Lynn Gold (figmo) wrote,
Lynn Gold

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Westercon, Part 1, Eh?

After a compressed work week with overtime out the wazoo and not enough sleep, I left home about 5:20am to catch my 7am flight to Seattle, where I'd transfer to Calgary. The most eventful part of the flight was when we were served heated plates with a strawberry, and orange wedge, a pineapple wedge (which I didn't eat), and a breakfast pastry. The one on the first leg was jam-filled and made me sleepy in Seattle (yeah, I had to say that); the one on the 2nd leg was a maple scone which went down much better.

At SeaTac I opted for a breakfast burrito where they kept wanting to give me the "Murrican" fillings like chicken and gravy (eeeuw) instead of "spicy sausage" (their euphemism for chorizo) and the hottest salsa they had (which was only medium hot). I'd already had three cups of coffee on the plane, so I didn't have any there.

My flight was delayed; this was when I learned people with frequent flyer First Class seats can't use the Alaska Airlines Board Room, but people who pay for First Class can. (Btw, it's a $50 upgrade to fly First Class for some trips; it might be worth it.) At the airport I ran into Dave Gallaher, who was on my flight. He and I compared notes and had the same general impression of the con we were flying to: Not exciting, but hey, it's in Calgary, and we've never been there.

The hardest part of getting through Customs in Canada was the long walk from the plane to the person who checks you through. "Why are you coming to Canada?" I was asked.

"I'm attending the West Coast Science Fiction Convention."

"Ah yes. Another one. Have a good time!" I was waved on.

It took seemingly forever for my luggage to get off the carousel. As I exited the luggage area there were greeters in vests and cowboy hats saying "Welcome to Calgary!" instead of "Welcome to Walmart!" There were a lot of folks in cowboy hats, most of whom looked like they'd never seen a horse anywhere but on TV. The guy driving the shuttle bus at least didn't have a cowboy hat on.

I got to the hotel too early for check-in, but found a Loonie at the front desk (talk about a sign of good luck!), so I opted to register for the con and do some logistics-checking. I found I did have a sound system for the filk concerts, which were to start immediately after a panel. I had purposely scheduled myself first to work out the kinks.

I checked in at 3pm, then rested and prepared for my 5pm "Filk 101" panel. Somewhere in there I hit the con suite and discovered cream soda in Alberta is pink. Hot pink. I had several cans of the stuff, finishing the con suite's last one in the panel.

One of the folks there had never heard of filk. The others had varying levels of knowledge. One or two were trying to figure out whether the music they made constituted "filk" (it did). About ten minutes into the panel, Rick Weiss walked in and a wave of relief came over me. Rick wound up doing about half the talking, much to my relief.

After the panel he, his wife Tess Calhoun, and someone else whose name I'm forgetting went to dinner, eventually winding up at the Old Spaghetti Factory behind the hotel (it was quick, cheap, and I needed to get out in time to prepare for my 8pm concert). Rick asked if he could go in on my birthday party to celebrate 25 years of fandom (on his part); I of course said "Yes!"

My concert was well-received despite my voice being weaked by my prior infected throat. Suffice it to say I avoided doing most of the songs in my repertoire that challenged my voice (the one exception being "Someone to Pick Up After Me," which had the audience in stitches and the male/female couples giving each other funny looks). The guy after me, Ed Willett, is an amateur opera singer from Calgary who did a song cycle written by Swann to poems by Tolkien. He was great. That was followed by "Once More With Hobbits," a musical set to the musical edition of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" about "Lord of the Rings." It was funny and lots of fun. I got the director's e-mail address; he and the rest of them didn't know there was a filk community outside of Alberta or that we'd be interested in them and what they do. When they packed up they inadvertently packed my power strip (I needed it for my party Sunday night).

I then briefly hit the parties, which all shut down at midnight. It was tricky getting off the floor because the hotel had disabled access to the second floor, where all the parties were going on.

Somewhere in the midst of all this my roommate for the weekend opted to get bumped in return for $700 credit on United plus a food credit. Delays associated with this caused him to not arrive till 2am, and because he didn't want to pay for a shuttle bus, he waited till public transit started up at 7am, arriving at 8am...but that's for tomorrow's journal. This day's ended with me getting to bed and getting a good night's sleep, happily hogging the whole bed.

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