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  • Mood: Devious
  • Listening to: Was (Not Was) - Walk the Dinosaur
  • Reading: The Paper Magician
  • Watching: One Piece
  • Playing: Plants vs. Zombies
  • Eating: chicken sandwich
  • Drinking: water
To-Do List (last updated October 4, 2014)
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Convention update time -- i.e. the time I get to bore everyone with the pointless minutia of my trip.  :XD:  This is mostly the pre-con stuff here, so if you're not interested in the stuff I did in Chicago besides TFCon, you can always wait for the next journal...

So Wednesday morning I woke up bright and early, saw my mom off to work, and made sure I was completely packed before heading off to the airport.  I was paranoid about forgetting something important, even though Mom assured me that unless it was something vital like my registration paperwork, I could always just buy another of whatever it was when I got to Chicago.  She did advise packing a change of clothes in my carry-on, just in case my luggage somehow didn't make the journey with me.

Since Mom had to work, my brother drove me to the airport.  Mom will usually park the car and go with me as far as the security checkpoint, but my brother is far less sentimental -- he drove me to the curb, opened the door, and pretty much kicked me out there.  :giggle:  Okay, he wasn't THAT bad, he did help me get my suitcases out of the trunk.  Still, it was kind of amusing to me.

Because Southwest Airlines is, well, Southwest Airlines, I would be flying to Chicago by way of a layover in Las Vegas.  Because that totally makes sense.  :sarcasticclap:  At least both my flights were fairly uneventful, even if the flight from Boise to Vegas was packed so full that they asked two people to accept compensation of some sort in exchange for taking a later flight.  I did stop to buy an umbrella at the Boise airport, since I was told that Chicago's weather was pretty crummy at the moment -- I lucked out and found travel umbrellas half-price at a store in the airport.

My flight from Vegas to Chicago actually got there ten minutes early, though we couldn't get off the plane for another fifteen minutes because all the jet bridges were being used.  By the time I made it to baggage claim, there were only three or four suitcases left on the luggage carousel.  Thankfully two of them happened to be mine, and soon I was out on the curb getting loaded into my shuttle.  (Note to self, though: next time use the bathroom BEFORE picking up my stuff -- airport restroom stalls are cramped enough without having to share space with your luggage.  :XD: )

The website for the shuttle company said it would be an hour and a half ride from Midway airport to my hotel -- yikes -- but apparently that's assuming the driver has to stop at five different hotels.  I ended up being the only one on my shuttle, so it was just a half-hour drive, which was mostly occupied with talking to my driver (a very nice man from Turkey) and trying to get pictures of Chicago at night (they all came out blurry, so not sure if I'll share them or not).  Still, by the time I got to my hotel I was pooped, and dinner that night consisted of a Pop Tart before I crashed for the night.  Yes, I brought Pop Tarts and muffins -- when the hotel doesn't serve complimentary breakfast I bring my own food, so that's one less meal I have to pay for.

The Hyatt Regency O'Hare hotel is a NICE hotel.  No pool, which some people seemed to be annoyed about, but it was a beautiful place and the staff was all exceptionally friendly.  And wonder of wonders, they had free Wi-Fi!  :D  True, the minute you logged on they prompted you to upgrade to a fancier package, but given that all I wanted was to check my messages and maybe IM a few people, I didn't see the need to pay for that.

The down side to the hotel is that it's laid out weirdly -- the whole hotel is built around a "courtyard," with the rooms coming off walkways instead of proper hallways.  This means that all the noise from the elevator, lobby, and hotel bar and restaurant funnels upward and can be heard all.  Night.  Long.  Combined with the fact that the hotel's five minutes from the O'Hare airport and planes are frequently flying right overhead, it made for a rough time trying to sleep.  There was a white-noise machine in the hotel room, but it didn't help a whole lot. 

Still, there's a lot to be said for nice hotel staff.  There was one receptionist in particular who I made small talk with a time or two, and he was very nice and seemed tickled that the hotel was playing host to a TF convention.  Also, when I complained about the phone in my room not working, they sent someone up to fix it right away (though of course the guy happens to show up right as I'm stepping into the shower... :XD: )  "Fixing" my phone amounted to plugging in something that had gotten disconnected, but I still got some free drinks from the hotel coffee shop to make up for it.  It was nice to have some free hot chocolate with my breakfast a few mornings.  :)

Thursday was the day I had set aside to spend with my friend Megan, and I hitched a train to downtown Chicago to meet up with her... and promptly got lost in the city.  :XD:  Chicago is freaking HUGE, and for someone like me who considers Boise a big city, it was rather overwhelming.  I don't know how I managed to walk past the Willis Tower without seeing it, but there you have it.  I'm hopeless.  :XD:

Thankfully I made it to the Tower, met up with Megan, and we got to explore the visitor's center and watch a brief video on the making of the Tower before taking the elevator to the Skydeck on the 103rd floor.  The view is gorgeous -- and yes, I got pictures.  I only managed to stand on the clear glass balcony for a few seconds before chickening out, though -- seeing the ground a thousand feet below your feet is an unnerving sight, even if common sense dictates that thousands of people stand there without coming to serious harm. 

After the Willis Tower, we took a cab to the Museum of Science and Industry.  It's a fun place, with a wide variety of exhibits and lots of hands-on things to toy around with.  Yes, most of the hands-on things were meant for kids, but there's nothing saying adults can't dork around with the exhibits either.

One of the interactive exhibits was a vortex-creating machine -- basically a miniature tornado right there in the building.  That was the source of much hilarity for the both of us.  As the presenter was discussing the physics behind the tornado, Megan took one look at me and said one word -- "ROOM."  And we both proceeded to crack up laughing.  (For those who don't get the joke, the character of Trafalgar Law from One Piece tends to invoke his ability by gesturing and saying the word "room," and it manifests at first as a swirling vortex of smoke.)  We also cracked plenty of jokes about the characters of Smoker and Caesar, both of whom have smoke-related and gas-related abilities.  Fun times.  :XD:

The highlight of the museum was the Disney exhibit -- original props, animation cells, scripts, storyboards, filming equipment, and other memorabilia from the Disney archives.  I've long been a fan of many of Disney's films, so getting to see parts of Disney's history up close was a real treat.  There was also a mini-class on how to draw and animate Disney characters for yourself, but I didn't attend.

We ended up eating lunch in the museum cafeteria, and our discussion veered right to the One Piece anime -- she's the one that got me hooked on the series.  At some point one of us made the remark that the people around us probably had no idea what we were talking about, and frankly I don't think either of us cared.  :giggle:

After we made the rounds of the museum we made one more stop -- the Adler Planetarium.  The main reason for visiting the planetarium was because a partial solar eclipse was supposed to happen that afternoon, and what better place to view it?  Sadly, it was overcast and we were unable to see it.  :(  The planetarium was still a lot of fun, though -- we got to see and touch samples of moon rock and Mars rock, giggle like the mature adults we are at the model of Uranus, and view a collection of antique telescopes and astronomy equipment. 

When we decided it was too cloudy to view the eclipse, we hung out a few minutes by the lake, then we took a cab back to the train station and I headed back to the hotel.  I got back just in time to get some bad news from home -- our dog, Chi Chi, had run off and hadn't come back home.  :ohnoes:  Had I been home I would have helped look for him, but as it was I was powerless to do anything.  That's the worst feeling in the world, knowing a family crisis is taking place and being unable to do anything about it.  :(

Thankfully, I got a text about eight-thirty saying that someone had found Chi Chi and brought him home.  :phew:  Still, it was a stressful few hours of pacing the hotel and waiting for news from home.  I did get dinner at the hotel bar (which was marginally cheaper than the hotel restaurant) at some point during the whole thing, since I didn't feel like walking to any of the nearby restaurants while I was out of my mind with worry.

Thursday in Chicago was a blast... and I was hopeful that the rest of the weekend would be much the same.  :excited:

Art Feature -- Chromedome and Rewind

Chromedome and Rewind by twotenjack11
TF:MTMTE - Chromedome and Rewind - for Sprite by Kingoji
Rewind and Chromedome by GeekGilmu

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kenyastarflight
Kenya Starflight
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What would you like to see as the next journal feature before TFCon? 

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:icondestroyah:
Destroyah Featured By Owner Oct 20, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
Thanks 4 fave
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:iconkenyastarflight:
kenyastarflight Featured By Owner Oct 20, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
You're welcome
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:iconmantadrifter:
MantaDrifter Featured By Owner Oct 11, 2014
A little gift. Beware your sides will split:
fav.me/d7xrcr0
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:iconkenyastarflight:
kenyastarflight Featured By Owner Oct 11, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
I saw that one.  :XD:
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:iconmantadrifter:
MantaDrifter Featured By Owner Oct 12, 2014
:giggle:
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:iconcyber-angel-rowan:
Cyber-Angel-Rowan Featured By Owner Oct 8, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
Random question: How does one hypothetically show that a character is at the mercy of an omnipotent being, say one trapped in a Clingy piece of Loyal Phlebotinum that forces the holder to move between locations on a semi-regular basis?
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:iconkenyastarflight:
kenyastarflight Featured By Owner Oct 8, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
...I have no idea.
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:iconcyber-angel-rowan:
Cyber-Angel-Rowan Featured By Owner Oct 8, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
Well damn. Appreciate the honesty tho.
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:iconkartoon12:
KarToon12 Featured By Owner Oct 4, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
:boogie: :iconfaveplz:
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:iconkenyastarflight:
kenyastarflight Featured By Owner Oct 4, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
You're welcome!  :)
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