mneme and I took Apex Bus to Baltimore. We probably shan't do that again. We wound up paying twice for tickets, as they were issued for the wrong day (could well have been our fault). We'd thought the bus went to downtown Baltimore, but it went to Travel Plaza, which is not near anything else. We may have misunderstood, but regardless, we don't want to go to Travel Plaza.
We had read that Apex Bus offered WiFi. Well, it was not available on this bus. We'd been warned that the bathrooms were scuzzy, which was correct. There was no toilet paper, which I'd anticipated. I had tissues. Someone had vomited into the sink, possibly this trip, possibly last. I had cause to be thankful that my allergies mean my sense of smell is weaker than most people's.
But, despite paying twice and taking a cab from Travel Plaza to light rail, we paid half of what the train fare for two would be. We got in early to shop the dealer's room and do dinner at the restaurant with nancylebov and a couple of folks curious about the convention. nancylebov and I actually found time to hang out and talk.
Alas, one of the restaurants in the area that is no more is Steak and Ale, which was owned by Bennigan's.
Friday filking was small, but fun, and osewalrus and I did a couple of Kipling pieces, including "The Old Issue" and "The Last Rhyme of True Thomas".
Saturday, I got up in time for a panel on computer security for those who (think they) don't need it (but realize they do, as we were there). I also made most of the anime panel. lordess and Steve arrived in time to make half of the guest of honor speech. I made part of the librarian panel, which was delightful. Then, I did the first half of the Regency Dance, and lordess, Steve, and I went to watch "Strange Aeons", a movie based on H. P. Lovecraft's story "The Thing on the Doorstep". It moved slower than I'd expected, but was reasonably good.
Then, mnemex joined us, and we went to a local diner, eating dinner in and taking dessert out. We returned in time for the Clam Chowder concert, which was fun. It opened with "The Boys of Goose Hill", one of my favorites. I love dancing to that one.
The concert, as most folks reading this probably know, is also part charity drive for Children's Hospital. We have raised thousands of dollars for the hospital, peaking at over ten thousand dollars two years ago. But, that was when we knew a year in advance that this was our goal. It would not only cover the Clams singing "Bend Over Greek Sailor", the nominal excuse for the charity drive, but also "Sweet Transvestite", with John in full costume.
Given the economy, Susan di Guardiola set a modest goal of $3,500. The first thousand was raised in the auction for the privilege of sitting in two comfy chairs for the concert. When I mentioned this to ebartley via aim, she told us to throw in money from her.
We broke $3,500, coming so close to $4,000 that Susan decided to push for that extra milestone. She auctioned off the privilege of stroking the deely boppers she was wearing on her head.
We broke $4,500.
After the concert, we met for the traditional singing of the Hallelujah chorus by the pool. Now, the pool was gone, but someone brought a blue square of paper to represent the pool. Susan sat inside it, as she always sits in the pool during the chorus. She did forgo the bathing suit, but someone put a stuffed fish into the "pool". And someone brought a boom mike.
It went well, and the alto section agreed that we'd try to rehearse next year. Next year, lordess plans to sing with the tenors. A lot of women do. I'm not sure why this is a problem for some, but when lordess was in school, The Powers That Were told her that girls were not allowed to sing tenor.
I did a little bit of filking, then worked out transportation details with osewalrus and mnemex, confirming with beckyfeld, who suggested some refinements. Then, I went back to the game room, where mnemex was playing a game.
Me: It's over? We can leave?
Gamer: Well, we do have to clean up the game first.
Me: Yes, but you're not starting another game, are you?
Gamer: Oh dear lord, no!
mnemex: No! Definitely not!
Impressive -- mnemex is rarely too tired to play another game.
Also impressively, mnemex, Steve, lordess, and I all made the hotel brunch buffet early. It was a good buffet. $14 for a buffet including lox and yummy crepes, as well as omlettes and the usual eggs, waffles, breakfast meats, and bagels.
mnemex got some gaming in. Steve and lordess got some shopping in. osewalrus talked about the various different books he was thinking about writing, which spun off into a discussion of sf in general.
At about 3:15, beckfeld drove mnemex and me to the train station, getting first lost and then found because of google. I'm not exactly sure what happened, as I was asleep, but we'd left plenty of time in case of this sort of thing.
The train ride was smooth, although fitting the luggage in was tricky. We had the small harp, which could go at our feet, but also the large duffel bag, holding both of our clothes and various games and books. As the conductor noted, there are supposed to be limits on size and weight of luggage on Amtrack. Well, we were within the weight limit. But sizewise? Probably not. The conductor wasn't upset with us, saying, correctly, that the problem was that the luggage limits were not being enforced by the folks in the station. I'm not thrilled about the luggage rules, but yes, if they're there, that's the point where they need to be enforced. Once folks are on the train, with luggage, that's that.
We arrived in Penn Station in New York City early enough to eat dinner at Tracks, if barely.
Next year's guests at Darkover will include Emma Bull and Will Shetterly.