Thursday, August 18, 2011

First, I must apologize for attributing the play Same Time Next Year to Neil Simon in my previous blog entry. Someone kindly pointed out to me that the author is in fact Bernard Slade. It's this kind of thing that makes one doubt everything one knows--I was so sure it was Neil Simon that I would have bet money on it.


A little late, I know, I know, but I've been busy...

So my friends and I left the Con that first evening and went to our usual dining hole, Dick's Last Resort, where they throw things at you and make you wear embarrassing paper hats. Then we headed back to our motel for a swim in the possibly-toxic but delightful little pool.

Next morning, Thursday, I got up at 5 am and caught a bus down to the docks at Shelter Island, where I bought a ticket on one of the half-day fishing boats leaving at 6:30. I did this the last time I was in San Diego too, and it was such a nice (and fairly cheap) experience that I swore to do it again. And I'm glad I did--there's nothing better than having a leisurely breakfast of bacon and eggs as the boat loads up on live bait (amid gulls, pelicans, and yelping sea lions), then chugs out of the harbor to the fishing grounds. One of the interesting things this time was that we passed a nuclear submarine entering the harbor, protected by little inflatable patrol boats with big machine-guns.

Another interesting thing was that there was a party of Amish tourists on my boat. I mean really Amish, wearing the full getup. I never knew the Amish went on vacation! One of them even won the pot for the biggest fish. I know, because I had the second biggest fish--damn it! Of course I had to give all my fish away, as usual, since I had no place to keep them. Maybe next time I'll get a motel room with a kitchenette, and make fish tacos.

The pleasant cruise ended and I returned to the motel for a quick shower and swim, then another afternoon wandering the jammed aisles of the Con.

The next day, Friday, I was a little nervous because that afternoon I would have to sit on a panel and talk about "Apocalyptic Fiction." The last panel I was on at Comic-Con was weirdly hostile, with me being the sole defender of "fast zombies" against the likes of Max Brooks and Seth Graeme-Smith. And I don't even care if zombies are fast or slow! How is this even an issue? Anyway, so I was slightly nervous, but the panel went fine. In fact, it was a lot of fun, because it wasn't just zombie authors, but a whole range of post-apocalyptic concepts, including Robopocalypse. It was a big turnout, my buddies Dave and Chris were in the audience to lend moral support, I babbled at length about my books, and afterward I had a chance to chat with the other authors during the book-signing--they were all really nice. Then Chris and I went to the Penguin cocktail party, where we mingled with the hoi polloi and scarfed down free snacks. Amber Benson was there! I was on a panel with Amber a couple of years back, so it was nice to see her again. I'm sure she has no idea who I am.

Saturday was kind of a blur. I think we went to see Captain America, but I had jet lag and slept through most of it. Later at the Con I met the actor Billy Zane and told him I thought he should play the Toecutter in a remake of Mad Max. He was polite in the way that one is when talking to dangerous lunatics.

Finally it was Sunday. I packed my things and took the trolley as close to the airport as it would go, then hiked the rest of the way. It was a beautiful day for a walk. I stopped at Jack-In-The-Box for lunch--the first time I had eaten there since I lived in California thirty years ago. It was exactly the same as I remembered. Then I got on the plane back to Providence.