We all piled into Brad’s van and left town by 10:00 PM on Wednesday. It was a record, us all getting organized and mobile so quickly. We made a short stop at Quiktrip for last-minute rations and headed out. The road to Atlanta was probably filled with good times…due to my Dramamine, I passed out about an hour-and-a-half in and woke up seven hours later. Conveniently, this was just in time to drive my leg of the journey into Georgia.
I navigated the traffic of downtown Birmingham, AL during morning rush hour and crossed into Georgia without incident. It was then that I really started getting excited. An hour later when Atlanta’s skyline appeared on our horizon and the van erupted into cheers and tears of joy it compounded my excitement. It was a pretty easy drive in (thanks, Garmin GPS!) and we got checked into the most amazing hotel in the history of ever.
We stayed in hostels and extreme-low-budget places when we were abroad, but we did splurge a time or two and stay at some decent places…but nothing like this. Walking into the Marriott Marquis was like walking into Starfleet Headquarters or something. (Ah, nerd jokes. There will be many over the weekend.) It’s gigantic, regal, and full of people. Many of these people are in costume. Since we arrived around noon, it wasn’t too busy yet. By the time the sun set it was jam-packed. My Flickr feed is going to have so many costume pics by the time we’re done.
We did a brief tour of the hotel, got settled into our room, then went to the Sheraton to register for the con. Like our hotel, it was set up to handle a crush of people but they hadn’t quite arrived yet. We ran through the empty lines with glee and picked up our name badges. You have to pick a nickname for them, and this weekend I am also known as Yar’s Revenge. This is a good time to mention how amazingly NICE everyone is. Other con-goers, staff, everyone. Smiles, jokes, inviting conversations, and total strangers that respond to your in-jokes and obscure references with knowledge and appreciation. It’s heaven.
Indi met up with one of her old bosses for a drink while the rest of us got our drink on. I’m not much of a drinker, so my flask of single malt scotch held me in a state of warmth and comfort most of the evening without going overboard. We took a dip in the swimming pool (which was totally deserted) and tried not to overload with excitement for today. We did a lot of people watching and some amazing costumes were already out. The embedded picture is of a stunning Alien costume. The person inside what in character, too, not talking to anyone verbally. Oh, and Brad and I randomly found a Five Guys burger place near where he replaced his broken Blackberry. IT WAS FANTASTIC!
Today, we experience the Con proper. Our first panels, going to the vendor booths, seeing the Walk of Fame (autograph central), and being among some of the geekiest folks on the planet. It’s going to be AWESOME.