Friday, May 25, 2007

Thursdsay and Friday in retrospect

I’m going to work backwards and start with the 501st party last night.

We headed out for the party last night around 6:40pm. It was a short walk to the Westin, where we immediately saw a couple dozen 501st members trading patches and other merch in the lobby. This is always a great thing about the parties. I got a few patches I’d been wanting and a challenge coin then made my way up to the ballroom.

Heather and I found Steve and Katie inside at a table and joined them. We counted up the number of Garrison Titan members we were expecting and realized it was time to combine some tables. We made a large figure 8 out of two of the tables, which ended up being enough for most of the attending Garrison members to sit at, plus some friends from SoCal Garrison, Seattle and other folks who joined us during the night.

Beth and Brandon

Heather and I

Steve and Katie

Walter, Shannon and Lisa (Victoria was hiding from the camera). Also not pictured were Chris and Kim, plus Kevin Rubio who were all sitting in these seats earlier.

Mark and Carol, sitting next to them was Wyatt...but he took off before I could snap his picture.

John was there, doing some patch trading like the patch guru he is.

There was pasta and lots of appetizers, plus a bar where you could buy drinks. Lots of the Star Wars celebs showed up at our party, as did reps from all the collectible companies, all of whom brought prizes for a raffle. That was pretty cool. Several of the people at our table won something, including Steve, Lisa and Beth…although I don’t think Beth got to pick up her prize because she couldn’t find her ticket.

Steve with his prize:

We followed Lisa to the Marriott afterwards and picked up our armor, then took a cab back to the Sheraton. It took quite a while to get a cab, but it was a short ride back. When we got back to the room…I was so tired, I hit the sack.

This morning around 6:45AM, the phone rang. It was Brandon, reminding me I wanted to be in line for the con at 7. I was sleeping, but got up anyway and headed down there. I arrived by 7:30. Brandon said he and Walter were going to ditch the line because it was far too long, and when I got there I saw what they meant. Luckily, someone I met in line yesterday morning was kind enough to let me into the line with them today. Later in the morning, Jim, Tom, Adam, Chris and Elizabeth joined us (at Celebration, lines grow wider, never longer)…and we headed into the doors at 10am to see what we could get.

I was after the Gentle Giant Animated Yoda and R2 maquette, so I headed right for the exhibition hall. Even though we had been near the front of the line, there were already hundreds and hundreds of people ahead of us. They either came from the fan club breakfast, or possibly they were exhibitors….but either way, they all rushed into the booths ahead of us and by the time I made it to Gentle Giant, the line was already wrapped round it more than once. I knew that I would not get my Maquette. Jim fared better, got his Boba maquette he wanted. Adam got into the Hasbro line and snagged me some Vintage style figures I really wanted.

I decided to walk around and look at the con a bit. I visited Sideshow, Lego, Hasbro….still haven’t spent as much time as I’d like at each booth, but there will be more time to do that during the show. Heather arrived around 10:30 and we walked around a bit before heading to a collector’s panel. We lucked out and received the first medallion they gave away, the R2 coin.

After seeing a few panels, we went to the Hasbro preview. They displayed tons of cool stuff that would be coming out later this year and next, including a 501st droid in Katie Johnson’s honor. It’s pink. That was really nice.

After that panel, we got into the line for the Fanboys premiere. I decided to jump out and grab some pizza and drinks (I hadn’t eaten anything but a muffin around 9am). Afterwards, they let the line in and we met Adam who had saved us some seats. We all agreed it is looking like it will be a great flick.

After fanboys, Adam left to shop; Heather and I tried to go to the costume contest but couldn’t get in, so we hit another collector’s panel…where we got a second coin. The panel wasn’t exciting, but we are now 2 for 4 with the coins. Not bad.

Jim and Tom joined us for the last panel (about EBay) and I stepped out to pick up my Sideshow and Gentle Giant pre-orders. I caught the end of the panel and then we all tried to get into the Opening Ceremonies line with Deanna. We got separated from Deanna (she had decided to turn back because of the line)….but Jim, Tom and I walked the entire length of the line and got into it. This was around 6:15.

I called Adam, who was about to make it inside and Montine (a new GT member hopeful) who had also made it in and was willing to save a couple of seats if we could join her. We never did make it in, and by 8pm, we had barely entered the convention center itself.

Around 8:30, they had us turn around and march out the doors, where they told us the con was over and we needed to go. Cop cars and fire trucks were everywhere, turned out there had been a bomb threat. Cops, fire trucks, ambulances and the bomb squad showed up and shut down all roads leading to the con.

Funniest thing about all this is all of the people who actually made it into the opening ceremonies were never told about this. I guess if the bomb was real, they were considered expendable.

Not knowing what was going on, or why we had waited in that line…..Heather, Jim, Tom and I all headed to dinner at a nice little Italian place nearby. I called Steve, Katie, Beth, Brandon and John…but no one was in a dinner mood I guess. There were only 2 other tables full in there, but they were all con people and the restaurant had Star Wars playing silently on their plasma TV. We watched almost the entire movie while we had dinner and dessert.

As we were leaving, the place started to fill up. Many 501st members including Mark Chu Lin, Kim and Chris all showed up, followed later by Adam and a couple of his friends. They had all made the ceremonies. No one blew up. It was a happy day.
Heather and I walked back to the Sheraton, and now we’re about to crash.

Tomorrow is Saturday, and promises to be even busier than today!

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