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(This was written for the TGS room, so if it doesn't seem addressed directly to you, that's why. And it's really cool of you to solicit our Gathering Diaries like this)
Okay, the Gathering was both a blast and a blur for me, (And I spent the whole con in close proximity to Mara, so I was a little distracted) so if I'm leaving someone or something out, please remind me. Thanks. And before we go any further, I'd like to give mad props to all the Staff, volunteers, and guests, who made G2K1 such a special event. You guys kick @$$.
I managed to grab five hours of sleep by virtue of sleeping through a ringing alarm for an hour, before being shaken awake by my mom. I throw on my clothes, stagger downstairs with my one giant bag, (Which, by virtue of being older then me, has no wheels on it) and go tearing off to the airport. And I was off... To Houston that is. For those not familiar with Texas geography, I had to fly east before I could fly west. Fun huh?
The flight to LA was the longest two and a half hours of my life. (Heh, that's what the lady on the plane said it was. I realized after some quick calculations (Bear in mind, I suck at math) that she wasn't factoring in the time difference between Houston and LA, so the flight was more like three and a half hours. And they showed "Air Bud: World Pup" for most of the flight. (Shudder) I was finally so bored I turned to the guy next to me and said "So, what do you do? And please don't tell me you sell soap." Of course, he didn't get the ref...
In retrospect, Josh was right. I should have shelled out the extra $ for tickets into Burbank instead of LAX. Between scrubbing our initial approach for reasons I could never find out, being towed to the gate, baggage claim, etc., I started looking for Mara about thirty minutes late. Little did I know that I would still be looking for her two hours later. LAX, if you've never been, is a big place. I know, because I got some bad directions, and went on a walking tour that included five of the seven terminals in it.
Much later, having been all over the place, having tried to drag a hand truck up a flight of stairs, paged Mara several times, dealt with the mind-numbing stupidity that is the Spirit Airlines staff, been back and forth through security, (people wearing black trenchcoats, collars, finger armor, and carrying three pairs of sunglasses, a minitape recorder, a minimaglite, a lighter, and a lucky coin do not have an easy time with metal detectors) made an urgent phone call to New York to make sure Mara'd even gotten on her plane in the first place, and fended off religious types intent on pressing books on meditation on me by threatening to beat the cr@p out of them, I gave up. I was wandering aimlessly somewhere in terminal six when some impulse turned me back the way I had just come. And then I saw a figure in a black trenchcoat walking toward me...
Cue the Romeo and Juliet music, slow down the film, do the scene that's been parodied a thousand times. I had a brief thought that with my luck, I was probably running toward Hudson, but that was dispelled as she started running toward me. I still have no idea what I did with the hand truck, but I had other things to think about at that moment. Like my first kiss. :)
I went from bummed to wonderful, and stayed there. That was the last time I would feel more then mildly vexed for a week. This is also when life took on a faint air of unreality...
After some time sitting on a bench catching up, and a quick call back to NYC, we grabbed a shuttle and headed for the hotel. The shuttle ride may have taken as much time as the flight. Highlights I can share included a sign that said LA, Population: Way too many, and Mara's remark that LA looks just like New Jersey, except it doesn't smell.
After check in, the first Gathering attendee we ran into was Slash's mom, followed by Demona May, who had a room right down the hall. She seemed geared up for a loooooooong conversation, but we declined, having been up since early that morning. So we finally found our room, and... Let's skip ahead to that evening. (Heh. BTW, how many people noticed that the logo under the room number looked like a multi-colored Hunter's mask? "But what could leave clawmarks in solid plastic?" ;) )
Eventually, we wandered back downstairs, in search of sustenance, and decided to cheat a bit, and see if we could find a Pizza Hut instead of letting one come to us. We were sent off in the direction of the City Walk, a five minute ride away via a trolley with really bad shocks, and wandered around the place for a bit, freaking the mundanes and taking in the local color. Eventually we discovered the world's only grilled pizzeria, and decided that there was a reason it was the only one, so we headed back to the hotel.
Returning, who do we find waiting in front of the hotel but Hudson and Zaius, (Whose name I can finally remember after three Gatherings. Sorry Z) who were waiting for their own pizza, from Pizza Hut no less.
So we shot the breeze for a while, which the hotel staff must have loved, (Four people in black trenchcoats hanging out in front of the main doors) and caught up generally, before leaving to order our own pizza. When the gargfans are hungry, the pizza will appear... On the way back, we ran into Warpy, and had a short conversation, during which I was mostly marveling at how cool Warpy's accent is.
Sounds good so far...