HCC 1998, Part 3

Sunday: The Final Countdown


Oh, God, Sunday. *laugh*

I didn’t sleep well at all, and eventually got out of bed to stare out the window and see if we’d left Nassau yet. We had, so it was after 8am. In fact, it was probably a little later. There was a 9am script-to-screen thing that Gillian and Donna were doing that I wanted to go to, but I was just not coherent, and we wanted food, so we didn’t really get going to it.

Unfortunately, Sarah’s bed was right beneath the window, so I woke her up when I peeked out, though I was trying not to. Oops. She got up while I staggered around (very very quietly; we were trying not to wake Christi), and she staggered (yes, there was a lot of staggering going on) over and picked up the papers that I’d heard being slid under the door sometime earlier.

“Catie,” she says, “your name is on this list for dessert with Peter. You won, you bitch.”

“I did? Really? Lemme see.” She gave me the paper, and I stared at it completely vacantly. And then, sounding just like the anime kid who auditioned
for Richie, I said, “Cooool.” It was awful. *laugh*

Bizarrely, that was about my limit for excitement. I wasn’t surprised I’d won; when I’d entered I’d had this Feeling, and I failed to flip out. Of course, I was still drunk, and hung over at the same time, which may’ve had something to do with it, but I really never did reach the OH MY GOD stage.

We showered and shaved our tongues, and went to find breakfast. Christi, of course, was Starving To Death. I knew I should eat, but wow, talk about a lack of enthusiasm for doing so. *laugh* What I really wanted were Saltines, to absorb some of the alcohol left in my stomach. I spent, in fact, most of the time during the Script-to-Screen thing wandering around the ship, asking people who didn’t speak English very well if they knew where I could get some crackers. I had no problems at any other time talking to crew from other countries, but ‘crackers’ didn’t seem to be in the general vocabulary. *chuckle*

*laugh* Sandi, the Lady In Charge, from the Highlander Clan Staff, saw me wandering around, and it happened to be that I was asking at the bar we’d been at the night before. She heard me asking about something, and stopped and asked me if I’d lost a camera, ‘cuz she’d seen me at the bar the night before, and someone had lost one. I laughed and said no, actually, I was in search of crackers, as I was just a little bit hung over, and she laughed and staggered back and said, “NO! One of our people? No!” *giggle*

At 10:30, I think it was, there was a recieving line, and this was the group we were in. We’re bundling around trying to get in order, and all the actors come wandering in, and Jim bellows, “What are you people doing here! I saw half of you at the bar at 4 o’clock this morning!” There were huge groans and laughs, because we were all hung over — or still drunk — and that pretty much set the mood. Everybody was pretty damned cheerful, actually, for hung over. *grin*

It would figure, of course, that Sunday morning was the one day that the sea was actually a little bit rough and you could really feel this huge giant enormous large boat rocking with the waves. Everybody kept staggering, and there were any number of times where I wasn’t certain if it was me or the boat, and other times where I watched everybody stumble two steps to the left, and knew it was the boat. We all laughed a lot when that happened — “No, that was the *boat*, it’s not *our* fault! *Really*!”

Finally we get up to the actors, and of course, all the brains dribble out of our heads entirely. I had the presence of mind to flirt with Tony, who is just adorable, and told him that he was a wonderful ham and I’d never seen anybody flirt with 400 people so effectively, and he put his big strong warm hands on mine and Sarah’s shoulders and squeezed and said, “Well, I’ll just flirt with you two beautiful women for right now!”


Jim practically hugged me, saying, “My friend Catie Murphy!” and of course he remembered Sarah.


And Stan said to Sarah, “Hey, I remember you. You were at the poolside chat yesterday,” which utterly blew Sarah’s mind, since she hadn’t even asked any questions.


And then I got to Peter and oh my god he’s got the softest hands I’ve ever touched. And I completely couldn’t think of anything intelligent to say. I blurted something about having won one of the raffle tickets for the lunch — stutter, stutter, dessert-thing — so I guessed I’d see him later and I was looking forward to it. He smiled and said he’d see me later.


Christi was unhappy that Jim hadn’t seemed to remember her specifically, but she buzzed by him pretty fast, and I didn’t have the chance to try to reintroduce her, so I suspect he would have remembered her, for all that we didn’t get a chance to verify it. We got the picture taken — I wasn’t so thrilled about the way they did it. They had 5 people at a time in the picture, regardless of whether they knew each other, so it wasn’t as cool as it might’ve been. I’d much rather have had a picture of the three of us and the actors. ‘course, I clipped the photo for the online copy, so that’s what it looks like we have, but…eh. Then again, at least we have the picture. *grin*

After that, we … did … what? I have no idea. Where’s the schedule… I think we went to try to eat again, actually. Eh, I don’t remember, and I
don’t have the schedule handy, so I’ll skip to the next bit I remember. :)

That would be Peter’s Q&A. He skipped the lunch-with-the-actors thing to do a Q&A, and I remain confused; I had the impression, prior to the weekend, that there would be a lunch-and-dessert with the actors. I think it got changed, presumably at Peter’s behest, to a lunch-with-everybody-else and dessert-with-him. But I’m not sure. Anyway, he’d scheduled this Q&A thing and, unsurprisingly, 400 people showed up. :) I wonder how many of them were supposed to have lunch with the other people… (well, no more than 50, which was the number drawn for the lunch, but … )

I didn’t take any pictures during the Q&A, figuring that I’d have the chance later on, plus I had a crummy seat. (Got there too late again.) But I could see and I could hear, so I was happy. *laugh* There’s a page out there where a girl put up a transcript of the Q&A, but I can’t find it again right now, so I’m afraid we’ll just have to go with my slightly fuzzy memories. Obviously the things that struck me are the ones that are going down here. (At least I was more or less over the hangover by then. Gawd. *laugh*) Answers are paraphrased, but they’ve got the gist of it.

Peter came out to resounding cheers, of course. Poured himself a glass of water, observed that the pitcher was in the way of seeing people, and set it on the floor, where, he said, he could forget about it and kick it over later. He did not do this. :)

Apparently at Access, the entire audience quoted the entire Jimmy scene along with the show while they were watching it, and somebody asked Peter what his reaction to that was. He said, laughing, that he felt like he was either at a prayer meeting or a Rocky Horror Picture Show, and that he didn’t know his lines. He claimed the entire thing was highly traumatic and he was scarred by it, and wasn’t sure he’d ever recover. *grin*

Ronda, whose daughter was accepted into acting school recently, asked how Peter’s parents had reacted when he quit medical school to be an actor.

“My mum,” he said, “was very practical. She wanted to know if I had enough money for food and rent.” A momentary pause, and then he added, “My Dad didn’t talk to me for three years. The funny thing was, after the first time I was on tv, then he talked to me again. I guess it was okay then. I guess being on tv meant I was gonna be okay.”

He also talked about the fact that he’d made the decision to leave med school a long time before he dared really do it. He said everybody’d told him to go through med school first, so he’d have something to fall back on. And that made sense to him, too, except he realized if he had it to fall back on, he would fall back on it, and — (all together now; I know you’ve come across this quote before) he wanted to be an actor, not a doctor who acted.

“So . . . one day, I just walked out.”

Just walked out. *shakes head* It’s brave, to do something like that. It’s obviously the right choice, but god, not an easy one. I can’t help being impressed.

Another question was about what actors Peter admired, whom he looked up to. He promptly said Harrison Ford, who could take a perfectly ordinary movie like Air Force One, which shouldn’t have been very interesting, because you KNEW what was going to happen, but with an actor like Ford, you were drawn into it anyway. The other one I remember him mentioning (I think there were 3 or 4 total) was Robert Duvall. Duvall, he said, was truly incredible, because he could be up there surrounded by brilliant actors, and he still stands out as brilliant, and not just brilliant, but as incredibly human. Peter said you can watch him, and watch these actors, and suddenly Duvall’s on screen and you are reminded: Oh. Yes. That’s what a human being is like, and that’s what he wanted to be able to do. That was his goal in acting.

At the dessert later on I had the opportunity to tell him that I truly thought he had that skill, that he’d achieved that level, and that it had been his character that’d drawn me in to the tv show (quite true; I’d seen it, but I didn’t watch it with any particular regularity) when I turned it on halfway through the Methos episode, because he was so fascinatingly human. Peter smiled a lot and said that was an incredible compliment and thank you, and I died happy.

But that’s getting ahead of myself.

Somewhere during this I noticed the girl standing in front of me had a Watcher tattoo on her inner left wrist. Ow ow ow ow ow. It was really gorgeously done, though. If I were both brave and insane, I’d get one. I’ve thought for a while that a Watcher symbol was interestingly appropriate for a writer. *smile*

Oh. *laugh* They asked about the Quickenings, too. Apparently the one in Chivalry happened only because after the director yelled “Cut!” Peter went ahead and flung his head back and his arms wide, and then ‘cuz they had him doing that they went ahead and put some lightning in. A very little Quickening, he said. And then there was The Quickening. “Oh,” Peter said blissfully, “the homoerotic one? You’ll have to ask Adrian if it was good for him.” Most everybody’d heard the story, but it still produced roars of laughter, and then he said that the scariest one had been the one in Indiscretions. Apparently he got burned doing that; a bit of stuff fell onto his cheek and all he could think was, “If I flinch, they’re gonna have to redo this, and it’ll cost forty million dollars, and it’ll come out of my paychecks for the rest of my life.” :) I didn’t notice a scar on his cheek later, though he said he had one.

I believe we actually obtained lunch after that. Pizza, which I was finally hungry enough to eat. Afterwards, Christi (who is offended that I said she spent the whole cruise Starving To Death; she claims she spent it all running around wildly and having fun!) had a sword class with Anthony DeLongis, the wretch! She got her name picked! Lucky girl! She really enjoyed it, and said that she’d learned how to extend a blow all the way through her fingers, which she hadn’t learned in years and years of fencing, so she thought that was extra-cool. I watched part of the class, but then got ridiculously nervous about missing the dessert, and spent most of the next 75 minutes wandering around the boat and trying to figure out where I was supposed to be. And getting conflicting information from Highlander Staff. *laugh*

I did make it to the right place at the right time, though, and there were 8 other women — 1 guy’s name had been pulled from the box, but he didn’t show up (I figure those were about the odds on the cruise, btw; 9 to 1) all sitting around and looking excited and nervous and silly. It was in the Panorama Grille, a cafeteria-style … er, well, cafeteria. There wasn’t a big enough table for everybody to sit at, so we basically broke up into two groups, one of 4 and one of 5, and Peter came in and looked right and left and said, “Ah, where to start?” and sat down at the other table.

And it proved that the dessert had disappeared. *laugh* It was about the only aspect of the entire cruise that didn’t seem really nicely coordinated. So one of the Staff went and got us soft-serve ice-cream, which, apparently, Peter had never encountered before.

It was very warm in the cafeteria, and we were by the windows, and by the time the ice cream got from the machine to us, no more than 30 feet away, it was pretty melty. Peter peered at this melty stuff and poked at it a little with his spoon, and said, “Er, what is this?” So we explained the mysteries of soft-serve icecream and I assured him that yesterday’s batch hadn’t bitten me, so it was probably safe to assume today’s wouldn’t bite him. He very solemnly said he’d have to take my word for it, and took a dubious bite. It didn’t bite back. *laugh*

A girl at the other table whose name I didn’t get had a gift for Peter, which were wrapped in a brown paper bag, and Peter looked at the bag and said, hopefully, “Did you bring me lunch? I didn’t eat because I was at the Q&A.” It proved to not be lunch, but rather a couple of Japanese um, dog-lion things, the names of which I’ve been told at least twice and can’t remember (it’s okay, Peter couldn’t either) which were supposed to be good luck charms, and apparently the difference between the boy dog and the girl dog is that the girl dog has her mouth open because women talk all the time.

. . . Hmph! *snicker*

My table got to talking while Peter was chatting with the other table, so I wasn’t paying much attention to what was said over there — the occasional amazed look at the Perfect Man sitting four feet away from me was enough for the moment. The only woman who’s name I remember from my table was Karen, and I feel badly for not remembering the rest. I’ll blame PeterAura. :) We had a nice talk — there was one woman who hadn’t told her daughter she was going on this trip, which she was quite sure would irritate the hell out of her daughter. *laugh*

During this time they did discover that there was actually a dessert hiding around the corner for us, little brownies and things, so they handed those out too, along with the melty ice cream. I didn’t even get a bite of brownie before I had chocolate overload and couldn’t even finish the ice cream. Oh well. :)

After a while there were pictures taken and autographs signed at the other table, and our table had a brief discussion about Where To Put Peter. The first suggestion was with the lovely view behind him, which would prevent him from being blinded by sunlight on the water (very very bright); my suggestion was with the less lovely restaurant behind him so that when we took pictures they wouldn’t be overexposed by all the very very bright water behind him. It had nothing to do with the fact that I was on that side of the bench. Really. (Of course it did, but I’d like to think that if the light’d been the other way I’d have been reasonable about it. Photography’s one of my favorite hobbies. Good pictures are awfully important. *grin*)

So Peter and his melty ice cream and his bag of dogs came over and sat down next to me.

I am completely amazed that I remember anything that happened over the next 45 minutes. *laugh* I hadn’t caught the explanation of what the dogs were, so I asked him “what that was,” and nodded at the bag. He thought I was asking about the ice cream, and went into this long involved explanation of what soft-serve ice cream was (the same explanation we’d given him 25 minutes earlier), which caused everybody to laugh a lot, and I finally managed to say, “No, no, in the bag. I know what the ice cream is.” He said, “Oh!” and explained. *laugh*

I don’t remember everything we all talked about. I do remember that he’s completely charming and not at all scary when it’s just talking to him; one of the women, Karen, had asked a question during the Q&A, and had mentioned while asking it that she’d had to write it down or else she’d have been so nervous that she wouldn’t be able to get it out. She commented that it was amazingly easy to talk to him in the little group, which surprised her, because it was so scary asking a question with him on the stage. That barrier really makes a huge difference. Up there, he’s the Star. At dessert with a brown paper bag and melty ice cream, he’s Peter. That lead to a conversation about what kinds of things he likes at cons, and he said that he thought that the small-group Q&As were the most fun, and that the fans seemed to enjoy them a great deal, so he kind of wished he could do more of that.

He also *laugh* was trying to figure out where he was on the boat. He actually thought we were at the entire other end of the ship from where we were, and appeared rather amazed that we knew where we were, when we told him that the Starlight Lounge where he’d done the Q&A was right below us, and the Windsong Dining Room was right below that. He had no idea, and said all he did was come out of his room, and people brought him where he was supposed to go, and then they brought him back, and he didn’t have to think at all! He said it was crazy, that the ship had absolutely everything you needed, so there was no reason to get off (and, he wondered, how was the food in places other than the fancy dining room, since he hadn’t actually eaten anywhere but there? this caused an argument about whether the pizza was good or not; I seem to have been the only person on the entire boat that didn’t think it was particularly good pizza, and I was defeated by sheer numbers), and that time had just really stopped flowing. “I mean, it’s … Sunday, right? I have no idea what day it is. I haven’t since Friday. Is it just me?” We assured him that it wasn’t. *laugh* He also said he thought cons on cruises were especially cool, since it’s a complete cut-off from the outside world, and he thought it was a great deal of fun.

And he smugged about his coworkers on Cold Squad. I guess they had a long weekend in Canada that weekend for a national holiday which I fail to remember the name of, and they were talking about their holiday plans. Somebody asked him what he was doing over the holiday, and he oh so cheerfully said, “I’m going to Miami!” They were all terribly jealous. *grin*

Aaaaand, like I said, I got the chance to tell him that I thought he was the kind of actor he wanted to be, and there was a lot of agreement at the table, and he was very charming and evidently pleased.

Okay, I can’t get through this part of the writeup without a few minutes’ worth of absolutely drooling. I swear, if I went to God with a set of specifications for the perfect man for me, he’d give me back somebody who looked like Peter. Except I wouldn’t have thought of the eye thing. His eyes go from this incredibly clear hazel (with a spot of brown, but you don’t notice that unless you’re six inches away from him WHICH I WAS *eeeeeek*) to black. It’s really amazingly cool. I thought his eyes were black for a long time, from watching the tv show, but after a while I noticed they’re hazel sometimes. I asked him how he did that, and he grinned and said he had no idea at all. And he smells good. Not like a cologne, just like nice clean man. Oh my. *gulp* And he has great big hands (every time I said that to anybody, they would say, “And they’re soft!” I wasn’t, apparently, the only one who noticed. *laugh*) and I swear to God, the man is perfect. Not only is he the utter ideal Catie bodytype, but he’s incredibly intelligent and charming and talented and nice to boot. Drool.

I think I’m better now. Slobber. *laugh* Except I know there were other things we all talked about, and now they’ve gone clean out of my mind. *laugh*

Anyway, eventually it got to be time for him to go (though I do think we got to talk to him longer than the first group), and he signed
autographs and took pictures and I stood around a minute and read his chest — he was wearing a t-shirt with a poem that I can’t remember
right now but’ve seen before — and *LAUGH* oh yeah.

I had a pair of boxer shorts from Vonda that she wanted me to get signed. I got him to sign my schedule book, and then I started unfolding these boxers, and I’m laughing at myself because it seems so completely silly to ask him to sign these things, and he gets this LOOK of not quite absolute horror, and says, “Oh my God, what is — do I even want to know?!”

And I’m still laughing, and I explain they’re from Vonda — the lady with the bear, I said, and his eyes lit up in recognition — and would he sign them for her? So he takes them, still looking totally bemused, and he writes, “Hey, you! Get outta my pants! Peter Wingfield”

Vonda about died. *laugh*

Oh, and I was just reminded . . . someone gave Peter a photo of himself holding a drawing of himself, at the end of the dessert. The overall effect is that the drawing is actually of the picture . . . oh dear. Just go look at it; it’s the first thing on the page, and the artist should be commended. :) It certainly made me despair of my sketching talents. *wry look* Peter was obviously pleased with the picture, and laughed and mentioned he loved that t-shirt he’s wearing in it — “Old age and treachery will always overcome youth and skill.” Appropriate for the man who plays Methos, eh? *grin*

And then we got group pictures, everyone that was left, and he must be about … 6′ tall. Noticeably taller than me, but not more than 3 or 4 inches. I shook his hand (soft soft big hands, sigh) again and said thanks and wobbled off in a state of bliss.

The only thing the whole weekend that I missed that I really, really would have liked to have gone to was Jim’s Q&A, which was at the same time the dessert with Peter was. There wasn’t, I fear, very much chance of me skipping that. :) I did run into Jim that afternoon — before the dessert, I think, actually — down looking at the pictures the cruise line took, and he introduced me to his daughter, Cate. I was completely delighted, and shook her hand, and felt terribly flattered that Jim, well, liked me well enough to introduce me to his daughter! I told her she had a good name and we grinned at each other and I wish I’d had the presence of mind to get a picture with her. Oh well!

My memories of Sunday, when I was not doing something specifically written out on a schedule somewhere, are extremely hazy. I just realized that from 8am Wednesday morning to 3pm Monday afternoon, I had about 26 hours of sleep, total, and I’d had maybe 8 since getting on the boat Friday afternoon. No wonder it’s hazy.

I watched bits of the last of Tony’s class, and watched parts of the last Clanranald class, and went and stood around with Sarah (I don’t know where Christi’d gotten off to!) and admired the actors from afar while they had their final receiving line. There were a lot of absurdly fine-looking men there, my goodness.

Then it was back to the room to change for the closing ceremonies, which actually we were all dressed fine for, but Sarah and I had changed out of our formal dresses very early the night before ‘cuz we had the sword fighting class, so we figured we should get a little more mileage out of them, and wore them again for the dance. I got a bunch of compliments, so I was glad I’d decided to wear it again. :)

There were a couple of brief speeches; Stan thanked Clan Denial again for their work fundraising for the Starlight Foundation, and Sandi the Highlander Staff lead lady said thanks to everyone for attending and it turned out that Peter Davis, one of the show’s producers, was on the ship — he was the tall, grey-haired man I’d seen talking with Jim on Saturday night! Peter Wingfield, at his Q&A, had been asked a question, which I no longer remember, and said, he didn’t know the answer, but was Peter Davis in the audience? And he looked around for him. We all figured it was just a throw-away comment, and chortled, but apparently he really was looking for him. Huh! And they got approval to do next year’s Highlander Clan Cruise, which caused much rejoicing — at the dessert, Peter said last year there’d been about 300 people, and this year there were about 600; he figured next year, we’d take over the ship! And then the Jim Byrnes Band came out to play.

It was great. Oh, man, it was great. The audience sat through the first song, listened, cheered, and then just about the second it was over, there was a mass rush to the stage for dancing. *laugh* I danced for an hour and a half straight, I think, except for one slower song. I wish I could do that more often, sigh. It rocked. There was one point during the evening that they really turned up the smoke machines, I mean, a ridiculous amount. You couldn’t see more than a foot away (and gah, if you wear contacts like I do, that smoke is not pleasant on them) and then they cranked up some blue lights, and I looked around and went, wow, this might make a great picture. And it did. :)

It was too short a concert, by half. I could have skipped dinner entirely and danced the rest of the night, but, alas, it was not to be. They left stage to much cheering at a quarter to eight, and I tore downstairs to shower and change — Kits get very, very sweaty while dancing. Vonda and Ronda teased me at dinner, in fact, about having been up there dancing the whole time and having had to change clothes before coming to eat. :)

I’m not /quite/ sure how it got started, but Sarah and I were giving each other a hard time while changing clothes for dinner that night. I think it was then. We started mock fighting, about how we both thought we were the center of the universe, and *you* needed to just take a step back, sister, and try to calm down just a bit here and — it went on for quite a while, and was a roaring lot of fun, and smooth enough that it could have been either real or well-rehearsed. Christi laughed and laughed at us, which only, of course, fed fuel to the fire, so we kept it up all the way up to dinner.

Sunday night was American Night, and our waitstaff sang “God Bless America” for us, and paraded about in red white and blue, and waved flags, and *laugh* did the Macarena. Actually, we ALL did the Macarena. Except I kept running around trying to take pictures, so I didn’t do as much Macarena-ing as I might have otherwise. *laugh*

After dinner was the last set of screenings that Gillian and Donna were doing. We got pretty good seats this time, as we went running up right after we finished eating and staked a place out.

I’ll get straight to the overwhelming one, this time, and then talk about the other things. I haven’t seen the episode Armegeddon, which is part of the Season 5 end/Season 6 beginning story arc. And there are spoilers herein, for those of you worried about that sort of thing. I rather imagine most readers either know what happens or don’t care about the spoilers. :)

They showed the making of the scene where Horton offers Joe his legs back. I don’t know how Jim did it. There are aspects of the scene which are more exorcising personal demons than acting, I suspect, but there are far more aspects of some of the most painful and wonderful acting I’ve ever watched. Watching his expression change as he was presented with these suddenly-flesh legs, watching him stand — judicious cutting, that, but the effect was natural grace — and watching him react to that, to be forced to reject the demon’s gift was . . . *shiver*.

For all that the Jimmy scene left me floored, this scene was even more powerful. Odds were pretty good that Methos and Duncan were gonna end up friends again, and it wasn’t a scene that would have real-life repercussions. Jim wasn’t going to have flesh legs at the end of the scene. It wasn’t a stunt. It was incredible. I spent the entirety of the making of the scene and the showing of the final cut on the verge of tears, which is incredibly unusual for me.

At the Q&A, someone asked about that scene, I guess, and Jim said that he had very much wanted to do it, because he does have his own demons to wrestle with about losing his legs. But God. I’m . . . I don’t even have the words. It was remarkable.

Other highlights: the original, longer cut of the scene from The Messenger, where Methos fesses up to being Methos, that Ron Perlman’s character is a pretender, and Richie is extremely disappointed. At the end of the scene, Richie stomps off, sulking, Duncan stomps off pissed at Richie, and Joe stomps off to see if he can find anything out about the false Methos, leaving Methos aaaaaaalllll alone in the bar. He kinda looks around . . .

. . . and looks some more . . .

. . . and looks some more . . .

and finally mumbles, “Maybe I’ll go buy some socks.”

*LOL* Um. Maybe you had to be there, but it was incredibly funny onscreen. *LOL* They did the take a bunch more times and he said different things, but the first was the funniest. All unexpected. *laugh*

There was another bit where Joe poured a beer over Methos’ head, and the first take, Peter looked so utterly outraged and shocked I’m not sure he expected it, even though the lines seem to call for something like that. *laugh* Another bit, the camera was running before a shot, and Peter’s flopped in a chair talking to Adrian, and he says, “So, I hear they’re gonna kill Stan.”

Gillian says, “That was the first we WRITERS ever heard of that! Adrian’d started a rumour. See what happens?!”

I’ll have to get other stories from Sarah and Christi, ‘cuz I’m not remembering them right now. :) I’m quite certain there /were/ others, and I know we got to watch part of the Jimmy scene again at the end, and Valentine’s Kronos audition, so I was pretty pleased. :)

It was close to midnight by then, and we thought we’d go see if there was another party going on anywhere. Clanranald did show up with several ladies in tow, and we found Jim briefly, long enough to get autographs and hugs and then left him alone — he put a finger over his lips and went “Shhh,” as we left, so we kept a lid on his whereabouts. Sarah stayed out later than I did and said he came out to drink and talk later on.

We found Vonda and Ronda and talked with them, and I gave Vonda her boxers. *laugh* Jack, from Clanranald, started playing the bagpipes around 1:30, and that cleared a bunch of people who weren’t Highlander types out. I thought the management might get mad, but it ended up that the pipes brought more Highlander types to the bar than non-HL-types had left, so I figured they were still making money. :)

Kerry Glover, who was the Director of the Talent Liason, apparently plays the flute, or something, and wanted to give the pipes a whirl, but couldn’t get enough air to inflate the bag, so it ended up with Jack providing air, Chick, who was playing the bodhran earlier, holding the actual pipes, and Kerry doing the fingerwork. They got a great deal of applause when the song was done. *grin*

I think I fell in to bed around 2:30 or 3.

Monday Wrap-Up

Monday. By Monday, I no longer had a brain. That’s okay. Brains are overrated anyway, right? We got up, actually earlier than we had any other day, I think, ‘cuz we had to leave *snivel* the ship. I spent a significant portion of the early morning staggering around the ship trying to find Ronda, ‘cuz I had her picture of all of us at dinner. I’d been trying to see if I could get copies made of it, but I was too late, so I wanted to return it to her. I know I was up and functional at 8:30, because that was when I wandered into the dining room and had my last Peter Sighting.

He was just having breakfast, quietly, with his SO, so I was hardly going to disturb them — there was virtually no one else in the dining room any more — but it did give me a happy wriggle. (Okay, so I’m easy. *laugh*)

We spent about an hour and a half in the bloody Blue Sapphire Lounge, waiting to get our ticket colors called so we could get off the ship. Fortunately, Laurie and Mary from the party Saturday night were there, and we had a great time talking for the entire two hours. I couldn’t possibly tell you what we talked about; again, my memories are awfully vague. :) (Sleep? What’s sleep?)

The absolute weirdest thing that happened the entire trip happened on Monday morning. The cruise line had CNN playing in the lounge, and it was a complete, utter shock to remember that there was another world going on outside the ship. I’d been sort of staring at the screen, and it had something about the Microsoft judicial hearings, and Bill Gates came onscreen, and I saw him on the screen, and then stopped paying attention. A moment later, Sarah said, “Hey, look, Bill Gates,” in this kind of surprised tone —

— and I started looking around the lounge for him. It seemed entirely likely that he was on the ship. It took a minute to realize no, she meant on CNN — out there in the Real World.

Iraq, Korea, the Asian stock market, the stupid, stupid prosecution of Clinton, the Micro$oft hearings . . . it’d all gone away. Completely. Coming back to it was genuinely a physical shock. I’ve never experienced anything like that. Bizarre. Highly bizarre.

Eventually we got off the ship, which took a lot less time, actually, than getting on had. Despite hope, there were no celebs around for One Last Sighting. Ah well! :)

At the airport I discovered I’d lost my plane ticket. Sigh. I had time to get it straightened out, and did. In Anchorage the next day I discovered I hadn’t lost it, that I’d put it somewhere ‘safe’ — in the Strangers in Paradise comics — and hadn’t been able to find it. Sigh more.

But while we were trying to get the tickets straightened out, Christi was having equalibrium problems, and she said, “The airport keeps tilting!” And I said, “Naaah, it isn’t.” Then I thought about it and added, “Now, if I were still drunk it might be.”

And she said, “Because you’re the center of the universe,” and grinned. I completely fell apart in giggles. I can’t HELP having an ego this big, with friends like that!

Christi’s plane left first (wretched woman, only a 3 hour flight), and there was much exchanging of hugs. *shake of head* It was a really amazingly awesome weekend, just about on every possible count: three days with my friends whom I hadn’t seen in over a year; three days in which I really actually felt like I made friends with Jim Byrnes (what a rush *that* is!); three days of complete lack of contact with or worry about the rest of the world; three days of hanging out with six hundred other people with whom I knew I had at least one thing in common.

Pretty damned cool, if you ask me.

I can’t wait until next year!

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