Archive for September, 2004

September 11th, 2004

» 14 Aug 2004

Saturday was our Wizard World Chicago day. Steph and I got up early, and John was an incredible sweetheart and drove us to the convention center. We were a bit early and they didn’t open the hall right on time, so we ended up waiting in line pretty much forever. It was all right, though, because what seemed like a massive crowd when it was all stretched out dispersed very quickly — most of them to the line to get Joss Whedon and Kevin Smith autograph tickets.

I’d only ever been to a Buffy convention before, and this was quite a different animal. I thoroughly overloaded myself with people watching and shopping. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

We checked out the Diamond booth first, so we could see the new Buffy figures, some of which are looking really freaking incredible. Then we looked at a few other Buffy-related booths, and then just started sort of wandering around. Which is when we hit upon a line and, like half the people who see any sort of line, asked what it was for. So we spent the next two (maybe more? I don’t remember) hours waiting for Amber Benson to get her petite butt out of bed to come sign autographs.

While we were waiting, Brenda, Beth, Candra, and Jason showed up. I missed them calling to say they’d arrived, despite the fact that the phone was on vibrate + super-loud ring and in my back pocket. So I was completely unsuspecting, deep in conversation with Steph, when I caught sight of Bren. Who was trying to sneak up on me, in my defense. So I sort of screamed, and there was lots of hugging and happy reunion-ness. And we got our picture with Jerome.

Now, normally I wouldn’t post something like this, because I have a stupid expression — I thought we were making stupid super-excited-to-see-Jerome expressions, but apparently Steph didn’t get that memo and decided to, oh, look normal. But it’s the only picture of me from the whole vacation, so I can’t be too picky.

Once we finally got to the front of the autograph line Amber was gracious as always, and very accomodating about taking pictures with people.

I didn’t have one. I have no trouble asking for photos on other people’s behalves, but I’m much too shy to ask for my own.

Anyhow, we traipsed around and just looked at things for a while, then headed back to the Diamond booth for the BTVS Figs Forum get-together. It was originally supposed to be a more formal Q&A session, but we ended up doing something very impromptu just standing around the booth with one of the reps.

The completely cool thing came when Matt got them to pass around the unreleased Anya and Tara figures, though. We all got to inspect them and be the very first to see them in their packaging as well. I wanted to take pictures, but I was primarily interested in looking at them myself. I’m usually camera girl (still and video), but I’ve found that I have a lot less fun when all of my experiences are filtered, second-hand, so I’m doing less of that now.

Then for the most part we did a lot more wandering around. We had a bit of grossly over-priced food and looked at a lot of over-priced merchandise and bought a few things. We finally stopped when we were all aching and exhausted.

We piled into Candra’s car and Bren drove us back to KatieJohn’s. We got terribly lost coming out, but luckily we had a vague idea of how the area worked and we ended up taking back roads rather than the tollway back. We hooked back up with Katie, John, and Carrie and went to Stir Crazy for supper (where I had paid thai, which tasted gorgeous).

By then Bren & Crew were pretty much spent — though I can understand why — so we had to forgo Munchkin and movies so they could get back to their hotel. The rest of us went back and played video games for a bit, then turned in fairly early as well so we could get an early start for Canada on Sunday.

September 11th, 2004

» middle america

I went to the Heritage Festival in Independence today. My dad was working at the West Hennepin Chamber of Commerce booth, so we went down to see him and to grab lunch and check out the booths. It was typical small-town fair fare, and reminded me a lot of the thing Kirksville has in the square every fall, only on a much smaller scale. And in the middle of a park. If it can even be called a park. The city only bought it a few years ago, and as of now it’s a field that gradually gets more wooded.

Anyhow, it was a real trip into Hicksville, but in a laughably charming way. They were offering rides up and down in the machines they use to work on electrical lines, which they’d parked right next to a giant cornfield they’d made a maze through. You could see a dozen bright yellow balloons bobbing just over the corn where children were running. There was a little 9/11 ceremony that reminded me irresistibly of Mooseport. The speakers stood up on a little stage and from where I sat they were backed particularly with an enormous sprawling perfect oak, and less particularly with the rest of the tall shade trees. Everything was so polite and ceremonious.

September 6th, 2004

» 13 Aug 2004

I made it out to Carrie’s very early. I think we actually got on the road around 8:30, though I can’t now recall. I meant to snap a shot of us crossing into Wisconsin, but I didn’t have the camera out in time. Incidentally, we also tried to take a picture of one of the six bajillion ‘CHEESE’ signs in WI, but to no avail. We always didn’t see them soon enough and were moving too quickly. There are billions of them, though, giant standard-billboard-sized advertisements, some of them fancy (‘Cheese & Wine!’) and some of them simple. Ah, Wisconsin.

The weather was perfect, which was fortunate since we discovered that the air conditioning she’d just had fixed in her car wasn’t working. But — and I felt this even then, not just looking back — I think it only made the experience better. There was something freeing about the wind whipping in through the open windows, about breathing all that fresh summer air.

In Wisconsin we stopped at Exit 116 (off 35E). We’d stopped there a year and a half ago too, on the way down to St. Louis for Katie and John’s wedding. Carrie knew it from when she was little, and they had signs up advertising a new cow-themed McDonald’s Coming Soon! off of Exit 116.

And, indeed, a year and a half ago the McDonald’s was charmingly cow-y, with tiny black and white tiles making cow-print on the floor, and cow-print painted on the walls, and all sorts of other cow-y things that I can’t now recall. But now, sadly, the tiny tiles are all that remains. Now it’s some weird jazz thing, and there’s a terrifying statue of a moon-headed man playing a fake piano against one wall.

Though prettier than Iowa, Wisconsin managed to offer up some things on the same level of deeply-disturbing.

Illinois was less disturbing, though it had something worse: tolls.

And, in the end, it was just as silly.

Because we got such an early start we made it to Schaumburg at about three, much earlier than the ‘late supperish’ we’d told Katie. So we stopped at Barnes & Noble, browsed for a while, and had some iced chai and dessert. We turned up at her place around 4:30, and were joined shortly by Steph, and then John returning from work. Merriment ensued.

September 5th, 2004

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I know I haven’t updated in ages, and I was going to say it’s because no one else does nearly enough any more but I figure I can’t complain if I’m guilty of the same thing. I don’t really have much of interest to say, though. Life has been hectic but everyday.

We had lunch with my grandma today, and then went over to Dayton’s (I spit on the name change! Pah!) to exchange a purse she’d received as a gift. I always do my purse shopping at Target or Penney’s, and usually just look at the ones that are on sale or clearance, but my grandma has really specific purse needs so we hunted through the entire selection. Most of them are far, far out of my price range, including this one [ed: link defunct; was a lovely Ugg purse], which I adore. The whole line is made of ultra-soft sheepskin, and the lining of this one is all fleecy.

One day, though. Probably when I’m old and feeble and don’t care about purses any more.