c15 was kind of like this:

all right, let's see. Thursday. Woke up at 5am to drive neighbors to airport to go to Mexico. Couldn't go back to sleep. Finished packing in a daze. Caught plane. Arrived at long beach airport, where it was a million degrees. Found Una, whose flight conveniently arrived mere minutes before mine, found a restroom, found my bag, found a taxi. Checked in to a big fucking boat. Found our room, which was beautiful and awesome. Went to go find people. tried the bar. Found Peter Coffin and Geekers. had a strawberry daiquiri and one of una's potato skins. Satori and ~Fianna showed up. Una and I left to go wander around. Immediately ran into Miss Janette and Blackavar. Followed them back to the bar for hellos, then went in search of food at the cafe. Had fish tacos. Janette and Blackavar needed to go into town for some stuff, so I tagged along with them on random wander around WalMart while Una went back to the room. Bought a towel with an octopus on it for the beach party. Janette got sand castle toys and a bubble wand and a leopard print bra. Una called while we were there to tell me my pant were haunted. Headed back to hotel where I crashed out for an hour. Then caught bus to tiki bar. Tiki bar was kind of crap, so we followed Axel to the Irish pub, which turned out to also be kind of crap, so we went back to the hotel and went to the bar. Listened to Ramon ramble about Hawaiian history. At about 1am, was exhausted and couldn't keep my eyes open anymore so I went to bed. Slept until noon on Friday, which was a good thing, because I wasn't going to see a full night's sleep again anytime soon.

Friday, saw more of the inside of the Promenade Cafe, as Una and I went for brunch (I had lentil soup and chocolate cake) and then ran into Janette and Michael as we were coming out and turned around and went in again to hang out with them while they ate. Then picked up our laminates, and I headed off to help with AV setup for the fashion show. Arrived to find it almost done except for one crucial piece of making the lights work, which I was able to help with. So, five minutes of very essential work. Then ran into Ashbet, Josh, and Kira arriving for fashion show rehearsal. Hung out and heard their story of car rental woe. Performed another five minutes of essential gopher running. Quality over quantity is my favorite kind of volunteer work. Sadly, it appeared some of the fashions for the show were irretrievably stuck in LA rush hour traffic, but the fashion show, while small, was lovely anyway.

After the show, I tried an 'Axel's pig roast' cocktail, minus the melons. Something called 'The AGSF' was also on offer, but it was obviously wrong, as it was fruity rather than sharp and bitter. Some of us were ravenous, and it turned out that 'verandah grill' was a lie and there was no food immediately at hand, so we went in search of greener pastures. After some back and forthing and some splitting up and getting back together, we settled at the Chelsea Restaurant, which was a finer dining option than our friend the Promenade Cafe. On the pricey side (I thought it looked fine at first glance, but it turned out I was only looking at the appetizers) but delicious! I had the mixed seafood grill, which satisfied my seafood craving, and a creme brulee dessert (which I wasn't so impressed by). Then it was time for the ghost tour!

So I think I was expecting the ghost tour to be somewhat historical. Not sure where I got that idea, but I was dead wrong. (harhar) What it was, was hilarious.

Folks waiting for the start of the tour - I've got a sharper photo that I took with flash, but this one is more accurate.

The lighting was somewhat....erratic, so I got a lot of photos of blackness, but a few good ones. Our first stop was the old pool. I kept this one because I like the black and white grainy look that came out after a trip through photoshop....

There were lights. There was fog. There was badly recorded thunder. There was being thrust into darkness. Somewhere there are some poor ghosts going, 'you've got to be kidding.' So delightfully cheesy.

When the Queen Mary was a military vessel in wartime, thousands and thousands of soldiers were packed aboard. Here's some cots. Don't know if they are authentic or not.

Don't know what this is, but it looks spooky, ja?

So in the bottom of the ship is the boiler rooms, with the boilers long gone.

I took some pictures of these pipes from above, because they seemed sort of neat creature-from-the-deep-like.

In the dark, they seem pretty real. But then they start shaking and steaming and lighting up from the inside and you realize how made out of paper-mache they are.

Not sure if these dials are real or not. Guessing not, but they still look kind of cool.

These pipes look pretty real, though, and I caught them with the light on them!

The bow of the ship, they're talking about when the Queen Mary hit another ship, slicing the other vessel in two and sustaining damage itself...something about all those poor lost souls trying to get in...and then the water starts pouring through the walls. w0000!

Good times.

After the ghost tour, Friday night gets a little fuzzy...I think Axel led us on a windy tour back up to the sun deck, where there was still partying going on. At some point we ended up back down in 'steerage', which was a meeting-type room with fluorescent lights, so we turned the lights off and talked in the mostly dark. Somewhere around 4am I stumbled to bed.

Saturday morning...I was badly in need of internets and ended up paying the outrageous prices for the public terminal. Peter Coffin and Geekers showed up and said 'we're going to breakfast...' and I said 'I know, I read your facebook, give me two seconds.' So then we went to the omelette parlor and I had a waffle. Num. And it was hot and I wanted to go to the beach. Then some other stuff may have happened that I don't really remember, and then we went to the beach!! Other people apparently had to wait for the bus for a really long time, because one of the buses had gotten lost, but had good timing. And there were burgers and drinks and I got drunk and made a sandcastle and went in the ocean. BEST BEACH PARTY EVER. Except the ocean stole Kira's glasses.

Gala and Donna being fabulous

Hawaiian shirt crew: Ramon and Siobhan

Miss Janette and her fabulous parasol

We have fire and we know how to use it... (Peter Coffin and Keith)

I <3 Trid's apron

Poor Kira is glassesless. Josh is, I think, going to go knock some sense into the sea.

Miss Janette and the ocean

California dreamin'

Carriemonster and Ian party on.

I got knocked down by a couple waves while I was wandering around in the ocean. Luckily, unlike Kira, my glasses stayed on my face. But I sure ended up with a lot of sand in my pants. A great deal of which I'm afraid I left in the bus bathroom. And some of it I left in the room bathroom where I took a shower before heading to steerage in my pajamas. Tried to convince the committee chairs that there could be better lighting in steerage if they'd let me have the rented par cans, but they said no. Which was probably bright of them, as I was still a little drunk, and anyway then I would have had to be responsible for them. (Friday evening I did successfully fix a lighting problem with a piece of gaff tape tho, so there.) At some point I ended up in bed, with the alarm set so I wouldn't miss Goths on Ice the next day.

C15, Sunday morning, bright and early (by which I mean just after noon), I stumbled to the lobby to go ice skating.

Our awesome committee leaders

I think the person in this photo is in the process of falling down.

I don't remember this guy's name, sadly.

Group shot! (sorry for the blurry)

Sunday, after getting back from skating, and helping Ramon get his hand better bandaged up (he'd managed to burn the crap out of it on the exhaust manifold from the dune buggy he rode in to skating), I put a little bit of volunteer time in at the dealer's room, helping people carry stuff to their cars. Ok, mostly I sat and chatted, but I did help one vendor!

Lovely ladies with fans

Then I went to go put nice clothes on for the banquet. As soon as I was ready, I hurried down there to see if they still needed any help with setup, 'cause I was supposed to have done that at some point and had managed to mostly miss it. I don't think I was really much help in this instance, despite standing on chairs to look at things, but they had someone there who seemed to know what he was doing and had it pretty under control. Then there was dinner, which was ok, but not great. I got a little anxious about the seating thing, although it's hard to put into words why. I think maybe it had a touch of the grade school who eats lunch where thing, which, let me tell you, I have all kinds of bad history with. I think if we were gonna do a formal dinner thing again, it would be fun to have 'dates' (going stag totally acceptable) and assigned seating. Admittedly, the last wedding I was at, our table at the reception mostly didn't talk, but I think it would be different at convergence, and a good way of meeting new people. We did end up with the drummer (I think) for the band at our table, which was fun. I also didn't find the food that exciting. Maybe it would have been better with the mushroom sauce (no mushrooms for kests) but I kinda doubt it.

Anyway, after dinner, people kind of scattered, which seemed unfortunate. I ended upstairs in the 'bad kids alcove' with Ashbet and Marianne and assorted company. I poked my head back in for a bit of the band, but it was very loud, so I left again. (The music seemed intriguing, though, and enough people had returned that they had an audience even without me.) People were also hanging out on the deck outside, smoking, and I hung out there for a little while. Later, there was yet more steerage! (I took a couple photos in steerage, but it was too dark in there - they didn't turn out.)

Monday Eilis was kind enough to give me a ride down to OC, after dropping Donna at the airport. It was my mom's birthday and my dad knew I was coming, but my mom didn't. She doesn't always react well to surprises, but I thought this one had a pretty good chance of being successful, and it seemed to go over very well. :) Didn't really do anything special, just had a nice relaxing day - helped her hang out and bring in laundry, helped her put together matching fabrics for her sewing projects (she volunteers with a group called 'threads of love' that makes isolette covers and what are called 'lovey dolls' for premature babies), and stopped by her women's bible study with her so she could show me off to her church friends. (It was 'wine and chocolate' night, so I got wine and chocolate and didn't actually have to do any bible discussing before my dad came to pick me up and give me a ride back up to Long Beach.) Also picked up the Girl Scout cookies they'd been holding onto for me.

Back on the ship, found everyone hanging out upstairs on the deck, and handed out cookies.

Eventually people dispersed and Ramon and I did some exploring around the ship.

While we poking around the stern, I looked over the side and noticed, sitting quietly and somewhat spookily in the dark, an entire row of sleepy pelicans.

Tuesday morning, a few of us toured the Russian submarine (now I want a submarine). And then it was time to get in a shuttle and go to the airport. :(

See y'all next year!!!