Monday, March 25, 2013

Madly Busy, Here and There

Hi, team!  Sorry I've taken so long to get back to you, but it's been a really busy two weeks.

First, for all those of you who wished me a happy birthday, I spent that day -- and the next two -- on assorted Amtrak trains, riding from Arizona to New Jersey, then a few hours riding, car this time, into New York state, and finally to the Rye Hilton for LunaCon.  Then there were three days of the convention, then another three days riding back to Phoenix.

And once I got home, if ya please, Rasty and I had to scramble back and forth across the Valley of the Sun -- a good 50 miles each way, and his Bronco is a gas-gulper -- trying to get moved into the new (well, actually old: 1947) house.  There was the fun-and-games of getting the water hooked up, which meant getting a good plumber (who, it turned out, lived even further away than we did), replacing the stolen water-heater, turning on the water and finding a lot of small problems which will have to be dealt with over the next week.  Then there was the even wilder fun-and-games of getting the electricity turned on, which involved lining up one electrician and two bureaucracies -- the county inspector and the local power company -- all on the same day.  And in the midst of this Rasty's truck blew a rear-left brake disc, which will take a whole day's work and roughly $800 to repair.  Arrrrggghhhhh!  But at least, bit by bit, we're getting moved in.

There's a lot I could say (and will!) about the long train-ride and the local scramble, but I'll start with the easy part: LunaCon.

I was invited as Filk Special Guest by the concom's filk liaison, Marc Grossman, who was talked into it (with not much difficulty) by a lot of east-coast fans and old friends who hadn't seen me in years -- since Pennsic War 8 years ago, IIRC.  I spent most of my time in the filk-room, singing and singing and...well, you get the picture, and the rest of it bouncing between the con-suite (lots of decaf drinks), the guests' green room (lts of tasty finger-food), the hotel restaurant (where I did a long interview with a writer working on a biography of the late great Isaac Bonewitz), the dealers' room (where I did a book-signing that wound up autographing lots of albums too), and my hotel-room (which was one of the few places where I could quickly get outside to smoke, since the whole hotel was piously "smoke-free").  This caused some timing problems, since the Rye Hilton is another of those infamous hotels that may have been designed by Escher, and I couldn't get through it without a map and guide.  That means that I didn't get to see much of the rest of the convention, but from all I heard it was lively fun: a pretty large convention with an impressive number of programming tracks.  Oh yes, I'd recommend it highly.

Marc recorded all the filking, starting from even before the opening ceremonies, in hopes of coming up with a convention album, and I sincerely hope he succeeds.  I know that my performances weren't the best, since I was recovering from a cold that had wiped out my entire upper octave a week before.  I'd been trying to exercise my range back up, but it's hard to do vocal exercises on an Amtrak train.  I managed to get through the traditional Dawn Patrol on Saturday night, but I didn't get my total range back until the last day of the con, and my tone wasn't great.  I didn't look my best, either, after 3 days in the coach-cars of 3 different trains.  At least I got the beginnings of a song out of it:

"Three days on the train, and I look like hell,
But it beats flying, anyway.
I didn't get X-rayed, didn't get groped, or robbed by the TSA.
The food is better and the seats are bigger,
So even if it's slow,
When it comes to long distance over land, the train is the way to go."

More later.  Gotta get to sleep early and up early tomorrow.  *Sigh* 

--Leslie <;)))><   )O(   


Anonymous said...

I travel to CA by train for Christmas, and it'd be nicer if I could sleep! Last time, I didn't get a wink going out or coming back, and I was one frazzled citizen.

And my best-beloved is in the process of moving to the first house she's ever owned. You and she could probably share some stories.

Suzy Jacobson Cherry said...

I travel to CA every single week - by car - sure wish I could take a train! I'm glad I found your blog, Leslie - it's always fun to see what you're up to!

Leslie Fish said...

Hi, Raven. The surest way to sleep on the train is to get one of the sleepers -- but that's prohibitively expensive for poor fen like us. Second best is to bring your own blanket, sneak into the lounge car after hours, and appropriate one of the couches. Oh yes, I'd be happy to swap moving-stories with your SO. We might be able to swap tips.

Hi, Suzanne. Just where in CA do you go, and where from? Train might actually be cheaper -- provided you can line up schedules okay.

--Leslie <;)))><

Anonymous said...

_Most of the time,_ I can and do grab some sleep on the train, even in the coaches (the couches in the lounge are specifically designed not to allow people to use them for that, at least on the Southwest Chief). It was just this last time, the train was dreadfully overcrowded compared to most of the times I've ridden.

Leslie Fish said...

Heheheheh. I rode home this last time on the Southwest Chief, and managed to curl around in a fashion that fitted the lounge couches. I also saw a few clever passengers sleeping on the floor between the couches and the windows. Human ingenuity strikes again!

Hmmmm, the Chief was crowded (full up) when I came home on it this last time. Does this indicate a trend?