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JEB writes...

A warning: My journal is LONG this year.

Gathering 2005 Journal - Day -1
July 28, 2005

Going directly there from work, I managed to get through the security gate at BWI in record time. In fact, everything was bizarrely easy- the e-tickets went through fast, the people in line were nice and easygoing. (Note to self- flights on weekdays are a good idea.) Just sat down and read my Doctor Who anthology (Short Trips- ironic title, as it turned out) while I waited.

Then the flight itself- Baltimore to Pittsburgh. I don't think there are many things I find more exciting than takeoff. The rush of speed, the sharp climb as the landscape below shrinks, then floating above the clouds, looking down at the world through a drifting sea of mist and a landscape of white. (I was fortunate that there wasn't anyone sitting next to me- otherwise, I would have had a lovely view of the cabin.)

After arriving in Pittsburgh, I got myself dinner from a McDonald's that evidently didn't see much business around 7 p.m. A few passengers around me at the time looked like they might also be going to the Gathering, but I stopped short of humming the Gargoyles theme to see if anyone would perk up. (I didn't recall any of those faces being at the con, so it's just as well.) It's about this point that I began to realize I was technologically behind the curve- everyone had neat cell phones or laptops- I had a years-old cell phone model that couldn't do much more than play Tetris. (This point became more apparent as the long weekend went on.)

Unfortunately, when I arrived in Las Vegas about five or six hours later, things went sour. The flight from Pittsburgh to Vegas itself was fine, if very long- finished Short Trips and moved onto the sequel, More Short Trips. Las Vegas itself was a striking sight as we approached, a cluster of stars in a vast ocean of shadow. (Kind of interesting that "Sin City" should shine so bright from a distance.) But after that... I waited for an hour in the wrong baggage claim, and when I finally did figure this out, I wasn't able to find the last hotel shuttle of the evening before it left. So, I had to wait in line for a taxi. A very, very, long line- there were literally a hundred or more people there.

When I finally got to Palace Station (tipping the cabbie far too much, my dad said when I mentioned it later), I went to the employee's floor in the main building instead of my floor in the Courtyards. I eventually found my way to my room (after passing by the Con Suite on the third floor, but I was in no mood for socializing), which- counter to the request I'd made- was a smoking roon. However, by that point I was too tired to care, so I just went to bed.

Greg responds...

I've been looking for you!

Response recorded on December 01, 2006