Saturnalia IV, Chicago, 2002

Since a lot of my friends had been raving about how much fun it was to attend Scary Lady Sara's Saturnalia, I decided to fly in for the weekend and meet up with them. All of this was complicated by the fact that I was on crutches and with a boot on my foot to keep it from bending due to a not quite healed injury.

Sat Nov 14

My alarm went off at 7:15am and first thing, I checked the flight status online.It had been delayed from 10:15 to 10:40 already, so I took a more leisurely bath after a quick breakfast. I missed the first bus I meant to catch, since I'd left my palm pilot in it's cradle when I walked out the door, and running back for it used up my margin. I caught the other bus and made the other transfers with no problems. Once there, I did a self serve e-ticket check in at the United kiosk, and was directed through a special door with my crutches. Of course I wasn't supposed to actually go through it just yet, as the alarm proved, so I backed off and let them open it for me. And was then hand searched, balancing on one foot while they wanded me sans crutches. Fun. At least they wanded the plastered foot, extracted gingerly from it's brace, instead of patting it down. All this took less time than expected, no lines at all were present, and I made it to my gate fairly early, so see that the flight was delayed to 10:50 now. The inbound plane was late, but eventually arrived and they tried to get us to board quickly, somehow forgetting to make the preboard announcement for "people needing more time", though gold-silver-elite members could stroll right on. *sigh* I just jumped the line and got in asap. Crutches fit above in the bins, and I settled in the seat, not to move for the duration of the flight. United also seemed to have lost my request for a wheel chair to meet me in O'Hare, but they called for it after I gave up waiting in first class for one to appear. *sigh* Then, of course, the nearest elevator was broken, so it took a while to get to the baggage claim where Art and Joy were waiting for me. Art went to go get the car and leave us to our greeting, and we lost and found and lost and found Shawn, Art's room mate and the third in their car driving up from Detroit.

We ended up in the express lanes when we shouldn't have (the hotel's exit was closer than we thought it would be) but found our way back after a stop to fuel up. The no left turn anyway through the 3 street intersection made getting to the hotel's valet service a bit dicy, but we managed. Only to be told that our room wasn't ready yet. *blink* So, we checked all of our bags and let them take the car away, and ambled across the street to the borders to wait for an hour before "official check in time". It was dangerous letting so many book geeks loose in there, but the damage was minimal. We ended up with a few books each, settled in the sci fi section with hot drinks, chatting about Wing Chung and movies and mosh pits with Art and passing the time most agreeably. I had spotted Take a Thief and Joy bought it for me, after I dissuaded her from the Series of Unfortunate Events books (hoping that their presence on my wish list would result in my family buying some for me), and she grabbed the paper back of Narcissus in Chains for herself. 3pm rolled around and we went back to the hotel to find that, huzzah! our room was ready. We had the bell boy bring up all the bags to our room, and Art sat and read in the lobby, waiting for Shawn to reappear from his walk. It was determined that JV was at the airport picking up a band member, so Art and Shawn couldn't get into his place to drop off their stuff just yet, so we all headed out for sushi.

There was a minor mix up since apparently there had been a name change sine I was last in Chicago, and since the yellow pages were updated, and Kabuki was now Edo, though Kabuki II was still in business down the street (where Krista and Eric ended up at first) though both still have the same menu. We were confused, and then started calling around to update everyone. Eileen couldn't make it, and the Torontonians were stuck on the road still after a blown tire on Siobhan's car. Thomas, a local friend of Joy's, found us at Edo and our group was complete after Art popped down the street to the other Kabuki to retrieve our wayward friends, at 7 instead of 14 as originally reserved. We dug into the edamame and ordered our sushi, with the sake orders flowing freely. The original reservation was for 5pm, we got everyone together at 5:30 and ate until just after 6 - fast and furious and filling. :) We took a taxi back to the hotel to get ready for the evening, and to hand off Art and Shawn's bags for their trip to JV's. The resting before the evening out almost turned into sleeping instead, but we dragged ourselves into our outfits and found that Steph and Martin had finally arrived. We popped into their room just down the hall to say hi before hitting the club, but didn't get to spend much time with them (Steph had just arrived at 8:30 and was out to get food when we first knocked) before heading the the Centrum to meet up with everyone else. Another taxi ride, though this time they let us off across a concrete divider from the venue. I'd foregone my crutches, worried that they'd flip up my kilt too much, so I was hobbling slowly in the stiff boot. We managed to make it up the two flights of stairs to the stage area and I grabbed a seat in which to rest, starting the theme of the evening.

rachels.surrender was on stage when we walked in, and it was LOUD. Soon after we arrived, the T.O. crew rolled in, and Sara found us. When the noise would get too much, I'd try the seats near the men's room in the bar area, but I mostly ended up sitting and watching the stage from a table to the right of the dance floor. I really liked Audra , and had Joy get a CD for me. The vendor's booths didn't really draw me, too crowded in any case. I spotted Uncle Nemesis and his wife and said a brief hello, and tried to listen to her spoken word piece, but crowd noise prevented it. JZ and Riccer from Detroit stopped by to say hi a few times to Joy, the latter getting progressively drunker each time we saw him. I had to ask Art to guard us from the insanely drunk and staggering people on the dance floor, as the open bar had predictable results, but we did get to see some of what we'd been discussing in Borders, in action. The Saturnalia ritual was somewhat overblown, but Saturn was good. Passion Play's lead singer did a good job on the gothic rock tracks, though I didn't get to talk to him here nor in Whitby - there were a *lot* of people that I'd seen or met at Whitby at Saturnalia. God Module, who we both wanted to see, ended up being a guy with death metal distortion on his vocals and we were getting tired by then in any case. I had to guard Joy's seat when she went off for a bit, everyone seemed to think it was their right to steal it. Mega drunk guy ended up groping her and I shoved him into a wall, not too hard, or not hard enough, I should say, since he didn't notice. Hrmph. We were on our way out at that point, since the drunks were wearing on our nerves and the T.O. crew had left w/o saying anything in any case (edit: they had to carry Axel home). Martin and Steph had stopped by the table a few times, and I took a picture one time when Steph stopped by , but other than that, I basically just saw people in passing and was kind of cranky about the limitations that my limp and the soreness of the foot placed on me. We found a taxi w/o having to wait too long in the cold wind, and made it back to the hotel and to sleep w/no problems.

Sun Nov 15

Woke up with the alarm at 9:45 and joined Steph, Martin and Jason in the hotel breakfast room for brunch. We packed up and followed them to JV's place where they needed to grab the rest of the T.O. crew for the drive home. JV and Eileen were gone, we hugged Etienne, Siobhan, Axel, Sara goodbye and waved at Dimitri and Rachel. They went off to the diner for food and Joy, Art, Shawn and myself drove over to Chinatown to meet Krista and Eric for dim sum. We got there first and got a table due to my being pathetic and food started piling up and being shoved down our gullets. Very good green tea, no lobster or lotus paste rolls, but overall, Phoenix put on a good feast for us. We then made our way back towards Krista and Eric's place and hung out at Jinx cafe to kill time before my flight and the Detroit posse's departure time. Joy, Eric and I popped over to Weekend for music (Boards of Canada) and soap (cinnamon orange swirl from Sparx). We drove up to the airport and Art circled the car while Joy and I said goodbye. Quickly through check in and security only to find that there were 32 babies on my flight. Apparently it was the last leg of an adopt a foreign kid trip. *twitch* And none of us got to pre-board this flight either. By this time I was so tired that I just let the air pressure change plug up my ears and zoned out - the babies were *mostly* quiet. I did manage to snag an exit row seat with a space next to me, so it was okay, though I'm wondering what the upgrade option would have been had I pressed that button on the kiosk screen. Home safe and sound and took a cab home.
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