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Thursday, April 23, 2015

Travels with Krispy and Noddy (And Karen!), Days 7 and 8: Game, Set and Match

Friday, the 13th of March, 2015. Not Thursday, Wednesday, Tuesday, Monday,  Sunday or Saturday.

I awoke in a Motel 6. This is not a Charles Bukowski short story or a Tom Waits lyric. Its just a motel, albeit one that is cheaper and uglier and surlier than most.

Still, I was thankful that I did not awake in the bathtub full of ice, with a badly stitched incision in my side. 

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Travels with Krispy and Noddy (And Karen!), Day 6: From the Depths to the Heights to the Depths

Thursday, March 12th, 2015. (You might want to journey back in time to Saturday, March 7th, if you are a newcomer to this road trip.)

We awoke in the Grand Canyon. Well, not IN the canyon, but in the sprawling village along its South Rim. Karen had never seen the GC, and I hadn't seen it since the 1980's (when it was brand new), so this was going to be a treat.

We checked out of the incredibly-expensive-and-yet-drab motel and drove to the Main Visitors Center on a cold and cloudy morning. We found some breakfast at Bright Angel Bicycle rentals, which a breakfast bought at a bike store. 

And then it was a short walk out to Mather Point, on wide, empty, disneyesque pathways. Man, how many people does this place get per year? Well, in 2014, let's see, 4,500,000 visited Grand Canyon National Park. 3,000,000 paid a visit to Magic Mountain. So the Big Ditch absorbs half-as-many-again as the super-popular amusement park. Wow.

And all you can really do here is stand and look at a big hole in the ground.

But oh my, what a view.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Travels with Krispy and Noddy (And Karen!), Day 5: Adventure at the Edge of the Future.

I awoke at exactly 6am on Wednesday in the Miss Kitty Room of the Strater
Hotel. What woke me up? Well, I've heard a lot of strange and wonderful sounds in hotels over the years, but having your room right next to a busy railroad yard is by far the loudest coupling I have ever heard.


Okay, I'm up - I'm up! Geezooks, you didn't have to slam two goddamned trains together. I used the Emergency Escape Pile of clothing and stumbled down to the lobby, not sure whether I was in the Luxor, the Inca Inn, the Hampton Inn, or, oh yeah, I'm at the Bella Union from Deadwood. Cool. 

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Travels with Krispy and Noddy (And Karen!), Day 4: Colorado is very high

Ah, but enough of these flashy CASINOS, gorgeous SCENERY, and epic 
HIKES: We've got a job to do!

Or, rather, I have a job to do. I used my escape pile of clothing by the motel door and left Admiral Karen to slumber through the sunrise. I drove the minivan across Grand Junction, fully comfortable in this strange little city after all the weeks I spent here last year. 

I turned on the Sirius radio thingie in the center touchscreen console and whoa! Things had changed! Now I heard "Lola", "Low Spark of High-Heeled Boys", and 70's Who ("Love Reign O'r Me") - the three songs were in a completely different order than all the other times we had heard them. My world was shaken to its core.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Travels with Krispy and Noddy (And Karen!), Day 3: Arches National Park

After polishing off 1,000 miles in the first two days, it was time for a break. 113 miles, less than two hours - by far the 'easiest' day. But that doesn't mean there wouldn't be challenges.

Like the craziest 1.5 miles of the entire road trip.

We awoke at 7:30am, after sleeping for 9.5 hours. Utah really takes it out of you.

We were on the road early because this morning we were re-visiting one of our favorite places: Arches National Park. This would be my 4th trip there, and Karen's 2nd, and we already had plans to return again at some point, and camp for a few nights. Its a magical place.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Travels with Krispy and Noddy (And Karen!), Day 2: The Long Way Across Utah!

Day 2: Sunday, March 8th, 2015

Up at 5am - no, it's 6am. Stupid daylight savings time. Newsflash, America: The cows don’t give a pasture pastry what the clock says. Putting the entire country through mild jet lag for a week is not helping anyones - or anythings - productivity.

But, whatever (whenever) I am up and at my favorite place in Vegas - the last spot at a busy blackjack table. The three people to my right have been up all night, drinking and smoking like there’s no tomorrow. But there is a tomorrow (except for their bank accounts), and its here, now. 

Roy and Daisy and Jennifer are proclaiming after every losing hand that “this ish the lash hand for meesh.” But win or lose their stupid hands keep putting more chips in the circle and pulling more cash from their slim wallets.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Travels with Krispy and Noddy (And Karen!), Day 1: To Vegas!

Dramatis personæ: 
  • Krispy, the frog: Purchased at a Thriftymart immediately before our first roadtrip, back in 2001. Named after our first stop on that trip, to get doughnuts. Krispy is pretty much always excited.
  • Noddy, the Dinosaur: Purchased in 2014 at the gift shop of Dinosaur Journey in Fruita, Colorado. He was in the discount bin because one of his legs is fucked up. Named after his peculiar trait of perpetually nodding his head when the car is moving, due to his long, horizontal neck. Noddy is ever agreeable.
  • Admiral Karen, the wife: Met at a bardic evening back in 2000, pursued for the next year. Nicknamed ‘Admiral’ since her hilarious and violent swordfight at our wedding in 2006. Karen is always up for a weird and wild adventure, especially if sports are involved.
  • Angus, the bard: Note-taker and co-driver.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Pantheacon, 2015: Sunday

Sunday. Sunday? Yeah, this is Sunday. The last full day of Pantheacon.
My big show was SATURDAY, and the panel I moderated was FRIDAY, so my work here is done. Time to get out and enjoy myself, responsibility-free.

Admiral Karen and I had breakfast at Cafe Ho-Hum, taking advantage of their legendary inattention to double up on the buffet and just pay for one.
I figure by this time I have sufficient Frequent Indigestion Miles for them to comp me a bowl of lumpy (and yet somehow also soupy) oatmeal for my bride.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Pantheacon, 2015: Saturday

I woke with the dawn, as always, feeling not as good as THURSDAY or FRIDAY, but
darned decent for 'lets-call-it-5-hours-of-sleep'.

I had breakfast at Cafe Ho-Hum with James and Anne, who were still a big googley-eyed after their first full day on Pconitude.
9am found me at "Protecting with the Sidhe" which I was interested in, but when I saw that the presenter was wearing spike heel boots, had a dykey flip haircut AND an Irish accent, I was suddenly paying SUPERCLOSE attention.
Lora O'Brien proved to be as brainy as she was beautiful, presenting a refreshingly practical, no-nonsense approach to keeping the Fey on your side, illustrating her bestiary with several entertaining stories that pointed up the do's and don'ts of working with the Others.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Pantheacon, 2015: Friday

You may ask yourself: How did I get here

I woke Up at 7am on Friday, after a full 8 hours of sleep. This is what we we writerly-types call “Foreshadowing”.
My Emergency Escape Pod was all ready, so I crept out of the room and dressed in the hallway, while Admiral Karen continued to slumber.
I stopped in at Club Max to see how my venue for tomorrow night had fared since last year. 
There was good news and bad news. The good news is that they (the hotel staff, I’m assuming) had really cleaned the place up. Last year - the first year it had been closed - it looked like a band of hooligans had looted the place. This year everything was neat and tidy.
TOO neat and tidy. The sound and light desk was gone completely. Meaning, the Con-Ops staff would need to find me a full P.A. rig, deliver it, and set it up properly during prime time of the biggest day of the Convention. Yikes. 
Also, there were exactly two spotlights left up in the ceiling rig of the 'ol dance club, and they weren't hooked into anything. Or even really attached. One rehearsal of Macbeth and these cans would be falling and braining some Thane in no time. 

The Renault and Judy

In 1966 my Mother was a boxed-in, stay-at-home Mom, meaning she spent all of her time in the car.

My Father had the brand new, roomy, 4 door Studebaker, so he could drivehimself to work and back. Carolyn was stuck with the tiny, crappy oooold Renault R8, which looked like a white brick that was frowning.

It sported an 1,100 cc engine which would have worked fine on our lawnmower, and judging by its performance the motor was laid out in a V1 design. It didn't purr - it hiccupped.

That is, when it was moving at all. Being a French car it was in the annoying habit of surrendering to anything that moved, like the sun. But my Sister and Brother had to get to school somehow, and taking the school bus would have meant possibly interacting with people who didn't look exactly like us, so drive it was.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Pouring Gravy on the Harlem Globetrotters

Thanksgiving is the most stressful holiday of the year. All other holidays are set
All done perfectly, at exactly the same time.
in a given set of time. A night, A night and a morning, 8 nights, that sort of thing. Thanksgiving though is all about one moment: The moment when dinner is served. 

And all 17 dishes better be done, perfectly, on time, so that one exquisite moment isn't ruined. Its a sobering occasion for the best cooks - and my Mother was not the best cook.

But her Mother was! And oh, the tension and drama that that fact occasioned. Grandma Johnson cooking was like an episode of Iron Chef. Carolyn in the kitchen was more like Mythbusters.