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FKO, the long form - Eric's House Of Ego
April 8th, 2009
02:50 pm


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FKO, the long form
Toyboat's trip to FKO ... or


I left Ames about noon on Thursday and got to gundo and born_to_me's about 6. I met deborah_c, we all chatted for a bit and then went off to various places in the house to get a nap. I was up in the office, where I became an immediate victim of cats in auto-pet-me mode. My hand was hanging off the edge of the air mattress, I think that they all came by at some point to get a free pet. Needless to say I didn't nap well.

We got up about 10:30 to load up the van and head out to meet up with anach, jerusha, and rose1thorn. I think we actually hit the road about 11:30 ... and this was going to be far more than a three hour tour.

The trip up there was pretty uneventful until it started raining ... I'm not talking a little sprinkle, I'm talking torrential-maybe-we-need-to-build-an-ark downpour. I swear that on one of the stops there were animals lining up two by two to get in the van. So that slowed us down ... the rain not the animals.

We stopped right about dawn for some breakfast at Cracker Barrel, where we were forced to listen to Dolly Parton over and over and over again completely against our will. They were advertising her latest CD ... which, I would guess, is available at Cracker Barrel ...

Then came customs, and that is where things got a little weird. First the duty free ... ok ... they sell booze ... lotsa places sell booze ... let's move on ...

Then the line to get into the country. At 7am it wasn't so bad. The other car, containing anach, deborah_c and rose1thorn were up first. It seemed that it took much longer than the couple of cars before them ... then they were directed over to the place where they search the cars. gundo and jerusha's reaction was a simultaneous WHAT DID anach SAY ??? They have such faith in him.

We pulled up and were asked the obligatory questions ... all based around the "why the hell do you want to come up and bother us" sort of questions that all border guards ask. I wonder if there is a single border guard school?

The border guard was this very grim young woman, who was also VERY cute ... yeah I know ... leave me alone, I'm single ... we shall refer to her here as VCBG (you can figure it out on your own)
VCBG: "Why are you trying to sneak across the border?" (that may not have been her exact wording.)
Gundo: "Sex and drugs and rock and roll" (his actual words may have had to do with going to a music convention)
VCBG: Are you with (insert sinister, dramatic music here) THE CAR THAT JUST WENT THROUGH?
Me: (thinking) DENY IT DENY IT DENY IT !!!
Gundo: Yes we are.
Me: (thinking) we are so screwed
VCBG: Hmmmm, what illicit contraband to you have stowed around the vehicle?
Gundo: Why, nothing at all except for a couple of gallons of booze we bought at the duty free.
VCBG: (insert sinister, dramatic music even louder here, and I swear she suddenly sounded just like James Earl Jones in a bad mood) GO WHERE THEY WENT, AND MAY THE LORD HAVE MERCY ON YOUR SOUL

At least I think that is the way I think it went.

We pulled over to the customs office and all got out of the car where we were all frog marched over to an office, where a fellow looked at our passports, asked a couple of questions and gave us a look like "WHY DID SHE SEND YOU GUYS HERE?"

Turns out that deborah_c had to go through immigration since she's a British national. And therefore the very mean (but very cute) lady was being nice and keeping us together.

The rest of the drive was uneventful, except for one very important thing. We stopped at a rest stop and in the candy machine ... one of natures most perfect substances ... AERO BARS ... they will become important to the story later.

After another 100 hours we got to the hotel (ok, it may have been 3 or so). All included, I had been in a car for about 17 of the last 24 hours. Yeah, I just drove to Canada and boy is my butt tired.

We got the cars unloaded, gear where it needed to be, the drums set up and all I needed to do after that was wait for mike46 to get there, so I could lay down for an hour or so.

I don't think that he has ever had a more enthusiastic greeting in his life.

I got a bit of rest (about the 5th of 5 or so hours since 10 am the day before) and headed to sound check. It went quickly and we headed to the hotel restaurant to get some food, and the worst service by a waiter in the history of waiterdom ... Really, maybe the worst service I have ever had ... he was that bad.

We wandered about and talked and then headed to opening ceremonies and the first few shows. I actually spent the time between OC and our show wandering the hall outside the main ballroom, I get into an odd headspace before a show (no, really Eric? We hadn't noticed).

The show has been documented elsewhere. I had certain hopes for the reaction from the audience, all of which were FAR exceeded by the actual reaction, to the point where I really think that perhaps the sound crew was piping in good music for the audience instead of us.

I think that the show can be sized up by Mr Pessimism himself mike46 who, after the show, said "that may have been our best show". This is the man who usually comes off stage complaining about that note that he missed in the third song. You know the one, the one that no one else noticed. MIKE thought that the show was good ... something is very very wrong. That and we have been informed that Leslie Fish WILL be informed of what we have done to one of her songs. I hope this is a good thing.

After the show I went upstairs and to bed. I was done.


I got up in time to get some breakfast ... I must have a quick rant about sausage ... No really ... sausage.

The sausage they had for breakfast reminded me of the sausage that I used to get from a shop when I lived in London ... it was yummy, I want more, I haven't had sausage like that in 30 years.

Ok, enough about sausage.

I went to Ben Deschamps's guitar workshop (I can't think of his last name, I can only think of his first name since it is in the pdf grid from the FilKONtario website). I learned a bunch of good stuff, some of which I still remember. I need to sit down with a guitar and run it again.

During the workshop I talked with a woman about guitar picks. She has a wrist problem and can't grip well. Like me she hates the usual thump picks. I was going to show her something I used, and then couldn't remember who she was ... yeah, typical of me. If you read this, I was talking about a Herco thumb pick. They're great. And it reminds me that I need to order some.

Then it was off to lunch with Rand and Adam from Ookla (are either of them on LJ? I know Erin is).

Before I go any further, I have to talk about something. Something that moved me. I am now deeply infatuated with a trio of fabulous filk babes. Their music, their demeanor, their sense of style all moved me more than I can begin to express. I am, of course, speaking of the glorious ladies of Suburban Travesty. Look for them soon on You Tube and tell me that you don't feel the same. Now on to those other filk babes.

We got back in time for Urban Tapestry's concert, which was marvelous. I have seen them in various settings, but have never seen an entire show. I suppose that it's that ohiblather seems so nice and pleasant when you talk to her that you forget just how twisted she is. I will never forget this again. Nor will I ever trust Walter after the VERY BAD THINGS he did during their show. In comparison allisona and jodimuse (edit who is on LJ I find) seem, well, very normal, even though I know in my heart that they aren't. These are people I need to spend more time with.

Oh, and their set also contained the first musical sighting of sweetmusic_27, who, weirdly enough, played on a few of their songs. Man, what did it take to get her to do that? She's usually so shy about playing with people.

I skipped out on the reading, I love Robert Sawyer's work, but I just don't like readings.

Heather Dale's show was marvelous. Someone else who I have seen in circles and such, but have never seen an entire show. I need to get online and order a bunch of her stuff.

Most of the band folks headed out for Afghan food, which was YUMMY then back to work on the song for the song contest. (I will hardly mention rose1thorn's Geordie's Lost His Penker moment that came after).

The song contest has been documented elsewhere as well ... we can now call ourselves International Award Winning Rock Band Toyboat if we wish. But we would only do that to sound pompous, not to actually BE pompous. Have you noticed that self mockery is a big thing in this band?

I watched the Interfilk Auction. I placed a couple of bids, but got out bid every time. Maybe next year I won't be on such a strict budget.

Then it was off to the circles. We ended up set up in a theme circle, as it was literary filk, we did Roman Wall Blues with Wm Auden's original words. Also played after the theme closed down was Queen's '39, a rousing version of my tune Dancer with sweetmusic_27 roaring along and finally the new arrangement of Uplift, which, if the audience reaction was any clue, works MUCH better than the previous arrangement. It's an amazing thing when you finish a song, followed by what seems to be a very long silence, followed by enormous cheers. Thank you everyone, you make us feel very good.

I wandered off to bed around 2am.

Originally the plan had been to stay late sunday and drive back overnight, thus making it to the dead dog. The weather did not cooperate and it became obvious that we had to get as much time on the road before the storm hit so we didn't have to drive back the entire way in a snowstorm. We stayed for the Filk Hall Of Fame concert, congratulations to Frank Hayes, but especially (since I don't really know Frank) to Erica Neely. It is well deserved for so many reasons. And yes I am likely to continue calling you things like "that fabulous filk hall of fame babe" for some time, you should know by now what I am like. And sorry I didn't get to amuse you with the new banter in WYSIWYG, maybe sometime later in the year.

We hit the road finally about 4:30. The first part of the trip back was uneventful, I do have to talk about the border crossing though.

We pull up and the guy asks us the usual "what have you brought back from Canada" question.

Gundo answers "Gin and Aero Bars sir." He waved us on, obviously we were not to be trifled with.

The last third of the trip was nasty, all of the torrential rain from the trip up had turned into massive (I'm talking 3-4 pound) wet snowflakes. A big bunch of the trip was done at 35 MPH. But we got home. Later in the day Monday I headed back to Iowa, which meant another 17 hours in a car in 24 hours.

Thank you everyone at FKO who made us feel so at home. I really did not expect the reaction. I really thought that we would play, the reaction from some of the folks would be "ok, you were ok" and then I would hang with the folks I already knew for the rest of the weekend. The whole weekend was beyond our wildest hopes. We will be back, if it wasn't so far away I'd make it a yearly thing just for me, even if the band wasn't going, but as is it may be an every other year thing. But hopefully we will see some of you at OVFF.

The usual disclaimer, I forget things. If you did not get mentioned here, and feel that you should, mock me, abuse me, point at me and call me abstract things. I deserve it.

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(36 comments | Leave a comment)

Date:April 8th, 2009 08:12 pm (UTC)
*nods* ...Cracker Barrel, where we were forced to listen to Dolly Parton over and over and over again completely against our will...

YES. Bruce and I stopped at Cracker Barrel for dinner on the way home from Norman Medieval Faire and were subjected to the same thing. We weren't there all that long but as we were leaving, the music had done the whole loop and restarted on the song that had been playing when we first walked in.

If I had to work there I would go MORE than postal!
[User Picture]
Date:April 8th, 2009 08:22 pm (UTC)
I can fill in one missing piece. The most honest-looking "I was never here" expression I've ever seen belongs to jodimuse.
[User Picture]
Date:April 8th, 2009 08:39 pm (UTC)
Thanks, that is now fixed, and she is friended.
Date:April 8th, 2009 08:36 pm (UTC)
Well, UT did bribe me with Lindt Tiramisu truffles from Germany...
[User Picture]
Date:April 8th, 2009 08:39 pm (UTC)
Hmmm, they're setting that bar high, aren't they?
[User Picture]
Date:April 8th, 2009 08:39 pm (UTC)
"Ben's guitar workshop (I can't think of his last name"
Presumably Ben Deschamps?
[User Picture]
Date:April 8th, 2009 08:41 pm (UTC)
The very one ... thanks.
[User Picture]
Date:April 8th, 2009 08:55 pm (UTC)
Hey!! I heard that Dolly Parton has a new album out! You might be able to get it at Cracker Barrel? We should check that out.
[User Picture]
Date:April 8th, 2009 09:18 pm (UTC)
Those thumb pick / flat pick hybrids are great stuff. I used to use them to play the mandolin before my teacher persuaded me to give a flatpick a serious try. After a couple of years of using them I hardly ever throw them away by accident anymore.

Flat pick plus gorilla snot works too. Gorilla snot is a kind of soft rosin for your fingers; makes them sticky so the flat pick doesn't twist and you're less likely to drop it.

Sorry I didn't get the gorilla snot to you before your concert, BTW--I couldn't find it in time. Turned out it was in a different bag than I thought but I didn't realize that until the next day.
[User Picture]
Date:April 8th, 2009 10:59 pm (UTC)
I use the Herco picks sometimes for variety, or when I'm doing total fingerpicking (with either fingernails or Alaska Piks). Otherwise I tend to use the plastic slabs that Ben and I talked about.

Two good options for hanging on though...when I play mandolin I use a Fender 346 thin pick...much easier to hang onto that than a standard pick, IMO. The other are the Gator Grip picks that fleetfootmike recommends. Though I tend to prefer Dunlop's Delrin picks. I find they actually mold to my grip, as do some metal picks I've worked with (ICE PIX).

Edited at 2009-04-08 11:01 pm (UTC)
[User Picture]
Date:April 8th, 2009 09:30 pm (UTC)
Then it was off to lunch with Rand and Adam from Ookla (are either of them on LJ? I know Erin is).

No, neither of them are on LJ.

Nor will I ever trust Walter after the VERY BAD THINGS he did during their show.

Wise man! :-) Walter, BTW, is also on LJ as lord_korak.
[User Picture]
Date:April 8th, 2009 09:37 pm (UTC)
Thanks, and what was the name of your song in the contest? I want to correct my entry.
[User Picture]
Date:April 8th, 2009 09:41 pm (UTC)
And yes I am likely to continue calling you things like "that fabulous filk hall of fame babe" for some time, you should know by now what I am like.

*laugh* S'okay - I like what you are like.

And sorry I didn't get to amuse you with the new banter in WYSIWYG, maybe sometime later in the year.

Yay! (And now it's in my head again...thanks...)

I didn't make it to as much of the open filk as I might have; I was having kind of a laid-back con hanging with my mom. But Toyboat was fun!
[User Picture]
Date:April 9th, 2009 06:44 pm (UTC)
I think you can still DL it for free from thefump.com ... well, you can if you aren't supporting the ban.
[User Picture]
Date:April 9th, 2009 04:10 am (UTC)

I get to heckle you.

We were talking at some point, Saturday I think, you made some comment about how you'd like to go (with the band) to the UK filkcon, and I said that for you to go to England, you'd need a *real* boat. You thought that was funny and said that you were going to put it in your con report.
[User Picture]
Date:April 9th, 2009 06:43 pm (UTC)

Re: I get to heckle you.

Heckle accepted
[User Picture]
Date:April 10th, 2009 08:24 am (UTC)

Oh Canada

Bwahahaha!!! Too much to comment about here!!!

Short version, I only started on LJ in 2004 or something, and I was dating Drew Mathers of Toronto from Chicon 2000 till Torcon in 2003. I've taken Amtrak, flown, driven across, and been driven across. And considering for a while there, I was visiting every 2-3 weeks, boy, do I have stories! And yes, I've been to Filk Ontario. And I've had my car searched. And I've got dozens of border crossing stories.


I met Leslie Fish clear back at a Westercon in Anaheim in 1989, right after I'd graduated high school in Phoenix. And THAT was a memorable meeting, believe me! Right after she'd moved to Phoenix, I went grocery shopping one day, and got a tap on my shoulder. "Oh, I see we're both shopping for our babies." I had diapers and baby formula for my son; she had cat food and kitty litter. A few years later, she was a roommate of my best friend Ozzie (Bob Osman, passed away a few years ago). And WOW, did she ever have some wild stories and songs! It was quite an experience living so close to her!

Drew and I ended up spending that Chicon where we met hanging out in the Sin Pit (Leslie's all drinking, all smoking, personal filking room), and reminiscing about her living in Chicago, me living in Phoenix, our dear friend Ozzie, and all sorts of adult conversation and songs!

While I did NOT get her to sing "Banned From Argo" (I knew better than to ask), I DID convince her to sing "They're Singing Banned From Argo" (Danny Deever, Kipling tune), and a few of her Chicago songs.

One of them, I can sort of remember the tune, pretty sure she wrote it. Something about an Amazon woman in a bar with a deep voice and huge muscles, and a guy asking how she got that way. Lines about "no power steering" and "parking my car in Chicaaaaaaaaaaago" and the large thighs come from running from muggers, and riding the trains in Chicaaaaaaaaaaaago. The deep voice comes from drinking heavily and breathing the air and alewives in Milwaukee and "the smokestacks from Gary are clogging the air in Chicaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaago".

On the other hand, the last time I would have seen Rob Sawyer was for that last ToBeContinued, which I mentioned on my personal LJ last week. Let's not get into the WHY of that one...

I miss both Phoenix and Toronto fandom... I was talking online to people at Filk ONtario. If they had a mike & webcam on their laptop, I could have virtually been there too. *sniff*

[User Picture]
Date:April 11th, 2009 01:51 pm (UTC)

Re: Oh Canada

To sciffy: Oh my god, I love your user icon to pieces. :-D :-D
[User Picture]
Date:April 11th, 2009 01:50 pm (UTC)
re: "I suppose that it's that [info]ohiblather seems so nice and pleasant when you talk to her that you forget just how twisted she is. I will never forget this again."


But seriously. I feel compelled to clarify an oft misunderstood point here. I am not the twisted one in Urban Tapestry. Tragically tarred with a public brush that should more accurately be aimed at Allison and Jodi, I am usually the innocent party in whatever shenanigans (and yes, I said shenanigans) going on. Allison and Jodi are SO the corruptive influence in Urban Tapestry.

But yes, you definitely need to spend more time with us and we with you.
[User Picture]
Date:April 11th, 2009 03:36 pm (UTC)
In reply to your last two paragraphs

1 - uh huh ... I believe you, sure I do
[User Picture]
Date:April 15th, 2009 01:40 am (UTC)
Dark Chocolate Aero Bars!

I only found them in a vending machine in a Service Centre on the way back.

Oddly, my local Meijer has mint Aero Bars in stock, which are also exciting.

Once I think I had an Orange Aero Bar.
[User Picture]
Date:April 15th, 2009 11:30 am (UTC)
I got a couple of the mint bars this trip ... the dark chocolate and the orange sound YUMMY
Eric Coleman, Curmudgeon Powered by LiveJournal.com