(Photos not mine: taken by WeeScot, Venom2099, and Mephista. Will be removed upon request.)
I timed things poorly and ended up in a rush to get to the airport. I was a bit OD'd on caffeine, listening to The Crystal Method, and feeling stressed out at every little delay. About halfway to Hartford I realized I was, in fact, going to make it, but my heart might asplode if I didn't calm down. I eased up on the gas, switched the CD player to Beck, and managed to arrive feeling more mellow and with a little time to spare before boarding began.
Flying into Vegas is completely different than driving in. Driving in, you approach the city with this sense of awe and wonder; there's all this desert everywhere and all roads seem to be leading to this one place. As you drive through the "city" you eventually arrive at what we think of as Las Vegas, with all its billboards and neon. Flying in doesn't have that same sense of magic, though it does offer its own surreality as you view the strip from the air.
I checked in, ditched my stuff in my room, and started making phone calls. I soon hooked up with a half-dozen folks sitting at the Minstrel's Lounge bar with a pile of empties listening to an awful lounge singing act and found out that another half-dozen were currently out procuring much cheaper liquor. I was tired from the flight and starving, but after eating a crappy cold cut sandwich and enjoying a couple cold beers, I started to perk up.
Before long, we were all lugging 200 dollars worth of alcohol from a van in the parking lot up the elevator to the room shared by the members of the Bacon Boys band. Coolers, ice, several cases of beer (and fine malk litta), a box of wine, a bottle of Grey Goose, and some 1800 all were successfully deployed, much to our amusement. Security gave us a couple eyeballs but nobody said anything.
Side story: we had a real Vegas moment here as one of our party (name removed since what happens in Vegas stays there, right?) just randomly started talking to a cutie wearing a "Talk Dirty to Me" t-shirt while we started deploying the booze. She ended up taking one of our beers, of course, and wandered off with her friend instead of joining our party. Still, it was an awesome "You're in Vegas now" moment.
So. Once we relocated upstairs, the party really took off. I didn't know most of the people there, but I did know how to drink beer and meet people, so that's what I did.
I couldn't list everyone I met there right here; it would take too long and I'd forget someone :). But I probably spent the most time talking with Tara/Sisqui. A Basin "record keeper," she handles paperwork type stuff, procedure stuff for counting votes, tracking who is applying, who got in, making sure people who apply aren't just banned people reapplying, etc. She does a LOT of work and takes a lot of shit every single time something goes wrong. Anyway, she has no power to actually make changes in people's system status, so we interact a lot -- I do the flipping of various software switches in response to the work she does. Anyway, she and I had a lot to talk about, bitch about, and joke about, so we ended up spending a fair amount of time getting stupid drunk and talking "shop" (shouting over the drunken din).
And I do mean drunken din. I pity the fools stuck in the hotel room next door.
Tons of people showed up, getting into Vegas and calling around to see where the party was. We just kept crowding people into this one room, since nobody had adjoining rooms. A lot of these people I "know" online but had never met. Others I was "aware of" online, and still others were like "who is that?" Anyway, it was great to meet them and chat a little, but eventually it just degenerated into drunken silliness. Lots of shouting of "HEEEEEYYYY" every time a new person showed up ... you get the picture. After a shot of tequila, I realized that even though my cell phone said 12:30 AM, it was really 3:30 AM as far as my body was concerned, and sleeping might be a good idea. Some of our group had already drunkenly stumbled back to their rooms (Tara, for example, had to be helped down the hall), and I decided to follow suit. I managed to flop into my bed before my brain completely shut itself down, but it was a close call.
For a moment of foreshadowing, you'll notice that nowhere in the list of beverages I consumed will you find a single drop of that rare Vegas commodity known as "water."