Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Blogging isn't easy...

Man, I've just spent the last 3 hours uploading all my posts I composed while down at C4 and editing in all the photos that went along with them.

Finally caught up to today, which was my first day of vacation at home. Didn't leave the house once today, except to water the lawn. Spent the first part of the morning finishing up the new Dean Koontz book I bought for the trip. Watched some shows on the DVR with Heather including Studio 60 (I'm really glad that show is back, at least for a little bit).

Leaving the house will be a bit of a challenge for the next few days, seeing as how my car is in the shop getting its' front bumper repaired. I ran over a log that fell off a logging truck on I-405 a few weeks ago, which broke the bumper and scratched up the under-carriage. The body shop has had my car for the entire week I was gone, but they still aren't done yet.

Here's hoping they finish tomorrow. I've got tomorrow and Friday off, so I plan to hang around the house and enjoy not being at work or on the road. I'll probably work on the Star Wars room, which would be a great reason to update the Star Wars blog.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Last day in LA

I woke up this morning around 7am. Even though I've had less than a good night's sleep every night for the last 6 days, there's just something about being down here that makes me wake up early every day. Most days, it's been the need to stand in a line for something. Today, it was just habit.

Perhaps I'm having line withdrawal. I'm sure the airport will cure me of that.

When I get back home, MANY pictures will be posted.

The Last day of the Con

Monday morning I woke up just before 6am and quickly showered to head down to the con. I stopped once again at Famima for breakfast, where I got an English muffin sandwich, a banana and some “Naked juice”, which has lots of vitamins in it. I’m still fighting a cold.

I ended up being the 4th person in the line, which was good…because today was all about coins. I had it all planned out. I’d go into the con, get a seat at the collector’s panel to get the final handout (the Vader coin), then I’d trade my extra Vader, along with my Luke and Tusken Raider coins for the remaining 3 I needed (Han, Chewie and Death Squad trooper). I ended up finding someone in the line to trade Luke for Chewie, so at that point; I only needed two more besides the Vader.
I played some Game Boy, made some line friends, and scoped the con floor a bit on my way to the bathroom…all of which helped pass the time. Around 9am, I get this call from a 213 number asking for me.

“Is this Josh?” they said.

“Do you have my wife’s cell phone?” I asked.

“How did you know?” the mystery person said.

I explained that we knew it was gone, I figured the number calling might have found it and the only thing I didn’t know is where it was. Oddly enough someone had returned it to the Marriott. It was waiting there at the desk for us. This was really strange, because we never went there, so I can only assume that either it got lost at the con and some con-goer took it back to their hotel.

The other possibilities include the taxi-driver driving it all the way back from Hollywood to one of the convention hotels, or someone from the MR party bringing it back there. Any way you slice it, there was a good Samaritan and I have no idea who they were or how they did it. If by chance somehow you found your way to this page by searching for "Celebration 4, Lost Cell Phone" or something....thank you!

Heather arrived sometime after 9:30, followed by Jim. They joined me in line and agreed to help with my “master plan”. What was this plan? Well, if the Vader coin wasn't handed out at the first panel, I'd have someone already in line for the second one so I'd be guaranteed to get it. Heather and I hit the first panel, Jim got in the line…but luckily, it turned out the first one was the Vader coin panel. I now had 12 coins. Getting them was the hard part and now it was time to trade.

I had to trade a Tusken and a Vader for a Han and a Death Squad Trooper. Not the easiest trade in the world (no one wanted my Tusken at the time)…so I ended up hanging onto them until Noon…when they had a gathering to help collector’s complete sets. They asked everyone who only needed one to complete a set to stand up, so both Heather and I each stood up. They gave each one of us one of the two I needed, and boom…I had a set. This will be my favorite souvenir for the trip by far.

After the last panel, Heather and I hit the exhibit hall, where we made one last pass. I bought some poker chips, then we saw the Vader helmet exhibit with Matt from Jedidefender. After that, we met up with Lisa and walked around the fan hall, which had an incredible Endor diorama I hadn’t even seen yet. I took a ton of pictures, but none that captured it’s amazing scale.

After the exhibition hall, we met up with Adam from the VA boards and said our goodbyes before taking one last picture at the con and leaving for lunch. It was finally over.

The mall food court was closed, so we got some Subway and ate in our room. We packed up the armor, jumped in a cab and delivered it to Lisa who was ready and waiting for us so she could leave. We helped pack her up, said our thank yous and goodbyes…and headed back to the Sheraton.

On the way to the Sheraton, Julie called and said she had already arrived, so we said that we’d be there in another few minutes. Somehow, on the way there we skipped our street and ended up walking a few blocks into one of the less than great neighborhoods. I knew that we were going the wrong way and ended up turning around. Turns out we had walked right past our hotel somehow.

We got into the car with Julie and headed out to see Teresa in Valencia. The drive was quick and we were there in about 30 minutes. Got to see Teresa’s new house, Michael made a really nice dinner and we ate it outside on their patio. Afterwards, we hung out inside talking and everyone took turns holding their new baby. We left around 10 and were home just as quickly as we had arrived.

Packed up everything that wasn’t a Star Wars collectible and by the time I went to sleep last night it was after midnight. I’m typing this one from my hotel room, still not used to not waking up early yet. We leave in a couple of hours. This has been one awesome trip.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Sunday's adventures

Posting this one on Monday, playing a little catch up.

After finishing the last entry, I got up and woke everyone up. Heather, Jason and I went to the IHOP for breakfast where I had some really good French toast with cherries on top to go along with my breakfast.

After we got done with the meal, Jason headed out to take some pictures of the Heroes fountain (located right down the street from our hotel) and we left for the con. As it was after 10:30, we were able to walk right into the convention and into the Collector’s panels, where I had already missed 2 of the day’s coins. We then went to the Clone Wars presentation, where I missed the footage because I was rushing to the next Collector’s panel. This was the first and only time I regretted going to one of these things.

We watched the “Local Collectors Club” panel, where they handed out the Tusken Raider at one around noon. After that panel, we left because I figured there would be a coin later in the afternoon…but instead, they handed out a Stormtrooper right afterwards at the next one. I was able to trade my Leia to get that one, but that left me with only my extra Sand person and a Luke as tasty trade bait. At this point, I had 10 coins and needed to get 4 more to complete my set.

Heather went downstairs to watch the Costume contest while I watched a couple of different panels. There were no coins at any of my panels and we ended up texting each other back and forth during the two separate events we were at. Afterwards, we met up to walk the exhibit hall a bit. We hadn’t really seen much of it during the week, but it turns out there wasn’t a lot that we had missed from Thursday. We did almost the whole hall in less than an hour, and then headed to the front of the con to meet Jim and Tom for the Master Replicas party. Earlier in the day, we had lucked out when we received some passes to this exclusive event at Jim Henson Studios, so we weren’t going to miss this one.

When we arrived at the Buses, Walter, Victoria, Lisa, Shannon, Jim and Tom were already all there. We waited around for almost an hour for the stupid bus to show up, but it never came. We finally took a couple of taxis, which we split 4 ways each. It got us there well ahead of all the people who waited for the bus, and we used that time to get some really good dinner and a table where we sat and talked with other friends from the great Northwest. Got to meet a couple of the celebrities and participate in the raffle. Some MR swordsmen took to the mats to fight with the Force FX lightsabers. All in all, it was a great party, at least until we wanted to leave.

Kermit breaks out of a wall:

Some Jedi battle it out with Force FX Sabers:

Around 10 or so, we decided to go home, but as it turned out, there were once again no buses. We waited for at least 40 minutes before a bus finally arrived, and we didn’t make it onto that one. At that point, we thought about taking a cab….but shortly after that decision had been made, another smaller bus showed up. Unfortunately, that bus decided that only famous people going to the Omni could ride. They had all left via cabs, so this was basically useless. We all got back off and this was when Heather discovered her cell phone was gone.

We knew she had the phone at the con, because we were texting during the last two panels and she had called me to meet up before going to wait for the buses. She went back into the party to look for it, but no one had returned it. I gave her my phone so she could call and have hers deactivated, which took 20 minutes or more. Meanwhile, I’m sitting there talking with people in line about how we may or may not be getting a ride home.

We sat there and waited until around 11:30pm, when finally….another “Omni bus” arrived. He said he wouldn’t take any of us in the line, and I argued a bit with him before going back into the event and finding someone in charge. I asked one of the MR people to get out there and get their private “talent” shuttles to start taking the rest of their guests home. He did so, and we jumped onto that bus that had said they wouldn’t take us. We were dropped off at the Holiday Inn. We got to bed around midnight, which was pretty darn late considering I was planning an early morning for Monday.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Saturday's fun

What a weekend it has been. Before I head down to the con this morning, I thought I'd catch up on yesterday's fun:

Saturday morning, I woke up around 8 or so and decided not to head down to the con until after the line had progressed into the building. I figured Heather and I might have a little breakfast at a sit down place first, then head to the convention after people had entered. We ended up taking our sweet time getting ready, and then ran into Beth in the lobby, so that idea kind of went by the wayside.

IHOP had a long line, so we ended up going to the “Famima” store for breakfast around 9:50am and having some of their breakfast sandwiches again. One of my local collecting friends who has an associate’s badge called me to tell me that she had scored me the Yoda and R2 maquette. She said that even though she got in before the public did, she was still almost denied the opportunity to purchase this maquette because so many exhibitors were already in line and Gentle Giant had turned the line around yet again. I am thrilled to get it, but frankly, I think that’s the only way it was ever going to happen for me. Gentle Giant has no idea how to handle the distribution of exclusives and could really take a cue from Sideshow.

After we got to the con, we jumped into the Robot Chicken panel line with Adam and his friend (also named Heather). It was very sunny and they were lining up people outside, so my black t-shirt wasn’t exactly the best attire for the next 90 minutes we spent out there. It was nice to get some sunshine though. Here's the line:

And here we are:

Eventually, they filed us into the theater and the show started about 30 minutes late. Seth Green, Matt Seinriech (sp?), Breckin Meyer plus many of the writers, producers and other staff were there answering questions and showing clips from the Robot Chicken Star Wars special that’s coming in June. It was really entertaining, but ended far too early.

After that panel was over, Heather and I jumped into a collector’s panel (tail end of the selling tips panel) where we found out they had already given two coins out that morning. C-3PO and the Death Star Trooper. We watched the Large Focus collecting panel which had no coin, but was incredibly informative for me, and then we watched the Cast and Crew items which had a Luke coin.

We left the panels after this to jump into the line for the Robot Chicken Toys and Sets panel, which ended up being really cool. Adam lined up with us, but got to sit in the VIP section thanks to a badge from some of his friends on the Toys and Sets panel. Seth Green sat in front of us with his two body guards, and answered questions from time to time. They showed how they made the toys (which weren’t real Star Wars action figures), how they made sets and answered just a ton of questions. I really enjoyed it. Took some awesome pictures of some of the toys that will be featured in the upcoming episode:

A really cool Chewbacca

Last but not least, the Robot Chicken himself, in his Vader suit:

After this panel, we went back to the collecting room to see the Hilarious Star Wars items panel, which was really funny, then stayed for the trivia contest. It was kind of a cool system. Everyone who was playing stood up, then they asked questions, which you’d raise or lower your hand to answer. If you were wrong, you had to sit down. I made it through all of the True and False questions without getting eliminated, mostly because I was in the back of the room and could follow the consensus of raised hands. The next round was multiple choice and I was eliminated on my first question, which was about trading cards (I don’t collect em). We did get a Jawa coin at this panel though, and because I traded an extra R2 for a 3PO and my extra Luke for an Obi-Wan, I’m building a pretty good set here so far.

As soon as I was knocked out of the collector’s contest, Heather and I walked very briskly back to the Sheraton, where we proceeded to quickly get ready for the 501st group photo at 8pm. Just when we arrived back in the room, Jim called to let me know he had won the collector’s contest! I was thrilled for him and really bummed that we didn’t get to see it, but apparently he won some cool prizes.

It was 7 when we arrived and that was enough time for Heather to iron her officer’s costume, do her make-up and get suited up, while I unpacked my armor, shaved and got dressed in my Biker Scout outfit. We hit the lobby by 7:40 and took a taxi back to the convention to save time.

When we arrived, we hurried into the hall to find that they were already lining people up (15 minutes early), so we split up and joined our respective gatherings of similar costumes. I called everyone and had them spread the word that we wanted to do a big Northwest photo after the Legion photo was done.

Jason called me from the convention lobby to tell me that he and Julie had arrived and that they would meet us after the photo. I decided to give my Carrie Fisher tickets to Adam so I could hang out with all of our friends after the photo shoot instead of being stuck in a panel. Lining up for the photo took forever, but eventually…they got it and we scattered back up to the lobby. I had lost my glove, but one of my fellow scouts brought it to me (gotta love the 501st).

In the lobby we met up with Adam to give him the tickets, and then met Brandon, Walter, Victoria, Misty, Badger, Bethany, B eth, John, Lisa, Montine and her friend Chris. There were a couple of people who were busy elsewhere, but we had a pretty good gathering even if it wasn’t complete. The group of us went out front where we met Jason and Julie, and then we took a few pictures together. Here they are, courtesy of Jason:

Everyone suited up:

The whole crew:

After the pictures, we milled around a bit before heading to the Sheraton to change.
It took at least an hour for everyone to assemble again, but the group of us eventually made it to IHOP (of all places) where we were joined by Steve, Katie, Ryan, Deanna and a few other Seattle area folks. We took up 4 or 5 tables and a booth and somehow they managed to serve all of us in pretty close intervals.

After our late dinner, 5 or 10 of our group decided to call it a night while the rest of us decided to continue on. We walked Lisa home to the Marriott, and then went to a little bar back in our next of the woods, where we stayed until last call. Afterwards, we headed back to the Sheraton where we saw Wyatt standing outside. Turns out he had his helmet and his nose accidentally busted by someone’s tripod that evening, but apparently he was able to fix both of them.

Jason was stranded in downtown LA without a car to get back to his friend’s house, so we let him crash in our room. He’s sleeping in a couple of chairs while I type this. We’ll probably all get up and head out sometime soon. Sunday awaits!

Friday, May 25, 2007

Thursdsay and Friday in retrospect

I’m going to work backwards and start with the 501st party last night.

We headed out for the party last night around 6:40pm. It was a short walk to the Westin, where we immediately saw a couple dozen 501st members trading patches and other merch in the lobby. This is always a great thing about the parties. I got a few patches I’d been wanting and a challenge coin then made my way up to the ballroom.

Heather and I found Steve and Katie inside at a table and joined them. We counted up the number of Garrison Titan members we were expecting and realized it was time to combine some tables. We made a large figure 8 out of two of the tables, which ended up being enough for most of the attending Garrison members to sit at, plus some friends from SoCal Garrison, Seattle and other folks who joined us during the night.

Beth and Brandon

Heather and I

Steve and Katie

Walter, Shannon and Lisa (Victoria was hiding from the camera). Also not pictured were Chris and Kim, plus Kevin Rubio who were all sitting in these seats earlier.

Mark and Carol, sitting next to them was Wyatt...but he took off before I could snap his picture.

John was there, doing some patch trading like the patch guru he is.

There was pasta and lots of appetizers, plus a bar where you could buy drinks. Lots of the Star Wars celebs showed up at our party, as did reps from all the collectible companies, all of whom brought prizes for a raffle. That was pretty cool. Several of the people at our table won something, including Steve, Lisa and Beth…although I don’t think Beth got to pick up her prize because she couldn’t find her ticket.

Steve with his prize:

We followed Lisa to the Marriott afterwards and picked up our armor, then took a cab back to the Sheraton. It took quite a while to get a cab, but it was a short ride back. When we got back to the room…I was so tired, I hit the sack.

This morning around 6:45AM, the phone rang. It was Brandon, reminding me I wanted to be in line for the con at 7. I was sleeping, but got up anyway and headed down there. I arrived by 7:30. Brandon said he and Walter were going to ditch the line because it was far too long, and when I got there I saw what they meant. Luckily, someone I met in line yesterday morning was kind enough to let me into the line with them today. Later in the morning, Jim, Tom, Adam, Chris and Elizabeth joined us (at Celebration, lines grow wider, never longer)…and we headed into the doors at 10am to see what we could get.

I was after the Gentle Giant Animated Yoda and R2 maquette, so I headed right for the exhibition hall. Even though we had been near the front of the line, there were already hundreds and hundreds of people ahead of us. They either came from the fan club breakfast, or possibly they were exhibitors….but either way, they all rushed into the booths ahead of us and by the time I made it to Gentle Giant, the line was already wrapped round it more than once. I knew that I would not get my Maquette. Jim fared better, got his Boba maquette he wanted. Adam got into the Hasbro line and snagged me some Vintage style figures I really wanted.

I decided to walk around and look at the con a bit. I visited Sideshow, Lego, Hasbro….still haven’t spent as much time as I’d like at each booth, but there will be more time to do that during the show. Heather arrived around 10:30 and we walked around a bit before heading to a collector’s panel. We lucked out and received the first medallion they gave away, the R2 coin.

After seeing a few panels, we went to the Hasbro preview. They displayed tons of cool stuff that would be coming out later this year and next, including a 501st droid in Katie Johnson’s honor. It’s pink. That was really nice.

After that panel, we got into the line for the Fanboys premiere. I decided to jump out and grab some pizza and drinks (I hadn’t eaten anything but a muffin around 9am). Afterwards, they let the line in and we met Adam who had saved us some seats. We all agreed it is looking like it will be a great flick.

After fanboys, Adam left to shop; Heather and I tried to go to the costume contest but couldn’t get in, so we hit another collector’s panel…where we got a second coin. The panel wasn’t exciting, but we are now 2 for 4 with the coins. Not bad.

Jim and Tom joined us for the last panel (about EBay) and I stepped out to pick up my Sideshow and Gentle Giant pre-orders. I caught the end of the panel and then we all tried to get into the Opening Ceremonies line with Deanna. We got separated from Deanna (she had decided to turn back because of the line)….but Jim, Tom and I walked the entire length of the line and got into it. This was around 6:15.

I called Adam, who was about to make it inside and Montine (a new GT member hopeful) who had also made it in and was willing to save a couple of seats if we could join her. We never did make it in, and by 8pm, we had barely entered the convention center itself.

Around 8:30, they had us turn around and march out the doors, where they told us the con was over and we needed to go. Cop cars and fire trucks were everywhere, turned out there had been a bomb threat. Cops, fire trucks, ambulances and the bomb squad showed up and shut down all roads leading to the con.

Funniest thing about all this is all of the people who actually made it into the opening ceremonies were never told about this. I guess if the bomb was real, they were considered expendable.

Not knowing what was going on, or why we had waited in that line…..Heather, Jim, Tom and I all headed to dinner at a nice little Italian place nearby. I called Steve, Katie, Beth, Brandon and John…but no one was in a dinner mood I guess. There were only 2 other tables full in there, but they were all con people and the restaurant had Star Wars playing silently on their plasma TV. We watched almost the entire movie while we had dinner and dessert.

As we were leaving, the place started to fill up. Many 501st members including Mark Chu Lin, Kim and Chris all showed up, followed later by Adam and a couple of his friends. They had all made the ceremonies. No one blew up. It was a happy day.
Heather and I walked back to the Sheraton, and now we’re about to crash.

Tomorrow is Saturday, and promises to be even busier than today!

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Thursday = Shopping Day

I headed down to the con just after 7:20 this morning. Heather wasn't feeling too well, so she stayed in the room to get a little more rest. I stopped at a little grocery store on the way for a spinach and havarti cheese egg muffin, a banana and some Vitamin water. Sounded healthy enough to make up for all the junk food I'll surely be eating this week.

Arrived at the con just before 8, lined up with Jim, Tom, Bob and some other folks from the Rebelscum contingent. We talked about which exclusives we were after and which ones we'd be trying to get first. The line was probably somewhere between 1-2 thousand when I got into it and by about 10 it had wound around the entire convention center.

The line looking towards the front from our location:

Jim and Tom plan their shopping strategies:

Gen Con, in their infinite wisdom, decided to start another line at the West people who were showing up at 11 didn't have to line up behind the pre-existing big line, they got to line up in a new spot and go right in. This was wonderful for everyone who had been waiting already.

Heather showed up, as did Ryan from GT...and we decided to run to the nearest store for a few snacks. I got a roast beef sandwich for us to split, plus a lemonade. It was now around 11:30 and that ended up being my lunch for the day as well. This guy offered me something to eat, but I didn't want it:

Several of the celebrities were arriving trying to go through the doors near where we were waiting. We saw Peter Mayhew, Kenny Baker, Anthony Daniels, Amy Allen and a few others I didn't recognize. Another hour or so later...the doors opened and we made our dash for the exhibit hall.

The booth had already capped their line, so I jumped into the Gentle Giant line. After about 5 or 10 minutes of waiting, they came around and cut us out of that line, saying it too was capped. A picture of the Gentle Giant line chaos:

I decided to hit the Koto booth and after about 10 minutes, I was able to get that exclusive spirit Yoda I had wanted.

Heather and Jim had gotten back into the Gentle Giant line, so I went back there and waited with them. They assured us there were enough of the Yoda and R2 maquettes, but after we waited almost 2 hours in the line, it ended up selling out for the day about 10 people before we got to the front of the line. I picked up my pre-orders and moved on.

The HasbroShop booth was my next stop, but that line was capped. It was around 1:40pm and they suggested we try back at 2:20. We decided to go see some of the convention and walked around the fan hall a little bit. We came back before 2:20 and the Hasbro booth had let another 200 people or so into the line. That was pretty frustrating.

We decided to hit the Lucasfilm archives, which were pretty small. There are about a dozen items in there, but the star was Han Solo's coat from Hoth. Why is this important? For years people have been arguing about whether it's blue or brown. Hasbro even went so far as to do two versions of their toy because some people thought it was brown and some thought it was blue. Well....I have now seen it first hand and it is CLEARLY brown. I once argued on the internet that I thought it was blue, but I'm a big enough man to admit when I'm wrong.

They had a little voting booth and I reluctantly cast my vote for brown. :-)

Then I snuck one in for blue, just for old time's sake. ;-)

Heather and left the archives and hit the C4 store, which surprisingly had no line. Gen Con actually did this really well, because it's HUGE and there are plenty of checkers to cash you out when you've picked what you want. We got everything we wanted and left the Hasbro store within 30 minutes of when we entered it.


After that little adventure, we headed back to the Hasbro shop booth, where I was finally able to sneak into the capped line. We bought the McQuarrie Luke figures and then went outside to catch a shuttle back to the hotel.

I sat around with all of the goodies I had purchased during the day.

We waited about 45 minutes, but no shuttle ever came. We finally gave up and decided to lug our 4 bags of action figures, mini busts, souveneir drinking glasses, magnets, t-shirts, posters and other goodies back to the hotel on foot.

On the way home, someone gave us a free t-shirt advertising "The Force Among Us" movie. That was cool.

We took a little rest and then headed to the 501st party. That went until about 40 minutes ago. I'd love to type more, but it's bedtime.

Early Thursday morning

I woke up around 5:30am today, partly because I was thirsty and most likely because I was excited about getting to the convention. Actually, I'm not sure why I'm not down there right now. Part of it is because Heather is still sleeping and I don't want to wake her up too early, but I could always just let her sleep and jump into the line on my own.

Perhaps it's time to grab a shower, some breakfast and go get in line! :-)

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

The Trip to Star Wars C4!

Got up this morning around 7am to get ready for the flight to LA. I decided to bring my video camera along (just in case I get the urge to take some video of the con), but I didn't have a firewire cable. Even though the cab was due to arrive at 9, I decided to take a trip in rush hour traffic to Target, which opens at 8am. I found the mini firewire cable that I needed right away, grabbed a bottle of multi-vitamins and of course.....checked the Star Wars aisle for new toys.

I was back home by 8:20, which was more than enough time to check email, copy a little music over to my laptop and double check that I packed everything I need for the trip. Taxi arrived 30 minutes later and we were off to the airport.

We arrived at the airport by 9:20am and the lines to check in weren't bad at all. The lady who checked us in moved our seats to an exit row, which I love. We made it through check in and security in less than 20 minutes, so there was time to walk over to the D terminal for some Burger King for breakfast. I had one of those crossaints, Heather maintainted her Burger King boycott and had some Seattle's Best Coffee instead.

We walked back to our terminal, where we saw a couple of girls waiting in the line to board, one of whom had a Rebel Pilot helmet. This was our plane.

Our seats were the aisle and the window with no one in between, so we got to spread out on the plane and enjoy the ride down to LA. I read part of my new Dean Koontz book (The Husband) until we got to the altitude where video games apparently can't crash the plane anymore. Whipped out the Nintendo DS and played Puzzle Quest for most of the rest of the flight.

When we landed, we proceeded to baggage claim to pick up the suitcases. We met up with Tom from Rebelscum on the way there, who was packing pretty light. The three of us made our way to the shuttle pick up area, where we were separated because Tom was going to another hotel.

We proceeded to drive around for about 90 minutes on the Super Shuttle "Express" that Gen Con had provided coupons for. The driver got lost more than once and even though we were the second ones on the van, we were the next to last off. Not what I would call "express" at all. It was 30 bucks for the two of us and I'll definitely take a cab next time.

We arrived at the Sheraton to find that they had no more rooms with King beds left. We begrudgingly took a room on the 17th floor with two twin beds. After dropping the bags, we walked down to the convention center (about 9 blocks). First person we saw that I knew was Ken, the Elvis trooper. Chatted with him a bit about his upcoming Gentle Giant bust and the 501st mixer on Thursday, then headed in to pick up the stuff we had waiting at Will Call. Met Jim and Tom in the will call line, then grabbed our tickets and a fan club lanyard for Heather.

After getting our gear, we went to the 501st booth to see if our volunteer applications were through. I didn't really want to do 20 hours, but I let Mark and Ed know that if they need me, I can work shifts. Decided not to grab a volunteer t-shirt though, as I'm on this one for vacation.

We walked into the screening room for the movies, where Episode 3 was playing. It was a nice screen and all, but we decided we could watch these whenever we wanted to at home and took off for some food. We walked around until we decided on the California Pizza Kitchen at a mall between the con and our hotel. The split pea soup I had was very good and the pizza was as well. We brought the leftovers back to the room for later.

Heather and I stopped at Rite Aid for some supplies (a case of water, some tea, gel insoles, etc) and then settled into our room for the evening. I paid 50 bucks for a week of internet connectivity (what a rip!) and began checking around Rebelscum to see what news there was on the convention.

We watched the season finale of Lost (GREAT!) and hit the sack shortly after it ended at 11pm.

Thursday is opening day!