My weekend in the city.


I didn’t end up getting much editing done so far this weekend. But I had a pretty great time, met some new people, and got out of my comfort zone a bit to spend time with people, which is something that I generally see some value in, as opposed to shutting myself up in my apartment and writing – or writing on public transit with my headphones in, for that matter.

So, the fun kicked off with my brother picking me up on Saturday afternoon. I drove his car along the Lakeshore route up until around downtown Oakville, which seemed to be having a festivity of some sort that shut down the main road, and I stopped to switch places with him, and he drove the rest of the way to North York, and a Karaoke fundraiser for charity that somebody on the Toronto Whedon-fan mailing lists had mentioned. I do like Karaoke when I can go in a situation where I don’t feel like a complete outsider, and Jason mentioned that there were several special Firefly and Buffy themed songs in the program.

It was a lot of fun. I sang four numbers:
Rest in Peace, Spike’s solo from the Buffy musical
The Downeaster Alexa, by Billy Joel
The Impossible Dream, from ‘Man of la Mancha’
The Hero of Canton, from the Firefly episode ‘Jaynestown.’

I’d thought of doing “The Ballad of Serenity” as my fourth number, but somebody else picked it first, and I decided not to repeat. I joined with several other people in the audience singing along, though. My brother stuck around for a while, we shared a pizza, and a friend from the Firefly shindigs was at the next table. There was a girl who’d promised to cut off her hair to donate it to make a wig for somebody who’d lost their hair from cancer treatments, and was running a stunt vote as an additional fundraiser – two dollars to vote whether she had to shave her head entirely or leave it ‘short.’ I voted for the shave, left around 7 in the evening before the hair cutting started, and found out that the vote had gone ‘short’ by a wide margin. Somehow I suspect that she’d planned on getting a sympathy vote and not having to go through with the shaving.

On my way from Viva City, the Karaoke venue, down to the subway, it started to rain. By the time I got to the cheap hotel on Sherbourne, it was after eight, and I quickly checked in, hopped back out to grab a few late-night munchies, and then put myself to bed by ten-o-clock or so.

In the morning, the rain was still coming down. Weather network said that it’d be raining in Toronto until the showers started to ease off around 2 pm. “Wow, what a great day for a barbecue,” I thought to myself.

Once I’d showered, packed, and checked out of the hotel, it was a bit later than I’d planned on leaving to get to the Polaris Barbecue on time.

And the rain was just pouring down. I hung around the hotel lobby for a bit to see if it was going to ease off, then grabbed my umbrella and headed out for the subway anyway.

And though it did ease off a bit while I was on the TTC, it was pouring again by the time I finally got off at the park – one stop before the stop I should have used, which was the one with the bus shelter. Oh well. I did wait in the shelter for a while once I’d finally walked to it, again waiting to see if the rain would ease off before venturing into the park to look for Polaris people, and drying off as much as I could.

And it eased off a little, so I went and took my chances. I was feeling very wet even under the umbrella before I got to site number two, and was holding the umbrella more to protect my bag than my own self, since my bag contained the laptop, the iphone, the work blackberry, and a number of other digital devices that I didn’t really use but tend to pack out of habit.

And at site number two, I saw a dozen or so people, half of them with Polaris or Con-com t-shirts, huddling under one plastic tent or trying to successfully erect another shelter.

That first hour of the party was relatively grim, with the heaviest rain, the least protection from it, and the fewest amenities available. Soon enough, though, the rain was definitely easing away, a tarp had been spread between four trees with rope, two picnic tables that had not been chained to trees had been located and dragged under the tarp and one of the tents, and the barbecue was fired up. There were picnic tables that had been chained to trees near our site, but rain puddles had formed underneath them. Sigh.

But soon enough the rain was down to a sprinkling, and then gone entirely, and the sun came out.

There was nothing life-changing about the party, but it was a fun time, and a chance to spend more time with people that I mostly recognized from running panels or Geek-offs or the like. I enjoyed several burgers, watched as a few brave souls rolled down a skiing hill and then tried to stand up at the bottom, and lined up to get a soft-serve cone from an ice cream truck.

In my opinion, that’s a great party.

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