FODMAPs friendly charoset

Maenad, Pomegrante
So, in the midst of mad Passover preparation, I improvised a recipe for charoset that's not only works on my diet, but also tastes like charoset.

- Three medium sized star fruit, a little under-ripe
- One medium naval orange, not the one you're saving for the seder plate.
- One 16 oz. bag of chopped walnuts
- One medium sized pomegranate
- 4 medium sized kiwi (the fuzzy kind, not the berry sized ones)
- 1 tablespoon of granulated brown sugar

Dice the walnuts in a food processor.

Dig the pulp out of the naval orange. Put it in a bowl. Cut the kiwis in half and scoop them out. Put the resulting kiwi, seeds and all, in a separate bowl. De-seed the entire pomegranite, if you slice around the edge you will break fewer seeds than in this method, but it is generally correct. Put aside the pomegranate seeds in yes, yet another bowl.

Take the walnuts out of the processor, put them in a larger bowl. Dice the starfruit in the food processor, remove and put in another large bowl. Dice the kiwi in the processor, add it to the starfruit in the bowl. Dice the orange in the processor, add it to starfruit and kiwi. This will result in a bright orange and green mix. Don't worry!

Add the walnuts and the sugar. Mix thoroughly. Add the pomegranate seeds, mix, but try not to break the seeds.

Eat. It tastes roughly like charoset does if you make it with apples, but it's safe for people on FODMAPS, and should be safe for those with with stone fruit and rose fruit allergies.

Happy Passover!

Stick-to-itiveness and secret projects

The Quiet One, Conservative
So over time, I've conceived a lot of projects that haven't really gone anywhere, like my deconstructed story telling blog, that I really didn't tell people about and thus got no traction, and no love. I think I was falling victim to the standard blunder, which is wanting to do the big reveal after all the work is done. As such, the blog languished, and eventually I stopped updating it, because I also realized that someone had done it before.

The problem with that strategy is that it doesn't actually help you build community, or allow people to have the experience along with you, it just lets you do the thing in isolation and you have little to no input about whether it's catching on.

So, instead of doing that, I'm going to say publicly here that this is a thing I'm doing. I found the drawings in a drawer and I am going through and deconstructing them, both as fashion analysis, because, well, I have opinions about fashion, and because, frankly, I'm enjoying it, and I've frontloaded enough of the hard work parts of it that it's a nice distraction from other stuff I'm doing, like looking for work, working on producing another Cider Press/Siren Songs album for Contata 2014 (I hope) and some of the LMG/Funny Things related projects that batyatoon and I are doing.

I decided to do it on Pinterest because there's already a backlog of content there and it's easier to tag and collect there than on, say, Tumblr, and I've already got an account there in my name, so this can be a fun thing outside of my regular Pinterest where I talk about fashion and trends and what beauty standards I like and which ones I feel I've grown out of, and I can look at how I tried to grow as an artist -- and mostly didn't succeed, but at least I got ambitious! -- Fair warning, I was terrible at drawing faces when I was 10. I still am.

Who knows, I might even start drawing, or sewing again because of this project. That would be nice, but at the moment I have enough on my plate, so I figured I'd share the fact that I was doing this, before I got too far ahead for people to catch up.

I know women's fashion is not everyone's cup of tea. I'm mostly running this to see how predictive what I drew at the age of 10 was for current women's fashion and to see where my opinions have stayed the same, or change. I will probably start an opinion board at some point as part of this profile, and I may even, if people are interested, allow other people to pin stuff once the concept catches on. We'll have to see whether that attracts bots or not.

Meanwhile, feel free to rummage through and see what appeals to you. Heck, you have a drawer full of drawings, come and join me and let's see whether we can create some community.

My Boskone Schedule

Busy, Whirlwind
Boskone is going to be really, really busy for me. If you see me going by in a blur, here's where I'll be standing still, at least temporarily:

The Future of Judaism
Saturday 13:00 - 13:50

The Pew Research Center's recent "Portrait of Jewish Americans" has generated much discussion about the future of the Jewish community. What do the trends portend? How will our increased mobility and exposure to other cultures and opinions on the Internet shape that future? And as Mel Brooks might say, what about Jews in Space?
Janice Gelb (M), Fred Lerner, Merav Hoffman, Daniel P. Dern, Daniel M. Kimmel

Poetry in Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror
Saturday 14:00 - 14:50

The purposes of poetry are myriad: commemorating love or loss, capturing oral histories, imparting lessons, making political declarations, telling stories. And poetry included genre elements long before the coinage of such terms as science fiction, fantasy, and horror. Join panelists for a lively discussion of their favorite poems and poets, as they touch on why genre themes continue to ignite the poetic imagination.
Jane Yolen (M), LJ Cohen, Merav Hoffman, Jo Walton, F. Brett Cox

Kid's Concert with Talis Kimberley
Sat 16:00 - Sat 16:50

So You Want to Run a Filk Convention?
Saturday 19:00 - 19:50

As with any other type of fannish activity, a filk convention has its own ins and outs. What are things that you need to look for? What special considerations are there?
Ellen Kranzer (M), Merav Hoffman, Gary Ehrlich

Boskone Filk Fest, Set 2
Saturday 23:00 - 23:50

Saturday evening programming concludes with the second half of our Filk Fest, starring Lady Mondegreen (but they have us listed as Lady Mondrian, so don't be fooled) (Merav Hoffman and Batya Wittenberg), and Featured Filker Bill Roper.
Batya "The Toon" Wittenberg, Merav Hoffman, Bill Roper

Kids' Concert with Lady Mondegreen
Sunday 11:00 - 11:25

A half-hour kid's concert, with a possible special guest.
Merav Hoffman, Batya "The Toon" Wittenberg

Filk: Fandom Within Fandom
Sunday 12:00 - 12:50

Filk is a fandom within fandom, and a microcosm of fandom at large. What is filk's place in the larger fannish community? How does filk relate to fandom-at-large, and fandom-at-large to filk?
Bill Roper (M), Merav Hoffman, Roberta Rogow

I'm also doing various consultation things over the course of the weekend, going to a wedding, giving a ride to the GoH, helping run group kosher meals, showing up at various people's panels and shows, and occasionally participating in same, and I'm planning to attend at least this party. So if I whiz by, it's not you, feel free to walk and talk with me as I rush from thing to thing.

See a lot of you there!


Seeking Readercon Roommate(s)

Books, Reading
So, now that I've gone on and on about Balticon and Conterpoint else-post, I come to the current question, which is, who is going to Readercon and is looking for a room share? I do not as yet have a room or a membership and it looks fairly prohibitive to do on my own cost-wise.

I am friendly, keep kosher and thus mostly live out of a cooler all weekend, I do not snore, or shed much, and am reasonably quiet in general. I will not add myself to the morning shower queue as I tend to be an afternoon or evening showerer.

I am seeking between one and three roommates, and am willing to sleep on a cot, or a half of a bed. I have been known to sleep in chairs too, but that's not as restful and I try to avoid it. Floors, sadly, are straight out.

I am screening comments. Please feel free to e-mail me in lieu of commenting here.
Books2, Finding the story, Working out plot
So as you may have heard, we lost E.L. Konigsburg today.

This was a bigger shock to me than I really expected. Not quite as hard as when Paula Danziger passed away so young, or when Madeline L'Engle, or Janet Kagan or more recently, Diana Wynne Jones died, but sad nonetheless.

For those of you who don't know the name, as pecunium didn't, she wrote many of the literary classics of my childhood, including the beloved From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, about taking up residence in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the book that the girls in my cabin were all passing around one summer, which I never managed to get my hands on, which turned out to be A Proud Taste for Scarlett and Minever, which is about the succession of England after the reign of Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine, and which is also about the afterlife and how expectations don't just pass away when we die, a theme she would continue in Up From Jericho Tel.
More reflections below the cutCollapse )
Take it back, Creativity3
My life has been a non-stop roller coaster since Consonance. There has been a lot of travel, both mine and that of my household members, and then it was Lunacon, and then it was Passover before I recovered. Now angelrenaissanc and A. are in residence until the end of the week.

I have almost beaten my miserable sinus infection. The last boss is hard.

So before I forget, two important things:

I am pleased and surprised to say that a poem I published in Inkscrawl this year, in fact, my first professional poetry sale, has been nominated for the short form category of the Rhysling Awards. I am in amazing company. I am honored and a little stunned.

Also, I will have a one-hour concert at this year's Balticon on the Sunday night, in the same block with my filk brother mrgoodwraith and his lovely Partner in K'Rhyme, Kira.

Are you coming to Balticon? Chime in, please.
Dandelion diversity

Saturday morning was a comedy of errors in many ways. I'd been under the impression that batyatoon was renting a suite for the weekend, but it turned out that since sdelmonte couldn't make it to the con, due to work constraints, she'd downgraded to a regular room. This meant we hadn't reserved a rehearsal space for Saturday morning. We looked in on yesterday's rehearsal space, and no one was present, so I got the con committee to unlock it for us. We ran vocal warm-ups and then we were joined by the people who were actually supposed to have programming in that room. So we moved to the boardroom and were shortly thereafter evicted by a scheduled children's programming item. At that point we were pretty much scrambling, until tibicina reminded us that she also had a suite. We went up to 10, leaving a trail of voicemail and text messages in our wake to try to tell figmo, fireskin, bardiclug and erinwrites where we were and what we were doing.

Right before we went up to tibicina's room we achieved fireskin and bardiclug. bardiclug sat down to try to rechord Hurricane Eye into the correct key, as he hadn't had a chance to look at it, or any of the material for the show yet. We went up to the tenth floor, and ran fireskin's numbers, Fool's Run, and Joe Papp as well as a brief run-through of Save the Country, and Let's Get the Show on the Road. Then we went downstairs to do sound check with k_stoph. bardiclug met us and we were able to bash out an accompaniment on guitar for Power of the Pen, but alas, bardiclug had not brought his mandolin. This was also the point when we decided that Hurricane Eye was just going to be too complicated to pull together. We also dropped my song Distant Glass because it was also one where bardiclug would be accompanying and there just wasn't time to put it together. I decided early on that if we were going to do one song with bardiclug it should be sodyera's Power of the Pen, as I really wanted to represent my region and sodyera specifically, for what she does and the songs she writes, as they don't get out to the west coast much.

Gerry Tyra fitted me and tibicina for wireless microphones, and tibicina and I worked out how that would work with the dresses we were wearing for the show, which is part of the reason I wore a belt, because the body pack has to go somewhere.

At one point when we had just under two hours to show time. We went in the hall and rehearsed a few more things just to make sure they were pinned down, and also rehearsed quickly with figmo. We never actually managed to rehearse Binary Niggun with all four of us, which wasn't great, but I don't feel it hurt the show overall. I would like to do a cleaner version at some point though.

I sat down with my stage manager, Ellen and we went through the whole show on paper. I explained to her about the fact that figmo was going to be using a chair to stand up, and that we would actually be putting that chair in front of drcpunk, as a piece of stage business during Let's Get the Show on the Road, because figmo was going to be taking drcpunk's place in the line-up in front of the microphones when drcpunk dropped out after Let's Get the Show on the Road. We then reviewed everyone's entrances and exits and what songs were being cut, and when, and edited the digital documents we were using. Ellen then went on to pass the word to k_stoph about the cut songs, and make sure that we'd have the hook-up we'd need for the band-in-box backing tracks for Joe Papp and Fool's Run.

Thereafter I went back to my room to try to rest, as tibicina and batyatoon were at the Hello the Future concert. Eventually batyatoon joined me in the room, where pecunium had made us steak salads, which were the right balance of light and high protein to carry us through the show. I refrained from having any of the whole wheat challah, which was probably the cause of the tremendously strong stomach cramps that had caused me to briefly duck out bardiclug's concert the previous night.

We gathered our things, and I said to akawil and batyatoon "I"m forgetting something. What am I forgetting?" but no one could think of anything, and no one had the presence of mind to run the list of things I was supposed to be bringing down from the room, so I did wind up forgetting a few things, more on that as they crop up.

We went down to the hall, where I was really pleased to see everyone already getting on stage. billroper was in his tuxedo for Mr. Tanner, and everyone was dressed up in their various finery (my dress code for the show was 'wear something that makes you feel fabulous').

I wound up navigating my way across the area in front of the stage very slowly due to a wheelchair collision. figmo was trying to go forward and April was trying to get situated for the show, so I wound up trying to maneuver April's chair in my new boots, with my guitar on my back, so I was both unwieldy and had very little in the way of traction. This was more successful than I could have hoped for, but I did eventually call for help, when I couldn't get her chair backed all the way into the aisle where we'd made a space for her. My thanks to johno for helping April get to her seat.

Right around that time, I discovered the first thing that I forgot, which was to tune my guitar, which I was supposed to be playing midway through the show. I'd also forgotten to put the guitar on the spreadsheet for amplification, and it was nowhere on Ellen's list. Thankfully the sound crew and Ellen were very adaptable about this, and the tuning problem was easy enough to solve. I asked billroper if he would be willing to tune James, and he said sure, so I got him set up with my tuner, as he didn't have to come on stage for quite a few songs.

I ran to the back of the hall and got actually wired up with my microphone and my body pack and then ran back to the stage. billroper handed up my guitar, and I put him in the rack of guitars behind me. I also took off my bag and my sweater and put them down, but I left my water bottle holster on, because I had been warned not to bend down in front of the monitors while wearing the body pack as the feedback could be tremendous, and I was definitely going to need water during the show.

We were able to wrangle a sufficient number of music stands from the audience, (three) and then we were ready to go.

The first real difficulty I ran into was that I couldn't hear trystel's piano in the monitors, so at the beginning of our first song, which was supposed to be a duet between myself as the stage manager character, and drcpunk as the kid avatar, trystel actually wound up having to sing a few lines at the beginning so we could at least hear the key. Props to trystel for saving what could have been a very bad beginning and giving it what an audience member told me felt like a very natural part of the show, since the show was about theater, trystel was clearly playing the part of the prompter.

Similarly, we hadn't had a chance to rehearse the chair coming onto stage with erinwrites and fireskin, so tibicina wound up delivering her "Are Taunya and Lynn here?"/"How long have you been here?" cue to them while they were still clear on the other side of the stage, but this also seemed to work well enough.

Unfortunately the ending of Let's Get the Show on the Road trainwrecked somewhat as figmo, fireskin and erinwrites hadn't really had a chance to practice the staccato delivery on the end of the song, and they weren't amplified, so we couldn't hear them very well, so I have no idea how well they delivered their lines. The effect though was that the primary singers, who were trying to do the drop-in lines instead dropped their lines, and it sort-of snowballed, but it was still relatively well received, since, after all, the audience didn't know what to expect, and we did catch up enough to get to the end of the song.

The transition into what I was calling the Binary Niggun went relatively smoothly. I lost the thread of my vocal line at one point, but it seems to have worked out ok.

Thereafter the show kicked into high gear, and there were many fewer mistakes. billroper came up on cue for Mr. Tanner, and we had an almost flawless execution. However, halfway through the last verse, I managed to look down into the audience and saw someone sobbing in the third row. I felt that welling up of sympathy in my chest, as I have often been the person crying at a concert, and then I had to look away or burst into tears too, so I looked resolutely at trektone, who was smiling and that helped a lot.

figmo stood back up to do Schehechiyanu with us, and then was helped down from the stage. Oddly enough, I looked back down at the woman who had been crying midway through singing the blessing and realized that now her companion was crying. I seemed to have set off an audience epidemic, so I once again looked resolutely at people who were smiling, since Schehechiyanu is emotional for me too, and I had just explained why as part of the introduction. I should say at this point, that the show took the form of a modified and very condensed autobiography through music (think High Fidelity) and so there were a lot background emotions attached to the choices I'd made.

And then it was time for the dreaded song with the Dr. Seuss verse. Thankfully, mysticfig was good about hitting everything exactly the same way that we'd done it in rehearsal and it came off really, really well. In fact, quite a number of people wound up asking me about the song, and about mannoftalent and how he was doing these days. mannoftalent? Lots of people in filk send good wishes and congratulations to you on your engagement and your continued theatrical successes.

Then we sang Joe Papp with fireskin -- did I mention already that batyatoon and tibicina were on _all_ the aforementioned songs? My friends are troupers, and I love them very much. I had never actually heard the new version of the backing track for Joe Papp, which had an introduction appended at the very last moment by figmo, who had created the track from a scratch track trystel had created for us to practice with. So there was a tiny bobble at the beginning of the song, which probably only I noticed, but it was really fun to perform.

Then we did Love Will Come to You, which was almost as pretty as it was in rehearsal. The immediacy of being on stage always takes away some level of the intimacy that you have at a practice where you can all sing looking at each other, but I think people enjoyed it. I know I loved the sounds of artbeco and mysticfig's instruments layered over our harmony.

Power of the Pen went amazingly smoothly considering we had only one rehearsal and Cosmo wasn't sure what tempo we were in when he got on stage, so kudos to him for good improvisation. An essential skill, in these seat-of-the-pants situations.

Then I did two more of my songs with k_stoph, A Song For Arbonne and Anticipating a Rose on B-612. tibicina and batyatoon did a beautiful job on the harmonies for Arbonne, especially given that tibicina had just learned her descant the day before.

And this is where I realized the second thing I forgot. I forgot to bring the chords for Sigil. I had the guitar, which (poor James) had already been tuned three times and knocked over once (not necessarily in that order) and put back on the stage. Poor mneme. He was suddenly playing this song solo, when we'd rehearsed it mostly with the guitar, and on top of that, he was playing an unfamiliar harp, so we muddled through as best we could, and tried not to drop each other, which people tell me actually sounded properly surreal, given the subject matter of the song. It was not the performance we intended to give by a long shot, but I am deeply glad that we managed the performance we did, because it showed me that trusting your friends is always the right thing to do. Even when you are deeply uncertain about how you're going to get out of the mess. I love you, mneme. You're awesome. Thank you.

We also did Door to Summer, which went rather better, or at least, went in a manner more like the one we'd initially rehearsed, and benefited from us not being quite as freaked out.

mysticfig came back up and we did The Child Garden, and tibicina improvised the aria, which I really need to properly score, once I get it completely written in my brain.

Then we did Fool's Run against the backing track that my voice teacher Alex Brumel built for me, which sounded even better than I expected, with fireskin's vocals layered onto batyatoon's and tibicina's and mine. That was the sound I was originally looking for when I put the show together, that amazing girl-group blend, somewhere between LaBelle, and The Bangles, with a hard rock Heart-style vocal thrown in.

And then we were at the end of the show. artbeco and fireskin and erinwrites and tibicina and trystel and tuto and batyatoon and I sang the Riverside melody I learned at camp as a little kid, probably about five years old, into the Ollabelle version of Riverside, into Laura Nyro's Save the Country, which is a political activism song masquerading as a gospel hymn. It was a huge amount of fun to do it, and I said my thank yous, to Interfilk and the con, to the audience and my fellow performers, and then tibicina and batyatoon and I sang my setting of The Wind and the Rain and got off the stage.

Ellen did an amazing job of managing everything, and I couldn't have done it without her and our stellar sound crew. I also definitely couldn't have done it without my amazing singers, batyatoon, tibicina, fireskin, figmo, drcpunk, billroper, erinwrites, and my astonishingly talented group of musicians, trystel, tuto, k_stoph, mysticfig, bardiclug, artbeco, mneme, figmo and erinwrites again, and big thanks to Margaret for the loan of her harp for the show!

Sandy Tyra came and pulled the microphone off and I was free to take my guitar and get off the stage. I realized that the third thing I forgot was the tambourines for the closing number, but tibicina had one, and erinwrites had a shaker egg and artbeco had a harmonica and tuto had drums, so it all worked out fine, even though we had never really rehearsed it that way.

On the whole I feel it was a pretty successful show. Not as polished as I would have liked, but that comes with time and practice, and is not the sort of thing that happens in a show of that length when you get one chance to perform. Afterwards I had the same sort-of post-show depression that I used to get with one-weekend productions in college, but thankfully it only lasted about two hours and then drifted off. The Interfilk auction helped sustain the high from the show until I went back to my room to take off my cute red boots. (The red boots were a self-referential homage to the fact that the first real show I ever did, which was when I cast, directed, stage managed, costumed and starred in The Wizard of Oz when I was five I wore my red snowboots to be Dorothy).

The auction itself went very well: A set of two CDs I'd produced for Contata 2008 and Contata 2011, the two years that I was chairing, went for $333, which is not too shabby, considering.

There were further fun auction shenanigans, including the sale of a hand-painted tape, that was one of the very few copies of the early Ookla the Mok tape Poor Man's Copyright, because, as Rand and Adam explained during the auction, other copies of the tape had tended to get stuck in car stereos when raised to high heat, because the paint would melt and fuse. In fact, they recounted that someone had, at an early filk convention actually brought in a car tape player with the tape stuck in it as an Interfilk item.

And speaking of Interfilk items, a recording of Ookla's forthcoming concert was listed as an item, and went for a staggering sum of money to Ellen, who was then treated to what they called "special call-outs during the concert", which mostly took the form of the members of Ookla shouting her name and her title between songs, and telling her that lights in her various nonsense vehicles were on.

Somewhere in there we had dinner and then came down for more concerts. I don't remember much about this, so I'm guessing pecunium didn't cook dinner, because that tends to be memorable. Honestly I probably just ate bread and yogurt, or something. And then it was time for more programming. I think this is when I went to Freddy Brown's concert, and it's definitely when I saw Adam wearing his Herbert West outfit, as we had a long discussion about polyester as a costuming fabric, why velcro doesn't work right and buying costume accessories at Party City.

Can I just say? The Ookla concert was awesome. I hadn't seen them play a full concert in a really long time, and they had both tuto and their original bassist Mike Mallory, so they sounded like the 'classic' Ookla I remembered from their early albums, and they did a bunch of my favorite songs, including My Secret Origin, Me and My Monkey/Not Me and My Monkey, Cowboy Secret Space Detective, Dollar Fifty Movies and Das Urber Tuber. batyatoon and I pogoed all the way through Go To Bed, as is proper, and I was really pleased that they gave a shout out to my brother mrgoodwraith as the co-author of Dollar Fifty Movies.

After the concert, batyatoon, pecunium, mneme, drcpunk and I all ran back upstairs to get ready for my hosted filk circle, which had been pushed back a ways as the Ookla concert went long. This turned into a long sequence of looking for lost items (a blue feather, a circle cut out of a plastic sticky label, my turtleneck, the face glue, the orange turkey rickrack, and the one lavender glove that went missing right at the end when none of us had peripheral vision). Suiting up and getting made up and making sure we didn't look wrong took a little more than an hour ... and then we got in the elevator, and went down to the open filk, the smaller one, which I was supposed to be hosting.

The looks on people's faces when the entire Electric Mayhem walked in were really worth all the time cutting, painting, carving, coloring and wig-making.

If you have pictures or video, please do send them.

batyatoon had a green stocking over her head, with plasticized paper labels for eyes and teeth and a nose carved out of styrofoam that I had made for myself when I did the Dr. Teeth suit. I found her a striped jersey and a truly terrifying fuzzy chenille sweater to wear as a vest, as well as the pink top hat, with the blue feather, and the green chenille gloves, custom-made fringe cuffs, and rings donated from drcpunk's late father's collection of jewelry.

mneme was resplendent in a trench coat and fedora, with a blue stocking over his head, a foam rubber nose he had carved for the occasion, sunglasses, a shiny blue hat-fall wig I made, and blue gloves.

drcpunk was wearing a great ruffly purple coat, a low cut red dress, purple red-gloves, and a hat with a pearl fixed to the front (well technically the back, but she was wearing it backwards to look like a beret), with lots and lots of yellow facepaint and lips the size of Detroit (I had to put them on and take them off her twice to get them the right size to be proportional to her face, and next time I'm going to go for something more matte, as the glossy just doesn't look right on non-lip areas), as well as a blonde hat-fall I made, and a lot of gold eye shadow.

pecunium wore my burgundy captain's coat, as the red jean jacket in the correct style that we had mail ordered from England had not arrived yet. He wore jlighton's hat, and the by now infamous lavender gloves, as well as his motorcycle boots, dark pants, and his kiwi t-shirt, which was all but invisible under the coat. On his face he had orange turkey rickrack, glue, and lots of lavender face paint, huge dark sunglasses with lavender feather the eyelashes glued on, and a huge orange styrofoam nose coated with acrylic paint that I made with mneme and jlighton.

And I wore orange toe socks, brown pants, which I never did get to scruff up properly, so I wore them rolled up asymmetrically, a blue and white Hawaiian shirt, and orange gloves. I should have been wearing an orange turtleneck, but it went missing in the hotel room, so I cut up a pair of orange stockings at the zero hour and left the waist whole, which allowed me to wear them like sleeves, and let my yarn beard, mustache and wig cover the offending gap between my yellow face paint, my humongous black painted eyebrows, my bright orange lips and the waistband, now collar of the former leggings. Next time I'll actually remember to make manacles.

Things almost immediately started to go wrong with the costumes. We'd added extra turkey boa to the back of batyatoon's hat to cover more of the back of her head, where the stocking was visible, and it kept falling down, so I kept tucking it back up as we walked towards the filk room. However, once we were in sight of anyone, I dropped into a low slung crouch and let my arms hang down and spoke only in Animal voice.

This was especially amusing because I was, of course, moderating the open filk.

We were in the room for a good twenty five mintues or so, and pretty much everyone else had broken character to sing or chat, but as I was moderating in character, I hadn't, so finally, kanef asked who we all were, and batyatoon identified herself, and mneme and drcpunk were fairly obvious once they started waltzing together, but something was generally puzzling Kathy Mar. Looking round at each of us in turn she said "But, where's ladymondegreen?" At which point, I stood up, straightened out of my crouch, and took off my nose, at which point Kathy made a sound of shock and gibbered at me for a bit.

I also got to greet kbeader "Woman! Woman!" and victorthecook "Con chair! Con chair!" as Animal, which was great, even if my nose did fall off when I mock-body slammed victorthecook.

After quite a lot of photos were taken, we decided that it might be time to go show off the costumes in the main circle before all of batyatoon's face fell off at once, so we made our way down the hall, and entered the room, at which point, the circle stopped dead and everyone started demanding that I go and play tuto's drum kit. So I Animal-walked my way over and of course, someone made the 'Eat Drums!' joke, so, since I was already roughly at eye level with the cymbals, I took a nice healthy Animal sized bite of the cymbal, at which point everyone called out "No, Animal! Beat drums!" so I sat down in my drummer's crouch and did some chaotic playing, which was fun, if loud, and Mike Mallory started up the Muppet Show theme, as we staggered out under the heat of our yarn wigs.

We went back to the room by way of the lobby, because batyatoon needed to return the scissors she'd borrowed to make her eyes and teeth to the front desk. The reception staff immediately demanded pictures, so somewhere out there is a picture of me mugging in the elevator, holding the door open with one orange paw.

And then there was blissful showering and eyebrow removal, followed by going down to the open filk for a few hours. I think this is when I heard Ookla do Murder She Wrote, but sadly, much of it is blurry. I do remember people passing around various strange edibles, including some I had brought, and then, during a particularly sad song, someone started passing around a box of kleenex, and since everything that had previously gone around was edible, Adam ate a kleenex, which reduced most of us to keening fits of trying not to laugh during a serious song. I believe the song in question was Quiet Victories, so we had a really long time to hold our breath. The laughter was starting to subside a bit when someone on the other side started passing a shoe towards Adam. Thankfully it didn't reach him until after the song had ended. So most of us were either in tears from the song, breathless from trying not to laugh, or both simultaneously before mdlbear could turn around and figure out what the heck was going on to his right.

I barely sang in open filk all weekend. Friday night I was unable to get to it due to rehearsals, and Saturday night I was all shouted out from doing the Animal voice for more than an hour, so I mostly didn't sing in circle. Sorry! I wasn't trying not to sing, it just kept not happening.

I stayed up as late as I could, but eventually the fact that I needed to do a theater workshop in the morning propelled me bedwards.


akawil and I set off from the room in the morning with a stack of Lady Mondegreen DVDs, which we handed off to the Creasys and to Ravan for distribution purposes. I believe all the major filk dealers now have Lady Mondegreen DVDs for sale, so if you want one, call your local filk dealer and say so! I chatted a bit with people in the dealer's room and then went to the back of what was the concert space the previous day, which was also serving as the workshop space before the afternoon concerts.

I led a reasonably credible if meandering workshop on how to put on a show with input from Nick, tibicina, Lee and Barry, among others. It was fun to talk theater and performance with people, but also to talk about the responsibility and management aspects of putting together a production.

The hit of my morning was all the people who asked me "Who was that guy playing Animal last night? He was great!"

One of the big highlights of the weekend for me was that there was an honest-to-goodness Puzzlebox reunion show, with it_aint_easy and fireskin and trystel and tuto and artbeco all playing together. It was a wonderful flashback for me to my earliest Consonances, and to meeting and befriending all these wonderful west coast people, who had previously just been pixels on the other side of an internet. They sang some of my favorites from their album, Jean's Odyessy, and 'Tain't Neither, as well as covers of Caledonia, Closer to Fine, and kanef's new serious song The Time Traveler's Daughter, as well as one of their own new songs, Rhythm Method, which has to be heard, not described. akawil and I mostly watched tuto and trystel's daughters squirm and try to shove pillows over their heads as their parents sang about their courtship. Overall a really great concert. The British filkers are in for a treat this year at Semibreve.

Closing ceremonies were brief, but excellent, with the announcement of next year's guests, who include devinsong and bardling! I'm hoping to make it back next year to see my far-away band-mate, who is so seldom in the US.

I had a nice long, and in places sad, conversation with Colleen Savitsky around this point, and then got to the open jam in time for the traditional four thousand verses of House of the Rising Sun. Somewhere in that endless time Carson showed up! This was lovely and we went back and forth exchanging silly verses for a while. Further songs were sung, and a rocking good time was had by all. Sadly, this was when pecunium's whiskey went missing, but it did show up again at the Dead Dog, so all was well.

We went out to dinner with kanef, Carson, mneme, drcpunk, and Lisa, in exponentially expanding dinner party fashion. akawil, pecunium and I had invited Carson, I saw kanef looking for a dinner party and invited him, we then added mneme and drcpunk and the second Lisa tagged along from the lobby. Dinner was full of lively conversation about just about everything under the sun. We went to the Loving Hut across the street, as I knew where it was (roughly) and knew that they had generally been able to feed me in the past at other locations. Plus there is a certain nostalgic something to eating out at that plaza on the Sunday nights of the convention.

We came back from dinner and joined the Dead Dog already in progress, and then expanded back from where we were sitting to make room for batyatoon, Char, Ookla, Margaret and k_stoph and various other people who wound up in our corner of the room.

Sadly, batyatoon had to leave early, but she did Creatures of Dream as her swan song, and blew away yet another filk room with it. I predict that that song is going to wind up on the Pegasus ballot one of these years. tibicina also had to leave early, and I was shocked at just how little time I felt that I'd spent with her over the course of the weekend, even though we'd been together almost constantly. Rehearsals had eaten up what would have been time spent hanging out and goofing off and throwing BPAL at each other. I hope next time is soon.

The Dead Dog was crowded, and lively, and the music was great. There were traditional tunes, and sad songs, and raucous funny songs, and little one-liner and short feature songs, and then there was a longish run of bawdy songs, and I watched Ookla wracking their brains, because they had done Rishathra the previous night, at which point we were collectively treated to the strangest and most surreal rendition of Me and My Monkey I ever hope to hear. Rand later dubbed it Me _In_ My Monkey because even though none of the words were changed, they were laughing too hard to sing it, after contextualizing the song as bawdy. Rand was laughing so hard he couldn't sing on the break, and he pantomimed to tuto to take over. tuto got as far as "not really, but pretend I am" before he also lost it. I'm amazed they managed to keep playing, but despite everything, they stayed on the instrumental part even though they were doubled over laughing.

On the other end of the spectrum, at some point I stepped out into the hall and was complimented on my show by one of the women who had been crying in the front row (I'm not going to disclose her identity here, but she knows who she is and I am sending more hugs her way) who told me the story of why she had been crying and so I had a bit of an explanation of why much of the front row was crying at my show.

I also spent some time in the hall trying to sort out the logistics problem of trying to go to get pecunium's Craig's List new phone the next day, when we were also supposed to go to Winchester Mystery House with mneme, drcpunk and the Golds. We wound up including hms42 in this plan at some point as well, and thus had two full cars worth of filkers to go around with. I was also supposed to meet Chris for dinner so I could finally meet his wife, Jane, and we were attending a con after-party hosted by it_aint_easy and artbeco, so there was much logisticing in the hall before we eventually packed it in for bed.

I did get pulled back into the filk room for a few more songs, including Char's New Spock song, which was fun to do-wop to, and a DoubleMeat Palace double header of kbeader's Meat song based on the Terry Bisson short story and madfilkentist's parody of same, which I hadn't heard before. If I hadn't desperately needed sleep at that point, I probably would have chimed in with Big Slab of Cow, but it was tired, and I was late.


Monday morning saw me in the lobby early with Lee, looking at bound volume of early filk archives that included some Isaac Asimov parodies of Iolanthe (G&S fans in the audience, take note!) and various other songs by early filk luminaries from that era.

Eventually we were able to assemble our whole party, and we piled into two cars, and made our way out for the Winchester Mystery House tour, which we got with with the Basement and Grounds tour. My major highlight of the basement portion was the huge display of klinkers from the furnace, because I otherwise found the underground portions of the tour somewhat claustrophobic due to the pipes that had been put in the 1950s. There were also some very done-in looking glass jars in a cabinet at the foot of the basement stairs, which had once been used for canning. The jars themselves looked serviceable, but their lids were at that point of disintegration where the metal starts to look powdery. The one thing that was sort-of fascinating about it was that one of the jars had a glass window in its lid; not an innovation I've seen in modern canning jars.

The house itself, which we saw first, was fascinating, and will probably be nightmare fodder for a long time. The very narrow tiny stair chutes were fascinating and odd, and it really helped to have Lee along as a size reference, as she is exactly the height that the Widow Winchester was, so that helped to contextualize a lot of the house. I hadn't realized that all of the furnishings had been sold at auction or carried off by the relatives they were willed to, so I was mostly interested in the fixtures and the built in furniture in some of the rooms, because that at least was authentic. They did a good job of furnishing the house, but it did feel oddly stripped, in a way that other historical houses I've visited did not.

I'm not sure I bought the whole 'seance room' theory that they had about one of the central rooms, even if it did have bars on the windows and a disappearing door, but overall it was a fascinating look into the life of someone who had been very private and perhaps single-mindedly focused on staying out of the way of potential enemies, imagined or not. I found myself with quite a lot of sympathy for the Widow Winchester, particularly when it was disclosed that with all of her wealth, what she kept in her safe within a safe within a safe (which was so heavy they had to reinforce the floor so it wouldn't cave in) were locks of hair from her prematurely deceased husband and child.

My favorite parts of the house proper were the sewing room (chests of drawers and deep linen chests as far as the eye can see, and some in the hall surrounding as well) and some of the innovations, like electronic bell calls for certain parts of the house, and the water-saving innovations in the two greenhouses and the multiple kitchens. She also had redwood cabinets painted to look like bird's-eye maple, which was pretty cool.

After the tours we went back to the hotel to eat and to let pecunium pack, so that we could take his belongings over to tenacious_snail's house, so he wouldn't have to try doing so with the motorcycle. Ironically, pecunium had the biggest suitcase of all of ours, so that would have been comedically impossible. We made it to tenacious_snail's house and then out for the cell-phone hand off, which went remarkably smoothly, and from there to our dinner with Jane and Chris, which was nice and relaxing, as we alternately caught up and got to know each other. Ironically, the restaurant we picked turned out to be another in the Loving Hut chain, despite having a different name.

Then we headed over to the Kwinn household, where things were already in full swing. Sadly, we missed getting to say goodbye to tuto and trystel. I did get to have a great conversation with fireskin and trektone about Jack the Ripper and agreed to be fireskin's Judaism consultant for a script she's working on.

I got many terrific compliments that evening, including patoadam who said that my show had exceeded his already high expectations, and johno who told me that the pictures of his that have had the most hits from the Hugo ceremony are the ones with me in them. I guess I picked the right kind of shiny dress for my Hugobabe stint.

There were bursts of music throughout the evening, songs from Mark O. and Rand and Adam and it_aint_easy. At one point k_stoph and Margaret did The Great Selkie of Sule Skerie and I was tempted to lean over and say to Adam, "That's what a selkie is" but I was good and I didn't. I am kind to my friends. Well, mostly.

I had some great conversations over the course of the evening. kbeader gave me very useful advice about my health, which I will be using in my next conversation with my doctor, and I had fun talking to erinwrites, and artbeco and Kathy. I eventually wound up talking to k_stoph and bardiclug about Israeli and culturally Jewish music after I was pulled across the room by the sound of k_stoph playing Zemer Atik on the guitar. I had a Pavlovian desire to clap along and eventually wound up demonstrating the dance that goes with the tune.

Somewhere towards the end of the evening I had a longish conversation about dogs with Adam and artbeco, and that was roughly when I realized I'd forgotten artbeco's contributor copy of the Lady Mondegreen DVD, so we made arrangements for me to leave it for her at the desk at the hotel to pick up the next morning.

Late in the evening fireskin sang Diamonds and Rust with it_aint_easy on guitar, and then a bit later fireskin and Ellen requested that Adam and Rand sing Song of Kong. Somewhere in there it_aint_easy did Stop Singing Ose or I'll Kill You and that triggered Adam and Rand to do Stop Talking about Comic Books or I'll Kill You and we got into a long discussion about Adam and Rand trying to beat out it_aint_easy at songwriting contests during their early days in filk.

Another musical highlight was getting to hear kbeader and trektone do Kathy's Starship and Haiku. After quite a bit of urging Rand, fireskin and it_aint_easy were able to pull together The Dark Man with all three vocal parts, and Margaret threw in the flute part, which was apparently planned, but we didn't know it was coming, so all of a sudden, there was the flute part, right on cue. She was right behind me, so I got phantom flute effect, which was cool, but a bit scary for a minute.

Eventually all good things must come an end, and we all trouped out of the house around midnight and wended our way back to the hotel after a very, very full day.

I was practically comatose while leaving artbeco's DVD with the hotel staff, but I think I managed to write her a coherent note, and then I went off to get ready for bed, while pecunium washed pots in the bathroom. And then we slept, like very sleeping things.


Tuesday was a further comedy of errors. We packed up, moving things from suitcase to suitcase, and we had to do so again at the airport.

Parting from pecunium was difficult, as he's not coming home again until next Tuesday, as this weekend he has a gig at FogCon, which is also in Bay area. I will miss him, but I'm glad he's getting to hang out with his friends and loved ones in the Bay, and reacquaint himself with the non-human denizens of tenacious_snail's house. I hear the cats have almost forgiven him for leaving.

Somewhere on our airport odyssey I discovering that I left my black lunch box somewhere, possibly the rental car, or the hotel room, or the check in counter. This meant I had no food for the plane, twenty minutes to board, and my hard drive was missing, and so was my collection of travel salt, which I had forgotten to pull out all weekend. Also, my copy of the new Ookla CD was in there, so Adam and Rand may be making an extra sale. I am sad. I liked my little alien lunch box (so called because it was black like the alien symbiote from Spiderman) and I will miss my drive (which had all my files, including my unfinished writings, and photos, etc.). Thankfully I back the drive up with relative frequency so most of it can be restored, but I also lost the cool container I got in France, and the lunchbox itself and some cutlery, so in general I am sad about not getting it back. We made many phone calls, to no avail, and pecunium searched around SFO and seems to have gotten food poisoning in the process. Bleah.

The flight was long, and I spent it mostly watching Friends and How I Met Your Mother, and starting to write this report. There was, sadly, no Midnight Blue Light Special at the airport bookstore, but my pre-order copy arrived today, so soon I will get to celebrate seanan_mcguire's book day. Albeit, I have once again perfectly planned to be in town a week before the book launch party. I seem to do this every single time. Someday I will make it to one of these things. Someday!

The lunchbox registered as missing about 20 minutes before our plane was due to board, so I didn't have chance to get food for the plane. I subsisted largely on Pop Chips which pecunium had procured for me (the sweet potato kind) and almonds from one of the JetBlue lunch specials, and fell into a funk of general exhaustion and lack of satellite radio.

Disembarking was fine and we were able to get our luggage, but it was a long wait for the shuttle back to the parking, and we were quite tired by the time we stumbled into the house.

Overall I had a really great time at the convention and would love to do it again next year, but for now, I'm going to sleep before I do things like transfer video or try to get a sound board recording of my concert. However, if you have pictures, or recordings please do point me at them or send them on. Thank you!

Thank you to everyone who made this possible, to Interfilk for sending me, to my friends and my family of choice for supporting me and giving me the musical help I needed to make my actual show like the show that was in my brain; to the con committee and the sound crew for helping me put on such a monster show, and to my invaluable stage crew, and akawil and pecunium, batyatoon, mneme, drcpunk and jlighton who were my local sanity check. Thank you to everyone who came to the show and to everyone who let me know that they enjoyed it and everyone who bought Lady Mondegreen DVDs, even though they were not really quite the same thing as the show I'd just done. I appreciated all of it, even if I was too tired or overwhelmed to say so at the time.

You're all wonderful. I hope you know that.

LMG, over and out.
Take it back, Creativity3

Wednesday felt like it started very early, but it was probably no earlier than usual, we were just tired, because we had been packing and running around, shoving an entire kitchen into a suitcase, as well as a few extra things, for my show, and other planned activities over the weekend. I had a few secret items in my arsenal, and more that I needed to finish making sometime before we landed in SFO on Wednesday night.

I went to work and tried to write out all of the instructions and programming tickets that people might need for the week I would be away, and then raced to Staples on my lunch hour to pick up a few last things, including lavender sharpies. Why? I had been completely unable to find a pair of lavender gloves. I had tried the week prior to dye a pair of white gloves, but the dye washed out immediately, so they were back to being white again. Did you know that in order to obtain a lavender Sharpie in your average Staples that you have to buy a 24 pack of Sharpies in different colors? Thankfully, they were discounted, so I only wound up spending $30 buying three markers, instead of $54, but still. On the good side, I now have a ton of colored Sharpies, and some rudimentary experience doing Sharpie dying, so I may do some experimenting, because I now have a box of triplicate colors.

I also bought a box of plain white labels. The reasons for this and the gloves will become clear in time.

After work, pecunium came and met me, and we jumped on a train to go to the airport. We did our usual trick of meeting akawil at Federal Circle Station, so that even though he's driving the car alone, he doesn't have to unload by himself. We made the round trip from the car park in the shuttle van and made it to the airport in time to get sandwiches, and board the plane.

Thanks to online check-in and curbside bag-check we were able to get through security in almost no time, other than the fact that I was given an unannounced pat-down after I got out of the profiling machine. Usually the TSA asks before starting to pat your ass, but in this case, the woman didn't even make a gesture towards permission. Thankfully the pat down was limited to my butt. Thank you riveted pants. Thank you so much.

Once we were in the departure lounge I looked up and saw a really familiar face. It was M.C. who I went to college with, and hadn't seen in a hugely long time. He's living in Berkeley these days, and has a congregation and a family. He seems to be doing really well. We caught up a bit, and oddly enough, it turned out he was sitting with us on the plane, though he mostly slept through the flight, so I'm glad we crammed some time in for catching up before boarding.

I had reason to be very glad I was sitting entirely with people I knew, since my on-plane activities involved a lot of pre-cut yarn, a hair net, a crochet hook, masking tape, sheaves of paper, sharpies and a pair of gloves. It's not that I'd be unwilling to explain what I was doing, but I can see how it would have been distracting watching me pull out and work through various projects. At the end of the flight, the gloves were 3/4 lavender, my set list and songs for the show were taped together fan-fold style so I could flip or skip through them easily, and I had largely finished making a wig.

We got into SFO around 11:30 and went to collect our rental car, and thence to the hotel and to sleep.

I spent a big chunk of the transition from airplane to car e-mailing with mysticfig, who was looking for sheet or music for one of the songs we were doing, which I had in my phone and was thus able to e-mail him from inside the covered hotel parking lot. I love living in the future.

Being back in the old Consonance hotel was a little surreal, as memories pop out at odd angles, since they're renovating the two-story lobby I'm used to and have been doing business out of a smaller lobby, oriented in a different direction. I kept stumbling on familiar locations that felt somewhat off from where I thought they'd be.

It was largely a convention full of slightly off-kilter reminisces, both because of the hotel, and the particular set of attendees, and made me think of my earliest trips to Consonance in 2001 and 2003. More about that later.


Thursday morning we woke unexpectedly early, due to the time difference. Our first agenda item was to meet tenacious_snail for lunch in Mountain View, but we determined that even with going down to breakfast, there would still be time for us to hit the Mollie Stone's for food for the weekend, before our lunch date.

We tore around the Mollie Stone's looking for items on our shopping list, as well as batyatoon's; as she was still in New York. I managed to call her about an item I was having trouble locating just as she was leaving work to head to the airport, so that was good timing. We discovered that there was no mustard in the store that was both officially kosher and safe for me (containing neither wine nor unidentified spices), so we wound up buying powdered mustard, despite the fact that the store carries at least 30 types of mustard. Such is my life.

While I was walking down the end of one of the aisles, inspiration struck. I'd been trying to think of a nice way to say thank you to all the people who had helped with, or who were going to be collaborating with me on my concert, so when I saw the jars and jars of different flavored honey sticks, it was clearly perfect. I also managed to get some ribbons to tie the sticks together and later I was able to get colored labels at the CVS to stick the honey straws together so they wouldn't wiggle out of the ribbon (this also allowed me to write the name of the recipient on the label, and thus keep track of how many I was making and giving out).

After our adventures at Mollie Stone's (exciting honey, whiskey, lots of fresh produce and meat), we started back in the direction of Mountain View.

tenacious_snail had suggested a newish sushi restaurant. We had some trouble getting service, but once we got their attention, the food arrived quickly and was very tasty. Midway through our meal pecunium looked up at the sound of his name to discover vvvexation standing there with her friend. This was entirely unexpected, as, while she knew he was in town, she definitely didn't know our lunch plans. So they joined us, and that was a nice unexpected surprise. pecunium showed vvvexation and tenacious_snail the three kinds of hand-spun yarn he was donating to the Interfilk auction, and gifted tenacious_snail with a small bit of blue-green two-ply he'd also made from the tail ends of a three-ply.

Eventually our lunch companions had to go back to work, and we got set up to go meet klrmn, who would be handing off pecunium's former motorcycle, which she now owns, as a loaner, as pecunium was planning to stay on an extra week beyond Consonance, as he'll be speaking at FogCon.

We agreed that we would meet up in the Trader Joe's in the plaza where pecunium used to work. pecunium ran into his old place of business to get a squeeze bottle for making salad dressing and then met us in the Trader Joe's. I recognized one of the workers at the TJs as someone I'd had a longish conversation with the previous year, but he was ringing people up, so I didn't say hi.

klrmn appeared as we were examining local beers, and I managed to get pecunium to put back the six pack of Guinness in favor of an Anchor Stream Bock that turned out to be very chocolatey. I bought moderate amounts of chocolate and water and assorted other foods, and we left in two separate cars, pecunium with klrmn and me with akawil.

akawil and I went back to the hotel and I continued trying to coordinate schedules with people who were showing up that evening to rehearse.

tibicina and blackdjinn met us in the lobby and we were able to relocated to our room to go through the script for my show. I answered her questions about the various numbers and speeches, and let her know who would be appearing when. We were at it for about an hour, before it was time to go down to the lobby and meet the concom and the other guests for dinner.

When I got down the lobby Dr. J., victorthecook and ocelotn greeted me and presented me with a bag of food I could actually eat, including chocolate from Trader Joe's and corn chips and smart water. Hooray! I also got a little yellow tote bag to carry it all in.

I had no idea we were going to dinner with the entire convention committee and their families, as well as all the guests and their families. In total the party swelled to possibly as many as thirty people, which was a little much for the size of the restaurant we went to. They were, however, fabulously polite to us, even when someone at our table knocked over a wine glass and they had to do containment procedures for broken glass (mopping, wiping, replacing the food that was on the table at the time). They were able to make me a plate with no allergens whatsoever, which was nonetheless tasty and not bland, so I was impressed with their ability to listen and plan ahead. Also, the waiter who was serving me showed up and knew my name, and checked in with me constantly to see if I needed anything, so that was a very nice touch. Kudos to the Jerusalem Bar and Grill.

On the way to dinner I found out that figmo was going to be spending the weekend in her wheelchair, as she was not yet out of her cast. However, this proved to be more of a challenge than an actual problem, as she was very mobile in her wheelchair, chanting her mantra "arms like Michelle Obama", which is her hoped-for goal from all of this. We were able to give her a ride to the restaurant, but realized belatedly that we'd have to swap out with someone with an empty seat, as we needed to collect batyatoon from the airport on the way back.

The dinner venue was extremely loud, so it was very hard to hear our across-the-table dinner companions. We made do with a lot of shouting and pointing and pantomiming, as we were at the lone round table at the tail end of a long, family style set-up. The table was also tippy in the extreme, which probably contributed to the incident with the glass. Most of my experience of the dinner was getting to know the con committee and acting as a native guide for Israeli food. We also talked about radio theater, and I got to plug The Post Meridian Radio Players as well as some of Michael McAfee's solo projects.

Overall the restaurant experience was pleasant, but there is always a flaw in the ointment. pecunium was observing Lent and all of the main dishes contained lamb, which is what he abjures, so he wound up ordering chicken separately, so as to be able to eat protein before we went to the airport. I need to remember not to take the allergic members of my family there, as seemingly lamb-less dishes have lamb in them.

The restaurant was very good about seeing to our needs, and even provided us with take-out containers and we ordered baklava to take away with us, which proved to be stellar. Unfortunately the take-out containers almost consistently popped open, so taking them back in the car was an adventure. One of them also tossed itself out of the fridge and all over the rug the next day, alas.

This was the point when we went to collect batyatoon from the airport. Oddly enough marapfhile and hms42 were also on her flight, but they wound up taking the shuttle as there was not enough room in our car, coming directly from the dinner as we were. If we had known when they were coming in, we might have arranged for a drop-off at the hotel in between. Oh well.

The rest of the evening was spent arranging rehearsals for the following day, as well as working on the lavender gloves. We briefly had batyatoon and tibicina in the same place at the same time (for at least ten minutes!) before tibicina and blackdjinn went back to the local host's place to get some sleep.


I woke up Friday and started rehearsing at 10 a.m. and I pretty much didn't stop all day. There were intermittent breaks for things like meals, starting the sabbath and conversing with people about logistics, but that was pretty much it, other than going to programming once the convention proper started.

We started out rehearsing in my room, with just batyatoon and tibicina in attendance. We were waiting for artbeco, erinwrites and trystel who were already on premises but were consulting at the Ookla the Mok rehearsal in the second floor rehearsal space. trystel kept me posted and soon we were able to join her and tuto and artbeco and erinwrites and start reviewing some of the songs, particularly the finale, which was what I kept jokingly referring to as our Ollabelle/LaBelle mashup.

erinwrites was playing shaker egg on the ending of the song, so we ran that part, so that she could go to lunch with Rand, and then we went back to the start and ran the whole finale.

Then we were able to go back and start rehearsing other numbers that artbeco would be performing, as she had to go at 2:30 to pick up her sons. As I knew she wouldn't be returning until much later, I made sure we got a chance to run her songs. I was already starting to look at having to cut Hurricane Eye, as I was uncertain about the guitar accompaniment (this literally got dropped about two hours before the show, which I think was a great relief to a lot of people in the cast). We were able to do a rendition of Love Will Come to You with mysticfig on guitar and artbeco on harmonica that was stunningly lovely, and became more so when trystel started noodling along on the flute. Midway through the second rehearsal, tuto came in and sat down and began drumming along, and it was just beautiful. I wish I had a recording of that.

tuto and trystel declined to join us for Love Will Come to You in the actual show, citing that they liked the stripped down arrangement better and trystel was particularly afraid of clashing with artbeco's harmonica part.

After artbeco had to leave, trystel and tuto took a break and I worked with mysticfig on one of my songs, The Child Garden, and when mneme and drcpunk arrived we were able to run When the Words Won't Come, which started out very rough as we tried to bash out the differences between the sheet music, the recording and the key I was singing it in, with mneme on his smaller harp and mysticfig on electric guitar. batyatoon says I grinned like a maniac when I got to hear mysticfig play the intro with the distortion pedal, and I believe her, because overall my face was sore from how much I was smiling, listening to everyone contributing and hearing it start to come together.

After we had managed to get through When the Words Won't Come cleanly a few times (I developed a problem with the scansion of one of the lines towards the end of this song "Dad, I hate this place, miss my home, the only life I've known."* and we wound up having to recite it back and forth with phonetic emphasis in the right place at least ten times before it sank in how the syllables lined up with the music. We started referring to it as the Dr. Seuss verse because of the way we were forced to scan it to make it work.

* the song actually goes "miss my mom the only life I've known." but I changed it for purposes of the show, since the show was roughly autobiographical and at that point in my life I had just moved to the states.

Shortly thereafter, trystel and tuto came back and since we now had drcpunk, we were able to properly run The Beginning Song (Everything Has a Beginning) and Let's Get This Show on the Road (Consonance remix), which were really two of the hardest numbers in the show, and coincidentally the first two songs we'd be doing on stage.

Somewhere in this time period I got an e-mail from our hotel room. It was from pecunium letting me know that he had lost his cell phone out of his jacket pocket, while riding the motorcycle. This created a whole cascade of events, about which more later.

One of the recurring jokes of the day was that the doors on the rehearsal room would lock behind you if you didn't prop them open, so we started scratching at the glass panels around the doors to be let in, and making incredibly piteous "I am a cat who has been left out in the rain" faces at each other, which got sillier and sillier. I think I have to concede that mysticfig won for most piteous face, though there was a five way tie going at one point. This culminated much later in my scratching at the glass for mneme to let me in and having him say "You realize the other door is standing open, right?"

I did not get to rehearse with everyone in the afternoon. In fact, there were quite a few people that we weren't able to synchronize with, including k_stoph, bardiclug and figmo, which meant we'd be cramming those rehearsals into the 24 hours before the show.

There was an amusing 'tag' episode where Margaret came in with her harp, just after mneme had spent a bunch of time looking for her, just as mneme disappeared, and then she had to go back to what she was doing, so they missed each other again, and eventually, when we had all but given up on the two of them intersecting, mneme showed up wheeling Margaret's harp, which he was using as a loaner.

Sooner than I would have thought it was almost time for shabbat dinner. batyatoon and tibicina and I took some much needed down-time, as we had been singing since 10 a.m. almost without cease, until nearly 4:30. batyatoon went to shower and I meant to take a nap, but when I got back to the room I wound up strategizing with pecunium about how to get a new cell phone locally over Craig's List, and then when he realized he'd forgotten a key ingredient for dinner, I wound up oil poaching a roast in my bathroom. Did I mention we brought an inversion burner and pots? Thankfully, I only splattered myself with hot oil once. Did I mention this was my first time oil poaching? The lid on the pot wouldn't close over the roast, so it was rather touch and go for a while, but people declared it to be tasty. Next time, tongs, and a meat turning fork need to go into the travel kitchen if we're going to do that again.

batyatoon and I welcomed in the Sabbath with whole wheat challah, mead that pecunium and I brewed, and roast with spetzel, sauteed carrots by pecunium and asparagus which akawil had made. It's amazing what can be done with an induction burner and two pots. Dinner was lovely and a much needed energy boost for the evening to come, as we were still on New York time, as was frequently stated throughout the day.

We ran down and caught the end of the sing along concert, which included the wonderful Key of R, as performed by kbeader, which makes such a great sing-along, because it's subtly different each time.

We also caught all of bardiclug's concert. I always forget how much I like bardiclug's concerts between times, since I see him so rarely. It's clearly time for him to make another album.

I got to catch up a bit with my friend Chris P., who wound up inspired to write a new filk based on bardiclug's Magic song, which he debuted for bardiclug at a workshop on gaming songs later in the weekend. I am told that marapfhile served as his panda consultant.

After the concert, we had a late-night rehearsal with k_stoph, billroper and figmo, which went surprisingly smoothly, considering how tired we all were, and the fact that two of the songs were originals that I'd written, which k_stoph hadn't heard before. Our rehearsal of Mr. Tanner went almost flawlessly, except for the occasional timing issue, and figmo told us the story of meeting Harry Chapin and being asked to sing Mr. Tanner with him, which was the first time anyone ever told her she had a good voice, so it seemed like one of those really cool, coincidental full-circle moments, because she was there to critique our performance of that song, which I'd chosen to represent how Harry Chapin, who died when I was very young, taught me by example that what I was doing, with singing and performing, was important.

tibicina, batyatoon and I also worked out over the weekend that it was clear what went wrong for the character of Mr. Tanner in the song, which is that the song he winds up singing in the background, O Holy Night, is a song tibicina says is usually a tenor solo, and Mr. Tanner is clearly defined in the song as being a baritone. Clearly, she pointed out, if he had chosen songs in a different range ... and that way lies madness, and no song.

Our best silly rehearsal moment was trying to teach k_stoph to pronounce Shehechiyanu, which is harder than it looks. For those who care, it's sheh-hech-chi-ah-noo (and ch sounds are a ch as in loch).

We didn't get to much in the way of filking on Friday night, as we knew that we'd have an early morning ahead of us, with more rehearsing.

Consonance 2013 - Set List

Interconnected2, Many hearts
So, as many of you may know, I was the Interfilk guest at Consonance this year. As an Interfilk guest, you're supposed to represent artists from your region, and yourself, including your own music and something about your history in filk. So when I was putting together my show, I wanted to make sure that all of those aspects were included. So, for posterity, and my own memory, here is my annotated set list.

The Beginning Song (Everything Has a Beginning)
singers: ladymondegreen and drcpunk
instrumentalists: trystel on piano
background: This song comes from Dan Paller's 1982 musical The Creation which I saw when I was young and impressionable, which is to say, seven, at an educational conference I went to with my parents. We brought home the cast album, and listened to it until I could probably sing it out of a dead sleep. I chose to sing it because it's a song about being nervous, and getting confidence from other people's encouragement, which is of course a common pattern with shows, and especially when you're putting on your own show. I also wanted the idea that when we're on stage we're all like little kids doing something for the first time, and not sure that we're going to get it right.

Let’s Get This Show on the Road
singers: ladymondegreen, drcpunk, batyatoon and tibicina
secondary harmonics: fireskin, figmo, erinwrites
instrumentalists: trystel on piano and tuto on drums
background: This is the song that directly follows out of The Beginning Song in The Creation and it's also a 'let's put on a show' song, as well as depicting backstage chaos, and all the components that one needs for a show that's going to involve more than one person. I chose it because of just how many people I was incorporating into the show, but also because it gave me a chance to seamlessly bring people onto the stage without really changing the setting.

Binary Niggun
singers: ladymondegreen, batyatoon, figmo, and tibicina
instrumentalists: a capella
background: This song probably went through the most transitions during my period of trying to conceptualize the show. Some of my may recall how much I love the music of the late, great Debbie Friedman. She was the first female cantor I knew, and she was also the first recording cantor whose records were a household staple and not relegated to a moldering cabinet. Her music played throughout my childhood, and I wanted to represent her somehow in the show. The trouble was, I couldn't find a song of hers that had the sentiment I wanted to convey. For a long while I was stuck, and then as we were working on orawnzva's The Creation of Ea inspiration struck and we wove Debbie's melody for Havdalah, which is a set of blessings about differentiation and creation and change, which I have a specific personal history with, into and around orawnzva's round. Since I know orawnzva also grew up with Debbie's music, this seemed like a good fit. I chose orawnzva's song both because it focuses around creation and thus fits into the first set, it's science fictional, unlike anything I had done until that point, and it represents orawnzva, who has been a strong creative force and a good friend for all the years I've known him.

So, this was the first place in the show where I spoke, and I talked about my childhood history with theater, both discovering it and performing in it. About my introduction to improv, and how my love for theater led me to put on shows with my friends.

Mr. Tanner
singers: ladymondegreen, batyatoon, tibicina and billroper
instrumentalists: k_stoph
background: I latched on to Harry Chapin at summer camp and wound up buying Greatest Stories Live on vinyl. I memorized just about every song on that album, but this one stuck with me harder than most, as it detailed the down side of having a big dream. Some of us are not cut out for the big time, and we know it. It's still fun to put on a show, and that was something I wanted to put across too. Just because you're not the best artist in the room, doesn't mean you aren't also an artist. The fact that the show doesn't stop here, but goes on was important to me, and I wanted to make sure that the moment of loss and hesitation was acknowledged in the music.

I did another intro here, catching people up on the songs that had been sung, and talking about gratitude and how important it is to acknowledge the moment we're living in. I explained the Hebrew blessing Shehechiyanu as being about being grateful for having reached a specific moment in time, whether you're grateful because you've survived terrible things to get there, or whether you're acknowledging that life is particularly good in that moment, it's taking a moment to acknowledge that you have been sustained and brought forward to see this time.

singers: ladymondegreen, batyatoon, figmo, and tibicina
instrumentalists: k_stoph
background: I learned this setting for Shehechiyanu at summer camp, and for a long time I thought it was also a Debbie Friedman piece, but it isn't it's actually by Tzvika Pik, who was a contemporary of Debbie's in the early Reform Judaism liturgy movement. I find this setting very comforting and beautiful, and I was really pleased with how closely we were able to recreate it. I wanted to have at least a few Jewish aspects in the show, since after all, I learned to sing in a synagogue.

When the Words Won’t Come
singers: ladymondegreen, batyatoon, and tibicina
instrumentalists: mneme on harp, mysticfig on guitar
background: This is a song by mannoftalent and his musical partner Jeff Thomson from their early musical adaptation of the movie Pump Up the Volume. A lot of the stuff mannoftalent wrote for this script, particularly some of the song lyrics, really reminds me of our shared high school experience on Long Island, and this was the song that really seemed to fit the 'performance' and chronological aspects of the show, and it speaks to another aspect of our culture, even inside fandom, which is the social awkwardness we feel in new or unfamiliar situations.

Joe Papp
singers: ladymondegreen, batyatoon, tibicina and fireskin
instrumentalists: Pre-recorded track by figmo and trystel
background: I wanted to do a song about New York, because the transition to being an adult and being a New Yorker were quasi-simultaneous, and being in New York and having the freedom to do theatrical shows also showed up at roughly the same time. Joe Papp is a song by William Finn from his brilliant album Elegies which I cannot recommend enough. I discovered William Finn through mannoftalent so that made a nice personal follow-on reason, but more than that, it was a song about one of the personalities who shaped the New York theater movement, while also being quirky, in a way I thought a filk audience would enjoy. It also has the distinction of being a memorial that is not a tear-jerker, which I definitely approve of.

Power of the Pen
singers: ladymondegreen, batyatoon, tibicina
instrumentalists: bardiclug on guitar
background: This is a song by sodyera, who was one of my earliest filk influences, and who doesn't get out of New York much these days. I really wanted to represent her in my show, not least because I adore her, but also because I wanted her to have the exposure and tell people that she finally has an album out, and her books are being published too! I had originally hoped to have mandolin on this song, but sadly, bardiclug wasn't able to bring his mando, so we made do with guitar. I think it came out pretty well, and at least conveyed the sentiments behind the song, if not the rhythm and style of sodyera's playing style.

Love Will Come to You
singers: ladymondegreen, batyatoon, tibicina and fireskin
instrumentalists: mysticfig on guitar, artbeco on harmonica
background: I discovered the Indigo Girls when I was a street-singer in Israel. My street-singing partner Kori had learned a bunch of their early songs, like Closer to Fine and their cover of Romeo and Juliet and I think also Galileo, and I in turn learned them from him, so their music became something I listened to throughout high school and college, and into my adult life. I still buy everything they put out. This song specifically spoke to a phenomenon of the longing for love and hoping for others to find love, and being supportive in times when people are feeling at their most lonely and vulnerable. I like the undercurrent of hope in the song, and the promise that we will all find places where we belong. That is, for me, the ultimate message of a group like filk: "Come in, you belong."

I haven't logged all the little interstitial speeches I made during the show, but the one I made at this juncture was to say that we were going to transition into songs I had written (in vague homage to Phil Ochs who was so nervous at his first Carnegie Hall show that he actually came on in a gold lame suit and sang nothing but Buddy Holly covers and other tributes until the crowd booed him into singing his own material) and said that it would be an easier transition into my songs now, since I had introduced myself properly.

Song for Arbonne
singers: ladymondegreen, batyatoon, tibicina
instrumentalists: k_stoph
background: I wrote this song for akawil shortly after we got together. It's based on Guy Gavriel Kay's A Song For Arbonne and I actually got a compliment from the author shortly after writing it, so I feel good about its representation of the book. The two characters in the song never meet in the story, but have an eerily parallel set of romantic experiences a generation apart, that they then each have to recover from, and they both do so musically, so my song blends their songs, to give a sense of the cycle closing. I'm not sure any of that is really clear from the song, but it's what I was thinking when I wrote it.

Anticipating a Rose on B-612
singers: ladymondegreen, batyatoon, tibicina
instrumentalists: k_stoph
background: This is another song I wrote based on a book, in this case The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, which I read in translation in my teens, but knew as a children's television show long before that. The song echos the sense of loneliness that I saw in the original work and uses elements of the TV show relationships to interpret them. I included this one for historical reasons, because it connects me to a lot of people, and it's also about the important act of reaching out an making contact with others.

singers: ladymondegreen, batyatoon, tibicina
instrumentalists: mneme on harp
background: This is one of my few comic book based songs, as it's about a relationship from Neil Gaiman's Sandman comics, which were a major touchstone for my post-college years. I was especially taken by the relationship between the various immortal siblings, particularly with the avatar of Delight's transformation into the avatar of Delirium, and how that related to her fractured relationship with her brother, the avatar of Destruction. I had recently managed to integrate what I was calling 'the negation chorus' into the performance of the song, which I wrote a while ago, but which we previously hadn't practiced enough to add. I feel that it went rather well with the doubled choruses reflecting Del's conflicting feelings about her brother and giving her that cusp moment before she decides that she needs to be active about seeking out answers.

Door to Summer
singers: ladymondegreen, batyatoon, tibicina
instrumentalists: mneme on harp
background: This is a song I wrote for seanan_mcguire after the summer we lived together when she was unemployed and trying for the first time to really follow her dreams and write full time. The summer brought us closer and created the bond that would make Lady Mondegreen's first solo concert really work, so in many ways this is a song not just about the genesis of a band, but about a liminal time, shared between two people who converged and became friends in unusual, and possibly unrepeatable circumstances.

The Child Garden
singers: ladymondegreen, batyatoon, tibicina
instrumentalists: mysticfig on guitar
background: This song was based on a book recommended to me by my former housemate agrumer, which I then spread throughout the founding members of Lady Mondegreen. The song showed up one day when I was on a train, and I had to write it down. The plot of the book is very, very difficult to explain coherently, but if you get a chance, it's available in just about every format, including electronic, and it's The Child Garden by Geoff Ryman. It's a fantastic book, especially if you like futuristic dystopian SF set in England, which I apparently do, having just finished Gwyneth Jone's very different but similarly based Bold as Love series, to say nothing of Candance Jane Dorsey's Black Wine which is not set in England but has a similar feel.

Fool’s Run
singers: ladymondegreen, batyatoon, tibicina and fireskin
instrumentalists: Pre=recorded track by Alex Brumel
background: I've always wanted to do this song with a full cast and a rock band, preferably costumed like this, but since that was awfully unlikely, given the gold face paint it would require, to say nothing of the costume change, I decided to store that idea for later, and just go with the full rock band treatment. Thanks to my voice teacher I now have a rock band that fits in my pocket. The song is based on Patricia McKillip's Fool's Run which is a caper novel wrapped up in a story about music, friendship and family. The relationships between the characters are really interesting, and there are some terrific twists.

This was the point where I had to drop two songs. The show had a fairly serious protest song bent, looked at from a certain angle, and I had originally included Paul Simon's Hurricane Eye which turned out to be more complicated than anyone wanted to try, which was fine, because as it was the show was about the right length. The other song I cut was Distant Glass which I wrote for bardling and seanan_mcguire about our trip to Consonance in 2003 and our subsequent adventures in Boston and England, with a bridge added in 2007. Sadly, that didn't have time to come together either, but again, it worked out better for timing purposes.

Riverside/Save the Country
singers: ladymondegreen, batyatoon, tibicina and fireskin
instrumentalists: trystel on piano, artbeco on harmonica, tibicina on tambourine erinwrites on shaker egg, and tuto on drums.
background: This was the culmination of the somewhat truncated 'activist' section of my show. I have long admired Laura Nyro's improvisational vocal style; she does for me what so many other people get from Janis Joplin or Joni Mitchell. She gives me the sense that anything is possible with the human voice, with enough bending and faith in your own ability to let improv into your work. I can't do what she does, but I love what she did when she was alive and writing, and I like keeping her unique voice alive for another generation. The song comes out of events that had a profound effect on my adopted country and on the music that I grew up loving, and so in essence it reflects all the protest singers and songwriters of the 1960s and 1970s that formed my musical taste, as well as reflecting back on the theme of New York singer/songwriters who influenced me. It was a big number to put on, but I think it worked.

Wind and the Rain
singers: ladymondegreen, batyatoon, and tibicina
instrumentalists: a capella
background: This is my setting of a Shakespeare song, two actually, both of which fit the same verse structure, from two different plays, based on a theory that batyatoon and I had in college that Feste from Twelfth Night grows up to be Lear's Fool in King Lear, which is why the Fool's song is a callback to Feste's song. Either way, this caused me to fuse the songs together, and when we realized that we were a verse short for our structure, we added a bit of Ogden Nash, for color. I wanted to do something light and fun at the end of the show, starting it as it had begun, by acknowledging in the lyrics of the song that the show was a play, and thus not entirely without its fictions.

The show was a lot of fun to put on. I couldn't have done it without everyone credited here, but especially not without the efforts of Ellen K. who was my indefatigable stage manager, the sound crew at Consonance, especially the Tyras, who brought the wireless headsets, and hms42 who flew over from NY to help do sound. Thanks also go to the people who were my local sanity check and who provided me with immense amounts of help: jlighton, mneme, drcpunk, pecunium, akawil as well as my long distance sanity checkers like sheistheweather, angelrenaissanc, tirerim, jadasc, gundo, markbernstein, fiddledragon and many, many others.

Thank you to everyone who flew across the country to see me and to help me do this show, and to people who drove or flew amazing distances to be there, and to everyone who wanted to be there, but couldn't be there. I know you were there in spirit. Thank you to Interfilk, and our amazing audience, who, as I said at the end of the show, without you, there is no point in putting on a show. Thank you all!


Listen Without Prejudice
Lady Mondegreen

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