Convergence 21 in Hollywood, 2015

Wow, Convergence is legal to drink in the USA. :-) This was my 19th Convergence and I was revisiting some prior room mates to help cut down the cost of an expensive hotel room, kest and Miss Janette, as well as kest's SO Shawn.
Official Site.

Friday May 1, 2015

My flight was just before 1pm, but I decided to take the day off of work since I had a Tough Mudder training workout to do that day and knew I wouldn't be doing it once I got to LA. I had a 3 mile run included and brought my running pack so that I could mail some urgent letters (lease renewal!) as well as pick up a library book that I'd ordered and would go back before I got back into town. I'd managed to finish up packing the night before (before midnight even!), so had a nice hot shower after stretching and then realised that I wasn't going to make the bus I usually take. A quick check of the MBTA planner and I was ambling out the door to catch the bus on the other main street - though a taxi totally trolled me as I was rolling my suitcase down the side street toward the main one. :-) The bus took me to the Orange line with a short wait, then I had a long transfer to the Blue line to get to the airport stop (I usually avoid the Orange line as it usually runs 1x/10mins when I want to go somewhere, and adding that to bus schedule quirkiness can add a lot of time to a shortish trip). I noticed a trio of helicopters rising up and flying over the Charles, no idea what was going on there. A quick shuttle bus ride (past a gaggle of dogs super happy to be out for a walk) and I was at terminal A and ready to go through security for my second ever Southwest flight. I was going carry on only, I'd checked in early enough to be early in the B boarding group. I'd also decided to dress more punk/industrial rather than foofy gothic, so no huge crinolines to pack into my suitcase this time around. :-) The security line was short, but I opted out of the scanner as usual and got a crotchtacular hand examination from an older lady - the Utilikilt isn't actually the best option for security (or sitting/rising from plane seats it turned out), but it does rock for holding all my boarding pass and ID stuff. At least no one felt like they needed to comment on my knee high boots, speed laces for the win. I'd only had a sketchy breakfast before my run, so I stopped in at Fresh City to grab a burrito bowl and a smoothie at just after noon, and that ended up being my last food before LA. O.o

My flight had a stop in Nashville and they let the 6 of us staying on to LA to move seats once the other passengers were off. I moved up to the fourth row and used the bathroom in the almost empty plane. On the approach and departure from Nashville I could see a couple of super deep quarries from my window seat. There were also some lovely rivers, and spring was more advanced this far south so everything was super green. I texted Janette to check on how she was doing with getting into the room (it was in my name but everyone else was listed on it as well) and made a note to myself to switch it back to my credit card when I arrived since they took hers as the first check in. She was also able to pick up my event ticket and shuttle pass for me since I was going to miss the meet and greet. My new seat was right over the cargo loading door and I watched the baggage handlers thump guitar and amp cases onto the conveyer belt - I spotted the band boarding, but they weren't playing Convergence. :-) On the leg to LA, between Witchita and Branson (there was a free wifi plane tracking web page I could see on my phone), we passed over a river with a swoopy dragon end (think it was the Neosho River after some google map inspection).

We were a bit early into LA, I was at the SuperShuttle stop by twenty to 6, though I had to wait until just after 6 for pickup. Then it took ages to get out of LAX and there was traffic, and I was the last person let off, so it was after 7pm before I got let of at the Andaz West Hollywood. At which point I got an unpleasant surprise, they'd told me $17 at the airport, pay the driver, but he was demanding $27. :-/ I protested but he said, nope, so he got a minor tip. Lesson learned: book and pre-pay. The lobby was an open plan, I ran into someone (Justin? kest? I was pretty fried and hungry) as I was arriving and they said to stand near the circular desk and someone would check me in. I saw Janette and Gala chatting on the couches but the desk clerk distracted me and got me sorted out, new credit card in the system and all. Turns out that they have a free wine tasting every evening, as well as free coffee and tea in the mornings, good, at the price we were paying.

I ran up to the shared room, grabbed my laminate and wallet and headed back downstairs to grab food. I spotted Jodi and Jason, kest and Shawn in the hotel restaurant so joined them, and I think Janette joined us a bit later. I ordered the fish dish and a Bee's Knees and the cocktail came out first, a good start to the weekend. :-) My brain slowly came online again after getting some food in me, at east coast time 11pm after not eating since 1pm. I know I was just finishing up at 8:30 when the first shuttle was going to leave for 333 Live, so I headed upstairs to shower and change for the evening in hopes of grabbing the next one. I think I did make it, with my black and white crosses mini skirt + mesh top, and black waist cincher and big stompy boots. Didn't mess with my hair too much, it was currently shaved into a wide mohawk, I think I just rumpled it a bit. :-) The shuttle bus was kind of a tiny thing, with maybe 15 seats and we had a bit of a wait for it, and then one person said they'd wait for another one when we ran out of seats. :-/ Turns out that there was only one shuttle and the round trip time was 45mins to 1hr+ so it wasn't that convenient, but a lot cheaper than taxing taxis every single time. I was a bit annoyed by the screeching drunk chick on our bus, it felt like a long ride. I walked into the venue just as Peeling Grey was finishing their last song. :-( I'd seen them already but was sad not to get there in time to be a supporting body at least. I had one G&T for $10 and then think I just topped up the glass with water from the bathroom since the bar had to charge $5 for bottles of water. The band room was leaning on the smoke machine, and the patio room was available to smokers so my lungs were generally not happy with the venue. It was also a bit too big for the attendance, it felt like were rattling around a little. Lots of room to dance at least, though I think I only did for one DJ in the patio room. I caught all of FOF and Kill Sister Kill, but was really struggling to stay awake for the Bellweather Syndicate set (I had to wave off someone who indicated they wanted to take my photo since I was sitting and trying to get my body to calm down from the freak out it was having due to lack of sleep). Oh, another odd thing, there was no mirror in the women's washroom at the venue, I ended up ducking into the open men's room to put on my lipstick. I'd found JV (we were going to share a taxi from the airport but our flights just didn't quite line up) and spent some time talking with SLS. I'm glad i managed to stay until the end/lights on, the last BS song was a killer rendition of a Faith and the Muse song with William Faith stalking through the audience. I think I caught the last shuttle back to the hotel, I'm pretty sure we packed in 2x more people than there were seats. :-) The lobby hang out space wasn't jumping, and I was asleep on my feet, so I just headed straight up to the 10th floor to crash out. Turned out that we were right door to another Convergence attendee who teased about us all getting old and not staying up until dawn as he also headed to bed. :-P :-) I think that was around 3am, aka 6am Boston time, and I felt no guilt crashing out then. I didn't sleep the best even with ear plugs and an eye mask, since I was sharing a bed with Janette and we were both rustling a bit as we shifted to get comfortable.

Saturday May 2, 2015

I woke up at a not unreasonable time, but I think only Shawn was stirring by the time I was ready to head out for breakfast. He popped down to the lobby for coffee and grabbed a tea for me, then we took off and walked down Sunset to Mel's, texting Janette and kest the details. He waited to order until kest arrived, but I dove in with fresh squeezed juice, tea and a turkey sausage scramble. Janette came as we were wrapping up and I was content to sit and socialise while she ate. Oh, right, second breakfast was a slice of pie since I was still a tiny bit hungry. :-) Janette and Gala were planning to hit up the La Brea Tar Pits that afternoon, so after we headed back to the hotel we picked her up then did a semi quick trip to the Vendors room to see if anyone else wanted to go with us. I ended up buying some hand made black and grey polkadot oven mitts from Working Class Punx as well as trying on a few things at some other booths, but didn't find anything that was perfect enough to warrant buying on the spot. I also had a chance to chat with Andi and Josh a bit. We popped up to the room to drop our stash, and so Janette could switch to her new bag from WCP, then hit up the taxi stand. I should have realised we weren't going to have the smoothest trip when two other drivers had to explain to our driver where we were going - for some reason I thought the tar pits were a known thing, but he turned the wrong way at one point, expecting us to know where we were going I think, and didn't get back on track until I mentioned that it was near the museum district. He did give us a discount off the meter though after I asked. There was a pet adoption drive going on in the pits park, we walked around a bit though I avoided the concentrated animal fur areas in favour of scoping out a sculpture garden. There were so many cute and sociable dogs out trying to convince people to adopt them. :-) I think we had our hand made popsicles (I got mohito flavour) and ate them in a tiny spot of shade before going into the museum. We were just in time to join the free tour, and it was definitely worth it. It was a 45min+ tour of the grounds, taking us into a closed to the public example pit and stopping at a couple of the other excavation sites as well. Turns out that it's not tar, it's asphalt that bubbles up, and the pits were the results of them excavating to extract the bones. We did a quick run around the museum building after the tour but feet were getting sore so we were soon ambling out to the circle of food trucks to procure a late lunch (it was around 4:30 I think?). I had a huge kale and quinoa salad that was more food than I'd expected, since my plan was to get dinner near the hotel - I was hungry at that point though, so I pretty much inhaled it, though the huge reserve of kale at the bottom of all the toppings defeated me.

We decided to do some necessities shopping around there rather than back near the hotel, eventually finding a big Fred's supermarket. I grabbed a stupidly cheap bottle of gin (they gave me the card discount so it was $6) as well as a bottle of tonic and a couple of limes, and some apples (honeycrisp!!!) and granola bars for healthy snacking. :-) We had to call a cab since we couldn't flag one down and had a bit of a wait, but at least he was able to take us straight back to the hotel without any detours. I think we got back to the hotel at around 7, so I made a quick turn around and check in with people if they were hungry then set off to walk down to Santa Monica Blvd to Connie and Ted's for dinner and a cocktail by myself. I nabbed the second last seat at the long bar, it was jumping. I put in my cocktail order first for a Silent Word (mezcal, green chartreuse, house maple liquor, and lime) and was really enjoying it. I took a break to switch to water to eat my Pacific oysters (Kusshi, Ichiban, Sweetwater, Naked Cowgirl (omg huge)), but then the drink went really well with the smoked mahi mahi salad for my main course. The stool next to me rotated with a couple of couples waiting for a table, I wasn't lingering though since I still had to walk back to the hotel and get changed for the evening.

I wore my small leather bustier, camo print corset, and Lip Service zipper/locks skirt, and definitely took my jacket again. I decided to chance the platform booties I bought at C20 at the Alley and they were actually quite comfortable, though it might have had something to do with the drinks I had. :-) I had a gin and tonic in the room as I was getting ready, and then another one to offset not drinking much at the venue. :-) I think I was on the second shuttle again, but managed to completely miss the first band, Readership Hostile. I really enjoyed Strap on Halo though (solid gothic rock, no surprises, but solid) and at one point after I'd been dancing a bit Josh asked for permission to take pictuers of me. He showed me some previews on the camera, my eyes were pretty much closed to keep the smoke out but I was in my happy place with lots of room to dance to good music. :-) I picked up the CD from a band member of Strap On Halo and he gave me some free stickers as well. I did spring for one Tanqueray and tonic at the venue, and got charged $12. I was super glad that I'd remembered my earplugs this night, the band volumes were really cranked again. I danced a bit to the Regenerator set, they had go go dancers and amazing head pieces, and I liked how the songs progressed. There was a bit of a contrast between the singing voices of the lead singers between SoH and R, I find I tend to prefer the deeper registers (says the Tom Waits fan). 45 Grave was death punk as fuck, they played a bouncy set and I stayed to the end of it, to lights on again. Heading downstairs to go back to the shuttle I found out that the last shuttle had gone?!! I threw myself on JVs mercy for a ride back to hotel with 2 others, very thankful that he had the rental car and was willing to chauffeur three stranded ladies. :-) I sat in the first floor lobby for a bit, but didn't see anyone and decided to head up to the room. I was surprised to get stopped on the Mezzanine level by Shawn, and waved over to join the group sitting up there. Love being a lobby rat, though I did run upstairs to take off my boots and grab a g&t from my hotel stash - oh, no, it was Shawn that did the drink run, he's a good egg. :-) The conversation was engaging and kept me awake until I started noticing the sky getting light, achievement unlocked yet again: staying up all night at Convergence. :-) I went upstairs to try and watch the sunrise from the roof top pool deck, but didn't last long before heading back downstairs again.

Sunday May 3, 2015

Sunday day time mostly disappeared in a haze of sleep and dozing to make up for my late bed time the night/morning before. I finally got myself upright and washed and dressed for dinner at around 5 or 6pm I think. I was starving, luckily Malibu Fish House was just a couple of blocks away and had a lot of healthy and filling menu options. The miso glazed salmon was perfect, I'm going to miss west coast fish.

That night the main event was the Dead Stars Ball, so I took some time to transform into Louise Brooks, with a velvet drop waisted dress, opera length black gloves, a strand of pearls, nude fishnets with a black seam up the back, and a short black bob wig. I'd brought some ankle strap high heels but decided that since it was all DJs that night that I'd wear my dancing boots instead, which ended up being a good call. Despite feeling like I was running late (going down for the shuttle around 10pm), I ended up on the same one as all my room mates, Gala, Jodi and Jason (and I got the book from Jodi that she'd brought over from Bristol for me), Sailor Gloom and other familiar faces. At the venue, the patio room was half blocked off as I think another event was using the other part of the building - people still ducked through the barrier to go smoke or whatever, but it did sort of help to have the venue size cut down a bit - there were even less people there that night. Again with lots of smoke in the air, but I was able to dance to most of Sailor Gloom's set and enjoyed when he snuck out from behind the decks and danced. Not a lot of people were dancing, it was a pretty quiet winding down night. As for other costumes, the Ramones couple were spot on, Dot was awesome as a 60's pin up that I couldn't quite place, and there was a guy in a body suit and mask that I couldn't place either.

I was starving and tired and ended up sharing an Uber back to the hotel with SG when we learned that the shuttle had just left (from the door lady dressed as Amy Winehouse) - it was a bigger bus this time, but still only one on the route. I didn't realise that Uber would mash up passengers, we were sharing with a guy most of the way to the hotel. This time we went straight to the second floor lobby to hang out with people and were just in time to jump in on an order from Mel's. I put in a request for the same thing I'd had yesterday then popped up to my room to pack up my suitcase. I came back down and hung out until kest and Shawn came back with food then stuffed my face. I think I ended up staying up until around 4am, and was dreading the 8:30 alarm so I could get up in time to make it to the airport. I'd cordially disbelieved the desk guy who said it would take half an hour, especially at late morning rush hour, so was allowing for an hour.

Monday May 4, 2015

I got myself together and poked kest to come down to make sure we sorted out the bulk of the room charges before I disappeared. It wasn't too much fun to be the one who arrived last and left first, I'll probably go back to Thursday night or early Friday morning arrival for next year. I took advantage of the lobby tea and ate my saved honey crisp apple and a granola bar I think, having a make do breakfast until I could grab lunch at the airport. I caught Justin on the way out and said my goodbyes to him, and saw Cora in passing - she and Winter also had a flight at around my time but only Sailor Gloom was ready and willing to grab a cab when I was ready to head out, so we loaded up our stuff to share the trip to the airport. The cab ended up not being hugely more than the inflated shuttle price, but much quicker, I was in the security line by 10:30. The line was quick and I made a last minute decision to not opt out from the scanner since I was sleep deprived and hungry enough to not want to deal with being touched by a stranger. So of course they had to pat down my Utilikilt since it was too thick. *sigh* Then once I was in the terminal proper, it was only a short walk to my gate, the only problem was that all the bathrooms as well as the food court options and Starbucks had long lines. Luckily I had just enough time to get a mango shake at Pinkberry, hit the bathroom, grab a muffin from Starbucks, and fill up my water bottle before it was time to board. I was in the C group since I'd forgotten to check in right at the 24 hour mark, but I got an aisle seat and my suitcase made it on too. The lady in the middle seat kept getting up, but I dozed while I could.

Unfortunately when I landed in Kansas City to change planes, I saw that my flight to Boston was delayed 3 hours, getting me in at 2:30am. Screw that noise, I asked what I could do and then sent me down the (very narrow) terminal to a different gate to ask about getting on the connector flight to St Louis and go on to Boston from there, getting in just past midnight. A brisk walk later and a helpful SW agent and I was joining the end of the C boarding group line. They did take my suitcase to check it through to Boston since the flight was full, but at least it was only 40 minutes and I was able to read well enough in my middle seat. I think this was the peanut free flight due to a passenger allergy. St. Louis ended up being a much nicer place for a layover, I had a good spaghetti pomodoro at Pasta House, then set up at a charging station to recharge my phone for the last leg home. I finally hit a not full flight, I wish I'd been able to keep my suitcase since there was tonnes of room for it on this plane. I grabbed a window seat near the front and settled in for some OJ and reading my new book. I was finally feeling full, I had to force myself to eat the now offered peanuts. We came into Logan at the outermost A gate, then there was the walk through the tunnel, but at least my suitcase was on the belt as I walked up. A trooper asked where we were flying in from (we landed near 12:40pm) and I had to think really hard about it - I always get a bit disoriented when my itinerary changes on the fly, and SW was keeping the boarding passes when I boarded too. Luckily there was only a short wait for a taxi, and I had a quiet ride home. Wonder of wonders for my taxi from the airport experiences, he took my suitcase out of the trunk and extended the handle for me, it was still in the street but not done dismissively. Then of course jet lag switched in and my body felt wide awake, but a hot shower and cuddling into my warm bed helped me fall asleep eventually, and not so late that I had to call out of work the next morning.


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