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Ok, first up is my 2007 Gathering con jouranl. Yeah, I know it is a year late. Sorry about that Greg.
Gathering 2007 Report
Wednesday, June 20th:
I got up at 4 am for my 6:10 am flight to Baltimore. I read my usual round of web comics, ate and packed up the last of what I needed for the trip. I got to Sacramento International Airport (which oddly doesn't have any international flights) around 5. After finally getting through the check-in line and security check point, my first task was to find the gate and then track down some over priced caffeine.
After getting some gum, I boarded the plane and we took off pretty much right on time. A little over an hour later, I finally got to experience the Salt Lake City airport. Oddly enough, the plane I had flown in on was the same one I had to get back on for the hop into Baltimore. While sitting around, I kept reading "Conquers Legacy" by Timothy Zhan.
Around 9:45, I was back on the plane and around 10:45, I was in the air again. Like the previous short flight, I pretty much stuck to reading the book while occasionally looking out the window. I finished up the book about 20 minutes out and I thought it didn't live up to Zahn's previous work on the Thrawn triology (Star Wars books).
Landing on time, I first called home to say I safely landed. And then I called Mandolin to see where she was. She was going to be a few minutes later, which was fine with me. Finding the luggage claim, it started up as I got there. Maybe 20 bags came out as Mandolin joined me. Waiting, we watched the same suitcase go around about 6 times before the conveyer stopped. About 20 minutes later, it started up again, this time with the rest of the luggage.
After getting my bag, we headed over to her place to drop it and my backpack off. From there, we got dinner and then went to a couple stores to pick up some sandwich material, bottled water and a few other little things for the drive down. Around midnight, we called it a night.
Thursday, June 21st:
Mandolin woke me around 9. We packed up the car and then headed to Dunkin' Donuts, where I got some breakfast. From there, she stopped by a friends house to see if she had left her wrist brace there. No joy. After that was Sprawl-Mart, eh, Wal-Mart for a pillow (mine was not comfortable) and ice for the coolers.
The drive started off fairly well until we hit the Harper's Ferry Crossing over the Potomac River. They were doing some sort of bridge work, which cost us half an hour since there was only one lane open (two lane bridge). After getting into Virginia, we got onto a different highway. And then we crossed into West Virginia and then back into Virginia. We stopped for a short break before getting onto I-81.
After a couple more hours, I took over as the driver after taking a late lunch break. I spent the next 3.5 hours driving. I'll say this, driving along I-81 is as boring to drive along as I-5 between Stockton and the Grapevine; just more trees and hills. After swapping again, I went back into navigator mode for what was left of the drive.
After finding the needed exit in Tennessee, the directions got to be a bit more confusing. Mainly since some of the turns it told us to take didn't exist and it was off when it came to the number of miles. Finally hitting Pigeon Forge, Mandolin and I agreed the main street was similar to the Strip in Las Vegas, Orlando, and a couple other places… lots of lights on the buildings to confuse and distract the drivers. It nearly worked, since we almost missed the light.
We made contact with Kathy, who I asked if I could crash on her hotel floor for the night. As we pulled around into a spot closer to the room, we ran into Gorebash right as he arrived. While going to the elevator, we saw Jen, Karine, and Patrick briefly. Getting rid of our stuff and having a late dinner, Mandolin and I watched a little TV before walking to Walgreens. I bought some Coke and cookies to drink and munch on during the con.
Getting back to the hotel, we watched some TV for a while before calling it a night around 11.
Friday, June 22nd:
Around 7 or so, Mandolin and I got up and decided to shower and go get breakfast. I went for the pancakes and had some Coke to help wake me up. We ended up chatting for a bit before trying to find our badges. All three of us got a quick taste of the rather… odd elevator.
After getting my badge, I was dragged by Gorebash into Karine's art panel. After that, I helped watch the registration desk (yet again). At some point, Flanker and Sara the Great arrived and I got a room from them. I quickly moved my stuff from one room to the other and went back to help out at the reg desk until opening ceremonies.
After Greg's usual spill, Norcumi, Quidnar, Conna and I went to get dinner at the Japanese Steakhouse that was across the street (the name escapes me). I have to agree with Patrick's earlier comment about the crosswalks. Its faster to drive across the street than walk. The food was pretty good and once done, we went back to the hotel and talked for a while.
Saturday, June 23rd:
Flanker, Kathy, Sara, Gside and I decided to go over to the Red Rooster for breakfast. We talked about a variety of things and noticed that a few other fans had shown up there as well. For food, I decided to have the bacon waffle. Eh, it could have used more bacon.
While some of them headed off to the shooting range, I went back to the room for a shower before handing out the forms for folks to fill out for the radio show auditions. There was a small bit of a crowd and at one point, I had to run after somebody because they left their form in the stairwell. Ooops.
Once again, I circulated upstairs and talked with a variety of others before helping with the registration desk for a while. Once again, we got some walk-ins. I had something for lunch, but can't remember what. At one point, I had to grab one of the radio play lists because Greg forgot to write down a couple on one of them. Later on, I watched one of the doors again while the radio play rehearsals occurred. And to fight the boredom, I made an attempt to write.
And when the radio show was set to start, I got to direct folks to go up one floor and and come down the other set of stairs (since the radio play folks were in the way). The show was pretty impressive. After it was over, Conna and I decided to go get dinner. On the way, we stopped at the nearby book store. It was not very impressive. The Science-Fiction section was rather small and it seemed to be more geared for religious themed books.
We went to Hardee's for dinner and the food wasn't all that impressive. We talked for a while before she had to go return something. On my way back to the room, I ran into Flanker, Thom and Sara as they were getting ready to go get dinner. I decided to tag along despite just eating a little earlier.
While they ordered the food, I found a table for us to sit at, which proved challenging since it was rather crowded at the Pizza Hut. We talked about Thom's new commercials, among other things. After that, we headed back to the hotel for the blue mug.
Blue mug had some interesting questions and answers. Granted I can't remember what was asked. I just know at some point it broke up and I went to bed.
Sunday, June 24th:
I had a bowl of cereal for breakfast before heading up the registration desk once again. Did some chatting before heading off to the Bad Guys panel. Of course, Greg didn't want to reveal much, so we only got to learn a little bit and some biology was discussed as well.
The rest of the day was a blur until it was time for the banquet. I sat with Conna, Norcumi, Quindar and I forgot who else. After discovering the tea was way too sweet, we kept trying to dilute it with the ice water. And the food was pretty decent, though the mashed potatoes could used far less butter.
The Q & A was also pretty decent, though one person kept asking tons of Owen/ Puck questions (if I remember right). We kept exchanging looks with another table and started to hope some other folks would ask questions. After a while, it broke up so folks could get ready for the masquerade.
There was some pretty good costumes this year. I don't remember who got what award, other than Flanker getting the Thom Adcox Memorial Award. Per Duncan's and Guan's requests, I tried to take a number of pictures. Some of us moved into the other room while others danced.
Going back to my room, I got my Scooby Doo deck of playing cards and Scooby Doo Uno deck as well. We played a few rounds of Texas Hold 'Em before playing Uno. We had quite a bit of fun playing and at one point, Thom joined us. After a while, I doubt he liked me dropping draw twos and fours on him.
After a while, the game broke up and I went to get money from the ATM to pay Flanker for the room. Naturally, it was raining and none of the ATMs close by were working. After heading back to the room, I decided to pack what I could and fell asleep.
Monday June 25th:
I got up early to take a shower, pack and eat breakfast. A quick check found that the ATMs were still down, but Mandolin was able to loan me the $30 I needed to pay off Flanker. Mandi and I said goodbye to a number of folks before starting our 9 hour drive back to Baltimore.
The drive was rather uneventful, though we ran into a pair of thunderstorms along the way. And amusingly, we noticed that US 11 crisscrossed I-81 around 26 times. After managing to avoid most of the bad traffic, we arrived at her house. We dropped off our luggage, turned on the A/C and went out to get some dinner. In this case, we went to a pizza place and it was pretty good.
Back at her place, we decided to unwind by chatting and watching some anime. I don't remember what we watched, but it was nice getting to bounce some writing ideas off of her.
Tuesday June 26th:
Mandolin and I spent part of the day trying to see if we could find a window A/C that would fit in her home office. Didn't have any luck since most of them were big to either fit or the cover for the hose (unit that sat on the floor) that fit into the window was too large.
Stopping off to get some food and going to an ATM, I paid her off before we ended up back at her place to decompress for the rest of the day. Once again, we spent it talking and watching anime, this time "Trigun."
Wednesday June 27th:
Mandolin went to work while I finished packing for the flight home. I finished watching "Trigun" and watched the end of an "Outer Limits" episode. At 11:15, she dropped me off at the airport where we said goodbye. Check-in for the flight took forever and so did the security line.
Before headed down to my gate, which was at the far end of the terminal, I got some cash from an ATM and picked up a shot glass to add to my collection. Seeing that I still had about 20 minutes before they started boarding, I got Wendy's for lunch.
For the flight down to Atlanta, I pulled out Tom Clancy's book "Without Remorse." I spent most of time in Atlanta reading while waiting for the flight into Sacramento. On this plane, their were TVs in the seatback. The choices weren't all that great and the music selection could use some work. Spent more time reading and realized that I had picked up a cold somewhere along the line.
The flight landed a few minutes early, bringing another Gathering trip to a close. And it started the quest to save up for the 2008 Gathering.
You have an amazing memory for detail, a whole year later!