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June 25th, 2008
Woke up before my alarm. Funny how I never seem to be able to do that on weekdays. Got up, grabbed a shower, bowl of rice krispies, and some coffee. Made sure I'd packed everything, and then sat and visited with my grandparents for a bit, who'd come down from Maryland because my grandfather was having lumbar surgery. After that, I hit the road.
The flight at Richmond International was only delayed by about an hour, but it was okay. I had a good novel to read ("Count Zero," the second book in William Gibson's Sprawl Trilogy). I got my first good omen when we boarded, and my window curtain refused to open. I got my second good sign when the captain announced they were delaying takeoff due to maintenance issues. The clincher occurred after we arrived at O'Hare. My seat was close to the cockpit, and I overheard the captain loudly remark that he was glad they were getting out of that jet and onto another. Whatever. I arrived with my organs intact.
I went to pick up the rental after I'd claimed my bag. The woman asked me if I wanted to upgrade from a PT Cruiser to a Mustang for only six bucks. Gee, that was a tough choice. Sadly, there was a lot of traffic on the road to De Kalb (I was spending Wednesday night with my aunt and uncle), so I couldn't really test the horsepower. The sound system was nice, though.
I had a nice visit with my aunt and uncle. It was fun trying to name a movie that Uncle Dave might have seen Keith David in (best I could do was "Crash." For some reason, "Platoon" never came into my mind). Also played some Star Wars: Battlefront on Xbox Live with my cousin (shot Ewoks with a sniper rifle. Yay!), and I received word that my grandfather made it through surgery. We ate a late dinner, but it was delicious. My aunt made rattatouille and spinach crepes with cous cous (and strawberry shortcake with ice cream for dessert). After that, I drank some wine while we watched my cousin's DVD of "Batman Begins." Went up to bed after that.
June 26, 2008
I rose, ate breakfast, and departed from my aunt and uncle's house at about 10ish. Turns out the Mustang isn't very fuel efficient. So I think the extra six bucks wasn't a fair trade, after all. I put gas in the rental, dropped it off, and after following the wrong signs at O'Hare for a bit, managed to find the shuttle service. The shuttle driver didn't seem to talk much, despite my efforts to start conversation. But I still gave him a tip when we got there.
I ran into Greg Bishansky in the lobby, and we were both checking in at the same time. As I dumped my bags in my room, he called and invited me to hang out for a bit before other con staff began arriving. So I went upstairs to his room. He and I had a nice chat (interrupted briefly when Leo arrived, and I went downstairs to give him a key) interspersed with viewings of various animated things as well as some clips from the Colbert Report.
After that, he needed to prepare for the arrival of the other staff, so I went downstairs, unpacked some essentials, took another minute to laugh at the ludicrous prices of the snacks available in the room, and then went down to CVS to buy more affordable provisions. I picked up some snacks and caffiene, and when I got back to the hotel, bumped into Bishansky and Leo in the lobby, so I stopped to chat. In the process, I was regaled with amusing tales from past cons.
I finally got my stuff up in the room after getting a call from my cousin, who's working at Northwestern for the summer, a block and a half from the hotel. After stashing the goods, I went back downstairs, where Greg was still waiting for the con staff, and chatted with him (mostly about the sorry state of our flights) until my cousin showed up. He and I then found a Panera's not far from the hotel, and got some sandwiches (I had a Bacon Turkey Bravo, not my usual).
We parted ways after we ate, since he had more RA meetings. I made a second trip to CVS (forgot to get bottled water the first trip), then hit a wine and cigar store, respectively. The proprietor of the latter, an elderly Indian man, simply said, "we close in five minutes. Find what you want fast."
Anyway, after that, I went back up to the room, and had a fun chat with Leo about movies and Robot Chicken. Then I realized I had no spoons with which to consume the pudding I bought. So I took another trip down to CVS. Doppleganger and DTaina arrived shortly after I got back. We tried for a while to hook up Taina's PS2 in order to watch DVDs. For some reason, the volume on the TV was a little weak. Figures. They charge through the nose for everything else, and the TV doesn't work. Still, swankier than the last hotel (which was not without its charm). We turned on the subtitles while we watched Leo's DVD of "Orgazmo," which was pretty funny. Then we all drifted off after that.
To be continued...
Sounds like a good start. Only three CVS trips...