April 6th, 2009

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Writer's Block: Trip Down Memory Lane

What's the best vacation you've ever taken?
In August 1998 I went to London, England for the "Babylon 5 Wrap Party" convention, and enjoyed the city when not attending convention events.

When I got to my hotel room, I turned on the TV and it was showing a comedy performance from the 1997 Just For Laughs festival in Montreal.  It was the second time I saw it.  The first time was in person, in the audience, having gone to that same festival, which was the second best vacation I'd ever taken.

I saw the zoo, the parks, the Palace, 221-B Baker Street (or where it should have been), etc., but was a year too early for the ferris wheel and other bimillennial attractions.

One night I found myself at the center of a bomb scare, literally.  I was taking a photo of the Horses of Helios statue in Picadilly Circus, and when I lowered the camera, I was at the center of a large taped off area, by myself, and people crowded on the other side of the tape.  For some reason, the police didn't notice me standing there in plain sight when they taped me off, or when I crossed the area to get to the other side.  Mounted police were moving in, and unmounted police were pushing people farther away from the area I'd just vacated.  I asked one cop how far back we should go, and he said, "That depends on how much you want to live."  I went as far back as Garfunkle's and ate dinner there.  My server told me how bomb scares are a regular occurance, and businesses all have cards of questions to ask bombers when they phone in their threats.  I looked for mention of the scare in the news, but there wasn't any.  I guess that's how common they are there.

At the convention, I met J.M. Straczynski, saw Terry Pratchett and Anne McCaffrey, talked awhile with James White and made sure he got to bed safely, and I was forced to eat black pudding by Harlan Ellison in his pajamas.

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Writer's Block: In a Jam

If you were in trouble or ran afoul of the law, which fictional detective or investigator—from tv, movies, or books—would you want to help you?
None of them.  I'd be having enough troubles with the law without adding psychiatric evaluations to them.  "Don't worry sir, we have a nice clean white room for you to wait for Mr. Monk in.  He should like it."