One-twenty-eight a.m.

It's time.

They call it Hotlanta for a reason: hot, muggy, steam confused and trying to figure out whether it should stream up or down. That's Atlanta on Labor Day weekend.

A year already? I say this every time with a mixture of amusement and amazement. Judging from recent phone calls and emails, 'con ate Jody's brain at least a week ago. Suzan succumbed in the last couple of days. I was excited, but mostly immune, until early this morning.I couldn't sleep. I lay in bed, mentally chanting my to-do list. Pack toiletries, feed the cats, turn off the computer, pack Jessica's drum, etc. Then, in a moment of insanity:

"I should bring my Santa hat."

Oh, why not. If I'm wearing a multicolored rasta hat and outrageous makeup, who is going to bat an eye at a Santa hat? Practically pedestrian in comparison.

But we're here. I've prepped my four copies of "The Guide To Cords And Connectors" (one copy each for, say it with me, 'Regency, Centennial, Harris, Ops, amen!'). They are propped not six inches from where I'll be sleeping tonight.

Space is at a bit of a premium tonight; on the floor are Things To Go To Con for Brian, Suzan, Jeff, and myself. Luckily, there's room to tuck tail into a little ball and snore away until early in the morning.

The Super Secret Dragon*Con Graphic Design Project is done. For those of you who aren't attending 'con, I've prepared a slideshow to appear on this site this coming Saturday evening to finally show you what I've been working on. (Convention-goers will see the images at about the same time.)

Tomorrow is, by far, one of the most exhaustive days of the year. We'll take a bare room and, in the space of a couple of hours, turn it into what will be our base of operations until Monday afternoon. I'll have to help Suzan set up equipment for the fan tracks while I also prep for feeding lunch to tech staff. I've got to track down the manager of the hotel first thing, so that I can get access to the massive sink in the staff kitchen. (We need ice, lots of it, and fast.)

As soon as lunch is prepped I'll start running water and Gatorade to the guys slinging/hoisting/setting up heavy equipment in the ballrooms. Hopefully people will continue giving me money for food. At some point I'll have to make a Sam's run to get the rest of the food supplies I need. By then it will be time to start dishing up dinner and prepping the next round of water/Gatorade runs.

Officially, 'con does not start until Friday morning. But concerts and raves begin on Thursday night, which means we must be ready to roll just a few hours after our equipment arrives on-site.

Once everyone's fed, I'll continue making water and Gatorade runs until eveyrone's taken care of and the equipment is all set up.

I will then adjourn to backstage Centennial IV (affectionately known as Cen4). There are rumors that Jody plans to declare backstage Cen4 as "n'awlins" on Thursday night. Hurricane mix shall abound.

It is, ladies and gentlemen....time.

Load-in begins in eight hours, and I have to sleep sometime.