After the randomization, everyone found ourselves at one of a dozen or so tables. (Some people opted out entirely, but I was willing to give it a try.) Each table was given a separate topic and told to come up with complaints on that subject. Yes, it was a gripe session, and we were deliberately told to be as negative as we could. Our table's topic was "Anger Management."
Having come up with a bunch of gripes, we were given a new challenge: Weed it down to the best eight, and then set those eight to verse. What? It didn't need to rhyme, but it should be in some sort of verse form, and we were warned that we were to eventually perform them. Okay, that's interesting. The groups set to work. We were working out a verse form and were pretty close when the final form of the challenge appeared: They distributed sheets with lots of different song titles on them and announced, "Pick one of these and set your gripes to one of these melodies."
Well, I wish we'd know that earlier, because the verse form we'd picked didn't work with any of them, but after a bit of thrashing around, we picked "Hello Muddah, Hello Faddah," and started reworking what we'd done earlier into that form. We were doing okay with the first six lines of the song (four syllables, two beats each) but were thrashing around on the final line (twelve syllables) when one of the team found the perfect fit.
Now it was time to perform. Some of the groups performed in unison, but I was willing to do it solo, and the rest of the team members were happy to send me up there. Also, we realized that it was better to go earlier than later, lest someone end up using the same melody and accidentally upstaging us. So as soon as we could get the moderator to call us, I came up front (with sfrose as moral support) and sang this:
Selling "tickets,"If I do say so myself, the audience reaction was good. They liked it, and I was happy with the result.
Mister Shirt now hates the whole Philcon Committee!
The other groups performed their pieces, which were, as you would expect, of varying quality. Many were funny. I managed to record most of them, but not all of them. I hope to have a chance to upload those that turned out when I get a chance; however, the constraint is time; I need me, my computer, an available internet connection, and sufficient time to do the uploads, and that's challenging here at SMOFCon.
The mixer seems to have achieved many of its desired socialization goals. After the formal mixer game ended, I was distracted, because I kept trying to find ways to rework our song so it rhymed correctly. (The original is ABCBDEE; what we did was ABCBDDE.) Cheryl starting writing more verses to the song. (Watch her blog for them.)
Later on, I checked to see if any poker games were breaking out. Nobody could think of a good space for them, and while the SMOFCon con suite is good for general socializing, it didn't seem to have a good poker space in it. Mainly it's just too loud for those of us would want to play. That didn't stop the mahjong players, though.
Earlier in the evening, Vince Docherty gave me another box of the wonderful Belgian sugar-free chocolates, and John Mansfield gave me a train magazine. Eventually, Cheryl and I ran up the room for a few minutes to dump the camera and these things I got, then went back down to the party for another hour or so. I did realize that I have an 8:30 breakfast meeting of the CanSMOF (Anticipation) board of directors Saturday morning, and I'm also on the "SMOFCon 101" panel at 10 AM, so maybe we'd better get to bed. Except both Cheryl and I were too keyed up and wanted to write things, so now it's 1:30 AM. Guess I'd better finish writing and post this so we can get some sleep!
Update, 14:10: Added link to Google Video of the performance.