As promised, here is the first of my GenCon Indy reports. I don't know how long these will be, but I plan to write one for each day based on the notes that I took about the convention and all, so these are likely to be long posts.
Edit: Originally, I was going to transcribe the written journal entries that I made about the con each day, but have decided that the process is too tedious and the entries will be way too long. The LJ entry for Day -2 encompassed two entries, and was in that form. This journal has been changed into a recap of the day in question, based on the original notes I scribbled in the hand journal.
August 12, 2008
Woke up around 4:45 am for the trip to the airport. The trip to Indianapolis was not without mishaps. After leaving for the airport around 5:50 am, I left my house keys and pill box at home, so had to go back for them. Ended up leaving the pill box in the car, so didn't have my diabetes meds and vitamins for the first day. It was a good thing that I had packed four extra doses of each. I had a bit of a problem with Customs, as they didn't want to allow me to take the ice cubes that I had packed in triple plastic bags for the small cooler I had, but that was relatively easy to clear up once the supervisor arrived.
The flight from Ottawa to Chicago was fine, although the plane was a bit cramped. On top of that, my overnight carry-on bag was too big for the small plane, so had to be put into cargo. I panicked somewhat, and forgot to take my diabetes glucometer out of the bag, but it seemed to survive all right. spross's (SteveR, from this point in the reports) reaction to the flying was interesting. He hadn't flown since he was six years old. The whole flight he was looking out the window at the topography and all from 30,000 feet. But I could see that he was somewhat anxious.
I remembered why I dislike O'Hare airport in Chicago so much once we got there. It was a long walk through three or four terminals (according to the notes I took), and I struggled somewhat with that. My feet hurt, but that may have had to do with the high blood sugar count after breakfast in the Ottawa airport. Not exactly healthy. Had a major mishap in O'Hare. I don't know how it happened, but at some point during the walk with SteveR to the gate for the flight to Indy, I discovered that my collapsible cooler with the diabetes snacks and water has disappeared during the walk. spross doubled back to the last place I remember clearly having it, at the top of the last escalator where I lifted the entire weight of the carry-on bag, the briefcase, and the cooler onto the stairs and then lifted it off. He found no trace of the bag at all. What sort of a person does something like this? And what kind of people don't notice this and say something in a crowded airport like that? :< In any event, I was also somewhat hungry by this time, but the flight was leaving in some ten minutes, so SteveR and I went to the gate and caught the flight.
Had the same problem with my carry-on bag on the plane to Indy, and this was an even smaller plane, that made me feel like I was in a sardine can! I can only imagine how SteveR felt about this, and I knew that he was uncomfortable and all. I didn't improve the situation all the much, given that I was somewhat depressed and surly after losing the cooler (but I don't know how much of that might have been due to my blood sugar levels, so...) The flight to Indy was supposed to leave at 10:30 am (local time), but didn't actually take off until around 11:15 am - just reinforced the feeling of being in a sardine can. *sigh* The flight to Indy was *29 minutes*!! Incredible!! Talk about idiotic fuel costs...might as well just have had a flight direct from Ottawa to Indianapolis for that cost. Sheesh!
Landed in Indy, collected the luggage, and had no problems getting a tazi to the Omni Severin Hotel - Indianapolis. The Omni Severin (or Omni, as I shall call it from now on) is an absolutely beautiful hotel. You can see lots of pictures of the place on the website, so I won't describe how magnificent the place is. The room was a double with two beds that was larger than I expected, and there was a desk as well as a lounge chair and a foot stool. The arrangements for the small fridge that I had requested got mixed up, but after talking to the staff at the desk, the matter was sorted out. Of course, there was no food in the fridge, so SteveR and went down to the restaurant to eat something.
Since the restaurant was closed for the afternoon (it was around 3:00 pm or so by this time), we went into the Severin Bar for a late lunch. I was ravenous, and ate a huge turkey club sandwich with a small salad, and a bit of fruit. I literally *devoured* the sandwich! I was able to set up a reservation for breakfast every morning between 8-8:30 am in the Hot Tuna, the restaurant of the Omni Severin, as I was concerned once the convention started that it would be difficult to find a place to eat breakfast. I'm one of these people who doesn't rush through my meals, due to the diabetes, and thus gave myself enough time to eat properly.
Looked around for a pill box, collapsible cooler, and body lotion, but couldn't find that. Since we had time before dinner with friends, went over to the Circle Center mall but didn't find it there, and then went to check out the Convention Center. It was a good 20-minute walk from the Omni to the Convention Center, so this was going to be good exercise for every day. I was glad I had brought with me a couple of changes of shoes. Of course, there weren't a lot of other people around, but the views were interesting and the Circle Center was amazing. Reminded me a lot of the Rideau Centre here in Ottawa, but I suppose one can't help but compare to one's home town, now can one? The Convention Center was very large, very bright, and the GenCon staff were setting up there. SteveR managed to snag us a couple of the program books for the convention, even though they weren't on general release yet, and we then proceed back to the Omni, and went to check out Union Station, as I had wanted to see the venue where we were going to be gaming the week away. Couldn't get in there, as the doors were locked, so came back to the hotel.
Went back to the hotel, and washed up and changed clothes. We Went down to the lobby, and waited for the folks to show up for dinner. I was both nervous and exhilarated about this, as I hadn't met these folks ever, despite having talked with them virtually for the last two years (and even spoken on the phone with some as well). animadversio(Tom) and his wife, Liz, were the first to show up. He and Liz weren't going to dinner with us, as Tom had commitments at the Ram that night, but he was gracious enough to come and meet SteveR and me, and we chatted for a bit. Tom reminded me of what I looked like about twelve years ago, in general appearance and all, and we got along well. He's a really friendly, nice fellow, and Liz was a good conversationalist as well. Next to arrive was Shrieking Emu* (Cody Jones, if I remember the last name right), and he was another really good guy. The five of us sat and chatted there until about 7:00 waiting for obnoxiad (Shawn) and his wife, Chris(tine), to arrive. When they arrived, Shawn apologised for arriving late. He looked exactly as he had when I saw him in the photos from last year's GenCon, except for the addition of a beard.
We talked for a short time about a variety of things, and then Tom and Liz 0took off for the Ram, while the rest of us went off to the Slippery Noodle Inn, a really old blues club and restaurant. The food there was excellent. There was great food and great conversation, and a good time was had by all. It was good to finally meet Shawn and his wife and Cody, and we had a good time. I was hoping to catch blues artist Debbie Davies there that night, but I missed something, because the start of the show time had passed and there was no sign of her. We left the restaurant, heading back the way we came, and saw her playing in a completely different part of the place. I just laughed and shrugged my shoulders.
Cody had to take off, but Shawn, Chris, Steve, and I went over to The Ram, to see what was going on there. The Ram was really quite interesting to look at from the outside, and was all decked out with gaming themes and motifs, but I found it to be a bit noisy and loud. Met a few people in the open gaming area, including Bubba Ho-Tep (Ron) and a few others that I don't recall (it was a long day, after all!). A really sweet moment occurred when a cute little girl in a coon skin hat walked up to spross and told him that she liked his wolf t-shirt.
By that time, it was getting late, and I was pretty tired after the early morning and the trip and all, so SteveR and I bid farewell to Shawn and Chris, and headed back to the hotel for a night's sleep. Before leaving, I mentioned to Shawn the business about the pill box and the cooler, and he said that he would see what he could do. Back at the Omni, SteveR and I crashed for the night.
So there you have it folks, the first day of the Indy and GeoCon trip. Somewhat long, yes, I know, but I trust it was enjoyable. The next entry will deal with GenCon Day -1.
Hope folks like what they read here, and please comment on whether you want me to continue with this kind of detail on the trip or not.
* Other than LJ friends of mine here, any pseudonyms that I use here are taken off the Hollow Earth Expedition (HEX) forums.