Week 7: Albuquerque

Locations: Albuquerque, NM; Mountain View, CA


Dates: 9/29/96-10/5/96

On Sunday, I worked on SWAPA during the day, then prepared to go to the Dar Williams concert at the Albuquerque Little Theater. For once, I figured out well in advance how to get there, got ready well in advance, and left the house in plenty of time. And then my car wouldn't start.

Fortunately, AAA sent someone out within 45 minutes; I was only about half an hour late to the show, and made it in time for the last two songs played by Richard Shindell, who opened. (I liked his voice, and his songs were fairly cool; I'd like to hear more of his.) AAA is a great organization; they've made my life immensely easier on at least half a dozen occasions in the past two years.

The concert itself was fun. Fewer new songs (since her Berkeley concert I saw last December or so) than I'd've liked, but all the song intros were new and interesting, and she was well worth listening to as always (and somewhat better live than recorded).

Also that evening, Rob returned from Japan.

On Monday, FrameMaker suddenly ate itself. The installation floppies are back in Mountain View, so I'll have to wait 'til I get back there to use it again. Sigh. Fortunately I hadn't yet switched from Word for all my work, just for the screenplay and SWAPA. My apps keep self-destructing; I think I'd better reinstall System 7.5 sometime soon.

Tuesday night I printed the final copy of my story (37 pages of double-spaced Courier, standard submission format) and mailed it off to Kris Rusch at The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction. It's been a year and a half since last time I sent a story out. Printing this one required replacing the ink cartridge in my printer, and then buying a ream of paper at Kinko's. But it's finally gone. I've added a thousand words to it since I came back to working on it a week ago, in addition to a large number of (minor but important) changes and deletions. Now if only I can keep the momentum up and get right to work on the next one.

But first I decided to reorganize my Web site, something I've been meaning to do since early August, and type up these pages of travelogue from notes I've taken in my journal. Which took most of two days. My mail still hadn't arrived, nine days after it was sent; I suspected it was just plain lost, which was a serious pain (esp. considering it contained two important bills. I don't even know what else was in it).

On Saturday I flew back to the Bay Area for a pair of high school reunions. I flew on Southwest Airlines; they have cheap fares btwn ABQ and San Jose, and I like their attitude. (The first time I called them, I asked if they'd be serving a meal on the plane. The person on the phone said, "We don't serve meals on our flights. You can bring along any food you want, but be sure to bring enough to share with everyone." That cracked me up and gained my customer loyalty immediately. I also like the casual-dress flight attendants and the PA-system jokes; I'm sure many of said jokes are scripted, but I fly rarely enough that I almost never hear repeats.) Worked on a story revision on the plane, using old-fashioned pen-and-paper technology. On arrival, rented a car from National; the guy at the National office in Boston was once very nice to me, which made me a loyal customer, but I may reconsider after this experience; I didn't know their rental place was a ten-minute shuttle ride away from the airport. Still, not too bad over all.

Arrived at the Betlo place to find it transformed; Gerry had done a major cleanup of the place. Those who've seen my room know what a disaster area it was; you'd be impressed with what Gerry's done. I spent the afternoon with Chris T.; among other things, we stopped by the new Borders in Palo Alto, in what used to be the New Varsity. I have to admit I'm still impressed with the range of selection Borders can provide, but I still think book superstores are evil (well, okay, at least not good), and I sure hope this doesn't cause Palo Alto's great independent bookstores to go out of business.

That evening, went to the reunion. A description of which more properly should go with the following day's reunion, so I'm putting it in the writeup for next week.

Movies, Books, etc.

Huon of the Horn, Andre Norton
Adaptation of old story reads more like a long fairy-tale, with concomitant odd lapses in story logic, than a novel, but kinda interesting.
More strong performances depicting people I don't like. Leigh's a great actor, but I wish she'd pick less self-destructive roles.
The Big Easy
Pretty good, and not as predictable as I thought. I wish Quaid's character weren't quite so pushy, though.
Forrest Gump
Much better than I expected. Funny, sometimes charming, even moving in one or two places; the special effects are the least effective parts of the movie.
Get Shorty (for the second time)
Almost as much fun on second viewing. Charming, funny, doesn't waste any time trying to justify plot points.
Unstrung Heroes
Fabulous movie: very funny, and very sad. Quirky, but not enough so to be offputting.

(Last updated: 10 October 1996.)

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