Beshter (beshter) wrote,

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Lumos 2006

Jenn's mad adventures in Las Vegas...

So my day started out, me and Cookie Monster, getting up early, packing and showering, and making my way to the car with my stuff. Once loaded, I said goodbye to Linda, and got on my way. Gassed up, got Coffee Bean, and got on the freeway. All was well till I got outside Victorville, when, as luck would have it, my last remaining old tire blew. It blew out my back fender as well. And it nearly caused me to crash head long into the center divider. Not to worry, it didn't happen, but I was cock eyed in the emergency lane as I wondered, "well hell, now what do I do?" So as I started called Triple A, a nice fire patrol man got me to turn the car the right way. And then the CHP came along and got me across the road. They took a report, I got the tow truck guy to come out and change the donut, and I was on my way, with a now damaged back fender. Not to worry, I stopped in Barstow, got a new tire, and tried taping the fender so it would flap in the wind. This would have worked, if it wasn't so damned hot outside. Ce la vie, I move on to Vegas, and arrive, safe and sound, Umlaut a little worse for ware. Hopefully a new bumper is in the works, however.

So I called Frankie, and between the two of us got an extremely flustered me upstairs and into the room. Cookie Monster and I settled in, and while I called everyone, assured them I was all right, and gushed at the poshness of this place I'm staying in, Frankie got together some bits for me to put together into a costume. The end effect was rather good, a green bodice, brown skirt, my cotton Chemise from Nura's costume, and an old top hat that Lisa lent me and it never got back to her, so I put it to good use, (I figured she'd like that). I looked like I was ready for a ride through hide park. Add to this a wool cape of Frankie's, and I was a proper witch out to run about the 'castle' as it were. And some castle, it's a fancy, schmancy place. We call her friends Jenn and Tom, (I'm so used to multiple Jennifers here, it happens wherever I go), and we go down so I can register. All around are people in different Hogwarts uniforms, in wizarding gear, with wants, with Harry Potter t-shirts, (of which Frankie got me two, I was delighted). Once registered and put into a house, (I'm the only Gryffindor of my group, the rest are Ravenclaw, which I seriously considered), we poked around a bit with the vendors and stuff. Drooled over a wand, but did not purchase as I thought of my broken and flapping back fender. Tom and Jennifer arrive, and we wander a bit more, watch a bit of live human wizard's chest, (complete with whacking sticks), and decide to get a bite to eat.

The pub in the resort was serving HP fare, well it was their normal fair renamed. But we did get butterbeer, which was buttscotch schnaps and other things with whipped cream, and I got a portobello sandwich with salad on irish soda bread. Most good. Afterwards, we again wandered, ending up waiting for the Opening feast in the Great Hall. It was a rather large deal in the banquet hall, with lots of bread but not enough water. The staff never did fill my glass, and so I spent most of the meal without drink. But the food was good, we started with a simple green salad with a vinegrette, I think mustard, and moved on to the main course, which was beef stew. This might sound plain, but it is HP themed, and man, was it the best stew I had eaten. The rumor was it was made of rat, but someone suggested Prongs, and I about cried! LOL There was much meeting of new people, (some from Greenland even), and we all chatted on our thoughts and theories with HP, it was an AMAZING experience to just sit and talk with people and well.....GEEK. Something I don't get to do often with this series. We shot around ideas, chatted about things, it was great. But dinner ended, and the need to move around was upon many. The rest of the group had a quick smoke by the ash tray, as I went to find out the time of the following concert by the Wizard Rock bands. Frankie and I chose to go ahead, Tom and Jenn retired for the night. The two of us though had a blast. Draco and the Malfoys was amazing, and so witty and bittiningly funny. Harry and the Potters was high energy, very exciting, and lots of fun. And they have very silly stories on how they can both by Draco and Harry. I was truly shocked at how very good they were.

In the course I met a girl who I think is Canadian but attends Fuller in Pasadena, Sara I think is her name. If I run into her again before the end of Lumos we shall exchange numbers and perhaps get together. We discussed Dr. Bartchy's class and the whole theological scene et al, (especially the father as pastor part). She seemed very nice on the whole, and was dressed as Hermione from the Yule Ball in Book Four. Very clever.

So by the time the concert ended, Frankie and I were beat, hoarse, and ready for bed. Not joining the young-uns, we made our way to the room and settled in on amazingly soft beds with soft pillows and sheets, and zonked out completely.

Now, for those of you interested, look next week around the web for shots of Lumos. You'll find Frankie and I, probably in the Las Vegas Sun, but we were continually asked to stop and take pictures. I've never had my picture taken so many times in my life, perfect strangers walking over to her friends and us and taking pictures. It was great. I so want to go to Toronto next year and dress appropriatly. This time with the vulture hat.

So far this morning has been quiet. I woke up a bit earlier than Frankie, (I wasn't up at 4AM her time...), and took a shower in a crazy, wonderful shower they have here. With a regular and an overhead shower head, Patric would LOVE it, it's great for tall people. I was drenched, it was like being in a waterfall. On with the complimetary robe, and then to poke at classes and what I'd like for breakfast. I'm thinking Starbucks, I'm not in the mood for heavy. They had a complimentary one at an ungodly hour. Then it's off to class, but I suppose I need to get dressed for that.

Sometime need some jacuzzi time.

Cookie Monster has been enjoying the bed too. This confirms my suspicions I need a new bed as after having the worlds worse back cramps and being so sore I couldn't walk last I am fresh as a daisy this morning. So I need to buy myself a new bed when the new job comes in. An nice, expensive bed like this, to help the aching back. Yikes.

Wow, today has*blink, blink, stunned*

First of all, can I say I'm so glad to be a part of the Harry Potter's just so spiffen.

Second of all, I'm so squee excited. Sue from Pottercast would be laughing at me right now and squeeing right with me, so OMB, I'M EXCITED.

First off, we finally got out of the room in time for the 11AM classes, starving, but deciding to wait till lunch to eat. Frankie and I decided to go to a round table discussion on "What happens when your theory is sunk?" It was an interesting discussion as first of all, a) I haven't ever had an HP theory sunk as I'm a canon whore who doesn't tend to leap off into shock infested waters, and b) a member of the Lexicon staff was there, and this made me very excited. The Harry Potter Lexicon is what got me started into HP fandom years and years ago. But I did empathize with the those in the discussion who had theories, (or ships), sunk as I am a gamer dork who played White Wolf for years. Yeah, talk about being sunk. So I completely know where these people are coming from. It was a good discussion on how to move on past that, can you enjoy a series when "Joss Whedon has killed off all your theories on purpose?" Very good.

After this was lunch at the buffet, which was rather good, better than Golden Corral I must say, though I've yet to ever go to Hometown Buffet, Patric waxes poetic on that one. Then it was off to another round of lessons, this time we went to a Mary Sue lecture, on how to recognize a HP Mary Sue. This was most amusing as I've seen and read so many of these, and I wish Randy could have been there to giggle over the Mary Sueness. He knows, he's read Pottersues.

Next came the Steve Vander Ark lecture. Now for those of you who don't know Steve Vander Ark, (and if you aren't into HP, you don't), he is the creator of the Harry Potter Lexicon, and I worship the ground he walks on. This man is the person I want to be when I grow up, seriously. He's as anal, nitpicky, and canon whorish as I am! Worse even, as I discovered in his lecture. Initially we didn't think we'd get in, as seating got sucked up, and I soooo wanted to see him, he was the one presenter all weekend I wanted to see. But, they found seats, in we went, and he gave the BEST presentation on the magical places of Jo Rowling's world, and what makes sense, what doesn't, and what doesn't, and his search for Hogwarts. The search for the real Hogwarts had my dying, it was so hysterically funny. I think he's found it though, not far from Inverness. *grin* He also found Dawlish, much to the delight of the Pottercast fans, (and John Noe, I'm sure), and pointed out all the places in England that were most likely inspirations for the places used in the HP books. It's insane how ANAL this man and some of the people he works with are. Just insane, and I admire that insanity so much. God, make me that insane, and that great of a presenter someday, I think I'll make a great college professor.

After the lecture, I gushed all over Steve Vander Ark, (no, I'm not kidding, I was so totally fan girl all over him), and got him to sign the yearbook we all got. Still giddy I called Patric, who had no idea what I was talking about, but was supportive anyway, (I suspect he's just happy to hear me so happy). Frankie and I took a breather, then seperated for meetings, she went to one with Heidi Tandy, (most jealous, as I think I would have liked that one), I to a gaming one, where I imparted my knowledge of gaming and how it works, (wow, so few people know how to storytell...somewhere the corpse of SLAFC is turning in its grave), and I realize why I hate online gaming. So never going to do it. I think Frankie's one would have been more interesting. Then it was together again, and we piddled about for a bit, running up to the rooms and whatnot. I got the camera as I desired to tape the water quidditch finals.

Now, for those of you who are wondering what water quidditch is, it's literally quidditch played in the water. Now before Lumos they organized teams who had a tournament today out in the pool. The winners got not only the glory of winning, but the chance to play the Leaky Mug boys one on one. Yes, the Leaky Mug boys. I had odds Ben would drown, (being from Kansas, and as a native Missourian, I must poke at all Kansans...though Ben I admit is a sweetie, I love his spot on Mugglecast). So the winning team, (I think they were the Thrashers), went on play against all the Mugglecast boys, plus Emerson and John Noe from Pottercast. So hold your breath all of Frankie's friends...I got video of not only them, but of Emerson Spartz wet in a pool....I know, you are excited, I'll send her stills. Personally, I don't get it, but then, he's a teenaged guy who dorks around like all teenaged guys, and I suppose I'm getting to be an old lady at 29, so therein lies the difference. I geek on Steve Vander Ark, you can get giddy about poor Emerson.

So after nearly getting hit by a rogue quaffle thanks to Jamie and John, I got lots of footage of the Quidditch game, and my camera was about out of juice and film. This was OK, as I had just enough for later in the night. After running about in the hot sun, I went with Frankie to Starbucks, grabbed an iced drink and we went into our Night Classes. Here, if you attended all five you earned your W.A.N.D, with your name on it. So Frankie, Jenn and Tom, and I all went. We were all crowded into one ballroom, which made it a tad hard to hear, but what we did hear was interesting. The first class was History of Magic, where we learned about European schools both major and minor. Then it was off to potions, which I also filmed, where Harry had to teach us a class in potions to get his grade up for Snape. This was interesting actually, as "Harry" had to explain all the different real life roots, where they come from, what their history is, and why they are important. Then Harry and Draco proceeded to brew up a potion, Pepper-up Potion, with peppermint, lemongrass, cinnamon, and ginger root, it smelled wonderful. This was most entertaining, with lots of acting in this one, and I taped what I could, though people's heads were often in the way. Off we went then to herbology, which bored me, I didn't pay much attention to it, and then to arithmancy, which had some neat number games, but which also proved that Jennifer is the single most common female name in the Western, English speaking world, (there were 12 in that session). Then to divinations, where the teacher was most entertaining and I learned how to read palms and tea leaves. Then in went our attendance sheets, so tomorrow I should have a certificate with my W.A.N.D certification, I shall frame it and hang it with my PCC and UCLA diplomas. *snicker*

Afterwards, Tom and Jenn, along with Frankie shot the breeze laughing over Mary Sues, and then they decided to wander off and do their own thing, while Frankie and I went to Starbucks. There we ran into Bel from the Lexicon, and we invited her to sit with us, and we chatted a bit. This is where I was thankful that Frankie is friendly, as I am so not a conversation starter with anyone, but once into it I could chat animatedly. Belinda was nice, and we chatted all about fandom, the Lexicon, Leaky Cauldron which is another of my favorite HP sites, the fangurls for Emerson that I find disturbing, and just things in general. In passing, Jimmy the guy who hacked into Jo's sight last year came by and we met him. Then Lisa from the Lexicon, who we met in an earlier meeting also stopped by, and again more chatting ensued, and next thing I know it's a conclave of people from Leaky all sitting around talking about tomorrows podcast, and Frankie and I are just sitting there. I'm sort of gobsmacked by this. But I signed Belinda's book five...sadly John Noe got to the Dawlish line, (as if he'd sign anything else), and so I signed the back page. I hope she remembers, she's so nice, I'd like to get to know her just as a person to know.

So sort of star struck, I wander back to the room with Frankie, awed that I had such a wonderful day running around and hanging with some of the most famous people in fandom. And tomorrow more running around, the podcast, and this time I'll see if I can't snag more Mugglecast photos for the screaming girls at the Quill.

Saturday morning, and pessimist that I am I can't believe this is all ending tomorrow. This is sad. But, I will enjoy today as I can. So far I've crawled into the tub with tons of bubbles everywhere, taken a shower, and am not flopped currenty on the fluffy bed as Frankie sleeps, and it's only 9:30. I can't sleep much past ten in a morning, but last night we were up till 2 chatting and dorking. I admitted to Frankie I was thinking of the UofC for grad school, this seemed to please her to no end.

I was in the bathtub this morning, thinking on fandom in general, this little sub-culture I find myself in. I'm no stranger to sub-cultures, I was a gamer dork for eons before getting heavily into HP. I played White Wolf, and LARPed, and ran around pretending to be a vampire, and manipulated people both in and out of character, and was young, pretentious, and quite, quite stupid. But I was also having amazing amounts of fun, and some of my best memories are of me during that time, doing things, and having adventures. And so it is with HP fandom and the thousands of fans who are into it. The people who frequent websites and conventions, all the fans of Leaky Cauldron, Mugglenet, the Lexicon, the Sugar Quill, and everyone whose ever written fanfiction, played in online games, had massive theory discussions, or just camped out at bookstores the night before a release and purchased the book. These people are a strange little sub-culture of Western society, like Star Wars fans and Star Trek fans, who are passionate about the books they love, and the woman who writes them, and have spent ten years living in a magical world, where an average boy with far from average talent and heart saves the world, and finds himself in the process. We've all taken that journey with Harry, and for many of us, we've gone on the same journey he has. Whether you are a kid whose grown through teenage years to early adulthood now, taking those first hesitant steps like Harry is to becoming a mature adult, to a mature adult who has found that life's trials seem to be a little less so when you realize you don't have to save the world from a meglomaniacal Dark Lord, the thing is, we love and cherish these books because they mean so very much to us on a personal level. And yes, we shall go back to normal lives, schools, and jobs but it's nice to know we have this fandom to turn to when we want to find others like us.

I know amongst my friends I'm singular in my love for HP, though Randy appreciates it, and I think they find a hidden amusement in my love of the series, "Oh Jenn, it's she so cute, obsessing over her things." And it is true, I loved my shows, X-files and West Wing, I loved my books, but it's nothing to patronize really. Part of me wishes they could see what I see at this convention, but they might just see a bunch of really silly people dressed as...well, witches and wizards. Of course, I haven't brought up that they are also the ones who ran around like vampires and would have loved to go to GenCon, and dorked like they never dorked before.

Anyway, all this is a prelude to an idea I've been having, (I seem to have a lot of these), and if I find the time I might pursue this. No one has written, to my knowledge, a book on just us...the fans, and what it means to be a fan in the HP universe. Talking to Frankie, the Lexicon folk, listening to the Leaky Cauldron gang, I see the deep history, the friendships, the politics, the funny rivalries, everything that makes this subculture so much fun and sometimes so painful, all centered on some books written by a British woman years ago. I find it endlessly fascinating personally, and I wonder, there should be a tribute to us, the fans, and not in a condescending way either. So i might consider it, I'll talk to some people I've met this weekend, and ask Frankie and the Subbers their thoughts. It's percolating though....

Well, I shall dress and make my way downstairs for breakfast and meetings. We shall see what this day holds for me.

So the first lecture I went to today concerned the Byronesque aspects of Severus Snape. This was an interesting lecture, all Goth girls went aquiver for it. The second was one that discussed death in the Harry Potter universe. It was so sad, but inspiring at the same time. Death is but the next great adventure as Albus Dumbledore would say, and it was very good. Afterwards, I found Frankie, who was a bit slower getting up, we went to a lecture on canon in fanfic and how whether you can have fanfiction with or without canon. It was interesting, and Frankie and I found another site to go an poke at, Sycophant Hex. Weee....

Lunch at the pub with Frankie's friends was pleasant and took a while, with me watching the UCLA/Arizona game, (which was lost at spectacularly), and the USC/Stanford game, which was ducks in a barrel let me tell you, (take that, Emerson and your Notre Dame), which amused me while we ate. Lunch of burger and a martini was finished, we wandered around. I didn't go to another lecture, I waited instead for a wrist band for the LeakyMug podcast, and then waited for Steve Vander Ark's afternoon lecture.

So with wristband on arm, I went into Steve's lecture, found Susie who I ran into first night, exchanged email and numbers, (she wants a get together at Fuller sometime next fall for a HP lecture with one of the presenters), and then Steve started. OMB-he had me laughing so hard I couldn't think straight, and he had me crying pathetically. His rendition of Harry finding his parents in the Mirror of Erised had me in tears. And of course Dumbledore's word's to Harry at the end of Half-Blood Prince where he states, "I'm all right Harry, as long as I'm with you." Much crying in the room, but it was a wonderful lecture on fandom, the history of it, and why we love these books so much.

Afterwards, we wandered to the room, then I made my way to the podcast line, while Frankie talked to her friends, finding me later. I chatted up several people in the line, and Frankie managed to find Miss Sophia, who we got to talk to, (I think I have video of her doing Hermione in last nights Potions bit). We went inside the room where the podcast was recording and sat together, and Antonio also from the Sugar Quill found us. This excited me as I know Antonio from LA meetups. So we sat together, our own little SQ contingent. The Remus Lupins, which is really just Alex, was good, considering it's just him and the sound sucked. It was fun, and much screaming was involved. And following, as some may have heard was the LeakyMug podcast, much screaming was involved, and my voice in thrashed. The discussion was good, I found the discussion on Snape to be most interesting. Frankie tried to give the point, (before they changed topics), that Albus Dumbledore, who viewed death as the next great adventure, would not beg for death from Snape. Alas, she didn't get to make the point. So the trivia contest followed, and wow...Leaky so owned Mugglenet. OK, Emerson and Ben are whiners, I must say. LOL In a friendly way of course. Leaky was clearly better prepared. And I screamed and screamed, you can more than likely hear me on tape. BTW-the famous John/Melissa filk is great, I have the words, it's so classic and funny. And John's rendition of New York, New York was perfect, (and don't be fooled, John has a lovely voice), and Frankie and I danced in the aisles. Much fun had.

Off to dinner for the two of us, and we sat and chatted about HP et al. And then we chatted with some fans at the next table to us, much fun had chatting. I went to the HP movie viewing for a bit, but found the drunken hysterics a bit much, and desired nothing more than to watch them with Linda. So I returned, stopping by the pub to get a Stella to settle me down for bed, and then wandered to the elevators. Now all day, people have been stopping me to check out my shirt, (Potter puppets, "Naked Time", a gift from Frankie for my birthday). Earlier I was in the bathroom with Melissa Anelli, who was putting on make-up at the time, and I got accosted by five girls who loved my shirt. Never mind poor Melissa with the eyelash curler, I was being pinned by five girls loving the shirt, and then Melissa wanted to see too. So I'm displaying the shirt for everyone, and just wanting out of the bathroom. So as I get into the elevator after drinking my Stella, tired and wanting bed, I find myself in a elevator full of Leaky folk, (who I love and adore by the way), and they all latched onto the shirt. So I obliged everyone, (who were pleased with the Naked Time), and noticed one was Sue Upton from Pottercast. So I asked her for a hug, which she obligingly gave with a SQUEE, and then told her how I loved the show and she thanked me for listening. Hooray, this made me rather pleased.

Then into the room, where Frankie gushed on the bathtub, and then took more pics of the room, as we watch anime on Adult Swim. Off to bed now, and then tomorrow, the learning feast...I'm so sad to be leaving this. *sniffle*

Today was last day...I so didn't want to go.

Frankie's alarm woke me, and as I snoozed, I considered oddly how I'd end the series if I were Jo, (like she cares about my opinion on it, LOL). I got up, and packed things, and along with Frankie made my way to the leaving feast. It was yummy, but already people were ready to go. It was sad, but everyone seemed excited about Prophesy in Toronto next year.

So Frankie and I chilled in the room till noon, and then we headed downstairs to fetch the much bedraggled Umlaut. I drove Frankie to the other side of the hotel to meet Jen and Tom and I headed into the distance.

The drive was long, I was tired, and my Ipod was out of juice, so no lectures of HP, only country music on the drive home. Outside of gas and a potty break north of Barstow, I didn't stop. The Mojave was pretty, but I was tired, I wanted to see the boys and Linda, and to get home. It was nice to get out of the car and have the first person to greet me be Kobe, one of my cats. And the boys even brought home some leftover steak for me to much on when I got home. And they patiently listened to all my gushing and thrilling over my adventures. I loved Lumos, every bit, but I'm really glad to be home.

Tomorrow I'll go over more thoughts I had from Lumos, but it is late, I am tired, and I really want to go to bed.

But, before I do....

Happy birthday Harry Potter and Jo Rowling, wherever you are. Thanks for giving me such an amazing weekend.
Tags: harry potter, vegas

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