We planned it as a day trip on my (mumble)th birthday. We actually got a decent early start so we were at the Double Tree (the last year the con will be held there... the end of an error!) before noon. Someone had finally realized that having the drum circle EARLIER meant more drummers and fewer noise complaints, so we could even work in a long overdue drumming session for me at the end of the day.
Being there with Michele was a lot of fun -- it was like walking with someone who had returned from being held hostage in some terrorist enclave. Double-takes, squawks, and squeals were common.
Oddly enough, it was also very educational in terms of my personal identity:
- Apparently, after doing the first three Pantheacon programming guides, I had been "pushed out" by a cabal of con-volunteers affiliated with Joi Wolfwomyn. Considering that I had foolishly thought I had stepped aside voluntarily, this was a bit of a surprise. After three years of dealing with Ancient Ways at Harbin and P'Con programming wherein people did nothing but complain that the programs were done at the "last minute" somehow because that's how I CHOSE to do things (ignoring my pleas for getting their bio and program info in early enough so that it WASN'T a case of Glenn and myself working 18 hours straight the night before the Con), I was simply burnt out.
I note, with no small degree of smugness, that those early programs still look better than the one's that were there this year. Makes me consider volunteering my services again, if only to watch people's heads explode.
- Several people whom I thought disliked or were actively avoiding me were thinking the same about me towards them. Or something like that. Another case where my self assessment was far harsher than anything y'all could provide. Gestures were made and accepted, though now the tune of "John Jacob Jinglemyer Schmidt" is stuck in my head with the words "Bi Pagan Poly Gamer Geek".
- That long black coat I scored at last year's Con? Still incredibly cool. Still turns heads in the right ways.
- I do not drum enough. Nearly two hours of drumming was a mere percussion appetite suppressant.
- I really MISS ancient ways. There's nothing like being singled out as one of the "Old School" that people want to come back. The fact that there WILL be fire pits and drumming until our hands bleed makes me want to go even more. The fact that Roni is an incredibly hot dancer whilst wearing one of those coin encrusted bras (a purchase that took her *5 years* to make!) and a cloak only helps. Going with a "tribe" also makes it easier to contemplate. My days of solo festival attendance are long gone. Stone City is in the East Bay, and has all the amenities, but non of the shush nazies. Just based on the discussion during the Ancient Ways "Meet and Greet" it sounds a lot like DragonFest in Colorado (or at least as it had been in '92. Damn, when did that become a generation ago??).
The only bummer about the day was completely and utterly failing to find Esther, who was working the Con. Paka was in hospitality at least one of the times I dropped in, and thought she was sleeping int he room. FOr some reason I failed to get the room number, so I wasn't able to check in with her before leaving.
Normally I score a steak dinner at Outback on my birthday. Say what you want -- I love their steaks. And their salads, strangely enough. Of course, normally I celebrate the birthday on the weekend before or after. Except V-Day was on a Saturday.
We called ahead to Milpitas and Campbell, the closest locations, to see what the wait times were like. Campbell was 90 minutes, and Milpitas (the Great Mall location) was quoting 2 and a half hours.
I was thinking that we would hit Pasta Pomadoro in Union City as a fallback when I was inspired to try the Outback in Fremont. While they were quoting 45-55 minute waits (already a LOT better!) we vultured a booth by the bar within 5 minutes. As it turned out, I was paying the bill and over-tipping our fabulous waitress before the people who walked in behind us were being seated.
It t'were a VERY good day. I'm hoping for more of those.