I set my alarm for 4am Thursday morning, but I actually woke up around 3:30 and couldn't get back to sleep for fear I'd miss my alarm and thus miss everything. So I got up, dressed, and made sure I had everything packed just right. Quart bag of gels and liquids in an accessible place? Check. Classic Trek uniform and tall black boots? Check. Gobs of money hidden in various places so if I got robbed, I wouldn't lose all of it? Check. Three books so I wouldn't get bored on those 5-hour plane rides? Check.
I kissed Cowboy good-bye and sneaked downstairs with my carry-on suitcase and big "personal item" bag that I was pretending was a purse, and managed not to wake up any of the kids. I stuffed a couple protein bars in my bag for breakfast later, then waited for my shuttle to the airport. I was the only person on the ride, so we got to the airport by about 6, and my plane didn't leave until 7:45, so I had lots of time to get through security and so on. Especially since I randomly got TSA pre-check approved, so I didn't have to pull out my little bag of toiletries or take my shoes off. Easy-peasy! Got to my gate, posted that I was leaving on an adventure, and started reading a new book.
And once on my plane, guess what my in-flight movie was? Captain America: Civil War!!! Which I had already seen 3 times in the theater, but I was so excited, I bounced up and down and squeaked. Which amused the two grey-haired, middle-aged businessmen sharing my row, I think. One of them spent the whole flight reading something exceedingly dull on his tablet. The other spent the whole movie playing a game on his tablet that involved a fluffy little dog and making clouds rain on flowers, which amused me in return. Then he fell asleep about the time the movie ended, by which time I needed a bathroom break, which did not amuse me, but I was nice and waited an hour for him to be done with his nap before I went. Read my book some more. I'd forgotten how peaceful flying without children is. After my bathroom break, I managed to snooze for 30-40 minutes. Was too excited for any real sleep.
Got to Las Vegas just fine, was astonished by the sheer number of slot machines in the airport, but managed to get my luggage, which I'd had to check instead of carry on because the flight was so full.
|The Vegas Airport, where even the Cinnabon gets glitzed up.|
It was only like 10am Vegas time by the time I was ready to go to the hotel, but my friends weren't going to arrive for a couple hours yet because they were driving over -- I arrived in Vegas before they ever left their house. So I listened to part of Bobby Darin -- Live at the Desert Inn, specifically "Hi-De-Ho," because that album was recorded live while he was performing in Vegas, and it seemed fitting. That and a coffee from Starbucks gave me the courage to go find a shuttle to get me to the hotel.
Sometimes when I have to do lots of daunting things all in a row, I have to pause between them to refresh my moxy.
Got to the hotel, but I couldn't check in cuz the room was in my friend's name and on her credit card. So I found the quietest corner I could, bought a lemonade (good) and a soft pretzel (not so good), and answered a bunch of blog questions while I once again waited for my courage to revive. Once it had, I found the bellhop station and checked my luggage, then drifted over toward the convention area.
|The entrance to the convention. Sorry you can't read the sign.|
I got my tickets scanned and they gave me my first wristband, which was blue. I got very brave and wandered around by myself. There weren't a ton of people there yet, but still a few thousand, I suppose. I found the vendor room and explored it, and bought a cool hand-made tote bag to carry souvenirs in as I bought them, as I'd promised to bring back presents for my kids and my brother, and a friend had commissioned me to buy him something pertaining to the event too. I also bought a used copy of The Nitpicker's Guide for Next Generation Trekkers by Phil Farrand because, when I was a teen and heavy into Star Trek, my brother and I had read through Farrand's guide for the classic series so often that the cover comes off, the binding is shot, and a lot of the pages are loose. I owe a great debt to Farrand's style of loving irreverence, which inspires me a lot when I write up my Scuttlebutt reviews of Combat! episodes.
My friends arrived at last, DKoren and her sister L. We checked into our room soon after, and unpacked. Before long, our closet looked supremely cool.
|Left to right, those are DKoren's, L's, and mine.|
Then we all went down to the convention, they checked in and got their wristbands, and we attended our first panel, which was a tribute to Nichelle Nichols (Uhura), featuring the lovely lady herself!
She's still beautiful, though we were left sad by the fact that she liked to repeat a couple of the same stories several times, and had difficulty hearing. But she clearly knew we loved and appreciated her pioneering efforts as a woman in a position of authority on television, and as her prominence as a minority back when they were so woefully underrepresented in pop culture. Especially when Whoopi Goldberg made a surprise appearance to thank Ms. Nichols for being an inspiration for her, and for all women of every color.
|The venue for the panels was huge, so we got to see closeups broadcast on screens above us.|
I was dealing with a three-hour time difference and kind of hungry all the time by then, and yet not especially wanting food. So we went to a little bar and grill in the hotel lobby that they had discovered last year -- oh, DKoren and L went to last year's convention at the same hotel, did I mention that? They loved it so much they kept sending me all these texts and emails and photos saying how they wished I was there too, and that's when we started planning to all attend this year's event together.
Anyway, the restaurant was pretty full, but they had room for us by the bar, so we sat there, and discovered we had to sort of wedge our drinks between gambling screen console things, and balance our plates on them. I just had grilled asparagus, as my stomach was kind of mad at me for eating nothing but protein bars all day, plus a couple of coffees and some little cookie things on the plane. The asparagus was precisely what I needed.
After supper, we went upstairs and got into our jammies, and they introduced me to the show Pushing Daisies. That became our evening ritual for almost all the evenings: jammies and Daisies at bedtime. It was delightful! We all conked out around 9pm, by which time I'd been awake for more than 20 hours and was more than ready for sleep.
So that's the story of Thursday, August 4, 2016. I'll post about Friday soon!