Discolor Online

Weblog of the sweetest person you never want to piss off.


California Travel

Pramas already posted about anything interesting that has happened at ALA so I'll direct people over there for a run down of who we've seen and what the show has been like so far.

When I booked our travel for ALA we made the commitment to attend rather late in the process so hotels around the convention center itself were all booked up. I decided to go with a hotel a little further away (but still a straight shot down Harbor Blvd) and take advantage of the free shuttle they were offering to the convention center and Disney. So, the Wyndham Anaheim it was.

We arrived at the hotel around 11am after a pretty expensive cab ride from the Long Beach airport. I'd hoped we would be able to check in and drop our stuff, get organized and then head over to the convention center but we were told there were no clean rooms. No problem, we were pretty early for their 3pm check-in time. We were told to check in with them after noon, but since we had to get over to the convention center for set-up, we decided not to hang around. This is when we discovered that the shuttle ran once every two hours to Disney. We checked our luggage, and then decided to have lunch and grab the 12:00 shuttle.

In the dining room we were seated and then sat for several minutes while three different members of the staff congregated, studiously ignoring us, moving empty chairs around and talking amongst themselves. It got to the point that I was worried we might not actually be able to have lunch before the noon shuttle left! We did eventually get some service but we waited way too long and the food was really just not very good. Chris's breakfast plate was particularly bad, with bacon that seemed like it had been salvaged from the buffet service. Blech.

After set-up and a bunch of dinking around trying to get a rental car (because the shuttle didn't start running until 10am and we had to be at the convention center before the 9am opening every day!) we returned to the hotel after 4:00 to find that our room STILL wasn't ready. Not only that, but the luggage room was standing wide open and Chris was able to just walk in and take our bags out. I'd been lugging my laptop around all day because I don't like to leave it as checked luggage with hotels and this experience certainly reinforced my tendency. Anyone could have walked off with our luggage if they'd so desired and the staff wouldn't have noticed or cared.

The room itself is fine now that we're in it, but we're avoiding the hotel restaurant and asking nothing of the staff. Dining has, in fact, been the toughest part of the trip so far. The best breakfast I've had has been a McDonald's chicken biscuit and sugar-free iced vanilla latte. Dinner at Roscoe's Deli in Fullerton was just sandwiches but they were certainly good enough. Table Ten's grocery store cheese plate (selection of cheddar cheese, some supermarket brie--served icy cold, and blue cheese drizzled with honey for some god awful reason) was cute in a "Hey we've heard about cheese plates" kind of way. This has definitely not been a high-class dining adventure kind of trip.

Still, the main purpose is to show our wares to interested librarians, and for that, the trip succeeds.



Off to ALA

Heading out to Cali. Green Ronin is kickin' it bi-coastal, as we do.

Of course, Sammy the Softest Bunny in the World picked the day before our trip to get sick and an unplanned vet visit had to be squeezed in yesterday. Poor little guy has a mass in his tummy and the sniffles. It was actually pretty scary to see him with a running nose and hear him with gurgling, congested breathing! Rabbits, being the delicate creatures that they are, don't show they're sick until they're pretty sick and then they're distressingly fragile. Got him taken care of and made the decision to send him up to Canada with Kate for the week so she can take care of him, giving medicine and watching his behavior. $155 of bunny medicine later, I hope he'll be on the mend by the time we get back. Poor Bonnie is a little freaked out, all alone in the bunny pen. They'll be reunited soon.

Meanwhile, the guys are at Origins (where we hope to win in the Origins Awards) and we're out to ALA.

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Monday Recap

Monday at ALA was about equivalent to Sunday at Origins: deadsville in the exhibit hall for a good part of the day. Luckily for me, Michelle had agreed to come help me out the last day of the show so I didn't have to sit there by myself for the whole day. Having someone to talk to made the time go a lot faster and the booth breakdown was easy. We donate all of our remaining samples to the library association and once I sweet talked a couple of GES guys into grabbing me a pallet I was able to get the whole thing done in maybe 15 minutes.

About 20 feet from the door of the building, I spied a guy who looked familiar. "That looks like JB," I said to myself. "That *really* looks like JB... Hey, waitaminute, JB is a LIBRARIAN. That IS JB!" He was working on a laptop in the building lobby and I hesitated a few minutes before going over to him. I haven't seen JB in person in at least 10 years and I wasn't entirely sure how I would be received. I decided to go for it and walked up to the table.

"Yes?" he responded curiously, no recognition in his eyes.
I paused, waiting to see if he would recognize me. Nothing, nothing...
"It's Nicole," I said.
A brief look of confusion as he tried to make the connection, then, completely boggled, his mouth dropped open. "Oh my god!" He hugged me and we sat down to do some catching up.

JB was a college friend of Lisa and Jonathan, a St. Olaf alum who I met after he'd been away getting his MA in History at Champaign-Urbana. He'd just returned to St. Olaf where he'd gotten a job in the library and had gotten himself sucked into helping out at Lion Rampant. When the company moved to Georgia, John pulled up stakes, quit the best job he'd ever had and moved, too. He was supposed to become the Ars Magica line editor and history guy, but he couldn't come right away with everyone else and in the couple of months that elapsed the plan had already begun to fall apart. By the time he got to Atlanta, he was told that he was going to have to get another job because the money we'd thought was going to be part of the plan of the move hadn't materialized. John got a job as a night clerk in a hotel for a while, then got a job at the Emory University library, a path that eventually led to becoming a fully fledged librarian. John was a great guy who was poorly treated by the Lion Rampant experience. I was in love with him at the time but the stress of the situation resulted in a painful, jagged break-up. When I left Atlanta and went running home to Minnesota, I left everything behind, including John. I've long regretted the additional pain I caused him in addition to the broken friendships and disappointments that the rest of Lion Rampant had layered on him.

It was wonderful, if a bit surreal, to catch up with him. His family is all doing well and just about exactly as I would have expected (the yuppie siblings are still yuppies, the rebel sibling is still a rebel, his parents are powering along through old age and continuing to do all the things they've always done). He's happily married, with three step-kids (one of whom is about the age I was when we were together in Atlanta) and is successful in his job, which is no surprise to me at all since he was always diligent and capable in his work. He's living in California. He hasn't had much contact with the other folks I knew in Georgia, though he did drop a couple of names from our old game group that I had forgotten. I caught him up on what I knew of the goings on of the various old LR crew: marriages and divorces, children (and rabbits), various game industry business decisions, who'd become millionaires, who had proven themselves to be manipulative ego-maniacal back-stabbers whom I will never forgive and no longer associate, and so on. We passed an hour easily. Unfortunately, I couldn't linger after that because I had to go home, get Kate, and get back downtown in time for a dinner with some other colleagues. Great surprise to see JB and wonderful to catch up and see him relaxed in his life and comfortable and centered in himself. I smiled about that all the way home.

Dinner last night was at The Pink Door and involved a roasted beet and arugula salad and wild boar risotto, but I refrained from taking pictures since it was a dinner meeting with business associates. Suffice to say it was excellent and a good time was had by all.

I'm looking forward to being home tonight and not wandering around downtown until all hours. The weekend was long and busy and I'm still pretty exhausted by it all.

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Oh crap

Yesterday I was vaguely dizzy all say. I get that sometimes with sinus pressure or other things affecting my inner ear. It's not falling down, room spinning dizzy, just a sense of being slightly off-kilter. I hate the sensation but it's not debilitating.

This morning I awoke both with the dizziness AND with one of my headaches, though, and that's much worse. Because of course I'm up against the wall and intensely busy. The ALA Midwinter meeting begins tonight and I have to go down to the convention center where I will, by myself, be setting up Green Ronin's booth, hauling boxes of product and all the manual physical labor that goes into getting ready for a show. Then, I don't even get to hang around and enjoy the opening ceremonies and reception because I have to spend several hours in the car driving Kate to her dad's for the weekend.

I need to take something for this headache but I also need to eat something first and I can't even face getting up to eat something. I have no idea how I'm going to face getting down to the convention center and all that awaits me there.

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