August 11th, 2005


My 2nd Day In Scotland

In the middle of the night I awoke, hit LJ, and learned gorgeousgary and Sheryl would be arriving later Thursday morning, so I was able to relax and crash. I reawoke around 11am, eased up (still groggy), and as I was in my final stages of waking the Ehrlichs arrived.

All three of us showered (not at once!), then took off to "The Rotunda" for lunch. There was a roundish building near the hotel that housed a restaurant serving a combination of Thai, Japanese, and Chinese cuisines. Their lunch was an okay deal. I opted for a Thai soup and Chinese main course. Gary and Sheryl both had Chinese first and main courses. The food was good, but the smoking section pervaded the non-smoking. I was grateful they didn't charge us for each soda we drank!

Next it was off to various things we wanted to go to. I opted for the opening ceremonies, which turned out to be followed by a wine reception. hazelchaz has a pretty comprehensive list of folks who were there, so I'm not going to repeat it. There was no food, however, and I was frightfully drunk about halfway into my 2nd glass. I ran into lots of LJ folks and non-LJ friends who I only get to see at these conventions. (I could fill an entire entry with the folks I ran into.) Unfortunately, I somehow missed Pat McMurray all weekend; he was apparently handing out LiveJournal ribbons, and I didn't get one.

After the reception I went in search of some food, winding up with a hot dog because it was cheap and there. As the convention filled in, all the feelings I had the day before about feeling ripped off subsided in favor of a sense of comraderie with all the folks there. It's amazing how SF fandom acts as a bonding material between total strangers.

I was still recovering from jet lag, but at the same time I was pushing myself to a) work on the MIDI file for my opening number for my concert and b) line up some backup singers. I had the sheet music mostly arranged for the vocals, but I didn't have the lyrics entered. I then realized I could always have folks fake the vocals since it was to a well-known tune (in the UK, anyway).

I wound up hanging out in the Real Ale bar at the hotel with a bunch of filker types, eventually going to dinner with vaurien at an Italian restaurant. We tried for Mother of India, but they were so full they were turning folks away at the door. (I later learned quite a few other filkers tried to eat there that night.) vaurien had a "Fruits du Mer" pizza; I opted for a sausage and tomato risotto which was tasty and filling. Simon asked me if I wanted pudding; I thought the idea was interesting, but I was almost ready to drop, and while I was interested in trying Scottish "pudding" I didn't dare input sugar at this point, lest I tip over. (I later learned "pudding" is generic British slang for what we call "dessert." Just as well I didn't have it!)

Eventually I shlepped into the filk room, hung out long enough to recruit a few warm bodies, and then went up to my room and crashed.

My 3rd Day In Scotland

[Note: I'm entering this on the airplane, so I can't look up LJ usernames.]

gorgeousgary and Sheryl set an alarm for 8:30am so they could get to panels they wanted to attend. I needed to get up anyway to prepare for my concert. I went down to the hotel restaurant at 11am in search of breakfast to learn they stopped seating at 10am. Somehow I talked them into having the chef put together a breakfast plate for me; it contained a poached egg, link sausage, blood sausage, bacon (shoulder bacon rather than the kind of bacon we're used to in the U.S.), baked beans, and a potato scone (looks kind of like a flat version of French Toast). In retrospect I wish I'd taken a photo of my plate. The waitress brought toast, but when I asked her for Marmite she kept bringing marmalade. Turns out she was Lithuanian and didn't know what it was, let alone that the restaurant did have it. Since I was in the UK I opted for tea to drink; I was surprised when they brought a pot of hot water with two teabags in it rather than something pre-brewed as they had done in Melbourne.

Afterwards I went up to the room, hoping to work on my computer, only to find the maids hadn't done our room yet. I took the computer to the "Green Room" and worked there for a couple of hours. I then took it back to the room and it still wasn't done. Finally I started setting up my printer; that was when the maid finally decided to clean our room. All weekend it was a struggle with the hotel to get them to give us enough towels; this day was no exception. I wound up slipping a couple of extras out of the maid's cart.

Rehearsal time for my concert was set at 1pm. I was having printer problems and couldn't get the sheet music printed, so it was clearly time to have my singers fake the "Sha la la lahs" and so forth (they were great, btw). I had Kate Soley Barton, Andy Gordon-Kerr, hrrunka, and vaurien in my room amidst the chaos with the maid practicing "Sha la la la" and discovering bugs with the MIDI backup file. They left at 2pm, leaving me an hour to fix the MIDI file. Unfortunately the MIDI file started corrupting itself around 2:55pm. I had it fixed in time for my concert, but then I couldn't get a down elevator! After the third full one stopped at my floor I opted to try to go up. Unfortunately, the guy in that lift wouldn't let me in because I was going down. Grrf. This made me ten minutes late for my own concert and very embarassed. (At least I ended on time!)

I couldn't tell how well the opener went, as it was loud and I was tired and nervous. I was told a few folks who were familiar with the original and with "Banned from Argo" were "nailed," to quote gorgeousgary. Unlike my usual form, I actually opted to punt a computer-backed song and stick to guitar songs for the rest of the concert. The CD recording has made me more confident and competent at guitar.

After the concert I stuck around to catch all the other concerts, feeling severely outclassed. Dinner that night was with gorgeousgary and Sheryl at a place called "Bombay Blues" in Central Glasgow that had a kickass buffet that was a Good Value even by U.S. standards. Quite a few other congoers were there as well. Afterwards gorgeousgary and Sheryl went straight to the Hilton to party-hop while I opted to go first to the hotel and change, then party-hop. Since the buses from the Exhibition Centre to the Hilton didn't start running till 11pm I hung out in the filk room till it was "party time."

It amazed me that folks at the Hilton were buying ales when there was free booze to be had at the parties if you knew where to look. I ran into lots of friends in the parties, drank interesting stuff, and ate some pretty good stuff, too. I learned from bovril that there's a really good whisky distillery in the San Francisco Bay area not far from where Dr. James lives and works. "But it's only open for tasting during the day," he said.

"I'll be there during the day Thursday. I might even have a designated driver with me!" Hee. Warren was actually self-conscious about his disinterest in consuming alcoholic beverages...

I eventually got partied out and went back to my hotel and crashed.