I’m posting from a motel room in Detroit, where I’ve been in town for my Aunt Shirley’s 85th birthday bash. They didn’t have room for me to stay with the family, since so many other relatives came in for the event. It was good I was able to make it, because it makes up for missing Thanksgiving last year. I was finally able to give out some of my complimentary copies of Only Superhuman to the clan. And one of Shirley’s friends works for the local library, and I donated a copy which she will put in their collection. I also gave Shirley a copy of the audiobook, since her eyes aren’t what they were; I was hoping I’d have more to give out, but the copies I was expecting this week didn’t arrive in time.
Anyway, the motel (officially a hotel, but let’s face it, it’s a motel with a slightly fancier lobby) hasn’t been all that pleasant. The bed’s too hard, the room’s too noisy, and the soap literally stinks. For once, I won’t be taking any motel soap or shampoo home with me — it just smells too bad. I always tend to have a sleepless night on the first night of a trip, due to adrenaline and the new setting and whatnot, but my second (and fortunately last) night wasn’t much better — I think I got 5 hours sleep at most. But the continental breakfast is okay and the wi-fi works. This morning I finally decided to try one of those waffle makers they have at motel continental breakfast buffets — there are individual cups of pre-measured quantities of batter, and you follow the instructions and pour one in the preheated griddle, close the lid, use the handle to flip it over around the axle, wait until it beeps, then flip back and extract with the tongs, resulting in a largish Belgian waffle. It wasn’t bad, but not easy to cut with the flimsy plastic knife and fork they supplied. And I wish there’d been a better topping available, like fresh blueberries. The syrup was fine, but I wanted more fruit. And I wasn’t in the mood for an apple or an unripe banana.
One other annoyance about the room is that the TV is stuck on the wrong aspect ratio and there’s no way to adjust it. The TV in the breakfast room has the same problem. I continue to be bewildered by all these widescreen TVs that default to stretching out conventional 4:3 images to fit the frame so that everything’s flattened out. It looks ridiculous. I don’t understand why TVs are even made to be capable of doing that. It seems like it should be a given that correct aspect ratio is more important than fitting a certain frame width. One reason I still haven’t upgraded to a widescreen TV at home is because I’m worried about whether I can find one that defaults to the correct aspect ratio every time. My computer monitor does that automatically when I watch videos online, so why wouldn’t TVs do the same? It’s the natural way to do it, and I’m bewildered and annoyed that TV designers seem to think otherwise.
(Oh, by the way, yesterday morning, they had a local newscast on the breakfast-room TV, and a reporter mentioned something about “secretarian conflict” in Iran. So there’s violence between the receptionists and the filing clerks? Oy. People hired to be newsreaders should be better readers.)
Anyhoo, I’ll be checking out in an hour or so, stopping by to see the family one more time after that, then heading home, which should be about a 6-hour trip, or less if I’m lucky. There’s some snow in the forecast along my route, though not as bad as I hear it is further west. Hopefully I’ll avoid any substantial snowfall.
My last day of Comic-Con was… largely unnecessary. I went in so I could give that Chronic Rift interview I promised, but other than that I didn’t need to be there at all; I was just waiting for David Mack to finish because we had plans to go to dinner and a movie with a group that was celebrating fellow author Aaron Rosenberg’s birthday. In retrospect, I wish I’d managed to give the interview Friday, then just stayed in Saturday, maybe gotten some writing done, until the time came to go out to dinner. NYCC on Saturday is insanely crowded and noisy, and with no reason to be there I was just wandering, inundated with noise and, err, crowdiness for hours, until I could barely take it anymore. I eventually retreated to the Rift booth and Keith DeCandido was kind enough to let me collapse in his chair. Then we walked through the equally noisy and crowded streets of Midtown Manhattan on a Saturday night, had dinner at an equally noisy restaurant in a group of over a dozen people, then watched Looper (a movie that has its share of noisy bits), then more crowded streets… I finally gave up and made my apologies to the group when they went to get dessert at a tavern where we were seated right next to the band, which for some reason had its performance amplified even though it was a small space. I was just too overwhelmed from over 10 hours of sensory overload, and it was past my bedtime anyway. The dinner and the movie were good, but cumulatively the whole day was too much for me and I would’ve been a drag on the group if I’d stayed any longer. If I’d skipped the con, I would’ve had a better day all around.
Anyway, one upside of being so exhausted was that I finally got a good night’s sleep. And my flight was in the early afternoon, so I had plenty of time to get ready and even pick up a sandwich at a neighborhood deli. I had a bit of a problem at the airport, though, since I foolishly packed my sunblock in my backpack instead of my suitcase. The TSA person had talked me into checking my backpack, but the bag clerk reminded me that would cost me another 25 bucks and it’d be cheaper just to let her toss out the sunblock and buy another bottle. I wish the TSA person had thought to suggest that, because it would’ve saved me a second trip through security. Also, because I made my flight reservations through the NYCC’s affiliated service rather than the one I’ve used before, I didn’t get to reserve my seats ahead of time, so I got stuck with a middle seat in a row of three and didn’t get a decent view.
Otherwise, my flight went smoothly, but there was a delay in baggage delivery, and then I had to wait nearly an hour for the shuttle bus to Cincinnati. And then, once I’d taken the local bus back to my neighborhood, climb the steep street between there and my building. Not easy when you’re totally exhausted. But I’m finally home now, and I’ve had a decent dinner, and my DVR actually recorded everything I told it to (not counting the DC Nation block that Cartoon Network inexplicably cancelled at the last minute).
Oh, and on the plane I read a trade paperback collection I bought of a Stargate miniseries focusing on Claudia Black’s character Vala Mal Doran, who’s one of my favorite cast members. But I found it very disappointing. Vala was handled pretty well, in character and looking reasonably like Black, but its portrayal of the Stargate universe as a whole was astonishingly inaccurate. It has flashbacks set a number of years before Vala joined SG-1, which would be during the Goa’uld’s reign, yet the Lucian Alliance already exists in them, and there’s no evidence of Goa’uld presence anywhere in the galaxy. There are too few human “aliens” depicted, and those that are shown include a man with a modern Western name and wardrobe, something which shouldn’t have existed on another world in that timeframe. Also, the creators confuse Goa’uld transport rings for Asgard technology and misunderstand how they work. When we get to the present, General O’Neill is still going on missions with SG-1, and looks not only nothing like Richard Dean Anderson, but about 20 years and 50 pounds short of how he looked by the time he made general. Oh, and Teal’c is still bald, uses contractions, and doesn’t address people by their full names. And the story as a whole just doesn’t feel like it belongs in the Stargate universe. It has too many discrepancies and too few connections to the mythology and continuity of the series. It’s like some random sci-fi story that got hastily rewritten for SG-1. I’m very disappointed, but unfortunately I can’t very well go back to the store in Manhattan for a refund. At least the other comics I got were worthwhile: a couple of IDW’s Star Trek miniseries and the long-awaited conclusion to the Avatar: The Last Airbender comics miniseries The Promise, which I’ve held off reading until I can reread parts 1 & 2, but which is bound to be good if it’s anywhere near on a par with the others.
So, a mixed trip overall. Some wonderful memories and some very frustrating ones. The balance comes out on the positive side, since some of the positives were among the best experiences of my life, but all in all it’s been the most intense few days I’ve experienced in a long time. I’m glad I can rest now.
I’ve just been updated on what’s hopefully my finalized schedule for New York Comic-Con this week. It’s pretty light, actually:
Thursday Oct. 11, 5:00-6:00 PM: “Justice is Served” panel, Room 1A14
Cops, P.I.’s, government agents and regular Joe’s fight for all that is good and just in these Science-Fiction and Fantasy tales, even if the villains are vampires, telepaths and the magically gifted. These protagonists solve crimes, kick-ass and don’t let anyone–supernatural or otherwise–stand in the way of justice. Featuring Myke Cole (CONTROL POINT), Thomas E. Sniegoski (Remy Chandler Novels), Jacqueline Carey (Dark Currents), Christopher Bennet (Only Superhuman), G.T. Almasi (Blades of Winter), Amber Benson (Calliope-Reaper Jones Novels) and Kim Harrison (Into the Woods). Moderated by Michael P. Spradlin (Blood Riders).
Friday Oct. 12, 1:15-2:15 PM: “Justice is Served” signing event, Autographing tables 2, 3, 4
Friday Oct. 12, 5:00-6:00 PM: Only Superhuman signing, Tor booth (#920)
Holy cow, I’m going to be on a panel and a signing with Amber Benson! I didn’t even know that.
Other than that, my schedule’s open, though I’ll probably be hanging around the Tor booth a fair amount. And though there aren’t any specific Star Trek-related events that I’m involved with, I’ll probably spend some time around the Simon & Schuster booth as well. That’s booth #829, and it’s just one aisle back and one aisle over from the Tor booth.
General info is here: http://www.newyorkcomiccon.com/
No, this post isn’t about some new Mirror Universe story I’m writing, but about my efforts to replace the cracked side mirror on my car. My sister suggested that I should find an auto salvage yard and get a used mirror there, then get a garage to install it, which would be cheaper than the alternative. I found the prospect a little intimidating, but I researched it. I found a relatively nearby yard with a “self-serve” policy — you bring your own tools, pay a small fee to get in, and detach the desired parts yourself. Okay, but did I have the tools? Hmm, I realized, I have that emergency kit I bought for the trunk — that probably has some tools in it. I checked, and indeed it did — plus I realized it also included jumper cables, which would’ve been useful to know when my battery died a few months ago. I haven’t used the kit since I bought it a couple of years ago, so I’d forgotten what was in it.
However, one thing I was hoping to get was a new wheel cover (why don’t they call them hubcaps anymore?), since the one on the front left wheel has some noticeable cosmetic damage. And the emergency kit didn’t have a socket wrench attachment big enough for the wheel nuts. Okay, I thought, that won’t work. But then later I thought, Wait a minute — logically the car itself would come equipped with the necessary tools for changing a tire. So I went back out to the car and checked the manual, and it took me a few minutes to figure out where the tire-changing tools were kept — behind a flap on the left wall of the trunk that I’d never realized was there. I really should’ve put more effort into figuring all this out when I got the car.
So now that I knew I probably had the right tools, I checked the yard’s website this morning to make sure they had my make and model of car — plus I noted the location of another one from a year earlier as a backup. That didn’t guarantee they had the parts I wanted, though, and the person I talked to on the phone confirmed that they didn’t keep track of that and I’d be taking my chances. Still, I decided to go ahead and drive up there.
The cars were all laid out in rows and I had to track down my target vehicle myself; it was just at the far end of the row, wouldn’t you know it. And it was missing both mirrors and all its wheel covers. Darn! I half-heartedly looked to see if it had anything else I might find useful, but no luck. Then I remembered the other car from a year earlier, and made my way over to it. No wheel covers, but voila, there was an intact driver’s-side mirror! Carefully, remembering how my mirror had come loose and how I’d been able to pop it back on and pull it off again (which I shouldn’t have done because that’s what broke it), I pried loose the mirror from the mechanism that reoriented it, and that left it dangling from a pair of blue wires. Okay, so how to disconnect the wires? I didn’t see any way. The connectors looked fused to the mirror. I remembered some instructions I’d looked at online about how to dismantle a mirror, and I pulled off the panel inside the door, exposing the wire connections within. I managed to unplug a set of five wires in a plastic thingy, but I couldn’t figure out how to disconnect the two blue wires from the thingy. I tried detaching the entire mirror assembly (conveniently, it was the right color), but the bolts were too rusted for my toolkit pliers to work, and they must’ve been metric since none of my socket wrenches would fit them. (Is there a non-metric size between 3/8″ and 7/16″?) So much for the handy-dandy ready-for-anything emergency kit. (I should look into getting another one, maybe.)
Finally another patron walked by and I asked him if he knew anything about how to disconnect a car mirror. He took one look at it, asked for pliers, and pulled out the blue wires from the connectors in the mirror (apparently for its built-in heating element). I had misread what I was looking at before; the parts that were fused to the back of the mirror were the bits that the wires clipped onto, not part of the wires themselves. The connectors were of a type I’m not familiar with, so I hadn’t recognized how they worked.
So now I had the mirror, but looking at it, I wasn’t sure it was the right shape; it seemed too wide. I told the guy who helped me that it was from a year earlier than my car’s model and wondered if it would fit, and he said it probably wouldn’t. ”Think about it,” quoth he. ”That would make it too easy.” But it was the only option I had, so I went to the checkout place and told the clerk that I was unsure of the part’s suitability. She let me leave my license with her while I checked it out, and it turned out to be a perfect match. The reason it looked too wide is that I was used to looking at my mirror from an oblique angle rather than head-on, of course — and probably because the shape of the housing made it seem rounder.
Satisfied, I collected my license and paid for the mirror, then wrapped it carefully in rags for the drive home. I would’ve liked to try installing it then and there, before I had to drive anymore, but there was a sign saying not to work on cars in the parking lot, so I had to wait. Also, I wasn’t completely sure I wanted to risk installing it myself. What the guy at the yard had done looked simple enough, but I’d broken the other mirror trying to reattach it; maybe it took a more skilled hand to do it right? Maybe I should stop by the local garage and ask them to do it? But then, the “skilled hands” at the garage in Pennsylvania had cracked it even worse than it had been before. And it did seem pretty simple, so long as I was careful. But wait, I wondered. How do I avoid getting the two blue wires mixed up? But the answer quickly came to me. There was a roll of electrical tape in the toolkit; all I needed to do was mark one of the wires with a bit of tape. And what if it turned out that, despite having the same shape, there was some difference in the rear connection and it wouldn’t go on easily? But no, I figured that since it was the exact same shape, and only one model year off, they probably just reused a standardized component. So I decided that I would try to install it myself.
And it was quite easy. It was so quick and simple to disconnect the one mirror and attach the other that I hardly even needed the tape to tell the wires apart. (I’m not even sure it would’ve mattered if I swapped them, but better safe than sorry.) And it did click into place properly, although I was too tentative the first time and it didn’t fully engage. So I pushed a little more firmly, but carefully, and as far as I can tell, it’s now properly attached. Then it was just a matter of spraying on some glass cleaner and gently wiping it off, then getting in the driver’s seat and adjusting the mirror angle. The replacement mirror still has a couple of tiny smudges or scrapes on it, but that’s a whole lot better than the multiple cracks on the old one. (Come to think of it, it’s hard to believe I could’ve broken the mirror just by removing and reattaching it. It doesn’t seem they’d be that fragile. It seems more likely that the impact caused a hairline crack or two, and my subsequent handling exacerbated them.)
So I feel relieved and kinda proud now, and grateful to my sister for the idea. I have an intact mirror again, I can feel safer when I drive, and I was able to achieve it for just over ten bucks, a lot less than I would’ve had to spend otherwise. And while I didn’t get a new wheel cover, I gained a better understanding of my car and its onboard tools.
Now the one lingering issue I have with the car (aside from the slight cosmetic damage here and there, most of which was already there when I got the car from my father) is that the ride seems bumpier since I left the garage in PA. I wonder, did they somehow tighten the suspension when they did the alignment after replacing the tires? Or is it like my bicycle, the way it transmits the shocks more when the tires are freshly filled and rigid?
Despite what I said before, I decided to push on for home. I figured I should drive for as long as there was sunlight, and by the time the sun set I’d only be an hour or so from home, so it wasn’t worth paying for a motel. I got home just in time to watch Alphas — followed by the second showing of Warehouse 13, since apparently my damn DVR didn’t record anything I had programmed after Friday. I think most or all of it should be On Demand, though.
So anyway, I’m back.
My car situation is all pretty much worked out. I got a reasonably good night’s sleep in the hotel, though with disquieting dreams about the car (including a “tow” service where four big guys took off the wheels and then carried the body away, which would be really cool, except they did it without my permission). I had breakfast, called the garage the hotel recommended, called the tow service the garage recommended, and got a tow. The estimate was below my insurance deductible, which was unfortunate, but I guess that’s good because it means the damage wasn’t too extensive. And at least the insurance will pay for most of the tow charge, which is something. They also offered a rental car, which would’ve been useless unless I could get the garage to deliver my car 460 miles once they were done with it.
I managed to get delayed checkout at the hotel, and the repairs were done in enough time to let me get back here and have lunch before checking out. I’m posting while I eat. The main trouble I had was putting up with the sleazy talk show another customer was watching. Eventually I decided I’d rather sit outside in the heat (though I did find a shaded, if decrepit, picnic bench).
There’s still some cosmetic damage to the car, and the driver’s side mirror’s still badly cracked, which worries me. And I’m setting out later than I’d hoped, so I doubt I’ll get home by nightfall. Not sure if I’ll risk driving in the dark for an hour or so or just stop at a motel for one more night. We’ll see. At the moment, I’m inclined to take the more cautious option.
Okay, so I said in my last post that I’d have more to say later about the last day of Shore Leave. There’s really not much to say, though. I had the author breakfast, I had my three panels, I got checkout delayed enough that I could have lunch and vacate the room in the hour between panels, and everything went pretty smoothly, until the rain and my automotive mishap that’s stranded me in Carlisle, PA for the night. (Although I should’ve refilled the ice bucket that I was keeping the leftover salad in, snce it was kind of wilted when I got around to eating it. Plus I belatedly realized that Caesar dressing is made with egg, not something you want to let sit around at room temperature. I haven’t gotten sick yet, though.)
I finally got to meet Ann (A. C.) Crispin, one of the first-generation stalwarts of Pocket’s Star Trek novel line, the author of the seminal Yesterday’s Son and its sequel Time for Yesterday (the latter being the book that really tied together the rest of the ’80s novel continuity), as well as the novelization of the original two V miniseries and a couple of the minority of V novels that were actually good. She’s also known for her original Starbridge series, and most importantly, for running the Writer Beware website warning aspiring authors against scams. We had two panels in common today, the tie-in vs. original fiction panel and the female action heroes panel. Both were well-attended and spawned interesting conversations. The Tor panel in between, with just Marco, Greg, and me, was more sparsely attended, but it went okay. Basically Marco (with our help) was continuing the sort of thing he used to do for Pocket Star Trek books, giving a presentation of recent and upcoming books and their covers and descriptions, except for Tor’s lineup of original SF, fantasy, etc. instead. There were some pretty interesting titles mentioned. Some of the ones mentioned at the panel are covered on Tor/Forge’s Coming Soon page.
Overall, the whole thing just seemed to race by. As I was on my way out of the hotel, I was amazed at how quickly I’d reached that point. I just got there! And essentially I did only spend about 48 hours there, from around 2:30 Friday to around 2:30 Sunday. I guess I was kept so occupied yesterday and today that it seemed like it took very little time at all.
And then I left and it all went to hell. The irony (lots of that today) is that I left early in hopes of getting as much driving done as possible before I hit the thunderstorms. But if I’d just stuck around the con for another hour and a half or so, taken in another panel or two, the storm would already have passed.
I’m seriously thinking of flying to Shore Leave next year. Sure, in absolute terms it’s more expensive than the cost of gas, but add in car repairs and this particular trip is definitely gonna be costlier than a plane ticket would’ve been.
The last day of Shore Leave went fine — more later. The drive home, not so much. Here is the chain of decisions that led to my current, entirely avoidable predicament:
About an hour out from Hunt Valley, just south of Harrisburg, I’m hit by severe rainfall that reduces visibility almost to zero. Traffic crawls along. I keep going slowly, looking out for exit signs. I see indications of an exit 2 miles ahead.
I see other cars pulled over in emergency pull-offs to wait out the storm. I decide to keep going to the exit.
Once I get near the exit, the rain starts to abate. I think about continuing, but I decide to pull off and stop for a while just in case it gets worse again.
After I get off the Turnpike, I have two ways to go, north toward Harrisburg or south toward Carlisle. I choose south.
Before very long at all, I see I’ve made the wrong choice; there’s nothing but road ahead of me, and I don’t know where it goes. I turn around and head back to get on the turnpike.
Just before getting back on the turnpike, I see a sign for a Wendy’s a bit further ahead. I veer out of the on-ramp and keep going straight.
I look for the entrance to the lot — a combined lot for Wendy’s and a convenience store/service station called Love’s — and spot it a bit late. I make the turn at the last possible instant….
And it’s actually a bit after that. My rear-view mirror hits the sign and my driver-side wheels go up on the curb.
As I pull in to a parking space, I feel the left side of the car is all bumpy, and I begin to realize what happened.
I get out and see that both driver-side tires are completely flat and off the rims, and at least the front rim is bent. (This is getting ahead of the story; I didn’t get told this until later. I don’t know from rims.)
So (shifting to past tense now) I tried calling my insurance company’s emergency assistance number. The first connection was almost inaudible and I didn’t get any help; she couldn’t even find my account. I accidentally disconnected the call, and called again. Got a better connection this time, and it turned out my account was still in my father’s name (I inherited his car) — and the roadside assistance had expired months ago. Still, the operator did his best to help me find a towing service or a tire shop. He found one practically next door to where I was (once I got the address from the store clerk), but they and everyone else were closed on Sunday afternoon, except for one rather pricey service.
By the time I was done with the insurance guy, the store manager and staff had come out to watch, and the manager tried to find a tire service for me, with a similar lack of luck, though I appreciate his effort. He agreed it would be okay to leave the car parked there overnight, not that we really had a choice.
So it seemed I’d have to spend the night here in Carlisle. I thought I’d have to schlep (or drive on my rims) over half a mile to the motels I’d seen in the other direction from the turnpike, but — the first stroke of good luck in this whole tale — I noticed a Hampton Inn right across the street. So I got a sandwich to go from the Wendy’s, schlepped my luggage over here and checked in. The clerk was sympathetic and got me a room at a discount, and is going to help me find a repair service for the morning. I hope they can get me fixed up and back on the road reasonably quickly, but considering I only made it about 1 hour’s worth out of a 10 to 11-hour trip, I probably won’t be able to get home until Tuesday. Luckily I set the DVR to record my Monday night shows just in case I was delayed.
So I’m feeling pretty rotten right now. This was such a stupid, avoidable accident, and the irony is that it only happened because I was trying to be safe by not driving in the rain.
But I’m reminding myself that the good news is, only the car was damaged. Neither I nor anybody else got hurt. This is an inconvenience, it will be expensive to fix, and it’s the end of what’s hitherto been an accident-free driving record, but it’s not a tragedy and it should be reparable. At worst I’ll be delayed an extra night or so. And at least I have a nice hotel room to stay in tonight — and I don’t have to wait until I get home to watch tonight’s Leverage episode. So there’s an upside.
Still… there were so many moments when I almost made a different decision. And it was such a little thing. I survived the worst downpour I’ve ever driven through, then got my car hobbled because I took a turn a little too fast. So yeah, I’m feeling pretty dumb.
Well, it’s been an eventful day and a half. My first panel on Friday, about superhero novels, was a pretty cozy affair, with the audience barely outnumbering the panelists, and it was kind of a replay of last year’s panel on the same subject. At least it was a gentle way to ease into things. And at least I had my advance reading copy of Only Superhuman and its great cover art to show off. After that things were quiet until Meet the Pros, where I handed out promotional fliers for OS as well as signing Trek books. Usually I’m relatively quiet at these things, not as outgoing as some of my author friends, but this year I was less tentative and more assertive, since it wasn’t the usual case where the people coming up to me were already established fans of the thing I was writing for; I had something new that I really wanted to promote and try to get people interested in. I think I handled myself pretty well, though it was still less busy this year than it was in years past.
Marco Palmieri, the assistant editor on OS, brought a printout of the cover mechanical, i.e. the full artwork and text for the wraparound dust jacket that will enswathe the hardcover. It’s the first time I’ve seen the final treatment and what the spine will look like. The brown-dominated front and back covers are offset by a green spine and flaps, and the spine has a smaller, cutout version of Emerald Blair’s cover pose between the title and my name,which is neat.
I showed the OS cover to Alan Kistler, who writes the “Agents of S.T.Y.L.E.” column critiquing superhero costume designs for Newsarama, and asked him to critique Emerald Blair’s costume. He thought it worked pretty well, that it fit the character (as I described her to him) and was still practical. So that was good to hear.
I only had one panel on Saturday, a morning panel about writing time travel, which let me talk about my DTI novels and discuss the writing of time travel in general with the other authors on the panel and the members of the audience. That was really my only Trek-related panel for the whole con, although this morning I have one about moving from tie-in to original work, so there could be some Trek discussion there. Anyway, despite only being a panelist on one event, I had a very eventful Saturday. After my panel, I stuck around as an audience member for the next two in the same room, a writing workshop with Marco, David Mack, and David R. George III (which never really got to the workshop part since the audience was content to listen to the panelists talk about the writing process for two hours). I’m glad I attended, since their comments on story structure helped me recognize a couple of significant structural flaws in the spec novel I’m getting ready to revise. Hopefully I’ll be able to think of ways to strengthen it up in those areas. That was followed by a panel on editor-author relationships with Marco and Greg Cox, my main editor for OS. Some nice insights there.
I took the next hour off, then attended a panel on Leverage, which is not an SF/fantasy show but no doubt has plenty of overlap in the fanbase (and often makes genre homages, particularly to Doctor Who) — not to mention that one of its current writing staffers, Geoffrey Thorne, is a former Trek novelist who wrote the Titan novel right after my first one. More to the point, a couple of the panelists, including Greg and the prolific Keith R. A. DeCandido, have written Leverage tie-in novels which should be coming out next year. It was a fun conversation. Then I spent an hour signing books at the Constellation Books vendor table — thanks to the folks there for hosting me, letting me hand out more Only Superhuman flyers, and feeding me chocolate. After that I ran into Greg, Marco, and some others in the lobby and got invited to join them for dinner over in the nearby mall. My editors and I shared a table with Bill Leisner (author of the TNG novel Losing the Peace) and we writers mostly listened while the editors talked about the business and traded anecdotes, which was very informative and entertaining and mostly not for public consumption. I had a bowl of chili and a caesar salad, and as usual the restaurant portions were too huge, so I asked for a box to bring back the rest of the salad in, although I have no idea when or if I’m going to eat it (it’s probably wilted some by now). After that I thought I couldn’t eat another bite, but then Marco ordered an apple cobbler with ice cream which turned out to be way too big for one so he asked for four spoons so we could all share, and, well, I guess there’s always room for apple cobbler and ice cream. Then we came back to the hotel and I hung out with folks in the lobby and talked about old movies and Godzilla and the like. After that I came back to my room to decompress after that very full day.
Today, after the author breakfast in half an hour, I’ve got three panels that will all be Only Superhuman-related for me: at 10, the tie-in vs. original panel mentioned earlier, then a Tor Books presentation at 11 with Greg and Marco talking about Tor’s upcoming releases and me talking about OS, and then at 1, a panel about female action heroes in the media. Then I’m pretty much done and will probably be setting out for home not long after. I’d like to get a few hours’ driving in today, but it looks like thunderstorms are likely, so we’ll have to see how that goes.
I’m nearly packed and will be setting out for Shore Leave pretty soon. The weather looks like it’ll be pretty good for most of my drive to Baltimore, though the estimated chance of showers toward the tail end of my journey, and for the trip home, has been revised upward since yesterday. I guess the sooner I set out, the better the chance I’ll avoid rain on the way up, so I guess I should sign off, make my final preparations, and get going.
Like I briefly noted on Facebook yesterday, I’m back home from my trip to Madison now. It was a pretty good family visit, though there were some family members I only saw briefly. I spent most of Friday by myself in the hotel, since I got in early, and since the rest of my family members who came into town arrived at the Milwaukee airport Friday afternoon and needed to drive very, very slowly through the snowstorm to get to Madison. I finally met them for dinner in the hotel restaurant, and finally got to meet my near-namesake cousin, S. Christopher Bennett, the paleontologist.
Yes, for some reason, a lot of the naming choices for Uncle Emmett’s children were duplicated by his younger siblings when they had kids. So in this gathering we had two Christophers, two Cynthias, and two Kathleens. Fortunately we had one each who preferred to go by the full name and one each who used a nickname, so we had Christopher (me) and Chris, Cynthia and Cyn, and Kathleen and Kathy.
The big event on Saturday was the memorial service for Emmett at the care facility where he spent the last years of his very long life. I learned a lot about my uncle and his historic career. I heard from his colleagues and students about his work as a classical scholar and teacher, the Socratic way he guided his students to answer their own questions rather than just giving them the answers. I learned from Uncle Clarence about Emmett’s work decoding Japanese transmissions during WWII; he didn’t speak Japanese, but he used his brilliant pattern-recognition skills to decipher the codes. I learned from his friends and family about his personal reserve and quiet nature. A lot of the gathering consisted of long silences as we just sat together and thought, and I think that was a very fitting tribute. I learned about qualities in Emmett that I have in myself, but that he had the dedication to take much further, like the way he made it a personal project to ride his bicycle along every single stretch of road in Madison, and kept a detailed map marking his progress. I have that same near-compulsive completism about some things, and the same desire to list and catalog things, though I wouldn’t have the energy to take it that far. He never cheated by driving out to a distant road and doing a token ride along it; he always started from home and rode out all the way, no matter how remote the road.
I also got to page through a copy of Emmett’s seminal dissertation, the analysis and detailed charts of Linear B symbols that were the key to allowing Michael Ventris to translate the script. The sheer meticulousness of it is astounding. And I got to see some family photos I hadn’t seen before, including one from the early ’40s of my grandparents, their four children of varying ages, my great-grandmother, Emmett’s wife, and one of Emmett’s children (he was considerably older than his siblings, and my father was the youngest). That was quite interesting.
So after that we went back to the hotel and had a big family dinner in the restaurant, 13 of us in all. I’d had some cookies and juice at the reception so I wasn’t too hungry, so I just ordered a salad and a bowl of turkey and rice soup that turned out to be delicious. I thought the salad would be smaller than a dinner entree, but it actually turned out to be bigger, at least in volume. I had leftovers which I took back to my room and had as an early breakfast the next morning, since it was a few hours before the remaining family members in the hotel (some had left early) got together for Sunday breakfast/brunch. Immediately after that, we went out to the Olbrich Botanical Garden. I wasn’t sure I wanted to come along, and only got talked into it because it would be more convenient for the others if I brought my car so they could split up into two groups for different events afterward. But I’m glad I went. I didn’t know in advance that it was a tropical conservatory we were visiting. There were a lot of cool and interesting tropical plants there, some of them very interesting to look at, others interesting for their important uses as food, medicine, etc. When we got to the chocolate tree (cacao), I bowed to it in obeisance.
Afterward, I drove Uncles Clarence and Harry (both retired physics professors) over to the University of Wisconsin for a tour of the physics department. We got lost, because Clarence hit the “Campus” entry on his GPS thingy and for some reason it turned out to be the campus of a tiny elementary school a couple of miles from the university. So he had to call his friend who was meeting us and relay directions over the phone while I drove, and let me tell you, I never want to do that again, because it’s not very safe. One shouldn’t drive while distracted; it splits the focus too much. (Using hands-free phones doesn’t help, contrary to popular belief. The danger isn’t having your hands occupied, it’s having your brain occupied with conversation rather than paying attention to the road.) We eventually got there in one piece, though, and it was a cool tour. They had all sorts of nifty gadgets and Mythbusters-esque devices for demonstrating physics to students, and some fancy classrooms with elaborate audiovisual systems and gas, electric, and water taps for demonstrations. I was jealous, because my physics classes in college were in an outdated, poorly lit, depressingly painted building with no display technology more advanced than overhead projectors and chalk.
The three of us ended up going back to the hotel and having to forage for lunch, and I ended up splitting some of Harry’s leftovers from previous meals with him while we talked. Uncle Harry (actually my uncle-in-law, Aunt Shirley’s husband) has had a pretty impressive career in physics himself. I was deeply impressed to discover that when he was in grad school at the University of Cincinnati, his advisor was Boris Podowlsky, one of the three physicists (the others being Albert Einstein and Nathan Rosen) who first proposed the concept we now know as a wormhole. I had no idea that Podowlsky had taught at UC, even though I was a physics major there for five years. And that puts me only three degrees of separation from Albert Einstein!
Dinner on Sunday was a couple of pizzas that we had delivered to the hotel, one Mediterranean and one chicken Alfredo, which were both pretty good. I got to keep all three leftover pieces (2 of the former, 1 of the latter), since I was the only one whose travel plans made it feasible to take them with me. Luckily I kind of like cold pizza, and I had an in-room fridge. I had the chicken piece for breakfast Monday morning; since it had meat, it was better to eat it right out of the fridge rather than after several hours of driving. The other two slices became lunch.
Aside from all these family events, I luckily managed to get a lot of writing done on my spec novel’s climactic sequence. I didn’t quite get it finished before Monday morning, though. I did spend a fair amount of time writing on Monday morning, so that I ended up leaving toward the end of my preferred departure window (I had to leave fairly early if I wanted to get home before dark). But I still had the end of one scene and the entire climactic scene (well, the first of two consecutive climaxes) unwritten, and I wrote them in my head while driving — so I just had to take out the computer and write them down when I stopped for lunch at a “travel oasis” just west of Chicago. Which meant I spent an hour at lunch, which meant I was still in eastern Indiana when sunset came. However, the skies were clear, so there was plenty of twilight and it didn’t get genuinely dark until I was just minutes from home.
Oh, and it turns out that the timing of events was such that I was in my hotel room during most of the airtimes for TV shows I wanted to see, and they had all the appropriate channels, so I only missed one show — and I just found out that my damn DVR didn’t record it. (It’s gotten increasingly unreliable — I should get it replaced, but I’d probably lose the shows I have stored on it now.)
I got into the hotel in Madison around 11 Central this morning, and luckily they had a room already prepared, so I’ve spent the past few hours doing some writing and taking a nap. Then I turned on the TV to see reports of tornadoes tearing through southern Indiana. Granted, if I’d left home this morning instead of the day before, I’d probably be near Chicago by now, but I’m sure I would’ve had some rough weather to pass through even without the tornadoes. On top of what’s going on elsewhere, the snow’s been coming down outside my hotel window since shortly after I arrived. So I got very lucky at dodging the weather, which is a nice change from my last road trip and the near-constant downpours I had to endure.
I just hope the weather doesn’t cause problems for my family members who are flying in this afternoon.
I’m posting from a motel in southern Wisconsin, about 40 miles from my destination. Seems odd to stop so close, but I set out a little too late this morning so I wouldn’t have been able to make it before it got dark (since it was pretty heavily overcast), plus I didn’t have anyplace to stay in Madison yet, plus there was a coupon for this motel in one of those rest-stop coupon circulars. Plus it’s an extremely inexpensive motel (with the coupon), which is good, because I neglected to choose a Google Maps route that minimized the amount of tollway travel. The way I-90 in Indiana/Illinois handles tolls is strange to me, after having experience mainly with the Pennsylvania Turnpike. On the latter, you get a ticket when you get on and pay when you get off, proportional to how far you traveled. Here, you just have to go through a bunch of different toll booths scattered seemingly at random along the route, and charging widely varying fixed amounts from 0.60 to 3.50. It seems rather inefficient by comparison.
Although the most surreal moment was when one of the tollbooth cashiers asked me, “Are you finding everything okay?” I guess she formerly worked in retail or something, because I don’t know what that question would mean in the context of tollway travel. Unless it’s “are you finding your exits/turnoffs okay,” which would make it a roundabout way of asking, “Are you lost?”
Looks like southern Wisconsin is in for snow and rain tomorrow, so I’m probably best off waiting until mid- to late morning to get back on the road. Which will hopefully give me more time to get some writing done.
Oh, the coolest thing I saw on the road today was in Indiana, when I passed through the most enormous windmill farm I’ve ever seen — literally dozens if not hundreds of windmills stretching as far as I could see. Not only fantastic to see so much clean energy being generated, but it’s just awesome to look at.
(What they really ought to do is put a bunch of little wind turbines alongside all the freeways, harvesting energy from the wind of cars and trucks zooming by. I’ve seen it seriously proposed, and I think it’s a great idea.)
I’m going out of town this weekend for a memorial service for my departed Uncle Emmett. A bunch of the family is converging in Wisconsin for the get-together, and this will be my first chance to meet most of Emmett’s offspring (I’ve only met one of them in person, and I’ve “met” my namesake cousin the paleontologist through e-mail a few years back). This will be the largest gathering of the Bennett clan I’ve ever been to.
It’s also my first opportunity to drive west from Cincinnati, and only my second visit to the Central Time Zone (I once went to Chicago as a kid). I wasn’t sure about whether I wanted to drive, since I had a pretty rough time of it with the bad weather last Thanksgiving, but when I checked air fares, the prices were startlingly high (maybe because I waited too long to look into it?). Greyhound apparently has a new, more comfortable and high-tech fleet of buses, so I was tempted, but the travel time was too long and I didn’t look into it early enough to get a discounted price. So driving it is, and it should be maybe an hour less than the drive to the DC/Baltimore area which I’ve made a few times now. I should be able to make it in a single day’s driving.
However, it looks like there will be severe weather along most of the route on Friday, and I have no desire to face another day of driving in those conditions (as it happens, “driving rain” is a misnomer), so I’ve decided to leave a day early, setting out tomorrow (Thursday) morning. It’s not yet clear whether anyone there can put me up for a day (my hotel reservations are already made for Friday to Sunday), but at worst I can stay in a motel for a night.
I’d actually been hoping to get through the climax of my spec novel in progress today and tomorrow, but then this came up and I’ve spent most of today thinking about and preparing for my day-early departure. I did get a decent amount of work done this morning, planning out all the various character interactions and key events that constitute this complicated sequence and finishing the preceding scene that leads into it, but this afternoon I haven’t been able to focus on it enough to get it actually written. In fact, I realize I still need to do more planning, particularly getting a better sense of the environment where the sequence takes place and where characters and key locations are relative to each other. Hopefully my long drive tomorrow will give me time to think it through in more depth, though I’m not sure how much time or attention I’ll be able to devote to writing during the trip. Still, I’m on track to get the first draft done early in March, hopefully before other projects demand my attention.
Anyway, I should go start packing…
I’ve gotten out of the habit of bike-riding the past few months, ever since a close call with a car kinda scared me off of riding, at least in my neighborhood, which is just not a safe or enjoyable enough place for riding due to the heavy traffic and steep hills. I’m sure a more experienced cyclist could handle it, but I just don’t like riding in the streets unless they’re very empty.
But as I mentioned before, I took my bike with me to the family Thanksgiving get-together in Maryland last week, and I participated in a lengthy bike ride there. It got me to thinking I really should try to get back into riding at least a little; the streets may not be great, but there are some halfway decent places to ride on the nearby university campus (at least at times when it isn’t too crowded). So I decided today to take a ride over to UC and get some much-needed exercise before the weather got any colder.
And that went well enough, and I made it all the way to the park-ish area where I kinda like to ride, and then I made it all the way back (mostly uphill, and with a couple of stops to rest) to the edge of campus. Then I got off the bike to walk it across the street — and the seat swivelled under me. It had popped loose or something and was spinning freely, and I couldn’t push it back down into place. Luckily, I was just a couple of blocks from the local bike shop where I bought it, so I walked it over there, and the guy told me the seat had broken. He didn’t have the part to fix it on hand, and it’d be a bit pricey to order a new one at this point.
Now, if I were still riding regularly, it’d be an easy decision. But I’m not sure how much more bike-riding I’m going to do at all. Well, I really should do the campus thing every so often, weather permitting, or maybe find some nice, safe, reasonably flat bike trail I can drive to (though I don’t enjoy the hassle of taking off my front tire and putting the bike in the trunk). But I doubt I’d do much riding in the near future, with winter coming on. So I decided just to walk my bike home and mull over the decision, and maybe just put off getting a new seat until next year, or at least until the fellow at the shop finds a discounted seat for me. (I could just go for a rigid seat support instead of a suspension seat like the one that broke, but it would be rougher on my anatomy, probably.)
Well, at least I got the one ride in before the seat broke. I can’t really say I enjoyed it, because I’m too out of shape for that and it was too crowded and too chilly. But I did need the exercise.
I’m back home now, and the drive back was almost as bad as the drive out. I had a few hours of clear skies in Maryland and Western Pennsylvania, but it was raining by the time I got off the Turnpike and it just got worse from there. Just before dark fell, I reached Cambridge again and tried to get a room at the same motel as before, but they wouldn’t take the coupon from the booklet you can pick up at freeway rest stops, and the baseline price was more than twice as much. The clerk told me that none of the area motels would take the coupons that day because of the imminent start of hunting season in the area (yikes). And I already had a takeout meal cooling in the car in expectation of having a motel room to eat it in. So I had to drive to a nearby parking lot, eat my dinner, then drive for another half-hour or so in the rain and dark, an experience I do not recommend, before reaching Zanesville and trying my luck with a motel there. Hooray, they honored the coupons, although it wasn’t as good a place to stay as the other motel — no wifi, no continental breakfast. (It did have a fridge and microwave, but I didn’t need them.) And I didn’t get much sleep. After that, I was only about three hours’ drive from home, but what with increasingly bad rain and fatigue, it wasn’t a pleasant journey, and I took a couple of long rest-stop breaks (one of them had to be long since I had to wait for the piping-hot vending-machine tea to cool down). I couldn’t even listen to a CD to help keep me alert, since there was too much noise from the rain and my squeaky wipers. I finally made it home, but I got rained on during the three trips it took to unpack my bags and bike from the car, and the strap broke off of a bag I liked because I put too much weight in it (which is why I needed three trips instead of two). It was the reusable tote bag that came with my new printer as a greener alternative to plastic/foam packing. A cool idea, but not too durable.
At least I had consistently good weather during my visit with family, though that just makes the horrible weather on both drives seem more unfair. It was a good visit, but I’m glad I don’t have to deal with any more huge meals for a while. I ate entirely too much over the trip, and not just due to Thanksgiving dinner and the Thanksgiving-leftovers brunch. On Saturday I met my sister, my cousin, and their respective families in town for a museum visit preceded by lunch at a tapas bar, which involves getting a succession of small servings of stuff that are shared among the diners or kept to oneself as preferred. I ordered at least one more course than I should have, and came away rather stuffed. But just a few hours later came cousin-in-law Mark’s early birthday dinner, which entailed a large number of German foodstuffs. Even though I’ve lived my entire life in Cincinnati, a town that’s historically had a large German population, this was my first exposure to German cuisine. A lot of it, while surely well-prepared, wasn’t really to my taste, but I really enjoyed the sauerbraten, which was wonderfully tender beef in what was described to me as a kind of sweet-and-sour sauce. I never liked Asian sweet-and-sour sauces, so I wasn’t expecting to like this, but it was excellent. Still, on top of everything else, I was full to bursting by the end of it.
And then this morning, after leaving the motel, I made the mistake of going to Denny’s for breakfast. Don’t get me wrong, the food was excellent; I ordered a pair of seasonal pumpkin-pie-flavored pancakes and they were delicious, as one would expect from pumpkin-pie-flavored pancakes. But there was just too dang much of it. There are limits to how much good food I can stand. I think I’m going to try to eat very lightly for the next few days.
It’s been an eventful few days. I set out on Tuesday to drive the 500+ miles to the family Thanksgiving gathering, and it was horribly rainy the whole time, much more so than the weather forecast suggested. I almost decided to turn back and try again the next day, but it’s just as well I didn’t, since it was still rainy Wednesday — though not as bad. I only made it four hours Tuesday before the rain started to get even worse and I stopped at a motel, but on Wednesday I managed to make it to cousins Barbara & Mark’s house just around sunset, and in time for dinner, which was my first experience with jambalaya. Now I know what that is.
Well, if I remember. The subsequent couple of days have been kind of a blur. A big group breakfast on Thanksgiving morning, then the huge dinner, which was very early in the afternoon so we could wait a while and then have pie. In addition to all the various traditional fixings at dinner, including roasted and smoked turkey, mashed potatoes, Brussels sprouts, creamed pearl onions, cranberry relish, etc., there were four kinds of pie — pumpkin, apple, mincemeat, and pecan. I had a half-sized slice of each. Quite an impressive feast.
And then we had a lot of it again at brunch this morning, which was an even larger group than the 11 we had last night, since one more cousin and her husband and son dropped by. That included turkey hash and pumpkin coffee cake.
This afternoon, to burn off some of those calories, a half-dozen of us went on a bike ride, for which I brought my bike with me in the car. I haven’t ridden in a while, so I’m out of shape, but I actually managed to complete two rides — a one-and-a-quarter-mile “warmup” ride with lifelong cyclist Uncle Harry, and then another ten miles with the group, mostly on a hiking path through the woods. There were some rough patches that scared me a little, but I only almost fell down twice. It was a much more challenging ride than I’d anticipated, and it was exhausting, but I’m impressed at myself that I pulled it off.
And it’s good that I burned off a lot of calories, since we had another big group dinner (only 9 of us this time) tonight, consisting of turkey stew (or maybe a very hearty soup) and bread with brie. And then more pie. That was good.
But it’ll be a relief not to have a big organized breakfast tomorrow. And some of us will be eating out for lunch — at something Spanish called a tapas bar, which will be my first experience with that — followed by a museum visit. Then another big meal, apparently, to celebrate cousin-in-law Mark’s birthday (though I think it’s being celebrated early while the folks are in town).
I’ll probably be setting out for home again on Sunday — and the forecast calls for more rain for my ride home, even though it’s been beautiful and sunny since I arrived. Well, the forecast on the way up greatly underestimated the precipitation; hopefully this one is overestimating it.
As I planned, I went in for one last day of New York Comic-Con, mainly with the hope of seeing a panel on Jim Henson. But I underestimated how crowded the NYCC has gotten. It’s become virtually impossible to get into the panels unless you camp out for hours. Still, I got to spend a little more time hanging around with folks like Kevin Dilmore and Keith DeCandido, so it wasn’t a wasted trip.
This visit played havoc with my usual sleep and meal schedule, since Dave and Kara tend to do things later than I do and since their guest bed took some adjusting to, but I was starting to adapt after a few days. I stayed up pretty late on Saturday night watching movies on their HDTV. I’d caught the last hour or so of Avatar (the Cameron movie) the night before, so Dave found the movie on HBO HD On Demand and I watched the rest. I actually prefer seeing it in that order, since the early world-building stuff is more entertaining than all the fighty-shooty-blowy-uppy stuff later on. After that, we watched Megamind, which was a far more enjoyable movie than I ever would’ve expected.
After the con on Sunday, I made my annual visit to Midtown Comics to use the coupon I picked up at the con. I got two cool things, a collection of Avatar: The Last Airbender comics (many by creators from the show, and even the ones that weren’t were often quite good) and the complete collection of the original comics version of The Middleman, which became one of my favorite short-lived TV series.
My trip home Monday was pretty smooth, except for it being my first time flying out from LaGuardia, so I had some confusion about what line to get into — plus the lunch I bought there was insanely expensive. There was a mother and baby next to me on the plane, but the baby didn’t cry too much. And there was actually a view this time; the weather was mostly clear, and it was quite interesting watching the landscape shrink so tiny and move by so (relatively) fast. The coolest part was the approach to Cincinnati. The jet flew over the central part of the city from the south before looping around to approach the airport from the north, and as it passed downtown and moved toward the university region, there was a point where I could literally see my apartment building.
Unfortunately, I guess it was somewhat inevitable that after being among all those gajillions of people at the convention and in the streets of Manhattan, not to mention breathing recirculated, germ-filled plane air, that I’ve now come down with a cold and a sore throat. Ugh. Luckily, I have no demands on my time so I can just lie on the couch and watch my DVRed shows. (Plus a couple that the DVR failed to record but that were available On Demand.)
Well, except that I’m out of certain perishable items I didn’t want to buy before my trip, like bread and fruit. So I’ll have to go shopping soon. Hopefully I can hold out a day or two longer. I’m pretty useless today.
Well, I’ve been in New York over two days now, but didn’t have the opportunity to get online until now. On Thursday I was too occupied with getting settled in, going to Comic-Con, etc., and the thunderstorm Thursday night blew out my hosts’ wireless router, which has just now been replaced.
I was afraid of missing my 4:45 AM wakeup time, but I was wide awake by 3:30. But it was necessary. Even giving myself plenty of time to get to the airport, I still got to the plane with only minutes to spare. Which meant I didn’t need to wait long. The flight was uneventful and there were lots of pretty clouds to look at, though I’m sure they weren’t so pretty from below. Took a while for my bag to be unloaded, though, and the bus from LaGuardia was late.
Staying with David Mack and his wife Kara has been nice. I had a great time brainstorming with Dave about ideas for the new Star Trek project he’s working on. It’s the first time I’ve done that kind of brainstorming with a fellow author in person rather than over e-mail, and it’s fun.
Comic-Con was hectic, but satisfying. I got to hang out with a lot of my friends/fellow writers. The book signing wasn’t well-attended, though, perhaps because it was during work hours on Friday.
Before that, I went down to visit my former Star Trek editor Marco Palmieri at Tor, where he now works, and where he’s helping out with editorial work on Only Superhuman. Their Flatiron Building offices are pretty, err, cozy, but it’s a neat building to visit (the elevators, recreations from the original plans, are gorgeous). Plus I got to pick up one of the advance bound manuscripts for Only Superhuman!
Sorry, that’s a lousy photo. But it’s a terrific feeling, getting to hold it in my hands in book form, even if it’s just the most preliminary form, before it’s even been properly copyedited. It feels kind of like seeing a sonogram of one’s unborn child. And it’s great seeing “Copyright 2012 by Christopher L. Bennett” instead of by Paramount or CBS or Marvel.
I didn’t go in to NYCC today; I needed time to recover. But I’ll probably stop in once more tomorrow. Then Monday I’ll be flying home.
I’ve spent much of the day packing and making final preparations for my trip tomorrow, since I’ll have to be up very early and won’t have time to get stuff ready then. In fact, I’ve just been checking bus routes to the airport, and to get there early enough to be safe, it turns out I’ll have to leave the apartment by 5:35 at the latest. So I’ll need to be out of bed by 5 AM tomorrow. Aaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhh!!!!!!!!
So that means early bedtime tonight; I’ve set the DVR to record Mythbusters. And that means this will probably be my last post before I get to New York.
But I’m all set up for breakfast tomorrow. I bought one of those single-serve cereal cups and a bottle of iced tea, plus a plastic spoon, so I won’t have any dishes to wash in the morning (or to leave dirty in the sink for 5 days). And I’ll finish packing things up (including my laptop) tonight and lay my clothes out and so on, all in the hopes of getting ready as quickly as possible.
I’m starting to think it might’ve been less of a hassle to take a later, longer flight. But it’s too late to change now. (Well, unless I oversleep and have to take a later flight.)