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» Sunday, May 27, 2012Timegate, Day 3
Once again, I hardly got a lick of sleep. Can't say I wasn't tired. And we went to bed late, no earlier than 1 a.m. But I couldn't fall asleep. The room is quiet. I can't even blame the A/C. So what the hell was it? Well, besides the absolutely wretched pillows in the hotel. Whether labeled soft or firm, they're too small area-wise and two are too much and one isn't enough. Gah.
Well, we had two ideas: go eat breakfast, see a ten o'clock panel, then bring the critters home and come back. Or just go now and miss the ten o'clock panel and hit the eleven instead. We decided to do the former. Unlike Friday, James could find a luggage cart, and we loaded it up, tied Wil to the cart, and I carried Schuyler, and we went down to the car.
The key fob wasn't working. Huh?
So James opened the door with the key, and our horrible suspicion was confirmed: the battery is dead.
Hmn. Must fall back on idea three. Trouble is, we didn't know what that was.
What we did was stuff the suitcase, crate, and tray in the trunk and then go back inside. At first we thought someone might jump us off. We asked Bill, but he had a panel in fifteen minutes. Plus James had already taken his pills for the morning and needed to eat within 30 minutes. We'd planned to pick up something at Burger King on the way back.
So we set Schuyler's cage on the ottoman in the little lounge area right next to the restaurant. It's open between them. James went outside because we didn't have the number on our phones, and called AAA. I held onto Wil, and when James got back, he went to get something off the buffet. (The wait staff was overworked as always and there was no one to ask, so he just went. And I just went, but didn't eat much because I was already sleepless and upset.) We ate at the lounge, where Schuyler begged for and got a piece of watermelon, Willow, too. We had just finished when AAA called to say they were outside. James paid the bill, then went out again and they couldn't even use the portable battery to jump it off. It was gone.
(I can't complain. That's the battery that came with the car. I bought it in late July 2004. If not eight years old, almost. Got good mileage out of it.)
So we drove home without incident, put Schuyler back in her place, filled Willow's food dish, and deserted them for the rest of the day, taking the truck back with us. And it was a great day despite the events of the morning.
We went to see Caitlin Blackwood again. This time she was sans Mum on stage, but very poised and self-contained. She told many of the stories from yesterday, and Alan Siler presented her with a figure from her favorite Pixar film, a minion from Despicable Me. I'll tell you, this kid is adorable. She'll be a heartbreaker in a few more years.
At 1 p.m. we went to the panel I was afraid we might miss because of the car, the Sherlock Holmes in films panel. Louis Robinson was one of the panelists, as well as Kim Holec, and it was a great chat about Sherlock movies past and present. The general concensus was that the best version to present a new fan would be Jeremy Brett, but many of the newer versions (Robert Downey and Sherlock) were bringing in fans. We even shared a few choice words about the Gareth David-Lloyd version of Holmes, which Louis had us laughing about his discovery of it. I also won a door prize, a Sherlock Holmes in films book from the 70s.
It was time for the Ken Spivey Band concert, but we were both starving, so on our way to the events room we got a hot dog (me) and a burger (James) to tide us over and munched it during the first few songs. It was pretty much the same concert as last year, including "the Dalek dance" and a young woman having a song written for her (with the infamous "bridge" that bears no resemblance to the rest of the song...LOL). They saved my favorite song, "The Companion's Lament," for last, where it is definitely appropriate (especially nearing the end of the con).
We then went to the final lit panel, about what book panels folks would like to see next year. Very small crowd and it didn't last long. I was surprised to hear two people complaining about the preponderance of YA lit this year. There was only one YA in the schedule, although the writers that came were YA writers, but there weren't a lot of YA panels.
So we wandered about for a few minutes, said hi to Bill, did one more turn around the dealer's room, and then went to a panel about traveling to Great Britain to see Doctor Who sites and events. Both the moderators had been there in last few years; Mark had seen the "Doctor Who Experience" in London as well as going to Cardiff, and the other man had gone to Cardiff. There was much discussion about how to bring money there, as apparently now credit card companies are throttling use of American credit cards overseas! Ironically some type of Walmart card apparently works the best there. Also some discussion of the good theatre in London.
We ended up going to the penultimate panel because we wanted to see the final panel, the wrapup. We were both getting hungry by this time, so I went out to the truck to fetch some trail mix. This next-to-last panel, Doctor Who v. Star Wars v. Stargate, basically discussed the relative merits and detractions of each series and what type of influence each had (such as Star Wars making a large-budget science fiction film respectable and bringing back classic film scores), sending the odd jab to Space: 1999, Lost in Space, and the original Battlestar Galactica.
The final panel, as always, is bittersweet. All the track coordinators were thanked as well as other members of the convention. Then came commentary about the hotel, mostly good, some bad, especially about the restaurant employees running themselves ragged and there not being enough of them to take care of the crowds. Our A/C worked fine this weekend, but some weren't so lucky, and one couple had water leaking into their room. Once that was taken care of, the suggestions began to fly, from extending the convention to Monday, or just letting it run later on Sunday (especially since next year is the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who), suggestions for some child-oriented science exhibitions or even panels. By 7:30, everyone was tired and it all just broke up. We quietly exited through the back, where we were parked, went to Kroger to get some supper (chicken soup comfort food for me), and relaxed and restored at home, watching the rest of the National Memorial Day concert, which was actually last year's version since there was a bad storm in Washington, DC, and then a weird show on the Science Channel about an antique shop in New York, Oddities. Really weird.
There's something missing in this narrative, but it's deserving of its own special place. People often twit internet friendships, say they're not real, or superficial, especially with Facebook, that you're "counting how many friends you can have." Well, while online friendships may not be as invested with the emotional ties of families or close friends, one can still feel a strong friendship with someone they've only communicated with online. Some time ago I found "Collecting Children's Books," the blog of Peter D. Sieruta. I was immediately taken in by his columns; his posts discussed books I loved and books I had never read, and his entries were filled with information, bibliophilia, and wit. A year or so ago he bought his own home, and posted stories about furnishing it, about a wonderful blue clock that was left behind by the former owners, and of putting up his first hummingbird feeder and being startled at how territorial the little birds were. Sometime later I "friended" him on Facebook, where lately he was posting vintage family photographs and telling stories of parents, aunts and uncles, and cousins. Some were funny, some thoughtful, some sorrowful, but all were filled with love.
Last week I had read a startling post from Peter about his having badly broken his ankle and having a hurried trip to the emergency room, and the difficulty he was having getting around. I was so busy with work that I hadn't had a chance to send him a get-well message, but did check his Facebook page periodically for any updates.
This morning when I opened Facebook as we were on the way back to the hotel I was shocked to see a post from Peter's brother John letting people know that Peter had passed away on Friday. I sat in the cab of the truck in tears.
There are no boundaries on friendships. Even though I had never met Peter I considered him a friend. And I will miss him.