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Foolscap I

I've always thought a hotel ought to offer optional small animals.... I mean a cat to sleep on your bed at night, or a dog of some kind to act pleased when you come in. You ever notice how a hotel room feels so lifeless?
-- Anne Tyler

Friday, June 11, 1999
One year ago: Preview
Two years ago: A Tool-Using Animal

We finally made some progress on all these blocking issues at work, so I was actually able to get something accomplished today. It does mean re-doing some things, but I hope the worst is behind us.

* * * * * * * *

The exact procedure for the weekend hadn't quite been settled. It had seemed possible that Jack would come down from Bellingham early enough that we could drive to the Foolscap science fiction convention together, but in the event, he had a lot of things to take care of during the evening. I needed to get to the hotel by six pm so the reservation I'd made last night would be honored.

The traffic just crawled along, of course, and it was really quite warm. Summer weather is finally here! I managed to get to the hotel, in the Southcenter neighborhood, about fifteen minutes before the deadline. Unfortunately, they had no record of me, nor of the confirmation number I'd written down so carefully. Rats! So the young woman started digging through the available rooms to find something suitable. Complicating our situation: Jack's daughter H--- would be with us (for both nights, I thought). That's why I'd reserved a suite!

Finally the hotel worker came back with an offer: a regular room for tonight, at a discount, and a suite tomorrow night, also at a discount. I said yes to this, happy that we'd have a place to sleep!

* * * * * * * *

I picked up my badge, then took my stuff up to the room. Down in the lobby, I met up with Kate Yule and David Levine, Amy Thomson, and Tom Whitmore, who were all going to go for dinner. There was a detailed map of most of the eating establishments on the back of our one-sheet pocket program, but the short reviews of each place were in the main program book, and those books hadn't shown up at the hotel yet! Kate wanted to go look at the Japanese-sounding name, so we drove off in her and David's car.

The Japanese-sounding place (the name was Miyahi, not Miyabi) turned out to be in the strip mall next to the Toys R Us, directly next to the Half-Price books. Said strip mall was undergoing a cosmetic renovation, adding more slope and importance to the roof, so each establishment could only be approached by going through a plywood chute. I was reminded of the abbatoirs designed by that woman descriped in "An Anthropologist on Mars," but maybe a more mundane comparison would be the jetways that take you to your plane.

It was a good thing that we got there on the early side! The place just got busier and busier during the time we were there. We had a very good dinner. I found out what a Bomb Tuna roll was -- it's tuna sushi with a very spicy spread inside it. It wasn't too hot for me, though. My main dish was pork cutlet with Japanese-style curry sauce and rice, which seemed like Japanese comfort food. The rest of the group is much more sushi-savvy than I am, and they were pleased and impressed with what we all ate. I'd go back there again!

We visited the bookstore next door while Kate and David had the moshi green tea ice cream. I did find something to buy there: a book on Gertrude Jekyll's house, Munstead Wood I've always liked that extremely energetic Englishwoman ever since Henry "Earthman" Mitchell introduced her to me.

* * * * * * * *

We got back too late for the opening ceremonies, but I did take a tour through the art show and dealers room. The first programming item was a slide show presented by Paul Chadwick, the graphics guest of honor. This wasn't a collection of his work, but of artists and illustrators that he's been inspired by. I'd never hear of Jose Segrelles Albert, the Spanish illustrator, but I really liked his wild style. "Lose the edges!" was the motto that Chadwick said he'd learned from studying this man. He pointed out to us how what seemed realistic certainly wasn't photo-realistic, with the edges of certain objects just blurring away.

I asked if there were any coffee-table books on Segrelles. There is one -- it goes for seven hundred dollars a copy! So no wonder I'd not heard of him. He's an artist's artist, which may mean that he must be obscure, by definition.

I think that golden age of Illustration, from the late 1800s to the 1930s or so, went away because movies became more spectacular, bigger and in color. The intensity and beauty of those pictures, published in the illustrated weeklies and in books, filled the need for visual stimulation then.

* * * * * * * *

I decided to wait in the lobby for Jack. It really was a fairly nice hotel, with seating in the lobby -- I've been in con hotels that didn't have this, and as a result, you can never find anyone! He showed up around ten o'clock, pretty tired. He'd been trying to get things organized so that he can take care of his VW dune buggy, still parked at his old place in Redmond. He'd stopped at Costco, bought an "assemble-it-yourself" trailer, assembled it right in the parking lot, and taken it back to where the car was! So he was pretty tired when he showed up.

I was suprised that H---, his 12-year-old daughter, wasn't with him, but he wasn't going to go pick her up in Olympia until Saturday morning. I was so happy to see him! We visited in the hospitality suite for a while, then went to bed.

After midnight, I reminded Jack that June 12 was the year anniversary of the day we first met face-to-face! He'd known it was soon, but hadn't had a chance to go looking at my archives to find the exact date. I think that was a fortunate day for both of us.


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