This it the fabulous tale of the harrowing airplane trip down to State College, PA, to visit sleeping wolf, and then of the masochistically long drive down to Maryland to partake in the First Annual Magnificent Maryland Renaissance Oktoberfest E2 Throwdown.

This is actually the first in a short series of day logs concerning my trip and the noder meet. The other days will be posted asap.

For another account of the noder meet, see: by etoile.

10-11-01, Thursday
10-12-01, Friday
10-13-01, Saturday
10-14-01, Sunday

At close to 4PM EST, masukomi drove me to the airport with my backpack and single bag to depart for my friend sleeping wolf and his wife down in PA. The airport was clean and slightly empty, and smelled almost-but-not-quite like a dentist's office. One nifty thing they had was a shoeshine booth.

I stopped at an e-ticket machine, swiped my debit card in it, and got printed out one ticket. I blinked and stared at it, as I needed two (one for the major flight ahead of me and one for the short trip I'd need to take after on a puddle-jumper to get to State College, PA.) I shrugged and walked on, thinking I'd get the next e-ticket at the next airport.

Now, I've been through hells in my life, but airport security has GOT to be the biggest hell I've had to deal with, at least as far as the past few years of my life is concerned. There were military personnel all over the place, all standing the same way, dressed the same way, not moving, not smiling…they seemed very much like mannequins in a clothing shop for men who were trying being too manly. It hurts to think how badly our country breaks those who go into the armed forces to serve it.

I had to go through the military security to get to my gate. I walked up to one of the designated checkpoints and handed him my e-ticket and put down my things to get out my newly purchased state ID. He gave me a sideways glance, as if I had 2 heads, 18 eyes, a pair of authentic fangs, and a lifetime supply of Iams Cat Food following me in a huge red wagon.

He grinned horribly at me, a very manly-men grin at the "poor widdle helpless women" and made some snide comment about my hair. He asked if I'd actually match the ID photo I'd be giving him. I gave him an obviously forced smile, handed him my ID, and snatched both the ticket and the ID back after he was through making sure I was me. I ignored the farther horrid looks he gave me, and walked through.

Next up came the security gates themselves, with the conveyer-belt scanners that look for guns, knives, and any illegal copies of The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy. I walked through the gate after stripping of metal, beeped, got wanded…oops, sorry, forgot to take off my watch…and went to pick up my things when a little man in a bad suit walked up and asked to search through my bags. Of course, he has already started doing so when I said it would be fine if he did.

I stood there as my drawing book got searched, followed by my pencil case, extra pair of shoes, headphones (oh yeah, you KNOW I keep my weaponry collection in THERE), and finally, my laptop. He pulled it out, flipped it over in his hands a few times, then looked up and asked me, "This is your laptop?" No, you schmuck, it's an illegal copy of The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy.

"Yes, yes it is."

"Do you mind if we run it through security one more time?"

"No, no I don't."

And he took it and went back to the conveyer belt, stuck it on, while I fumed inwardly, thinking, "Yeah, that's right, boys, check THAT Mac, REALLY well…I hollowed the fucker out and now keep a collection of assorted projectile-weapons inside for the sole purpose of hijacking a plane. I am terrorist, hear me rowr." After I got it back, I was stopped 3 other times, and thoroughly searched, wanded, and patted down before being allowed to board the plane.

I'll never understand the issue with pink hair and government officials, but I do understand the recent crackdown on security. The part that bothers me is that the people they want are the ones that look normal and trying rather hard to blend in. I am NOT one of these said people!

Ok…I finally got on the plane. There were maybe 20 people on the whole of the plane, one on each side of each row at most. It was very spooky. That plane ride lasted 2 hours, in which I started watching Serial Experiments Lain on my laptop with the kick-ass DVD player.

Upon arrival at the next airport, I started looking for an e-ticket booth, with which to obtain my ticket to State College. I found no such booths. I went to the information desk and asked how I might find one of said booths, and found out that this particular airport did not have them. Yay.

"All you have to do is show them the printed-out paper that has your flight number and destination on it. They'll let you on," said the half-distracted lady behind the counter.

"Alright," I thought, "I have 2 hours of lay-over before that plane takes off. I'll figure out how to get on it somehow."

I looked at my paper…ok…flight blah-blah-blah…departures…ah! Gate E4. Ok, so now, where is gate E4? Hmmm…signs for A, B, C, and D…Oh, there's E. I started walking. Lalala…the signs led me on a 20-minute walk, I shit you not, to gate E4. There was a large door in my way, manned by security personnel. I walked up to a security lady and showed her my print out.

"Can't let you through here without a ticket."


"No buts!"


So I turned around and lo and behold, behind me was a ticket counter! Sweet! I walked up to the counter and peeked over at a pretty lady with an American flag pin on her uniform and laid my crumpled papers out for her to see.

"I need a ticket, please."

She smiles a nice-lady smile and a few typity-type-types on her computer later, I had me a ticket! Yay, I get to go through the doors! Victory for the Mizzinator!

In the waiting area for the mystical gate E4, I sat down and plugged my laptop in to recharge. Two and a half hours later, when the gate area was full to the brim, an announcement boomed over the intercom:

"Flight blah-blah-blah to State College is...mumble…mumble…" * insert garbled, important half of message here…*

I blinked and saw lots of people getting up and into the line. I got up too and shuffled over to the counter by the gate and looked at the lady there. She didn't look happy.

"What did the announcement say?" I asked, "I couldn't hear it."

She blinked at me and mumbled then said: "The flight to State College is over-booked. We have too many passengers and not enough seats. We're having an offer for any and all passengers interested. We pull put you up in a hotel and fly you out in the morning, plus give you a free ticket anywhere. Are you interested?"

I thought about this…a ticket anywhere…hotel…naw. I don't want it. I want to get out of this place! Offer me that in money, and you got yourself a deal, bizznitch...

I told her no and she nodded and I walked off to sit back down. About a half an hour later, I got to board the tiny puddle-jumper plane bound for State College, PA.

The plane trip went without incident for half an hour. We landed, and got off, and I watched everyone around me meet up with friends and loved ones in the gate area, and I missed my girlfriend terribly.

Looking around, I didn't see sleeping wolf or his wife, and so I took my bag over to a cluster of chairs and stood, waiting for them. About 10 minutes of waiting later, he and his wife walked in. I waved to him and he just didn't see me at all. He just kept on walking. His wife however, saw me almost instantly and stopped to see how long it would take her husband.

How can you possibly miss someone like me? Bright pink hair, bright clothes...not something you see every day in the smaller, more rural areas of Pennsylvania, by any means. Eventually, he turned around and noticed me, and they saved me from my extreme hunger with some fresh cookies. *Insert happy little girl squeals here.* "COOKIE! Cookiecookiecookiecookiecookie!!!"

Ok, here comes my rant on airline snacks. The packets aren't big enough to feed an anorexic hamster for a day! I am fat, dammit! I need more! Snarf.

Around 12:15, I arrived at the home of sleeping wolf. Quite nice…lovely use of motifs in their home. One room froggies and lizards, one room mystical, wolves in another…very nice. It all strangely works very well. But none of that really mattered then, because I was rather exhausted and when I finally laid down in their guest room, I was in dead-to-the-world mode before my head hit the pillow.