Wednesday, June 21, 2006
Back from the shindig! I aten't dead!
Much of the craziness happened in the travelling. As I may have mentioned before, I went through an exceptional amount of angst even getting tickets. Because I was applying for several out-of-state jobs earlier in the summer, I didn't know if I was going to be in Dallas or elsewhere around shindig time, so I couldn't book tickets early. By the time I realized I was going to be here, all the Advantage seats were taken up, and all the normal seats were in the $400 range, which was out of the question. I resigned to the knowledge that I wasn't going to be attending the shindig this year, but nevertheless kept checking American Airlines' website, just in case. As luck would have it, at midnight on 6-6-06, a slew of Advantage flights opened up! I got my tickets, and the world was beautiful.
Friday afternoon, I printed out my boarding pass online and was off to the airport! Then when I tried to get through security, the first screener stared at my boarding pass for a full three minutes before she let me through. Then the second screener told me that what I had wasn't a boarding pass, it was another itinerary. I mentally cursed AA.com. He delayed me another few minutes, then he finally let me through, because the first screener had. Apparently, if the first screener doesn't stop a terrorist, the subsequent screeners have no obligation to stop them. Go figure. Anyway, the flight attendant at the gate gave me my boarding pass, and all was hunky-dory. Aside from the 50 minutes we were delayed on the tarmac, of course.
After landing safely at LaGuardia, I took a cab to Kathleen's apartment. Her neighbor was out of town, and she had graciously let me stay in her apartment. Of course, when I got out of the cab, the cabbie immediately drove off with my bag still in the trunk. I sprinted after it, banging on the trunk and yelling at the driver to stop, which he did, very suddenly. My poor shins!
The neighbor had three cats: Sushi the Angelic, the only cat in history ever to not try to claw my eyes out, Cat #2, which was somewhat fairweather in its opinion of me, and Cat #3 AKA SATAN, which would let me pet it for a few seconds, then immediately turn around and sink its fangs into my tender thumbflesh, and also start yowling nonstop for no apparent reason at 2AM.
I love cats. They taste like chicken.
In the morning, I headed to Jimmy's place, which was just 15 blocks away, where all the New York shindiggers congregated. His living quarters were far less debautched than one would imagine. Almost disappointing. :D Kathleen had a potential family emergency at the last moment and decided not to come. I rode over with Jimmy and Big Jason (we just called both Jasons "Jason," but for the clarity of my blog entry, I will differentiate between the two) and learned "You're The Boss" from Smokey Joe's Cafe on the way, for Serenifly: The Musical. Jimmy and I each filked three songs, which I will upload later. One of the shindiggers recorded it. :D
We spent much of Saturday just chilling and trying to beat the excessive heat. A geeky time was had by all! Shauna made burgers and hot dogs, and Suze steamed the Bao, which was delicious. Then we rounded up all those that wanted to participate in the musical and rehearsed a bit, then performed before we watched the movies.
In my "Where Do We Go From Here," I was River, Courtney was Kaylee, Big Jason was Simon, Little Jason was Mal, Matt was Zoe, Sami was Inara, and Ryan was Jayne. For Jimmy's "River," Suze rocked out as Simon, and Sami and I provided backup dancing. Bonnet Bob made a hilarious Joss in my "If Ever I Would Kill You," and he was joined by Jimmy as Dead Book, Sami as Dead Wash, Little Jason as Dead Mr. Universe, and me as the Bride Bot. For Jimmy's "I'll Watch Over You," Jimmy was Book and Sami was Mal. We were treated to another Courtney/Big Jason duet as Kaylee and Simon in my "An Axe to Grind." Jimmy and I closed off as Nathan Fillion and Sarah Michelle Gellar in his "Joss is Boss." A splendid time was had by all!
We watched the first X-Men movie, then a short film fellow shindigger Rob directed and starred in. Very cool. Then Little Jason showed a few MST3K shorts. Then we launched into the ever-hilarious "Wizard People, Dear Reader." The DVD player started spazzing out on us right before we met Hagrid, but as I had the audio on my iPod, all was not lost! Little Jason suggested we just act everything out, so we did. Sami started as Hagar (then became Ronnie the Bear) and I acted the role of the great HP. Little Jason joined us as Ed Vanders (and subsequently EVERY OTHER CHARACTER not in the trio) and Jessica joined us as Harmony the Wretch. Hilarity ensued. All present declared that our version was a lot more fun than watching it with the movie. After the Sorting, we decided to go to bed and finish it in the morning, when half the shindiggers weren't asleep.
We started the morning with Shauna's phenomenal Living Legend Eggs and toast, whereupon I expounded on the merits of being the mutant Toastito. We decided that the Bagel would be my ally and obligatory Jewish friend, and that it would be compulsory for me to make bad condiment puns whenever possible. ("Wow, Doctor Soggy! You've certainly got yourself in a... jam! Looks like your resources are spread pretty thin!")
Then we did more of "Wizard People, Dear Reader," only this time under the blazing sun. We all got quite a workout! I also got quite a nasty bruise on my backside, probably playing Quidditch or attempting to stop the troll.
Next, Charades! We opened the floor up to all Jossverse, plus events from past Shindigs, then including events from this Shindig as well. Crazy madcap fun was had by all!
Then we played Firefly Jeopardy, led by Courtney. I'm fairly sure that in the three-year history of PA Shindig Firefly Jeopardy, the Blue Bells have always won first place, the Purple Bell-ies won second, and the Red Bells from Hell came in last. I held the cursed Red Bell (as I had won the last two years in a row), and I was partnered with a guy that may not have even seen the series and a guy that only contributed half of an answer to one question. Naturally, I was at a disadvantage. The Blue-Purple-Red tradition held another year.
Then it was time for the Auction, orchestrated by Jimmy to benefit Ryan's childhood friend, Brighid Moret, who was recently diagnosed with Pseudoxanthoma Elasticum, a connective tissue disorder. PXE International is trying to raise $50,000 for clinical trials, and we ended up raising a bit over a grand. A lot less than we'd hoped, but hey, it's a grand they didn't have before.
I bought back the Serenity Visual Companion (autographed by Loni Peristere) that I had donated, then I got a Sandman: Death action figure for Renata, a Bruce Campbell in "Evil Dead" action figure for Becky, a variant cover Astonishing X-Men (autographed by John Cassaday), issue 1 of Batman Year 100 (autographed by Paul Pope), and the Cowboy Bebop OST box set. All fairly cheap. I also sold two photo prints!
Because I wasn't sure if I would be working the Monday after the Shindig when I bought my ticket, I got a 6AM flight, as there were no flights late enough on Sunday night. As it's now apparent that I'm not going to work for another week, I called Mom and we worked out a list of flights I could fly standby on, rather than waking up at 4. Then it was back to NY! Jason and Jimmy dropped me off at the Cornell Club, and I was out like a light.
I woke up at 6:30, achieved hygiene, grabbed breakfast, and was off by 8. And here's where the second half of the travel angst comes into play. As I had deliberately missed the 6AM flight, I couldn't use the self-check in. I approached one of the frazzled-looking desk attendants, and she told me she could only help me when the self-check line was processed. Note that there were at least 30 people in the self-check line. I sat down to read for a few minutes, but it quickly became evident that the line was only getting longer, so I went to the International and Florida line, which was much shorter, to see if someone there could help me. A man told me to talk to another woman who told me to wait in another line (thankfully, only five people long). Then the woman I ended up talking to informed me that the 8:00 flight to Dallas had been cancelled, and that all the people on that flight were going to be listed on the Standby List ahead of me. Joy.
Fortunately, it seems most of them found other methods of transportation, as by the time I arrived at the gate, I was only 27th in the Standby List. Only 27th. I began to wonder if I was getting home any time that week. After the 9:30 flight, I was 22nd in line. Then some bizarre and beautiful miracle must have occurred, because after the 10:30 flight, I was suddenly 9th in line. But then when I checked the list five minutes later, I wasn't anywhere to be found. I asked a flight attendant what was going on, and she told me that the list was more or less irrelevant, and that I was actually 11th in line. Go figure. Then another miracle must have occurred, as when the 11:45 flight was boarding, they called only three standby passengers, and I was one of them. SCORE!
I finished Academ's Fury in the first few minutes of the plane ride, and it was awesome. It's the second book in the Codex Alera series, written by Jim Butcher, who also wrote The Dresden Files. The first book was enjoyable, but it didn't begin to compare with The Dresden Files in my mind. I didn't think I was going to read the rest of the series, but I happened upon Academ's Fury at Half-Price Books and figured what the heck. I'm so glad I did, because it was fabulous, and it made me realize that there was a lot more going on in the first book that I had been totally unaware of. The third book comes out in December, whee!
And I'm spent. I took a surprisingly low number of pictures at the Shindig, so I'm going to rely mostly on other people's cameras. When I get more stuff uploaded at my flickr gallery, I'll let you guys know.
Priscilla said at 9:10 AM
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Title cartoon by Bruce Eric Kaplan, used without permission.