Timestamp: May 17th. I wish I could remember more about waking up that morning. All I can recall is how fluffy-wonderful my bed was. Whatever alterations the Sheraton had made to the bedrooms when it housed FEMA were positively made of win. Well, I remember that and my phone ringing, Josh on the other line sounding ridiculously cheery and well-rested while I was inordinately exhausted. I seem to remember being late…
Josh: Oh, were you asleep?
(I look at the clock. Whatever it says is way earlier than when I anticipated being sentient.)
Me: No, no, not at all, I’m up… *falls out of bed and flings off pajamas*
Today being the first day of Phoenix Rising, I made the conscious decision to look “Southern.” If you ask me what that looks like… truth is, I don’t actually know, but I bet it involves a big hat, a skirt, and summery colors. Hence, that’s pretty much what I wore.
Dianne had access to some special little reception area with free food, so she recommended that Robert, Josh, and I join her for breakfast up there rather than head down to the hotel Bistro to eat. We went up, hoping no one would notice that she was sneaking us in, but sure enough, we were caught red-handed. Of course, and perhaps this is a sign of New Orleans hospitality, the lady who caught us conceded that no one else was going to eat what was left at the buffet, so we were able to dine for free. As I hid away the unfinished bit of my bagle in my handbag (what? I’m from New York!), we discussed our plans for the day, among which included figuring out the format/content of the live podcast and the podcast play. Judging by the look on Robert’s sallow face, there was lots of stuff to iron out.
“Well,” thought I to meself, “I did not fly to New Orleans for only two out of the four days of Phoenix Rising to spend my days indoors!” Therefore, we took our planning outside, four SpellCasters on a mission to eat Beignets (and also give Robert some peace of mind).
After a trek back down Decatur Street, we made it to Café Du Monde… but we didn’t get to eat Beignets. The fact of the matter was that we had limited time to be back for PR registration, and there was loads to do after that, including getting prints to distribute, reconnecting with other LJ folks, etc. So instead, industrious podcasters that we are, we had a mini photoshoot in front of St. Louis Cathedral:
Josh is ‘Singin’ in the Rain’, albeit decidedly less wet than Gene Kelly.
The SpellCast Crew: Josh, Dianne, Robert, 'n' me.
Me being Southern. (Gakked from spoonjosh's Myspace as evidence.)
And back we went, me scribbling stuff down on a pad as we walked. By the time we reached the Sheraton, we had achieved a shopping list of a number of zomgimportant things – mics and other recording stuff – and the color had returned to Robert’s face.
That’s when we ran into Amber’s posse! I had the great fortune of meeting hp5freak at Lumos2006, where she had absolutely stunned me by gifting to me a “Weasley is My King” blanket that she had designed and crocheted herself (this time, she made me A BAG!!!!!). She had also come to Las Vegas with her wonderful mom, lindal_2007, whom I adore because she has some of the best reactions to my artwork – I swear, sometimes I draw just to see what she’ll say! Well, this time, Amber and her mom were joined by fellow fancrafters, freakyartychick, master knitter, and felis_felices, who had come all the way from - *gasp* - Norway?!?
There was, needless to say, a LOT of squeeing going on. Let’s just take a pause here and focus on the squeeing because after that we went up to register and that was, in short, hella boring.
I don’t know how many people can agree with me on this count, but the lobby was the locus for all fandom run-ins. It seemed that whenever I ran into people I knew from LJ, it happened there. Case in point: Not only was I able to sit and get to know the ladies from The Quidditch Pitch a little better, I was also able to meet for the first time the fantastic crew from SimplyUndeniable! There was, again, much squeeing (especially as I could finally glomp mrspadf00t1, who had beta read a H/G story of mine that is hosted there, and naiad8 came over to tell me in person that she liked the commission I did for her. *sniff*). Also, I took pictures! :D
The Simply Undeniable crew! One half of ze table…
…the other half of ze table. (If someone can give me the LJ tags of everybody in this pic, so I can name everyone and not leave anyone out, that would be awesome.)
Now, I have to take a second out to give mad props to dream_wia_dream. I was in a bit of a bind having not thought ahead to bring prints of artwork to give out to friends and Potterheads at the con, which was something I had done in Las Vegas last year, and the nearest Kinkos was way too far away to drag my laptop to on foot. Well Melanie was generous enough to drive me over and was therewith exposed to my somewhat maniacal nature when it comes to getting anything done at a Kinkos. I’m almost always frustrated when I go there because I stink at printing off decent-looking digital art, not to mention the whole business of trying to hook up my laptop with their often useless cables to their sucky machines. As;ldkfjaw. To make matters more complicated, as we instantly discovered upon exiting the parking garage, New Orleans streets are not terribly easy to navigate if you’re an out-of-towner. Melanie handled it like a pro. :)
At some point later that day, we caught up with heidi8, who not only bombarded us with as much FictionAlley and SpellCast paraphernalia as we could possibly carry (and I’m not complaining – to see the logo I made for SpellCast on that much stuff is enough to make anyone’s ego explode), but took Josh and I round to Lush - a bath and body place that looks like a veritable confections shop, only instead of eating the stuff on display, you, like, wash yourself with it. *gapes* I am now the proud owner of a face wash bar that looks like concentrated cotton candy and smells like it too. Good times had by all! :D
And speaking of good times, still smarting from having lost an opportunity to sing on Bourbon Street, Josh and I retaliated by finding a piano on the Fourth Floor. And we wrote a song. Dianne actually documented our creative process... ON VIDEO!
Warning: The following is unscripted, unrehearsed, and therefore, potentially hazardous to your ears. Of course, that might just be BS because we did manage to make lindal_2007 cry! (My apologies, they're pretty big .avi files)
Josh and me at the piano! (15 MB)
Book Seven Blues! (14.7 MB)
Now, I'm sure that those of you that have been to a Harry Potter Con know that one of the best parts of all these conferences is meeting those that delight in dressing up. That evening was the opening feast, a joyful time for us hungry folks, and we were divided into our respective houses: Zodico (The Music House), Pontalbon (The Art House), Bellereve (The Writing House), and Lumien (Um... The Pirate House?). Here are some money shots from outside the "Great Hall":
Lucius and Draco! They made an appearance at Lumos as well, and I can attest to the fact that that pimp cane is fully functional.
Professor McGonagall and Trelawney! (Fact: These ladies can act, as well!)
Yes. That's me getting whipped by Dominatrix!Snape, also known as Rachel (akemi42) of Snapecast. I had to consent in order to get the pretty beads!
Group shot! :D Okay, I feel terrible about this, but I cannot remember the names of the lovely lady behind madam_minnie and the other lovely lady to her left, but included in this picture are redblaze, Vicky Dann (our Headmistress), Cat Conrad, me, madam_minnie, and fantasy author, Rachel Caine (who was also the head of Bellereve House).
Now, the rest of the evening can be summed up in highlights:
1) I met alissamora. Seriously this woman is just as sweet in person as she is in real life. What I would have given to spend more time getting to know her.
2) I reconnected with Jeff and Dave, whom I met at Lumos and cheered for in the Water Quidditch match. They absolutely make my day and I was happy to have some time to chat with them and catch up (especially as they were wearing shirts that say "Weasley is My King"!).
3) Um... I was interviewed by the dude from Dateline NBC. They made me hold up my artwork, but my hands were shaking so badly that the camera man said, "Don't worry, we'll freeze-frame it." For real, if they air that interview, I may disappear off of LJ forever.
4) Back to the uber-comfy bed. FTW.
More to come soon! :D (And I promise to finish answering the comments from the last post before I go to bed tonight. Tomorrow it's back to work at the DoD and being escorted to the bathroom by people in fatigues. *sigh*)