Day 1: The Happening
This was going to be my first HBO Gathering. I had barely been able to sleep the night before as I was too worried I'd miss my flight and completely amazed that I was able to control myself and pack only two pairs of shoes. Anyway, I was up at the crack of dawn, eating breakfast and waiting for my sister to wake up to take me to the airport. I was getting to anxious so we left early but sure enough I should have calmed the fuck down because only once did we get to the airport did I realize I left my friggin' purse behind.
So we got back in the car and went home. Luckily we only live about 25 minutes away and my sister isn't easy to upset(I got that trait), so it was a smooth ride back home and back to the airport with all my proper forms of identification on my person.
As far as the flight went there was a slight delay but it didn't damper my travels too much. There were some crying/screaming/wailing children on board but I've never been happier to own a pair of earbuds.
Obligatory 'From-The-Window' shots.
Touchdown in Salt Lake City an episode of Shahs of Sunset and the first act of Bachelorette later. Made my way down to baggage claim only to find that no one was there waiting for me with a sign. Disappointing. After some unanswered phone calls and text messages I was convinced the entire HBOMB was a hoax and that I was ironically stranded at baggage claim. Though after getting the "we're on our way" phone call from elessar, I learned the party was at the wrong terminal...or I was the only one who didn't fly into Terminal 1.
Because I was nose deep on Facebook I would have walked by everyone if it weren't for Znite going "Hey, Tex" in passing. Roster at this point: Nart, Crazed, Znite+Wilshire (yeaaah girl power), elessar, rowboat. Hellos were had then we made our way outside to the caravan. Schooly was kind enough to bring the car around. We all piled in and looked for a restaurant to eat at/kill time before we picked up Bryan Newman. There was literally nothing but industrial warehouses around the airport...but we saw an ad for Chick-Fil-A and knew there had to be one nearby. Activate TexGPS mode. Ended up at....California Pizza Kitchen. Everyone but me ordered pizza, so everyone but me had leftovers to take home. For the record, I suggested the Chicken Tequila Fettuchini to rowboat and he didn't listen.
We get back to the airport and Bryan is still taxing, but some of us forgot to use the restroom before we left so we went in waves inside the car rental lot facilities to relieve ourselves. As luck would have it when I came back out the car was gone. They ditched me for real this time and didn't come back till I had Bryan. It was then I almost wished I didn't wear just leggings. California girls dress stupid in the cold.
Finally everyone except kanbo has arrived. Turns out he won't be arriving till way later. So we cut our losses and start making our way to the cabin. We realize that the map suggests we take short cut once we're in the neighborhood. No, not a short cut:
Shortly after unpacking and claiming beds, we learn that KP is still somewhere in Idaho behind an oil tanker that thought the freeway was the ocean and spilled erry-where. So not only does that put a damper on his plans but also leaves kanbo without a ride. Thankfully, HBOMB was full of high-rollers and kind souls so we pooled together cab fare and had him meet us at the grocery store while we got supplies for omnoms. Don't ever say I didn't do anything nice.
Bryan also nearly drowned the cabin in Coca-Cola, forcing everyone to drink Diet Coke for the remainder of the trip. All that's left of his tirade was this busted bottle cap.
Before we ate dinner, Schooly kicked off the event with a moving speech that didn't leave a dry eye in the house:
I had cooked that evening: Enchiladas, Mexicant rice and some help from Nart with the Pico de Gallo. These were followed by chocolate chip cookies for dessert.
At some point that evening/the next morning, KP finally made it (insert joke about the gate here). We got real lucky that he didn't flip a table when he walked in, mostly because I deterred any hostility with a plate of hot food. Also a cookie.
AASHTO: 1, KP: 0
No, you didn't get the jumbo bag of chips. This is science in the works.
You know which one was mine
I also obtained the exclusive "Burn of The Year" award from kanbo, of which I'm working on getting framed.
Day 2: The Occurrence
How do I ice tree?
Today was the day of slopes and no scopes. The cabin was divided (unevenly) into two teams: Team Comfy and Team Sanic. Team Comfy was designated to stay inside and was not allowed to come out till they spent all my Double XP (they failed). Team Sanic took to the slopes, Johnny Tsunami style. Bryan has all the video, all I have are pics and bruises to prove it happened (looks worse in person).
Schooly tricked me into going further up the lift, where we were greeted by this:
NOOOOOPE.jpg Our egos were writing checks our boards couldn't cash at that point.
Luckily we found the slope of his expertise.
Hello Mountain Kitty (laugh it up, my hat got mad love)
Needless to say there was a lot of falling/tumbling/blundering. I did twist my ankle some but as of now it's more tolerable. Thankfully we had Nart's Ghost Chili Shrimp Scampi and the hot tub to look forward to at the end of the day.
It was later that evening that Schooly revealed his Sunday Secret Surprise: Snowmobiles were being brought to the cabin in the morning. I also made banana bread.
Day 3: The Incident
Suck it, J.J. Abrams
We all woke up bright and early Sunday morning. Or at least those of us who needed to sign waivers to ride did. We all got a lesson on how to operate and handle the machines if they got stuck. Schooly took the lead and I rode brokeback with Nart on the trip back to the cabin. It's really hard not to imagine yourself on the back of a Mongoose when you're riding bitch on those things. Had I known how bouncy things were going to be I'd have worn a sports bra.
KP, Schooly and myself took the first ride out. We did laps on what we learned shortly after was a frozen pond that all the kids play on in the winter (!??!?!?!?!) and got a feel for the snowmobiles. Some of us more than others.
Guess who got stuck/fell over first.
KP and I took a spill later in the trail, which easily could have been worse than you think. Thankfully KP is an experienced bike rider and failed to tell me to jump when the bike is going down. Don't worry, all our exploits were caught on tape, just holler at KP until he posts them this weekend.
My turn, bitches.
KP tenderly strapping Schooly in before their brokeback adventure.
The snowmobile was a real treat to drive. The only time I had ever been on a motorcycle prior to this, my dick-hole of a boyfriend (using the name lovingly, I swear) driver popped a wheelie and went 90. I didn't know how fast we were going then till we got home, but it was still enough to scare the shit out of me. The same kind of fear crept back up when I was riding the snowmobile but it quickly dispersed once I got to drive. There was a huge adrenaline rush for me being able to drive that thing, despite it being incredibly hefty to steer and the handles/throttles being so far apart for my tiny hands. When I wasn't feeling like Sarah Palin, I felt like Wu, bear-clawing it like a Duke controller the whole way.
We took turns swapping out who would ride as only a maximum of three people could go at a time. Elessar and rowboat were the last pair out and those of us who wanted to ride again were planning to go once they got back. Time went by and we hadn't heard from them once. Granted, we also didn't have very good reception so our attempts at all contact failed. Luckily they showed up safe and sound, turns out one of the machines had gotten stuck. The guys we rented the mobiles from were incredibly helpful and showed up to get it found/unstuck.
We had a dog come and visit us and keep us company while we waited for elessar and rowboat's safe return. Meet Star, aka 'Cabin Dog'.
For some reason she wouldn't leave Schooly alone.
With Elessar and rowboat back home in two pieces, we got dolled up to caravan out to Park City (Park Park City) for dinner. We tried not to think about the Sundance traffic but for some of us it proved too much. Team Comfy raged quit (respectfully) and Schooly, elessar, kanbo, Bryan and myself managed to get a table for some Italian Eatery. What looked like a hella long wait line was actually the line for the nightclub downstairs. The nightclub of which you could hear the unce-unce-unce from the dining area up top. I didn't mind in the slightest, but I guess I'm the only one who enjoys listening to what sounds like a Dial-Up Modem to mere mortals.
My favorite part about Italian restaurants: tablecloths you can draw on.
After dinner and nixing the $7+ dollar ice cream parlor next door, we went back to the cabin to take part in the HBOMB Secret Santa gift exchange. Kanbo was my recipient this year, which was kinda hilarious because I got him for the HBOSS last year. I had gotten him a Pac-Man mug that comes to life when filled with hot liquid. Nart was my Santa and got me some hella sweet spices for cooking. The cinnamon I've already used :) We were supposed to have an ugly christmas/Cosby sweater group photo, but some people forgot they read/wrote that email.
Group Holiday Photo
The remainder of the night was spent attempting to clear out the beer fridge and watching youtube videos which are ten times more hilarious when you've had a few. Also getting mad over Sonic All Stars Racing Transformed and old Halo 2 headshots (dat shot was/is probably why I'm always mad).
Day 4: The Aftermath
"Don't say 'good-bye'. I hate good-byes."
Monday morning came sooner than I would have liked. We did our best to ignore the fact our trip was ending the night before, but once the sun came up the feels soon followed (except for the hangover feel, I've had training).
KP bailed early, smart man, he avoided all cleaning. Trash upon trash was taken out (including leftover beer D:), bags were packed, beds cleared and I smuggled out some perishables in my checked bag. We left a small tub of ice cream though for the next dwellers who were checking in later that afternoon.
Team Comfy D
We arrived at the airport reluctantly, already idealizing and planning the next trip. My vote is still for HBO: Las Vegas. A few of us had some time to kill before boarding, so we spent some time chilling and chatting like grown ups with cups of coffee.
Schooly attempting to get out of the picture.
Tex's Left (Z,W,C,R)
Tex's Right (LSR)
Tex Center (B,K)
People started trickling out at their time to board drew nearer. It was extremely sad to say good-bye to everyone and it didn't get any easier when it was time for kanbo and I to make our way through the gates. With a heavy heart I said my goodbyes to Schooly and Bryan and made my way through security, where I then said bye to kanbo, emphasizing that he needed to make me look good in his write-up.
I had about an hour delay due to mechanical failures, luckily that was it. While I was glad I'd still make it home reasonably on time, I was still bummed that my time in Heber City was over.
Sayonara, Salt Lake.
To paraphrase from my good-bye email:
Everyone made this trip so much fun and so memorable. This was my first LAN-ish event and it will always have a special place in my heart. It was a great joy being able to meet my long-time friends the first time and to see familiar faces again. I hate knowing it'll be a while before we can get together again, but rest assured when the dates are laid out I'll be the first person to book a flight.
I wish you could have been there.
Titles by Elessar, Ph.D.
Higher-Res images can be found here. (or here, 117mb -lwu)