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2008 Gathering Journal:
5 am comes way too early, more so when you only had about 4.5 hours of sleep. After getting up at that way too early hour, I ate breakfast, took a quick shower and headed out to the airport for my 7:55 am flight. This year, I flew out on Southwest for the first time in 9 years.
I managed to take a short nap on the first hop of the flight, which was into Lost Wages, eh, Las Vegas. Of course, I noticed that my plane landed at Terminal C and my flight into Chicago-Midway Airport was at Terminal B. To get there, I had walk down a flight of steps to the bottom of the terminal and take a shuttle bus. So I got to a mini-tour of the flight line.
My flight out Las Vegas was delayed about an hour because they decided to change which runways the planes where using for taking off. According to the pilot, we would get in nearly 25 minutes late. Well, that was a bit too optimistic. We landed around 50 minutes late.
After finally got off of the plane, I turned on the cell phone to call Mandolin, only to find her plane had taken off late. After getting my bags, I found a place to wait and she finally arrived around 6:30, about 2 hours late. From there, we tried to find the shuttle to get to the hotel only to find out we were supposed to call and reserve the day before. And for some reason or another, they had lost Mandolin's reservation.
We decided to snag a taxi and after some confusion and about an hour, we finally got to the hotel. After checking in, the hunt was on for some badly needed dinner. We wound up at Chile's where talked about some of the various BS going on at our jobs.
I picked up some Gatorade at the CVS before going back to the hotel. Mandi and I talked a bit more before finally going to sleep around midnight.
We both got up just before 8:30 and learned Merlin Missy would be joining us in about 45 minutes. Just after we both finished ours showers, Merlin called again and met us at the room. From there, we headed to Panera Bread Café for some breakfast. I got a chocolate chip bagel with butter and a lemonade.
Went back to the hotel and decided to find out where the registration desk would be. Found a few other fans waiting around and decided to take a seat. After it opened up, I ended up helping at the registration desk once again.
Around 2 or so, a number of us took off for lunch at Chile's. It was Revel, Mara, Mandi, Kayote, Lynati, 8 others and myself. Like the night before, I had the cheddar bacon burger. On the way back, we ended up talking for a while before getting ready for Opening Ceremonies.
And we all sat through Greg Weisman's usual spill. Of course, Greg nearly forgot to do the Team Atlantis: The Last part. Tsk, tsk, Greg.
Once all of that was done, a small group of us decided to go find dinner. We ended up at Celtic Knot. I got the soup and sandwich, which was grilled cheese with bacon. After that, Sarah The Great wanted to get some liquor. Once that was taken care of, all of us wound up at the Ben & Jerry's for some ice cream
I got the triple caramel. It was rather delicious. Back at the hotel, I decided to join Jen, Patrick, Mara, Gorebash and a couple others. After a while, we ended up in Susan's room about various things until 2:30 am.
I woke up around 7:15 or so and tried to get back to sleep. I think I managed to doze off until 8:30. Took a shower and then went off to Dunkin' Donuts for some breakfast. Also got a Mt. Dew to drink.
Around 10, I helped Patrick and Missy Merlin set up the registration desk. Also got to say hello to Siryn and sometime later, he husband Adam. We got a number of walk-in registrations.
We ended up talking for quite a while before closing down for the radio show. This year I decided to take nap since I didn't get as much sleep as I wanted, but told Mandi to give me a call when they were done so we could go get dinner.
We ended up at some Italian restaurant and got a pair of pizzas for our 8 person group. One we had on a deep dish wheat crust with sausage and the other was on the regular deep dish crust with pepperoni.
The food was pretty good and we wandered back to the hotel. While the rest when drink some wine and watch Dr. Who, I decided to work on my con journal and do some writing. It didn't work out too well since I ended up watching Shrek, the end of Miami Vice and some other random stuff.
I think I called it a night around 12:30 am.
All of us woke around 6:45 when Mandi's phone rang, but went back to sleep shortly afterwards. We dozed off until just before just 8:30. Missy ran off to get breakfast for herself and Mandi. I decided to browse the net before jumping in the shower and running off to get breakfast.
Once again I got Dunkin' Donuts and picked up a strawberry filled donut for Mandi. After eating, I decided to hang out with Y2Hecate in the art room after voting on the art.
As folks came in, I told them to vote on the art since by that point we only havd 4 votes counting mine. At one point, our Con chair Susan decided to buy on the comic ink pages and said "I'm not tiddly-winks with Greg Bishansky anymore." This got a pretty good laugh.
We ended chatting a while before closing down for the banquet. While Mandi and Missy changed into dresses, I changed my shift into something a little more formal. All of us join Siryn and her husband Adam at one of the tables. There were two others there, but I didn't catch their names. Dinner was salad, chicken and a fruit tart.
After we were done eating, they had a trivia contest and we blew it on the first question. Oops. Of course, this cost us in the end, but oh, well. The sudden death round took while since a few of the tables took a while to get eliminated.
After that was over, we headed back to the room for a little before the masquerade started. Mandi and Missy headed off to Sarah's room for some wine while I tried to work on my writing and journal.
There were some pretty nice costumes this year. Managed to take a number of photos and forgot who won what. I ended up circulating and getting some more photos before Thom, Flanker, Missy, Madni, Jillian, and I headed down to Thom's room to play some Uno. After a little while, Ethan and a couple others joined us. We played several rounds before calling it a night around 1:30
All of us woke up around 8 and started to pack up after showering and getting breakfast. One again, I went to Dunkin' Donuts. Got my usual marble donuts with a bottle of Mt. Dew. How I miss them in California. I ate in the room before heading up to the 9th floor to chat with others.
I chatted with Revel and Gside a little bit before helping write out receipts for folks paying for the artwork they bought. I picked up "Lucy as Sekhmet" by Spike. Around 11:30, Mandi and I went down to the room to get our suitcases out when we discovered the keys had expired before the noon check-out time.
After getting the keys fixed, we went back and got our stuff. I went back upstairs to help for a little bit while Mandi finished the checking out. I managed to chat with Y2Hecate and a couple others before we had to leave at around 12:30. I hate having to leave from another great Gathering before it totally wrapped up.
Our shuttle was a few minutes late and we got to spend the next hour winding our way to the airport. Both of us got through check-in and security rather quickly. Both of got lunch while waiting for our flights. Mandi and I said goodbye to each other around 3:40 before she boarded her 4 o'clock flight back to Baltimore.
Having a bit of time to waste for my 5:30 flight, I decided to browse one of the newsstands/ bookstores. I picked up a Chicago shooter glass to add to my collection at home. I also got a Dale Brown book, "Dreamland: Satan's Tail." It's been a while since I've read any of his books and I figured if I can't get out the laptop during the flight, I could read something.
After that, I still had a little over an hour, so I decided to dig out my laptop and watch some of Futurama season 3. A little after 5, they started the boarding for my flight and we took off on time.
Since the plane was fairly packed, I decided to read "Dreamland: Satan's Tail." The good news about the book was that it was just long enough to kill of the flight time into Las Vegas. And I'll admit that while I'm fan of military thrillers, this one wasn't all that impressive.
After the plane landed, I discovered that once again, I got to take a shuttle bus from Terminal C to Terminal B. And of course, I just had barely enough time to get a quick bite to eat before the final hop into Sacramento. There ended up being a 10 minute delay in leaving since there another flight connecting with this one was late.
Strangely, this happened to be the only flight during the entire trip for that was full. I spent most of the short flight staring out the window or reading the in-flight magazine. My trip came to an end when we landed around 9:45, thus bringing my 2008 Gathering trip to a close. And the brought about the start of saving for the 2009 Gathering.
See, gang, follow his example. START SAVING NOW!!