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In December of 2014, doctorlit made a giant leap towards adulthood, in the form of taking an airplane without the aid of his parents for the first time. Even though his dad still helped him with scheduling and buying the tickets. The goal was to meet up with fellow PPCers Araeph and FractalDawn and watch the premier of The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies. I'm just lucky I had the appropriate shifts off!


Ah, Boston.



Look at that gorgeous, overcast sky. Wait—



That's still Arizona. Stupid ironic overpower, giving Arizona good weather just in time for me to leave.



No, you can't come with me! I doubt the FAA allows live peahens on airplanes.

Once I got home from Monday volunteering it was time to pack. Actually, it was time to shower, because I smelled like animal urine and bleach, but then it was time to pack.

On the Board, I had told Araeph she could identify me by the sunflower I would have with me.



(Huh. Using Shakespeare there turned out to foreshadow something on my trip . . .)



As you (and Holmes) can easily deduce from the back, it's actually a photo holder I got at Kohl's years ago!

For the plane rides themselves, I came fully prepared.



Too prepared, actually. I only ended up reading Digital Divide, but of course, it's tricky to estimate how much you're going to sleep and how much you're going to read on an overnight trip like this. I wasn't planning on re-reading The Hobbit, either; I just felt it ought to be there.

I got to bed early, since I would be waking at



A.M. Tuesday morning. Which is not a fun time for anything but sleeping. Dad got up early, too, since he was driving me to and from Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport. (Because I'm cowardly and won't drive on the freeways, and wouldn't have made it from the airport to my night shift in time when I got back Wednesday afternoon.) He picked me up, got me to Sky Harbor plenty early, and to make a long story short

(too late)

I got on a plane.



Despite my first picture on this page, thick, fluffy clouds as far as the eye can see is a rare sight in Arizona, so it was a bit boggling to see that out the windows the entire trip to the east coast.

I had a layover in Kansas City, Missouri. (Insert too obvious joke here.) While waiting to change planes, a woman started doing yoga off to the side. Unsurprisingly, she drew a lot of stares, and people were making comments about her hands and bare feet touching the dirty floor. I have to say, I'm extremely envious of her ability to do something like that in front of a crowd, and not care what people around her were thinking. Quite a contrast to me trying to disappear into my book . . .

Arizona!overcast just doesn't compare to Massachusetts!overcast.



There! You see, Arizona atmosphere? That's how you do brooding weather.

The bus I took from Boston's Logan International Airport ran part of the way on electric wires! Cool!



After the bus, I took a tram bullet train trolley streetcar named desire subway, something we don't have back in Arizona. (By the way, it's totally thanks to Araeph's instructions that I got the ground transportation right, so thanks, Araeph!)

And the subway named desire led to: the Boston Commons!



So majestic!



Okay, enough majesty. I didn't come to look at real world geography. I came to look at Middle-earth geography! Even though Jackson's Middle-earth geography is mostly the same as New Zealand geography. Hmph. Anyway, time for the interior of a movie theater!



Here I stood for many a chapter, sunflower in one hand and novel in the other, awaiting the arrival of the group from theonering.net, and probably breaking all kinds of loitering laws. As is wont to happen to PPCers, the Ironic Overpower reared it's ugly-but-entertaining head and made me step outside to look around, apparently just as Araeph's group went in another door. With the movie start time drawing closer, I checked with the woman taking tickets to see if theonering.net had gone through already. She, and another woman at customer service, were very helpful getting me to the right theater in time for the movie to start! I left very good reviews for them on the little customer survey site later.

Said theater was quite packed, and I still hadn't seen FractalDawn or Araeph. There wasn't much chance of finding them in the dark. I have to admit, at this point, I was feeling pretty embarrassed and worried I wasn't even going to see them, and that I had spent money on plane tickets just to watch a movie. But, I was there in the theater, so watch it, I may as well! It was on an IMAX 3D screen, although the 3D didn't add much to the film. Then again, I was pretty far off to the side, so I don't think the glasses were working quite right for me.

After the movie, I hung out under the screen, waiting for the theater to clear out, and hoping Araeph would catch sight of the sunflower on her way down. Unsurprisingly, theonering.net's crew was one of the last large groups to leave the theater, and based on the quality of their discussion, I made a good guess it was them. (Turns out I had been sitting reasonably close to them after all, across the aisle to their right!)

And at long last, after six years in this community, I got to meet other PPCers in person!



Araeph is left, FractalDawn is right.

Timewise, we were already set for a rather short meeting, and unfortunately, I didn't get to speak with Araeph very long at all. She had to head home after a bit of movie discussion. FractalDawn and I were both taking the subway, though, so we got to spend time going more in depth into the movie. It worked out well, because I don't talk much, and FractalDawn talks a whole lot! I got an excellent review/lesson in Tolkien, and all the ways Jackson changed things. She also helped me out with working the machine to buy tickets for the subway—stupid touch screens—which I hadn't encountered on the way out since I was coming from the airport. (I hope; I hope I didn't accidentally stumble on some way to cheat the system my first time going through. . .)

FractalDawn and I were taking opposite tracks, so my brief time meeting PPCers was brief indeed. Hopefully I can get to a Gathering someday and spend some better time with you guys! And at least I have the memories of the adventure I had.



But while adventures may famously make one late for one's supper, they mustn't make one late for one's work shifts! I had to stay diligent, and make it home. First, back to the airport. On the partly electric bus, this had been left on the seat next to me:



Told you my Shakespeare toy action figure was foreshadowing! Hopefully, whatever student was using that page didn't let those yucky, chunky sentences on the right distract her/him from Shakespeare's words! (Seriously, some of those "modernized" lines make less sense than the originals!)

The first plane of my return trip didn't start until morning, so I was spending the night in the airport.



Oh, Eru, I'm sorry to expose you to that. Unshaven doctorlit is a yucky thing indeed—and it feels even yuckier than it looks. At least you can see my One Ring zipper pull, which definitely is the One Ring and not a copper washer.

While recognizing the value of sleep, I wasn't terribly comfortable sleeping in the open with people walking around fairly regularly. I ended up alternating between reading, growing too sleepy, dozing off, waking up, getting an adrenaline rush from waking up in public, and reading more until the adrenaline failed me. I'm sure that's the healthiest way to rest.

But Logan had some shinies to look at, too!



This is an amazingly detailed model of a World War II battleship. I know the words on the plaque got too small to read, but Wikipedia is nice, too.

It also had . . . this . . .


Which actually isn't as noisy as it seems. I almost didn't notice it on the way back from brushing my teeth!

I arose in the morning from my schizophrenic sleep/read stupor to get a peek of genuine east coast rain!



So jealous of weather like this.

Another layover; this time, in Texas. This airport had a model of the Hubble Space Station, but over a football field for some reason.



For some reason.

And, finally, I was back home! I even had a bit of thick clouds follow me back to the desert.



And I managed to get to work on time, thanks to dad driving me.

And it rained the next day! In Arizona! Score!


So, that's about it for my first encounter with fellow PPCers. Thank you, Araeph, for inviting me, and thanks to both you and FractalDawn for helping me out with some of the details. Also, thanks to dad for getting up early the one morning and driving me both ways.

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doctorlit

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