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Journal of No. 118


April 24th, 2004

A fine day @ 09:40 pm

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I started off by mowing the lawn. At least when Miskatonic U descends on us next weekend, there won't be a complete wilderness. I also experienced a liberating freedom associated with home ownership. As I mowed, there's one tree where I had to practically do the limbo to keep operating the mower in a straight line. Then it dawns on me... this is a tree that I own. It is on my property. I can sever its limbs with impunity. So I get out the big-ass mechanical-advantage-up-the-wazoo clippers and take off the lowest branches. Take that, Mother Nature!
In the meantime, Rebecca had taken the obligatory trip to Home Depot for more readymade stucco to patch some pieces here and there along the foundation.
Later, we took a trip to hit Andersons Garden Supply for diatomaceous earth to wreak havoc on our chitinous enemies. Apparently, spreading diatomaceous earth is like spreading caltrops on the insect scale. The little diatoms stick in the bodies of earwigs and ants and other chitonous beasties, and their precious bodily fluids evaporate out of the holes, killing them. So Rebecca spread it out in various places, in revenge for the lobelias, which she planted and have since been eaten down to moribund stems.
While Rebecca did most of that, I jetted off to the Festival of Books at UCLA. I spend most of my time in line. First, to get Ray Bradbury to sign my first edition of Dark Carnival. Later, to get William Gibson's John Hancock. I also saw William Nolan (at Paul Kennedy's booth, as usual), Alice Walker, and Karen Hughes (W's erstwhile speechwriter)
It was funny waiting in line for Bradbury. Apart from meeting therrin, I halfheartedly participated in the conversation going on behind me among some hardcore fen. They were chatting with a ten year old kid, and were coming off not too geekily. One of them pulled out his first editions of 451 and the Martian Chronicles, to oohs and ahs of the people around. But when I got up to the head of the line, and produced my 1st edition of Bradbury's first book, the geeks submitted to my mastery.
Ray himself said "Whoa" when he got a gander at it. I thanked him for his really selfless dedication to coming to events like the Festival of Books (I think he has been there every year) in addition to countless other appearances around the Southland. The man's 83 years old, but he scheduled not only a talk at UCLA, but two full hours of signing after the talk. How many 30 year old authors would give that much time? Damn few.
Ray Harryhausen was also signing at Vagabond Books' booth, and I shook his hand, but I didn't have anything of his to sign, sadly.
I'm thinking of going back tomorrow to get Neal Stephenson's autograph. I think it may be a moral imperative. I intend to check my sunburn level and decide tomorrow.
Afterwards, I got William Gibson to sign a few things. Mosty for Rebecca, since I'm not that big a Gibson fan. Since others have praised his most recent book _Pattern Recognition_ I picked that up, but otherwise got a coupe paperbacks signed for Becca. Had a nice chat with a couple people in line for autographs. One, a lady of seniority, who wanted to shake up her neighbors in the 55+ community where she lived with some science fiction reading. I suggested _Canticle for Liebowitz_. Post-Whoops fiction may be out of vogue, but I think that book is wonderful, and it doesn't really posit anything beyond the world we know, apart from nuclear catastrophe. And it draws on wonderful historical parallels with the Dark Ages that might inspire people born in the 7th century. Oops, they're probably not that old.
I picked up some kettle corn for Becca, and then left the Festival... once again, tens of thousands of people must have been there. I swung by a grocery store for some necessaries: charcoal and margarita mix, and then slowly crawled along the 10 until I could escape home.
Once there, Rebecca and I lighted up our bitty grill in the backyard... the first BBQ of the year. While we toasted ourselves with margaritas, we toasted some bread for bruschetta, and then sizzled some sausage. By the end, we were in full on German mode: Wurst, Brot und Bier.
After a little food, we watched the Dinner Game, which was definitely amusing, especially after a couple margaritas and a couple beers.
Now, I'm typing all this out as I sip Irish Whiskey. I need to send out Miskatonic University stuff, but that can wait until tomorrow, but the lure of irritating Toren by destroying more vegetation will be hard to resist. Oh, and the stupid tutoring site, too.
Nonetheless, a fine day.
 
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From:superflysister
Date:April 25th, 2004 01:41 am (UTC)
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You shoulda heard Bradbury speak! He is quite the comedian. Ray Harryhausen was there too, in consversation with Bradbury for a while. That's cool you got an autograph.

Journal of No. 118