Going down to breakfast, I fully intend to buy my own for a change, only to have T'Chall pop up and buy it instead. But! Pics ... commissions ... charity auction ... sigh. Okay. But I'm going to get struck by lightning, I just know it. I particularly know it after Uncle Kage comes in, miffed about being stranded with a Cherry Coke. Whimper.
Off to the Dealer Room, Thomas and I spent most of the day mercilessly teasing Vince about what a god he is, and I bought him a muy macho leather bracelet with studs, which made his ears turn a pleasantly bright red color. Kerry came around and brought me a mocha frappuccino (YAY!), and let me stash my stuff in her car after checking out. By way of thank you for the rides and frapp delivery, I gave her a kyoote little panda that I'd bought in a lot of plushies at the charity auction specifically for just such purposes. I also gave Vince a little black cat with a jack-o-lantern from the same batch.
The day was pretty free-form; since it was the last day of the con and I had some money left (thanks to sketchbooks and meal-mooching), I decided to score me some goodies. I picked up a book or two, but what I was really glad to get was a few pages of original Terrie Smith artwork from "Havoc, Inc.," one of my favorite furry comics. I also signed up for a Dealer Table at AnthroCon -- which means I better start putting together some stuff to sell! I tossed around some ideas with Vince on that subject ... we'll have to see if any of them come to fruition.
Vince left sometime in the mid afternoon, and Thomas and I hung out until the Dealer Room closed, and I helped him pack up all the Plan 9 stuff. Once that was done, I decided it was a good time to get out of Dodge ... I was tired, jetlagged, starving, and had a headache. Kerry drove me out to Half Moon Bay, which was a bit of a rough ride in the condition I was in, but well worth it once we got there. We ate at a pricey but very nice restaurant on the beach, named "Moss Beach Distillery." ( http://www.mossbeachdistillery.com )
She paid for dinner. I can't handle all these people being NICE to me all the time! I tried to avoid going into massive guilt fits right then and there. Time enough to hate myself in private on the plane.
I did decide that there was no way I was going to subject Laurie to another trip to BWI like the one on Thursday, tho. Kerry and I pestered the clerks at the ticket counter for a while, but they couldn't give me any decent changes that would cost less than $1000, so I decided to take the "Supershuttle" from BWI to Dulles instead once I got in.
A word to the wise re: Oakland Airport -- BEWARE OF GATE 8A. I checked out my boarding pass, and found that my plane was due to leave from Gate 8a. No problem ... here's Gate 1, Gate 2, Gate 3, Gate 4, Gate 5, Gate 6, Gate 7 ... Ah! Gate 8.
I sit and wait. And wait. And wait. I check my messages and have a call from Vince ... I call him back and give him some pointers on Dover's dialog for Monday's strip. We hang up and I wait ... and wait.
Fifteen minutes until my plane is supposed to depart, and nobody's at the gate. I start to worry. Finding an airport representative, I discover that Gate 8 is not the same as Gate 8a, which is cleverly hidden behind a sports bar.
There's no Gate 7a, no Gate 9a ... why Gate 8a??? Sheesh! It might as well have been the Hogwarts Express at Platform 9 3/4. Fortunately, I got there before the plane took off.
Apparently, my luggage did not get on the plane. More on that later.
Taking the redeye flight is fine, if and only if the flight is mostly empty, so you can stretch out and relax. This flight, wasn't. In point of fact, there was ONE unoccupied seat on the whole friggin' plane! So I spent the whole flight almost sleeping, until getting in to my connection at Las Vegas.
Las Vegas is a very silly city, with a lot of very large, very brightly lit, very silly buildings. I suppose that's fine for those who like such things, but I just couldn't cruise Vegas without giggling. Not like I had time to, anyway -- according to my itinerary, I had 25 minutes to get to my flight to Baltimore.
Except ... my boarding pass has no gate listed ... and the airport monitors have no Continental flights to Baltimore.
I find the agent of America West, the flight I just got off of, and said, "Excuse me, I'm looking for Continental to Baltimore?" She said, "Hmm ... I don't have one listed. But Continental is on the A Terminal, at the other end of the airport."
So I made my way in a fast walk to the other end of the airport (after all, running attracts the attention of those big, burly guys with the big, black machine guns), barely registering the racks and racks of slot machines blaring loud music and flashing the words "Elvis! Elvis! Elvis!" at me.
I found the Continental counter and looked up my flight number ... Flight 225, to Cleveland.
No time to ponder -- the plane is already boarding! On I go. It's just as crowded, and full of people whining about all the money they lost. Not exactly at my best, I try to refrain from saying, "Well DUH!"
The Las Vegas to Cleveland leg is painful. Just don't even talk about it.
At Cleveland, I find out that there is another plane to take me to Baltimore, and I only have an hour and forty-five minute wait until it shows up ... but that's okay. Any time spent not folded up in a hot and crowded plane is a good thing at this point. I don't think I've ever been happier to see Baltimore in my life.
Finally, no more flying. Time to grab my suitcase, and head for the Supershuttle. I stand by the little moving luggage track and watch as suitcase after suitcase goes trundling by to be picked up by its respective owner ... until all the bags are gone, and the track stops.
Um ... my bag?
A woman comes out of the customer service office when she sees me looking a bit unhappy. "What's your name, sir?"
"Oh, yes, I have a note about you. Let me go see what it is."
Sweat. Fret. Worry. Look around for big, burly machine guns.
"Oh, here it is. Apparently your bag didn't get on the plane in Oakland."
"They sent it on a Delta connecting flight; it got here before you did." She produces it, like magic, from another office. Little angels dance around her shoulders. Thank you, customer service lady!
On to the "Supershuttle," a big blue van full of people being ferried all over town. The $64 to take me from BWI to Dulles makes me feel a lot better than the idea of Laurie getting creamed on the interstate by some looney. I climb aboard and we head south, only to come to quick stop behind several cars and a big billow of smoke.
Oh look, somebody got creamed on the interstate by some looney, maybe ten minutes ahead of us. Oh yeah, that $64 was well spent! I say a little silent prayer while the Supershuttle driver bails off into the wilds of Glen Byrnie. We go into D.C. proper to drop off everyone else, and then he takes me the rest of the way to Dulles, getting there just about the same time Laurie does, around 11:00 in the late morning. I gave the guy a $5 tip -- it's a tough, dangerous job he does, and he does it well.
Laurie takes me home from Dulles, where I eat a big ol' slice of turkey she cooked, peel off my 24+ hours old wardrobe, slip into PJs, and collapse into the bed, while she goes off to work.
Stick a fork in Further Confusion 2002, it's done. Whenever I regain consciousness, it'll be time to start my con report.
 No, I don't mean the lavatory.