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And how was Chattacon?

This one may take a while, so behind the cut it goes:

Chattanooga, Tennessee is a little over one hundred miles from Atlanta, Georgia. The drive time (pretty much a straight shot up Interstate 75 North to Interstate 24 West) runs to about ninety minutes to two hours, depending on traffic.

[The above geography lesson is for the benefit of my LJ friends who aren't automatically familiar with the ways of the Southeastern United States. Everybody else, just nod and continue.]

I went to work as usual on Friday, went home for lunch to finish packing, returned to work and hit the road at 5:30. I was worried that getting to 75 was going to a slow crawl through molasses traffic, but, oddly enough, 285 was relatively clear. Once I got on 75, things were a bit sludgy until I made it past Kennesaw and then it was smooth sailing the rest of the way. I plugged in Marvin The iPod, set the cruise control and let the miles go past.

I stopped in some small town about halfway there for some fast food. (Taco Bell--yay bean burrito!) On the wall near the counter was a tribute to a young Marine who had died in Iraq, presumably someone from the area. There were some pictures of him, some small flags and a treacly poem along the lines of "he died so we could have our freedom." It pissed me off, in a way, because I don't know if this young man really died to preserve our freedoms as much as he died to preserve the agendas of the rich and powerful. But then I thought about it--you don't look in the eyes of a grieving father and tell him that his son died for meaningless reasons. Saying he died at such a young age for a higher cause makes the death a tiny bit easier to bear. And I can't really begrudge anyone that.

One of these days, I will have the route to Chattanooga memorized to the point that I don't have to keep consulting a map to make sure I'm on the right track. I am getting better, but it's that one last turn that keeps messing me up. And it messed me up this year, but I've done this enough times to know that I messed up and found my way back to the highway and to the correct exit.

Chattacon is currently being held at the Chattanooga Choo-Choo, a hotel that used to be a train station that was memorialized in a popular song back in the 1940s. It still has some of the grand architecture and they've even converted a few rows of train cars into hotel rooms. (I don't recommend them for Chattacon, though, since it's in January and the last thing you want to do in the dead of winter is sleep in a box with metal walls.)

Sean (aka docwhoopee), however, was not staying in a train car, but in a suite in the hotel building that had been designated as the 'party building'. He's been doing this for enough years that he and the hotel have an understanding and he and his friends pretty much own the first floor. I arrive just as he's on his way back from standing for an eternity in the registration line (their computers crashed yet again) and I get into the suite, set up my laptop, hook into the WiFi signal and post a quick howdy to LJ-land.

Most of the party setup had already been done, so I fixed myself a Girl's Night Out and helped get the bags of snacks dispensed into bowls. Sean's wife, Rozana, had managed to snag some books on wrestling from where she works, so I read a bit of one until people started to show up. Then I started coloring. No, really. Sean had run off a bunch of paper Mexican-style wrestling masks and had them on the table with crayons for people to color in. So I got started and as people arrived, some of them joined me. ("Pass the crayons! Is this a wild party or what?") Somebody requested that I do one with a werewolf theme. I threw a mask and some crayons at him and told him to do it himself. "I can't draw!" he protested. "Neither can I," I shot back.

Eventually, they announced that the wrestling competition would be beginning. Sean had set up a wrestling ring around a table and on the table had set up Rock Em Sock Em Robots in the middle. Nobody rose to the challenge, so I tagged John Hugdens and we got into the ring. I picked the wrestling name "Red Bull and Vodka" because that's what I was drinking and John declared himself "The Decimator." I'd never played Rock Em Sock Em Robots in my life, and it showed, because John knocked the head off my robot in about thirty seconds flat. He remained undefeated for about four rounds, too, until he fell to "The Pro From Dover" (better known as my brother-in-law, Peter.) After a while, they added thumb wrestling and arm wrestling to the mix.

I wandered off eventually and spent a good portion of the evening in the smoking tent that Sean had set up on the patio. I don't smoke, but the twins (Cesar and Javier--I've mentioned them in the entry about DragonCon) and Scott do, so I hung out with them for quite a while. Many, many drinks later, I sucked down some Pedialyte and toddled to bed.


( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
Feb. 1st, 2008 11:04 am (UTC)
I love when you tell stories. :)
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )