Free-associating NDFS report

by Cassandra

This is going to be disjointed. My head hurts.

My plane was supposed to leave Phoenix at 10:45 AM Friday morning. It didn't. Instead, I was stuck in airport hell for 11 hours. (The Phoenix airport sucks hard, in case you hadn't noticed.) Thankfully, I had _Bridge of Birds_ and _Shards of Honor_ with me, and I finished them both in my languishing-in-airports time by the end of the weekend. Eventually (read: 4:30 PM) America West, geniuses that they are, got around to cancelling my flight outright and I got shuttled off onto a 7:55 PM Delta flight. In an effort to make the ungodly wait up to us, America West gave us all $300 in flight vouchers. I'm still working up the courage to use them. (Maybe they'll pay for my flight to New Orleans next summer, if that comes about.) So I arrived in Vegas around 10 PM.

I didn't realize that in Vegas, _everything_ is neon and there are slot machines in every wide hallway. Including the airport.

I got to the Nugget around 11, was on my way up to my room, wondering how the hell I was going to find everybody, and expecting that everyone was out having fun without me, when the elevator stopped, and the doors opened to the (extremely strung out looking) face of John Dilick, who was, coincidentally, one of 3 people I had actually met before the Social. So he led me to the assembled masses, where I met everybody and promptly forgot 3/4 of the names.

The assembled masses went downstairs, and about half of us went to the restaurant (including me, since I hadn't had dinner yet). I really don't remember who was there, but it included Dave Hemming, Drew, Mark Loy, Steve Anderson, Jim Hill, John Dilick, Lara Beaton, and possibly Novak and Chad. We hung around for a couple hours. I discovered that in Vegas, the only time they card is when you're trying to cash out at the casino. I had a Purple Haze. I had to tell the bartender what was in it. I didn't finish it, because it was making my head hurt.

I think I went to bed after that. It was a long day.

I woke up around 10 the next morning, had breakfast, and met the assembled masses at the pool. Hawk, Pam Korda, Tshen, and I actually made contact with the water. We stood in the pool. Then we sat in the hot tub. Then we stood in the pool again for a little while, and then we gave up because Bill had shown up.

Novak bought a pair of electric blue swim trunks with "Hot Hot Hot" embroidered on the left leg, and swam. This was probably the first time in history anyone had _swam_ in that pool.

There was a monstrously fat woman in a purple bathing suit. Pam was traumatized.

I went back to the room and took a nap until 6PM ish, planning to stay up all night.

Then I got up, and most of us attempted to go to dinner at the Cheesecake Factory. During the ungodly wait, I went to FAO Schwartz and bought a stuffed duckbill platypus. Its name is George. And I looked through the expensive designer boutiques. I like Dolce & Gabbana. Eventually we got into the restaurant. The food was good; our waiter was a flaming lunatic. (He was the table dance type.) Between myself and Steve Ginter, we bought damn near every ice cream drink on the menu. After dinner, we went to FAO Schwartz en masse, and then everybody but Kenn and I went on the Fall of Atlantis ride. Kenn and I sat by the aquarium and talked about skinny tan chicks. Everybody came out the ride, and we went back to the Nugget. We decided, rather than hiring cabs, we would just put an illegal number of people in both cars. So we crammed me, Kenn, Steve Ginter, Rajiv, Maggie, and David Scotton into Steve's little rented Plymouth Breeze (I think that was what it was). David sat on me and Maggie's laps, because he probably weighed less. We got back to the hotel,and lots of us (Steve Ginter, Kenn, Leigh, Trina, Drew, Noell, and more) went to the Loys' room to watch the 2 AM showing of The Matrix. It was still a cool movie. Other people bitched about the 'love conquers all, humans will always triumph because we have the capacity to luuv' ending, and I felt less like a heartless bitch for thinking the same thing. Deb was wearing a robe, but not one that could be flung recklessly open, alas.

Leigh, Trina, Noell, Drew, Kenn, Steve, and I went up to Leigh's room to continue hanging out, and so the smokers in that group could smoke like fiends, as Leigh so artfully put it. (Trina was wearing the Goo Goo Dolls "Latex is my business and business is good" shirt.) Drew spent most of the time mumbling incoherently. I left my pager in Leigh's room. (This becomes important later.) Around 5, Steve, Kenn, and I got motivated, and went over to the Horseshoe to play the cheap-ass $2 blackjack tables. I won money. It was cool. I ended up $30 over on a $20 stake. After a couple hours, my eyes were starting to refuse to focus, and we left. (Steve cashed out for me. Everything went without incident.) We went back to the Nugget, had breakfast, and Steve agreed to give me a ride to the airport, since my flight left at 11:15 that morning and his left about an hour later. I went back to my room, showered, and went to sleep around 8 AM. Rumor has it there were a couple earthquakes while I was asleep. I missed them. I woke up a little after 10, panicked, got dressed real quick, packed, called Leigh's room about my pager, woke her up (if Leigh ever conquers the world, I do not want to be the secretary in charge of waking her up), got found by Steve, went to Leigh's room, got my pager, and left in a hurry.

I ended up missing my flight by a measly 3 minutes. Still, after the fiasco I went through on my flight to Vegas, this was trivial. I got on the next flight to Phoenix standby, and went home and slept.

It was really cool to meet everybody, and Drew deserves big hugs from everyone for doing a great job organizing.