As you may recall, at the start of this trip I wasn't exactly revved up with excitment. I was pretty much all con'ed out for the time being and visiting hippieland wasn't exactly thrilling me at the moment. Top that off with there weren't any real events that I wanted to attend other than some staples that were already present at indy, and I had pretty low expectations. The nice thing about low expectations of course, is that it's easy to meet and surpass them. On to the pictures.
So it's been near 20 years or so since I've been to california. The first and only time I was there it was a family trip where we were visiting relatives and also then driving from cali out to vegas and then the grand canyon. It was certainly the longest and most extensive family vacation we had ever had and I'm chock full of memories of it, though most of them are of pedantic and semi-pointless things.
For instance, my uncle had ran a convienance store at the time somewhere near LA. I Remember eating a whole heaping load of King Cones while I was there. It was sort of that kid in a candy store phenomenom but with ice cream. He also had a track and field video game in the store. I sucked at track and field but the guy who would come and empty out the quarters would also give us a buncha free credits on the machine. I still remember learning how to hit that bird during the javelin event. Toss in some other disjointed memories of circus circus in vegas, a cooler of sandwich fixings, my dad getting pulled over for speeding, and you get the general idea. It's not like I had a good basis for comparrison about how california might have changed from the one in my memory unless it was of the generic layout of their convienance stores nowadays.
So after airlines made their cuts to in-flight meal service, it's basically meant that I haven't had a meal on a flight in near a decade. Flying low-cost carriers even before the switch to save money more or less guarenteed that. It's not like the meal is actually something to look forward to really. Frankly, I still harbor some vividly disturbing memories of the last one I had been subjected to while flying from jersey to orlando in my teens. It was the worst mash of tv dinner food that you could imagine. Still, it is sorta a milestone to get a meal again so I snapped a picture.
The ice outside of the plane windows are always sorta spiffy. It's like a snowflake of sorts. Part of me always wants to bash on the window to see if I can crack and/or dislodge it. Having seen too many in-flight disaster movies involving explosive decompression and people getting sucked out of giant gaping holes chair and all, I manage to restrain myself.
So as I recall this was over colorado. Wooo, look! Mountains and crap. I wouldn't even have taken these pictures if the pilot hadn't come on over the intercom to specifically inform us we were flying over colorado. All I can think now is why would we give a rat's ass?
Ya, more stupid mountains. The flight out there seemed to take freaking forever. Luckily the movie being offered didn't choke (Batman Begins) and I actually sorta enjoyed it. I spent the rest of the time listening to my mp3 player's audiobook of Terry Brooks' A Knight of the Word. I spent most of the return flight listening to the followup Angelfire East.
Ah, after an eternity we finally arrive at John Wayne Airport. I had a choice of flying into there or LAX, and I chose to pay a bit more in order to be closer to anaheim. I figured that since I was stuck in hippieland for the time being, I should try to reduce any possible problems and make things as simple as possible when it came to ground transport.
You know, I don't think I've ever seen a john wayne movie in my entire life. I'm not usually one for westerns and all, but just seeing this picture makes me want to break into the national anthem.
So in the end it was only 10 bucks by shuttle to the hotel and they even dropped me off right in front of it instead of forcing me to trek from some sort of localized bus stop. I arrived at the parkside. You'll notice that this is the only picture I have of the parkside in any form. Considering my past trips, you know how I love to snap pictures of almost everything. This ommission was intentional. There was almost nothing worth recording about the parkside other than it was cheaper than dirt. $32.40 a night. You can't fucking beat that.
So I spent the rest of tuesday more or less doing nothing. I loafed around the room and tried to use my gamerdar to see if I could spot any of the other people from the gencon forums who I knew would be staying there too. The thing must've been on the fritz because I had no blips. I ventured out eventually to snag something to eat and found what must've been the most expensive IHOP in the world. A meal there ended up costing me something liek 27 dollars after tax and tip. A glass of ice tea was $3.59! I wandered around a bit more scoping out the ACC location and then went back to the hotel. The next day would be disneyland.
Welcome to disneyland. Man, all I can say is that while it looks like a short little trek from the hotel to disneyland, it seems to stretch across acres of parking lot. I was a little late getting there and the endless horizon of asphalt was making me quite pissy. I had thought about renting a car while in socal to get around but realized that there really were no places I wanted to get around to. I could save myself a little bit of walking but that was about it. Tending to not get out of the ACC until well past midnight each night and then being stupid and hauling along a backpack loaded with heavy shit, at times I really regreted my decision to do the trip on the cheap.
Anyway, Shiney was the first person I met there. It turns out that Jane and the rest of the auction people had already arrived and had gone into the park. He was still waiting around for the stragglers and when I got there around 15 minutes after, we were still waiting for El and her friend. Shiney was more or less the architech for this whole disneyland adventure. He's apparently a disneyophile. He was decked out in his disney paraphenalia with his clothes and pins and other assorted crap and he was the one who got us in to club 33 through a friend of a friend and who also went through the whole process of getting us the free day pass which went with the meal. I hadn't really payed much attention to who was coming along on this trip, knowing only that I wasn't really familiar with any of them even from a forum standpoint. Not a whole lot of interaction in general. Added to the general mix was the fact that of our merry little band of 8, 4 were auction workers and I had recently had an altercation with one of the head auction people on the forums telling him to eat shit and die. I figured it was going to be a very exciting sort of day one way or the other.
So there wasn't much to do other than sit around and wait for El and her friend to show up. With nothing else to do I decided to have some pictures taken.
Waiting. Still waiting. Still waiting. By this point, I offered to take over the gate watching, ticket passing duty from shiney so he could get into the park and hunt down some pins or charms or whatever disney crap it was that he hadn't picked up the last time he was there. I didn't feel all that great about roaming into the park on my own anyway and being able to find where I was supposed to be so I would wait for the girls and let him go on and do his buisness.
So I lounged around a bit more and I think it was probaly another 20 minutes or so before they finally got there. At that point I passed out the tickets and more or less got swept along in their wake. Turns out that El's friend B was some sort of disney fanatic too and she had clear ideas of what was the best thing to do with the 30 minutes or so we had left before meeting up with everyone else at club 33. In the end we didn't actually go on any rides, but we roamed around and I snapped a few more pictures. I don't even remember what this sucker was supposed to be again but it was supposed to do something special, move around or something, every 15 minutes. It didn't.
So here are the infamous duo. I swear, these two never saw a shop they didn't like.
He's got the whole world in his hands, he's got the whole world in his hands.... You'll notice that I'm already wearing the gencon badge holder. I don't even bother bringing a wallet with me anymore. I find the badge holder carries exactly what I need and is more secure in the end because it never leaves my neck.
So we ended up getting to club 33 first, which is basically a nondescript door with an intercom and a little plaque with its name outside.
This entry is actually turning out to be quite a bit longer than I thought it would. At first I figured I'd recap day 1 and 2, then day and 1.5, and now I think I'll just cap it here and pick it up again later. There's some background info I want to add about club 33 that I think will be interesting and it would probaly do better as its own post.
So tune in later, kids. Same bat time, same bat channel.