November 5th, 2010

Goth marquise

What I did in America, part 2

Wednesday lunchtime I waved goodbye to B -- wah -- and set off for Ohio. There had been very high winds for several days (indeed, a tornado passed 20 miles south of B and J's house) and O'Hare was being understandably cautious with planes taking off and landing, so things were running a little late. (I don't hold this against AA, however, as they can't be expected to control the weather.) The flight down to Cincinnati was on a tiny plane operated by Chataqua (sp?) airlines, which bounced and shook its way south, much like our local rail stock. The marquis met me at the airport to take me back to his hotel in Milford to freshen up and thence to have dinner with A, a Cambridge friend who migrated to Ohio some years ago. I got to meet his wife and new son for the first time and to play with yet more delightful cats plus two very friendly dogs. I didn't get much sense of Cincinnati other than freeways and vast numbers of Very Tall Signs. And intersections (of varying heights). And I've now been to Kentucky, as the airport is there, due to geography.
The marquis had decided there wasn't time to put me on the car insurance at the airport, so on Thursday morning he had to drive us to Columbus.
Ohio appears to be very flat, with a lot of barns and occasional outbreaks of the ten commandments. The freeway, however, was providing amusement and hunting for a large number of really beautiful large hawks (one of which came to land on the central reservation briefly -- huge yellow eyes and gorgeous plumage) and they were lovely to watch as they circled. I meant to ask someone in Columbus about them, and forgot. Anyone on the f'list know what they may have been? The freeway was quiet compared to most British roads, and we had no trouble with either it or the last stage of getting from it to the hotel, where a very nice man parked the car for us.
The Hyatt Regency Columbus gets four gold stars and a cherry on top as a con venue. We got there at about 11.45 am and they let us check in right away: the room was comfortable, clean and had plentiful storage (and I got to unpack for the first time all trip, which was wonderful). Heading down to the con level, the first people we saw were the splendid Jetse de Vries and the equally splendid Jon Courtney Grimwood. Drinking beer. The marquis at once enquired about this -- last year's WFC hotel had a) lacked beer and b) been eye-wateringly expensive -- to be told that the prices were sane and there were good microbrews on tap. So we acquired some and they were, indeed, very good. Beer proving a lure, we settled in, with some bar food, to discuss such useful things as the health of M. Thatcher, the appearance of the ten commandments alongside freeways, and books. After a while, Nice Editor and Nice Editor 2 wandered by and said hi, and sounded like they didn't hate Grass King, which was reassuring. And they invited us to eat with them that night. Various other people also stopped by -- it was a very well-placed table -- including, I think, jpsorrow, pbray and their cohorts (who are very nice). And I waved at matociquala and stillsostrange. We also took a wander round the dealers' room and bought too many books, notably the new Violette Malan, on which I pounced with happy shrieks. (I'm currently reading it and it's wonderful.)
Dinner was interesting. On the plus side, msagara and her husband were there, and they are always wonderful company. And I got to meet Saladin Ahmed, of whom I am rather in awe, and chat to Nice Editor 2 and taste some more pleasant Oregon wine. On the minus side... there are glaciers with faster service. We arrived at 7.30 pm, but they failed to take our order for 45 minutes. I had to be back for a panel at 9 pm, which we told them. They promised to feed me swiftly. My food arrived at 8.50 -- I'd ordered a burger for speed -- so I gobbled part of it and took the rest with me to eat as I ran. I didn't get to eat my fries, but the marquis tells me Michelle did and that she said they were excellent. And I missed her rant on self-promotion, about which I'm sad, as I love Michelle and her rants.
The panel was Asian Horror: I was on time but the last to arrive, so they made me moderate. I turned out to be the only Hong Kong film geek on it, but I learnt a lot about Japanese film, and I think it went reasonably well. It was hard to tell, as I was very tired, but mr_earbrass and his friend Molly were in the audience and I got to chat to them afterwards, which was cool.
The marquis still wasn't back from the restaurant. I wandered once round the bar and went to bed (he got back at about 10.45. The food had been very nice, apparently). And that was Thursday.

Things Horus is NOT afraid of

In case anyone was wondering. No, fireworks going bang don't bother him in the slightest. He's in -- he's always in after dark, as that is the house rule -- and he's happily slept through all our neighbours' fireworks.
He's also not scared of magpies.