C13, Portland, 2007

Convergence 13 was in Portland, Cris and I went from Thur-Tues this year. It was my first time in Portland, and I tried to squeeze in a few touristy things as well as the festival.

Thurs May 24, 2007

Woke up at 4:30am, just had time to scarf down breakfast and some tea before the taxi showed up. Quick check in, and ran into Ethan as we got through security, turned out that he was on our flight and would be in Portland while we were as well, but for work instead. We settled in at the gate and tried to say awake until it started boarding at 6:30am. I forgot my purse by my seat and E. brought it to me in the boarding line. He was back behind us, so we just all did our own thing on the full flight. The landing in Chicago was a bit bumpy, and then we had 2 hours off the plane to kill while they changed crews.We decided to try and find Galileo's bar, and hiked through to another part of the terminal (through the neon tunnel) only to find that it was a literal bar, no food at all, and no seating. Back to where we started to the little deli next to our gate and we claimed some space at a high communal table to eat second breakfast. Back on the plane, and managed to doze a little on the way west, but also watched "Bridge to Terabithia" and had to wipe away tears a few times. Also read "Leaving Microsoft". By the time we were coming in to land, I was getting twitchy.

We waited with Ethan for our bags, and exchanged contact info. All our bags came out together, and he headed off to get his rental car and head to his office. Frank and Penguin were waiting for their bags as well, but they had a ride to the hotel planned, and Cris and I took off to the Max red line train. It was like a streetcar, we tried to pile up our suitcases out of the way. Long ride downtown, 12 stops or so, but interesting stuff to look at - all green! Saw Mt. Hood in the distance as well. Two blocks to the hotel and our room was ready so we were able to check in and go right up. Got a king room on the 10th floor, decent view. Sliding door with a translucent panel to the bathroom, no safe or fridge, but at least the two bottles of water per day were free. We unpacked and then wandered out to procure some food, ending up at Veganopolis toward the other end of downtown. Very high ceilings, nice open space, with "art goes here' sign on the wall. :) Good food, though no cactus jerky on offer, just soy.

Back to the hotel, Cris took a nap while I went to check out the pool and hot tub. Turned out that the rest of the exercise facilities were $10 per day (and so was the wired net connection), so just used the pool and the hot tub, trying to soak out flight knots. Two kids were playing in the pool under the eye of t heir grandparents, the whole length was under a sky light. Kind of skeevy guy in the hot tub but he didn't bother me. Back up to the room, showed, Cris still passed out, so I went down to get my laminate in the last little bit that they were available. Bit of confusion over if I'd bought a tshirt but I managed to find my note that I hadn't.

Woke cris up and we headed out to Mother's for dinner. Nice place, reminded me a bit of Vienna in it's architecture, high ceilings again. The menu looked really good, hard to choose. They used tny little stainless steel teapots. It was close to the evening venue, so I ended up going there and Cris peeled off to go back to the hotel to sleep. Found Fez and headed upstairs.. Caught the end of Fraqtured Sound (guy with laptop), and ran into Michelle and Joe who were excited to see Reliquary (local to Pheonix), and I just managed to stay awake until they finished their set, but I left before The Red King came on, apparently missing a fire laden stage show. It was smoking allowed in there and that combined with the smoke machines encouraged me to leave beyond being dead tired. Walked back to the hotel, took a quick shower and collapsed into bed at 11pm.

Friday May 25, 2007

Woke up fairly early, around 8am. WAlked over to the Bijoux Cafe for breakfast, got there just before the rush got bad. Very good food, though we had to give up plans to go back on the weekend, as it would get busy at 8:30am and stay that way. We decided to keep walking and made our way over to Powell's, Cris gave us an hour in there, and I was worried that I'd not need that long. Hah. I went through my books list in my palm pilot, wandering from literature to sci fi to mystery to poetry. Found some gaps in their collection, and came out with a short stack, under $40, but I was rushing to get to the register before my hour was up. :) Love the fact that it's bright and open in there, tall shelves with overstock on the top, but room to browse without feeling crowded. Loved the bike shaped bike racks outside with bike related titles cut out of them. *Very* bike friendly city, we saw covered bike parking, racks on city buses, hangers on streetcars, and people riding everywhere. Then we went across the street to an alt. shop, tried on a skirt but it wasn't flattering in the sizes that they had. Cris escaped the dust in the counter culture book shop next to it. Then we made our way through a revitalised warehouse district to Title 9. Cris went over to REI while I tried on a pile of stuff I'd only seen in the catalogue. They were missing some sizes & colours but I got the shimmery plum skort and had them ship the pewter cargo shorts in my size to the house. Found Cris in the coffee shop across the way, after popping into an urban house stuff store (they had an coink) that was shaking due to the building site next to it.

We caught the streetcar back to the hotel and ran into more C13ers now. Found Adam and Trid as Cris picked up his laminate, and Axel, Siobhan and Kest, but we ended up splitting up again but for Kest, she and I walked over to the Someday Lounge to see the Pheonix Parade fashion show. It wasn't quite open when we got there, but once it did, we grabbed good seats at the front. Adam was doing curtains. We heard a classical a cappella set before the designers, a beautiful volunteer offering by johannajanette. Kest bought me a cider, never did get a chance to repay her, rain cheque for Ybor next year. :) Kambriel opened and closed the show, her stuff was gorgeous as always and the presentation fun (tea party to the Sister's Alice, then frantic running to ...) I remember liking Original Sin's stuff, and Mange la Mode looked good as well, but no announcements were made as to which designers were showing, nor even that the show was done. I think there were 3 other designers. Found Siobhan and Axel at the bar, like the space, it had a half loft upstairs where some people had watched from.

My stomach was empty at this point, so I left to head back to the hotel, going via Voodoo Donuts to pick up a Mango Tango donut, but it was *sooo* sweet I almost got a toothache just eating it. Was supposed to be back at 5 but was a bit late, popped my head into the Eldergoth cocktail thing at the hotel bar, but didn't recognise anyone, so back up to the room to find Cris.

Cris and I had tacos with Kest before the Phoenix Parade, at Taco del Mar, but I can't recall what we had for dinner that night. Didn't rush, though, got to the venue a bit later than I usually would, we caught a taxi with two people who pretty much insisted that we do so, as we weren't noticing the shuttle bus stop.

Missed Deathline International. Tried out the downstairs at the Crystal Ballroom for a while, but it was crowded, hot and smoky. Upstairs to the main room, the sprung floor was odd to stand on, esp. as people kept bouncing on it to make it ripple. Moved off to the side, on some stuff put down for the sound booth, leaning on a railing. Zombie Girl had a fairly uniform sound, and used a breathy voice way too much. Fun lyrics, though. :) Skinny Puppy was over the top as usual, starting off behind a white sheet and then coming through it, covered in "blood" for most of the show. Mothra had his DJ set after the Puppy set, and only got about 15 mins as they shut down the venue, and only a few people dancing. We caught a shuttle bus back to the hotel, and I'd texted Gabriel with Kest's room number for her after party, so I hung out there until she showed up and chatted for an hour or so with her. She invited the room to her place for tea the next day. Cris faded before she arrived, so he was sleeping when I got back to the hotel room.

Saturday May 26, 2007

Woke up a bit later than normal this morning, and decided to check out the Farmer's market for breakfast. Walked over, just at the limit of my feet hurting from the walking yesterday. It was quite crowded. Did a circuit, picking up a chocolate bun and coffee for Cris, bread and cheese, and then decided to wait in line for a buttermilk biscuit with egg and cheese from a tent in the center. The woman behind us in line was insistent that the wait was worth it, and it did turn out to be so. We took our food to the park adjoining the area where the market was set up and ate at a quiet bench there. Tonnes of kids mostly being sweet and curious, one little boy in tevas, cargo shorts and a button down shirt climbed the ledge near us and would wave shyly, then run away, then come back and do it again.

From there we decided to go to the Japanese Garden, in Washington Park. We took the streetcar up, then a bus that went the long way round the park to the garden. The garden was pretty, though it was odd seeing Pacific NW plants next to or behind the Japanese ones. The stone and flat gardens were neat to see, gorgeous little waterfalls, and a teeming koi pond. Had a bit of a wait for the bus, and bailed on walking to Gabriel's, staying on past the street that led to the one that went to her house. We got off at the Zoo again (crowded!) and we took the streetcar back to downtown. At the transfer point to the Max, we had lunch at a Mexican place, sitting outside at metal tables. No problems finding her place, though some confusion about where and if to pay as we were leaving the fareless square.

Gabriel lives in a house with quite a few other people, all artists, and she gave us a tour to see the pieces scattered throughout. We chatted over pots of tea and finger foods, and a couple of her friends (her creative team :) ) showed up, as well as one of the guys from the room party last night. We left at around 6 and were back downtown a bit late for the group dinner Amy had organised, but ran into them heading to plan C - Dragonfish - and got sucked in, Cris still carrying the remnants of his bread and cheese from the morning market. We grabbed a booth at the back with Amy and Jason from Toronto and had a fairy sedate dinner, sharing sushi and grilling Jason on his sake flight tasting. I had a glass of wandering poet junmai ginjo (I think), it was *very* nice. Got out of there past 8pm, headed the two blocks back to the hotel and sat for a bit reading before getting ready to head to the venue, needing some down time.

Totally missed any fashion show, circus, and Submarine Fleet, got there as Abney Park was playing. *Loved* their style, airship crew from the steampunk age. The lead singer's voice was neat, routed through an old fashioned microphone. The guitars had brass gears on them, and the lead female vocalist was also a belly dancer, wearing a brown leather aviator's cap, a brown leather and buff lace bra, a knotted rope on her waist and a brown and cream skirt. The lead singer was dressed as a captain, and the guitarists as mechanics. I ended up grabbing a CD since despite the muddy sound in the Crystal Ballroom, I enjoyed their set. Ran into Thomas and Allison and Brady from Seattle and caught up with them for a bit. Had worn my dragon printed velvet dress with the full skirt, and had fun dancing when FLA took the stage. They didn't seem to be all that into playing for us, though they did come out for an encore. Couple of my favourite songs got played, so I was happy. We left in the first wave, I think after their set. Dropped in on Axel and Siobhan's room party, but I was much too sober to really enjoy myself for too long.

Sunday May 27, 2007

Woke up at around 11am, went out to the Flying Elephants deli to grab breakfast sandwiches (murals inspired by Toulouse Lautrec on the walls) - yay toasted sandwiches. Back to the hotel for the "Building a sustainable Convergence" panel. Refused to wear a neon green kegger contingent shirt, but did have my C1 laminate there for references. Didn't get called upon to speak before the 2 hours were up, but lots of good points were raised, and it only got somewhat pointed a couple of times. Penguin was a pretty good moderator. Jack didn't speak very much, David of the C13 committee seemed really bitter, Siobhan was the voice of reason as usual, Eilis was reasonable as well. Found out that Kendra also went to C1. Cris talked a bit, and so did Adam, and the BPAL folks, as well as some first time convergers.

Cris packed up to keep himself busy (ended up in the hotel bar after the panel), while I did a quick change and caught the 2:30 bus to the Victorian mansion for tea, ended up chatting with my C12 tea seat mate the whole way there, he was kitted out in a red coat and hat. Bagged tea from Stash and cucumber water, in paper cups, was all we got until after the music and fashion shows. Changlings violinist and Zoe Keating on cello were awesome, if cut short. Monica Richards and William Faith did a slightly longer set and then a pause before three designers showed their works in the covered walkway to the gazebo where the music was. I loved Dark Industry Clothing's set. Then food came out, but only one table of it, so I stood in line for about 20mins (light headed from hunger) talking with Frank and a local. Frank turned down the huge speaker right next to our heads as it was making us deaf, and I got dressed down for it when someone official came by to see why it went quiet. Cheese and crackers, some fruit and a chocolate fountain, and tarts were on offer, I filled up two small plates and took off to find a table in the front garden to sit at. Talked a bit with a guy who had been at the morning panel, Calhoun I think, and Frank joined us. I left as soon as the bus was announced, having known only a couple of people and not feeling like I could strike up conversations. Lots of gorgeous dresses and hats on the attendees.

Collected Ethan as he found the hotel and we looked through the vendors room (I was trying to find a hat, but the hat stall didn't have my size - colour combo), and he picked up a few things. Up to our room to pick up Cris (and for me to change out of my lacy tea dress + velvet coat), and we headed out in Ethan's car over the river to the Belmont area.

Our first choice, PokPok, was closed due to Sunday, so we backtracked to Al Hoda for middle eastern. We made a tactical error and ordered way too much food (two veggie mezza, plus Ethan got extra hummous), we packed up half of it and gave it to Ethan for his hotel room fridge. We popped into Stumptown Coffee Roasters across the street, and I had the hardest time getting a hot chai, they iced it first, then charged me for the wrong size. Kind of noisy in there with the bean grinding though. The bathroom had a blackboard and the whole back of the door painted with blackboard paint, freshly cleaned, so I drew a picture before leaving. :) Back to the hotel and Ethan headed back to his area of town, after I gave him the info for the night at the Fez on Monday.

I gingerly put on my halter corset, not tying it too tightly as I was still full from dinner. The satin bloomers I'd made for Halloween got used again, but I didn't end up wearing the mask that I'd brought, I had a hard enough time navigating around the Crystal ballroom with both eyes unencumbered. Shuttle bus to venue. Saw Joe smoking outside, ran into him and Michelle later, as well as Thomas and Allison again and Adam. We came in as Jill Tracy was doing her set, I really enjoyed it, she evoked a cabaret noir feeling very well. Got conflicting reports on Two Ton Boa, from people who liked fast and slow music, so I guess they were good for what they do. Smoky downstairs again, so didn't spend any time there. Faith and the Muse were great, we watched from off to the side and were really close. Neat to see them with the whole band, a different kind of energy. Didn't stay for the encores (they got two apparently), cause we were fading. Left Cris to sleep, changed from the corset to a tshirt and dropped in on Blackavar's party. Again, too sober for much fun, but stayed for a bit. Talked a bit with Axel about the panel, called him on something that I thought didn't come out well, he admitted the phrasing was poor. Found out from my tea party snack partner, Calhoun, that the Mad Hatter character had stolen the full container of tea from the food stand to take to the main table. Talk turned way too explicit, and I left to head back to my room. Got to bed at around 4am again.

Had not followed Adam from Sio and Axel's party to the ostensible party that FLA was in, though it was heartening to hear that they were partying with Convergence. Leaving the Crystal ballroom on the shuttle bus, I'd been disheartened to see the nights listed by bands on the marquee, with no mention of C13 at all...

Had taken a bath after Sio and Axel's party, using a bath bomb to relax myself, then having to turn down the room heat and lay on top of the covers for a while to cool off.

Monday May 28, 2007

Woke up at around 10:30 or so, took a shower and got ready to head out. Called around and found out that only the Airport Enterprise car rental office was open, so went with Avis instead. Walked over to pick it up at 11, they closed at noon, got a Toyota Corolla. Went over the river again and to Zell's cafe for a bit of a wait (ran to the ATM) that was wroth it after tasting the amazing tomato, asiago, spinach scramble. Got tea in a french press and came up with an idea for how to stop it from over steeping. High ceilings again, though painted dark brown to match the wood over the bar and the big chest built into the wall near us, with butter yellow walls. Went back to the hotel to pick up CDs for the drive, the car had a 6 disk in dash changer. Ran into Cossack and Tatyana outside as they waited for their ride and chatted for a bit. Caught Amy to hug by on her way to the airport. Cris came back down with CDs before I made it inside, and we headed off north.

I ended up driving all day, which was kind of sucky on I5 as traffic was heavy, but fun on 504 into the interior toward Mt. St. Helens. We stopped at the visitor center in Castle Rock and determined to drive all the way to the Johnson lookout center, 5 miles from the crater. We stopped at a few of the lookouts and pull outs on the way, by the bridge where we saw the ash for the first time, and at a couple of distant glimpses of the mountain. Passed a brevet ride we think, at least the first guy was kitted out, and there was a pack, then a tandem bike, then a couple in matching jersies. Felt semi-guilty in the car going over the climbs (it went up to 3800 feet in places). Finally got to the last center, paid our $8, looked through the displays inside, then walked along the lookout path. There was a horizontal band of clouds blocking parts of the mountain, but as we moved around a bit we were able to get a view of the lava dome and the smoke leaking from it. Very impressive and beautiful, with snow in the runnels on the side of the mountain, but also somber as we read the stories of those caught near the eruption. Odd to think that it was so long ago, I was living in Comox in 1980 and it was huge in the news.

Coming back out the 48 miles or so seemed to go a lto faster, knowing what to expect. We were lucky that it had cleared up over the course of the day, it was overcast in Portland and we almost didn't go, but it was sunny by the time we made it up into Washington. Just before I5, we stopped at the Rose Tree restaurant for pie, but Cris forgot his camera there, even though I stopped us to take a picture of their stained glass window. Back down I5 to Portland, and drove right into the Avis garage and did the express drop off, going back and peering in the car after I put the keys in the drop box but unable to spot Cris's camera. Walked back to the hotel, there at around 7. Had made dinner reservations at the Heathman hotel restaurant (I think that's the name) for 7:30 while we were on the road. Got Cris using Google SMS to find numbers. :) Saw Kambriel and Curse getting out of a car as we passed toward the hotel kitty corner to ours. Dinner was awesome, though I just did a drink (guava sexy) and entree as I was still a bit full from the pie, The Dieppoise fish I had was surrouneded by mussels and clams, with fingerling potatoes and snap peas that were perfect. We shared a very espresso soaked tiramisu and rolled back to our room to change for the evening at the Fez. Cris got a head start on packing as I fussed a bit, wearing a lace skirt and top and my big boots. We ended up waiting a bit for a streetcar to go over (no shuttle now).

Caught the tail end of Written in Ashes, music was okay but the lead singer was a bit brash for my tastes. The Exploding Boys turned out to be a committee member's band, he was the lead singer doing a Robert Smith impersonation and Cure cover songs. It started out rough but got okay by the end. Bit of a wait for Trance to the Sun, Cris had gone out to get us earplugs. Only knew a few people there, was in a foul mood in general, had a hard time perching on the edge of a seat to save my legs as the woman behind me kept knocking me. Another nice woman let me leave my coat with her. I bought Cris a drink at the bar downstairs, sat there for a bit, then headed up again. Trance to the Sun were great, turned out that the band members had been dancing near me to the DJ set. Stayed as long as I could but the smoke in there defeated me and I had to ask Cris if we could bail out early. Got a taxi with a very twitchy driver, and we almost got cab-jacked by two drunk guys that didn't listen when the cabbie said he was busy, they tried to open the doors and get in. Got back to the hotel finally, and had to walk around to the other doors. Took a shower to get all the smoke off and was in bed by 1am.

Monday May 29, 2007

Woke up at 10 or so and had a granola bar while packing. Took far too long, but everything got in where it was supposed to. Went to the Flying Elephants deli for breakfast again, got a grilled cheese, tomato, spinach sandwich that was great, and a nice big cup of vanilla tea with cream. More C13 stragglers came in for food, and we got things for the plane as well. Back via Rite Aid for more tissue packs, the pollen count was high.

Did express checkout, then headed to the Max stop at around 11:30, and proceeded to not get tickets in time before the train came (line up) and got on for two fareless stops before getting off to buy, then waiting 15 mins for the next one. I was getting worried about check in lines, but when we got to the airport at 12:45 or so, we were able to check in quickly, finish the bottle of water from the hotel, and waltz through security. Flight was delayed due to thunderstorms in Denver, and once we got there, they changed our gate 3 times (we were supposed to continue on the same plane), but at least they gave us re-boarding passes. Full flights all around, but we got row 13 in economy plus this time, so lots more leg room. Bought a snack box to share, and read through turbulence when couldn't work on typing this in. The turbulence never got really bad, thank goodness, but we had to veer north before going west to try and avoid the worst of it, so no making up the delay in the air. Got a taxi at Logan, home at 2am, and sent an email to work saying I'd be in during the afternoon.

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