Wednesday, September 17, 2008

On a Happier Note...

There's new shinys in the Firefly Cargo Bay!

Those of you who were at Dragon*Con and actually managed to find our little hovel in the wall surely saw these pretties:

These are Big Damn Bracelets made by FanGirl of FanDone . She has given me permission to sell her hand made bracelets which are so very pretty (too pretty for god to let them die!). Each one has three charms and color beads that relate to the character. Shown here, of course, is Wash's pieces with the firefly, "W" and Hawaiian shirt charms.

There is one for each of the nine Big Damn Heroes. All can be found at the bottom of the products page of the Firefly Cargo Bay's secret stash.

There will be more new items coming soon. I won't tell you what they are, but here's a hint:

Until Next Time:
"Were there monkeys? Some terrifying space monkeys maybe got loose?"

You Call This Going Well?

Ladies and Menfolk, those of you who followed my saga with customs and brokerage to get my goods down to Atlanta for Dragon*Con can have sympathy for me when I tell you the following:

I received a bill from UPS Brokerage USA. Now *they* want $800.00 in duty and taxes from me? Why? Well, I shipped a crate from the US to Canada with good in it that originated in Honduras and China! (can you all hear me screaming from there?)

Yes, friends, after making us track down where Hanes and other companies that we bought products from out of the USA originally made said products, the UPS broker failed to tell anyone or put anywhere on the paperwork that the items in question were PURCHASED in the USA. So Uncle Sam thinks I owe him half of what the good in my crate are worth. A long fight is ahead of us.

$800.00? $800.00! Do you know how much stuff I have to sell to have $800.00 to just GIVE away? That's over a year's worth of sales in my cafe press shop (and that's if the months are really big sellers!) This all has to do with NAFTA, but someone please tell me who is getting the "FREE" in the free trade agreement?

You know, I'm very fortunate that FFCB isn't my means for support. If it was my only small business, we'd be under by now. Taxes and tariffs and fees would have sunk us this summer. How can a small business survive? Right now, we're just going to gear up for the administrative battle that awaits us with customs.

And what have I learned from this? Two things- One, my husband may be imaginary, but he's very tolerant and his income keeps my children housed, fed and clothed. And Two, we need a warehouse somewhere in the USA to never have to deal with rutting customs agents again!

Until Next Time:
"This has not been my best day ever"

Sunday, September 7, 2008


I was awake at 5 am on Tuesday, so I got up and ready. I told my sister goodbye and go back to sleep (her flight wasn't until 2 pm or something). From the time I stepped outside the hotel lobby (6:10), got the shuttle (the Link), tickets for my flight, through TSA, and at the gate was pretty much one hour (7:15). Impressive!

I've often complained about the fact that at the Toronto airport all the employees mumble and you can't understand a word any of them are saying. This is in no way a problem at Atlanta's airport. These people are L-O-U-D!!! I went to my gate and bought some milk to drink with my life force of cons; brown sugar cinnamon pop tarts! and then... I wait.

At one point 3 sailors, dressed in the stereotypical white pant suit with blue neckerchief, quickly walked through the hall. I wouldn't have been surprised if they stopped and suddenly broke into a number from On the Town! They didn't, and soon the rest of the cadets walked at a quick pace to catch up with the three leaders. There must have been at least 3 dozen of them and I think they were rushing to a connecting flight.

These were the only people I saw in costume, and after 4 days of seeing every costume imaginable- and some I'd never had thought of- seeing people in "street clothes" was odd. But my flight arrived (9:25) and we were off. During the 2 hour flight I did some more paper work, but then just tried to doze off. I think i did at one point too.

Upon landing I went to baggage claim and found my suitcase quickly. While waiting for it, around the carousel came a big blue bin. It was marked "costumes and props" and bore the sticker of the 501st Storm Trooper Brigade. I smiled, and kept an eye out for who claimed the bin. Turned out to be a smallish woman, who "normally" looked like a grade school teacher or something.

The new terminal at the Toronto airport is all shiny and new and corporate and not personal. But it is laid out easier for arriving people without all the confusion of those waiting for them standing in the way. We landed at 11:30 and my bus didn't arrive until 2:30. I grabbed an overpriced airport lunch and then headed to find my stop. The layout of the rest of the terminal, I discovered, is not so hot. They do not have the ground transport area labeled well at all. I ended up lugging 50 pounds of luggage back and forth over both ends of public transport. On both levels. Twice.

When I find my spot, there is a bench, in the shade, with a nice cool breeze. I have a 2 hour wait. I love my ipod! The rest of my travels I spend trying to get out of con mode and back into "mommy" mode. And so my trip to Geek Mecca comes to an end...until next year! (BIG smiley face!)


When I got up in the middle of the night, I had noticed the bill to check out slipped under our door. This was odd because we weren't leaving until Tuesday. I put it on the desk and went back to bed.

First stop in the morning was front desk to have them reactivate our keys and make sure we still had a room for the night. On our way to the M store, George Taki passed us on his way to check out. Or beam up, whichever. We had breakfast at the booth while I rearranged to (happily) fill in the hole that were made by us selling out of things. Yea!

I took the opportunity to walk around the dealers' room for the very first time that weekend. i spent an hour and a half doing so and came back about $100.00 lighter. (Yikes!) Did I then stay and work the booth? Nope! I had a lunch date with college friends of mine who recently moved to Georgia. (Hi Tim! Hi Joanna! Hi babies!)

At lunch we talked of many things and they asked lots of questions about Dragon*Con and such. Joanna said they used to make so much fun of Dragon*Con when she was growing up (she's originally from near Atlanta). Shortly thereafter I told her I saw the whole Sean Astin panel she said "Sean Astin was there?" Then turning quickly to Tim said, "We're going to Dragon*Con next year!" So much for making fun of it, eh? We had a very nice, albeit brief lunch visit (and a shout out to the two bestest twin nine month olds ANYWHERE!) and then they dropped me off at the hotel once again.

I was going to go back to the booth, but took the chance to get back into the Hyatt. The numbers were way down on Monday-- like the attendance at a "normal" convention, and getting to and fro was much easier. There' s a really cool illuminated Dragon*Con sign in the front of the Hyatt that I wanted to take a picture of. I had seen it in passing one of the other days, but Directionally Challenged me couldn't find it again. What I did find was two Bards hanging out in the Hyatt. I ended up talking to them for an hour, which was nice.

FINALLY, I got back to the booth and heard FanGirl's report of seeing Walter Koenig in the Starbucks and also discovering that all the people that were in the hotel lobby all weekend long had turned into suitcases! (There were so many people checking out that morning that concierge had the suitcases lined up around the lobby in an orderly fashion- at Dragon*Con, even suitcases stand in line!!)

The booth was very busy and the ladies held their own. I had begun counting up inventory to use as totals on the customs paperwork. I was not looking forward to dealing with THEM again! I tried to make everything as accurate and thorough as possible. I was also tidying up and packing up what I could while I did this.

At 5 pm there was a mass destruction of the Dealers' room. Half the boxes that were full at the beginning of the show were packed empty in the crate (yea!) We took the Bards' stuff to them and helped load up their truck (which they call Vera) and said good bye to them (big frowny face)- only until October and The Browncoat Ball. (huge happy face) Then back to the crate. It got packed up and sealed in. Then- I hit a wall. I was soooooooo tired. I had some difficulty finding the Freeman representative in the exhibit hall, and there was some miscommunication, but all the paperwork got to the right people. Eventually.

I told the ladies I was done making decisions and wherever they wanted to eat was fine by me. We ended up in FanGirl's hotel room (since hers was made up and ours never did get that way this day) and had yummy pizza room service. We were all tired and got punch drunk and silly. Massive giggles ensued. Such fun. After this, my sister and I rode to the 47th floor of the Marriott just cause we could. We weren't the only ones to do so and the rapid glass elevator ride was good fun. We, naturally went all the way to the bottom floor just cause we could. We took some lobby pictures and then shared a brief elevator ride and conversation with James Hong

We then went ot the room to pack our stuff and try to get some sleep. Before drifting off I looked at teh clock. It was 12:03. I said, "Hey, Mar'e" She replied wisely, "What?" I said, "Happy Birthday!" She laughed and said thank you. and then we pretty much dropped to sleep.

QUOTE OF THE DAY: "We now return you to your regularly scheduled hotel."

Saturday, September 6, 2008


As had become habit, on Sunday I woke up way early. In the time that I got up and got down to open the Dealer table, I had talked myself into going to the Sean Astin panel. I mean, the ladies had been doing so well without me already. (I can rationalize anything!). So, my sister went off to her photo op with Kevin Sorbo and I went in to open the booth. FanGirl appeared and I told her, "See ya!"

I walked over to the Hyatt and went down the hall prepared to line up out the door and outside- it was only an hour until the panel after all. I rounded the corner in the hall and was floored to see the end of the line. It wasn't outside. It wasn't even to the door. I thought "This can't be right. It's SEAN ASTIN folks!" But I was right and got to sit inside on the top step. I had a nice conversation with the fellow in front of me who turned out to be a filk fan. Much fun was had while waiting. I ended up in the 5th row center for the panel. I enjoyed every second of it. He's a very charming intelligent man with lots of wonderful stories. He can be long winded, but none of us cared, as everything he was saying was interesting. (and, yes, I video taped the whole thing)

I returned to the booth when it was over and was told I had to go to the Firefly panel which they moved to the Marriott. I knew this couldn't be, because my sister wanted to go to the Andromeda panel and FanGirl wanted to attend the Last Unicorn panel. These were all at the same time. I was told that FanGirl would rather see the video I took at the Firefly panel than attend her own. So off I went.

When I got upstairs, I needed to hit the washroom first. There I found Mary from Browncoat Fashions with her crew in tow. I saw Baby Kaylee (absolutely adorable!). I wanted to take a picture, but I also knew I *had* to get in that Firefly line. On my way there, I saw a proud Canadian Browncoat exactly third in line for the panel (Hi Magie!). I stopped to talk to her and found out they had already closed the line to the panel. (Turns out this was not true- the sign that said "Firefly Line Ends Here" only told people where to line up- not that they weren't letting anyone else in- this worked out okay in the end though). I handed my video camera to Magie and gave her a brief tutorial on it. My deal was that I'd give her a copy of the other two panels (neither of which she'd been able to get into) if she'd tape this one for me. She happily agreed. I warned her that I had just videoed the entire hour of the Sean Astin panel and the battery was probably going to die half way through this one (I *knew* I should have bought a backup battery!)

I returned to the booth and informed the ladies of the current Firefly Panel situation. Then I sent them each on the way to the panels they wanted to see. I then womaned the booth by myself for the first time. Time just dragged! Every time there was a burst of sales or activity I thought for sure another 1/2 hour had passed. No such luck. 10 minutes at the most. Eventually my sister returned with happy stories from the Andromedia panel and the time went faster.

Soon it was 7pm and we were able to close the booth and head up to the Hard Rock Cafe to (hopefully) meet up with (and crash) the Browncoat Cruise Reunion group. We squeezed in past waiting people to look around for our group. Cedric spotted us and called to me. We went over and saw there was NO room to put two more people. I flitted around a bit and saw Baby Kaylee again- all smiles, while two of her older brothers - jayne and mal- slept soundly at the table. I waved to Dave again and talked with Cedric awhile. I was trying to see if the staff would accommodate us- I really wanted to just hang out and visit with Cedric and Hawke- something I rarely get to do, and we were all in a festive mood. Alas, it was not to be as there *were* people waiting to be seated, and there *was* no room for us, and we probably would have taken forever to get served. So I said goodbye to the shiny bunch (big frowny face).

We headed to the food court of the mall to get something fast until it dawned on me that it was Sunday- going on 8pm. The mall would be closed. So we just hit the McDonald's. After waiting in line for about 8 or 10 minutes and not seeing anyone move I said to my sister, "WHY are we waiting for McDONALD'S ?!??!?!" We went back to the Marriott and grabbed something from the M store. (awesome little addition to a hotel- every one should have one!). We turned on Dragon*Con TV and watched the bumpers and the start of the masquerade while l we ate and I did the daily books.

After a while (and a balanced ledger) we headed tot he Filk room in the Hyatt. Cedric was playing when we entered- as a matter of fact, that's what helped us find the room! I became a Bloggerazzi and video taped Cedric's new "browncoat" song (and now I owe him a quarter for usng his term "bloggerazzi"!) During the song, a washer fell from the strap of his instrument (insert all sorts of jokes here). It was hard to find in the swirly carpet pattern, and several audience members tried to help- some on their hands and knees, some bent over, some standing. It was to this scene that The Great Luke Ski entered the room. Whithout missing a beat he said, "Oh, good! I'm just in time for avant-garde Twister!" I love the quick wit of the filking community! When what was lost was found, someone else performed and a little while after, Hawke arrived and the boys played again. Things continued this way until shortly before 11:30, when they called a break to "maximize the capacity of seating"- that's geek speak for "rearrange the chairs". Carrie Dahlby would be in concert then.

During this break I needed to leave the room. A few people got into this loud passionate (and I'm convinced alcohol induced) argument about the Lord of the Rings movies. One chick was so convinced that Peter Jackson violate the works of Tolkien and would hear of nothing else. I'm not a confrontational person myself and didn't like to be forced to listen to this debacle. I pretty much bolted out the door when chicky babe (I do not have enough respect for this being to call her a woman) began a point by saying, "say to women are raped and one gets pregnant and the other one doesn't. The one that doesn't says 'well, that's over and there's no consequences so it's done now' but the other one-" I was gone by that time. Had I stayed violence would have ensued. What she finished with, or how she ever related that to LotR I have no idea and never care to know. Insert slow burn here.

I sat out in the hall and deleted some files for the video camera and happily eavesdropped on Cedric talking to someone about filk and the Bards' music. It was closer to 11:30, so I headed back in. The gorram argument was STILL going on! Fortunately chicky and her hapless target shut up when Carrie started her music. Guy number #2- the loudest- kept going for a few minutes. Grrr Arrgh! Carrie's concert was a lot of fun, and she was followed by Luke Ski and joined him on several songs. they closed with Grease Wars which I absolutely LOVE- naturally I video taped the whole thing (I'm an addict- I admit it!)

Luke Ski's concert ended at 1:30 am and we headed to bed.

QUOTE OF THE DAY: "Geek girls are either elfishly anorexic or completely overly boobular."

Friday, September 5, 2008

DRAGON*CON DAY TWO (Aug 30, 2008)

Once again, I woke up very early- like a kid on Christmas morning. Saturday was the day of the Dragon*Con Parade! I had some give aways for the marching Browncoats, but realized I left them in the dealer room. I couldn't get in there until 9:30 and the parade started at 10. That meant I would have to grab the bag of goodies and then hoof it all the way down to the parade muster grounds within a half an hour. That would be cutting it close, to say the least! Grrr Arrgghh!

Fortunately, they let dealers in at 9 so I had plenty of time to get down there. Once there, the Browncoats were easy to find, thanks to the 76th Independent Battalion flying a very shiny Browncoat Flag. I handed out the goodies to old and new Browncoat friends (Ni Hao all!). Then my sister and I found a spot on the parade route (while we left poor FanGirl to woman the booth all by herself). I ended up recording the whole parade, or most of it anyway- with special emphasis on the Browncoats, of course. DVD copies upon request.

After the parade we headed to the Hilton. FanGirl had asked us to sign her up for "The Serenity Sandwich" (a photo op with both Alan and Nathan.) After I got her ticket I looked down the hall in the direction of some slight commotion I heard. There I saw Kevin Sorbo walking down the hall. My sister had said she would have liked to see him that weekend- meaning go to one of his panels- and here he was walking down the hall, about to pass right between us. I began to tell her to get her camera out, but noticed she spotted him. She froze and inhaled all the available oxygen in the room. She silently watched him go by as I grinned- her first fan girl moment! And she handled it with great dignity (I was so proud *grin*)

We returned to the dealers' room (one of us was floating- guess which one!) We stayed there until it was time for FanGirl to get her "Serenity Sandwich". During this time, she called on the cell phone and asked to talk to me. She hatched a plot to buy my sister an early birthday present (she was turning 39- again- on Tuesday) of a photo op with Kevin Sorbo. She asked if I thought that would be okay, or would she be too nervous. Had it been me- I'da freaked out and been way too much of a mess to do it, but I'm not the gutsy one of the duo (no matter what you've heard!) So I said "Sure! Go for it!" and returned to the booth with a big grin on my face. When FanGirl returned, she present the gift and needless to say, it was received very well. Best. Birthday. Gift. Ever. (and much better than what I got her which was nothing-- I was doing my River imitation!)

We all worked the booth until it was time for my sister to get in line for the Big Damn Hero panel. I went with her to hand out the last of my free stickers, so FanGirl held down the fort once again. I left my video camera with my sister. She recorded the whole panel, so eventually, I'll get to see it. DVD copies available on request (see a theme developing there?)

I returned to the booth (and it was about time I actually worked some hours at my own gorram booth!) We closed at 7 and then went to dinner (yummy Italian food in HUGE portions!) While walking back from dinner I was chatty from being tired and the drinks at dinner. I had just finished telling an admittedly not-that-exciting story when the ladies turned to each other and smiled knowingly. Me, being clueless as usual said, "What? The story wasn't that good." The two of them both turned at me beaming. "Karen, " said FanGIrl, "NATHAN FILLION JUST WALKED RIGHT PAST US!" I stopped dead and turned around in disbelief to see his silhouette (surrounded by about 1/2 dozen people- over which he was towering) continuing up the street. I stood there shocked and totally disappointed in myself. HOW could I have not seen Nathan walking up the street right towards me?!?!? FanGirl told me "Your Mal-Dar is waaay off tonight!" *Sigh* Yes indeed. This incident totally negates my Burbank elevator story. I *love* my Burbank elevator story! I decided that I was simply respecting his privacy (by being totally oblivious to his presence.) That's my story and I'm sticking to it!

We returned to the room and I did the books for the day (I am on a business trip, remember?) I counted the numbers three times and got three different totals. I decided it was time to put them aside. I got dressed in my pretties and we hit the elevator. I was thrilled when someone next to me said, "That's a very nice Arwen necklace" (you may remember that I won it at the FKO Auction in April). Not only did I appreciate the compliment, but the fact that he knew it was "Awen's necklace!" -well, I knew I was in a place I belong. *warm happy* (and thank you to whomever you were that gave me that comment!)

We headed to the Sheridan once again, for the Whedonverse track kinda claimed it as their own (mmwwhhhaa ha ha ha ha- so that's, you know, coming along. I've been working with a vocal coach.) This time they were a little more prepared for us with "cattle ropes" outside the grande ballroom. We were all there for the Mighty Fine Shindig. In line I spotted a Browncoat from Toronto (Hi Dave!) and ran over to give him a hug- then promptly ran back to my spot in line. We started filing in and because of the switchback pattern of the ropes I passed Dave again. I gave him a "line hug" as we passed each other. He got in before we could attempt the feat again.

The line was moving quickly and I was to be next in the door when the person letting people in held up a hand and said, "Just a sec." Instinctively I went "awwwww." (my sister said I was about to cry- well, gorram it! I was RIGHT THERE!) He said, "No worries, you're number 600. We just need to let the doorway clear a little more." I could see Cedric through the door, and Dave again, and several others I knew (or wanted to-- *ahem* I mean... oh, never mind.) Not long after, they let us in and we moved into the center of the room. Several photos were being taken of all the Browncoats dressed in character. One of my favorites was the BWAH! pose of the Mals:
I had a really great time at the shindig (although I could have done without the lights being turned way up, completely off and then messed with again. And when they finally left them alone I thought it was too dark- as my video will attest. Oh, and $4.00 for a Coke? Are you friggin kidding me? Hell, this is the city where they make the rutting stuff, it should be practically free!) By two a.m however, we departed and returned to our room. I once again added the day's numbers and they balanced to the penny (which always makes me happy when that happens.) At 3 a.m. I went to bed.

The parade had many great costumes- the giant Janye hat for example. But others stopped by the dealer booth or were spotted in one of the parts of the various hotels. The day's favorites for me were The Man in Black and Buttercup from the Princess Bride- done extremely well and "Eggar"- the guy whose body gets "put on like an Eggar suit" in "Men in Black" He looked like the guy, was dressed in the dirty tan overalls and attached rubber (?) cock roaches all over it and carried the shotgun. Priceless! We've decided we love the costumes you don't normally see, such as those mentioned. this also leads to the daily report of our words from the weekend:

QUOTE OF THE DAY: "There's always a Slave Leah."

DRAGON*CON DAY ONE (Aug 29, 2008)

Friday was the official start of Dragon*Con and I was up early-ish. We went to the hotel restaurant for the breakfast buffet. Pricey but very worth it. Tons of food, eggs, french toast, cottage cheese, fruit, cereals,, yogurts, and much more food than I could list here (or that you would care to read about.)

My sister and I went to the dealer's room to finish dressing the booth ("futzing"). The room opened at 1 pm and within the first 15 minutes there were 3 sales. After those, I abandoned the ladies to woman the booth for themselves. I had a VIP (very important panel) to get to. This was the Alan Tudyk/Nathan Fillion panel and the line was already out of the Hyatt and down the sidewalk and around two corners. I was worried that I wouldn't get in. I passed Cedric as he played and sang to entertain the waiting crowd. I got to the end of the line and asked a very nice lady if she would remember me and save my place while I passed out the free stickers that I had made to the people in line. Thankfully she agreed and I began with the people who had filed in behind us (Hi Artcat!). I had some doubt about making the stickers as they were a big expense and a ton of work, but after giving out less than a dozen of them I knew I made the right choice. People were honestly delighted with getting the free shinys and I loved hearing their reaction to my designs (and I was sure to put "COMPLIMENTS OF Firefly Cargo Bay" as not not invoke the wrath of any lawyers!) I got to the front of the line and still had stickers left. This was good, as it ensured (by the count of stickers vs the number of seats in the room) that I would get in to see the panel.

The two of them? One word: Hi-Larious! I had a fantastic time and was soooooo glad I got in to see them. I video taped the whole thing (copies available upon request). This was the only panel I considered my "must see" and I enjoyed every second of it. This is a crappy picture of the duo. The video has better images. (yea!) The panel had started late so I only got back to the booth at 4.

We stayed and womaned the table until 6 pm. Then my sister and I abandoned FanGirl so we could get to the Sheridan to line up for the Dr Horrible show. This is the first year the Sheridan is hosting events for Dragon*Con and by the stupefied looks on the faces of all the staff and security in the hotel, I know they didn't know what to do with us all. I'm sure they didn't expect that many people to show up for the event because they kept moving the line to different parts of the hotel to accommodate us all. Again, I had free stickers and was working my way from the back of the line to the front. With all the line moving, though, somehow I got turned around and ended up once again at the back of the line (?). No one got double stickers though. I might have walked through a star gate or something. The room in which Dr Horrible was held seated 1,500 people- and some got turned away at the door! Thankfully we weren't among them.

The show consisted of the original Dr Horrible being shown on a screen and actors, well, acting, on stage next to it. it was so well done with participants coming out into the audience and everything. Props to the Whedonverse track people for arranging this (especially since DH only debuted July 19!!). We had a blast and it was awesome to hear everyone singing along with the show. I video taped all but the last 2 minutes or so (my camera's battery died. I *knew* I should have bought a back up before D*C!!) DVD copies available upon request.

After the show let out, the two of us hoofed it back up the hill to the Hyatt to catch The Bedlam Bards concert. They were pretty much left off the bill and all advertising and schedules this year due to .... management problem which have hopefully now been fixed. This made them difficult to find and some people were telling us they didn't even know the Bards had attended this year. *big frowny face*. Because of these factors, the show was less well attended than usual. That did not stop the boys from putting on one heck of a good show (which you get from the Bards whether the audience is of one or one thousand). They got to play a little over an hour, and I helped serve as "Water Wench". Good to know that if my fictious husband ever leaves me, I have a fallback as a Bard Roadie!

Once the boys were done, "The Other B Bards from Austin" took the stage. They are more commonly known as The Brobdingnagian Bards(pronounced brob-din-nahg-EE-en). My sister asked if I wanted to stay for their show. I had heard some MP3s of their stuff, but never saw them live. The choice to stay there an extra hour was the best decision I made all day! If for nothing else than the fact of hearing "Bohemian Rhapsody" improved on recorder! Great performers, fun music of the celtic AND sci fi genres and just a great show. I video taped both of the Bards' concerts (DVD copies available upon request).

This made it nearly 11 pm, so once again we went to the Sheridan (it was easier this time as it was all down hill). We were going for the third consecutive showing of "Buffy Horror Picture Show". Once again, I had free stickers to give out in the line. But there was no line! In fact, the show was almost canceled due to low attendance. But near start time enough people had shown up. This was the Buffy episode "Once More with Feeling" with audience participation much like "The Rocky Horror Picture Show." But not nearly as organized. It seemed more like drunks screaming at the screen and ignoring the actors on stage. We should have skipped it and gone to the filk room instead. Ah well, I'll know for next year.

The show let out at 1:30 in the morning and my sister was a bit concerned about walking back to the Marriott by ourselves. I laughed at her and said, "This is Friday night at Dragon*Con- we will NOT be alone!" Sure enough, tons of people (and police) were milling about the entire space between the Sheridan and Marriott and Hyatt and Hilton hotel. We decided to depart from the crowd and got to bed around 2 am.

QUOTE OF THE DAY: When asked how we were going to get through the crowd in the Hyatt lobby: "When in doubt, follow the viking!" (it worked- he served as a great crowd clearer! and he didn't even know it!)

"You're coming with us!"

Ni Hao once again!

Yes, I am back from Dragon*Con and slowly readjusting to life outside the Geek Mecca. *sigh* Reality sucks.

ANYWAY! I know some of you have been waiting to hang on every word of my tales from Atlanta as to live vicariously through me. So, let me start off by answering your foremost question: YES! All the bull that customs put me through was forgotten by the end of day one! (I won't say it was "worth" it all- because nothing is worth the reaming they put us through, but I digress as I am known to do.)


I will skip the details of my travels to Atlanta, because I know you all want to get to the Browncoaty goodness of it all. So we begin with me and my sister and FanGirl outside the airport deciding what mode of transportation we would take to the Marriott. We decided a cab (because they have van taxis) when we hear, "Hey Browncoat!" Someone had spotted FanGirl's Can't Stop the Serenity shirt and called out. She asked if we knew how to get to the hotels. We told her she could join in our cab and that was fun. She then mentioned her costume was Kaylee. FanGirl took the opportunity to plug our booth by asking, "Do you have a parasol, because she sells them." The Browncoat said, "Well, I sort of do... maybe... are you the one I talked to over email?" I asked her name and when she told me I was delighted to find out that we had randomly run into someone who I've been emailing back and forth with for the past couple of weeks about parasols! (Hi, Beth!) What are the odds among 40,000+ people eh?

So, we got to the hotel (after a $40.00 cab ride- won't do that again. Good thing there were 4 of us!!) and had very little wait checking into the hotel. Robert Englund checked in right next to me. Cool. We moved out into a clearing and decided to stash our stuff and then find someplace to eat. Richard Hatch walked right past us. Not the scary one from "Survivor" but the cool one from (both) Battlestar Galactica(s). This was *very* nice, as I fell in love with him as Apollo in the 80s. And, no, I didn't squee.

We ended up in the food court of a mall that was right by the hotel. This worked out well as we were very hungry for food fast. During our mini meal, Cedric called and said he was in the hotel lobby. Huzzah! Impending Bard Hug!!

We all got together and went to the dealer room to set up. Guess what? It was Oh. So. Easy. My crate was there (all banged up to hell, but the goods were still intact) and we started setting up. It took 3 hours (including futzing time) and it looked pretty shiny if I say so myself. Somehow we found space to display almost all of the good that the three of us had to peddle. It would turn out that we were tucked a little too far back in the aisle (which was an easy-to-miss aisle anyway) and Browncoats had trouble finding us. Only at a con could you give directions like, "When you get to the booth selling corsets, turn right and we're across from the guys offering leather shorts for sale."- and that STILL didn't narrow location down enough! Remember when I said, "If you can't find us, ya just ain't tryin'"? I take it all back- it's not you fault. Next year I hope to be able to get another aisle. With power.

Anyway! Back to the booth set up! Cedric was very helpful with his man parts (and, no, I'm not going to explain that any further than that. Let me just say that FanGirl figured she said the word "penis" more times in 2 hours with the Bards than she had in the last 2 years. Now there's an accomplishment of which the Bards can be proud!) But then the boys had to depart because they had to attend a Browncoat Wedding! Yes, really, two Browncoats got married at Dragon*Con and apparently it was a mighty fine shindig. I do not know if hats made out of trees and mulled wine was involved or not.

After we were pretty much ready to open, we left the lower levels and ran into Cedric in the lobby. We visited with him for a while and then made our way back to our room (on the 24th floor- no running stairs this con for me!) Finally we unpacked an moved in. Then to bed. Tomorrow was going to be my most busy day and I was psyched for it!

QUOTE OF THE DAY: "Karen, don't lean on your booth" (it was on wheels and I was unconsciously and continually leaning on it as evidenced by the fact that the previous quote was said by Cedric, FanGirl AND my sister!)