Since I have remarkably bad luck with writing these things after putting them off, I'm going to do it right now, before I'm even unpacked. Of course, I've already forgotten a ton of things that happened, so this probably isn't much better.
So, since I've spent well over an hour writing this, it reads much like a novel, so I am placing this entry into the extended text area. You'll need to click through to read it.
The highlight of the day - after finding out that Nobuteru Yuuki was unable to attend, I sent a text message to Jeff telling him that. His response, an hour or two later, read only "Fuck!"... I wasn't sure how he was going to react, and I'm not one to laugh at another's misfortune, but for some reason, I found that rather amusing.
The plan was for Eric to leave his house around 11am, to get to my place at 1-2pm. Naturally, this didn't happen, and just like last year, he instead arrived at around 7:45pm. Thanks to daylight savings, it was still daylight outside, but barely, as the sun had started to set a few minutes earlier. It was significantly darker by the time we made it to I-70, which started our straight shot into Boston via 695 to 95, to NJ Turnpike (295), back to 95, to 91, to 84, to 90, and then finally arriving at the Park Plaza after number hell.
(Sometime during this ride, we stopped at a rest stop for a quick bathroom/drink break, and I run across a penny-masher machine that had a design of the World Trade Center, complete with the Twin Towers in the center. Finding it rather silly to have a machine with such a dated design, I immediately got one.)
Since we didn't stop at Eastpoint Mall for dinner this time (and in fact, taking 695 in a way that we actually didn't come anywhere close to that part of Baltimore) and having left even later than last year, the trip only takes some 7 and a half hours, very close to Mapquest's estimate. Of course, it was once again 4am when we arrived. There's just something with us and getting there at some absurd hour in the morning. We even had the same senile old lady check us in (and to find out later she didn't do it properly, as somewhat expected).
After dumping my stuff into the closet, we slept for the night at around 5am.
And yes, since it was 5am, this should be part of Thursday's entry, but I'm splitting these up by the times I go to sleep and not by when the clock hits midnight. Sorry. =P
Since large amounts of sleep isn't exactly a commodity at a con, we got up at around 1pm. Since I had planned to stay in Luke's room (with Dave and Brad), I just ended up going downstairs randomly to wait for them and other people to arrive while Eric went to get himself acquanted with the con's new registration system. I saw Jeff immediately upon getting into the lobby, talking with hen-neko (sorry, I STILL don't know your name x_x). Several staffer friends, such as Lizz, zoomed by. Chris and a very sleepy Andrew showed up too. Luke, Dave, and Brad do eventually arrive, and we headed up to get into the room and move my stuff over from Eric's room.
The room we got was probably a little smaller than the massive room Eric got last year, but still one of the largest rooms I've seen in the hotel. Since we ended up getting an upgrade that included a sofabed, we did spend a little more money for it, but it seemed to be worth it. Plenty of room for DDR pads that we didn't even use. =P
We ended up going to a nearby Irish pub for a late lunch, at Chris's suggestion. The food wasn't bad at all, but the service was terrible - it must have taken over 20 minutes to get us bowls of soup, then another 30 minutes to get a burger. This would be our worst experience with this restaurant in the three or four times we visit it throughout the weekend. Of course, we probably hit them on an off-peak hour where the place was understaffed in and out of the kitchen.
We ran into Patrick and his spiffy car on the way back, along with Riki and Kwan who came by a bit later. After talking to them for a bit, they zoomed off to park elsewhere and take the T back. When we got back to the hotel lobby, Chris was still there, and David Williams, Lauren Goodnight, and the rest of that horde arrived shortly after. (Yay for hugs!) Katy stops by for a little while soon after, too. A while later, a bunch of us end up returning to the same Irish pub for dinner. For quite some time now, the "stalker-boy" aka "the shit guy" (the one that let off many profanities from being kicked out of the ADV panel the previous year) had been sticking to our group, and even invited himself to our dinner plans. Katy ended up distracting him so we could go stalker-free, so we were quite thankful for that. Although it seems Jeff really did want to tell him off...
The service was significantly better than our lunch outing a few hours beforehand, despite the fact that in order to fit all of us into the table, we had to block off the single exit out of the booth style table. So, for that side of the table, getting to the bathroom was an interesting trick to perform. After the dinner, we ran into David, Mariela, Matt, Karyn, and several others at the hotel bar, with Jerry Chu, Keith (of Manga Ent.) and others showing up later. Among much drinking, Jerry had a nice, relaxing Shirley Temple.
On the way back to the room, I ran into Sarah and Mary in the lobby, folding cranes, and I end up folding a couple crappy ones with them before heading up to the room. The cranes were being folded for Katy, who was trying to get 1,000 folded before the end of the con.
Finally getting back to the room, I found everyone else playing Wario Ware, and I played a few games myself. After that, we did watch Puni Puni Poemi subbed, and finding it hilarious if not excessively over the top. After finishing it, we put it on the commentary with the pig-latin version of the subtitles on it. ^^; (Boo to the menu for not allowing us to select this combination and forcing us to retry it on the Xbox remote several times until we got it working...) I fell asleep at some point during the 2nd episode here, with Dave finding us all asleep when he finished his shower.
Getting up and getting ready just in time for opening ceremonies, but not before a stop in the bakery for some breakfast bread. Patrick and Adam look quite spiffy in their matching black suits. The ceremony was not unlike ones for other cons, so not much to mention. After the ceremonies were finished, we joined the big rush of people to line up for the dealers' room across the street in the "castle".
I get handed a few hundred flyers by random people while waiting in line. Dave gathers them all and puts them into his now-empty drink bottle, presumably to throw into the Atlantic to see if they come adrift and get picked up by a person that had more use for them.
As the castle was also host to the art show, we got to see Riki and Kwan there. Riki looks great in her costume, as usual. (So yeah, I got a picture of that costume even though I had already taken one of her in that during Otakon.) Soon after, it was time to head to the panels, though there weren't that many that we would attend that day. At least I won... a Patlabor DVD, from Chris's AoD panel. I ended up trading it with Dave for the Big O II DVD2 he won. (And having to return to the dealers' room to pick up DVD1, and a giant Grunty so I could get a chibihack t-shirt.) Not much happened at the Media Blasters panel after that...
Late lunch happened at Subway at some point. Followed by a trip back to the room for some Wario Ware and Mario Kart Double Dash. Not much after, some of us headed for the Synch-Point/Broccoli International panel, for the one and only time I get to see Saki. Oh well...
After hitting the tail end of Katy's cel panel, we went out to Legal Seafoods to eat. This was actually one of the highlights of last year's eating experiences, being the original Legal location, and thus being a very fancy presentation with excellent food and service. Despite a half hour wait from being busy, our food came fast, and was definitely excellent. It made for a good birthday dinner for Ruby. ^^; Yay for shrimp!
Once again, we ran into the general group of people at the hotel bar after returning from dinner, and spend a significant amount of time here. This is probably one of the loudest bar visits of the weekend, between Crispin Freeman and Monica Rial arriving, the tequila shooting, Lauren's absolutely wild outfit, Dave's 3 minute laugh, and too many other things to mention. And no Shirley Temples in sight...
When we headed back to our room, we found that someone had stolen the cushions from the couch sitting at the elevators on our floor. Since we noticed it was the same type of sofabed in our room, we deployed it to full bed mode before getting back to our room. ^^; We watched through Super GALS DVD1 subbed (among other things beforehand) before crashing, with I've music playing from the Xbox's HDD.
The morning started with another run to the bakery (at least, for me it did), and some stuff I can't remember before the Bandai panel. The Bandai panel turned out... very noisy, with the fire alarm, then the emergency exit alarm, then the PA system, all going off simultaneously over Jerry trying to speak. ^^;; With an hour of free time, I ended up going once again to the bakery and getting a lunch sandwich to eat, arriving back just in time for the Geneon panel. After that, we are promptly kicked out then re-enter for the ADV panel, then once again for the FUNimation panel. With the ADV panel, the Suck Bunny is once again the star of the show, and Princess Tutu gets announced finally. The FUNimation panel was quite noisy, with Sana mallets being handed out to everyone with the announcement of the Kodocha license. The mallets will haunt Sapphy-hime to the end...
I'm not sure where we had lunch. Maybe we went to the Irish pub again...
More dealers' room action came after that, with yet another of Riki's costumes. Standing next to who I believe to be the con's staff photographer, we get her in a few different poses. Dave and I also checked out AN Entertainment's panel briefly, watching the first dubbed episode of Miami Guns. It was pretty amusing at points, but not worth a purchase from me. Dave seemed to like it, though.
For dinner, we ended up going to Fire and Ice restaurant. This was one of the more unique Mongolian BBQ places I've been to, with the food being obtained by picking the food raw along with the sauce, then bringing it to the round central grill to be cooked. Being an all-you-can-eat format at a rather cheap price for the amount of food we got, this was a great feast for us.
Back at the room, we played a bunch of Mario Kart, and then a ton of Wario Ware. We fully unlocked all the game types just by the massive amount of playing we did. We even got a 6 minute laugh out of Dave with one of the minigames. ^^;; This takes us into late-night, when everyone heads out to the hentai dubbing panel. I tagged along for a little bit, but Luke and I didn't find any amusement in it, and we headed back to the room.
At some point, we had been playing pop'n music on the ASC, and here, we played some more before everyone got back. I also packed as much of my stuff as I could spare to take to Eric's room, as Luke was checking out the next morning and I didn't want to have to check my bags into the hotel. (Turns out that his check-in wasn't properly done the first time, and it had to be done again, so the keylock was changed and thus my key to his room no longer worked.)
At some point, I went out to get a Coke from the soda machine on our floor, and walked in on Tom Wayland and some random girl heavily making out in front of the ice machine. Can't say I've walked in on something like that before. They stopped themselves the moment they saw me, so I bought my bottle of soda and left. ^^;;
To take us into the night, we watched Super GALS DVD6, with only Dave and I still awake by the time the disc is over. I put on more I've music for the night before sleeping.
The morning starts with us finishing up our packing to get ready to vacate the room. I ended up running to the castle to pick up Eric's key to his room, since I couldn't get in without his key. After I got his key, we scooted the remainder of my stuff over to his room, then finished up with the remainder of the packing and checked out. I got to take home all of Dave's engrish candy. ^^;
Not much else happened that day - there was the Manga Ent. panel, but we only peeked in to see if Keith had actually shown up for it.
We did go to the Irish pub for one last meal together, though. After lunch, they headed off to the dealers' room while I went to try and find a bathroom that wasn't used very often by the public, as all the ones I found were pretty atrocious. I did actually find one on the 3rd floor, which being partially hidden, wasn't very trafficked at all. I also found a few rooms declared unsafe due to having "asbestos containing materials".
At the dealers' room, yet more mad shopping takes place, with my highlight of the con - a Chise figure of her standing in a gown with small wings from her back. ^^;; I also got the alternate-color version of her standing with her bag, which was otherwise identical to the one included with the R2 DVD box. This makes up for the limited edition artbook that Sasuga quoted me at $60 (after Dave said he thought he got it for that much), then marking it up to $77 after finding Jeff with the copy that was still in the box. They wouldn't even budge a single cent on the price, even though the cover was kinda scratched up. At least hen-neko is happy with it, though.
After the dealers' room closed for good, we headed back to the hotel, and found Katy ready for her formal afternoon tea. She definitely had very pretty attire for the occasion. ^^;; I took a few random photos before we headed for the main events room to await closing ceremonies. Some silly Anime Trivial Pursuit game was being played, with Gundam icons and the programmer in the back making weird comments pop up periodically.
Stalker-boy shows up at some point and sits near us, causing us to collectively decide to move closer.
I ended up sleeping through most of closing ceremonies (much like I did at the AX charity auction), waking up when they presented the winning AMVs, then telling everyone to go home. ^^; At this point, we find Jeff and hang out in his room with Sarah and Mary (with them looking through much of their h-doujin ^^;;) while waiting for Sean to call Dave back. When he does, Dave and Luke leave with him to head to the airport. On the way, we also see Mariela, Chris, David, Lauren, and several others, and I joined them for quite a while in the lobby after the airport group left. Eventually, the group disbands, and I end up going to try and find Eric.
My search takes me to the presidential suite on the 15th floor, which was actually my first time even stepping foot on that floor of the hotel. For not being staff, I got in to the suite without trouble, and Patrick seemed to (hesitantly) not mind my presence there. Eric was indeed there, but I didn't really want to disturb him, so I hung around for a while. Eventually, Giles brings me to him when he moved out of sight to another room when I wasn't looking, and he gives me his key so I can go get my textbook (oh joy). He ends up leaving shortly after that, and we go back to his room together, then we walk around the now-empty convention areas on the Mezzanine.
We spent the rest of the night in Eric's room, knocking on Jeff's door (who happened to be next door) to find out that Sarah and Mary had stepped out. Thus, as I didn't feel like trying to hunt for food, I ordered room service while Eric watched his Alien 9 DVD. About then, Sarah and Mary all came over, followed shortly by the room service food order, which had come in very quickly to my surprise. Too bad I forgot that 15% gratuity is automatically added, and thus I ended up giving them something like a 50% tip.
We played much CCS Tetris, with Jeff coming in later. Mary was also talking on the phone, causing some confusion as she starts talking about hentai and doujinshi... and we think she is talking to her mom, when she actually wasn't. ^^;;; I end up falling asleep, and wake up at around midnight as Jeff, Mary, and Sarah were returning to their room. We end up sleeping immediately after that, since we had a big drive coming up.
Getting an early, showerless start (the only morning I wouldn't shower), we packed up the room, shoved it onto a cart, brought it down to the car, and set off. Jeff was also leaving, but not quite as early as we did. It was about 10:30 when we pulled out of the hotel to head home.
Not far into the trip, we stopped to eat breakfast at a McDonalds within a rest stop. Shortly after that, we run into a "blasting zone" which stops up traffic for a little bit, but makes for some interesting photographic attempts. ^^;; We didn't get to see any blasts, though...
Much later, after running into traffic almost all the way through New York, we stopped at a rest stop in New Jersey (Molly Pitcher Travel Plaza, to be exact) to eat and fill up. Here, I find yet another penny-masher, with a design that featured... the Twin Towers. Naturally, with a little loan from Eric, I picked this one too. ^^;; We ate at the Country Kitchen, then set out to fill up on gas.
I realized I had forgotten to buy a drink to go, and I ended up going into the gas station to buy one there. The attendant is less than happy that I have only a credit card to pay for the bottle of soda, and starts harrassing me with questions about how far I was traveling, and the fact that I had no cash for the trip. (In fact, I had STARTED the trip with $210, but I ran out and saw no need to withdraw more cash when I was only three hours away from home!) I end up so phased by this incident that I wander to the wrong car when returning - it figures there would be a silver Saturn right next to Eric's car. ^^;;
Not much else happened on the way back, aside from the fact that we went through a lot of rain. We made it back at about the time stamped on the entry I made before, and Eric helped me out with my luggage and did a couple things on the computer before setting out to get home himself.
And yeah, I just spent something like two hours writing all this up. And hey, I still haven't studied for the test tomorrow. x_x