The flight was uneventful, we landed in LAX a bit early even. Unfortunately, Gala's plans to get us picked up had been derailed due to an emergency hospital visit by a friend of hers, so we ended up taking the Super Shuttle to the hotel. I was glad that we were the first stop, as the driver kept whistling along with the radio, and the two kids in the back seat were loud. There's a separate elevator/stairs building to get you up to the level of the ship entrance, and we gave our bags to the bell hop to bring up for us. Walking onto the ship was almost magical, like going back in time.
Gala's room wasn't ready yet, but mine was, so I checked in and we dropped our stuff in my stateroom. I'd reserved a king room, and it was on A deck right off the lobby and over looking the ramp from the elevator building. Score. :) We freshened up a bit and then went looking for food, as Gala hadn't eaten since Boston. We found our way to the Hollywood Deli, pausing every so often to gape at the ship. We ate outside, in the shadow of a lifeboat, looking out across the water to downtown Long Beach. It was very warm, but perfect in the shade with a breeze coming off the water. Hellsop and Geekers found us as they came out of the Deli with a pizza, fresh from showering after their train ride from Chicago. We sat and relaxed with them, as Gala took calls trying to get Jay from Boston to the boat with other arrivals into Long Beach Airport. He ended up missing everyone and taking a taxi by himself, and showed up at our table with his luggage soon enough. Right around then, Gala got the call that their room was ready, so I let them into my room to get her suitcases.
We met up again soon after to go into Long Beach via the free Passport shuttle bus. Gala had to visit a Wells Fargo, and Jay and I and Ian and his girlfriend (also Bostonians) tagged along. Ian let us abuse his smart phone to find a Walmart so we could stock up on supplies for our rooms. No luck finding a liquor store though. I was so glad to get my gallon of water, and I also treated myself to some bagels. Had two different women compliment me on my patent leather Fluevog boots. :)
Back to the ship via the free circuitous bus route, and I split off to tour the ship, taking in the walking tour through the upper decks. It was getting close to 5pm when I found the Isolation Ward, and I almost got locked in there with a French Canadian family. I went back to my room and put my feet up for a bit, finally finishing the last few pages of my book. I also gave my uncle Gerard a call, he lives in San Pedro and I hoped to get together with him for a visit while I was here, as it was close by. We agreed to met for dinner the next night on the ship. At that point, I got a bee in my bonnet about getting alcohol for my room, and I used Google's SMS service to get a listing. I called one or two and got their locations and set off via the bus again. The first place, closest by, ended up being a wine bar, but the clerk was nice enough to direct me to an Albertson's, a grocery store with a booze department. Which ended up being a block away from the Walmart, just hidden. I had to ask two different clerks to let me into the locked cabinets as it took me a while to find the gin and then the vermouth. I also got tonic water, limes, lemons and apples here. The sun was starting to set, so I hopped on the free bus at the stop outside Walmart and headed back. Gala called me and said that she'd wait for me, it was around 9pm and they were going to head over to the Mai Tai bar. Didn't see anyone as the bus went past it on the way back to the ship. Hustled off to my room, dropped my shopping, grabbed a shawl to throw over my sun dress and went back out to smoker's platform outside the elevators, sneaking up on Janette to say hi. :) We all (Donna and Michael and someone else were there as well, I geeked out a bit with Donna about cooking and baking). Kest joined us as we were getting on the bus, Una and Hellsop and Geekers were coming back from the bar on that bus and got off before we got on. I think Una came back with us. The bar was a bit odd, The Mai Tai, very noisy due to a band and DJs, very crowded, but I eventually nabbed a drink (I actually traded with kest as we liked each other's drinks better) and some food and sat to eat. I gave the breaded peppers that I couldn't eat to Madelyn. I missed Amy, some people never came in. Siobhan was told to cover up her plain black tshirt as it was out of dress code (no logo). I put my earplugs in to eat and left soon after I was done. I bussed back with ... someone, can't quite recall who, and headed to the Observation Bar on the Queen Mary, where I found Axel and Siobhan and Donna and kest and company. Donna was still looking for models for the fashion show, and I agreed to come by and try something on before I remembered that I was eating with my uncle right when the models would have to be ready to go for the show. Gala joined us at some point as well, and I think I passed on having another drink, due to extreme tiredness. It was past 1am I think, 3am Boston time, and I was getting far too close to having been up for 24 hours, so I bowed out and went to sleep.
Back to the boat, and I picked up my laminate and goodie bag in the Sylvania room. It was pretty small in there, so I abandoned the meet and greet. I think I wandered around again for a while... oh, right, I went up to the Observation Bar and had a drink with Amy, and Axel joined us. We had stopped in Amy's room first, hers was much more linear than mine, with a hallway from the hallway. I had a bit of an odd Rob Roy (on the rocks) after the bartender didn't know how to make an Aviation. I meant to go back with the recipe but never did. Hellsop, Geekers and Cora joined us, and the last talked a bit about living in Kyushu. I left to get freshened up for dinner at around 5pm. I went down to wait at the bell hop's desk at 5:45 and spent the next half hour looking out for him and running up to the restaurant to see if he'd gone there first, before eventually calling him at home. And he picked up, he thought we were meeting tommorow. Oops. Ah well, rescheduled for lunch tomorrow, and ran upstairs to get changed to watch the fashion show. I never did eat dinner that night. Quickest change ever, glad it was a simple to throw on dress (my $10 grey fringed flapper dress found on sale at H&M) and the accessories were simple as well (an Urban Outfitters capelet, a $3 bracelet from the $5 bling store in NYC, and a Clare's feathered head band). I made my way up to the after deck and found a few people hanging out waiting for the show to start, as well as Wookie and Madelyn working the DJ rig. Wookie ended up doing the anouncements for the fashion show. I saw at a table with some semi-locals who were vending and driving back and forth to crash space each night (all_laced_in on LJ). We moved together to the benches near the stage, and kest and Una were behind us and Ashbet and Kira beside us. Amy and Gala rocked the catwalk, and I *loved* Donna's final striped outfit.
Once the show was done I realised that I'd forgotten to pay for my Ghosts and Legends Tour, so I went down to the front desk to hand in my money. The problem was, I wasn't on the list. Minor panic, back up to the aft deck, find Axel and Siobhan and they're able to get in touch with Shannon, who promised to meet me at the front desk to sort things out. So, back down through the ship, running into kest on the way, where she got me on video shimmying in my fringed dress. :) We were able to sneak me onto the list for Friday, I handed over my money, and got out of there before they realised that someone + 1 didn't mean that I could take that +1 place. Everyone I told about my problem was great and offered to give me their space on that night's tour, but I was glad to get it sorted out. There was still room on the Saturday tour, and I spotted Tatyana's name on the list, so that would have been fun to go on as well, but I was on the volunteer to clean up after the BBQ list and I didn't want the tour to interfere.
And back up to the aft deck to find friends and hang out and dance for a while. The crowd was a bit sparse, since the CorpGoth dinner contingent hadn't come back yet. I ended up luring Axel, Siobhan, and Alison to my room to have them help me drink my bottle of gin. We had a nice natter, Axel whipped out his pocket knife to slice up the limes and made us strong gin and tonics (he ran back to his room for another glass, housekeeping seemed to assume I only needed a couple of foam cups for coffee). Alison and I both had bagels to fill our empty stomachs, though the alcohol had hit her before then, oops! I think we back up to the aft deck at around 10pm, and the diners were back and the crowd was enough to fill up the area. Had fun dancing with Amy and Gala on the floor and chatted with Elaine and Kat a bit about fashions. Jay was lurking off to the side as well. I had seen Laura arrive when I was waiting downstairs for Gerard, and when she came wheeled up to the velvet rope, I was there to let her in and out each time. :) She was a co-captain for the event but had had to go in for emergency surgery on her arm, and was only there because she'd promised her doctor that she'd stay in the wheelchair. Eventually Wookie made an announcement that it was time for the ghost tour, so I headed back toward the lobby and went down the elevator tower, and over to the G&L tour entrance.
Jaimie and ? were lined up already, and I found out that they were here from Canada, and we chatted as we waited for the other 30+ people to line up. I admitted to being easily spooked and Sylvia from Jersey offered to share her date's arm. This saved my bacon, as I kept getting freaked out and would grab his arm or hand or shoulder to ground myself. :) She kept calling me Boston and I'd call her Jersey, we were both bad with names and easily spooked. :) She had a light on her camera so she'd use that to help us find our way when it got really dark. The tour was more of an "experience" than anything serious, though our guide had a spooky habit of not blinking and would walk backwards, even down stairs. We got to see the old first class pool (they filled it with dry ice), the boiler room (smoke and shaking), and the bow where the Queen Mary had run into another ship during the war and everyone on it had drowned (they had water rushing in). They had a sound track as well, and I got to the point where I'd scream if there was a loud noise or flash of light. I breathed a sigh of relief when we got to the end and could have our group picture taken.
Went back to the after deck for more dancing, Gala wouldn't let me off the floor. :) I bought my ghost tour security blanket a drink in thanks. I stayed until the music stopped, and then joined the exodus to Steerage. I sat with Jay, moses and Madelyn for a bit, ran off to get my sweater as I was getting chilly, but I didn't last long, I was back in my room, showered and in bed by 3am. This might have ben the night when we turned on the lights and surprised a couple in the closet between the two Steerage rooms. :)
After that, I jumped back on the passport bus and took it to the bus
depot. I ran a bit to catch another bus running out along the coast, which
ended up being a good thing, as the service was really sparse on weekends.
No problems finding the Long Beach Museum
of Art, I got off a block or two when the bus I'd taken headed off
inland and walked along the shore, getting a nice long distance view of
the Queen Mary. The hotel info guides had mentioned David Simon's
Dark Forest exhibit,
Dark Forest features a collection of works
suggested by the contemporary opera The Black Rider: The Casting of the
Magic Bullets, written by William Burroughs with music by Tom
Waits. I obviously had to go. :) The concierge had been nice
enough to get me directions and hours, though I had a moment of panic when
I reached the museum and misread the exhibit's dates, I thought it had
closed. I went in anyway, and found that it was still on, phew! I saw the
"Novel Constructions: Contemporary Artists Create Monumental Books"
exhibit first, it was really interesting, with pages from books forming
the walls of a room, and other books cut out word by word and pasted in
patterns on a clear sheet hung on the wall (the Oddessy was in a maze like
set of spirals, you could read the whole book with a lot of patience).
Dark Forest was awesome. I'd signed up for a photo pass but I couldn't
take any pictures of the two main exhibits, but I was sorely tempted.
Simon catches expressions so well, the sculptures seem to be alive on
their plinths. The musculature of the bodies is exquisitely detailed as
well. Here's his web
site, go look! I think The
Lookout was the most disturbing, he'd
sculpted her with amputated arms and one breast reshaped to echo the stump
of the arm next to it. A leather cap and blindfold were colour matched to
the rest of the sculpture. I kept circling back around the room, it was
dark with spots on each work. There was also a collection of portrait
busts that were incredibly dynamic. I finally tore myself away and looked
through the rest of the works on display, taking a few pictures. I could
see the Queen Mary from the windows of the upper floor as well.
I had a bit of a wait for the bus back downtown, but not as long as it could have been. It was really hot as well, luckily the stop where I waited had a shelter. By the time I got off that first bus, I was parched, so walked up Pine St a little to a cafe that also served ice tea, it was perfect. Then I hopped on the free shuttle over to WalMart and ducked over to Albertson's to get stuff for the beach party (a big towel, tonic, mint, limes, a small knife for the cutting thereof), and got back on the shuttle to head back to the hotel. I got a text on my way to join Tatyana and Carrie and Muriel for some pre beach party imbibing. I was able to get into my outfit (keeping my boots as I hadn't brought beach footwear) and gathered up boozy treats and went and found them. Muriel and I took pictures in our bathing costumes (I'd just finished sewing mine that week) and I had time for a gin and tonic before they were ready to head out. I dropped the booze back at my room (no personal alcohol allowed at the beach) and joined the big group waiting for the shuttle bus. And more people joined us, I chatted with Michelle and Joe for a bit. And we waited. Eventually, I borrowed a phone and called Elise and found out that traffic was horrendous between the QM and the beach but a bus should get to us in 5 mins. I took a deep breath and let everyone waiting know, and got a little cheer.
Eventually the bus hove into view, but the group was too big to all fit in one and I got on almost last, losing Tatyana and Carrie. :/ I sat with another elder/corpgoth and chatted on the way out. A local also gave us an impromptu tour, I learned that the islands off the coast were actually oil rigs in disguise, complete with some fake palm trees. We went right past the museum, so I recognised the first part of the route. Traffic was pretty bad, it took about 45mins to get there, doubling back along the state park access road once we got close. I was starving by the time we arrived, and just dropped my things and made a bee line for the veggie burgers, snagging two and condiments. I didn't say anything until I was half way through my second one and the light headedness was wearing off. I made myself a mojito with a shot of rum served from the communal supply, lent Kest my grapefruit juice to go with her rum, and settled in for fun. Carrie and Ian were playing some psychobilly tunes, and I danced a bit. I gathered together all the Victorian bathers for a photo shoot as well, though we were missing the guy in the striped suit as he'd put on more layers - it was chilly and windy! I also went and built a sand castle with Janette, though I was pretty toasty then. She'd brough buckets etc, and I made a forest of kelp, a drawbridge of seawead stalks, and a path of shells. I tried some of the cider/mead mix, and probably made myself an uncessary mojito, and was quite drunk by the end of the night. I helped load stuff onto the bus (my volunteer task) and was thrown on myself as there was such a delay in the schedule that the next one would be in an hour. kest and I rambled drunkenly at each other the whole way back, was good. I helped carry stuff up to Steerage for the afterparty, and dropped stuff in my room before heading back. I geeked out hardcore with a linux admin, talked a lot with Luna, one of the hat ladies and Michael from Vancouver, tried some of Trid's 1.5 year old heavenly scotch, and attempted to sober up enough to not be hung over the next day. Made plans to go to the champagne brunch the next day with Moses and Gala, that was ... ambitious. No real recollection of when I went to bed, but it was pretty late, though we'd gotten back from the beach around 10 or so, time just flew by. I took a quick shower before going to bed.
Peter and Geekers invited me out to the Japanese Garden at CSULB, and after a quick trip to my room, I met them in the lobby and we were off on the free bus, connecting to the one to the university with a bit of a hustle (again, the buses were running about every half hour). It was a decently long ride, winding along the coast and then inland again. It was really quite warm, I was very glad to have my sun hat with me. The garden was free, but I threw some money in the koi restocking donation box. The garden staff were running flat out touring around prospective wedding parties, three or four tours were going at all times, and the place wasn't that big. Lots of families, and some older couples strolling along, it was busy not horribly crowded (could still get people-less pictures if you waited a bit). I took lots of photos, the koi were active where people were feeding them, the waterfalls were very pretty, and the sand/rock garden was peaceful. We had to hustle a bit to catch the bus as it was pulling up at the stop, but we had a nice relaxing ride back. I was a bit thirsty after all the heat, so I twisted their arms and dragged them back to the shop that sold the good ice tea. We relaxed in armchairs and sipped our drinks, soaking up the air conditioning. One more bus ride back to the ship, and I actually did some shopping in the vendor's room this time (it was close to closing down, it took a while to get back from the University). Taking advantage of my newly grown hair, I got a pair of purple teapot + black bow hair clips, and a cool skull and feathers flower clip. I also spotted a vial of the BPAL scent that I got in my grab bag at a prior Convergence's tea party, and snapped it up, as the sample was almost done. I talked a bit with some people about how they used theirs, need to ping Madelyn about spritzers and mineral oil.
It was getting close to the formal dinner time now, around 5pm, so I retired to my room, made myself a Gibson, and took a nice long relaxing bath to get ready for the evening. I did a first pass dressing with my custom ordered Flapper by Midnight dress and took a flash picture to check the see through, and took it off to add more slips underneath. :) I threw my black Urban Outfitter's beaded capelet over it, black satin opera length gloves on my arms with a sparkly bracelet, and my old vintage velvet and rhinestone hat. Then more bling in the form of intertwined black and white knotted strands of sparkles, makeup, my Fluevog strapped heels, and my Betsy Johnson sparkly purse, and I felt like a million bucks. :) I had to watch out for a soft spot on the stairs up to the Promenade deck, I kept falling into it. I went up and meandered around the wonderfully sumptuous room, chatting with a few people here and there, trying to track down Trid for his promised private stock tasting but not finding him, and taking lots of pictures of people's outfits (though I'm sad I didn't get a good one of Madelyn's, she was hiding behind the DJ rig most of the time). I sat with Peter and Geekers and moses and Alison and Cora and Winter off to the left. There was all sorts of angst over the special meals, the hotel had provided them, but our server didn't understand which meal one of our table mates was supposed to get and kept bringing out the wrong plate. My vegetarian plate at least arrived safe and sound, and was pretty good. I even got tea for afters. :) The Last Dance were actually sitting a couple of tables over, hiding behind a pillar. They took to the stage at around 10:30 I think, we were dancing a bit beforehand (so nice to hear gothic music where I've got space to dance). I enjoyed the set, though missed the bassist that I'd hung out with a bit at DragonCon a few years ago. :) My just purchased silky soft stockings were not holding up very well at all, they'd lasted about 60 seconds before I caught them on a wooden room divider while getting dressed, and every so often over the course of the evening I'd feel another ladder racing up my leg, but the skirt of my dress was long enough I felt I could ignore it. I wandered out to the smoker's balcony off the promenade deck to chat with people a couple times. I stayed until the room closed up at around midnight, and then stripped off a few layers (gloves and stockings, and changed my hat for a hair clip) to head to steerage, and also did most of my packing as I knew I'd be getting back late. Gala at one point grabbed my room key to use my bathroom, it was so convenient having my room just off the lobby. I got to sample Trid's brews here, and contributed the dregs of drinks that I had left in my room. Trystan and Trid were following Gala around trying to get more of her crack dip, moaning like zombies, it was hilarious. :) Somehow there ended up being a shortage of chairs and I found out that synthetic dress + leather pants is a slippery combination. I got to chat a bit more with Kim and Sloot, and at one point Romi, Sloot, Trid and I went to rustle up Amy and Jaimie to get Romi's car keys from their room before they checked out to head to the airport early in the morning. I had talked to the bell hop about getting a ride to the airport, and they assured me that they could get me a ride for $16, so I was all set for an 8am departure. Which meant not actually sleeping that night. But anyway, the room invasion failed when we were too polite to actually knock very loud on the door, which we all found giggle inducing. :) Steerage was so much fun that night, probably because every knew we were near the end of Convergence. I collected emails from SLC folks for my next trip there in January, and promised to friend people on LJ as well. Had a rambly drunken talk with Miss J that night as well, I think.
A teenager had her feet up on the only empty seat on the bus back from
Harvard, and I said "feet off the seat, please" as I tried to get my
suitcase etc out of the way. She took grave offense to this and started
threatening to punch me in the face, and snapping at me to not talk to
her, going so far as to call someone and insult me to them (luckily I was
still glowing from all the compliments from the weekend, no way anyone's
convincing me I'm ugly this week :) ). I was mostly amused, but was still
shaking with adrenaline as I kept myself ready to
end respond to
anything she started. I was just sleep deprived and cranky enough to
consider trying to taunt her into taking a swing, but left it alone. Plus
my shoulder was hurting after hauling my crap from LB, and it was really
humid. She got off a couple of stops before me, and I hauled my suitcase
down the hill still muttering about it. Got my crap inside the house, took
a very long very tepid shower, and warmed up some vegetarian leftovers
from before I'd left - Cris had warmed up his meaty leftovers assuming
that I'd eaten on the way home.