(This page last modified 10 October 1996.)

Wanderjahr: Week 2

Locations: Manhattan Beach; Los Angeles; Santa Monica; San Bernardino; Anaheim; Long Beach
Dates: 8/25/96 - 8/31/96

Sunday morning, I went to the gym with Joaquin. I've never been to a gym before; have always been too embarrassed about general lack of physical ability. It turned out to be a lot of fun, though I suspect that had a lot to do with Joaquin being willing to explain everything and being completely non-judgmental. He's very physically active -- runs in marathons and such -- so there was no question of competition; so he could be enthusiastic about my being willing to try at all, without it ringing false.

On Monday, I hung out with James & Nova, whom I had previously only conversed with via email. We walked along the Santa Monica Promenade (which quickly became one of my favorite places in the LA area -- better than a mall because outdoors, way cool topiary dinosaurs), then out along the pier; played video games (including Propcycle, from Namco, the coolest video game I've seen in years); eventually went to dinner. Occasional awkard gaps in conversation, but I think that's always true on first meeting someone in RL whom you've only talked to in email before.

Spent a couple of days hanging around Manhattan Beach. Got photos developed -- my second roll of film in the first camera I've ever owned. Pix came out surprisingly well, considering. Sent a couple of postcards, though it seemed odd to do so considering that the trip was barely begun. Worked on a 'zine for SWAPA, noting that the September issue marked my tenth anniversary of continuous membership.

On Wednesday, I did laundry, packed up my car again, and drove to San Bernardino to see Ananda and Sam. Spent ensuing days gaming, mostly. Saw my first episodes of Man from UNCLE and Kung Fu: The Legend Continues; both fun if not taken too seriously.

When Saturday rolled around, I drove off to Anaheim to attend a day of Worldcon, the big annual science fiction convention. I've been sadly out of touch with the sf world for the past year or two, and didn't even realize that Worldcon was in LA this year until early August. Eventually decided to attend one day of it, so as not to take away time from seeing friends. As it turned out, one day was almost too much. I've been attending conventions since 1977, but I'm no longer really part of fannish culture. I find that I'm tired of panel discussions; the special-effects program items were too packed (and the projection screen too dark) to be worth seeing; the dealers' room was just like every other dealers' room I've ever been in (and most of the booksellers had never even heard of the one book I really wanted to find, Spinrad's Science Fiction in the Real World); the art show was nice but also just like all the others; and there was no filking going on during the day. I should learn a lesson from this, I guess. Worldcon '89, in Boston, was the most fun I've ever had at a convention; it's been downhill ever since. I like late-night filking sessions, but there are cheaper places to sing. Other than that, the main reason to go is to see friends; unfortunately, I've never known many fans, I'm not good at meeting new people, and I'm not established enough to hobnob with the pros unless in the company of the few pros I already know. Half of whom don't go to conventions. So I think it's time for me to stop attending conventions until I've got a few more published stories under my belt.

The high point of the con, in fact, was dinner with Thida. After which we ran into two of the few other people I knew there, Emma Bull and Will Shetterly. After that it was time for me to get going, so I missed the costume contest, the evening's filking, and (as it turned out) a Clarion dinner of some sort. Ah, well.

So I continued to Long Beach, where I spent the evening hanging out with KaeSa. I stayed on her couch that night, and we met Chris B for brunch on Sunday.


Movies, Books, etc.

The American President
Utterly charming, quite funny. Would love to see it on a big screen.
From Dusk Till Dawn
Utterly dreadful. Skip it unless you like B-grade horror flicks.
Sleepless in Seattle
Not bad, some v. nice moments, but not great.

Jed Hartman <logos@kith.org>