Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Wanted: One TARDIS

I made it back from ArmadilloCon yesterday afternoon, and I'm still kind of zombie-like, in spite of staying the extra day to get some rest before making that drive and in spite of taking it easy yesterday after I got home. Today, the house seems strangely quiet. I guess I was so used to being surrounded by noise most of the weekend.

In spite of the lingering exhaustion, I had a great weekend that served two purposes for me. It was part vacation, part work. I got the benefits of staying in a nice hotel (and they even upgraded my room, so I had a nice, big room with plenty of floor space and a sofa) with actual time to spend in my room, enjoying it, and I used some of the hotel facilities. And then there was the convention going on.

The trip down turned out to be interesting, and rather longer than I'd planned. I like driving the back roads, with the back roads being US highways instead of the Interstate freeway. I was going along about an hour and a half into the trip, thinking about how smoothly things had gone so far, when everything came to a stop. As far as I could see, traffic was at a total standstill, and after several minutes sitting there, we hadn't even inched forward. I got out my handy highway map and plotted out an alternate route using the real back roads -- the farm-to-market roads -- then when the oncoming traffic cleared, I pulled out (fortunately, I'd left space between my car and the car ahead), did a U-turn, went back to the turn I needed, and then took an extremely alternate route. I'm assuming there was some kind of wreck, since I passed several police cars with lights flashing heading there when I was heading back to my alternate route and since when I came that way on the return trip, there was no sign of construction in that area. It turned out to be a very fun route to drive. There are these huge limestone ridges that cross the land in that region, almost like mini mountains, but long and thin and almost flat on top. The main road climbs them to some extent, but then is blasted through on top. The back roads wind around them, so it's really fun driving with a stick shift, with S-curves and hills. Those roads also went through some cute little towns that seemed to have been forgotten by time. When I finally came out onto another main road, it was almost disappointing, like leaving Narnia for the real world. On the down side, my detour added about 45 minutes to an already long trip (though there's no telling how long I would have sat there if I hadn't made the detour).

I availed myself of the hotel swimming pool to unwind from the trip, then had dinner, went to the opening ceremonies, then had a Phineas and Ferb viewing party with friends (the episode had the kids going to a science fiction convention, so viewing was mandatory). After my 10 p.m. panel, I went to the ApolloCon party and stayed there until 1 in the morning, which is very unusual for me. I woke oddly early Saturday morning, so I took a walk on the hill around the hotel (it was refreshingly cool), then since I didn't have programming until later in the day, I just hung out in my room before doing a little shopping at the adjacent shopping center and then having lunch with an editor friend who is also a member of the Curly Mafia (Frito Pie in the con suite -- a real publishing power lunch). After my afternoon programming, it was time for the hotel hot tub, then helping set up for an evening party, hanging out with friends and more partying until 1 in the morning (though as that hour approached, "partying" consisted of sitting around, drinking water and talking about how we're too old to stay up this late too often). Sunday was my big "work" day, and then after a little more hanging out with friends, I hit my room and completely crashed. My panel discussions included talks on alternate history, dealing with editors and agents, and mythology in fantasy, and as usual, a lot of interesting points were made. I attended panels on "what you should have read/should read" and steampunk as a lifestyle vs. literary movement, though I had to leave that one early to get ready for a panel I was moderating (and to thaw because that room was freezing).The drive home was uneventful on Monday, but I was still tired. I did the kind of stuff I said I wanted to do when staying in a nice hotel, and I think I would have been bored with much more room time, but I don't think I'm going to feel relaxed and refreshed after a vacation that involves travel until I get my own TARDIS.

Now, though, I'm back to "normal" and ready to get back to work on the new project.

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