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I’m writing this post from the balcony of my hotel room in Los Angeles, where I’ve been since Wednesday night for Gallifrey One – 25 Glorious Years. And what a wonderful time it’s been! As you learned in my last post, I’ve been coming here every year since 2002 and this year reconfirms how much I love this event!

My travel plans were a little different this year, since I was originally going to fly standby and then ending up buying a ticket two days before the event. I felt great about that because I knew exactly when I would be flying, even though my travel now required connecting flights in both directions. I don’t mind a connecting flight, though it’s never my first choice, but I was scheduled to have nearly 1.5 hours between flights on the way here. And since I didn’t check a bag, I wasn’t anticipating any problems. However, after sitting on the tarmac for 45 minutes, going back to the gate to deal with a “paperwork issues”, having to refuel to replenish what we burned sitting on the tarmac, and then finally getting in the air, I was very worried. I was able to use the wifi on the plane to access the US Airways site, which was of no use to me because the site wasn’t telling me any new information. However, based on when we left and how long the pilot said the flying time was, I knew I was going to miss my connecting flight in Phoenix. Eventually, I saw on their site that I had been rebooked onto a Thursday morning flight, which I was not pleased with because I REALLY wanted to get to LA that night to see my friends and get settled (I also hated the thought of having to spend the night in an airport). However, Lady Luck shined on me as we landed in Phoenix and I looked at my flights one more time and discovered that my connecting flight in Phoenix was delayed by 25 minutes. Win! I literally bolted from my gate to the new gate as quickly as I could, only to get there and discover a lone boarding agent and no passengers. I asked if they had already boarded the flight and she said they were done. Nooooooo! However, they were just closing the boarding door, so I was able to whip out my boarding pass, scan it, and quickly take my seat (I felt like I was in that scene from Home Alone!). So, I made it!! 😀 Although I didn’t end up getting to the convention hotel until about 11p, it was so worth it because I knew I was safe and sound and ready for an awesome long weekend. The even better part is that, the next morning, I got an e-mail telling me that I had been rebooked from an 840a flight (they apparently hadn’t yet realized that I already made it to LA), to a 930p flight, so if I wouldn’t have made it on Wednesday night, I wouldn’t have gotten to LA until Thursday night, which would have made me VERY unhappy. Thank you travel gods for shining on me that day!

Perhaps as a reward for surviving my harrowing travel experience, I got a wonderful surprise when I got to the hotel. As I walked in, I was greeted by several friends in the lobby (we spend a lot of time milling around, chatting, drinking, etc. in the lobby at this convention – we call it LobbyCon) and my friend Shaun, who runs Gally, told me that I would find a big surprise in my room. I knew my friend Jason was in the room because we had been texting (he got to the hotel first and we had already planned to room together, so he had already checked into the room). I got there, we chatted for a moment (I didn’t see any surprises), and then out popped my friend Matt! He had been hiding in the closet! Although he normally comes to Gally, he had decided not to this year, so I had no idea he was going to be here! Needless to say, I was beyond happy to see him. 🙂 Clearly, an amazing weekend awaited!

I was looking forward to Thursday of the convention weekend because it was the day when we were going to get out to see some of LA. Since the convention runs Fri-Sun and I’m flying home Monday this year (I usually go home on Tuesday), I wanted to make the most of the day. The weather was perfect – sunny, cloudless skies and temps in the high 70s F. Bliss! We often go to Santa Monica, so we decided to change it up and go to Manhattan Beach instead. We did some wandering around, had a nice lunch at Brewco (amazing, fresh guacamole!), which was right off the beach and had great views of the ocean, walked along the beach for a bit, and eventually made our way back to the hotel, where we indulged in drinkies and Phase 10. Truly a great day! We connected with other friends in the evening and by the time I went to bed that night (around 1a, I think), I could definitely say that my convention weekend had officially started. 🙂

For the most part, the actual convention days (Fri-Sun) pass by much the same way, especially since I’m on the staff of the convention. I’m a guest liaison, meaning I work with one guest (sometimes more, but just one this year) to make sure they get everywhere they need to go throughout the convention. Sometimes that means taking them to a panel they’re on, sometimes it’s sitting next to them in the autograph line to be their money handler (as people pay for the autographs they want), sometimes it means grabbing a bottle of water for them, etc. I’m working with the lovely Annette Badland this year. She has a relatively light schedule and is a very sweet person, so I’m really enjoying working with her. So it’s all about the convention stuff and making sure my guest is taken care of during the day and then hanging out with my friends in the evening. Although I stayed up late on Wed and Thu nights, Friday proved to be the night that got me early as I was asleep by about 930p! That tends to happen at least once at each convention, as the excitement of the weekend and the two-hour time difference catch up to me. Still, I’ve been having a great time here (as usual), made all the better because I’m with so many great friends and because the weather has continued to be so gorgeous (sunny and warm every day!).

So how about some pictures? I used to take loads of pictures at these things, but I’ve just been using my phone this year and I’m not taking as many. Still, here are a few:

LAXMarriottView
The view from our balcony. Lovely!

ManhattanBeachDrinks
Liquid lunch. Well, there was food, too

JasonMattManhattanBeach
With my awesome friends, Jason and Matt, on Manhattan Beach

FeetInOcean
I got to put my feet in the ocean. Win!

LobbyCon
A moderate crowd in the lobby for LobbyCon

Jeff&Billie
Me with Billie Piper, who played Rose Tyler in the first two series of Doctor Who. Her first North American convention!

DealersRoom
A view of the craziness in the dealers room

JeffKaty
Me with Katy Manning, who played Jo Grant alongside the Third Doctor in the 1970s

I started this post on the Sunday of the convention, but I’m just finishing it now. Oops! We didn’t have wifi in the room (we just leeched off the free pool wifi from our balcony), so the signal wasn’t always great, which made it harder to connect. Much easier to write it at home from the couch though. Look for another post about the rest of the convention shortly!