Heartbeat in my Heels
I was not feeling very well Wednesday, and found that whenever I turned my head, the world spun around me. I was stressed and uncooperative with family members. As I was packing, a vicious-looking spider of sharp edges (a brown recluse, it seemed like) popped out of my luggage and onto the floor.
Original Mega-Big Con Road Trip plans included leaving extra-early on Wednesday, so that we could spend some time at Emily's place in Pittsburgh. On Wednesday evening, however, I got a call that dropped my pulse right down to the very soles of my feet - leohart8383, our primary driver, had been in an accident and her car was useless, leaking coolant and crunched. Though stressed, she was all right ... but we now lacked the major instrument necessary to any roadtrip, the vehicle. In addition, we were now clearly short one member of the MBCR, earthphoenix. As I thought back to the spider, I very nearly believed in signs.
Wednesday night thus became a chain of rather chaotic phonecalls as we tried to get things straightened out. We progressed from one far-fetched plan to another, shifting from plane (too expensive) to bus (too damn long), to train (Sarah wouldn't get on the first one to here), to renting a car (but none of us are 21). Finally, we settled on my mother (yes, my mother) driving etoileeyes and myself to Baltimore (yes, from Indiana. Hey, she was willing!).
Then leohart8383 called once more, and said that her mother was renting a car for us. She showed up Thursday morning (and I mean bloody brutal morning) in her boyfriend's mother's car instead, with her boyfriend in tow as well.
Random Little Houses on Random Little Roads
Her boyfriend, whom we shall now refer to as Mr. Aggro, is an aggressive driver (hence the little name I have given him) even under the best of circumstances. He does not currently have his license due to speeding offenses (I think), but he wound up driving for a majority of the trip anyway (and both he and leohart8383 drive very fast, so we shaved off a lot of time). I was not very happy with the speed, tailgating, and a driver's-license-less person driving, or said person taking Pittsburgh corners at insane velocity, but ... figuring that 1.) they knew what they were doing, 2.) they were stressed, annoyed, and prone to snapping at each other, and 3.) even if I said something it wouldn't change anything anyway, I either slept or kept my mouth shut. There was already enough stress in the enclosed environment without me contributing my two cents to it.
Ohio became a cool state merely by having awesome reststops on the Ohio Turnpike. The building generally has a unique shape, remarkably clean restrooms, and an arcade. Even the damned mirrors in the restrooms are designed to fit in with the "clean and modern" image, and their curvy style impressed me so much I began telling people who were in there just how cool this reststop was. It's a good thing that I am small and fairly cute when I wish to be - somehow, I get the feeling that comments akin to "this place is so neat!" don't come across as well from a sixty-four year-old bearded man.
But the Ohio reststops were nothing compared to Pittsburgh. Mr. Aggro was extremely tense (and thus leohart8383 was too) as he zipped through Pittsburgh and got lost, but I loved it nonetheless. There's something about all the houses and things built into the hills that appeals to me immensely - random little houses on random little roads, somehow quaint and yet still urban. Even better, Pittsburgh has a section called "Squirrel Hill." How great is that? I want to live in a place called Squirrel Hill! We picked up etoileeyes in Pittsburgh (once we found our way to where she lives).
Hmm ... let me skip ahead to Baltimore itself. Once we arrived, we made a beeline for the hotel (we were staying at the Raddison), and discovered that we paying a heckuva lot for not so very much (I've seen nicer rooms at a Baymont for 49$ per person). The wallpaper was peeling off in spots, there were no fitted sheets on the beds (odd omission, that), and the bathroom was missing the handle on the hot water faucet. It seemed as though much of their money had gone into lobby maintenence instead of room upkeep, putting a beautiful facade on something rather ordinary.
Though it was late at night, etoileeyes and I left leohart8383 and Mr. Aggro to their business (which was probably being majorly unhappy about the room), and headed to the pre-reg line. We found the beginning of it, and walked towards the end - and walked, and walked, and walked. It wrapped nearly all the way around the building by the time we got into it, and not everybody managed to get their badge that night. We were one of the lucky ones who got into the line before the con staff realized that the Baltimore Convention Center wanted the place cleared out at 11:00 p.m. (What I want to know is, if Otakon has been held here before, wouldn't the staff already be aware of this requirement?)
Two new icons. Also, see a few Otakon pictures at this folder for the time being. More ramblings will follow later.