Adventures in the rabbit hole - Convention 2003!
|After having experienced a weekend known as the Writing.com Convention 2003, I decided it would have been more aptly named A Life in the Parallel Dimension. Sure it was only a few days of completely random and sporadic joys, highs, surprises, friendships, and parties, but damn if it didn't feel like a whole lifetime of experiences. I lost track of what day it was. I had to have been there for weeks or months, not just one solitary weekend.
Realizing that it would be fairly impossible to find some clever and organized way of sharing all the events that took place, I decided to bend the rules of a Static Item just a bit and tell you what I experienced day by day. Thus, this will be my Journal's accounts of the choas my life was in when tucked away in King of Prussia with a bunch of maniacal internet goons for what seemed an eternity of bliss.
Journal of My Time Spent in a Parallel Dimension
Friday August 15, 2003:
Being my normal self, I arrived at the Registration with barely enough time left to make an appearance and get the paperwork done before they supposedly ended it [I learned a few hours later that people were just arriving at any time]. As I walked through the door a man approached me all full of smiles and familiarity. Then a woman followed behind and asked me questions I don't think I even processed then. I remember mumbling something like, "Marie, I think. I don't know ..." only for her to jump in with an excited, "Tessababie! I'm so glad you actually made it!" After which they both hugged me thoroughly and gracefully pushed me towards the table with instructions I, once again, did not process.
I looked over and saw a beautiful woman I at once learned was catwoman . I immediately connected her to her equally gorgeous daughter and thought, Man, I just blundered my way through meeting the The StoryMistress and The StoryMaster . I'm such a goon. I shook my head and proceeded through the process of registration. Down the line I met yesnomaybe and rickysgranny - two of the most forwardly imposing, yet hilariously sweet women I think I will ever chance to meet.
When I turned away from the table, a somewhat familiar face strolled up to me. As she said, "Marie, gimme a hug girl!" I thought, ok, this is Melissa is fashionably late! . Then she said something about going swimming and disapeared to find her room, leaving me in the jumbled confusion of new people I didn't really look forward to having to meet. I kind of strolled around for a few minutes [I have no clue what I did or who I met] before retiring to my own room, where I hoped to get a bit of peace and try to figure out a game plan.
My game plan? I got my own swimsuit and headed on down to the pool. I knew some people would be going there to mingle and it was hot enough to wish I was in the Arctic Ocean. I spent all of 10 minutes at the pool however. Making a first impression in my bathing suit was something akin to giving a speech in my underwear and I quickly decided against it. I again have no clue who I met or how, all I remember is at one point some girl [I later learned it was winklett ] told me to move out of the way in the pool as her and some others were having a swimming race. I moved out of the way alright - right back into my hotel room.
I would have been satisfied to just stay there until supper, but I thought that maybe it wouldn't be fair to myself or others. I forced myself to get dressed decently and head back on down to where the Registration was taking place. There seemed to be some type of game room setup with food and beverages. Lord knows I needed some food and something cool to drink.
When I had gotten my drink I sat down at one of the tables. I wasn't there for more than 10 seconds before the people at the table behind me demanded I come sit with them, which I did. Of course, being the way that I am, it wasn't 5 minutes after we made our introductions that I saw my opening and quickly scurried away ... only to run practically head first into The StoryMaster . This time we had a brief conversation that I am fairly certain I was coherent in. It ended in his mission to "break me out of my shell". Of course it didn't work and so I sat down at the registration table next to yesnomaybe and proceeded to try to blend in with the background.
I underestimated The StoryMaster I think though. No sooner had he walked around the room then there were at least 5 people harassing me to find a game to play with them. I reluctantly followed them to a table and proceeded to explain the rules of Hearts, noticing the smug smile on The StoryMaster 's face. But he had every reason to be smug, it was one of the most enjoyable games of cards I had played in a long time, despite the fact that half the group had no clue what they were doing.
It was there that I met winklett , Jenn , criztalyn, lyriclyblind [who wasn't actualy playing, just watching I think], Wenston , and Andrea [who was one of my roommates]. We must have sat there playing and bonding for about an hour when we had to leave our game unfinished and proceed to supper.
The seating at supper was assigned and I found myself at a table with a couple of interesting characters - The Milkman , Jay (away for a while) , GoCartCherub- St Louis U , and winklett to name a few. winklett was the one person I had had a lot of contact with online and played the game of Hearts with me, so we spent most of the meal talking. I know that we forged a lasting friendship during that meal, and it made me more comfortable to open up since I felt I knew someone I could stick to.
After the meal we had the obligatory DJ and dancing. The DJ was an interesting character who seemed to dwell on bad jokes and indiscretions - but that just made the night all the more interesting. People seemed to want to dance though few did, until we got a jumped up version of the Electric Slide - known as the Cha-cha Slide - going, then a bunch of people got on the floor to try to figure it out. Of course, I seemed to be the only one who knew what I was doing, so I had to stand in front of everyone and shake my butt as they caught on.
But that wasn't the only butt shaking I did - oh no! The DJ somehow found out my dancing weakness and played Sir Mixalot's "I Like Big Butts" and I just had to break it down! After a few stunned moments of silence I heard everyone start yelling and laughing and cheering - boy did they seemed surprised! Ha ha ha! And when I pulled rickysgranny onto the floor to shake along with me, the rest of the people went nuts. Man, that was a lot of fun - and it was the last instance of reclusiveness I think any of them saw.
After a few hours of dancing and partying, winklett and myself decided to head on down to the hotel bar [Even though I am not 21] where they were having Karaoke. When we got there it was like we jumped right into another party. There were tons of people from the Convention already there. After a few moments of deliberation and questionng, I discovered that auric was partaking in the Karaoke fun and decided to follow suit. I ended up singing "Fever" much to the Conventioneers delight, and although I have no idea if I was on or not, they all declared I had rocked the place and some even asked for more.
That night I went reluctantly to bed at around 2 a.m. I can't remember ever having such a great time meeting what seemed like hundreds of people [though in reality it was probably only 50 or 60]. I fell right asleep after saying a brief "Hello, goodnight" to my roommates and dreamed crazy nonsensical things about the day's events.
Saturday August 16, 2003:
Saturday morning was easy enough with something warm to eat. Everyone was too tired to really say much of anything at first. Even the Open Mic seemed lacking as everyone concentrated on their food. At some point though, people started waking up and the conversation that ensued was definitely a hoot!
For example: winklett decided to educate us on the idiosyncracies of the Teletubbies as she watches them nearly everyday with her child. And I quote, "... they say everything twice too. Like 'Teletubby Bye-bye! Teletubby Bye-bye!' And then they have these boring 5-minute flicks on their tummies and since they do everything twice ..." Well, you get the idea. Heh! She was so enthused in it she had the whole table rolling! We all begged her to tell the rest of the Convention about it for Open Mic Night but she just smiled and laughed.
After breakfast we all got together and revolved in Groups to create funky little Campfires. What with Howard Stern repeatedly being killed off, people going up monkeys' butts, and lover disputes with bosses, I don't know where the fun began and ended. Ha ha ha! We broke for what seemed like a short lunch and then everyone rushed back in to create more crazily humerous Campfires with their seemingly demented creative juices!
After the Campfires were done, we had a few hours of free time. I ended up going to the Mall with winklett , Jenn and criztalyn. We walked around for a bit and window shopped in our favorite stores. After what seemed like entirely too short a period of time, our shuttle returned to pick us up though and we headed back to the Convention.
After stopping back up at our rooms, we all mingled and got ready for the Open Mic Night. And boy what a wonderful night it was! Some members sang, others read aloud poems, all in all an evening full of talent. I personally spoke aloud a poem that signified my frustrated love of my muse and had everyone participate in a sound game called "Rainstorm". phil1861 performed a monologue worthy of a Broadway session [or at least a national reinactment], The HighRoller stunned the audience into silence with her dramatic presentation of a moving poem, and The StoryMaster surprised us all with his Magic Act - an act that ended with a shocked The StoryMistress being proposed to and the Conventioneers in tears.
It was an emotional evening I think, what with our responses to people's acts and the ultimate happiness from the engagement. The whole evening was priceless - I wish I had video taped it.
That evening, we all celebrated! Parties were everywhere! I started out the Afterhours in the Game room teaching a bunch of people how to play the game B.S. I think I made some junkies out of them actually. We must have played for hours, until someone ran in and said that *Moni demanded our attendance in her room for a little party. After maybe an hour or so there, we all started to break up but then Wannabe and wrilly pulled us to their room for an After-afterhours shindig.
By the time all was said and done, and I ate up their cookies with some milk, it must have been about 5 a.m. But oh no, the day was not yet done. Not wanting to let the evening end, I convinced lyriclyblind to check out the game room, where we found auric. After a short Chess spree, we all decided it was much too late to even think, much less play a strategically challenging game and headed to bed. Time on the clock? 5:30 a.m.
Sunday August 17, 2003:
Two guesses as to what time the day started. 7 a.m. - much too soon, I decided, as I tried to roll out of bed with only an hour and a half's worth of sleep. I noticed that I had been so ready to crash I was still in my clothes and had basically slept on all the stuff on top of my bed. Man it felt like some college party morning after - I even had the hangover type headache, minus the fun of getting inebriated.
It was then that I decided I was living in a parallel dimension. Was it really possible to have all the effects of too much drinking without alcohol? Was it really possible to open up to people you have never met before after only one solitary card game? Was it really possible for it to feel like it had been days when it was only two?
I slowly made my way around the room, attempting to pull clothes out of my suitcase. It took me two minutes however to realize I was not going to make it before I crashed headfirst back into bed. Breakfast be damned, I thought to myself as I swiftly fell back to sleep. I slept soundly until an alarm I didn't remember setting [maybe it was set by one of my awesome roomies?] went off at about 9:15. I cursed for a few minutes and dragged myself to the shower. After a tediously slow preparation for the day, I meandered down the hall to where the meal would be finishing up. I had enough time to grab a few pastries and some water, before we were all kicked out and told to go preview the Items up for Auction.
Walking into the room, I saw The StoryMistress running around and spoke to her briefly. Somewhere along the way we had bonded and it was a beautiful thing. We have so much in common it isn't funny and so every chance we got we'd share our interestes and even fashion with each other. Have I mentioned yet just how adorably sweet and cool she is? And how happy I was to find a kindred spirit? [There was another - winklett ]
I made my way around the display and marveled at people's hidden talents. Framed pieces of poetry, published books, photographs, hand crafted dolls, there was no end to the variety of items up for auction. I myself donated a hand-written cookbook called Bumpkin and Hash that was won by winklett . I won a Hand crafted Harem doll made by ercole's wife, a very cool Eyelash Scarf made by Rhyssa 's Ma, an autographed and framed love poem by The HighRoller , and a wonderful series of photographs, framed, by The StoryMistress . I also won a hand made bird house that I gave to winklett .
We won't even go into how much money I spent that I shouldn't have. Ha!
After the Creative Auction we were [wisely] given a few hours free time to forget our lost money and revel in newfound friendships. Wenston , master_akura, lyriclyblind and I decided to take a short road trip to Philadelphia. I had a great time as I'm sure they all did as well. We walked right through the heart of Philly, down Market St. We went to Liberty Hall and saw the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution. We missed the Liberty Bell however because we didn't have enough time to go get the tickets to get in. Then we walked aimlessly from place to place tyring to find ice cream [believe it or not, there was no place open that sold it. We ended up doing Milkshakes at Burger King]. By the time we made it back to our car and headed to the hotel, it was rush hour traffic time ... which meant that we, of course, were late for dinner. *sighs* The sacrifices we make for good times.
When we did make it back to the hotel, I ran upstairs and quickly doned my finest attire [kind of]. When I felt I was properly situated, I made my grand [actually, rather bland] entrance into the dining hall and gazed upon the splendid view of internet junkies dressed in their finest. It made me think of a room full of internet tycoons. The atmosphere was the same, fun-loving jive - but with a simple elegance due to the refined actions and appeareances of all present. I actually wondered if I was dressed up enough.
The food was wonderful that night - Yum! - and desert was to die for! It was so rich I could hardly finish half of it. And then that crazy DJ was back and ready for more action. But this time he came prepared ... with awards! He decided to hand out what he called "cast-awards" to those who had stood out the first night he was there. Guess who got the award for booty-shakin'? Yours truly! Ha ha ha!
The rest of that night went by more or less in a blur. There was simply too much excitement and too little time. Everyone was getting ready to part ways the next day and we were trying to cram enough partying in to last a year. But I know that I wimped out early that night. I was in a card game of B.S. - I made junkies out of them, I knew it! - which had turned rather interesting as The StoryMistress kept getting caught and The HighRoller tried to con us all - when I almost fell over in sleep.
It was then that I decided I had just had too much and had to crash. I said my goodnights and proceeded to pass out on my very lovely, very delicious, very comfortable hotel bed. Let me take moment here to proclaim the wonders of Sheraton's new beds. Wonderful works of Heaven! You know how they have down comforters right? I swear everything - the matress, the pillows, even the darn bed frame - had to have been made out of feathers! It was all down! So imagine sinking into a fluffy cloud of calm and losing yourself in the best nights sleep ever ... yep, that was me. Heh.
Monday August 18, 2003:
That morning I woke up at around 9:30 a.m. by the grace of God and a loud alarm clock. Again, I managed to miss breakfast as I struggled to wake up, get dressed decently, and pack up all my belongings in time for checkout. It had been decided sometime the day before that I would be road-tripping it home with master_akura as part of a caravan with The Milkman , Melissa is fashionably late! , Wenston , and Jay (away for a while) . So I went out in search of my riding buddy and lunch.
At lunch everyone said heartfelt and tearfilled goodbyes - even the guys, though I am sure they won't admit it - and mingled and hugged and made promises of friendships newly created and recently renewed. I found myself not wanting to leave the magic of that parallel dimension I had stumbled upon. Would it hurt during the transtition back to my own world? Would I find this was all a dream? Was it possible these really were just a bunch of aliens posing as people I had long thought of meeting?
Nah! But sometimes I can't help but wonder ... and sometimes I can't help but think I took a small piece of each of them home with me. Lord knows I am a bit more eccentric now than I used to be. Is that even possible? Maybe not in this world ... but having crossed parallels I find that my own being no longer holds to the laws of this one lowly dimension. I see in more shades of colors than I ever thought possible and with more varied visions of joy than I thought imaginable ... all because of a few days spent in a surreal environment with inspiring people and stimulating activities.
Did this Convention serve some great purpose to make the world a better place? Not really. But it did change my world, my heart, my emotions and so forth. Was it set up to conquer problems across the globe? Nope again. But it gave me some fresh insight and hindsight and let me put a whole bunch of my own problems into perspective.
Was this Convention a moving experience? If you look back at the memories you realize that yes, it was, although it might not have been noticable at the time. Would I change my universe again for the sole chance of meeting these awesome beings from a parallel dimension? You betcha! So, goodbye amazing creatures of the writing craft. I look forward to many famous adventures with each of you in the times to come.
Here's to the Writing.com Convention of 2004!