Wherein Brenda keeps you up to date on her exciting life in April of the year of Our Lord and Lady 2001.

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May 14 - Bethany's home and OUCH!
May 15 - Web site problems and the LAST track
May 16 - Back's still outta wack
May 17 - TWS off to Salt Lake City
May 18 - Panels, Sarah, Utah's Booze Laws, and Meri
May 19 - Massage, Capt. Ma'am, Masquerade and Marathon
May 20 - The big concert and Rodizio's
Sunday, May 20, 2001

Got to admit, I'm not as young as I used to be.  All-nighters are getting harder and harder to pull off, especially with a two-hour concert looming before us.  We got in one more practice, but I sure wasn't singing full-voiced... not if there was going to be anything left.  The concert went very well.  Meri took 10 pre-orders for the CD at half time, and we wowed them with A Gown Too Blue at the end.  Complete and utter silence followed by a standing O!  It was a wave of enthusiasm like I've never experienced in my life.

Then we were taken out by a huge con com party to a Brazilian grill called Rodizio's where you are given two large plates, a pair of tongs, and an interesting tri-block of red, brown, and green.  The first plate is for lots of delicious salads and cold items.  The second plate is for the skewers of interesting and often exotic grilled meats.  While the green block is on top, the skewers of meat just keep coming and coming and coming.  The servers slice off piece that you grab with your tongs and put on your plate.  When you want them to stop serving, you turn the block to red on top, but if you get hungry again, just flip it back to green and they'll be right back slicing and slicing.  You put it on brown when you are completely stuffed and ready for your bill.  They rolled me back to the hotel, where I collapsed, but Gwen and Teresa and George stayed up for the Dead Dog Filk.  They even took 4 more pre-orders, making this a very good con for the CD finances.

Saturday, May 19, 2001

Char woke me up early to remind me that I was to be the "guest body" in the Massage Technique workshop, so I pulled on my bathing suit and trucked my tired, achy self down to the pool area.  Tai Chi was going on off at one side.  I tracked down two spared sheets from housekeeping and placed my bad back in the hands of a recent graduate of a local Massage Therapy School.  Ahhhhhh.  Then I eased myself into the hot tub and more aaaahhhhhhh....  what a nice way to start the day.

I am proud to say that TWS did it's part to help Captain Ma'am (Char's dom alter-self) win the competition for Dictator of the Conduit Known Universe.  What a spectacular outfit she has, complete with riding crop, fish nets, and black captain's hat decorated with interesting... chains and clamps.  Ahem....

TWS grabbed a quick rehearsal before Gwen's master class in voice and our panel on harmony.  Thank goodness we had George there for the music theory part.  Then we taught an eager audience our harmonies and encouraged them to sing along with us at the upcoming concert on Sunday.   Meri and Derek came back, so we did the Art Show and the Huckster Room (where I picked up a nice scrimshaw pentagram and a bird goddess amulet for Kate's birthday on Monday.)  Then we watched the Masquerade (Derek's first) which was won by the Klingon Belly Dancing Troupe.  What fun.  And they really were quite accomplished belly dancers, too.  Turns out that one of the largest belly dancing competitions in the world takes place in Salt Lake City every year.  Go figure...

Derek and Meri took their leave and I settled in to watch much much more belly dancing,  Randy and Char play in the drum ensemble that accompanies a troupe of three very talented dancers, two women and a man, who have such a good time dancing together you can't help but be caught up in their enthusiasm.  Char gave me a good quick course in the various styles of belly dancing that include Egyptian, Persian, and modified Hollywood.

I felt like I was fading, but I decided to poke my head into the small room where the filk had been shunted to for the duration of the Masquerade and Dancing.  When the ballroom was finally vacated, we packed up and moved back to the primary room, now filled with chairs and stage platforms.  We renewed the football filk that worked so well at FilkOntario, but with a beanbag frog to toss at each other.  Saturday night is Kathy Mar's traditional "Stay up all night" filk, and we did fairly well.  George premiered his very first filk song, If It's Not Scottish It's Filk, to the considerable groans of the punsters in the audience.  Around 4:30 a.m. with our voices fading and hope of only one more song from TWS, I begged the group if we could do A Gown Too Blue for the remaining die-hards just to test our performance version of the song.  It worked very well, and then Teresa dug out the master of the CD and someone found a boom box, so we were able to play the full version for them.

We brought up the sun, had breakfast in the restaurant, and stumbled off to bed for a few hours shut eye.   

Friday, May 18, 2001

We hauled our gear down to the Green Room only to find that the guests in that room decided to extend their stay.  Hospitality Laws decree that, once you're in a room, it's yours.  As long as you pay your bill and behave, the hotel can't move you out.  Luckily, Randy and Char's room was right next door, and they graciously allowed us to set up rehearsal shop there.  The Sisters did a Filk Parodies workshop and broke for lunch.  I did a panel on the Care and Feeding of the Bodhran that was (amazingly) well-attended.

Our good friend Sarah Smutny from OSC showed up at this convention.  She's in Utah training to be a fire fighter for the blazes they are predicting this summer and staying with the fellow named Janus Daniels who is teaching Tai Chi at the con.  It's lovely seeing Sarah again, and we adopt her for the remainder of the weekend. 

Gwen and I got a little thirsty, so we decided to poke our heads in the hotel bar for a beer.  What a curious exercise in rationalization.  You can order a beer or a glass of wine in the hotel restaurant... no problem.  But in order to get a beer in a hotel bar in Utah, you have to join a club.  The hotel pays your membership dues to the club, but you have to sign your name on a slip of paper and carry the carbon of it with you.  Then you can have a drink.  If you want to take your drink out of the hotel bar, you are limited to a short list of five non-descript, low alcohol beers rather than picking from the entire list of good microbrews.  I signed my name on the line and we spilt a Heineken in the hall.

Meri and her beau Derek met me in the lobby.  Meri brought me a lovely set of note cards with wizards, and Derek gave me a little gargoyle winged piggy.  What neat kids!  We went to dinner in the hotel, and I got them temporary badges so they could have a short tour of the con.  Then we attended the Ice Cream Social, and got set up for the concert filks (short sets).  TWS plus George (he hates being called Bubba*) kicked it off with four songs.  Then Kathy Mar, Char MacKay, and a group that specialized in Latin chant and choral rounds filled the rest of the bill.  It was open filking from then until about 2:00 a.m.

* ... and really hates it when I accidentally introduced him as George Gibson... twice.  I should be slapped!

Thursday, May 17, 2001

Left this morning for Salt Lake City and Conduit, the convention where Three Weird Sisters are Guests of Honor.  I didn't have to stay up all night packing and finishing things, but I still found myself flying down I-75, fearful of missing my flight (which would have been bad, since Teresa had the tickets.)  I met George and Teresa at the United desk, and got the world's heaviest suitcase (holding two drums, all my tippers and percussion toys, two drum stands, one music stand, three large spiral notebooks of music, my clothes, and a dop kit) and my guitar checked.  I'm so glad George joined us for this trip, not only because he's got a great voice, plays great guitar and flute, and makes Teresa very happy, but because he's also gallant and carried my 20 pound laptop.

We laid over in Denver, and I began to regret not packing a coat or sweater of any kind.  It was 85F in Atlanta, but here we were in the Rockies... the snow-capped Rockies, and it was cold.  We got a beer in the airport sports bar... a Coors derivative called Fat Tire.  Pah!  I couldn't even finish it.

Jonni and Helga met us in Salt Lake with a car and a van.  Good thing too, with all the gear we brought.   It was a short drive to the Airport Hilton where we were trucked off to our rooms...  all the way at the very far side of the convention hotel.  It's some journey hauling all our stuff way out there.  What I'd give for one of those hand carts, eh?  But what a nice surprise when we got there.  Fruit baskets and goody bags with all our favorite snacks and juices.  We unpacked and munched a little, but not too much.  We didn't want to spoil our appetites.  Randy and Char MacKay were taking us to dinner, and five or six wonderful restaurants had been suggested.  We opted for a very nice Chinese, and picked up the MacKay's young son on the way.

On the way back to the hotel, Char got a little turned around by following some signs that pointed to AIRPORT.  With the mountains in the east, it was very plain that we were driving further and further north on what had become a dark and lonely road.  Finally I asked, "What is that bright light up on the side of the hill?"  "Oh, that?  That's the Bountiful Temple."  Bountiful?  A city north of Salt Lake.  But, lo and behold, we found an airport.  A small community airport.  Turned around and managed to make our way back to the BIG Salt Lake airport and our hotel.

Wednesday, May 16, 2001

My back is still out of whack.  There's no way I'm going to make the long drive to Lawrenceville for rehearsal tonight.  The drug I'm taking isn't one that allows safe use of large machinery.  ZZZZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz....

Tuesday, May 15, 2001

The hosting service that has housed many of my company's web sites including (my site) abruptly closed it's doors.  What a shock, and what a scramble to get things transferred to new IP locations.  All is well.  My back is still killing me!  I spent last night sleeping flat with no pillows, and I'm still moving slow.

Drove out to Greg Robert's to lay down the last track for TWS's Rite the First Time.  It was a generous re-do of my vocals on Boys Want Sex in the Morning.  When we recorded it the first time, I was in the grips of a terrible sinus infection... all clogged up... terrible.  And I hated the way I sounded on that song.  I learned a long time ago how a bad vocal can come back to haunt you.  Sutton and Roper talked me out of re-recording the vocal on All Soul's Night when we were working on Owling at the Moon.  My voice cracked, blatantly cracked.  You couldn't pretend that it was an artsy, creative element.  Just a nasty... CRACK!  And now it's preserved forever on that tape.  I can't stand to listen to that entire track.  Thank goodness I won't have to cringe every time I hear Boys Want Sex...  Thank you, Greg!

Monday, May 14, 2001

Bethany is home for the summer!  I love having a house full of kids again.  Aaron and his friends have been doing their best to fill the gap, but it's been a predominantly male energy.  It's so nice to hear the sound of giggling, to see the shower full of shampoos, to resist the need to answer the phone (because it's rarely for me.)

Spent a good chunk of this day and night cleaning the room that I've been using all this year as my sewing room so that Bethany and Meri will both fit in it this summer.  Beth and I hauled and stacked and sorted and shoved and shifted all kinds of stuff. Doing so, I managed to pull a muscle in my lower back.  Bad!  Lots of pain... enough to make me dig through my medicine chests for pain killers left over from my last operation.  Ah, Roxicet!  What a blessing.  I took one and zonked.

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