Travel day. Ruby picked me up at 8:30 and we fought Obama traffic to get me to the train. After that, all was well. Had dinner with a couple random guys, and got to explain the contest to them via asking what I had been blogging about. Beautiful scenery in southern Oregon. Sleep was less than great, could not get comfortable and my lower back paid the price.
Arrived in Oakland at 8:40, on time. Dragged bags to BART, then a cab from Civic Center to the hotel.
Hooker was the first person I saw who I knew. I always have an internal poll on that. I know lots of people here, with a dozen years and more of travelling to these weekend events all over the country.
Check in to the hotel was a mess. GLPW had arranged for a check, but the hotel equipment wouldn't process it. The bank said there was no problem on their end, arranged to get me the cash, and all was well. Kept myself calm throughout. Boy Dan and Pope Bacon (and Jeremy on the phone) were stellar throughout.
We ended up a number 11 out of 15. I think I would have ideally liked about 7 or 8 (right in the middle), but this puts us right after lunch for the interviews, which may be good -- refreshed judges, not yet food sleepy.
Meet and Greet at Mr. S was fun, but it was difficult to track down each of the judges. It very much felt like "moth and flame", finding a judge and circling in the near distance until we could come close. (Not just Dan and myself with this, all the title teams.) A couple of the judges I didn't know before knew me from the blog and other sources, which I hope turns out to be good.
Dan and I wore leather-themed T's, some of my designs (Leatherboy and Shattered Leather Flag). One of the judges asked about them specifically, which validated wearing them vs. other options. The other contestants wherein everything from leather T's to bare chested to sash, the full range.
Intro of contestants and sort-of speeches (not final stepdowns) from Alan, Nitro, and Luna followed at the hotel, plus more mingling. Got a little more face time with a couple of the judges (or ass time in one case, showing off the lightning bolts).
Dan and I headed to the room to rap down and get some sleep rather than going out. Cliff finally got in around 1 am, had a loooong wait for the shuttle service to actually bring him to the hotel.