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» Friday, May 23, 2014And the Greatest Of These is...
...you guessed it! Sleeping late! I turned off my alarm clock last night with a great triumphant shout, because I have never, ever been a "morning person," even back when I was a baby according to my mom. As I got older Dad would go to bed early, even on Fridays, and get up to use the bathroom about quarter to one, and with incredulity would find Mom and I still up watching The Tonight Show (back when it was ninety minutes): "What are you doing up this late?" "Watching Johnny Carson."
And we did sleep until after nine, which was wonderful, and ate breakfast at leisure, and then had to complete the chores: James had to pick up some prescriptions at Kaiser and then we had to go to Kroger to do the weekly shopping. Was tempted to get some soup for lunch, but didn't there.
Now it was time to go out and have some fun. It was only 2 p.m., and traffic was already backed up everywhere. Southbound on I-85 and downtown was turned dark burgundy on the traffic map. So we headed east via surface streets, and at one point, found a dozen cars lined up blocking traffic waiting for their kids to get out of school (apparently they're not allowed on school grounds so they have to line up outside, on a narrow two-lane road, completely holding up traffic unless you're willing to cut around them! how absurd!).
The convention didn't start until 6:30, so we had lunch at Panera: for my part a nice luscious bowl of chicken soup as well as a bagel with chive and onion cream cheese. Then we drove to Barnes & Noble and spent an hour checking out the books. I got all excited when I saw a "Best of British" there until I picked it up and noticed it was from last November. I had a coupon and picked up a copy of E.B. White's essays, which includes one about being a "St. Nicholas League" kid.
By now it was after five, so we scoped out the best way to get to the hotel. Straight shot was by the freeway, but traffic was even more berserk now than earlier. But all the surface street ways took you way out of the way. James figured we'd get off the ramp eastbound and that would line us right up with the exit; it wouldn't take that long. And it wouldn't have, either, had we not realized from the clouds of smoke and the police car blocking the ramp that there was a pickup truck on fire there. And I do mean fire. Bright orange flames were shooting from the engine and the cab. So we had to crawl along eastbound until we got to the next exit and work our way back. There's always drama getting to Timegate for some reason: once it was a torrential rainstorm.
After registering we oriented ourselves and decided to have supper before opening ceremonies. The restaurant was having an Italian buffet tonight: chicken marsala, beef lasagna, some kind of alfredo pasta, and roasted eggplant and other veggies. They also had salad and watermelon. The marsala was good, and this is odd coming out of me, since I despise chicken breast, but this was nice and moist. I also had cucumber and tomato salad, and a roll and butter, with some tiny cream puffs and strawberries for dessert. Sue Phillips ate with us, and then we were ready to go on to opening ceremonies. I found a seat under the air conditioning vent and was immediately sorry! Wow, I like being cold, but that was cold.
Next it was on to our first panel, which was "The Real History of Science Fiction." BBC America has been showing a series by the same name, but although paying some lip service to Asimov, Clarke, and a couple of other writers, it has been chiefly science fiction movies. At least one friend of mine refused to watch it because of that. So we were talking about what they missed: Mary Shelley, Jules Verne, H.G. Wells, Hugo Gernsback, and so forth. A very lively literary discussion.
I had thought about going to a panel about the two lost Doctor Who episodes that turned up recently, but we had bumped into Anne and Clay coming out of opening ceremonies and they were in the lit panel, but they hadn't eaten. So we sat down and chatted for an hour, and then all went on to the next literary panel, which was about the differences, and the similarities, between literary and media fandom. This very naturally led into a discussion about how people discovered fandom. This was also a very animated, happy conversation, with people coming in having read hard science fiction, and others having come in via media fandom but discovering books. I mentioned the 1972 article in TV Guide about one of the first Star Trek conventions, where I discovered that, by God, there were women out there who didn't want to discuss clothes, makeup, shoes, what their wedding was going to be like, and soap operas, but interesting subjects like books and stories! And Sondra Marshack and Myrna Culbreath's Star Trek Lives, in which I found out the existence of fan fiction—which I'd been writing for years (but not about Star Trek), but didn't know it was called that. And others wrote it, too? Cool!
It was ten o'clock by then, so we headed home to spend a little time with Snowy and watch the news about the big fire that's been burning all day at a chemical plant just north of here off I-75. Terrible photographs of explosions, balls of orange flame, and billowing black smoke. [shudder]