kittylady: (Default)
So, once again after no effective sleep, I did wake up at just past seven in the bloody morning. I tried, so very hard did I try, to lay back down and get more sleep, but it never showed up for longer than ten minutes at a time.

But I showered, nibbled at the breakfast, and found out that of all things I put in my name for I did manage to get one, which I ended up feeling really bad about because I had to leave halfway through, and if I'd spent more than two seconds of thought on it I would have sacrificed my seat to one of the follow-ups.

By this point I was getting dizzy when standing still and in generally poor health, so for the Thieves' Guild meeting I just stood at the door and tried not to fall over while shooing away those we hadn't had room for. The poor bastard who'd volunteered me got to do all the falling down and being mugged, and he was nearly as wiped out as I was. But he did get his certificate as head of the North American chapter, which he plans to frame and hang on his cubicle at work, which is in the fraud prevention division of a bank.

I barely managed to make it to the Editing Discworld panel, and I really wish my hands hadn't been shaking so much because I would have liked better pictures. Anne Hoppe was smiling as she talked about her favorite books she's worked on, and there was mention that the man prefers to work with children's book editors because they are significantly less intimidated by a big name and far more determined to do their job right. There was talk of other things as well, but most of my attention was on leaning against the wall without falling and trying very hard not to be irritated by the sounds of cell phones. Is it that freaking hard to turn the sound off when you know you're going to be in a room of people straining to hear every word?

Later came a special treat; a Skype chat with Sir Terry himself, answering questions from the audience. It was just fantastic, even if I did get many things in my eye. Rob was in the background making some of the best jokes, and the only thing that could have been better is if there had been more of it.

After that I helped some friends get ready for the Gala Banquet, and I got to play with someone else's hair, which is something I have not done in forever. A wonderful storm was blowing in around then, and it was the only thing in Baltimore that I considered truly impressive. Unfortunately, it did not last much past the Gala itself, but it was enough to cool things down to the point where it was comfortable.

I probably would have enjoyed the whole event more if I'd actually been rested. The food was fantastic, just fantastic, but once again I found the entertainment to be... well, just not my thing. There was a Cirque-du-Soleil style act with a length of cloth dropped from a high support and a bendy girl, but considering my profession I've seen a lot of bendy girls. This one wasn't bad, but, well, it just felt like being at work. I clapped along to be polite, but more and more I was feeling like a cranky toddler who needed a nap. Then came some truly awful puns, and then a man with a box of props came out. I didn't last long, I'm afraid, but I didn't want my crankiness to spread to people who were otherwise enjoying themselves. Although according to my friends, I should have stuck around for a bit, as the man's skit ended with a rail spike up his nose, but overall I feel I did the right thing.

Then I did what I really probably shouldn't have done, but it was my last night there and I still had booze to dispose of. I did more mingling and chatting and made sure there was no booze left to dispose of and got into another argument with my ranty friend and was up until past five because there is absolutely no way that anyone will ever convince me that the Catholic church can be a force for good in the world. Yeah. That was dumb of me. Especially since I managed to sleep until about ten till seven and was extremely irritable in the morning. That was the point where I decided to call it and we packed up the room and got our last minute hugs and checked out.

I do wish I'd been able to rest better, as I wanted to see the musical act and the closing ceremony. But I was just absolutely useless at that point. I spent most of the ride home dozing in the seat only to flop onto my bed and pass out for twelve straight hours the moment I got home, shortly after which I took a five hour nap, followed by another ten hours of sleep. My animals missed me, and I'm wondering if my lack of sleep was due to their absence.

But it was fun. Totally worth what I put me through. And I can't wait for the next one.
kittylady: (Default)
Day two started at seven in the morning. I was never able to sleep past seven the whole time we were there.

The system for many of the events involved putting a small ticket with your name printed on it into a box for a random lottery drawing. I did not get my name drawn for a single event, which in a way was useful as it gave me more time for recovery, which I later wasted by getting far more drunk than I should have, especially considering it was another hundred degree day. But I did my morning volunteer hour, then promptly went and unvolunteered myself with no hard feelings and a standing invite to the afterparty.

The Theives' Guild event was fun, as this time I got to do the mugging and not fall down, but I spent most of my time by the door shooing people away after we got to full seats and a wall of people on one side of the room. People were still trying to get in even when it was ten minutes to the end.

Then there was time spent outside but at least in the shade at the pub where Bernard went to speak. He is really an amazing storyteller. Many entertaining stories of his time as a constable in an extremely small town, and also of his days crafting wonderful things with Sir Terry. Even a few absolutely tearjerking stories about time spent with Sir Terry's mother. I was also able to get a rather tasty plate of chicken tenders, which was much nicer on the tummy than the rest of the menu would have been.

The rest of the day was mostly focused on taking pictures of people getting ready for the Maskerade, followed by time in a wonderfully air-conditioned alcove in the hotel bar. It was so hot that I even tried to step into the pool, but pretty much all the kids and their parents had all had the same idea, so that didn't last long, and the air conditioning was blissful. The alcove was also nicely secluded, which meant it was easier to hear friends talking when they came down to join.

I made the mistake of taking a serious visit to the dealer's room, and after getting a few con trinkets, some presents for other people and a visit to the signed books table, my spending money was pretty much wiped out. I had a bit left, but only a bit, and I was very glad I had budgeted seperately for food and booze money. Of course, I had the better half of two bottles in my room to kill off, and the last thing I wanted to do was try to drive home with an open container in the car.

I didn't see much of the Maskerade, but I did see some wonderful pictures taken by other people, and then there was mingling and drinking and lots of hugs and more stories and then it was past three in the morning yet again.
kittylady: (teach the controversy)
So the first day dawned after far too little sleep. This would prove to be a recurring trend.

I made the mistake of volunteering. This is not a mistake I will be repeating. Not to say that volunteering isn't good for what it is, but I missed nearly everything that I wanted to see that day because I was doing hour-long blocks in other parts of the hotel and couldn't teleport to the door fast enough.

I did get to the Thieves' Guild events, and that was epic. For the first day my other two friends who'd signed up for the show as well hadn't quite made it, so I got to stand in front of the group and get play-mugged and went over the finer points of receipt leaving. It was grand fun, but my nerves were so tightly strung that when I tried to meet the group in the bar later my hands shook so badly I slopped half of my overpriced shot on the bar when I picked it up.

Then there was more running around and volunteering, and finally friends did arrive, and then there was smoking and catching up and running around and volunteering, all in nearly a hundred degree weather. The opening ceremony was wonderful, if shorter than everybody would have liked, and then I got changed for the Bedtime Stories event, in which a Skype meeting with Rob Wilkins had been arranged so that the guests could hear the first thirty pages of the new book, Raising Steam. I had volunteered to be security for the reading, which consisted of walking around quietly and making sure nobody was recording anything. I am pleased to report that everyone was well behaved and the new book is going to be fucking awesome.

The only truly annoying thing about the event was that I got more compliments on my Batman pyjamas than I have on any other costume I've ever worn. An adorable little cherub of a girl in a Tiffany costume came up and handed me a costume ticket and asked which character I was supposed to be. Cutest. Thing. Ever.

Then there was the Guild party, and lots of ribbons were had by all. My personal favorites were the Guild of Ecdysiasts, Nautchers, Cancanieries and Exponents of Exotic Dance, guild motto "Veni, Vedi, Eget Linteo"* and the Guild of Librarians, guild motto "Ego Similis Magna Librorvm Et Mentiri Non Protest".**

Afterwards I could finally relax, so I went to the bar and ordered some delicious sliders. This was around midnight. Then there was the mingling outside on the finally cooled brick of the smoking area, and me and one of my friends got into the kind of argument that had the husband going, "Here she goes again," and trying to hint to me to tone it down while I was blatantly ignoring him and doing my best to prove to said friend that I was right and he was wrong. It was great fun, even if we did scare the others to the point where one of them started shouting, "Ewoks! Jar-Jar Binks! Ewoks!" in a desperate attempt to change the conversation. To give total credit to the quick thinker, it worked, and then everyone could talk again instead of listening to the two of us rant at each other.

At about one thirty we tried to call it a night and went back to the room, but I'd pushed myself way too hard. Those burgers came right back up, after which I felt worlds better. So I brushed my teeth and we went and visited the staff party and then went back outside, and I'm reasonably sure it was past four when we did manage to head in for the night.

*"I came, I saw, I need a towel." Although I do think the first two should have been juxtaposed.

**"I like big books and I cannot lie."
kittylady: (teach the controversy)
We left early on the fourth, and I'm glad we did because otherwise traffic would have been a joke. As it was, the drive itself was just too damn long.

But get there we did, and we went to check in and discovered that we were going to really dislike the hotel. Some smarmy little git behind the desk tried to tell us that our registry was wrong, despite months ago booking the room for two people and having the booking reminder confirm that we had registered two people. Said smarmy little git tried to charge us an extra three hundred dollars over what we had been told previously, and it was about to go rather poorly until Chip got the hotel manager out, at which point we were only charged a little over a hundred what we had originally been told. Our experience with the hotel did not improve from there.

But, despite being put on the twenty-first floor in a room with a leaky tub and the worst air conditioning, the water was hot and there was two-ply toilet paper. A shower helped get rid of the worst of the irritation, as well as a couple of shots from the bottle of Jack Daniels that I had so fore-sightedly brought with me, as hotel prices were about eight to ten bucks a drink, depending on if you went to the hotel bar or the bars that had been set up for events. I also discovered that I look good in a bowler hat.

Many other people had booked a day early as well, and there were costumes in plenty as people got ready for the fireworks celebration, a paid event that was announced long after hotel reservations had been made. Chip stayed in his room while I went and mingled and got to hear Bernard Pearson and Esther Friesner talk about democracy and monarchy and why the English should take the Kardashians. I ran into old friends and got to catch up, happy to hear that many of them are doing well, and much booze and laughter was had by all.

Then we went onto the reserved balcony for the fireworks only to discover that the view was terrible. So those same friends and myself went to one of their rooms, from which we could see three different shows including one over the Constellation, and had a really interesting chat with a security specialist about Snowden and why it is perfectly all right to have mixed feelings about the whole clusterfuck.

After that came what is generally my favorite part of convention going - hanging outside and mingling in the cool air with no kids about and the rude, drunken stories flowing like booze out of hip flasks. Bernard is a habitual pipe smoker, and he has the most wonderful stories, all about his own very interesting life and also about the long and varied time he's worked with Sir Terry. Nearly as good as having the man himself there, and in some ways better because I don't have the huge hero worship thing with Bernard and that makes it easier to just talk.

Unsurprisingly, it was past three when it was decided to call it a night. But it had been a wonderful night.

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kittylady

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