published Friday, February 11th, 2011

Call it in the air, this one's a tough choice

If there's one thing I really hate, it's a dilemma.

Next Friday marks the start of two events I've been looking forward to for months: the Con Nooga fandom convention and Tune Junkie Weekend, an annual Irish music gathering hosted by my friends in Knoxville.

I love geek culture almost as much as I love being a musician, and for the first time, I'm being forced to place those two passions head to head and decide where my loyalties really lie.

It's not a situation I relish.

Normally when it comes to events, I like to plan things out, and rest assured I have everything figured out well in advance. This is a rare occasion where I got my dates confused and now have to make a difficult choice.

I'm in a love triangle between two equally likable suitors, a situation common in pop culture and in movies ranging from "The Graduate" to "Pirates of the Caribbean." Clearly, I'm no Dustin Hoffman, but like him, I can't have both things I want, however much I would like it to be possible.

Two days of teaching classes and playing tunes with some of my best friends, many of whom I haven't seen in a couple of years, is a can't-miss incredible weekend. Unfortunately, so is spending another gonzo-crazy weekend tromping around the Choo Choo, hobnobbing with my geeky fellows at a convention, particularly since a friend I haven't seen in a year will also be attending.

Under normal circumstances, either event would trump all comers, but this is like when a flipped coin lands, inexplicably, on its edge.

If this were a match of the card game War, there would be two aces facing each other on the table right now; only, in War, you keep drawing until one side trumps the other. I don't see that happening here since the normal weighing out of pros and cons comes out as a wash.

I've been a geek ever since I was old enough -- and self-aware enough -- to attach a label to myself. I've been playing music for just as long, and Irish music thrills me to the core.

So, here I am, facing a dilemma, and one that I don't see resolving itself until I make a last-second decision one way or the other. I still have a week to decide whether to suit up as The Doctor again or start my engines and head north. If you have any advice, my inbox is all ears.

* Assuming you're not facing your own dilemma of what to do Saturday, consider dusting off your polyester suit (or do a quick run to a vintage clothing store) for Yacht Rock Schooner's performance at Rhythm & Brews. The Atlanta-based group will be serving up the smooth sounds of '70s and '80s soft-rock hits with a healthy bit of cheese starting at 10 p.m. Cover is $7.

about Casey Phillips...

Casey Phillips has worked as a features reporter in the Life department since May 2007. He writes about entertainment, consumer technology, animals and news of the weird. Casey hails from Knoxville and earned a bachelor of science degree in journalism and a bachelor of arts in German from Middle Tennessee State University, where he worked as the features editor for the student newspaper, Sidelines. Casey's writing has earned numerous accolades, including first and second place ...

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