I had a wee bit of excitement last night, though I guess it would only be considered exciting if your life is truly sad and pathetic. Which means for me it was at least mildly exciting. We had a big, neighborhood-wide blackout! I'd come home after choir practice and a post-practice birthday party and was curled up on the sofa, watching my tape of Pushing Daisies, when there was this loud click type noise, and everything went dark.
I hadn't realized just how dark it can get because my house is never truly dark. There's a lamppost on the sidewalk that runs by my house that shines into my bedroom and front living room windows, and my house backs up to an intersection with a major street, so there are the street lamps there. Once my eyes are used to the dark, I can easily walk through my house at night without turning on a light. But this was utterly, completely dark.
Fortunately, I still had my Ike preparations in place, so I had a flashlight on the coffee table that I got in one grope. Then I went outside to get a sense of the situation. The utter darkness was a good sign that it wasn't just me (and I did pay my electricity bill last month). It seemed to be pretty widespread. There were no lights at any of my neighbors' houses, and all the lights on the outside of the garages were out, as were the street lights and even the traffic signals. I went back inside and up to my balcony so I could see over the wall that separates our yard from the street, and the whole neighborhood, from what I could see, was totally dark. I went back outside, mostly because usually in situations like that, the neighbors all come pouring out to see what's going on, and then we all chat and it becomes a big community bonding experience. I may be a dork, but that's the big fun of blackouts. You're supposed to stand around with your neighbors, chatting about what you were doing when the lights went out and speculating on what happened. But the neighbors didn't come out, possibly because it was already pretty late and a lot of them may have been in bed and weren't even aware the power was out. Then I saw flashing blue and red lights coming from the intersection, so I went inside and back upstairs to watch a police officer putting out flares to create a four-way stop. I figured that if the police were taking measures like that, we might be in for a long haul, so I lit the candles in my living room to create a little ambient light and read by flashlight for a while. I think the lights may have been out for just under an hour, so it's not like it was that big a deal, but I think I revert to childhood in those situations, where it turned out to be fun when you had to light candles and resort to non-electronic means of amusement.
I also figured out why characters on TV shows do that thing where they carry their flashlights around shoulder level and hold them that funny way. You really do get a better placement of the light that way. I didn't even realize I was doing it at first, then when I did, I couldn't resist doing a sweep of my house that way (again, a reversion to childhood blackout fun). I am happy to report that I found no monsters or fugitives, and Stan the 80s Bachelor Airline Pilot Ghost made no appearance.
For those in the Dallas/Fort Worth area or interested in coming to the area this weekend, I'll be at FenCon. Here's an overview of my schedule:
Friday 4:00 PM
Caution: Contents may spoil (I'm moderating)
Description: "OMG, did you see 'Fringe' last night!?!?!?!" How long do we have to wait before we can speak openly about a TV show or book details? Don't make any more enemies than you have to - come to this panel to learn proper spoiler etiquette! (rosebud was the sleigh).
Friday 5:00 PM
C. S. Lewis (I'm moderating)
Description: From "Narnia" to "The Silent Planet", panelists will discuss C. S. Lewis and his ideas and impact.
Friday 6:00 PM
Is There A Dr. in the "House"?
Description: Gregory House is in as pros and fans discuss the hit medical drama. Who knew that complex medical cases could be this much fun? (This panel includes House writer/producer Doris Egan. I will try not to get nasty about how badly the show had gone downhill lately, and I will resist the urge to take her hostage and demand the removal of the new fellows, or even just that Thirteen chick.)
Saturday 11:00 AM
Description: "So there's this Troll, and he meets this guy, see?..." Creating believeable characters is tough. Writers have to do this well, and this group will discuss how they approach this challenge and create characters their readers will believe.
Saturday 1:00 PM
Living on TARDIS Time (I'm moderating)
Description: The Doctor is in! No, not House, the other one. With "Dr. Who" being more popular than ever, we wanted to have a big, all out Who panel where everybody could join in! (There is a significant chance of one of my patented panel giggle fits during this panel, fair warning!)
Saturday at 2 I'm doing a reading. I'm not sure yet what I'll read. I guess it depends on the audience and how much they've heard me do in the past.
Then Saturday at 3 I'm doing an autographing, otherwise known as sitting behind a table and looking pathetic for an hour.
Sunday at 11 a.m. I'm doing my Mythology and Psychology of Characterization workshop. This is a real workshop with handouts and everything, and incorporates a lot of the archetype stuff I've discussed here. There is limited space in this room.
Description: All things Joss! Buffy, Firefly, Dr. Horrible, you name it, we got it!
So, that's what I'll be doing this weekend! There's lots of other stuff that doesn't include me, like demos, other panels, some stellar guests of honor, space science stuff, music, costumes, etc., etc. And, for once, I may not have a conflict with the big radio play auditions, rehearsal or performance, so I may do that. And I'll spend a lot of time hanging out in the con suite. For more info on the con, visit http://www.fencon.org.
Now I just have to get ready and figure out what to wear.