As I previously alluded to, I traveled to Orlando last weekend to attend Avitaween. And while that was certainly the main event, it was far from the whole story. It was, in fact, one of nine meet-ups for me during the trip.

First up was lunch at the Orlando airport with several others that were arriving at around the same time. These were all people I hadn’t meet before and we coordinated via Twitter. Kim was already there when we got there and later, Sheila, Employee3699 and her fraughter joined us. Chick-Fil-A was the fare of choice, apparently being unavailable in the far-off land of Chicago. Or something like that. Then it was time to wait over an hour in the Budget car rental line. Joy. That was probably the only negative of my whole weekend, at least the only one that directly affected me.

Friday evening was the occasion of a wonderful dinner hosted by Faiqa and Tariq. In attendance were several bloggers I’d already met and was thrilled to see again: Poppy & Dawg, Rachel, Robin and Dave2. I also got to meet many more: Britt & Jared, Heather & Tyler, Finn & Mister, Hilly, Lisa, Karen and Becky. There were some others present, including some kids, but I’m sticking to bloggers (and their spouses) here. Great food and great times!

toojaysSaturday morning’s arrival meant breakfast. I love breakfast. Kim joined several of the dinner attendees (Finn & Mister, Poppy & Dawg, Rachel, Robin and me) at TooJay’s. After breakfast, we discovered that Robin’s rental had some issues and she and Rachel had to go exchange it (after dropping me back at the Hilton, where I wasn’t staying, but had met up beforehand). Bummer that their plans got messed up by having to drive back to the airport, but watching Robin work it on the phone was pretty impressive.

Back at the Hilton, I sat around chatting with various attendees until it was time for a late lunch. Sheila, Employee3699, Fraughter, Nicole and… grumble… I’ve gone and forgotten their names. One other couple. šŸ˜¦ I even tried looking through photos, to no avail. Anyway, we went to Bahama Breeze. I was still full from breakfast, so I didn’t order any lunch and then had a dessert. It was some sort of banana bread-bananas-caramel-ice cream-whip cream concoction that ended up not being as good as I had hoped. Oh, well.

invaded_boxBack to the hotel to get ready for the main event, Avitaween 2009: INVADED!!!! Words fail me, so have a look at the Flickr stream. Okay, I’ll come up with some words. Or one word. Absomazingtastibulous! [Edit: I forgot to mention that there are also a couple of karaoke videos.]

As the festivities were starting to wind down (though plenty of people looked like they’d be there for a while), a group of us decided to head over to Denny’s for post-party, late night food. My steak & egg burrito really hit the spot. Let’s see how well I can recall who was at Denny’s. Poppy & Dawg, Robin, Rachel, Shiela, Kim, Employee3699, Fraughter, Finn & Mister, Karen and Adam‘s friend Chris. I think that’s everyone, but I could be forgetting someone at the other end of the table.

Sunday morning pretty much went by while I slept, which was fine since I had breakfast the night before. Marci and I were able to have lunch with Mike & Susie at Five Guys, and then sit and chat with them for a couple of hours back at the Hilton. Getting to know other people is one of my favorite parts of these trips, so I really appreciated this opportunity.

At that point, we needed to check into our new hotel. We were switching to the hotel where Marci would be spending the rest of the week as she was staying in town for a conference. We were planning to meet up with Marty & Reba, but the way things ended up working out I had dinner with Adam. Just the two of us at Chili’s, where we had a good opportunity to actually have some interesting conversations — no time for that for Adam at his own party, of course!

hard rock orlandoI still needed to meet up with Marty — I had a package for him, plus, he’s state of inebriation at the party pretty much precluded conversations — but I wanted to stop by the Orlando Hard Rock Cafe first. This was a bit of an adventure as it required parking in the Universal Studios parking garage ($3 from 8pm to 10pm) and a bit of a walk. I walked around the restaurant for a bit looking at the various memorabilia, but I didn’t want to spend too long as I wasn’t sure how late Marty wanted to be out. I bought my requisite Hard Rock shirt and headed back to the car.

I finally met Marty at TGI Friday’s where we caught up and I had a much better dessert, a Chips Ahoy! Ice Cream Sundae. And half-price Long Island Iced Teas for Marty!

As I said earlier, my favorite part of these trips is hanging out with other people, so I was thrilled that I had so many different opportunities to do so. Looking forward to the next one. Did someone say something about Vegas in December?!


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  1. #1 by Sarah on October 27, 2009 - 11:36 pm

    Yay for fun times!
    .-= Sarah´s last blog ..Said =-.


    • #2 by Ren on October 28, 2009 - 4:20 pm

      Sarah – Indeed! I wish you could’ve made it. I expect we’ll next see each other at TC10. I sense it won’t be too far from you….


  2. #3 by kilax on October 28, 2009 - 6:27 am

    What a fun weekend! I love meeting bloggers. I have never meant so many at once though! I wonder if I would find that overwhelming.
    .-= kilax´s last blog ..Silly food beliefs =-.


    • #4 by Ren on October 28, 2009 - 4:21 pm

      kilax – I didn’t find it overwhelming, partly because it was really spread out over the weekend except at the party. And even then, there was lots of room for people to spread out and congregate in different areas, which certainly happened.


    • #5 by Ren on October 28, 2009 - 4:23 pm

      kilax – Oh, I also just saw that there is a deal on Austin -> Chicago flights for next weekend and I was thinking that there are several people there I need to meet. Sadly, I already have plans for that weekend. Plus, it’s probably too cold for me to visit Chicago at this point. šŸ™‚


  3. #6 by Avitable on October 28, 2009 - 6:53 am

    It was great to finally meet you (and Marci, although briefly), and I’m glad you made the trip down here for the party.
    .-= Avitable´s last blog ..How to beat zombies =-.


    • #7 by Ren on October 28, 2009 - 4:23 pm

      Avitable – Likewise, though I’m still shocked that I never met Amy.


  4. #8 by Employee No. 3699 on October 28, 2009 - 9:05 am

    It really was a great weekend, other than the Budget debacle. The other couple at Bahama Breeze was Allison and Pete.


    • #9 by Ren on October 28, 2009 - 4:24 pm

      Employee No. 3699 – At least I didn’t have any issues with the car or with returning it. Though I did use the supposed built-in toll tag, so we’ll see how that works out. I never once saw the toll flash green at me, but perhaps I just went by the light too quickly. I’ll probably end up with $100s in toll charges. šŸ˜¦


  5. #10 by Karen Sugarpants on October 28, 2009 - 10:36 am

    I adore you and Marci. It was great meeting The Man behind the Scrabble games and Marci is super nice. I still am very determined to beat you!
    .-= Karen Sugarpants´s last blog ..Wordless Wednesday: Any Given Sunday =-.


    • #11 by Ren on October 28, 2009 - 4:26 pm

      Karen Sugarpants – I adore you as well and am now sad that I didn’t get to meet Mr. Sugarpants. We’re really gonna have to plan something the next time Marci needs to go to Canada.

      Oh, I just played SQUINT for 105 points — be thankful it wasn’t against you! šŸ˜€


  6. #12 by Dave2 on October 28, 2009 - 11:50 am

    Good to see you once again! So glad you could make it to the party so I could meet the Mrs. at long last. šŸ™‚
    .-= Dave2´s last blog ..Diary =-.


    • #13 by Ren on October 28, 2009 - 4:27 pm

      Dave2 – I’m glad she was able to make it to several of the events and still manage to get most of her work done during the weekend. Busy busy busy!


  7. #14 by Ren on October 28, 2009 - 1:58 pm

    I edited to add links to the two karaoke videos I published.


  8. #15 by Poppy on October 28, 2009 - 5:21 pm

    It was so good to see you again, because RenYC WAS SO LONG AGO! Hehehehehe.

    But, really, it was. Didn’t really see a ton of you at the party, so glad I got to see you before it.

    I feel like I mingled with A LOT of people but ended up not hanging out with a few-lotta people I would normally hang with. Weird. I always was the girl who floated into all cliques in high school. Universal friendship!
    .-= Poppy´s last blog ..I suck at goodbyes =-.


    • #16 by Ren on October 29, 2009 - 8:59 am

      Poppy – Yes, it was great that we got to hang out ahead of time. And if I’m reading you right, you’re saying we should have get-togethers every couple of weeks. šŸ™‚ Sounds good. Expensive, though….


  9. #17 by Stacy on October 28, 2009 - 9:03 pm

    Sounds like the weekend was a success.

    Just one note, the number one rule of the Orlando airport is:
    When renting from Budget make sure your have a FastBreak Membership.


    • #18 by Ren on October 29, 2009 - 9:01 am

      Stacy – While we were waiting in line I noticed the FastBreak deal, and I checked my reservation just in case USAA gave me an automatic FastBreak or something. It was mentioned in the email, but only as a promotion for joining.

      The Enterprise counter had a very short line, but had apparently run out of most of their vehicles by giving them to other Budget renters whose wallets were more bountiful than their patience.


  10. #19 by Lisa on October 29, 2009 - 8:16 pm

    It was so great to meet you and Marci! I was glad that the meeting everyone was spread out too because it made it a lot easier. And now after reading about squint I’m afraid to play Words with Friends with you, I’m floatingprncess on there if you want to play šŸ™‚


    • #20 by Ren on October 29, 2009 - 11:51 pm

      Lisa – It was great to meet you as well. And I just stated a Word with Friends game with you. šŸ™‚


  11. #21 by Sheila (Charm School Reject) on October 30, 2009 - 3:04 pm

    I’m so glad I got to finally meet you! Marci was like icing on my RenCake!

    You should definitely crash the M4 in June!! Seriously.

    Can’t wait to hang out again.
    .-= Sheila (Charm School Reject)´s last blog ..So I Went To This One Party =-.


    • #22 by Ren on October 31, 2009 - 9:18 am

      Sheila – I’m so happy that she was able to join me. I’ll keep M4 in mind and see if it works out. I may just make a separate trip to Chicago sometime, though.


  12. #23 by martymankins on November 2, 2009 - 2:15 pm

    It was great to finally meet Marci. Adam’s party was great.

    And yes, my state of drunk was very high (almost as high as I was at TequilaCon). Good thing I’m a happy drunk.

    And thanks for being flexible in meeting up before you headed back home. TGI Friday’s was a great pick for a late night drink and dessert.
    .-= martymankins´s last blog ..A Quick One While Iā€™m Away =-.


    • #24 by Ren on November 9, 2009 - 10:35 am

      martymankins – Sounds like you’re not going to make the Vegas trip, so I’m guessing it will probably be TC10 before we get to hang out again. Twice a year isn’t too bad, though, I suppose.


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