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Gathering 2008 Journal - Day Minus One
Thursday, June 26, 2008
Woke up around 9:30 am, after staying up too late preparing some stuff for the con (that, ironically, I barely used). Quickly got ready to go and made some last-minute checks, before my folks picked me up for the airport around 10:30. I asked them to take me to a sidetrip to Weis, so I could pick up a few last-minute items, and they helpfully got me a Wendy's lunch in the meantime.
After I got to BWI, things seemed to be moving smoothly, until I attempted to take my shaving kit on board as a carry-on - not thinking that would run afoul of the TSA's security limits on liquids and gels. So I had to go back, take the shaving kit in its carry-on bag and check it as luggage. (The clerk was kind enough not to make me pay the fee for a second bag, at least.)
Once I was through security (again), I purchased an overpriced pair of headphones (Weis didn't have those) and headed right for the gate. And waited. I tried the wireless, but it cost money. I tried to play a bit of Advance Wars Dual Strike, but couldn't get into it (and I also realized I'd left my DS power cable back at home; guess it's required to forget something on these trips). So I settled for reading.
The flight was pretty straightforward and uneventful, although I lamented my lack of a good view to the outside. Even so, I got a look at Chicago from the air - very wide, very flat, excepting downtown, which appeared as a clump of tall buildings near Lake Michigan. Arrival in O'Hare was pretty basic, too (did you know they don't have a Baggage Claim #13?). By coincidence, I wound up sharing the Airport Express van with Gside, and we mostly talked about video games and such (as well as playing a brief download-play game of Jump Ultimate Stars). After the driver stopped for gas, however, the three of us had a heavier conversation about the geopolitics of oil and various tangents from that issue.
After arrival at the Hotel Orrington, Gside and I parted ways. The room I got was fairly nice, although a bit smaller than I expected for the price tag. The safe was good to have (considering the rather heavy amount of electronics I had with me), but I wasn't happy that the only refrigerator was a locked wet bar fridge. And the free wireless I'd heard about actually only appeared on the 9th (conference) floor and the lobby, although a free ethernet line was provided in the room, so I couldn't really complain.
After getting comfy and lounging for a bit (I toyed with taking a nap, but I figured that'd be a waste), I took a stroll through the ninth floor (and admired the view from the terrace near the Hinman Auditorium), the second, and then the first, then I took a quick walk around the block to see what was nearby. Being unambitious, I snagged a Burger King dinner, and as I returned, I bumped into Greg Bishansky. I ate while we talked while he was waiting for the rest of the con staff and guests (who were stuck in Chicago traffic). Said hi to Leo, then Dracandros and Ed, who were headed to dinner themselves. They invited me to see The Incredible Hulk at a nearby theater - since I had already seen it, I was ambiguous in my response. Gside also came by talking about getting food, but I'd already eaten and Greg B. still had to wait; and shortly after that, the staff and guests arrived, so I went back to my room.
My next couple hours weren't too busy - I tested to see if I could still get the 9th-floor wireless from my 8th-floor room (nope), started up my notes for this very journal, and went to get some supplies from CVS (but I was limited by my assumption I couldn't use a fridge). Dracandros and Ed asked me again about Hulk, and I agreed, enjoying my second viewing (although I was a bit disappointed I didn't notice much new). On the way back, we briefly ran into King Cobra and vidthekid, then we went back to Dracandros and Ed's room, where Dracandros gifted me with two T-shirts. (Unfortunately, I had no reciprocal gift.)
I decided it was about time for me to turn in, but before I did, I followed on Dracandros's comment that the wet bar fridge could be used for non-wet bar drinks and retrieved the key from the front desk, briefly running into King Cobra again along the way. Got ready for bed, watched a bit of Scrubs, then slept.
"Settled for reading"... so sad... ;)