Entries tagged with “world fantasy con”.
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Sun 13 Nov 2011
First, some book p0rn. Here’s my WFC stash:
From my con bag I kept The Last Unicorn by Peter Beagle and Guardian of the Dead by Karen Healey. The top four books are from Charles Tan and are Philippine SF for me to bring home. I did some secondhand bookshopping with S, D and V and walked away with the Agatha Christie and the Andre Nortons. And the rest, I’m afraid, was dealer room shopping. I love the kind of bookshopping you do with friends. I’d told Jonathan and Ellen that I’m looking for old books written by women (the few I bought are the ones wrapped in plastic) and they both kept popping out at me from behind bookstacks to read me out crazy blurbs or first pages. And then when Ellen had been unsuccessful at nabbing Jonathan a copy of Delia’s book because they were quickly sold out at her book launch, we rushed off to the dealer’s room where rumour had it there were a few left. So I joined in and bought a copy too and then as the three of us were heading out of the centre in search of the bar or something, we bumped straight into Delia so we all promptly thrust our copies at her for signing. Much fun.
And then, *even though* I am starting to stress about things like “how will we afford children?” and “what if this is my very last year of fulltime paid work (and can no longer impulse buy yarn/fabric/books on the internet)?” I seem to be dealing with that by doing things like this, the books I have acquired *since* coming home from WFC:
And my to read bookcase, before the addition of the above:
And the worst of it? Those are all OLD books. The 2012 publishing year has already begun and I can be sure that on the next episode of Galactic Suburbia, Tansy is going to tell me about a bunch of books I should have read.
Sun 30 Oct 2011
Posted by AlisaK under Uncategorized
Luckily for me I am not busy enough to have breakfast meetings. I’m slow moving in the mornings at this con and today I am feeling worse for wear. I don’t know why – I feel like I have a hangover but I haven’t touched a drop.
Yesterday was the first day of the con proper, I guess. Jonathan and I had prearranged to do an episode of Live and Sassy with Alan Beatts. Alan owns Borderlands Books and recently published a very interesting piece about Amazon – check it out at his newsletter. We knew this kind of discussion was precisely the thing for our podcast and Alan kindly agreed to come on the show. I was half asleep for the 11am recording and felt nowhere near smart enough for the conversation. But Alan has so much to say that is so interesting and needs much time to process. I think Jonathan will be uploading the episode before we leave San Diego.
After talking about Amazon and ebooks for about an hour, clearly a turn of the Dealer’s Room was warranted. Jonathan and I headed down there where we met up with Sean and Ellen Klages and we went through some of the secondhand and collectors’ tables. I’m looking to acquire some very specific books and the others helped me sort through to find some. I bought 4 books, not all of them old paperbacks, alas. I picked up the hardcopy of Steampunk! cause it’s so pretty but it’s also heavy.
I joined Deb and Jonathan on their lunch. And then we sat outside for a while with a few people. Jonathan had a thing to go to and I was going to go back to my room to rest but Sean invited me to come along on his chocolate showdown with Catherine Modesitt.
Seriously, who can honestly turn down the offer to try chocolates as they pitted Australia versus the USA in a chocolate faceoff? It was awesome fun though so so good and I hit my chocolate limit after only a few pieces.
I did head back to my room before meeting Jonathan for a dinner with Peter Beagle and his publicist. Peter regaled us with many interesting stories before everyone headed off to the mass signing. The Aussies set up camp here:
Behind that wall was the massive line for waiting to get Neil Gaiman to sign. It was deeply impressively organised. That’s a postcard for Deb’s book that is about to come out from Twelfth Planet Press.
That’s Neil sitting there and the production line to the right. People were allowed in the room six at a time and you can just see Colleen’s head as she handled all the material to be signed and handed it to him in smooth progression, one after the other for three hours straight.
We meanwhile sat and watched the world pass by.
And then we headed off to the Tor party but didn’t stay long. I was on the hunt for cake and Ellen and Jonathan were wanting to play pool And cause this America, I was able to get cheesecake at the bar with the pool table. And we were all happy. The end.
Sat 29 Oct 2011
Thursday pretty much most people were rolling in and registering and floating about the place ready for the convention to begin. It’s hard to describe the layout of this place – sprawling, is probably the best word. Personally, I hate it. I get lost every single time I leave my room to find another building, even with walking around with a map in my hand. Jonathan totally bailed on me and moved his room to closer to the convention center building but luckily that meant the room went to Deb and Chris so I can at least follow them home at the end of the night! The bar (as it seems to be becoming the bar) is nowhere near the convention center so if you’re reading this for a report of the con, sorry, probably won’t be here
I spent most of the day yesterday, before things kicked off, doing my own thing. I figured out (by trekking all the way to the lobby to get them to show me on the map where it was and to get a bunch of quarters) how to do my laundry. And I washed and dried a load and hung out by the pool, reading Power and Majesty for an hour or two. Now I have all clean clothes again. Excellent plan.
I spoke to my cousin on the phone because she was trying to sort out texting for the phone she’s lent me. All was mostly sorted except the damn over the phone Verizon won’t accept my VISA card because the mailing address is outside of USA. Meh, texting would be great but I’ll live. I don’t think I can make it to a store to pay the $10 in person.
In the afternoon I headed over to the convention center. I’d found a couple of extra books I hadn’t seen in my convention bag that I wanted to put on the swap table, both were small paperbacks and shockingly heavy for their size. I’m terrified of seeing huge piles of Glitter Rose on those tables but so far I haven’t seen one. And also happily none of my friends who’d bought their copies of the book received one in their bag for free.
I headed into the Dealers Room and bumped into Rob Shearman. I’m sure he told me months ago he was coming but I’d completely forgotten so that was a very happy surprise. And then I headed into the room and left copies of Nightsiders, Love and Romanpunk and Thief of Lives at the Prime Books table for sale. I took a very quick turn around the room myself. I do have a bit of a shopping list but I need to take care with it because I don’t have much space in my luggage. I also had a look at the art which is being exhibited in the same room. I’m looking for cover artists.
Then I headed over to the bar to find Jonathan. Sat with him for a bit and various people came past. Deb and Chris came by and picked me up for the early dinner they were doing before the Aussie Party. Really, when I grow up, I think I want to be Garth Nix. He’d gone from having not thought about the party the night before to there being posters plastered everywhere by that time the next day. AND he’d managed to get the stuff for the party well before then too so that our early dinner was a bit unnecessary cause he didn’t really need much help in set up.
We went to Old Town to Coyote Cafe for dinner. I had a black bean burrito which was delicious and looked longingly at the whole page of tequila choices. I wish wish wish I could have tasted a few. Alas for me, no drinking at all this con. Not even a sip. My Crohns was not good the week before I left for the con and it’s exceedingly borderline this week (as in I’m in pain off and on) and I know that if I take one wrong step, it’ll be bad news. The pain is definitely unbearable such that I can’t just “wear the consequences” like I do sometimes. My family were really great at finding the best choices for me for eating and I’m still trying mostly to do the same now. So I didn’t get to drink there nor at the party.
Last Aussie party they had tshirts made for the Aussie contingent. This time, Garth told us all to wear garish Aussie tshirts that you’d buy at the airport. I, um, wore my Galactic Suburbia shirt – crass self promotion? The party was awesome. A LOT of food and wine and beer and ginger beer. And the convention showed up promptly at 9.30 and left by about 1.15 or so?
I had a really good catch up with Rob. And I also hung out with Deb Kalin, Tessa Kum, Kirstyn McDermott and Ellen Gregory. I was very sad to show up to their quartet after they’d spent quite some time talking about rape culture. But when the obligatory offensive, too drunk guy came up to harass us – I kid you not, he presented himself to the five of us with “give a woman a compliment and she will sleep with you every time” or something equivalent – he was met first with silence, then polite suggestions he should go to bed and then, “you know, we don’t HAVE to put up with this, please leave” and finally Jonathan gently removed him from our group after Kirstyn nearly punched him in the head after very firmly telling him to leave because he was bothering us.
It was sort of fascinating to watch that he both thought he was deeply attractive (Deb and I were giggling about how even if we hadn’t had sex for 10 years we wouldn’t do it) and also that he had some right to continue standing in our group, harassing us, being offensive and ruining our otherwise enjoyable night. And when told that he actually wasn’t charming or appealing and that in fact he was bothering us, he got more stubborn and more determined that he would only leave on his own terms. Eventually Jonathan got him to move to the other side of the patio but he did yell out at us 15 minutes later “I’m still he-re.” Like it was some principle of his freedom and had no idea that he was more than quashing our own right to stand in our own space and not be harassed or that we even had the right to choose who *we* wanted to talk to. He had become the victim in his own mind. But eventually, Chris and Jonathan escorted him off the premises. It was both a very beautiful moment and also deeply sad because he left because two big guys showed him the door and not because five women had asked him politely, and then more bluntly, to leave us alone.
It wasn’t the first time that’s happened to me or to women around me. It wasn’t even the first time this week that’s happened to me. But it’s fascinating how some men behave that way, completely oblivious to the concept that women should be able to stand in their own group at a party and not be forced into being propositioned for sex or be forced to have to talk to men they don’t want to and that they also have the right to be able to tell them not to bother them and that they should respect that, whether they want to or not. Like, the idea that our experience of the situation was unimportant, even irrelevant to him, and that he would have pressed the point, had he not had another male remove him from the situation. It wasn’t harmless in that he quite clearly told one of us that if she didn’t tell him her correct name, he was going to feel her breasts. And he moved in to kiss her without her permission or any encouragement or invitation. We were mostly in a situation where it could be taken care of. But honestly? What’s that guy like in a room alone with a woman? That’s what we were asking ourselves.
But the night ended cheerfully as we regaled the removal of him from the group.
Fri 28 Oct 2011
I headed back to the hotel in the early afternoon yesterday where con members had begun to finally arrive. Jonathan was in the bar and I headed there to find a bunch more people I knew.
After a couple of hours of catch up, we decided to register before dinner.
Here’s a photo of this year’s very snazzy bag:
And a close up on my name badge for a bit of a squee. All the nominees for the World Fantasy Award always get a severed head pin. And no matter what happens on the day, you always get to wear the pin as a previous nominee. When I registered, the woman behind the table very kindly made a bit of a deal about handing it to me. It was really sweet.
We did then head over to the swap table. Our bags had been pretty full with books but we can’t take that much weight home so we had to be a bit ruthless. I was very pleased to see the postcards I’d sent of the first four 12 Planets were out in piles on the lit table. It’s quite weird to see something so familiar and yours in a very foreign place.
Fri 28 Oct 2011
Posted by AlisaK under Uncategorized
My mother’s cousin’s husband works at UCSD and so they live very close to the campus. With some resistance, we dragged my other cousin B out for a lovely walk on the campus to see some of the grounds. It’s indeed a lovely campus:
This is part of an open air exhibit of a famous artist, I forget the name. And we weren’t really sure on the meaning of the work. Still, discarded TV set in the grass. It was cool. My reading was showing some contrast about the move from worshipping religion to that of the TV or pop culture. Not sure.
This is actually an installation not a real tree (the one in the middle). It’s a singing tree that also recites poetry. It wasn’t really into performing when I was there but it was still a lot of fun trying to pick the not tree from the rest.
Dr Suess. He and his wife donated a lot of money to the university.
This sculpture is called Bear. S made B and I pose a few times in front of it for some photos. I haven’t seen them, I will ask for copies but we were very amused. I kinda like that this is a big teddy bear in the square surrounded by a bunch of engineering buildings.
The Sun God. So ah, I don’t actually know what the Sun God Festival is, but B said not to touch anything.
Fri 28 Oct 2011
Posted by AlisaK under Uncategorized
After lunch we took a little bit of a walk around La Jolla and wandered in and out of this gorgeous old hotel. (That’s V and S in the photo below).
I am fascinated by the Mexican influence throughout San Diego – both in the food and in the architecture and design. I’m very interested in the similarity to a lot of Arabic design and use of colour.
The gorgeous entrance
After some more window shopping (hey I gotta pick out an engagement ring! Research, baby!) and a bit more of a walk around the area, we said goodbye to D and V and headed home.
Thu 27 Oct 2011
Posted by AlisaK under Uncategorized
Yesterday was a much more mellow day. S picked me up and we headed over to La Jolla and had a seasidey kind of late morning. This is La Jolla cove and has a lot of birds – S said they were having a Bird-vention – and sealions!
We were meeting D and her partner for lunch and we had some time so we wandered around a little bit and then we went down a cave. Oh my goodness! I’m a little bit claustrophobic and this was a narrow tunnel heading straight down with a steep, sometimes wet and slippery, staircase. We went down with a few other people and I concentrated on NOT FREAKING OUT! The view was worth it though.
And a spider web on the hand rail
We headed back up again and thank goodness is was shorter on the way up. Took me a while to recover though and OMG my legs still hurt a day later! We had a lovely walk around the cove before lunch.
More birds and sea lions!
We then headed back to the restaurant to meet D and V for lunch. We ate at the Brockton Villa and I had the famous Coast Toast because D had been raving about it the day before. It was very decadent french toast. The others had some very delicious looking meals. We again had great conversation and a lot of laughing. Brockton’s is a very old building, originally a house built overlooking the gorgeous coastline. It was very restful and relaxing and a lot of fun.
Thu 27 Oct 2011
Posted by AlisaK under Uncategorized
After the quilting exhibition we retired for some lunch and much needed rest. Then we headed off to the photography museum. D’s partner is into photography (she’s an artist) and had free passes and recommended the exhibit. I thoroughly enjoyed it. It had an environmental theme, displaying photos from a UN competition for photos to promote change or examine the impacts we are having on the earth, I guess. I wandered through this exhibit by myself and had a very emotional reaction to it. It’s the first time in a long time I’ve been able to tap into the “why I do what I do” in my day job. A real refuelling, as it were. There was great commentary and some awesome quotes headed up a lot of the display walls.
I began at the wall that quoted an Old Chinese Proverb: If we do not change our direction, we are likely to end up where we are headed. Blew me away. What a great summary of my year. And perhaps of some aspects of my personality!
I also was really moved by an excerpt from the introduction to Earth where these photos must have been taken from, by Kofi Annan, where he says, “… For the consequences of failure will fall hardest on those who have done the least to cause climate change – on future generations and the poorest nations.”
And this one by Thomas Fuller from 1732:
“We never know the worth of water til the well is dry.”
This exhibit was a bit of a dual religious experience for me. Both for reenergising my environmentalist passions – reminding me why it is what I do. And why I chose my profession in the first place. And that of course the work is not nearly done, we’ve barely begun to start it. And if I am so unhappy in my day job, see Chinese Proverb above.
And starting at the point of the above, my cousin and I had another amazingly deep and intense conversation both on the environmentalism (she has a passion for public health which slots so well into a lot of the aspects of what I am driven to work on) and on personal burn out. Which fits the dual response to the quote about the well being dry. So funny to come so far and find someone who I so well understand and someone who so well understands me.
And I found myself quoting a Jewish quote I love to say to myself: It is not up to you to finish the work but neither is it up to you to start it. I paraphrase, Wikipedia tells me:
“It is not incumbent upon you to complete the work, but neither are you at liberty to desist from it” (Avot 2:21) attributed to Rabbi Tarfon. Also attributed to Rabbi Tarfon: “The day is short, the labor vast, the toilers idle, the reward great, and the Master of the house is insistent.” (Avot 2:20)
And on the same page, just above it, Hillel:
“If I am not for myself, who will be for me? And when I am for myself, what am ‘I’? And if not now, when?” (Avot 1:14)
Which may all slightly contradict themselves and all still hold truth.
These days have been filled with a lot of deep conversations about truth, and living your life honestly, on what it means to be a feminist and on when to cut yourself a break.
Thu 27 Oct 2011
Posted by AlisaK under Uncategorized
I hadn’t yet met my mother’s cousin (S) so we had a good chance to get to know each other a bit on the drive from the hotel to Balboa Park, which is where we were going for the day. Balboa Park is a gorgeous place with a bunch of museums and other entertainment venues all clustered in the one place. What a great idea for both ease of tourists – you just head to one place and can spend the time touristing rather than moving from location to location – and also for deciding after you get there what you feel like seeing.
S already knew I was interesting in quilting so the first place she planned to take was to see the Bold Expressions quilt exhibition. My cousin (D) and her partner (V) came out to meet us and see the exhibition with us as well and we all enjoyed wandering around and having a look at the quilts.
__ The exhibition showed off part of Corinne Riley’s quilt collection of quilts by African American women, mostly from the 30s and 40s across states like Alabama and Texas.
We had a great time discussing many of the quilts and talking over some of the aspects that have me utterly drawn to this art form (yep, calling it art and not craft). Basically, there is the idea that quilts are made to cover – in other words, people have a need for warmth and comfort and so women make quilts to be a functional, purposeful item. An example of this is say this quilt to the right here, which is made out of pieces of clothing. This woman maybe took whatever she had close to hand, that had lost any functional purposed for clothing and pieced it together to become bedding. Though, even having done that, there is still balance of colour and composition in the way in which she has done that here.
But, if quilting really was just about cover and purpose, then the most efficient way to do that is surely not to take pieces of fabric, cut them into smaller pieces and then devise complicated patterns to best fit them back together to form a blanket. Wouldn’t you just piece larger bits of fabric together to be done in much quicker time? In other words, women found ways to be creative and artistic whilst still outputting functional items which people would be hard pressed to argue were without purpose. And that’s one of the things I most love about quilting. These quilts in this exhibition were mostly created by poorer women who used anything they could to hand. And within these constraints, they found ways to express their creativity.
This is D standing in front of a stunning quilt called “Pine Burr” which was made out of cotton fabrics in Alabama in the 30s and 40s.
Here is an up close shot as well to show the detailed and careful work. And then next to it the nameplate for this work.
In case you can’t read it, it says “This obsessively constructed all-cotton Pine Burr Quilt was done in multiple circles and pieced together.” By and large, we found the plates for each work disappointing. What we wanted to know was information about the women and how these quilts came about. And how and where they were collected. And things like that. Instead we got tags like the one here that I have quoted which particularly grated with me because I reacted to the word “obsessively” which I feel is a loaded word and the same intend could perhaps have been better described as “meticulously” for example.
Quilts like the one above and the one below weren’t products of mental illness, as I think the word “obsessive” implies. These quilts would have been made over many years, perhaps decades. And show great investment of time and talent as the right materials are collected and placed to create an overall impression or experience.
They show how value and art can be derived from otherwise considered waste materials – tiny scraps of fabric.
Other pieces we loved were ahead of their time – described as reminiscent of modern painting. Like this one, made out of discarded jeans:
And this one was another favourite of mine, made in Alabama in the 40s, it has such a Japanese quilt inspiration about it:
So we loved this exhibition!
Thu 27 Oct 2011
Posted by AlisaK under Uncategorized
Yesterday was the first time possibly for this whole year, that my soul started to get replenished. A lot happened so I’ll post in parts.
Started the morning with breakfast with Charles. He has scoped out the whole hotel grounds and pretty much knows how to get everywhere. This is great because I am constantly getting lost going back to my room. We headed over to the restaurant and had breakfast. I had the breakfast buffet but really got no more out of it than what I had for my room service order the day before. We hung out and chatted and stuff before wandering off to the reception. Jonathan had said to request his room be located somewhere near mine (I am gonna spend a lot of this con getting lost, I can tell) and also to pick up my message which we discovered was that my package had arrived. The package department it turned out was all the way at the other end of the campus, where we had already been.
After we finally found Packaging,we picked up my fabric order. It looks to me like I should be still getting a second package because this didn’t have the contents of the order that I never received at home, which they said they would also send. Either way, this fabric so far is a bit heavier than I had planned which has me a bit worried about schleppage home as in how many more items (aka books) I have space for.
Charles and I hung out for a bit more – he kindly gave me some specfic books from the Philippines and we chatted about the scene there, and WFC and whether we thought dry ice would stay dry and icy long enough for ice cream to be mailed successfully from Ohio. I suspect that we won’t actually be able to test this as the last chance to order icecream to get it here by the end of the con is today.
Charles walked me back to reception and sat with me til my Mum’s cousin came and picked me up for the day!
Tue 25 Oct 2011
I took yesterday slow and steady and it seemed to go pretty well!
First up, for $10 I could have breakfast in bed – juice, carafe of coffee (don’t ask) and a basket of pastries – delivered to me by a lovely man on a bike with a trailer. I enjoyed the decadence muchly. I also watched some good old morning American TV. And lazed about and whatnot.
Later in the morning my cousin and her partner came and picked me up to take me out for the day. They are so sweet – they’d found my blog and the Galactic Suburbia podcast and researched up on me! We went to a funky, cool part of town first up, as per my request – I think maybe North Park (is that a place?). We sat in a very cool cafe and had coffee and just hung out and talked and got to know each other. Kinda one of my favourite things to do. This is the first time I’ve met this part of my family and it’s always interesting to see what is genetic and what you have in common and stuff. Especially personality wise and things. Coincidentally, I was looking out the window at the bill across a theatre that announced Amanda Palmer will be performing there on the 28th. I had vanilla nut cafe au lait.
Then we wandered around, in and out of a few independent bookstores before heading to The Mysterious Galaxy Bookstore. Turns out that is where the mass booksigning will be tomorrow night. I was showing my cousin Jonathan’s Engineering Infinity and the guy was like, oh yeah, he’ll be here signing. Heh, I wonder if Jonathan knows that? Meanwhile, they’ve tracked down books by so many people who will be at the con that I suspect they will make for excellent shopping later on. I bought nothing as I am currently trying not to acquire luggage weight.
We headed back to my cousin’s place, with Mexican take out. I met the dogs -all three of them! And we all hung out. They’d told me to pack my computer because “they don’t hang out unless they each have their computers out and are on the internet etc” – hello, my people or what? Course we mostly chatted. I did catch up on email and we watched a bit of a claymation movie before another cousin showed up – her brother. He was also lovely to meet and we all went out for Vietnamese for dinner and played that “so how are we related?” game and just, you know, told stories and got to know each other.
I’m really glad that WFC is in San Diego this year and I’ve had the chance to meet some of my cousins.Now I’ve met them and got to know them, I know that we will stay in touch and they will be part of my life, and what if I’d not come here and not met them and that never happened? You know when you meet people who you connect with and understand? It’s pretty cool. Anyhow.
I’d better go get dressed. I’m off to meet Mr Charles A Tan, finally, for breakfast!
Tue 25 Oct 2011
Posted by AlisaK under Uncategorized
The lounge at Hong Kong airport was a brilliant idea! Much thanks to my Mum and uncle who recommended it to me. I was at the airport 8 hours but it absolutely didn’t feel like that many. I had always thought showering at an airport was such a random and odd thing to do but I am a convert! Showering and changing clothes was so utterly refreshing and energising. I even washed and dried my hair. I filled up on the food at the buffet, had several coffees and cold drinks (yes Tehani, I drank water) and even a massage! I think the massage, which was agony, totally got me through to San Diego in one piece. I only had a slight shoulder twinge by the time I got here. I ended up catching up on emails and doing a bit of Twelfth Planet Press work and then it was time to head on to LA. Unbelievably civilised! I shall book again before leaving for the return leg.
After the slightly stressful flight to Hong Kong and the dreadful flights to LA and back last year, the Hong Kong to LAX flight was the one I was most stressed out about. As in, this flight was the whole “do I *really* want to go to WFC?” deal maker or breaker. This flight leg was why I decided to go through Hong Kong instead of Sydney in order to get it down to 12.5 hours. Still a long time sit and a longer time to sit if you hate the people next to you. But this was not that kind of flight! I sat next to a US Marine and a lovely lady next to him. We were a good row of cool people – you know, people who don’t go to the toilet 900 times whilst others are trying to sleep or talk too loud or complain or freak out or whatever.
I had planned to try and sleep this whole leg – planned it as in organised prescribed drugs because I do not sleep in public. I took 2 blue pills after dinner but yeah, they knocked me out in no way. I hardly even felt sleepy. I napped for like 20 minutes on take off and apparently that was all I needed. I ended up watching “The Greatest Movie Ever Sold” and then Carrie Fischer’s live show, both of which I enjoyed. Then I tried to sleep. I think I got 4 hours. I got up to go to the toilet and when I got back to my seat, my seatmates were like, “great plan” and both got up to go as well – I do love it when you’re all similar people. And then I settled in to admitting I was not sleeping and watched Season 16 of “America’s Next Top Model”. Really, “couture or not couture?” is the only thing I could handle brainwise by that stage. And 12.5 hours is really all I can handle for sitting. I was sore by about 8 hours in. I’m going to try something different on the leg back to see if that helps.
Going through passport control and customs in LAX is never fun and is something I quietly stress over on the flights. Because if you get held up too long, you can miss your connection. It took 30 mins to get off the plane and to standing in line at passport control and I was starting to feel good about my agreeing with the travel agent to miss the first plane to San Diego and take a 4 hour layover instead.
As we’re getting shepherded to the right line for passport control, a lady behind me started asking the guard about whether or not she had to pick up her suitcase etc because she was checked all the way through to San Diego. I turned round and told her I was doing exactly the same thing and I knew how to do it (I’d both done it last year and also talked though the whole thing at the Perth airport check in counter). She was so relieved and suddenly was smiling and happy and I said no worries we could stick together and do it. And when I took my boarding pass out to double check the time of the next flight, she suddenly realised we were sitting next to each other on the next plane! I kid you not! I love how small the world is!
Anyway, passport control was fine (though the guy who processed me took way longer than the person who processed her) and then we picked up bags and passed through customs, and then dropped our bags at bag drop, found the new terminal and passed through security (I watched another lady be searched by TSA, it is indeed very personal and intimate) and then we were through! At that point she went to find her colleague and I went to find Starbucks and the internet. Starbucks has a new flavour – salted caramel!! Its yum! I think I paid $10 to check my email. As I was sitting there at the gate, the lady and her friend came back and told me that our gate had been changed and that if I wanted I could grab food first and then go or else there was a shuttle to take.
I opted for the shuttle and here came 20 mins of things going horribly wrong! I didn’t double check *which* San Diego flight was in which gate. I went of course to the first and found mayhem in Gate 44D. Salt Lake City was supposed to be leaving from there but was just getting moved gates, again, apparently. And then there was a whole flight of other people bitching and no staff. And then I found some people who looked as confused as me and we verified that this was now the San Diego flight and then suddenly the San Diego flight was cancelled and they were BUSSING people to San Diego! Holy crap but hell no! I asked someone and she said the plane had had an “event”. I later found some people who landed on that plane and the “event” was that the cargo was on fire or “Bravo” as apparently it is known, and they had lots of emergency vehicles and all sorts of drama.
As I was standing in line at the desk to find out what was happening because I’d need to call my cousin if I was being bussed instead of flown, there was a man on his phone bitching about how he’d now been travelling for 14 HOURS! OMG! I turned round and said I’d been flying from Australia for what felt like 9 days and he should suck it up. It amused the line anyway. And then I got props for my tshirt which cheered someone else up. (“And then Buffy Staked Edward. The End.”) A lovely guy from maybe Europe? befriended me to work out what was going on – I love how foreigners will always group together to try and translate America to each other. How is America more foreign to foreigners than our respective countries are to each other? He was lovely though and went off and talked to a few other people and came back and debriefed me that he thought his flight – the 4,30 one – was delayed, not mine – the 5.30 one – and he pushed me to jump up the line which had not moved at the counter, to confirm that mine was not cancelled. The guy checked straight away and was like, “no you’re flying from Gate 44B, that’s the next gate over” and I thanked him, and the European guy (we wished each other luck!), and I abandoned the angry mob. I found by contrast a very relaxed, sparsely filled Gate 44B and a hilarious couple flying home from Indiana who’d opted to get vouchers and a new ticket off an oversold flight from the day before. They regaled their “event” flight and played “listen to all the oversold flights and the upping of the offer to the volunteer who gives up their seat” (turns out they up the voucher by $50 every 15 mins or so and apparently 90% of people never use the voucher, which is valid for 1 year but they totally are going to use theirs!) American Eagle must overbook all their flights and most of the time one or two people must not show up?
So, I did not get a bus to San Diego! But I did fly on the smallest plane I’ve ever been on – two seats on one side of the aisle, one on the other and taller people couldn’t stand up when walking down the plane. I got a seat by myself!!! So happy! And the flight was 25 minutes! I think I slept for some of it. And then we were in San Diego! The steward was hilarious, she was talking in funny voices and accents and goofing it up – she handed the papers to the groundcrew and pulled the door shut and then announced “I have successfully shut the door, now we can take off” kind of thing. Very lovely flight and short walk to the terminal and I met my cousin who was waiting for me!
We eventually found my hotel. Yeah, we share the same (non)navigating gene. We chatted in the car and kinda just met each other. I checked in and discovered the long schlepp across the grounds to my room. The room is lovely. I got room service and that ended up being I think the first fresh meal I had eaten in about 36 hours. I took a long bath and maybe I ate apple pie a la mode. And maybe I ordered it just so I could say “a la mode”. Delicious pie though!
I’m reading and thoroughly enjoying Power and Majesty.
I got to bed at 10.30 and slept til 6.30 – the hour I said I had to stay in bed til. Yep got that jet lag thing I had last time where the only time I ever get up at 6.30 in the morning is on holidays. I also woke up every 2 hours or so but I feel much better today. I think they might prefer you do room service here? I ordered for $10 a basket of pastries, a carafe of coffee and juice and it was delivered to my room by a guy on a bike with a trailer. He promised me the weather will clear by later this morning. I had breakfast in bed because I am on holidays and am chilling the fuck out after the year that has been 2011. Also I don’t have a puppy wandering around and policing everything I am doing, especially foodwise.
My cousin will be coming by later this morning and I’m looking forward to hanging out with her. She’s thinking we might do the arty part of San Diego today. I’m looking forward to getting to know her and to seeing a bit of the city beyond the hotel. It’s my new WFC rule, must do some siteseeing in the city and not just see the inside of the convention hotel.
 Incidentally, I had snacks packed that had seeds and fruit in them and decided to declare them, just to be sure and because you had to tick a box. I knew they wouldn’t care because it was all processed but still, I’m pretty sure in Perth you’d still declare it. The lady I was with was asking me what I was declaring and why and what the customs was all about. I asked her if you had to do that for quarantine for Hong Kong and she said no and looked really surprised about all this. It kind of makes “Border Patrol” make more sense when you realise that it’s not people necessarily flaunting our rules but having no experience with the kind of quarantine we do in Australia.
Sun 23 Oct 2011
Posted by AlisaK under Uncategorized
Ahhhh that was so a good idea to book and prepaid for the Traveler’s Lounge here in Hong Kong airport. This was my mother’s idea, her brother and sister in law do it and it was definitely a good compromise for my 8 hour layover here which was to reduce in flight flying time to LA. Here I am on a comfy lounge, free wifi and electricity, free coffee and pastries and I already am starting to feel more human. In 20 minutes I can go have a shower and then at midday I am booked in for a 30 minute massage. I showed up 2 hours early but that just means my 5 hour block runs out at 3pm. I think I board at 4 so that works out fine.
But that’s the wrong chronological order!!!
My flight from Perth was at midnight last night and we headed up to the airport a little bit early to grab dinner and because I *need* to check my bags in *as soon as* the counter opens. (If you knew my grandmother, you would understand this.) It turned out that my cousin’s husband was on the same flight so she and he were there and her parents. This meant I could finally introduce them to C, which was nice. That’s *almost* all my family he has met. And we sat and had coffee and something to eat before the flight. I failed to get my Duty Free shopping down in Perth. I would have liked to have it sorted so I could just pick it up on my way back. Likewise, I haven’t really been enthused here in Hong Kong. I think I’ll do this bit on my way back through on the way home.
My flight was ok. I took something to help me sleep and I think I got between 3 and 5 hours of some sort of sleep. I feel not too disgusting anyway. But at about 3am, I think, I was suddenly pinned to my chair by the guy next to me, and then he started screaming, like in one long scream, like he was having an episode, or a stroke or something. I was very scared. I asked him if he was ok and then got up and walked all the way to the back galley before I found a steward. There were two in there and they laughed and asked me if he was stretching and then the woman sent the man down to check it out. He came back laughing and said, “No he’s just like this now,” and demonstrated slumped forward in seat. They offered me a drink since I was down there and I grabbed a water and headed back to my seat. But after that, I was kinda sleeping with one eye open and as breakfast came out, I got up to go to the bathroom and remembered the woman sitting in a row of four seats by herself. I asked her if I could sit there and then did for the last hour/hour and a half and finally started reading my book.
I think before now, I would have explained so as to not hurt the other guy’s feelings. But these days, I figure, I can actually just look out for myself and if I don’t like something, I can just walk away without a scene. It was a very pleasant landing as I started Power and Majesty from the beginning.
Which brings me to here and me packing up to go grab a shower
Fri 21 Oct 2011
Long time readers may recall that for Xmas last year, C gave me “a week”. That’s right, he gave me time.
What I can’t work out is why I didn’t choose to redeem this gift the week before or the week after Swancon?
Anyway, I decided to redeem it this week. I have decided to not feel guilty about what I did or didn’t contribute. If I don’t feel I need to give time to these, and can spend it on getting what I need to get done before I leave without feeling guilty, then I think it was a good gift.
I’m basically packed. I’m going to weigh my suitcase in a minute and then regroup. And then I’m going to pack my handbag even though I’m still out and about tomorrow running errands. My plane leaves at midnight.
My ipod is up to date with all my podcasts to listen to. I should have my noise cancelling headphones. I have two books for the journey there – Books 1 and 2 of The Creature Court – and will look at the airport as I board. I’ve also browsed the entertainment for the plane – Cathay Pacific – looks like I can find a few hours to spend there. I haven’t managed to find my darn template for the quilting and have decided to make up a new one tonight. And I shall have copies of the first three books of The Twelve Planets for sale in the dealers room.
Looks like I’m nearly ready to go! I shall be meeting family for the first time on arrival and spending a few days with them before the convention. I’m looking forward to it now – OMG I AM ON LEAVE! (just realised) – and know that it will go by in a whirlwind. Ah well, such is life.
Wed 12 Oct 2011
Posted by AlisaK under Uncategorized
I didn’t blog much after falling ill. I figured there was nothing more boring than, “yep still sick” plus some of those days I was actually in so much pain I couldn’t type. Or knit. Or really even hold a coffee mug. The ultimate message from the universe, all I could do was lie on the couch and watch TV. Yup. Spent about 7 days there. Watched all of Studio 60. Worked my way through about 3 seasons of Doctor Who. And eventually I got better. I’ve been back at work. Doing things. Catching up. But still running behind.
So a bunch of linky the links before I head back off to the chain gang.
I answered some questions on editing over at Donna Hanson’s blog. I actually think her question (and many people’s answers to – Can editing be taught? – to be really really fascinating. Go read the series!
Deborah Biancotti is featuring a series of paragraphs on creative burnout. Mine is here. And I should add that when I say that I watch TV that I think is really great, I really do mean the Gilmore Girls. If you see me break out a rewatch of the whole series, you know things are bad. Cough. I also really get back into Elton John – a bit of Can you Feel the Love Tonight, Candle in the Wind and so on. And the Goo Goo Dolls, which I admit I was listening to yesterday (Black Balloon, Accoustic #3 and Iris on repeat means all is lost).
Our big Twelfth Planet Press news is that Charles Tan is steadily working on ebook conversion (and soon to have extra help, kind people are really kind) and we now have Thief of Lives by Lucy Sussex available in epub. The Kindle version will be up tonight. And both are available now from Wizard Towers Books. Very soon I’ll have links for ebook subscriptions and upgrades on the site.
C has been away this week. I would have done a big Things I Want To Get Done whilst he is away but I’m knackered. And just running to stand still. Also really behind on TPP and focussing on that. If Tansy will stop pitching ENORMOUS ideas at me. I’ve been thinking a lot about what I’m going to focus on next year when he is at sea off and on throughout it. I have some ideas. Mostly I’ll be concentrating on TPP, I have some two years goals which really will need concerted and sustained hard work to pull off. But I’m also toying around with some other, smaller projects. That need their own blogs. We’ll see.
This month though is a weird one. Most of it we will be spending apart – he’s had two courses on this month and I realised YESTERDAY that I only have this week and next week at work before I LEAVE FOR WORLD FANTASY CON! for which my schedule is already deliciously jam packed. I have finally booked and paid for a shower, seated massage and hang out in a lounge during my long sojourn in Hong Kong airport. I have organised with my family for pick ups, eating and siteseeing (and phone!) for the couple of days before the con. And mostly, I am intending to just have a vacation. I know, I know. It’s A CON. But still. I’ve sent 5 boxes of Glitter Rose over to San Diego for the convention bags. And a thousand postcards for the Twelve Planets. I’ve also been kindly given a wee bit of space in the dealer’s room so if you want something – let me know and I’ll be sure to pack it and bring it with me. I know what dress I’m wearing for the banquet. I think I’m getting towards ready for it! Eeeeeeeekkkkk