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Cold Skunk Porn
January 19, 2000

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We were worried that we might have no winter at all this year. We needn't have been concerned. We're still light on snow, though what we've had we've had since Sunday and it's not going anywhere. It's currently seven below zero outside, with a wind chill bringing that to ten below. And it's warmed up.

It should warm up to twenty degrees by tomorrow, however. Which, if you've lived in the snowbelt before, can only mean one thing. Snowstorm's a comin'. It's currently thought to last a good two days. No, I don't think we have to worry about having a winter any more. It's here. It's queer. Get used to it.

Maybe it's metaphorical too. I've been feeling pretty cold the last few days, myself.

Arisia was a lot of fun. I bought some art -- both a couple of Art Show pieces (including a relaxing angel that I think is truly beautiful pencilwork), and a commissioned airbrushed tee shirt of an In Nomine Malakite. It was an angelic weekend, I guess.

The hotel was lush, but utterly unsuited for a Science Fiction convention. The rooms were all far too small. (We got a Quad -- which had only two beds, plus a rollaway. With the rollaway, not only did one of us have to sleep on the floor but we literally were crowded to the point of falling over each other.) Those same rooms were used for Dealer's Row, which as a result could only have three or four customers in a "store" at a time. A far cry from the last year, which was a paragon of open rooms and comfort.

And the hotel service absolutely rotted. You would call guest services and wait twenty rings or more for someone to pick up, for example. No one smiled, ever. And if you were hungry, it was a better idea to brave the cold and find something to eat. We went to the Hotel Restaurant (the Arlington Grill) the first night.

Mistake. Big mistake. We went thirty minutes from sitting down to seeing our waiter. He wouldn't let us order drinks and food at the same time, despite being ready. We ordered food. I got a combo plate, asking him to skip the shrimp. The bit of steak I wanted medium rare. It also had chicken and sea bass.

Forty minutes later, we were served. The portions were tiny. Appetizer sized. Not even French Restaurant sized, but minuscule. The steak was cooked to the point of shoe leather. (Mason got the same thing, and ordered his medium well. He looked up after the first bite and said "huh. They managed to cook the meat completely out of the steak.") The chicken was also massively overcooked. The sea bass was acceptable, but one bite of fish doesn't make for a meal.

We were stunned. This was horrid and the service was bad. We collectively left the worst tip of our lives, and got the Hell out of there.

The next night, Mason and I went to the Hotel Bar to get something to drink and talk. Twenty minutes after arrival (and no orders taken for drinks) we left in growing disgust to go to the Hotel Cafe to get something to drink and talk. Thirty minutes there before I literally grabbed a passing waiter and demanded the chance to order.

The Boston Park Place Hotel. Don't book there. Never book there. It's bad. It's evil. It lacks most modern Hotel amenities (no pool -- not even complimentary bathroom coffee) for a traditional charm that wears thin when you're thirsty and upset. I dearly hope the Convention moves back to last year's hotel, though I've been told the Park Place was the traditional location for it and they've just gone back. I can't understand why.

I saw Archangel Beth, my editor at Steve Jackson Games, there. She and her husband, who's an SJGames writer, were in fine form and a lot of fun, when we went to the panels they gave. Beth is seriously nice people, and she reacted very well to the Malakite tee shirt. Well, so did everyone else who saw it. I'm going to get the school's Digital Camera and take a shot of it and see how it looks. I'm also supposed to get a second tee shirt of a Malakite, a Mercurian and a Cherub sometime this week. I'll put that one up too.

Other Con high points:

  • 2001: A Space Odyssey on widescreen. Now this is how you do a space movie. Little things made it tremendous where modern movies are just effects. For instance, in all the space-scenes there is absolute silence. Not so in most movies, but here they got it right, and the very total silence led to an absolute creepyness. When Dave is walking through the dead ship, stalking HAL the computer, all we hear is his rasping breath and HAL's enforced bland voice. And you get more and more creeped out the longer the scene goes. "I'm afraid, Dave. I'm afraid. I'm afraid. I'm afraid."
  • Mystery Men. When I saw this in the theaters back around August 10th I said it was unevenly written and, while I had a good time watching it, I wouldn't see it again. Well, Mason, Jon Lennox and I stumbled on it being shown widescreen off a DVD (I didn't know it was out yet -- so it may have been a Con thing) on a high quality LCD projector. And loved it. If you want to see this movie, surround yourself with people who really enjoy it. The sort of people who cheer when the Spleen (played by Paul Ruebans) and the Bowler (played by Janine Garofalo) make their entrances on screen. The enthusiasm of the crowd made the movie hysterical and exciting, both. And they screamed along with William H. Macy as his "Henry V" speech ends on the cresendo "are we going to save the city? Or am I going to eat this sandwich?!"
  • Buckaroo Banzai. See Mystery Men above, but make it mid-eighties. The funny thing is how much of a period piece it is. No one on Earth would be caught dead wearing the clothes Perfect Tommy or Buckaroo himself wears. Reno looks like a pimp now. Sadly, take the chaps away and Jeff Goldblum's cowboy outfit (as "New Jersey") was the one closest to still being in style.
  • 1920's Zorro: I honestly did do things other than movies here. This was an old projector film of a silent movie of Zorro, done with all the classic styles and some surprisingly good action sequences and fencing scenes. It held together with sophistication and was good clean fun, with an amazing amount of information conveyed by few written words and body language. And even better, the organist playing the accompaniment was doing it live. How you can play the organ for two hours, never miss a note and stay synced to the movie I'll never know. This was on before Buckaroo Banzai so it was a chance viewing with Mason, and we certainly didn't regret it.
  • Skunk porn: We didn't mean to. It's not our fault.
  • The Back End of Dealer's Row: SF fans include a number of subcultures. The BDSM/Fetishists are one of them. It's common to see a number of people being led on leashes at Con's -- mostly by BDSM wannabes going for shock value, which makes no sense since no one at a Con could care less. Regardless, there are always Fetish dealers at Cons. And while my own perversions don't go to those directions (latex looks uncomfortable as Hell and I don't even like walking Buddy on a leash), you kind of have to see the Fetish Stores while you're there. The latex place had a perfect Disney Alice-in-Wonderland dress done in blue and white latex on display. It was frighteningly accurate. Van, somewhat incredulously, said "next we'll see Sailor Moon costumes in latex," which made the shop owner look up and say "oh, those are easy. We sell a lot of them." We were officially scared.
  • Inexpensive Heather Alexander music. This is a good thing. This is a very good thing.

Driving home post-Con, Mason, Van and I drove into areas with snow. It was fun to watch -- Mason and Van hadn't seen snow outlining hardwood trees and their branches before, or the ethereal beauty of snow draped over the fields. It was fun to watch them. And me? I love snow. I felt good.

Which is nice, because as of the next day I didn't. I was depressed. Deeply depressed.

This wasn't over work -- it's a busy time (budgets consume us, right about now) but a good one. Things are well organized for budgets and I got my own stuff out to the masses early -- so now I have a pretty decent time of it. This wasn't over much of anything, as near as I could tell. It was just chemestry acting up and making me feel rotton, and coloring my perceptions of everything I did and everything in my life.

Do you know how easy it is to be fatalistic about a medical condition? Let's be honest here -- I have to lose more weight than most people actually have on their bodies. I have a heart that's enlarged and rigid and failing to operate properly. In too many ways, it's easier just to die. And I'm sick of the food I have to eat. I'm sick of grilled fish, designed to avoid salt. I'm sick of cold cereal. I'm even sick of medication -- twice a day, with accompanying side effects, over and over and over again. And I know there isn't any time I'll be done with this.

Oh yes -- the depression may be clinical, but it has fertile ground to grow in. So, talk to the Doctors. What else can I do, right?

Mom and Dad are still in Pueblo with Kris and George, so I'm talking quite a bit to Dr.G these days. He thinks maybe pharmacopic solutions would be a good idea. We'll see what Dr. Fleet thinks.

And now? I'm depressed. It's pretty straightforward. Ah well.

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