Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Reno, casino, and a Greyhound bus

Wow. What a weekend it was. :-)

So by the end of last week it was looking like attempting to drive to Reno would be a really bad idea. When I had first thought to do this the forecast was for a sunny weekend, so I figured I'd drive up in the morning and drive home that night. Then I thought maybe night would be bad because of ice so I figured I'd just stay over. And then the forecast was calling for snow and wind and all that crap so it became pretty clear that my old car and me with no snow experience would be a REALLY bad idea. I couldn't find anyone else to con into going. The train took too darn long to get there. So the only option left was the bus. This made me nervous but by golly I HAD TO get to Reno. So I checked the weather and the road conditions, bought bus tickets (cheaper than driving, woo hoo!) and made a reservation at the Silver Legacy (cheap yay!).

I was dog-sitting out of town this weekend, so I had to get up at 5am Sunday to leave there and come back home so Mom could take me to the bus station down town (leaving a car there is a baaaad idea). Got there at 8, and there were hardly any people in line to go to Reno. I'd expected a nearly empty bus (after all who else would be crazy enough to go to Reno in that sort of weather!) but was dismayed to find the bus already almost full from people at earlier stops. Durn. I sat by someone who seemed quiet and normal, but unfortunately she left in Roseville. And just when it was looking like I might get a whole row to myself, this little tiny old lady with way too much makeup and biggest hairsprayed teased hair I have ever seen came and asked if she could sit there. So she tossed her duffle bag on the seat, and sat on it (so looking in the mirror she was suddenly a good 8 inches taller than me!). She then proceeded to remove a jacket, a vest, a sweater, and another vest, all the while elbowing me and getting her stuff all over me. And she did not sit still, she shuffled around the whole trip and bumped into me constantly, and also sighed LOUDLY approximately every 5 minutes. OMG. By the time I got to Reno my head was throbbing and I was pretty grumpy. Note to self, get a dang ipod! I read a book almost the whole trip but it sure would have been nice to drown people out.

It was snowy in the mountains, chains were required. Boy was I glad I wasn't trying to drive in that.

We rolled into Reno about a half hour late. I was thrilled to find that the bus dropped off at Circus Circus, so all I had to do was walk across the street to get to the Silver Legacy. I walked into a room filled with blinky noisy casino stuff and was pretty much instantly lost. I was lost most of the time I was there, that place is HUGE with so much stuff in it! I eventually found the lobby and got my room. On the 18th floor! Wow, somehow I felt so high class being way up there. :-) The room was quite nice. I snarfed down some lunch, got hold of my engraver friends, and headed down to the show.

WOW pretty much sums it up. It was a firearms and engraving show, so there were a lot of guns but a lot of other types of engraving too, and people who make gun stocks and other parts. Really neat. And so different than an art show. I'm used to seeing booths, but at this type of show people rent a table, and just have a few items out on the table. It looked really classy. I visited with B.H. and K.H. for a little bit (B.H. won the "Best Engraved Handgun" award. Awesome!) And then I just wandered around. I really only caught the tail end of the show, about the last two and a half hours. I introduced myself to everyone whose name I recognized (from the online forums where I post my scrim work) and showed my work to a lot of people. It was fantastic. I got really positive feedback, and people were impressed at how short a time I've been doing this. I asked lots of questions and was told several times that YES there is definitely a market for what I'm doing, particularly in the custom knife market, and that I definitely have what it takes to make it. I met people from all over the world, and some really really really well known people whose work I have admired. It was awesome. Probably the most common question/suggestion I got was people asking if I was going to learn to engrave metal. A lot of people said I'd be a natural at it. Well... I can see that happening some day down the road, but right now it's too much of an investment. What I want right now is to get really good at scrimshaw and be known for that. I can totally see learning to engrave eventually though. :-)

It was such a nice bunch of people, I really felt quite "at home" and welcomed there. I want to be a part of that group, I want to see those people again. I have every intention of being an exhibitor there next year. (you chicken people are thinking "but that conflicts with PPBA." Yes, it does. And I'm totally fine with that!) :-) At the risk of sounding totally cheesy, I think the engraving world is exactly where I'm supposed to be. (of course I'll still do other art!)

It ended way too soon, and everyone packed up the pretty things and left. I had dinner with B.H. and K.H. and had a really nice time catching up with them, it's been over a year since I've seen them (they used to live around here, I used to see them a lot). We'd heard that people were gathering downstairs that evening but didn't find anyone there right after dinner so we went to the bar and indulged for a while until the second hand smoke became totally unbearable (it seems SO weird for people to be smoking indoors.) Then we headed downstairs again and found a group of engravers having a musical jam session. There are some darn good musicians in that group! That was really a lot of fun.

I headed back upstairs around 10 but was so excited about the show and hopefully being in it and all this engraving and scrim stuff I couldn't sleep even though I was exhausted, I know it was well after midnight before I finally drifted off. And then the people next door turned on their television really loud at 5am. I hadn't planned on getting up til 7, but I had a hard time sleeping through it... Ugh I was a zombie that morning. There were a couple of seminars I attended yesterday morning, including one that showed some engraving techniques for creating realistic images. Fascinating to see that done in metal. I am eager to try some of those techniques in scrim. I still feel like I am doing a lot of experimenting. Different materials, different techniques. There's a lot to try!

K.H. took me to the bus station at 11:30, and I headed home and hour later. The weather was horrible going over Donner pass, a lot worse than on Sunday. It was gorgeous before we got there though. I don't have much experience with snow and it seems like it would be really inconvenient, not to mention cold, but gosh darn it's pretty. I wish I could have gotten some scenery photos, just for reference, but the windows on the bus were so grungy I couldn't get anything good. Too bad!

It's scheduled to be a three hour drive but it took over four. The people sitting around me were really scary. Every other word was a four-letter word, and they were talking about jail time and all kinds of things I'd rather not repeat. I buried my nose in my book and hoped I wouldn't get killed on the way home. Thankfully I survived. I can't say I really enjoyed the bus experience. But on the bright side it was really cheap, and it's good to know that should I ever NEED to get some place again (like Reno, next year, how will I get there if it's snowing??) it IS an option.

It was good to get home. :-)

So I'm just thrilled to pieces that I went, and how things went when I was there. I may have more news later about something that happened but I want to see if it pans out or not first.

Here's the really super exciting news, that I haven't talked about for fear of jinxing it. I have a microscope!!! :-) It arrived this weekend. I don't yet have a desk for it, and I'll need to move the furniture around to make space for it, but I have a microscope!!!! My eternal gratitude goes out to the extraordinary Steve Lindsay for his help with this microscope adventure. :-)

I will get that set up as soon as I can, but my plan right now is to staple my butt to the chair and get those $#%^&@ taxes done! They're due on Thursday. Bleh!


Adventure Prone and Co. said...

Great Jelly Beans...That Steve guy is good!! Unbeleivable. I don't know what to say except I can't wait till you get to that point one day Kat. Heck you're on your way!


Anonymous said...

Goodness gracious he does some fine work. Does he do scrimshaw like you? I bet you would make a darn good chicken on metal. Time will tell! BM

Anonymous said...

Did you win enough money on the slots to buy some cootie repellent for the bus trip? JJ

Katherine Plumer said...

Bry- totally! And thanks! :-)

BM- no, I don't think so. Maybe some day I'll put a chicken on metal, but not now. Just scrim for now. Hey when the heck do you leave?? (not trying to get rid of you, just curious).

JJ- no I didn't gamble at all... I'm better off not parting with any money....