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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.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

The "Lance Gunn" thing

My sister, Joni, was a sensible, clear-headed woman. But she DID go through adolescence, and so she had her times of being a hysterical vat of hormones. And one of those episodes led to one of my Family's great lessons: The Lance Gunn thing.

And no, that's not a psuedonym from my Junior High level brain: His name really was Lance Gunn, presumably because his parents thought "ejaculating penis" would be hard to find on those little gift shop license plates.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Pantheacon 2015: Thursday

After 10 years of attending Admiral Karen and me pretty much have this Pantheacon thing down. But that doesn't mean suprises weren't in store, or revelations did not occur.
Because Pcon is the nutty Aunt and Uncle that your parents let you visit once a year, because they know it'll 'broaden' you.

We arrived on Thursday night, because we're smart. This is not a matter for discussion at the Freaky Tiki. Even when I was unemployed in 2012 and we were eating spiced dirt by lamplight the concept of arriving on Friday with the rest of the heaving Heathen Horde never occurred to us.

Nuh-uh. Not doing it.

10 Weirdest Meals

My Mother never particularly enjoyed cooking for all of us, and so her mind
would wander at times. This led to a long-standing family habit of conducting triage at the dinner table to see what Mom had forgotten to serve.

Usually we could figure out what was missing before a pot boiled over or the oven started belching smoke – but not always.

I remember her one attempt at croutons – a cookie sheet of carbon. Me standing on a chair and waving a dish towel at the fire alarm was a weekly occurrence. 

So I have a long and tragic history of weird meals. Here’s the top 10 in no discernible order:

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Classic Literature / 1970's Radio

In 1972, when I was 7, I received a boxed set of “Classic Literature”. Yes, I was miles too young to be investigating such things, but I was a precocious reader and besides my parents probably picked up this cardboard box of public domain paperbacks for cheap at Gemco or T.G.&Y.

And so I moved directly from “Green Eggs and Ham” to “1984”.

This explains an awful lot of why I am the way that I am.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Dinner at the PoopooCaca

Dinner out with my friend Laura all too often involves some sort of Adventure.

We've seen all kinds of food fun, from being physically assaulted by a waiter to being forced into an Iron Chef situation where Laura made a dinner for 6 based around a unique Mystery Ingredient:

A entire jar of extremely questionable pickled eggs bought, jar and all, from a seedy pub in rural Wiltshire, England.

But our all-time oddity was Friday night at the Poopoocaca restaurant. I chose the machaca, which is scrambled eggs with rice and beans and toast. 

No problem, right? Laura ordered the beef fajita salad, with mixed vegetables and a jalapeno-lime dressing. Again, not a Herculean task of culinary cunning.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

All About Me! (Part 2): The Toddlerancy of Hank Vegas

 (Go see how I was borned!)

Let us consider the world I was born into. 1965. The
earth was cooling, and the gigantic landmass called PanGaia was breaking up into the continents that we know today. It was a dark time. In fact it was SO DARK - (How dark was it?) the World Series that year was won by the Dodgers.

The first successful mini-computer was put on sale (with 4K of memory!), for only $140,000 in todays money. "Mini" meaning it was not the size of a room, but only the size of refrigerator.

The landmark Voting Rights Act was signed in August of '65, and you could go celebrate this at the most popular restaurant chain in Southern California: Little Black Sambos. Mmm-mmm. Lawdy!

Saturday, February 14, 2015

All About Me! (part 1): My Life Up Until My Birth

Let's begin the epic saga of ME at the beginning: With the reason why one of my nicknames was: "The missed trip to the drugstore."
Carolyn (Left) with
a friend - early 60's.

It was the summer of 1964 in Los Angeles. After a few false starts it looked like the 60's were going to be cool after all.

My Mother, Carolyn, was the single mother of my 4 year old Sister, Joni. The sole alimony payment she received from her 1st husband was a 3 foot high Easter basket for my sister, which prompted my Mother to take a bus across L.A. to proclaim to him: "We don't need chocolate - we need food" before throwing the thing in his face.

Food money was hard to come by, until Mom landed an accounting job with Oscar Mayer..........where she quickly arranged that if certain folks on the factory floor got their checks on Thursday afternoon instead of Friday morning, well then the small trunk of her Austin Healey would mysteriously fill up with hot dogs, bacon, cold cuts and smokey links.