Left… Left… Left Right Left…

I think I’ve finally stopped reciting cadence to myself while walking around. =P

I flew out of San Jose on Wed 12/27. Turns out everyone else coming from my area drove… I shoulda just hitched a ride with one of them ’cause flying was a pain. Our plane sat on the tarmac forever because of some glitch that required the plane to be “rebooted”. For the record, passengers don’t want to hear that the plane needs to be “rebooted” ok? It doesn’t conjure happy safe images.

And then the pilot told us we couldn’t get off the plane and wait in the terminal because the airport had just lost power. Niiiice…

The topper woulda been if the airline had lost my armor but thankfully I had given me armor to Elton who was driving it down to LA for me. (The airlines did end up losing like 10 armor bins from international troopers, like the French and Germans. They were all found before the parade thankfully!)

Made it into LAX finally and hopped on the shuttle to the hotel. The line to check-in was beyond evil so I dumped my luggage in the room I thought I was staying in and went with the GGG (Golden Gate Garrison) to hunt up some food and check in with LFL (Lucasfilm Limited).

A photo of us checking in isn’t all that exciting; R2D2 checking in is much more entertaining. =D

And then we stood around and waited for an hour or so in the hotel check-in line. Fun. The camera crews were already everywhere. I have never been around so many camera crews in my life! There were the 3 LFL crews and random news crews around all the time. It seemed like everytime you turned around, there they were, especially if you were hanging out with the foreign garrisons.

I finally got checked in only to find out I had been moved from the room I was supposed to be in (with 3 guys from my garrison) to a room of girls I didn’t know. Okaaaay. So up to Elton’s room again to move my stuff from the 14th floor all the way to the 1st floor.

Ok here’s where I mention that the elevators in that hotel were POSSESSED. They’d randomly clear out all the pressed buttons, stop on wrong floors, skip floors… it was like being in a video game trying to get around on them.

The guys helped me move all my stuff to the 1st floor and about 3 hours later, we moved all my stuff right back up to the 14th floor. =D Turns out LFL had grouped all the girls into rooms together even if they had husbands who were also marching. So I did some musical chairs with the rooms to let Ed be in the same room as his wife, and I ended back up in the room I was supposed to be in.

We were off to a great start already! (The whole week was like this btw… everything was very much “subject to change”.)

We had dinner catered by LFL that night. Dinners were in the banquet room in the hotel every other night. Right to left: Elton (roomate), me (duh), Robert (my bus buddy), and Colonel Toledo (who was in charge of making sure all 200+ of us knew how to march by Monday. Poor guy.)

More GGG peoples! This is the lounge where we spent most of our time hanging out.

Thursday morning, we were up and on buses by 8:30, heading to the practice grounds. They split us up into companies and I ended up as a flag bearer. For the record, I didn’t volunteer for it… well not intentionally at least. They had all the stormtroopers who had marching experience form one company, so I went with that one and next thing I knew: tada, y’all are the flag company. D’oh!

And then they lined us up by height and I was 4th shortest. (Anyone makes any comments about short stormtroopers, I’m gonna hit you. =D )

They had us bring buckets to all the practices so we could get used to marching with very limited vision. I’m sure it made for a funny sight…

When they handed out flags, they tried to match flags up with the country/state representatives so I asked for Taiwan’s flag as the guys from Taiwan were not in the Flag Company. And I got it which was yay! But everything was “subject to change” so it was only for that day. =)

Here we are trying to be respectful and not put flags on the ground which was fine in theory until that plastic fence fell over. ^^;

We had marching practice until 4ish and then we piled onto the buses and headed back to the hotel.

Dinner was on our own that night so Aimee came over and we went to this western/rodeo themed restaurant on the Universal Citywalk. I forget the name but it had that electronic bull in front that a bunch of the guys from the UK tried out. I got molested by a waiter who told me he intentionally ran into me. o_O

Robert and Garet were getting along grand that weekend. I’m almost jealous… almost… =D

And here are the guys who were serenading people in the restaurant… serenading me cause Garet paid them to. (That hair is awesome yeah?) I swear I’m hiring a full out mariachi band to show up at his door next time. =P

Friday morning, we were up and at ’em again bright and early. The 501st has a lot of former (and active) military personnel, so they were recruited to be drill instructors, company leaders, and squad leaders. See? Boot camp lite! (For nerds.) LOL

Here we are getting a lecture on how to wheel which was the most complicated move we had to do.

Oh and we started out in companies 10 people wide because Lucasfilm marketing wanted us to look as impressive as possible and take up as much room on the parade route as we could. That was until they saw us trying to wheel 10-wide. :: roll eyes :: So, Friday morning (or maybe it was Saturday, I forget now), we got re-organized in 8-wide companies.

LFL also wanted us to be as wide from each other as possible but someone finally convinved them that our peripheral vision was bad enough that we were never gonna be able to keep in line that wide apart.

Lucasfilm marketing then decided that the flags needed to be organized alphabetically countries first, then states, so here I am with the Italy flag. Don’t you love marketing people? =D

The mess hall!

Officers table. And no, it wasn’t intentional that the officers ended up at separate tables… least I don’t think so. =D

Wow, this is long! Ok, enough for now. Thanks for sticking with me while I ramble!