I haven't updated or tweeted since I left for DragonCon because it turned out that the Westin Peachtree does not have free wifi access for guests. I wasn't able to check my email for days! Not that I had any emails when I got back, but it's the principle of the thing.
Anyway, I did have a little journal with me, so I kept a running account of my days. And here it is, unedited, so if something doesn't make any sense that's why.
Sept. 2, 6pm
Fuck no, I'm not paying $15 a day for wifi access, not when the hotel room is almost $200 a night and valet parking is $26. Last time I was in Atlanta I stayed at a piece of shit motel in Marietta for $85 a night and wifi was free. It sucked, but it was free.
I have given blood. It hurt. I gave blood to kill an hour before the 5:30 pm panels, and it took so long I missed them and now have another hour to kill before 7pm. I am hungry and have no internet access. This is dreadful.
I plan to steal all the hotel room's little soaps. No free wifi my ass.
Sept. 2, 8:25pm
I just attended the wrong panel. Like, a a million percent wrong. I got in the wrong line and instead of seeing Ghost Hunters, I learned all about a new Xbox shooter game called, um, Gears of War 3, I think. Apparently many people are enthusiastic. The guy running it was kind of funny, at least. I did not get a T-shirt.
I've now made it to a panel on writing deadlines one I'd intended to attend. Whether it will be as dull as I suspect remains to be seen. I do expect it to make me feel guilty about not working on the Weredeer edits that are so, so very overdue.
Peanut M&Ms have more protein than this granola bar I don't want to eat.
Sept. 2, 11:45pm
In the bath. I am fighting an inexplicable desire to put my clothes back on and go out to get drunk. Or find a tattoo parlor. Or both.
I saw Kevin and met his wife Felicity, who seems very nice. Kevin introduced me to several people whose names I have (predictably) not retained even after I just saw them 15 minutes ago. They were also quite pleasant people. We all attended a Skeptic Track panel on Vampires and Ghosts that was interesting and fun, then walked back to the hotel via skybridges.
I am so tired my eyes feel dry and I keep blinking. Every so often I think, "I should take my contacts out." I am not wearing contacts.
I am looking forward to sleeping in a grown-up sized bed for the first time since Mom went into the hospital in June. I hope she's doing okay. I hope she had a good supper and wasn't too bored or worried while I was gone.
Oh, great, now I'm crying. Good thing I'm not drunk.
The deadlines panel was interesting. I even ASKED A QUESTION about scheduling when it's edits and not new writing, and all five panelists said edits can only really be dealt with by dropping everything else to focus on them. So I will get on that as soon as I can, which feels like it will be never.
I got a T-shirt for giving blood. It saved me $30 to buy a con T-shirt. I will probably wear it tomorrow because I feel boring without a costume or a T-shirt with words on it.
Very few hot men in kilts this year, which is disappointing. I saw a freakishly good Snape on the way back to the hotel tonight. Like, he actually did not look like he was wearing a costume. Don't know how to describe the difference between "this is a costume" and "these are my clothes." Also I liked his hair, which was likewise not costume hair. But mostly he just looked kind of tired, which nailed it.
Tomorrow morning I hope to spend some time in Starbucks before the parade, enjoying the free wifi OH RIGHT. Enjoying writing more in this book, which is free, and drinking a vanilla bean frapuccino, which is $5 off if I decline maid service tomorrow, which I will because A) I am not a slob and B) there are two beds.
Sept. 3, 8:45 am
Vanilla bean acquired. I woke up with a headache and haggish bags under my eyes, which is just not fair sine I didn't go out drinking last night. I put on too much makeup to compensate.
Kevin and I have left each other one voicemail so far this morning. At least I know they're up.
This cheese danish is tasteless except for the cheese part, which tastes like sugar. Starbucks does not understand food.
Sept. 3, 11:20 am
The parade was fun even though it was hot and crowded and my feet hurt and I couldn't see very well. The steampunk X-Men were my favorites. Overheard: "The Netherworld people are scary. They're actors so they're even scarier than usual. They're scary without costumes." It feels good to sit down for a few minutes. I may get lunch somewhere after this, maybe something to go so I can take it back to my hotel room and check my email NO I GUESS NOT. Kevin said he thinks there's a cafe or someplace with free wifi around here, but even if I could remember what he'd told me it was called, I'd never be able to find it. Maybe I'll go to that Pratchett panel at 1pm instead of lunch. Or maybe I'll just pick a panel at random and see what it's about.
On the other hand, I really, really want a piece of pizza and an ice cold Coke.
Sept. 3, 1:10 pm
I am full of adequate burrito and Coke. The line for pizza was too long. I have found a corner on the floor just behind a pillar in the skywalk area between the mall food court and the Marriott. I can watch people as they stream pass and no one bothers me or (so far) trips over me.
The Women in SF/F panel was good but left me irritated. It was all about how to fit in, ultimately, and a lot of that seemed to boil down to "things you can do to keep men from bothering you or how to manipulate them." Also, dress nice because you're a professional. I'm all for professionalism but if I can't stand or fall by my writing alone--no trappings, not even a flask of scotch--I don't want in. Most readers do not give a tiny little rat-sized shit if I wear a costume or a nice outfit to cons, or even if I attend cons. I think a lot of writers take themselves way too seriously.
You know what would have been great with this burrito? A beer. I don't even drink beer. I've been possessed by an alcoholic, an ineffective one since I'm drinking Coke.
Kevin said he didn't get in overnight until about 4am. It must be nice to be an extravert. He knows everyone.
I hope Mom's okay.
Sept. 3, 2:25pm
I have spent money. I got my nephew a gift at the dealer's room, so that's one Xmas present sorted. I also found myself a purple necklace of plastic dice, a la Mardi Gras beads, to use as a lanyard for my badge.
Now I made it just in time to an Archetypes in YA lit panel. It's surprisingly full, this room.
Now that I have spent some of my cash, I am burning to spend more. Good thing I plan to attend panels until I fall down from exhaustion today.
They give out prizes in this panel, apparently. Maybe that's why it's so full. I would like another T-shirt, but I never win things.
The next panel I want to attend is also in this room. Good thing, since it was very hard to find. Of course, I find everywhere hard to find.
Sept. 3, 3:40pm
I won a book! Fancy that. The Lightning Thief, which I've never read.
I now have a pretzel and a Coke. What was I thinking? I'm not hungry. And it cost $5, which is just crazy. And an hour ago I was actually feeling a little sick from that gigantic burrito.
Some sort of emergency warning sounded during the last panel, but nothing came of it. It woke me up, though. The panel wasn't boring, but I am definitely flagging. I'm not used to so much activity these days; for two months plus I've been mostly sitting quietly with Mom or having small adventures with her, like going to Target or to a movie.
But I am enjoying myself enormously. It's a similar energy here to the start of a new fall semester, but without the stress.
I wonder if I could get a tattoo before I leave Atlanta.
Sept. 3, 7pm
This pen is running
Sept. 3, 9:35 pm
It feels much later than that. I ducked out of the 8:30pm panel I attended--it wasn't what I expected, since the SF/F lit track schedule was FUBARed this afternoon. I missed the What Women Want panel that was the one I really, really wanted to attend, because they moved it up unexpectedly.
So anyway, I ducked out of the 8:30 panel early, found my way back to the Westin and to my room, and dumped most of my stuff, and packed up my laptop so I wouldn't forget it tomorrow. I'd sweated most of my makeup off, not that it makes much difference, so I slapped some powder on and went downstairs to the lobby to sit and catch this account up. I have a bottle of water and some chocolate. No booze--because I don't really want to sit here by myself and drink, and anyway I've spent too much already.
I don't want to go up to bed. It's still pretty early, and once I go to bed DragonCon is over for me. I'm going home tomorrow morning early. Real life is intruding on my little vacation: Tuesday Mom has chemo, and Wednesday I have to return to work after my leave of absence. I'd much rather hold on to the last few hours of DragonCon instead.
I wonder if they sell nachos at the bar. I am more likely to find nachos than a tattoo parlor. I can't really go out and get a tattoo at home--well, I could but I wouldn't, but on an outing like this if I came back with a tattoo people would raise their eyebrows but not be too surprised.
Not that I really care. I just wouldn't do it under normal circumstances.
How did I get on the topic of tattoos?
You know, this hotel building is really unsettlingly large. It's round, and there are a bunch of truly enormous pillars that are probably holding up all those dozens and dozens of floors above.
There's not much going on in this hotel. I could go to the Marriott and look at costumes for a while, but there's nowhere to sit and I'm tired. I suspect it won't be long before I give up and go to bed.
Ordinarily I'd be online right now but, you know. I do forgive the Westin slightly for no free wifi because the beds are so, so comfortable and the soap I have stolen is green and shaped like a leaf.
I cannot tell if the group of Asian men in identical pilot uniforms over there are actually pilots or if they're costumed as pilots. One of the panelists earlier today said she ran into a baffled hotel guest from France at the zombie walk who asked her, "Is this some sort of ceremony?"
I think they're real pilots. They all have suitcases like they just arrived. I wonder what they make of the people in con garb.
Maybe they think all Americans dress like this every day.
I kind of wish we did.
Sept. 4, 9am
I woke to a white morning sky and decided just to leave although it was still early. When Kevin called I'd already been on the road for almost an hour, weeping gently and listening to Silly Wizard's "The Queen of Argyll" over and over. I decided I'd better stop for breakfast. The maudlin was too overwhelming without eggs and orange juice. And grits. I stopped at a Waffle House. I think I'm only about 30-45 minutes from Chattanooga.