Apocalypse Now

The Rock DetoNates

Part I

Thursday, Februrary 14

I woke up at 3 in the morning.

I shouldn't say "woke up." That implies that I was actually asleep to start with. To be honest, I'm not really sure whether I ever slept or not. The night before, I experienced something I'm entirely unaccustomed to. I was Hyper. (As Kiri put it, "Hyper... Nate... Hyper... Nope, can't picture it.") I was actually bouncy. I felt like actually going outside and running around the block or something, except it was the middle of the night.

The next morning, I was to embark on an outing of unparalleled signifigance. I haven't embarked on an event of this magnitide since the first time I left the Rock in 1998.

I was going to attend Gallifrey One.

Gallifrey One, or "Gally" as people call it, is a science fiction convention. Generally a gathering place for Doctor Who fans, with sci-fi related events. But I didn't give a shit about the con. I was going to meet some friends of mine. Friends that I've never met before, yet have known for years.

The plan was, I meet Peter in San Francisco at 7am, and we would drive down to Van Nuys, where the convention is held. On the way, we were to pick up Joey and Candy, friends of Peter that he knows through a Red Dwarf fanclub.

Since the bus system doesn't start running until 6am, I hitch a ride to BART with my dad on his way to work. So at the crack of Doom, which is somewhere around 5:15am, I pile shit into the truck, and head off.

At 5:30 or so, we arrive at Orinda BART. Grab ticket, go in. Wander in, look for elevator. Give up. Trudge up the stairs with a load of shit. See the elevator. Now they tell me. Get on train.

40 minute later, I arrive in SF. It's ten past six, and I have time to kill, and I need some liquid awake. I wander a block away to a Starbucks and get a caramel frappuchino (which tastes like a caramel milkshake) and suck it down.

15 to 7, I wander back to the BART station to meet Pete. At 5 past 7 or so, a van drives up and pull over. Not being able to see inside due to glare on the window, I bend down and look in to see Pete waving at me. Pile shit into the van, drive off.

Half an hour later, swing by and pick up Joey. A bit later, we stop at MacDonalds for breakfast. At this point, Joey mentions that he's not feeling well, and may be coming down with the flu, and is going to bail out and take the train back to San Francisco.

We hit the road again. After an hour or so, we arrive in Sunnyvale to pick up Candy. At this point, Pete (who has likewise not gotten sufficient sleep) decides to sleep in the back seat while Candy drives. The first thing we do is drop Joey off at the caltrain station. We then embark on the trip to Van Nuys.

After a few hours, Pete wakes up again and takes over. We stop at a truck stop and grab some food at Subway, which I snarf down in a few minutes, not having eaten yet.

Finally, after 9 hours on the road, we arrive in Van Nuys.

We call for a trolly to come out and load our stuff from the van. We dump everything onto the cart, and head for the desk. Pete checks in and gets his key; Candy checks in and gets her key; I check in and get my key, and learn where my (and Random's) room is. Next stop, Candy's room. We drop off her stuff in her room and see her off. It was the last I saw of her.

Next we head up to Room 275: Pete's room, and offload the rest of the cargo. Pete takes care of a few things, and then we pick up stuff and head up to Random's room, where I'll be staying for the next week.

I knock on the door, but there's no answer. After a few moments, I take my key and open the door, and find the room empty. It would seem that Random and Lee have already gone to Disneyland with MacAddict, Shel and others, as planned. So I offload my stuff in the room and settle in, and Pete goes off to his room to do the same.

The first order of business is, of course, to dig out my "laptop" (in reality, an antiquated 286) and get online. The first thing I do is get on IRC, say hello, and announce that I've just arrived at the hotel.

At that moment, my IRC client crashes.

10 minutes later, I manage to scrounge up a working client and try again.

At this point, I see that Ash and friends are up in room 272. This is a room I will become intimately familiar with over the course of the con. They ask me where I am. I tell them I'm in 310, and am informed that I am about to be invaded.

So, I head for the door, and stare out the keyhole. After a minute or so, a bunch of people show up outside. At the head of the group is Dave Adler, along with Ash, Alryssa, and Tom. Just as they come up to knock on the door, I open it.

I'm immediately greated by Dave, Ash, and Tom; and naturally Alryssa takes the opportunity to pouncehug me. A few minutes later I'm joined by Ana, who also pounces me. We spend the next 20 or 30 minutes chatting, and then the rest of them depart back to the room. Pete shows up briefly to tell me he'll be in the lobby. I get back on IRC and chat for a while, and then, wondering why the Room 272 crowd has gone silent, go downstairs to talk to Pete. I'm immediately greeted by Pete, and the Room 272 crowd, and other people that I don't recognize. I take a seat among them.

Ash takes the opportunity to point out what a historic occasion this is. I'm actually in the bar. Ash offers me a drink, to which I respond with something to the effect of "As fucking if."

After a while, some more attendees from #drwhochat join. Rich comes over to the bar to join us. I recognize Eva wandering around the lobby, and Random and MacAddict are just arriving back from Disneyland, but one other person calls my name. I stare at her for a few seconds, feeling like I should recognize her, but unable to identify her. Just as she begins to point out that she's taller than most of the men around her, it hits me. It's Shel!

After introducing myself to the remaining people that haven't identified me and chatting for a while, we all hike out to the Denny's down the road. We eat and chat, then start to hike back. The rest of the group stops at the Food4Less on the way back, but I say "screw it," and head back on my own. Surprisingly, I manage to avoid getting lost.

When I get back to the room, I get online again and chat for a while. Shortly thereafter Random and Lee come back into the room and go to bed. I stay online for a little while longer and then go to sleep.

The convention was about to begin.

To Part II -->

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