C14, Tampa, 2008

Convergence 14 was in Tampa, neither Cris nor Gineane could come with me, so I went solo. It was a bit startling to realise just how long I've been going to these things, esp. since I spent some time hanging out with someone I met at Convergence 1!

Friday August 8, 2008

I had to bike over to the post office to pick up my visa enabled passport before heading to work, so I ended up getting up even earlier than planned. It was there, luckily, and I got home with just enough time to shower, change, and get out to the bus stop at 8:15. The bus came quickly, and so did the train at Harvard, but then the red line was crawling along and it took ages to get to Park. Xfer to the green line and hauled my suitcase and backpack the half mile to work, walking as slowly as possible in the heat, and arrived 1.5 hours after leaving home. Gah. We had software release issues happening all day, I stayed a bit later than planned to check on one last bug and splurged on a taxi to the airport at 3:30 for my 5:20 flight. The driver took me around Charlestown to try and avoid traffic, and got me to the airport in good time, where I found out that my flight was delayed. A lot. Every one was delayed due to the rain storm that started as I got there, at one point they wouldn't let staff out on the bridge because of lightning strikes. I had just bought a big novel, so I settled in at my new gate and waited it out, occasionally wandering off to get food or drinks. My plan to arrive in Tampa at 8:30 and make it to the evening events was thoroughly thwarted when we boarded at 9:30. Once we finally get into the air and over Atlantic City, the cabin pressure couldn't be maintained, my ears started popping a lot as they quickly brought us down in altitude. They turned us around to land at JFK and put us in a new plane. Luckily it was set up at the next gate, and they were able to transfer us and our luggage in about an hour, we reboarded at 12:30am or so, and landed in Tampa at 3:30am and had some fun getting a set of taxis to show up (someone called both cab co's they had the numbers for). I felt really bad for the people waiting in the departure lounge for our plane, as they had to take it back up to Boston on it's return leg. My room was still waiting for me, so I was able to check in at around 4am, but I'd totally missed all the Friday night official events. Kest had posted details about her room party, and I popped my head in just to prove that I made it since they were still going. Got to say hi to her and Janette, and the rest of the room is a blur of sleep deprivation, but Axel might have showed up just before I left. I had a quick shower in my room and then crashed out at around 5am.

Saturday August 9, 2008

I didn't get nearly enough sleep, but the blackout curtains helped me sleep until noon at least. I swear I had a moment of sheer panic when I saw the clock saying 11:59 and thought I'd slept through the whole day. I went downstairs and ran into Fross and Danielle in the lobby at 1pm; she was taking off on the shopping trip at 1:30, I'd hoped to go when I thought it was starting at 2:30, but decided that breakfast was more important. Fross joined me and we got incorrect directions from the hotel concierge (he pointed the wrong way, gave us no map). We kept walking until we reached the Convention Center and then stopped at another hotel and asked there. They gave us a map and directions, and we retraced our steps to the original hotel and back to First Watch, three blocks away. I inhaled two huge blueberry pancakes, a large grapefruit juice, and a raspberry iced tea. It was delicious, and it was great to catch up with Fross again, in yet another city. :)

I hung out in the lobby for a bit, dropped by the shopping room and got a necklace. I caught up with Axel, Siobhan, Liz and Simon in the hallway then I think, and dropped in on the group sitting on the mezzanine again. There was an amusing moment in the hallway, someone walked past and said "cool shirt" about Axel's Swarf t-shirt, but they didn't hear when people tried to call them back and introduce them to Liz. :) I watched knitting, got my back and neck cracked by Rafe and had pictures of my legs taken as moses played around with her camera. I got cornered by the local paper's photographer who got me laughing and showing teeth. I haven't showed up on any of the newspaper galleries that people have posted yet though, and I'm kinda glad, as the guy's blog is pretty dismissive of the whole event. Moses and I agreed to head out for food. We ended up at an all white restaurant that served Spanish tapas. A few misunderstandings about the food later (the cheese pate was coated with unexpected nuts, and I asked if they were walnuts, and they said no, pecans, which I'm also allergic to, but then they gave us a new one w/o nuts; at least I'm pretty sure that they were right when they said that the white sangria wasn't made with chardonnay). The food was quite good, even if the white napkin left my black skirt covered in lint. They were setting up a small stage for musicians, and it was neat seeing the coloured spot lights against the white walls.

We got back in time to catch the last half of the gothic bathing beauty pageant that started at 6 (some very cute bikinis, a 40's style suit, as well as some inexplicable club clothes) and the fop fight (mmm, foppishness). The weather being so miserable, most of the guys were gravitating toward kilts and cargo shorts, but the ones who entered the fop fight went all out with the layers. Then they herded us outside to see TheOneBob jump the radio controlled shark in a kiddie pool, with his BMX. I tried perching on the fountain edge, but still didn't get a good view, so I hopped down and peeked between people's shoulders. I heard more than saw his bike dragging something, but everyone else cheered, so I did too. :) There was a break in the agenda then, with the evening events not starting until 8 or 9, so Janette and I went on a quest to get water at the CVS. Which turned out to be closed. But we were invited along with two other C14 attendees to drive to the Publix a little ways away. That was great, we were able to get water and granola bars and I picked up a 6 pack of Strongbow. I ran up to my room to stick half of them in the ice bucket and then started to get ready for the evening. Everything was going to be held in the hotel ball rooms and meeting rooms, so I wouldn't have to go outside, but I still stuck with my lightweight fishnet, lace and light overdress outfit. I'd only brought an involved halter style corset, so I skipped that in favour of airiness.

The bands were on stage in the ballroom, and tables were set up, both regular dinner sized ones and taller cocktail ones. I sat with Dot and co. from Arizona for a while, and only went down to the DJ room a couple of times. It was carpeted so it was hard on my knees, though I finally got into a bouncing style for a Cult of the Psychic Fetus song that wasn't too painful. :) The ballroom had a wooden dancefloor set down over the carpet, it was a lot easier to dance there. The only off note was a huge cockroach that I spotted as I was going to put my purse down next to the speakers. Right, bands:
Synthetic Dream Foundation: man with laptop, but I loved the music and he started me dancing. Noisy electronica that pushed all my buttons.
Exit was a one man band, a guy and a guitar I think. Nice to listen to, but I think a bit slow for me.
Faded Symphony: definitely too slow for me, I had to wander around so I wouldn't doze off.
Iris rounded off the night, I've never seen them in concert before, so it was nice to have the chance. I didn't recognise any of the songs they played, though, I think they avoided the club hits.

The lights came on at around 2am, and I decamped to the lobby waiting for a room party to coalesce. I ended up in kest and Janette's room again, tucked in the corner by the windows to stay out of the way. I had my one cider, and someone requested and got a second one, but there was one left at the end of the night. I chatted a bit with Janette until Batty jumped on her and she abandoned the chair. :) I chatted with some guys from Chicago, I think, and had a moment of don't wanna move when one asked if I'd step outside when he needed fresh air. I just couldn't face picking my way across the bodies at that point. Fross was also nearby so I chatted with him, and Spud came to lay down in the corner as well once he was done tearing down in the ballroom. As I was leaving, security showed up to shut down the party. I think it was still dark when I went to bed, so probably around 5am.

Sunday August 10, 2008

I think I got up around noon again. First off, I went down to the hot tub to ease my knee (it was really sore from dancing a lot) and a quick swim to cool off again. It was *hot* up on the fifth floor deck, I almost burned my feet walking from the pool back to my shoes. One of the guys from Audra tried to sit and read in the shade, but gave up after about 5 minutes due to the heat. I took a quick shower and then headed down to the lobby and right through when I didn't spot anyone, heading to First Watch again to get breakfast. I asked for a table for one, and the group of four ahead of me asked me to join them when they got their table. The staff shuffled us to a bigger table and I sat down to an unexpected breakfast with a group from Gainesville. It turned out that they knew someone I know in Boston, Darla, from when they lived someplace else that I can't recall right now. Very nice folks, and I got to chat with the woman with the fully shaved head who I'd noticed around all weekend. I also exchanged contact info with Dana since she hopes to come to Boston to work in my field. One couple split off to hit the road, and I walked back to the hotel with the other.
I went back to the market again, and this time got sucked in even more. I spotted a table of waist cinchers at Isabella Corsets and since the price was right, I had the proprietor lace me into a satin one. Wow, never knew my waist could go so small, even if it was hard breathing. :) I put down my credit card then and there, and wandered off with my new toy. :) I picked up a striated quartz (I think) pendant, with green peridots that I put on right away, as I was wearing my military inspired outfit (green top and cargo skirt). I also picked up the RomantiGoth Coloring book. I ended up in the elevator up to my room with the members of Audra, this Convergence I'm being stalked by them, like Stromkern did in New Orleans. :) I put the last three ciders on ice while I was up there. moses, Gala and I met up in the lobby and decided on Thai Thani in the Creekside outdoor mall, and we walked over together. There was enough of a breeze to mitigate the heat, but I'd missed the rain storm while I was sleeping. The mango jasmine iced tea was delicious and came with free refills, I think I had three glasses. moses let me sip her cocktail (something with lychee in it) and it was strong and yummy, but I wasn't up for anything alcoholic just then. The food was good, I ate more than I meant to, but the walk back helped settle my stomach. I sat in the Meet the Bids panel in the hotel bar for a bit, but everyone was saying pretty much what I expected (geez, jaded much?), so I went upstairs to prettify myself in time to get to the venue to see the first band (Timly made me promise to catch them). I talked to Cris briefly, but had to hang up as I was trying to lace myself into my top and new corset. :) I didn't get the corset as tight as the vendor did, but that was okay, since I wanted to be able to dance. I wore my satin stretch capris and Doc Mary Jane's and threw a shawl over for modesty before walking to the venue by myself. I regretted the shawl immediately, even that light lace was too much in the still oppressive heat. I followed the trail of people in black to the convention centre and found the band room. It was pretty sparse, but I found moses right away (in her awesome cargo bloomers) and I grabbed a drink. The bartender was doing the best she could with the portable bar, and she gave me a nice martini, even if I had to put up with a plastic cup. I kept stopping by JV's table to put in ear plugs before each band, and chatting a bit. :) Bands:
The Passing Hour: Energetic and awesome; let's just say that all the pictures that I tried to take of Timly were a blur. :) I danced through the whole set, it was great, and they handled the opening tech difficulties with aplomb. I bought a CD and made Timly sign it, didn't win the raffle for the bag though, I hope they tracked down the winner, as she didn't claim her prize at the end of the night.
I ducked out here to catch Sexbat's set in the DJ room. He and Voodoo were trying to fix the mixer, but I still danced as much as I was able after exhausting myself during the Passing Hour set.
Missile Command: their "break up song" was about a mad physicist blowing up the world because they lost the girl. Awesome. Very bouncy and fun. Managed to snag one of the 25 free cds, a pre-release handburn.
Fiction 8: female vocalist, lots of yearning and sadness, solid gothic rock.
Audra: I'd been looking forward to seeing them all weekend, and they didn't disappoint, though I was a bit sad to see that the crowd had thinned out a lot by the time they took the stage around 1am. The live drums really made a difference and helped fill the space.

The only pictures I took all weekend were of the bands this night, click here. I attached myself to Wookie and Madelyn for the walk back to the hotel, and we chatted a bit with the servicemen who'd checked in earlier and had been convinced to join us for the evening festivities at the Convention Center. Yesterday's DJ room wasn't open so I ended up back in the lobby, where I got the longest head rub ever. :) People phased in and out, kest and EdwardS went up and liberated alcohol from 1301 and Frank added to the cache as well. My leftover cider had showed up, so I cracked it open and was sipping and talking about my job and movies and reminiscing about the weekend. All while getting a head rub, my concentration waned occasionally, but I was stubborn. :) At around 5, they started cleaning up the lobby to get ready for breakfast, and we realised that the pool and hot tub was open now, so we broke to meet up there. Spud and a couple of ladies were anchoring the nekkid hot tub half, and a guy and girl were sitting in the other half, wearing swimsuits. I slipped into the clothed half and studied the stars when necessary. :) Timly and Frank showed up as well, and the two Passing Hour punk bois were spotted on the exercise machine (mohawk still up) and dipping hands in the pool, but they couldn't be convinced to join gothic soup in the tepid tub. The jets started to almost feel warm after a few restarts, but the sky faded to purple and then blue as the sun came up before it really reached hot tub status again.

Monday August 11, 2008

I had my alarm set for 11am, and I just had enough time to pack everything (lucky my suitcase is soft sided!) and take a quick shower. I checked out and was able to get the noon shuttle to the airport, just after being handed a Goth Point and a CD in the lobby. :) I got to airport to check in for my 2:20pm flight to JFK, and let the other shuttle passenger go ahead of me, and hear him being told that our flight is cancelled. They rebooked me on the 9:05pm flight direct to Boston, and told me to come back at 7:30. Okay, 7 hours to kill, so I take a taxi back to the hotel and have them hold my luggage. Spud was nice enough to call Gala for me to let her know I was around, and JV was gracious enough to go back to First Watch so I could get my breakfast and he got his second breakfast. I snuck into the business centre to get an update, and watched the delay on the new flight go from 30 to 60 to 120 to 180 minutes. I signed up for all the flight notifications, and got exactly zero voice mails from the airline.

I was rebooked on the flight that Gala had booked herself on, so we ended up hanging out most of the day. We browsed through a used book store, and I almost picked up a new novel but didn't find the perfect airplane book. Gala found a neat book of poetry though. And we went out to grab food at the Pita Stop/Pit/something, but my stomach was a bit queasy so I sat and sipped my water while she ate. I hung out in the lobby for a while, and heard Peter planning a dinner outing, so I signed up for that, and then went out to procure more cash, as I'd need money for dinner, getting back to the airport and then the cab home at 3am. I ate half my wrap a bit before heading out to dinner, as my stomach had settled - I was stressing out about the travel delays. Random movie quote text messages helped keep me sane though. :) I ended up taking a half nap waiting for everyone to assemble, letting the known voices wash over me in a comforting blanket, hat down over my eyes. They even woke me up when it was time to go. :)

Went out to dinner at Oishi with Peter and crew, via the hotel shuttle bus, and it turned out to share a lobby, and a drinks menu, with Thai Thani. I twisted Sexbat's arm to get him to help me finish off the bottle of sake I'd ordered (my fifth and final drink of the weekend, I think), and generally relaxed and forgot about my travel woes. Ken wandered off to go to the Castle, and the rest of us piled back into the shuttle that Peter had called. In perfect timing, we came back to the hotel just in time to get the 10pm shuttle to the airport. Once there, the flight was listed at one time on the departure board, and another on the gate, both different from what the phone system was saying. I ended up joking a bit with the woman who hand searched my purse (it was a mess, I'd been stuffing cards and receipts and CDs in there all weekend) - I have to remember to take my little metal pill case out of my purse before going through xray, it always worries people (I had it in my suitcase on the way out, no hand search then). But the incoming plane actually arrived and they were able to turn it around quickly and we were on our way around midnight after all, landing at 2:30am. My luggage came through okay, and I was able to get a taxi right away. I made it home at 3:15am, I guess all told I was delayed about the same amount on each end, so it evened out. Kinda. *falling down now*

Pictures taken by other people:

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