Our hotel is a half mile from the San Diego Trolley, where we encounter our first line of the day! There is a line to buy trolley tickets. Dealing with the line and the stupid ticket machines, we miss the trolley. And then the next trolley is full. Full! Finally, we are able to get on a damn trolley and head into downtown.
Welcome to Comic-Con.
I am able to waltz right in. The other three, unfortunately, have to wait in a horrendous line to get their Thursday badge. We get there around 9ish, I think, even though we meant to get there earlier. They're in line for at least two hours, maybe more. Thankfully, they can pick up the next day's badge before they leave so they don't have to deal with the Line of Doom every morning.
First up on my docket is the Middleman table reading at 11:15. To my surprise, the line outside Room 6A is quite short! It's not even outside yet. Later, I will attribute this to the Thursday Effect: a great deal of people are still waiting in line to get in, and so they can't get in line for the morning panels. Bummer for them, bully for me! Hell, a few minutes after I arrive, they let us in the room since there's no panel before the table read. I snag a seat in the center a few rows back and save a couple for tibicina, who is on her way, and raelee.
In front of me, however, is afrocurl! Who is also saving a seat for Rae and her compatriot, Amrie from My Take on TV. Who arrive to our delight!
We still have over an hour before the panel. I announce my sinister plan: to run down to the Exhibit Hall and buy the Middleman DVDs so we will already have them for the signing afterward. I ask if anyone wants me to buy DVDs for them. I'm not sure how much they cost, but MSRP is $40. Rae bites. Luckily, I also know to ask for her shirt size since there is a free shirt involved. One of my rowmates, Frank, thinks my plan is great and asks if he can accompany me. Sure! He also takes orders, and then we embark on our adventure.
Rae told us the most efficient way of getting down to the floor, but we still have a time of it. Once there, however, I have all sorts of side mission I ask Frank to join me on. First, we go see Julie Benz at the Entertainment Earth booth. The line is too long, but I listen to her speak, a yard away from me! She seems nice!
Then we hit the Dark Horse booth to get more tickets for signings—seriously, get used to this, as I will continue doing it every chance I get—and then Viper so that Frank can get a copy of the finale comic. He thanks me for leading him right to it.
At the Shout! booth, we have hilarious issues because the DVDs are only $30! And here we are with scads of twenties, and we need change for each person. Thankfully, they are more than accomodating. I didn't know that the shirts came in multiple colors and the colors were gendered! I have a choice between black and blue, and I choose black. Rae has a choice between red and...something else? I call, but she doesn't answer, so I pick the color I think is more awesome. Red, I think.
Hey, let's stop by the Guild booth! My new pal Frank is more than happy to oblige. He even politely asks if I mind if we stop by the WB booth to see if he can get a ticket for a screening of Ninja Attack. I am all, what the fuck, dude, I have been dragging you along on all my errands; of course you can run one of your own. I am not a dick! Sometimes. We can't find the right person, sadly, so we give up. The Guild booth has no Guildies, but it does have the new shirt designs! It is hard to decide between the two. The Vork shirt is perfect for me, but +5 to Sexterity has a cooler design and a pun! And even though I will not be able to wear it comfortably in some places, I must get it. Bam, here is your money, Felicia Day's proxy.
We should probably be getting back to Room 6A, we do. On the way, I take the following picture:
Count the number of hair colors!
Back in the room, we notice that it's begun to fill up a bit. And there are several people in cool Middleman and Wendy costumes! There is one particularly good Middleman who looks eerily like Matt Keeslar, and a couple TV!Wendys. Wendies? But the one posing for pictures was the cute redhead with a bare midriff:
If you are confused, she's dressed as comic!Wendy.
Before we know it, it is time! Javi and the cast and some writers walk in to great applause. Javi announces that if we are here for the Middleman table read, we are in the right place. If we are here for a reading of an episode from the television show Lost, we are in the wrong place. (The schedule online had erroneously italicized the name of the panel as the "Lost Episode Table Read.") And then he launches right in!
Watch it here. Shout! will be posting a video at some point too, I think. But. You guys. Watching it on YouTube just isn't the same. I will not be gloating my way through all these posts, but IT IS SO FUCKING AWESOME. Seriously, it sets a high standard for the rest of the Con because nothing else can possibly live up to it. It's such an amazing experience to be there at a live table read. It has the immediateness of theatre; there's this whole different energy to it. It's this once-in-a-lifetime thing that is just so cool to be a part of.
Frank and his friends have the neat idea to follow along in the graphic novel, but I don't want to be distracted and try to process both at once and/or be spoiled by reading or seeing ahead. I want to watch and listen to the cast instead, focus on them. I sneak a peek every now and then, though, for some of the more elaborate scenes and action sequences.
So I took a shitload of pictures starting here. I will not be posting them all, only a select few. Enjoy the others, however.
Brit is pretty adorable.
We cheer for the first line every character gets, like Matt Keeslar's "Sweet crispy wontons!" We are there to show our love.
Natalie is rocking a sweet hat.
Matt Keeslar is truly amazing. He does not mess up once. We are exceedingly impressed at his ability to say the word polyditetrahexamonotrioctalon without stumbling over it; no one else in the cast can match him (Natalie admits it, and Brendan, I think, is proud of himself for getting through it). Javi, unsurprisingly, also has no problem rattling it off.
Javi flies through the script, which is full of great stage directions and asides. Here, he plays the theme song on a little speaker.
I don't want to spoil the episode for you if you haven't read the finale comic, which is supposed to be available but apparently no one can find it? There are some great moments, however. Matt Keeslar is unaware of a script change made in the transference to the comic book, so Javi has to correct him. When the Middleman's real name is revealed, Javi says, "That's his name. Drink it in." Natalie finds Mark Sheppard's delivery of the word "masterstroke" to be particularly lascivious, eliciting a hilarious—and possibly unscripted, given that it does not appear in the graphic novel—"Ew!" Brendan misreads a line and refers to Wendy as a "raging alcoholic," which stops us all in our tracks until he corrects it to "workaholic." Javi, in the next stage direction, refers to the "non-alcoholic Wendy." It is such a fun, hilarious time!
And even more than that: the energy, like I said. Matt Keeslar almost brings me to tears as the Middleman tells the story of his lost love.
Brit gets really into it. I feel like Natalie is less into it, somehow, although she is enjoying herself.
Mark Sheppard is deliciously evil.
When it's over, we give them a standing ovation as Javi introduces the cast. Some of the cast are filming us and our cheering. Brit takes out her camera. "Do it again!" she says, and we all cheer for her. It's adorable.
And now it is time to rush to the Shout! booth to get in line for the signing! Rae and Amrie lead the way.
As expected, the line is pretty long by the time we get there, but as we move towards the end, I spy redsouffle! She did not know it, but she was totally saving a spot for me. Obvs. We are joined by Bee (doorrepairgirl) and then Frank, who, again, is a bit hesitant to ask if he—DUDE OF COURSE YOU CAN JOIN ME COME ON. The line is a bit harrowing, as it blocks an aisle and competes with the adjacent Paramount line, and we keep getting conflicting orders on what to do and how to split and where to wind.
There are reports that the DVDs are selling out, so Frank once again compliments me on my forward thinking. While we wait, a girl passes wearing a red In a Comic shirt. "I have that shirt!" I say. "Threadless?" she asks. Yep! I'm wearing it on Saturday! Threadless power!
The line is actually somewhat shorter than I expect; we reach the booth at a point I still think we have a ways to go. First up is one Javier Grillo-Marxuach. "Sunil!" he says. "Good to see you. Or should I say Polter-Cow?" (I'm wearing the nametag I got at the Boston TWoPcon.) He asks me if I made the panel, and I say I did. "Thanks for coming!" he says. I complain about his lack of arrow: before Comic-Con, he painted an Aang arrow on his shaved head. Just one more reason why Javi rocks.
My DVD booklet, Complete Series Indispensability, and Doomsday Armageddon Apocalypse are being passed along the table to be signed by the cast. I tell Matt Keeslar, "You are amazing to be able to deliver those lines." Natalie gives him props as well. "You truly embody the Middleman," I add. I tell Natalie she's awesome as well to be able to get those lines out.
Brit Morgan and I have a whole adorable conversation about her awesome new hair.
"I love what you've done with your hair!"
"Do you like it?"
"It looks great! It's hot."
"Sometimes you just need a change."
I tell Jake Smollett he was great, and it's too bad the show was cancelled because there was so much more for Noser.
Then I notice that something awesome is happening.
Mark Sheppard is nudging Brendan Hines and Mary Pat Gleason and pointing to me with a smile: "Look at his shirt." I am wearing Hyperbole. I display it for them so they can read. They enjoy it. THIS IS WHY I WEAR AWESOME SHIRTS.
I tell Mary Pat Gleason that she is so great, especially with the wisecracks.
Mark Sheppard! "It's great to meet you," I say, I think even offering my hand to shake. "I liked you in The X-Files, Firefly, everything."
"Was I in those?" he says, slyly.
"I love that you're so iconically Badger," I say. To which he has no response, as I have just implied that he is only playing Badger all the time, when what I am trying to say is that it's awesome that he made such an impression as that character with so little screentime!
Katie tries to bail me out, saying, "I don't know, I think he's pretty iconically Manservant Neville." I add that I also enjoyed him as Romo Lampkin, but it's too late. It feels very awkward and I think I've offended him, and after he liked my shirt and everything! I have so much egg on my face I don't even say anything to Brendan Hines. Not that I would have had anything interesting to say, but I would have said something nice! And maybe in that moment I would have actually remembered that he was Andy Goode.
At the end of the line, a man asks if I am a big fan, and I am! So he asks me to go over to the camera for an interview. Uh. Oh. Neat!
I put my backpack down, and then I am about to put my MM stuff down, but the guy tells me to hang on to them. First, he has me spell my name for the camera. "S-U-N-I-L. P-I-T—uh, P-A-T-E-L."
"You're not nervous, are you?" he says. He asks me to speak about how I heard about the show and began watching it.
I tell him—I'm not sure whether to look at the camera or him—that I knew Javi from Lost, and I actually met him in Ann Arbor, and I read his LiveJournal (chaodai), and he talked about his new show, so I checked it out. I found it uneven at first, but then it got better. It was very funny and kooky. What's my favorite episode? Oh, I can't pick a favorite episode. I like the "ghost one" because it's a great bodyswitch episodes and "The Vampiric Puppet Lamentation" because, well, vampire puppets. I love that the show is so out there, that they just throw things together that don't seem like they would work but they actually do. And they have lots of pop culture references, and they know that we will get and appreciate them. I ramble and burble and talk really fast. He asks me to show off the things I got signed, and I do, explaining that, see, this is a comic, and it looks like, uh, a comic.
Amusingly enough, Frank actually fanboys the guy asking me questions, as he's the Middlefan. He even gets a picture with him. If my ridiculous interview makes it into the segment, it will be a special feature on the BluRay DVD. I assume my footage is unusable because I talked so fast, but Frank thinks I did really good; he doesn't think he could do as good a job as I did. He thinks I was very natural talking to the cast as well.
It is about one o'clock. I had already resigned myself to possibly missing the Wonder Women panel at 1:15 with Sigourney Weaver, Zoe Saldana, and Elizabeth Mitchell if the Middleman signing took too long, but, in theory, there is time. I ask Frank if he's interested, and he's game, so we book it to Ballroom 20. On the way, I have to stop and take a picture of this awesome girl:
Way to pick a costume off the beaten path, girl!
There is not a huge line to get into Ballroom 20. We get in line by a guy who has an awesome Bizarro shirt. It's purple! I've never seen one before, but I see one or two others later on. I call smoo_nyc to see where she is. And she tells me to turn around. She's behind us in line! Oh, Comic-Con.
The line moves as they continue to let people in, even after the panel starts. We make it in at 1:30, which, awesomely, is right when they introduce the first panelist! She walks in, and she's...wait, Eliza Dushku? SURPRISE PANELIST ALERT! Then they bring in Zoe Saldana, Elizabeth Mitchell, and Sigourney Weaver, who gets a standing ovation because she's Sigourney fucking Weaver. And she is looking good for almost 60.
She's pretty cool.
The panel is pretty good, although the moderator is kind of bewildering at times. "When someone asks me why there are so few strong female characters on television, I say it's because they're all being played by you!" he says...to Eliza Dushku. Bwuh? Eliza doesn't have very interesting things to say, and Mini and Gymble come away thinking she's pretty vapid.
You know who does have interesting things to say? Zoe Saldana!
She's very well spoken, and she gives well thought out answers to the questions. I think she's a little too serious, but sometimes she shows a lighter side, like when she names a bunch of awesome women and adds, "OMG, should I go on?" During the Q&A, someone asks why it's so hard to get a Wonder Woman movie made, and when the panel bandies about the old "They're looking for the right person, they want to stay true to the character" bit, she adds, "But why are they looking for someone young?" Bitterly: "Why does it have to be Megan Fox?"
Zoe starts out by saying she has a crush on Megan Fox, so she's not knocking her. "You want the real answer?" she says, as if she's tired of saying stupid shit. "65-year-old men like looking at 25-year-old girls, and they're the ones making the decisions and writing the checks."
Also, she is totally fangirling Sigourney Weaver. They're always whispering to each other and laughing.
Elizabeth Mitchell is also well spoken, and she is very cheerful and pleasant, like she's happy to be there. She says she was called "sexy" for the first time at 38, and she's getting better roles now than when she was younger.
I have in my notes "Sig though we were great," so I guess she liked our applause? She talks a lot about changing the Hollywood system and how resistant it is to change. It is up to us to effect change by letting Hollywood know what we wanted. Hollywood is always behind.
Frank and I part ways when the panel is over, but we exchange cell phone numbers since we're both interested in the Attack of the Show panel tomorrow. My next stop is the Psych press room. I find some folks from io9 outside the room, but I don't know what the protocol is. After a few minutes, I ask Annalee what the deal is, and she recommends I just barge right in. So I do.
I barge right in and make a beeline for Rae as soon as I see her. We have to check in with someone. The woman checks our names off. Rae and Amrie have already staked out a table, and I choose a different table so we can cover more ground. More intel for the blog!
I chat with the other bloggers at the table while we wait for the talent to be done with photos and video. I have another excuse to pull out my business cards.
Two of the "journalists" in the room are in costume, which is weird. The guy looks like a superhero of some sort, but the girl looks like she may just be goth. The woman next to me has real issues with them, turning up her nose at their unprofessionalness.
Finally, Corbin Bernsen is deposited at our table! No one asks a question. We don't know who goes first.
"All right, goodnight, thanks!" he says. We decide to just go around the table and ask a question each. We only get, like, five minutes. Corbin is very lively, and it's hard to get a picture of him that isn't blurry. He is always moving his hands. For instance, his wife guest-starred in one episode, and apparently she showed off her great boobs.
I ask him the differences between how he plays his younger self and how he plays his older self. He says his younger self is more amused and...stuff. I could consult my audio recording, but I am too lazy.
He's very nice and courteous: when the woman comes to take him away, he doesn't let her because the woman next to me hasn't gotten to ask her question yet.
Next up...these guys!
James and Dulé are very jokey and friendly, but pretty subdued.
Someone on the other side of the table asks James about his writing and directing aspirations, so I don't have to. It was something he always wanted to do, whereas Dulé is content to act; he has no such ambitions.
It's different from the WonderCon press rooms. First of all, we get very little time with each visitor. But at least at this table, everyone seems much more respectful of each other, and no one dominates the table. Everyone is free to ask a question. I start talking at the same time as someone else, and I back off, thinking I'm being too forward, but James compliments my "reckless abandon": "Just whip it out," he says.
So I ask him how he and Dulé developed their distinctive deliveries for each character. James says he plays Shawn as very much on the edge of his seat, always making things up as he goes along. As for inspirations, he cites Chevy Chase in Fletch and Val Kilmer in Real Genius. Put them in a blender and you get Shawn. I forget what Dulé said; it must not have been very interesting.
After they leave, the woman next to me remarks that we are the politest table ever. Usually, she says, there's "one fat guy" asking all the questions, and despite being mildly offensive, it's true. We had a One Fat Guy at WonderCon. But it's not limited to One Fat Guy, of course. Some people are just pushier than others, but as I said, at this table, we were all sensitive to the fact that everyone should get a chance to ask a question if they wanted, especially since we had such limited time.
In the process of our chatting, we discover that the nondescript man sitting next to me..IS THE FUTON CRITIC. HOLY SHIT. We all freak out. One of the women across from me gets a picture with him; in a room with all these actors, she's most excited to meet him. The man's a legend! And apparently it's only him and his wife running the site; they were very surprised it became so popular. He is incredibly humble and shy; I mean, he never even pointed out who he was before.
As we are all getting excited over meeting the Futon Critic, Steve Franks, Kelly Kulchak, and Chris Henze arrive, and we explain what we're so excited about, and then STEVE FRANKS TOTALLY FANBOYS THE FUTON CRITIC.
Before we get started, I quickly introduce myself to Kelly and tell her I'm a friend of Dahlia's (Dahlia is her assistant). She says it's nice to see a friendly face. I hand her my business card. One day, someone influential will contact me and I will be whisked away to Hollywood to write for television! YOU JUST WAIT.
So Steve Franks is a nut. Which is unsurprising, given that Psych is a nutty show. But I have prepared a very specific question for him regarding said nuttiness, having watched several episodes on Hulu the weekend before. I think one person gets a question before me, but then I get mine out. The show has a rather absurd, whimsical sense of humor, but it's still very grounded. How do they maintain that balance?
He spends basically the rest of the time we have together answering my question! But it's a really great, comprehensive answer that goes into how they approach each episode and keep the tone. See, the show is like a car. It's serious, and it's silly:
And their job is to keep it from going off the rails. He says that each season, they try to widen the gap: get more serious, but also get sillier to balance it out. And different writers bring different tones to their episodes. They have to come up with all these murder mysteries that are still light and entertaining, unlike your typical episode of Law and Order. One interesting tidbit is that they come up with the murders by asking why the murderer did it. They start with the motive and work from there. Again, I should consult my audio, but I am lazy.
This is quintessential Steve Franks.
The woman comes to take him away, but a blogger sneaks in a question about The Mentalist at the end, and Steve compares it to the cereal aisle in the grocery store, where you have Froot Loops, but just a few shelves underneath, you have Frooty Loopos, which are the same thing but not as good. He also says that the season four premiere has the best Mentalist joke yet.
Then we get Timothy Omundson and Maggie Lawson!
We start out with a quick Tim Omundson lovefest, as the woman across from me has loved him from his Judging Amy days. Bee wanted me to pass on her love, so I tell him that my friend Bee loves him and Lassiter is her favorite character. I add that I loved him on Deadwood; I didn't even recognize him for a few episodes, which was a testament to his acting. On that note, he says, Jim Beaver and John Hawkes will be guesting on Psych this season. He, like many others, is always happy to see Deadwood alums on TV.
Tim is very sweet. I like him.
Maggie believes that Jules is a real loner. Why do you think she hangs out with this guy?
Someone asks Tim what it's like to play the straight man and whether he wants to let loose with the jokes like Shawn. He says he's going to steal a Rainn Wilson quote, so just pretend he didn't say the part about Rainn Wilson: "Great humor is to be found in great seriousness."
And it's over! I regroup with Rae. Kelly Kulchak walks back in and now she can give me a hug. Aw! How sweet. We don't have much time to chat, however. I am able to catch James Roday on his way out and tell him I liked the episode he wrote and directed, "Tuesday the 17th." My favorite bit was the Texas Chainsaw Massacre-izing of Shawn's flashbacks. "Thanks, man," he says.
Rae, that saucy little minx, has snagged herself a pass into the Psych panel, but they have run out. Balls.
I get in line for Ballroom 20. It is pretty hopeless, and I have no friends to pass the time with. The girl in front of me is from the TV Guide Network, which is pretty cool. The line moves as empty seats are filled, but every now and then it stops. "Don't stop!" I cry. "It's demoralizing!" Then the line starts moving again, thankfully.
Let me tell you, that Catwoman was hot. Not attractiveness-wise, temperature-wise. It is not a good idea to cover yourself in leather in San Diego in July. Just a tip.
ADORABLE! toastandtea, are you reading?
The Psych panel is a wash, so now our hopes lie in getting into the Dexter panel. I predict that while there was going to be a big crossover between Burn Notice and Psych, there was unlikely to be a huge crossover between Psych and Dexter, and sure enough, when the panel is over, a veritable tsunami of fans pour out and down the hall.
And just in time, I am able to coordinate with mycenae, who jumps into line with me. Like Jesus, she is taller than I expected. She is one of the people I was really looking forward to meeting, as we have known each other on LJ for years. My records indicate our first contact was in July 2005. Or so.
We get into Ballroom 20. Dexter panel! Yay! They show a trailer for the new season, and it looks pretty sweet, and they bring out the writers and the cast. John Lithgow, the special guest for the season, gets a lot of applause.
My favorite part of the Dexter panel is basically anything Jennifer Carpenter says. I really enjoy her answers. Like Julie Benz and Michael C. Hall, she feels a great attachment to her character now that she's lived with her for a few years, and now she feels as if she's learning from her. In the beginning, she always wanted to grab Deb by the shoulders and yell, "Deb, you're doing it wrong!" But now that Deb has grown over the course of the series, she feels like Deb is grabbing her and saying, "You're doing it wrong!" Before she goes to bed, she addresses her inner self ("Dear inner self..."), and she can pull from her dreams and subconscious. She seems sort of embarrassed by this point, like she can't believe she's saying all this to us. It feels very honest, and I love it.
She fights for what she wants. She read the first six pages of The Exorcism of Emily Rose and got in a plane to fly across the ocean so she could audition. She's very proud of it.
Jennifer also says that she thinks Deb knows about Dexter; she's no dummy. Amusingly (and thankfully, since she was a little unclear), she clarifies a couple minutes later that she doesn't think Deb knows Dexter is a serial killer, just that there's something he's hiding from her.
Choice Julie Benz quote: "When I started out, I wanted to do romantic comedies." Pause. "I am really glad I'm not doing romantic comedies."
Julie thinks that you could show Rita the show and she still wouldn't believe that Dexter was a serial killer, not because she's "blinded" by love or anything, but because love something something love power of love.
Michael C. Hall, how do you play Dexter? How do you play someone who's funny and scary? How do you play a serial killer and someone who's calm and collected? How do you play a good guy who does bad things? To his credit, Michael C. Hall manages to give different answers to essentially the same question being asked over and over.
That is not what I expect a Dexter writer to look like. It may be what I expect the writer of the Twilight screenplay to look like, though. What gives, Melissa Rosenberg?
The writers, on the other hand, can't give a different answer to the same question being asked over and over: THE SHOW IS NOT THE BOOKS. GET OVER IT.
After the Dexter panel, I rendezvous with Gymble, Mr. Gymble, and Mini, and we explore the floor. The Bryan Lee O'Malley line is too long. We pick up more Dark Horse tickets. We see some great costumes.
That Supergirl is really cute.
We walk to the Westfield Food Court for dinner. On the way, they regale me with tales from the Legend of the Seeker panel, including the embarrassing season 1 recap video, from which we took a running joke for the weekend. Skip to thirty seconds in and meet a young woodsguide. Ten seconds later, you will meet a mysterious woman who turned his world...UPSIDE-DOWN. And you may notice that THEY FLIP THE SHOT UPSIDE-DOWN. FOR EFFECT. It is ludicrous.
Also ludicrous are smoked tuna tacos. So ludicrous that I must get one from Micho's. It is very tasty!
At Micho's, some guy comments on my shirt. "Nice shirt," he says. "Though I don't know how someone will get it." I...don't know what he's talking about.
Mini is tired after dinner and takes the trolley back. Gymble and Mr. Gymble are still game for attempting the Dr. Horrible Singalong at 8, so we do attempt it...except the line stretches to Los Angeles. Seriously, it goes outside and around and back into a tent with zigzags, and the room is already pretty full! So, yeah, this is Comic-Con: get used to disappointment.
The two of them head back, but I have a text from roxybisquaint that says she and life_on_queen will be meeting at 9 for drinks and whatnot, so I hang around the Convention Center until then, writing notes about the day.
Some kid notices me. "What does your shirt say?" he says.
I stand up. He reads. "Word!" he approves. "You have a good con, man!" Aw. Comic-Conners are so nice.
At 9, I go outside to meet the crew, and there they are, huzzah!
We head into the Gaslamp and discover Cafe Diem, a cafe that SyFy has taken over and converted into a place from Eureka. Well, I discover it; Roxy had lunch there, I believe.
I don't watch Eureka, but right by the entrance, "The Mayor" and "Jo" from the show are having dinner. The Mayor is Joe Morton, who looks familiar...because he was Miles Dyson! Cool!
The others order drinks with cutesy sci-fi names, and I consider a dessert with a cutesy sci-fi name but don't go for it. We talk about stuff and Comic-Con and panels and stuff! I don't remember anything. Although Queenie rants a lot on her LJ, she's quite pleasant in person! Pleasant and Canadian.
I, being tired and also the only one not drinking, am exhausted and sleepy and cut out early. I take the trolley back.
In the hotel room, I discover an unforeseen issue: PLUGS. I need to charge my phone, as it is getting heavy use each day, and I need to charge my camera battery, as it is also getting heavy use each day. But other people have cameras and phones too! There are not enough accessible plugs in the room. Note for next year: bring a power strip!
Just so you know, my notes for Thursday were about two-and-a-half pages long.
My notes for Friday were about three pages long.
Saturday: four-and-a-half pages long.
It's only getting crazier from here, folks.