The day before we left for Anime Expo, Dave dropped out of the vacation because his boss never remembered his asking for the time off in the first place. He needs the job to pay bills, and so it was pretty much a done deal. The really cool part was when he offered to pay his share for the room anyway, and thereby allowed us to go. Without his portion, we would have been shit out of luck, because I could not afford to cover his portion in whole or in part.

With that said, our journey begins at 0400 hours on Thursday morning.

I woke up late, after having groggily already killed my alarm clock from waking me up at my desired time of 0230. Instead, I woke up 45 minutes later, to Jody and Jenn in the living room sapping my internet connection with such silly games as EverQuest and R.O.S.E. Online. I quickly showered, and because I kind of procrastinated on packing, I quickly did as much packing as I could within 10 minutes, and stunned myself when 5 minutes later I was ready to go. Seriously a new record in packing for a trip. That’s never happened. We left the apartment at 0405, and headed for our first destination of the Safeway near Todd and Jody’s old house. We bought some provisions for the trip; soda, milk, pastry. Then a quick drive to Gilroy and we gassed up and headed over Pacheco Pass.

I wish I could say that the trip itself was fun, but because Jody and Jenn both stayed up all night, they were both a little subdued. By the time we got to Chudville, we were hungry and pulled over to gas up and get food at Denny’s. Now, this is where the fun started. People were a little more lively and the conversation started to flow freely, we figured out that Jenn had yet to call in to her work to let them know she wouldn’t be in that weekend! Now, Jody doesn’t work, so there’s no accountability, but I have this job, and I had my vacation form filed back in freaking January! I don’t like leaving anything to chance and being screwed out of a weekend. AX is something I don’t like to compromise on. So, we sat there, trying to come up with various reasons for her to call in, and all of them were pretty damn funny. I won’t go into them, here, because it was pretty hilarious and I don’t remember them all. I just remember the idea of a 96-hour flu coming up, and that’s about it.

We made really good time coming into the Los Angeles area. Jody took over driving from Chudville, and kept the pedal on the floor by hitting an average of 90mph all the way down and managed to avoid getting pulled over. I had a small project left over from earlier in the week and consigned myself to the back seat with my laptop to finish it before we got to Anaheim. We pulled into the Anaheim Marriott at 1130 and checked in shortly after. The check-in process was a vast difference from the Courtyard experience earlier in June, and the Anaheim people bent over backwards to accommodate me. I even got a personalized letter of welcome from the Marriott staff, telling me that I’m entitled to certain benefits with them. I thought that was very cool. The only problem was the asshole bell captain who brought the bags to the room. I had nothing less than a twenty on me, and I wasn’t going to ask for change on a tip, but he got a little bent out of shape when I made no move to tip him for doing his job. He did nothing extraordinary, and his attitude when he left reinforced my decision to not tip him.

The J-Squad was tired, and they fell asleep after we hooked up with our friends from the city, Thomas and Alma. Thomas, Albert, and Alma were staying in the Hilton across the street (where we would be the next night and the rest of our stay for the weekend), but their room wasn’t going to be ready until 3pm, so they hung out with us in our room. I’m glad I set my arrival time for 11am at the Marriott or else they wouldn’t have checked us in. Anyway, once they got their room, sleep was the order of the day, and Ispent most of my time configuring my portable wireless-G router for use with the room’s internet port. This ended up being a three hour ordeal, and painful. The router itself was giving me shit, my laptop wasn’t doing what I wanted it to… ugh. But eventually it started working, after I reset the damned thing twice.

When 1800 rolled around, Jody and Jenn woke up and we headed down to the pre-registration line. It was fucking huge. The line was broken up into two parts: an upstairs and a downstairs. It took three hours to get from one end to the other, and possibly it wouldn’t have lasted that long if I hadn’t tried to line jump… because we ended up having to go back to the end of the line. So, that was my fault, but luckily we knew some people from AnimeFX who were ahead and we were able to slip in with them and that put us in a better position than our initial line position. By the time we actually go out badges and packets, it was just after 2100, and we hooked back up with Thomas and Alma and jaunted over to the Jack in the Box to get a late dinner. By this time, I was beginning to feel the fatigue of the day’s events, including the pain in my lower back from standing in line for such a long time. I collapsed in my bed while Jody, Jenn, Thomas and Alma all watched Yakitake Japan.

Tomorrow? We check out of the Marriott and move into the Hilton, along with the explanation of why we did that.