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» Friday, April 07, 2017Sherlock Holmes and the Adventure of the Increased Traffic
So it's now my fourth 221BCon and I have a routine. I sleep late, get my kit together (lunch—because the hotel restaurant/lounge is not only expensive like its Marriott counterpart that does Anachrocon and WHOlanta, but they charge a lot for lousy food like hamburgers and nachoes; if they had decent food like salads and roast chicken it would be different), and then drive over to that side of town after the lunch crowd dissipates and before rush hour traffic starts, which is about one to one-thirty. So I slept until nine, but then had to go to Publix and to Kroger to pick up what I needed for sandwiches, which I then made when I got home. Plus I unloaded the dishwasher, made the bed, walked the dog again.
Now it's time for me to get across town and go get my lunch. I checked the traffic before I left; all green. Except by the time I got to the freeway (it takes 20 minutes), it was all backed up again. Urgh. Now, I hadn't stopped for gas because the line at Costco was out to the road; I had a very short window to get across town, since rush hour traffic on Fridays starts about 2:30. So I had to get off at Roswell Road to get a couple of gallons to make it through the rest of the day (at 40 cents a gallon more than near our house), and then I could go through the back (Hammond Drive) to skip the rest of the traffic.
Of course after an hour stuck in traffic, I had old persons' disease, Gottapee. Instead of going to lunch and then hitting Barnes & Noble at a leisurely pace as usual, I went to B&N first to use the bathroom, give the magazines a quick check, and then ran into the Container Store to get a container for the slivered almonds I use on my oatmeal (because they're cheaper if you get them in little plastic containers rather than a bag you can pour from). Only then could I sit down and enjoy lunch at Tin Drum and read From Holmes to Sherlock, the ARC I got on NetGalley.
So I arrived at the hotel in time to get my hair out of wild disarray, pin some fannish buttons on, and be first in the registration line, still glowering over the new parking arrangements. One has to pay for parking now! This is typical of the Marriott people; anything for another buck, even though their high-priced rooms are no better than what the Drury Inn or Staybridge Suites offers for half the price with breakfast thrown in. Checked out the charity auction items, but nothing interesting this year, peeked in the Dealer's Room which wouldn't open until five, and spent the rest of the time chatting to Caran at the ARTC sale table.
My first panel was "Sherlock and Young Adult Books," which is a burgeoning market these days. There are two different series of books about a young Sherlock, another series about his youngest sister Enola, and many homages like the new A Study in Charlotte. Someone (a lady who is a children's librarian in Boston) still remembers the Robert Newman "Baker Street Irregulars" series. I found the first book in that series when it came out and didn't know until recently that there were more of them.
I'm not sure what I expected from "Sherlock Holmes and Science," but enjoyed it. The moderator was a chemist, and he talked about what caused the yellow fogs so prevalent in London in Holmes' day (burning coal; breathing in London back then was the equivalent of smoking two packs of cigarettes a day). He also talked about Holmes' use of forensics and some of the things they do on Sherlock that are definitely not accomplished by the procedure they show on television! 😊
"Strong Female Characters in Sci-Fi" was next, and of course we had to talk about Rey and Princess Leia and Jyn Erso, but went further back to note characters from Dune and Asimov.
The panelists wanted to get feedback from the half-dozen men in the room on what they thought was a good strong female character—and of course it was the same thing that made up a strong male character. We did discuss that the woman should not have to endure assault and abuse to suddenly become that strong female character. When asked what we'd like to see in 20 years about strong female characters, one lady said quietly, "I don't want this panel to exist. It should be just about strong characters, female and male alike." Exactly.
Again, wasn't sure what to expect about "Villains Need Love, Too." Basically it was a talk about what makes a villain truly evil, and is every villain truly evil, or just "bad" because they are against societal norms (like women who were strong in the 19th century might be classified as "mad" or "evil" or "unwomanly" by husbands or brothers or fathers and clapped into mental institutions); also, why were villains so attractive to us. Basically because they have the freedom to do what they want, while we are restricted, whether by morality or society.
Last of all was "Fandom Generations" (which, sadly, I had to skip the "Joan Watson" panel to see). It was all about the "good old days" before the interenet, back when, as one of the panelists said, you had to save up all year to go to MediaWest Con because that's where the fanzines were and you spent $$$$ on fannish reading for a year because it would be next year before you would meet again. About printed zines and communities of fans finding each other through fanzines and finding friends, and now you can immediately read tons of fanfic online, and you may find writers you like, but you don't actually socialize with them and that's a loss. We got into the early days on Usenet—I didn't even get to mention GEnie!—and newsgroups.
Hey, it's 10:00 p.m. now, it should be clear sailing home, right? Nope. First the ticket payment gadget at the hotel entrance gave the guy in front of me trouble; he couldn't get it to accept his card. He finally pulled out of line. (I watched what he was doing. I think he was trying to put his credit card in the room key slot.) So I get there and the red light is flashing. I push the red light, it goes out, and spits the guy's ticket back at me. I can't stop to give the ticket back to him because some honking big pickup truck is behind me blocking the whole road. So I put my ticket through and then pay with my credit card, but I still have the guy's ticket but if I don't go through the gate fast enough the gate will close again and *I* will be stuck. So I just left it on top of the ticket machine and went. I hope he got it back!
On the way home the traffic was like normal daytime traffic (not rush hour, just lots of cars). At 10:15 at night! Are you kidding me? Made it home so tired from ticket machine and traffic that I pretty much read e-mail and then the both of us went to bed.