I'm just home from a long fabulous trip that involved a medical convention (for patients), a filk convention (science fiction music convention), a folk venue, and a general interest science fiction convention, with 2 days of sightseeing on the Pacific Coast Highway squeezed in. And lunch with Dr. Demento. I'll try to be brief because I haven't had much sleep and that means lots of typos. The Myositis convention was wonderful. A gathering for patients with a rare autoimmune disease, it is often the first time many of the attendees have ever met anyone else with the same diagnosis. I was the kickoff presenter, and I sang songs and talked about keeping a sense of humor and removing blame and shame from our situation. Wonderful bunch of people, and a very meaningful day for me. Conchord was the "filk" convention in Woodland Hills (L.A. area) where I was guest of honor. A small but very charming music convention, they sang me a birthday dirge to the tune of volga boatman. It's a must-hear. They treated me wonderfully, and I was delighted to hear some great new songs from Kathleen Sloan and to finally hear Kathy Mar. Highlights on California's hwy 1 include going under the golden gate bridge for a very strange view of it, and checking out the park on the south side of the bridge. the one of the north side is also very cool. We stumbled upon a beach made entirely of pebbles somewhere on that highway. We saw some folks doing what I guess is called para=boogie-boarding? parasurfing? You use a kite-like sail to propel you along the water on a small surfboard. We hiked into a state park and saw some giant redwoods, and did the 17-mile drive at Pebble Beach (didn't see any beaches made of pebbles at the place actually called pebble beach, a golf resort area full of pricey mansions and a nature reserve). On "bird rock," there are bunches of sea lions and seals. Very stinky, but supremely cool. I have pictures. Finally, we landed at Fencon, a general interest science fiction convention in Dallas, where I was one of the guests of honor, along with Paul Cornell, Lois McMaster Bujold, and Keith R A DeCandido. There were many other guests, including Tom Smith, Luke Ski, and the dashing and talented Joe Giacoio. I was at the very first Fencon in 2004, and I have to say I *love* the programming there. A great mix of writing, music, art, costumes, and extremely well-run. It feels like a party, but without the guy with the lampshade on his head. Oh wait, there was one of those at the masquerade. If you've never been to a science fiction convention, this is a great first one to try. About 700-800 attendees, it's not too crowded, but plenty going on. www.fencon.org I'm home (for now) and back to my 2 days a week of guitar students, my dog, and some fruits and vegetables. I've had enough road food!