I can’t believe it’s been a week already! This trip to Atlantic City started out just like any other, with very little sleep and the open road at some ungodly hour. Although unlike our trip to Gettysburg, we got 3 hours of sleep instead of 45 minutes. Normally I am just going to bed at 1:00am on a Saturday but this time we were hitting the road, AC bound, for the last time this summer. We made no stops until we were already in New Jersey. There isn’t much to talk about for the ride, mostly because our delirious induced silliness didn’t kick in until we made it to AC.
We made it to our hotel in Absecon at about 6:30 am. We knew that we couldn’t check in until 3pm but we figured we’d try it anyways. We looked a bit disheveled and that could only help our cause at this point, right? Wrong. The woman at the front desk told us that we would not be allowed to check in until 3 and then tried to strike up a casual conversation. What made her think I wanted to chit-chat with her after she told me no was beyond me. She told us that we could head in to AC to go to the outlets while we waited. That would have been all well and good except they didn’t open until 10:00am. We still had 3.5 hours to wait before we could continue waiting. Thanks, but no thanks. She did however tell us that, if we wanted, we could go enjoy their delightful continental breakfast. There was a catch, we couldn’t tell anyone, so naturally I’m telling you. It’s okay though because we didn’t actually eat. We did what any other disheveled homeless person does in AC: we hit the boardwalk! Offensive? Probably, but you can’t tell me it’s not true.
We drove over and parked at Caesar’s, we figured if we did eventually make it to the shops, we’d probably want our car nearby. Although once out of the car our priorities almost immediately shifted from shopping to coffee (and perhaps food, but mostly coffee.) We managed to find a Starbucks, which incase you’re wondering, is like a little cup of heaven after almost 6 hours on the road. 2 iced coffees, one scone, and one apple fritter later, we found ourselves once again hopelessly staring down the boardwalk wondering what we could do to occupy ourselves. This would be our third trip to Atlantic City this summer, and we decided to do something we hadn’t done on any of our previous trips, we went to the beach. Neither one of us was prepared for the beach but that certainly didn’t stop us. We walked for what seemed like a lifetime, dodging seagulls, craters in the sand (not so successfully), jellyfish and tractors along the way, but when we turned around to look at our starting point we found we had only made it about half a mile. It was just then that the exhaustion set in and this looked like a nice place to stop and rest, so (despite our lack of beach going essentials and in lieu of the fact that only mere steps away there was a place we could rent beach chairs) we plopped ourselves right down onto the sand. We took this time to ponder the burning questions we had, for instance, “Why is sea foam green called green when it’s clearly white?” and “What is that woman hoping to find with her metal detector?” We were quickly pulled back to reality when our thoughts were so rudely interrupted by a strange man who wanted to know if one of us, ONLY one of us, wanted to walk with him. We did the only logical thing we could and battled it out with a game of rock, paper, scissors, lizard, Spock (Umm Big Bang Theory, Anyone? No? You should look it up. ok, I did it for you)
So that’s a lie, being from MA, we don’t take kindly to stranger danger, so instead he got a disapproving and judgmental look from both of us followed by us ignoring the unwanted behavior. Works every time. We headed back to our starting point at caesar’s because at this point the shops would be opening momentarily. I won’t get into a lot of detail here because it’s a bit redundant of what you’ve already read, just a lot of sitting, then walking, followed by more sitting. Finally after grabbing a quick bite to eat at Johnny Rockets we decided we couldn’t take it anymore and we didn’t care what the lady at the front desk had said, we were going to storm the hotel and take our room!
Luckily, when we got back to the hotel (at around 12:30pm) there was a different person at the front desk and he told us that our room was ready and we didn’t have to wait until 3. HALLELUJAH! We went up to our room and immediately threw our stuff down and fell into our beds. We were able to nap for about an hour and a half before we both started getting ready. Despite the fact that we were still exhausted and that our room was approximately the same temperature as the surface of the sun, we were ready super quick and decided that we would just head over to Harrah’s.
Due to what I guess you could call “muscle memory”, the moment we stepped foot in Harrah’s our bodies headed straight for the concert venue. We had to force ourselves to go in the opposite direction. We walked over to where the shops are in Harrah’s and sat on the round bench across from the store with the fabulous shoes. We were on the lookout for other chasers. As I was scanning the crowd, I caught a glimpse of Don walking by and immediately, without any hesitation, turned to Megan and said, “Is he going to kidnap a small child?” He had a backpack on which could have easily fit an infant/small toddler and he was sporting an odd/ creepy moustache. *sorry Don, it had to be said. Just remember how much you like the trading card I made and don’t be mad! * At first I thought this reaction was just caused by the fact I’ve never seen him with a moustache, but as the night’s festivities progressed and the guys ragged on him for it while on stage, I knew for sure it wasn’t just me. He walked by without seeing us (we weren’t in our concert going essentials yet) I put it out of my mind because secretly I hoped he was on his way to shave it at that very moment.
We figured we could hook up with some other chasers and perhaps get dinner or drinks before the show but it was still early so we went to Eden Lounge to get some drinks and hang out for a bit. We certainly needed it and Eden Lounge isn’t all that bad when the terrible music isn’t blaring so loud your brain can’t even think. I walked up to the bar and ordered a rum and coke. When the bartender brought my drink over I handed him my debit card because I didn’t have any cash on me. He immediately glanced at my card and said “WHAT’S THAT?!” as he pointed to the giant Red Sox logo on it. I said “Umm Red Sox?” and his reply was “Give me that drink back! No drinks for Red Sox fans, only Yankees fans!” In retrospect, I probably should have let him take it from me because it was easily the strongest rum and coke I’d ever had. Megan ordered the same thing and hers was the same way. It took us a while to drink them and even after only one, we were feeling the effects. Soon after finishing our drinks, we thought it wise to use the ladies room. We headed to what we call our “magic bathroom.”(It got this name because every time we use it, something fun/exciting/amazing seems to happen when we leave.) We came out of the bathroom and stood by where the ramp and stairs leading to the concert venue meet. We intently watched as they set up the merchandise table, all the while secretly tempted to just go over there and help. (We both had our “Ask me about Straight No Chaser” pins. We could have easily blended in with the employees.)
Exhaustion really hit us hard at this point, and with complete disregard for how unacceptable it was and how harshly judged we would be, we sat right down on the germ-infested floors. We knew that there was a large group of Chasers eating dinner at McCormick & Schmick’s but we decided that we wouldn’t interrupt their dinner and besides, getting up was proving to be a daunting task. We sat there for a good amount of time, eavesdropping on the conversations happening at the merch table and tripping innocent casino goers as they walked by. I was starting to get restless and it was just after 7:00pm at this point. The concert venue doors were opened and we figured what a perfect time it would be for us to start getting all our glowing apparel ready. Only moments after standing up, and I’m sure not looking our very best, Ryan came up the concert venue ramp. He saw us and we chatted for a bit about our road trip down to AC before he headed into the concert venue. I’m not going to lie, I’m so happy we were standing and functioning like normal humans when he saw us and not sitting sprawled out on the floor.
We started to spot some fellow Chasers, as we got ready to make our way in to find our seats. Kelli gave us more glowy stuff to wear (you can never be too bright.) We were sitting in the balcony for this show and we wanted to scope out our seats. We were already seated when many of the Chasers entered the venue. It was fun to be up high and watch everyone’s reaction to seeing each other. Old friends or new friends, it didn’t matter, everyone was so happy to see everyone else. There were lots of hugs going around. There came a point when Tara spotted us up in the balcony so I stood up to wave to her. She then told me to come down and meet her so that I could retrieve our ChaserCon badges. I was literally trapped in my seat at this point. The row had filled in and Megan and I were smack dab in the middle. Tara delivered the badges to us and we had a full conversation over (well, they chimed in as well from time to time) the people sitting in the rows in front us.
Finally the screen came down and the beginning movie started. The girl seated next to me found the opening video to be very funny. If you watch the video I took of it, you can hear her laughing through out it. The show itself was naturally pure perfection (with perhaps the exception of Randy’s very graceful fall down the stairs and a profanity that Jerome let slip.)
We were giddy when leaving the concert venue and feeling much more awake. As always, once we were outside of the venue we met up with the other chasers and I tried to sort out all the things I needed for the meet and greet line. You wouldn’t think you needed much but in this case I was playing a fun juggling game. I have a picture I wanted to get signed, A birthday card for mike as well as one for Randy, two copies of a Hyannis Sound(HS) CD for Tyler to sign (one for me, one for TUNEweek), and two silver sharpies (which I was later almost assaulted with). I’m not sure why didn’t just ask Megan to hold some of the stuff, probably because that would have been way too easy.
Naturally, I was so overwhelmed by the amount of stuff I was trying to hold/put in order of when it would be needed that when I got to Jerome pretty much all I could say to him was “Hi!” He said hello back and flashed that fabulous smiles he has. As I was about to drop a bunch of stuff onto the table, I shifted over to Mike. His reaction was amazing!
Mike (With arms stretched out above his head): Yay! You’re back!
It was not the reaction I was expecting AT ALL, but it made me so very happy. I proceeded to give him his card, stating that I knew it was early but since we wouldn’t be seeing him at a show closer to his birthday we were giving it to him them. He thanked us for it and then his attention was drawn to the “ChaserCon” badge I was wearing around my neck. (It’s possible this is the first he’d seen of it because we were the first chasers wearing them to go through the line *I THINK*)
Mike: What’s that for?
Me: It’s my VIP pass, obviously!
Mike: What does “ChaserCon” mean?
Me: Chaser Convention. That’s what we’ve been calling it since there are so many of us here.
Mike: Ohhhh, like Comic Con? (The nerd in me did cartwheels hearing the words ComicCon come out of his mouth. I kid you not!)
Mike always manages to surprise & amaze me! After we had finished our conversation with Mike, we went over to Seggie, who, my teacher instincts told me, was not feeling so good. I asked him if he was okay and he said he was fine. I took his word for it (not that he would be obliged to tell me otherwise.) When we got to Tyler, I handed him the HS CDs to sign. He never even questioned why I had two copies and Megan had one of her own. I had two copies of their annual bootleg Volume 5. Megan had that CD and Volume 4.
Me: I tried to get that one too (pointing to Megan’s CD) but it was all sold out.
Tyler: Oh really? Well number 5 is better anyways
(Megan and I both agree with him. While I like them both, if I had to choose between them, I’d pick volume 5)
As I moved on in the line Megan was still getting her HS CDs signed. We kind of got separated in the line, which is always weird because I usually look like a fool talking to myself thinking she’s next to me when she’s not. The guys probably just assume I’m some kind of crazy person. Anyways, here’s the conversation that went down after we were separated.
Megan (to Tyler): So, I have your buttons. (Kary had just given us new buttons while we were waiting in line, so we hadn’t had time to put them on yet.)
Tyler & DR: * confused (and possibly frightened) look *
DR: (upon seeing the button with a picture of corn): Doesn’t he have a great nickname?!
Megan: Ya, if he likes it.
Megan (to DR, after moving away from Tyler): I have one of his face too. It’s super creepy.
DR: Yeah it is.
This exact conversation almost repeats itself later on down the line. At this point I was at Charlie. Earlier that day I had tweeted to him that he should look for our glowing leis in the balcony that night. So of course I wanted to find out if he was able to spot us.
Me: Did you see us?
Me: Oh, good. I know you like to play “Where’s the glowing leis” so I figured I’d tweet you a hint for tonight.
Charlie: *laughing* So, how’s life now that you’re not Chaser of the Month anymore?
It had only been two days since we lost our title, not much had changed. But we were happy to hand it over to Tara. She does a lot for SNC and she (and Marna!) did a lot for us when we went to AC for the PBS taping. I told Charlie about our airport adventures and he agreed that she definitely deserved it. (once again, I apologize for the lack of “Megan” in these conversations but this conversation with Charlie was taking place WHILE she was talking to Tyler and DR. It’s so hard to keep up with all the conversations these days.)
I then proceeded to Randy, and after a bit of fumbling, handed him the birthday card we had gotten him. He said thank you and put his card on the table. Charlie almost immediately asked him “Do you want me to sign that?” Randy passed the card over, but Charlie didn’t actually write anything on it. Randy on the other hand thought that it was essential that “Ryan likes butter” be written on the card. The card was later held up to be shown to Ryan. Randy also asked us about the ChaserCon badges we were wearing. His questions were more regarding the “LDW” portion, so I simply told him that it meant “Labor Day Weekend.” After all that confusion was cleared up I moved onto Walt (at this point, I’m pretty sure I had been rejoined by Megan.) I had one mission I needed to fulfill when I got to Walt and was to have him sign the drink menu I had from the PBS taping. It was missing his signature because he had been doing something for PBS and was not at the table when I came down the M&G line. He was very apologetic (which he did not need to be) and signed mine (and Megan’s) menus. Mission accomplished.
When we got to Don, he was curious as to how many trading cards I had sent out. I told him I had sent out a couple (I think more people should have them though * ahem ahem *) He then told us about how much he liked it and that he sometimes brags about us to people. We were super flattered (and curious as to who these elusive “people” are!) * BTW: I still have cards that I can send to people. *
We then spent some time chatting with Ryan. I felt the need to start the conversation off as awkward as possible.
Me: Oh, Look what Kary just gave me. (showing him the buttons ) I know it’s a little bit creepy but I took it anyways.
That got a laugh from Ryan and Don. Sometimes I’m funny and I don’t even know it.
Following that, we talked about the very blog that you’re reading right now. He asked us when it would be going up and we told him that on average it takes us about a week. I told him that I made sure not to write secrets in the blog. He asked us what else we wanted to know and we told him we wanted to know EVERYTHING! He then proceeded to tell us some facts about every guy. I’ll share with you some of the funny ones. Don also joined in on the fun.
DR(From Don): had “huge sideburns.”
Tyler: Loves acapella more than his mom. (Which Don confirms as being true)
Seggie: Can get bottle service 50% percent of the time. (With an “it’s crazy” added in to the end.)
Mike: wore carpenter jeans in high school.
I’m not sure if these were meant to be shared, but I assume since they were said during the M&G line that they are okay for public use. We got to get a fun little fact about all the guys except for Ryan, since he was the one sharing the facts. We’ll have to ask one of the other guys (or I suppose we could just ask Ryan) for secrets about Ryan at the next show we go to. Which, we also informed Ryan, could possibly be Connecticut because of his arm-twisting. Okay, so he didn’t really twist, he just simply stated that they would be performing more shows in NE than the ones we were attending but we’re very easily influenced.
After that we were told that we needed to move. I understand that it was that mans job to get me out of the way but there was no need to be mean about it. This wasn’t my first go around; I know the rules of the meet and greet line! RUDE! We then just hopped back in line for a group picture. When it was finally our turn we went up, struck our poses, and just moments before Richard took the picture, Ryan said to me, “Can I wear your lei?!” What a silly question! Of course my answer was going to be yes! (Which I is a good thing because before the words could even come out of my mouth, my lei was being taken off my neck. I guess I’m predictable.) After two failed attempts at a picture we were finally able to get a good one.
After all the excitement was over we had decided that we would just head back to our hotel. We were far too exhausted to be enjoyable company at this point and Megan had been having car issues earlier in the evening. We decided it would be a good idea to tell someone that Megan was having car trouble and that we were leaving, just in case. We weren’t sure what they could do for us but we figured we should let someone know what was going on incase we needed to call on them for any reason. You never know what you might need or who might be able to help. Thank you to Dottie & Kristin for being the “chosen ones.” Luckily, everything went smoothly and we ended up not needing to call on them for any reason. When we got back to our hotel we both completely crashed. We needed our beauty sleep for the adventures being had the next day………