she does them as fundraisers for Interfilk and does a lovely job at it.

Rather than go out to a big dinner at Montana Steaks, I hung out at the hotel and had pizza with Steven Joel Zeve and France; it was cheap and relaxing and quiet. As people came back from dinner, we got into a nice chat over genetics and politics with Leo Sands and Keris. Not too far into that discussion, Sibylle came by and mentioned pool and hot tub. An excellent idea, and something Id meant to do over the weekend (in fact, I'd looked forward to getting in early enough on Friday to spend Friday afternoon before the con doing just that) so I met her down there for a little relaxing hot water. The pool.

The Sunday night dog was fun, but it felt a little awkward at times. We were spread out over the room in a great oval, not everyone could see each other, and we definitely had a number of moments where people were stepping on one another as they were trying to start up songs. The most interesting moment was when the film crew started waving goodbye (fairly early, as I recall). I called out, "Hey, do you guys sing?" They allowed as one of them did, and Eloise Mason said, "Well, the swan song is an old and established tradition." Erin (the singer of the crew) said that shed sing "Nessie Come Up" with us, but only if wed do "that cool Nessie" thing with our hands. "Like you could stop us!" was my reaction, and the roomful of filkers sang with her while the rest of the film crew went around the circle. Most of us were nessie-ing, Cat Faber was signing instead. At some point in the evening, either before or after that, Steve and Katy went upstairs. In short order a receiving line formed for hugs and goodbyes; this was the last chance many of us will have to see Steve before he moves overseas in September.

The mood of the circle went silly to serious and back and forth. Dandelion Wine sang some stuff, Bill Roper sang stuff, Tony and Vixy sang stuff, Gary Erlich sang stuff, Kathleen Sloan sang stuff, Joey sang stuff, Dave Hayman sang stuff, even I sang stuff, including my traditional end-of-con voicekiller (The Wild Hunt) with Erica and (finally) "Mirrormask" for Vixy. I was pulled out of the circle a number of times; people asking me questions, wanting to check something and (in one very special moment, having Faeryn sing for Erica and me down in another room). Possibly most amusing was Sibylle singing her "Dismissal Song" -- it's possibly the most people I've seen jumping up and asking for a copy of any one song. Some point soon after that, the circle started breaking up and I headed up to bed, stopping for a last hug from Steve Macdonald who was coming down to say his final goodbyes before leaving the con.

Monday morning, I packed stuff up into my suitcase. Keris was already gone so I had a cuppa and headed downstairs and chatted with a few people hanging out in the lobby. I'd missed breakfast in the hotel, but when Amy McNally walked by, we walked over for breakfast (which we got to take back, so that we could sit in the lobby and hug people as they left). This gave us a chance to say goodbye to Katy, the Ehrlichs, Dave Clement, Tom Jeffers (who was being picked up by Heather Dale -- she hadn't been at the con, because she was over at Ad Astra the same weekend) and eventually caught a shuttle back to the airport with Erica, Joel and Robert Cooke. I decided NOT to do any duty-free shopping, because with the Canadian and US dollars so close to even, it was far more expensive getting whisky in duty free than it would have been to get the same bottle at my local store. Erica and I grabbed a meal at Friday's and chatted for a bit around her gate (where her advisor was sitting, strangely enough), and then I walked off to my gate.

The planes before mine were running late; the 1:00 PM flight to LaGuardia hadn't yet boarded at 2PM when I got to the gate. I wasn't greatly happy, but there wasn't any point in getting bent out of shape about it. The airport was totally out of my control, and the main thing I wanted was to go to the right airport! Finally, they started boarding the earlier flights and ours was due to be next. All of a sudden, the board went to "Indefinite Delays Due To Weather" and they announced that ramp personnel were being pulled in because of lightning in the area. So not only had they waited to board their flights, the earlier flights couldn't pull out of the ramp area and had to sit on the planes. I pulled out my guitar (having decided to gate-check it rather than check it in) and played softly for a while until they got things going again; the plane was delayed an hour or more. (The good thing about that was that I got back to JFK well AFTER rush hour, so I had an easy drive home.)

So, all in all, the con was good, really good; that it wasn't excellent was really just me, rather than anything the concom did or didn't do. It was great seeing everyone, really, and it was REALLY good to see Christo, Keris, Katy, Franklin and Sibylle. Ookla rocked, of course, and Tanya is always a treat to talk with and listen to. The most emotionally touching song was Christo's "Circle of One." Judi was amazing, and if you have a chance to see her at a filkcon, definitely do so. Chris Conway was a great, great choice for GoH and Im really looking forward to the n'Early Music Consort next year!

Good job, FKO. Next year in Mississagua!

Useful links:
     The Filk Film Project
     Chris Conway
     Morgoth and Sullivan (okay, so this one's not really useful)