Sunday arrives, slow and sweet. I allow myself to lay in bed, luxuriating in the fact that I have no immediate reason to rise and can enjoy the time away.
As always, my favorite thing to do is listen to road morning shows. I initially reach for what I think is the clock radio, but quickly give up on that and start playing with the Tune In app on my iPhone. I hate that they no longer make it as easy to change stations, other than once they’re in the Recent Stations feed. They have some sort of cumbersome social media-type interface now, which just makes it harder for me to find stuff.
Of course, most Sunday mornings are given to religious content. So, I listen to a bit of some pastor in Vegas before rising at 10:30? 7:30? something:30! What is this time thing we’ve made up anyway. They say humanity is really the only species that so closely watches it.
After spattering water all over the floor from my shower, as there seems to be no way to stop it from flying out the side, I slip into a casual pair of slacks and button-down shirt. I hope to look just presentable enough for new sets of eyes that I might encounter.
Then into the hall for the fun elevator game! Gah it drives me a little bit crazy when places have four of them from which to choose. Whack the button, stop breathing, stand really still, and there it is! Only BANG! no? wrong one. Oh that one wait, I nearly lost a finger! Relax, begin cycle again.
I play this annoying sprint around the vestibule a couple of times, until I hear some, I guess high, heels come clicking into the room.
“Sir, may I help you?” she asks. I’ll finally get down!
I don’t notice till she tells me, but she is from Scotland. One of my favorite accents, for sure. She says she’s about to check out of the hotel and head back, I think.
She kindly walks me to the jam-packed Java stop, where I latch onto an endless line. I try not to pound the person’s back who stands in front of me too many times, but also to balance that with moving up when I need to. I sometimes feel I’m the worst at waiting in line.
Audio recorded from therein: Initial Craziness
Then I meet a kind volunteer from Georgia, cool accent too, who agrees to help me find somewhere to sit while I await my city tour. Only everything is pretty much full, so I go back into the Java Stop and sit till she again comes to collect me at 12:45 to board the bus for the 1:00 departure.
I love heat! But, that Vegas heat is something different somehow. The second we step into it, I feel all of my water leaving my body.
“I couldn’t stay out in this for more than ten minutes,” I say.
More audio: City Tour Snippet
And that woman continued being just as entertaining, having us all applauding, laughing, or groaning in turn. One thing became clear from her words: Vegas was built by rich folk who had that kind of money to throw around. I know she said one person built a casino at the request of his wife, so that his love for gambling wouldn’t end up costing him everything. He’d just be recycling his own money. Not surprisingly of course, Vegas is seeking to diversify beyond strictly a gambling Mecca of sorts, as well.
I had always wanted to get to convention early enough to do the city tour, just because I love hearing people talk about their area. Yes, it would’ve been cooler to walk around some of those places, but I’m not sure how much of that I could have handled anyway.
Back into the hotel by 3, I finally decide to make my way to the exhibit hall. Here, I meet a couple of long-time online friends and folks who were selling products for the first time.
From the AT Guys, I purchase a Soundpods portable Bluetooth speaker. I’m pretty satisfied with it, and think for its size it doesn’t sound half bad. It does make it easier for me to take in content from my iPhone while in bed.
From Elegant Insights, I acquire a Braille-embossed, copper key chain that reads “ACB 2014. It’s a nice little souvenir. I also volunteer to be this vendor’s first experiment using a credit card, a task made interesting by the fact that she uses a somewhat challenging iPhone app that requires turning VoiceOver off and back on a few times to get it to record the card info. Still, it is great that such technology is even moderately accessible to blind folks, and I hope it continues to become more so.
Finally, it is the part for which I have most been waiting: the tweet-up! I am surprised that the crowd there isn’t larger, but it works out for me as I can easily hear everyone in attendance. Here, I meet one of my longest-running online friends from our neighbors to the north, Canada. I also meet a long-running friend who stays in Vegas for the second time ever. We all introduce ourselves by name and Twitter handle, then spend the rest of the time chattering away about any and everything.
I plan to go to the opening ACB General Session, but as soon as I make my way out of the tweet-up location around 6:30, my Canadian friend, one from Indianapolis, another person from Canada and I think yet one more ask me if I wish to join them for dinner.
“Hmmm, that sounds fun,” I reply.
We then spend the next half hour working our way to the Wicked Vicky’s Tavern, being given spotty directions and losing each other a time or two in the process.
“Hey, this is how we roll at convention,” I say. “We’ll get there eventually.”
Once seated, I opt to have some delicious-sounding meatloaf and mac and cheese. The mac and cheese wasn’t the “real” baked stuff I most prefer, but then I guess I shouldn’t have really expected it to be. It was pretty good anyway, though I had to stop eating it once that runny cheese began to make me feel sick.
This is really the last thing I do, after which I retire to my room to see how my speaker works. I know that, not being the most technologically adept person, it would probably take me a minute to figure out the Bluetooth component. In the meantime, and this is probably unfortunate as I may never get around to learning said component, I discover that the cable they provide for charging also has an end that will allow it to be plugged into a headphone jack. So, I’m still kind of just using that.
I play with the volume, trying not to turn it up too loudly as those walls seem to retain no sound. As I feel myself flagging by 11, I finally slide under the covers and call it a night.