As I sit and try to collect my thoughts on Botcon 2007, I have a splitting headache from an overdose of caffeine. My laptop’s liquid crystal display is dim against the backdrop of a two hundred watt (!) bedroom light and it makes concentrating on the screen a chore. The roar of a giant fan inside of my desktop computer irritates me and draws my attention away from the task at hand. Now my air conditioning has kicked on. Fantastic. At least I’m off the phone now. I hate the phone. It is a loathsome technology. I was earlier speaking with my ex-girlfriend. I love her so much. But I still hate the phone. And I hate that I can’t think.One week ago this moment, I was in a karaoke bar singing ‘I’ll Make Love to You’ by Boyz II Men. Exactly forty-eight hours later I was walking through my apartment door to find my cat missing.And back in the present my A/C has shut itself off, finally. Maybe I won’t have to kill it now.Botcon 2007 was like every other post-OTFCC Botcon but this time it was bigger, arguably better and smelled a lot less like unwashed ass.Tuesday evening I left work as normal but instead of driving north to my home, I drove east to Raleigh. As I did in 2005 I hitched a ride with M Sipher to the convention. I have never been in an airplane and I have no designs to be in one anytime soon. For millennia, man has traveled by land. The wheel is an ancient invention. It is a tried and true technology. While motorized locomotion itself is less than two centuries old, the fundamentals come naturally to us. The X and Y axes are familiar. We traverse those two dimensions the moment we learn to crawl. Man’s attempt at flight is born of hubris, as far as I am concerned. I am not quite so confident in man’s ingenuity to place my life into its hands for such a frivolous pursuit as a toy convention. I arrived at M Sipher’s apartment around 7:30, passing through a hellacious rainstorm along the way. I almost forgot what awful storms pass through the Triangle. I love Raleigh, I sincerely do. I plan on living there at some point in my life but I do not look forward to the torrential rains it is subjected to. I live in a small town at the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. I am shielded from such storms and almost oblivious to their existence. It is moments like these that make me realize that everyone doesn’t live in a sunny valley.Greg (M Sipher) lives in an apartment with his wife, cats and armies of action figures. He is an insane genius and not to be trifled with. I tread carefully in his presence, hoping not to be subject to the devastation a man of his abilities can no doubt be capable of dispensing. I have learned that if I speak somewhat intelligently, avoid eye contact and refrain from disparaging They Might Be Giants I will be left intact. This works well for me.Greg and I stopped for provisions at a supermarket I frequented in a past life. It was interesting walking the aisles there. Things have changed so little at the store, yet have changed so dramatically in my life. It was an introspective moment for me which is ultimately of no consequence to anyone, including me. On trips with Greg, we always stop at Wal-Mart. We hit at least half a dozen Super Wal-Marts on any given trip. Not only is Super Wal-Mart a good place to find toys, it’s also a good source for cheap food and semi-clean restrooms. After the supermarket, we stopped at the first of many Wal-Marts this trip would lead us to. Greg was looking for toys to trade with Azusa. He found some, that’s about all I recall. The Wal-Marts all run together. No, seriously, they do. They are all connected together via a subspace bridge. Most people do not know this. We then headed for Arby’s so that Greg could obtain a few morsels of food to sustain him for the remainder of the day. I had eaten earlier. I made a stop on the way to Greg’s. I saw that imitation crab meat was $2.00 a pound. Without hesitation I bought a pound and ate it on the drive to Raleigh. In retrospect, that doesn’t sound too appealing, especially in the context that my hands had a sticky residue after handling the food. At the time, however, it was delicious. We stopped for gas and then drove north. We had to make it to Maryland for a layover. Greg and I drove through Virginia and into Maryland. We made a serpentine path through a series of roads named after other places. Boston street, Philadelphia boulevard, asshole avenue. After driving through what seemed like ten states and three countries, we arrived at Bill/Lodril’s house. I met Bill in the past but only briefly. I didn’t know that Bill fabricates Storm and Clone Trooper armor. I never thought anyone who does this could be functional. And, really, I didn’t think they could fit into the armor that they fabricate. But, sure enough, they are not only functional, they are good people. As Bill is of course good people. At Bill’s home I admired his two Priuses (I love that car), his Transformers collection and his work-in-progress Storm Trooper paraphernalia. Exhausted from a long drive, Greg and I crashed.