inulro: (Default)
I realised I've only been thinking out loud about this on Facebook. I'll try and put all my thoughts (so far) in one place here:

This year the contenders are Hollywood (not LA, honest) and New Orleans. Both are cities where I haven't been and would really like to go.

However, where my vote goes is no contest - Hollywood. The New Orleans bid is - meh. The Hollywood bid's theme, Dead Stars, has already got me planning a whole weekend worth of costumes. It's all an excuse to buy a load of black flapper dresses to go as dead silent film stars, and a big Valentino sheik number. And if I get back down to size 8, a pair of leather trousers and a big poet shirt to be Jim Morrison.

Another big thing in Hollywood's favour is that there are no less than five airlines offering regular direct flights between Heathrow and LAX (that is even before exploring crappy charters + Gatwick). I remember from my research into attending the Long Beach Convergence that flights to LA are a lot less expensive than you might think because of all the competition. To New Orleans - exactly none.

LA has a Fluevog store. New Orleans has a shoe store that might stock some Fluevogs. LA has the La Brea Tar Pits. I get really excited about Ice Age megafauna. And the Getty Museum. And sitting on Venice Beach for a day to chill after the event.

We've been talking forever about doing a big road trip from Vancouver down to San Diego. This could be a chance to do that. Or, with the 8 hour time difference, flying over for the weekend, sleeping all day and partying all night while staying on UK time is also do-able. At the time of Long Beach, the Air New Zealand flight (the cheap one) was timed such that flying out Thursday and back Monday morning was possible.

There was a time when I would have voted for New Orleans because New Orleans. But the more I learn about the place, the less convinced I am that I'd really love it there, on account of everything that's goth and nifty about the place is really For The Tourists Only, and actually it's a place full of crime and poverty and desperation where you can't even get to some of the tourist sites (the graveyards) safely without going in a tour group.
inulro: (Default)
Hey, I know for you guys it's still ages before you have to plan anything, but I was wondering if there are any plans afoot yet re: transport to and from.

To is not an issue; from is becoming pressing for me.

I have to book a rental car so that we can get to Sudbury at a reasoable time on the Monday, which means picking up the car around lunch time.  Which is probably about the time you all want to leave Buffalo.

Bus options are either too early and really cheap (Megabus) or too late, take longer and really expensive (Greyhound).  I think I'll buy the Megabus tix - they are so cheap I don't care if we get a ride back and lose the money.

Apparently I can't rent a car in Buffalo and return it in TO.  Bummer.

Also, car rental sites are not showing me options for in-city pickup that I know exist.  Does anybody know what the percentage hit is if I just turn up and try to rent a car?
inulro: (Default)
Dear lazyweb

Cheapest option for Convergence stuff involves a flight which gets into TO at 3 in the pm of the Thursday.  Am quite invested in being in Buffalo for the pre-party by 7 or 8.

The Interwebz are being completely unhelpful at showing me any ground transportation options for getting to Buffalo from Pearson.  (Obviously there's car rental, which I'm trying to avoid).

Do any of you with local knowledge have any bright ideas?
inulro: (Default)
I need to book our flights soon - partly so if they're expensive we can start paying; mostly so that when our co-workers moan that we don't have children in school & therefore shouldn't be going on holiday in August we can say "but we booked ours first".

Some preliminary research indicates that Air France is the best option. The advantages are:

1. We can fly from Bristol, avoiding the 2-hour journey to Heathrow. This is particularly advantageous on the return journey.

2. By changing planes in Paris, we avoid having to see our luggage during the transfer. On the other hand, the flight to SLC leaves Paris at 11:00 am, necessitating a Stupid O'Clock start here (which is routine on transatlantic flights). I have checked the price of airport hotels near Charles de Gaulle and they're not all as expensive as you might think, even with the Euro beating the pound into a bloody pulp situation, so we could take a late flight out of Bristol and get up at a civilised hour for the main part of the journey.

The Air France option means catching a connecting flight to Vegas from SLC. This isn't as bad as it sounds, considering the only direct flight from England to Vegas appears to be with Virgin Atlantic and is Not Cheap, and the Air France option still gets us in to Vegas at a reasonable hour.

I looked into the direct flight to New York from Bristol but then there's a load of really annoying connections to make, at every one of which I'd have to see my luggage, and total transit time = more than the Air France option with the overnight stay at CDG.

Plus, all my experiences of flying with US-based airlines have been bad ones.

I'm going to start talking to travel agents next weekend to see what kind of deals are to be had.

The Questions

1. Getting from Vegas to Park City - I wasn't planning on renting a car till we finish in Park City. Can I be fairly safe in assuming there will be enough people driving from Vegas to Park City that we'd be able to get a lift? We don't both have to go in the same car, can drive and will obviously pay gas money.

2. If the Air France plan doesn't work out, which US airlines are least bad? and which US airports are least awful to have to transfer at? We were pleasantly surprised by Detroit when we had to go through there after our airline went under in the 9/11 aftermath, but that's the only one where I've ever changed flights.
inulro: (Default)
This evening I realised that the only two times I made it to Convergence were the years I just said the hell with it, bit the bullet and booked right away.  Dithering about whether or not we could afford it or worrying about the timing inevitably means shit is never got together.

Thus, I have booked a room and laminates for Jason and myself.  (Madeleyn, if you guys get stung for my credit card fees I'll pay you extra when we get there.)

I am having the slight feeling of panic that I get whenever I make plans for more than a week or two in advance.  Especially plans that involve parting with money.

I will spend the next 9 months being ridiculously excited about going to parts of the States that even most Americans aren't motivated to see.

Sewing should commence about February.  This time, don't let me put it off.  So far, I'm leaning towards "gothic Calamity Jane"[1], but am trying to think of something suitably Western-y yet steampunk for the industrial night.  I have a skirt that would work well with the western gothic theme, but I mind need to shed some pounds to get into it.

Did I mention the Saturday night is my birthday?


[1] Kind of like gothic Annie Oakley, but less girly.
inulro: (Default)
This will only make sense to Convergence-goers - if you want the back story, read [livejournal.com profile] convergence

Do I book a room in the official hotel now, even though we won't be sure for some time whether Jason can come with me or not (or, indeed whether I can make it, but I tend towards the selling-a-kidney end of the spectrum on that subject), book a definitely easily refundable room in one of the alternate hotels, or wait till I get my shit together?  It feels to me like the official hotel will sell out soon.

The big question is, will I be missing out by not staying in the official hotel?  We really felt like we did in Montreal, even though our hotel was about 2 blocks from the official hotel and in fact closer to the venue than the official hotel.

Or should I get my shit together? 

(I'm not even sure if I can book flights yet.)

Should definitely buy event tickets anyhoo.

My colon ties itself in knots every time I think about checking the exchange rate, so I have no idea how relatively rich or poor I am at the moment.

I accept that I will never see the sort of exchange rate like we did last time ever again.  Radio 4 tells me every morning that going to Europe this year is out of the question, though I understand the US rate may have picked up in my favour.

Jeebus.  If I wanted to live in a country with a third-world currency that prevented me ever leaving, I'd still live in Canada where the only other third-world condition I'd have to deal with is the immigration queue at Pearson. 
inulro: (Default)
I haven't put as much time or energy into plans for Convergence as I should have.  No, I haven't got a life, my brain has died.

I have established that there are no direct flights from England to Salt Lake City.  Also no direct flights from Toronto.

The only option for changing planes in Europe and not having to see my luggage is that there are direct flights from Paris to Salt Lake.  I haven't investigated time or costs yet.  I then realized that if we're going via Paris, we can fly from Bristol instead of Heathrow.  Which might lead to a budget carrier experience in which I have to see my luggage (you don't seriously think Easyjet arrange to transfer your bags, do you?) but would still be worth it for not having to travel to Heathrow.  (Eurostar - Charles de Gaulle isn't really an option.  I don't think).  I suspect if I use my usual travel agent we can get the Bristol-Paris part thrown in for free anyway.

The other possibility, if I have to see my bags, is fly the Bristol-New York flight, but only if I can then get a direct flight from NYC to Salt Lake, and US airlines don't tend to have direct flights to anywhere.  Or appear to be able to get anywhere on time.

It has also occurred to me to fly to Paris or New York a day early and stay over so I don't have to deal with the whole trip at once.

Where I am completely plan-deficient is in what to do with the other week I want to be over there.  I'm trying to avoid the sort of road trips that involve being in the car for 12-plus hours at a stretch; on the other hand, it's the part of the world where that's what road trips entail.  I need to have a good hard look at my Rough Guide to the USA and figure out what's do-able without completely wiping me out.  Preliminary research for my  Ghost Towns book comes to mind, though seriously, even preliminary research needs a lot more time than that.  Proof-of-concept maybe?

Jason has made sounds about wanting to see the Black Hills (I made the mistake of telling him I've been).  I don't think I want to go that far, but it would involve drying through Wyoming, and I've never been there.

For the record, as long as I stay covered in Factor 50 sunblock I should be fine - dry heat is my natural habitat.  (OK, dry cold more so, the point being, the less moisture there is in the air, the more at home I feel).

Edit:  I've looked at a map and had an evil plan.  Park City -> Yellowstone National Park -> the Black Hills.
inulro: (Default)


This year I even managed to not accidentally vote for Boo's Pants.

C14

Aug. 13th, 2008 09:14 pm
inulro: (Default)
We left Tampa at 11:00 Monday morning, and got home at 6:00 last night, so the trip home was pretty epic. I think even [livejournal.com profile] the_axel and [livejournal.com profile] the_siobhan got home before we did, and they drove. I went to work this morning, but started to feel really sick in the afternoon so came home early.

I'll probably never get around to a "proper" write up, so a few comments here.

I had the *best* time. The small attendance may have been a kick to the committee's finances, but gave the event a really friendly feel.

I met some people IRL that I've known online since forever. I ran into some people that I haven't seen in approximately 10 years. Attendance at C14 meant a second meet-up with people I normally see once a year. Then there were the "oh, you're X from LJ/a.g." moments. And the people I'd never encountered online or IRL before. I'm truly staggered I have any voice left. The mass LJ-befriending is under way.

I'm still overwhelmed by how many people were there from Salt Lake City. When your bid goes in, I'm voting for it.

The weather was a non-event. I spent months putting together outfits for clubbing in hot weather (something we don't get here), and as it happens the air con was sufficient everywhere we went, so I could have just taken stuff I already owned. (but where's the fun in that?)

I'm still kicking myself for sleeping through Goths on Ice. I never sleep that long. Ever.

It kind of sucked that Audra were playing very late on the Sunday, but which point it had all turned into a bit of an endurance contest. Being the fan-girl dork that I am, I went around and did all my hugs and goodbyes before they went on stage, because seeing them was a large portion of the reason we attended C14[1]. They rocked. Their cover of Bela Lugosi's Dead was inspired.

I may have been there to see Audra, but The Passing Hour have all my money. Damn them for having the best merchandise! I was going to be sensible and just get the CD and the t-shirt but then I saw the handbags. Timly liked the thought of one of their bags travelling around Europe, so we may give it and its travels their own web page.

After spending two weeks avoiding Wet Willie's bars throughout the South, I ended up having one of the best nights out of my life in the one on Thursday night. The Hut not being open turned into the best epic fail ever! Those drinks were lethal! And after that, all drinks that are not alcoholic slushies are sadly disappointing. I'm looking at my blender...

I may have maxed out my credit card[2]. It probably would have been worse if most of the clothes at the vendors' bazaar hadn't been corsets, which I Do Not Do. I did buy several lovely t-shirts and some ludicrously cheap CDs though, and a whole mess of comics along with the Romantigoth colouring book. Yes, you read right. At some point I'll post a link.

Got back and it was cold & raining, which is The Law when you come back from abroad, but to make it special there was a traffic jam on the M4. It was so cold this morning I needed a sweater under my waterproof on the way to the bus and long sleeves in the office. When I finally gave upon work to discover that once again it's so windy my recycling boxes had blown away. I miss palm trees already!

In summary:

1. Best Weekend Ever. I hadn't said, but I've been seriously depressed lately. Spending a single weekend not being a socially isolated loser has really turned that around.

2. Am already trying to figure out how to make it to C15 (especially if it's in Long Beach on the fucking boat!) despite the marginal employment situation, shitty economy and battered credit card.

[1] About which I was open and public, and nobody called me an asshole for going to a C* for the bands. Imagine that!

[2] Actually. Seriously. And I haven't yet worked up to looking at my bank balance, which I really must do as the pet sitter bill can't be settled with plastic.
inulro: (Default)
Jason and I expect to be rolling into Tampa some time tomorrow afternoon. Have noted numbers and will start texting when we get checked in.

I was going to take time this evening to update about our adventures in Savannah and the Charleston area, but have ended up in a motel beachside instead of I-95 side as anticipated, so I had a swim and am going to sit on the patio and look at sand dunes after dinner.
inulro: (Default)
C14 is going to nearly coincide with my 40th birthday.

So, who's going? Am I going to be there on my own trying to convince random people I really was on a.g. Back In The Day even though I've since completely disappeared from the face of the earth?

The plan (such as it is at this stage) is to fly to either TO or NY and ROAD TRIP. I have yet to do the serious research into what I want to see, but given that most things that I want to see in the US are within striking distance of the eastern seaboard, I'm thinking this can be as long or as short as we like. Top of the list is Washington DC with my glasses this time.

Actual birthday, if funds allow, will be spent driving around Miami in a convertible. I have no shame and no class. And I like the art deco hotels.

If we book and start paying for things soon enough, it shouldn't mess up the finances too badly - car rental's going to be the killer. I can't actually buy laminates until I find out whether my current employment is going permanent, so I might miss out on the money-saving there.

Looks like this year I'll be spared the agonising over whether to spring for the official hotel. That is some deal! Would book now, but somehow can't cope with the idea of actually planning anything that far in the future.

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