September 5th, 2008

Atlantic Stampede 2008—Day 1

I had a dream so intense this morning that I didn't hear my alarm clock going off for about four minutes straight. That has never happened before. Short version of the dream:

I was to be put to death by firing squad with one other person. For some reason, we were put in a tent, and the squad was to open fire on the tent, presumably not being able to see us get killed. Right before they zipped up the tent, the person doing it whispered to both of us, "Lie all the way down on the ground as flat as you can, and the bullets will actually go over you." (Actually in the dream, I believe the person really said, "lay" down, but I'm correcting it here, because that's what I do.)

Well, we did that, and the bullets kept coming through for nearly five minutes. That's a long time when you're lying there hoping not to get hit. Little blood spots from grazes started appearing on my arms, and I remember I kept thinking, "My god, how long is this going to go on?"

When it finally stopped, they opened the tent, and one guy (a different guy than the one that had told us to "duck") said, "It's okay, you can get up," and the other person jumped up right away. I continued to lie still, thinking, "This is a trick. They're just trying to make sure we're really dead, and if we're not, they're going to shoot us flat out."

So, I just kept lying there, and eventually people started to meander away, until there were only a couple of guys left. Then peeking out of the corner of my eye carefully, so as not to be seen moving, I noticed this guy coming toward me with this huge cock, which was rock hard, and he was aiming it right at my ass—like he was going to fuck me. I got up in a New York minute, and walked away.

This dream went from intensely terrifying for the longest time, to absolutely ridiculous at the end.

After that rather ominous start to the morning, I got it all together, and finally left my house at about 11:30. After stopping by the Food Lion for some munchies for the room and some ice for the cooler, I headed down Avent Ferry to the SECU ATM off Centennial Parkway

My final stop before heading out of Dodge was at the Union 76 gas station at Kent and Western, where I filled my tank on $3.65-a-gallon gas.

I got to Robert's at about 12:30, and shortly thereafter we hopped on I-85 N—to I-95 N in Petersburg—caught the 495 N Capital Beltway around washing DC—and exited at the Tysons Corner exit in McLean, Virginia.

We're staying at the host hotel for Atlantic Stampede 2008—the Hilton McLean Tysons Corners.

I made our double-bed room reservation back on March 19th, just in case someone like Joe (i.e., someone we wouldn't mind sharing a room with) decided to go. Since no one did decide to come, I asked upon check-in if there was a room available with king-sized bed. There was, but the person checking us in warned, "I do have one, but it's an adjoining room. Is that okay?"

"That's fine," I said.

We got up to room 586, and by the time we'd gotten everything in the room, it was clear that the guys in the adjoining room—already—we're going to be loud, loud, loud. So, I called down to the front desk, and asked if we could have our double-bed room back, and we moved to room #605. Much better.

A couple of hours later, at around 7:00, we decided to run out and get some dinner, and to that end, going to brush my teeth before going, it occurred to me that I had hung my "drag bag" (a.k.a. "products bag," "ditty bag," etc.) behind the bathroom door in room 586 two hours ago.

Fortunately, and surprisingly, that room was still empty, and security was dispatched to retrieve my bag, which he delivered wrapped in plastic. Not sure about that necessity and the "green-ness" of that. I was, however, grateful to have it back without incident and drama.

After deciding, pretty quickly, that we were not going to pay $36 for two hamburgers in the Hilton restaurant, we drove to a mall within about a mile from the hotel, and had two hamburgers and two orders of fries for $6.50 at McDonald's

Tonight's dance, the Stampede Jamboree, started at 9:00, and we got downstairs at about ten after, where we met (Photog)Rob and his friend James in the lobby.

Though the dance was held in the Grand Ballroom (the largest of the hotel's three ballrooms), the dance floor was not much bigger than the one at Remingtons. Crazy.

I danced a lot tonight—including learning a new dance called the Rio, knew several of the line dances played, and had several two-steps with a variety of partners—Robert, Joe Judge, James (Rob's friend), and a guy named Scott (from Richmond) who introduced himself to us.

With a cover charge for the dance of $20, and the beer being $7 a bottle and the mixed drinks $8.50 each, we bought none in the ballroom, and went up to our hotel room on the sixth floor during the dance "performances," and drank free. Rob and James accompanied us.

I made an outfit change (from one black t-shirt to another black t-shirt) during the first break, and that one got me through the second half of the night. We danced pretty much all the way until the dance ended at 2:00AM.