So, I guess we go for the capsule summary, same as everyone else...
So, back up to Friday morning. The hotel didn't serve breakfast after 11-ish on a weekday (we got to sleep late), so we had bagels and cereal in the reasonably well-stocked con suite (this is way before the bagel of DOOOM).
Cindy caught the end of dek9's Celtic Quilting workshop, which was interesting, and we're hoping that she'll repeat it next year. After our run through the art show, we went down and caught the Do We Rescue the Princess? - or Distressing Damsels in Distress with dek9, Samuel T Clemmons, Connor Cochran and Shanna Swendson. It was really interesting, and everyone seemed to have a good time. Lots of lively conversation back and forth between the panelists, as well as between the audience and the panelists.
We were going to go to part of Bryan's NASA panel before the movie, but I saw Helen sitting at a table in the next room, stopped to chat, and we ended up staying for the Page 119 panel, with Helen, Brother Guy Consolmagno, jrittenhouse and lverhulst. Although we hadn't planned on the panel, it was really enlightening. Some of the books were dry, some were really interesting, and most were in-between, but I think we picked up a good two or three that we haven't read that we're going to read. I still disagree with much of the audience about Brother Guy's reading of First Lensman, though - the lensman series is still one of the finest examples of space opera available.
Then, we went down to the film roast, and .... Oh. My. God. The movie was far and away the most horrible excuse for bad special effects (all FIVE of them) that I've ever seen, but the humor made up for it - daddy_guido and dek9 were in fine form. The only joke that they didn't throw (that I wish they did) was during the first curse with the ogre, when he was hurling tree stumps at the knights (and George), I wish they would have thrown out the "watch out for that ... Bang ... Oooh ... TREE!" (from George of the Jungle, which is why I thought of it - the "hero" being named George and all...).
After the merciful end of the movie, we got a chance to mill around for a while, waiting for cary_lee to finish all of her responsibilities at the con so that we could go out on ... (wait for it) ... the card table search ... of DOOOM! The hotel was out of tables, so the con com decided to get new card tables so that the Euchre tournament could be more of an official event. So, cary_lee, Cindy and I ran over to Cosco, and ... they didn't carry any at THIS Cosco (and we weren't going to run all the way to Lombard)... So, I called over to the Home Depot next door, and they had card tables (don't ask why) - and they even had more than ten! So, we ran over there, and the tables were $35 each (much more than we were expecting). Spent some more time trying to find somewhere close that had card tables cheaper. Called the nearest Target, and they had them for $29 - but they only had two (kind of useless to drive clear across town in a gas guzzling pickup for that). So, we surrendered and bought a few less than we had originally planned to get, and then ran over to BW3 to pick up dinner. Of course, it took them forever to get the food ready, and then we drove back to the hotel and everyone split up to get stuff done (get the tables inside, park the truck, find the others who were sharing food with us, etc.). I was selected to carry the food upstairs, which I'm sure was far and away the easiest task, but I wasn't complaining...
After supper, we went down and set up the Euchre tournament and got everyone ready to go. Unfortunately, I don't play Euchre (and Cindy was already Cary's partner), so after they got started, I was sent up to the Party Floor to return with some libations.
As usual, my approach to the party floor was "Hi, Dave! Where can I get a drink for Cindy?", because McCarty always knows which parties have what (and who)... After getting to take a picture with his Nikon (I'm not worthy) of he and a number of folks from Farshad's group, including a smokin' hot blonde, he asked Farshad to open up his room so that we could get some of his 'punch'. I don't get it - Farshad just pours in a bottle of this, a bottle of that, and the stuff that comes out is just fantastic. Smooth (and peachy this year, thanks to the Peach Schnapps), and deceptive - you can drink for a while while you're talking to someone and all of a sudden you realize that you're drunk... So, I took that down to Cindy (it was just what she was looking for), hung around for a bit, got bored, and went back up to the Party Floor. I kind of wandered around the floor for a while, sometimes talking to Dave, sometimes just wandering between drinks, until Dave led me into the best party I've ever encountered... Yes, it was the one, the only.. Barfleet Away Mission. Wow. I was just floored. The Barfleet folks throw a really incredible party, with some of the best drinks I've ever had (and yes, the Commodore has some awesome Scotch).
Doc Mike introduced me to the Liquid Christ, and ... Wow. I couldn't even say the line until after I got my breath back, but then... Jesus. Christ. It was awesome. CDR Thesser was kind enough (or evil enough - take your pick) to set me up with my own, and I started sipping. A while later, I was empty, but I didn't notice because it was running roughshod through what was left of my brain. About that time, a bunch of the Euchre folks came up (including daddy_guido and dek9). Cary and Cindy were still winning, so we decided to drink to their continued success, even though they had no idea. I got a second LC, and proceeded to continue excavating my brain, while chatting with any number of folks - like I said, it was a great party! At some point in the evening, pheltzer showed up (already completely trashed, and working on finding more), and then after that (the time is really fuzzy for me by this point), his lovely wife showed up. I have no idea if we'd hit the private party by this time or not. However, somehow (I have NO IDEA how - I'm not usually anywhere near this persuasive), I got drawshad to try a sip of the LC, and she paid it the highest complement I've ever heard (at least in that state...). She said it was the most vile, disgusting and corrosive substance that she had ever tasted. It may have been corrosive, but by that point I wasn't feeling much of anything. We spent some more time in fellowship (I'm not talking either), and then Dawn decided to attempt the trek back to her room, and Guido volunteered to help her (they made it with some casualties, I understand). Some time after that, my lovely wife showed up at the party (apparently they believed her when she said she was looking for her husband, but it was probably a good idea we were wearing matching T-Shirts...). Cindy had a drink or so, and I had another LC, at which point one of the lovely nurses let me know that I was setting myself up for the second coming the following morning.... We eventually gave up around 3 or so and went down to collect Ryan from (I think) the teen lounge and get him to bed, and then we went to bed.
I have no idea why, but the second coming missed me entirely - I only ended up with a headache, and I have one of those half the time (or more) even if I'm not drinking thanks to my neck.
On Saturday, we got up and decided that we HAD to have a good breakfast (something to settle all the corrosive compounds from the night before, anyway), so we went down to the restaurant in the hotel and let Ryan sleep in. The buffet was ... disappointing. The milk was warm, and half of it was past its expiry date. The eggs were runny and mostly cold. The biscuits were hard. The gravy was runny (although I thought it mixed well with the eggs, actually). The tea was plain Lipton, which was a number of steps down from what Cindy usually drinks. The fruit was OK. I guess we've been spoiled by buffets at Disney World - this one was definitely not worth $12 each (although the service was good, so the waiter got a good tip even though the food wasn't worth it). After breakfast (and a few more aspirin), we woke up Ryan and sent him back down to ops to volunteer again. We wanted to catch the Raising Fannish Children panel, but just ran out of time. We went to the Where Does Reality End & Fantasy Begin? panel with Bill Fawcett, Deirdre Murphy and Ruth Souther, which was thought provoking (and I always enjoy listening to Bill). We considered the Art Show tour, but ended up going back down and enjoying the The Science Behind Magic with Brother Guy Consolmagno, Dermot Dobson, Tullio Proni, and Bill Thomasson. It was quite good, and the interplay between the panelists was fascinating. At 3, we went up to have Lois sign Cindy's book, and we ended up deciding to pre-reg for Duckon 16, almost missed the first fire alarm of the day (the bagel of DOOOM) since the alarm was just the blinking lights, and then we spent some time in the Dealer's room. I ended up buying Cindy a cape (over her repeated refusals, but I wore her down), a scarf and a necklace. We also bought some more books, and looked at the T-shirts.
At 4, we went down to the Thaumaturgy Road Show, mostly because I think Jody Lynn Nye has a wicked sense of humor (her panel last year with Bill and a couple of others was just a scream!). daddy_guido, dek9 and Chris Passovoy rounded out the panel, each bringing their own special talents. I've got to tell you, from an audience perspective I couldn't even tell that Dawn was running on way-minus sleep and no naps... It was really fun to watch.
After the panel (We got to go to WAY more panels this year than ever before), Cindy wanted to hit the Medieval Dance Class and Ball taught by catalana. I needed to drop some stuff off upstairs (and I was hoping for a nap), so I left her down there to pair with cary_lee and ran upstairs. Unfortunately, I only had a few minutes before Ryan called because he didn't have his volunteer sheet (and we didn't give him his own key to the room), so I had to bring it back down for him. While I was upstairs, the second fire alarm went off (Cindy called me and let me know - the alarm didn't sound in the tower). By the time I was back down, the all-clear had been given, and I did the rest of the dance class with her (since Cary had to go back and do more vice-chair stuff). I was exhausted, but it was still fun. I didn't think I'd enjoy it at all, but catalana is really an excellent teacher, and I think I'd like to try it again next year, when I hopefully won't be so tired. The crappy part is that I was really, really bone tired all day, for no good reason (the alcohol wouldn't have caused it, and I got as much sleep as I get most nights), so I'm guessing I was just minus on sleep and it finally caught up with me.
After the dance class, we played the "who's having what for dinner game", and ended up having Chinese, which wasn't bad at all, again eating upstairs with the usual suspects while daddy_guido got ready for the auction.
At 8, we went down for the auction, because I won't miss that for the world. This year's version was a little bit muted, since daddy_guido was dealing with the pain in his knee and the stress of the bagel of DOOOOM incident, while being way too tired. Moonwulf looked intractable as usual, but his impromptu partial strip near the end of the auction was definitely a great touch! I only wish that Drew could have been here in person, since the "Drew / Not Drew" sign on the dragon was priceless! The only real complaint I had with the auction this year is that there was too much small stuff in the Charity auction, which made the whole auction drag. The guys did the best that they could, but it didn't seem anyone was really interested and they ended up having to bundle things together to keep it flowing. I was actually surprised at the low number of bids in the auction prior to the live auction - not all that much ended up going to the live auction. I still had the (dubious) honor of getting a comment from the auction staff when I picked up my stuff on Sunday - - "Oh, good - we weren't sure if you were going to show up", since nobody really knows me, and I bought a pretty substantial amount of art (I think I came in second in volume). A lot of nice pieces - just not as much interest as I would have liked from the attendees. I'm hoping that the charity is getting a decent donation, though.
After the auction was over, it was time for ... Euchre! Unfortunately, in the time it took to (wait for the elevator) run up to the room, (wait for the elevator) go down to the basement and find that Euchre had been moved, and (wait for the elevator) go back up to the 2nd floor (since we didn't know where the stairs were), the tournament had already started. Cindy was disappointed, but it was OK by me - that means I get to take her up to the Party Floor with me for once.... or, not so much - we watched Euchre for a while until the first round was done, then Cindy played with Cary, Mark and Guido for a round of "just for fun" (I tried valiantly to stave off sleep, but I did get some good pictures of Sondra and Isabel in their costumes). When the round was FINALLY over, we went on up to the Party Floor. My target was ... of course ... the magical Barfleet party - but we needed to first go through most of the rest of the floor so that Cindy could see what was going on (besides - it was early). We wandered around for a while, trying various drinks, and stopped in to wish jrittenhouse a happy birthday. Then, we went to Barfleet, and started getting drunk in earnest. I don't remember all that much, really, although I had another couple of Liquid Christs (I'm so disappointed it's not in the Casual's Dispensary guide yet), along with I'm sure other things - but still no YTs (I kept missing them). We went back out in the hallway for a while and talked to various folks, including Dr. Feelgood, who by this time was wearing Peter's badge (leading to all sorts of jokes....). She warned us that the party was about to go private again, so we hustled (yeah, right - we were drunk, so we sauntered, trying to keep somewhat of an even keel) down to find that the CDR had already closed the party. Luckily, Dr. Feelgood intervened, and we got to experience the second night of the private party, which was better than the first (with the sole exception of dek9 and daddy_guido not making it back up since they were too tired). The more I drank, the less tired I got, and I **finally** got to try the Yukon Torpedo when CDR Tesser decided to have one last torpedo and he made an overloaded YT (and blur01 tried to caution me about it). All I've got to say is ... Oh. My. God. It tasted great, and it was less filling (because I wanted more), but it came back around a couple of minutes later and hit me right in the back of the head. After a while we decided to try to get to bed, so we left to find the rest of the group, and Cary ,Cindy and Sandy (and diverse others) decided to have a party in the middle of the hallway. I got lots of pictures, and some of them were even in focus (did you know that it's possible to be so drunk that the auto focus can't save you? I didn't.). After a while of that (who knows what time it was - I don't think I could see my watch), Cindy and I went down to go to bed and try to get some sleep since we had to be out by noon. I ran down to the teen lounge to find Ryan, and found him watching movies with a friend (she and he have spent a lot of time together the last couple of cons). I gave him a room key and told him to come up when he was done, and then went up and let the LC and YT combine for a glorious fireworks display. Ryan finally stumbled in around 4. Set the wakeup call for 10 (and actually got up - don't ask how). The second niight of the Barfleet party proved to be invigorating, because I felt MUCH better Sunday morning. We showered, packed, and got all of the crap into the car before 11, so that we could make it to the Phandemonium board meeting. Hit the con suite for breakfast/lunch (not much left, but the con was nearly over, and there were still plenty of cold beverages), and then picked up our art and took that out to the car. Visited with the guests for a while at the Farewell, and then hit the closing ceremonies to enjoy the close and then the open of the next con (good luck, Leane!).
After that, it was time to bid farewell to the con, since we still had to pick Wade up from Grandma and make it home in enough time for me to get some sleep before work. Good thing we left early, since Grandma had some software for me to install, and it took a couple of hours to get it finished and get everything updated.
All in all, a successful con, and I'm really looking forward to next year, even if it is over Valentine's day.
My favorite part of the Con? You even have to ask? The Barfleet Away Mission wins hands down, and I'm really, really looking forward to next year (and I'm hoping they'll be able to christen a new ship by that point!)