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Flanker's con journal.
To make my 6am flight, I wanted to be at the Ottawa Airport for 4am. To get there for 4am, I needed to leave Petawawa Ontario at around 2am. So why bother going to bed right? During the drive I had a random scene from Anchorman looping in my head again and again. I arrived in the darkened parking lot laughing by myself in my car. Not a good sign. I enter the terminal and realize that I have crossed the line from keen early into stupid early. I laid on a bench with my luggage and set my cell phone alarm for 4am. Which was pointless because you don't go into the deepest sleep on a bench. Despite NWA's sign stating they open at 4am, they really meant about 4:25am. Being early was especially pointless since everyone in the airport was channeled into one massive checkpoint and none of them were ready to work until after five. But once all those hurdles were overcome, I slept through take off on both flights. Once in Knoxville, Sarah (the Great) was waiting for me having just landed herself. Her mood seemed enhanced by some drinks at the airport bar. I picked up my luggage and rental car. I opted for a Dodge Charger because I very badly wanted to test drive one and this seemed like a good opportunity until they added fuel, tax and insurance costs. Sarah and I hopped in and navigated our way into Pigeon Forge in what I felt was a reasonable time. I checked into my room with no problems and then blundered my way to the con area to register, which is where I found Shaun (BrooklynX) who was going to be splitting the room along with Sarah and I. Shaun couldn't guarantee me a banquet ticket so I told him he'd be sleeping outside. I also started canvassing con goers for interest in a trip to a gun range, something I had mapped out prior to the con. The interest was high, but once a plan was formulated it was difficult to find everyone and pass it on. Sarah and I auditioned for the radio play with the rest of the con. I thought my southern accent was good and was overall confident that I might get some part in the play. Sarah talked me into sneaking out halfway through opening ceremonies which wasn't hard because my stomach agreed with her plan to go find food. We hit that Japanese place across the street, where they light everything on fire and juggle knives. I had alot of leftovers which came in handy later. Sarah had a golf game to go win, I was left to my own devices. The music video/open role playing seemed a little sedated, so I went for a drive on the mountain roads in my Dodge Charger, exploring routes to the gun range. I came back to Sarah the Triumphant and had pretty much the only full nights sleep I'd be getting the whole weekend.
I dragged Sarah and Shaun out of bed bright and early since Sarah was coming with me to the range and Shaun had to get up and do Con stuff. I tried to pass on to everyone interested to meet up for 8am in the lobby for breakfast. The line up for the buffet was crazy, so my shooters (Kathy, Mike and Sarah) and Shaun agreed to check out the nearby pancake house. For some reason it was much less busy and we were enjoying each others company when a string of zombies that looked like Gathering Attendees shuffled by in a daze. Yelling, waving and throwing things all failed to get there attention so I had to get up and walk 5 feet to their booth and shake some sense into them. Carter, Kelly, Leo, Francis and Esteban (holy crap I remembered your names!) all agreed to come along to the gun range. I was worried this was going to be too big, then too small, then too big again! After a great breakfast and minor navigation bloopers we found the range. I was not happy to see how packed the parking lot was at the gun club. I approached Leo and his passengers and told to them to prepare for disappointment. I could hear gunfire and was thinking that maybe the range was booked by a class or something. We went inside to a very bright clean professional gun range. There was a shooting class present, but they weren't going to need to fire until long after we would be leaving. The gentleman who ran the club displayed every degree of Southern manners and hospitality and was thrilled to have so many new shooters. I didn't even get any heck for being Canadian. In fact, I ask about discounts for soldiers or veterans and he said he'd look into it. We rented a couple guns and unpacked the ones I brought and got started. We had a blast (pardon the pun) and Leo may have lied about never shooting a gun in his life. His groupings were outstanding, even better than mine. Once we were done shredding paper I started to pack up and exited the firing line to hear someone in a deep southern drawl ask 'Now, whut exactlay, isa Gahgoyle? I now that Trawlls live unda bridges, whut about gahgayles?'. I forgot who had the patience to answer his questions but it was certainly entertaining for the rest of us. We got back to the Con and I ran into Karine and little happy Sam. We looked around the art area to see if they had posted the cast for the play and I encountered the fabulous Jade Griffon and her amazing gummigolyes that were so confusing to look at it physically disoriented me. I decided to take a crack at drawing for the first time this millennium in Shaun's book. This killed enough time (and let me sit down for a bit) before the play rehearsal. The cast was huge and I was pretty excited. I thought it was going to be fun to be directed by Greg and have a few lines. Then I found out I was going to be playing Goliath so I was a little tense at first. Eric had to do Thailog, which was way more dialog than Goliath, and two other characters with accents. He did such an awesome job too. Greg never corrected me so I guess I did ok. Obviously I can't get into details, but I will say that I had to deliver a really serious line right after something comical happened and it gave me small glimpse into the real challenges of acting because I had to stop laughing and instantly change moods. Things wound down a bit after the play, and people kept approaching me a little upset that I went shooting without them. Then I recall some of us going to eat at Pizza Hut where I took a photo of some crazy ugly kid smearing his face against the window to our booth. Then of course there was the Blue Mug. I tried to find out if Owen was gay (fit, polite, smart, clean and eerily loyal to a handsome man) Greg told me whatever floats my boat. After Blue Mug was over I approached him and asked sarcastically what kind of nail polish Demona wears in human form, to kinda make fun of how crazy specific fans can get on some details. He just kind of stared at me like I was nuts while (Jen I think?) explained that she used red because it matched her hair or something. The rest of my memories of saturday are spotty at best.
Sunday started with myself and a lovely lady (sorry I forgot your name) following Thom around looking for a fast coffee. We ended up crossing the street to some restaraunt and getting some coffees and biscuits barely in time for Thom to get to his Mug a Guest which he quickly renamed 'The Wake Your Ass Up Panel'. It turned into a bunch of us discussing our favourite classic horror movies and finding out the crazy roles Thom had taken shots at over the years. A bunch of crazies went off to get tattoos, I wanted to check out the Badguys/Gargoyles panel, where getting information was like drawing blood from a stone, although Greg did leak that a certain character would be appearing in Badguys, can you believe it? After that wrapped up I kidnapped Kelly and we went on a rapid clothes shopping mission because I wanted something a little spiffier for the banquet, for which I was finally able to get a ticket for. I got a khaki blaser type thing from banana republic and we dashed back to the hotel. The banquet started and I wish the heat didn't sap my appetite so bad because the food was incredible. I was only able to tackle one plate because I was more interested in drinking lots of water. We had finished eating and Sarah and Tatiana (cant remember real name!) were commenting that I looked a lot like Matt Bluestone with my hair slicked back and tan clothing. So we just up and bolted away from the Banquet with Mike in tow because he had some last minute costume ideas too. I bought a toy badge and rubber training gun (cant have anything too real looking right Hudson?) while Sarah and crew hit a wal mart getting me a clip on tie and some medical garb for Mike. Back at the con I forced my new block of yellow rubber into a holster and took my con badge lanyard and attached the badge to it. Costume was done! I filled out a form for 'accidental Matt Bluestone'. I had some time to kill before the masquerade so I began wandering aimlessly to see who I could bump into. On my first try I ran into Greg and Thom coming out of the stairs. They were going to play some air hockey so I tagged along to take pictures. Little did I know of the epic event about to unfold. What started as two guys having a fun game of air hockey became a tournament of intense passion, focus and carnage not seen since the Coliseum days of Rome. The Gods themselves trembled in terror from the war cries and inhuman savagery displayed by the world's greatest token spending athletes. Greg came out swinging, crushing all oppostion before him, like a tank against an anthill. However, he was ill equipped to deal with my foreign trapping style, aided by years of intensive Shaolin Kung Fu training. Spectators wept blood as I barely won. My victory was short lived as I was slaughtered like a spring lamb by an unknown challenger who's sole purpose was to humiliate me and then vanish back into the mists she emerged from. I thought it was all winding down. Little did I know Greg was plotting and simmering with rage at his loss to me, the only one capable of surviving his onslaught. He challenged me to a rematch and I accepted. Surely he was getting exhausted from maiming so many peons, I would have the edge. The masses gathered for this final exhibition and after another refreshing mouthful of my own sweat we began. My arrogance and assumed supremacy worked in Greg's favour, getting him a score of 6 to 1 in a fraction of a second. Despite Greg's ability to push the puck past the visible light spectrum my strong defensive tactics began to pay off. Tired, Greg's mental grip on the Earth's orbit began to weaken and 'normal' physics and thermal dynamics came back into play. My score slowly climbed and sure enough we had reached the Apocalyptic number of 6-6. The puck slammed back and forth atop the air table forged in the Jurassic era by super intelligent raptors. With the course of history hanging in the balance I managed one final shot that ended the destructive conflict. Greg did not appear to be choked with rage. He congratulated me on my victory but after releasing me from my handshake he began chanting in Latin while his eyes began glowing. Once he began levitating I knew it was time to get out of there.
Sarah had arrived and attached the clip on tie and I made my way to the masquerade. The other costumes looked great of course. I felt ashamed that I had just thrown mine together at the last minute for like, ten bucks when the others put so much effort into theirs. Except Mike, I'm on to your little scheme...
I ran out and did my bit but nobody told me where to go when I was done so I ended up wandering in circles spewing silly dialog I had thought up minutes before going out. I think it was Jade Griffon (who also found my sun glasses earlier) was pointing out where to go as I started stripping. I put the Blue in Bluestone. Belly dancing seemed to be a popular theme so it became easy to imagine that I was in 'From Russia with Love' and that a gypsy riot was about to break out any second. The judges went to decide on who would win in which category and we took photos of each other in highly dignified poses. Greg and his posse re emerged with their decisions. Sarah was awarded Champion of the Universe in Mini Put Golf. Mike won best canon character. I was recognized for my air hockey skills and was also given the Thom Adcox 2007 memorial award, which is confusing in many ways. Thom Adcox is both still alive and not me, so why I'm getting his award is perplexing. I interpreted the award to mean Sluttiest Attention Whore '07. I determined this on the way to receive the trophy from Greg, and since I seemed to have suddenly earned this new reputation I politely asked him to place the trophy in my belt which I had graciously extended. I then offered everyone present to witness what I felt was an excellent location for a trophy. The masquerade was over and various shenanigans ensued. We played 'Uno' which was new to me. After a quaint remark I made about Thom's fashion sense he led the table in a revolt against me ensuring I would never win a single round. My memories of the rest of the evening are spotty at best.
Never in history has a monday started so good and ended in such total misery. I quickly packed and checked out of the hotel, informing the front desk of the mattress frame that disintegrated when Sarah and I tried to adjust it. I would like to get off my chest that the hotel was utter garbage. But hey, it was cheap. My second range trip was another success, this time Rob, Trim, Revel, Spacebabie, Lynati, Gside and Tatiana came out and we dealt with the same friendly gentleman who was thrilled to have me bring more customers to his business. Many targets were expertly riddled but nobody matched Leo's skill. When that occurred to me I knew I found someone to give my 'special police' badge to since I had already given away my ugly yellow rubber gun. Once back at the Con, we loitered about saying goodbyes to each other (I hate this part every year) and we sat through the closing ceremonies, sans Thom. Many awards were given to the outstanding artists who contributed to the art show. I got a chance to stand up and present Leo with his badge, and he showed his target to the crowd (understanding why he brought it along now). With the badge and his huge camera he looked like a crime scene photographer. After discussing how awesome next year's con is going to be I yelled out 'show up OR I'LL FIND YOU!' to some giggles but Chicago's con chair (I'm so sorry I forgot your name) quickly followed up with or 'I'll SEND LEO' to roars of laughter. Oh openly threatening strangers is so much fun. Once the ceremony was over Sarah and I said our goodbyes to everyone and made for the airport.
WARNING: The rest of this journal is just miserable bitching.
I get to the airport well ahead of schedule and turn in my rental car with no issues. Sarah and I split up to our respective airlines. I was delighted to stand at the NWA desk for almost 40 minutes before they informed me that my flight has been changed to Delta airlines. So my 6pm flight through Detroit is now a 520pm flight through Atlanta (the opposite direction of Canada). With an earlier departure time it was decided I would be a great candidate for random extra security screening. I was nervous that chemical tests would reveal Gun Shot Residue (GSR) on my clothes so I told the guard that I was at a range before any alarms went off. I was told it wasn't a GSR test and that I was good to go. I rushed to my gate and spotted Rob and Anne eating at Ruby Tuesdays. I gave a quick hi but wanted to make sure I wasn't late. Weather in Atlanta was leading to serious delays so I had time to sit and chat with Anne, Rob and A Fan who were all waiting in the same terminal. I stole all of Rob and Anne's food because I was starving and didn't know if I had time to order my own. And because I'm a jerk. After loafing about the airport I finally left last after everyone else at around 8 or 9pm. I watched the throwers place my single black bag on the tarmac and walk away. I asked the lady behind the desk why my bag was on the tarmac and not in the plane. She said not to worry but I didn't listen to her. Naturally, the Atlanta to Ottawa flight was also delayed so I had a couple of hours to spend in an airport that was paralyzed with bad weather all day. Every single gate was crowded with irate passengers, crew and airport staff. I was thrilled to not be back in Petawawa. I hope my plane developed a fault and I would get to stay in the US for one more night. The 11pm flight turned into a 1am flight. At around 3 or 4am, I was finally on native soil but the worst was yet to come. I stood at the baggage claim hypnotized by the rotating belt. It stopped and I had no black bag. I was called over to a desk where forms were already waiting and myself and several others began filling out missing forms. As of writing, most of my civilian clothes, shower stuff, various paper work, knives and three handguns are unaccounted for. Thank god I had the foresight to retrieve my car keys so I was able to get back to base. I really hate to end the journal on such a downer but I did have an amazing weekend and I'm pumped for Chicago (not just because I can DRIVE there either).
PS Whats with all the insane right wingers posting questions these days?
You got me.
Great getting to know you a bit more. I killed ALL COMERS at Air Hockey the next day, btw, and so... YES, I want another rematch!!!