May 1st, 2007
|11:28 am - LA Times Festival of Books|
Friday afternoon, right after work, relsqui and I hopped in the runabout and drove down. It was its first journey. Unfortunately, owing to its small tank, it requires a stop on the way. But that kinda works out -- relsqui usually requires two stops on the way 8)
Got down there late, spent a little bit trying to find my parents -- they'd gone out with my sister. We ended up visiting a restaurant we haven't been to in forever -- The Pizza Cookery. My parents stopped going there a while ago because the owner is Republican, though we'd gone there for the five years prior. It's not unlike a pizza place we used to know and love called Mike's Pizza -- especially the rolls. They were pretty crowded and it took a while for us to get seated, but it seemed like they're still doing well and that made me happy. I don't know what I'd do if I couldn't get those garlic rolls 8)
Got to my parents's home and zonked after a long chat with my dad. He's getting a little older and isn't getting out as much as he ought to, but he's still sharp and we have good conversations. It's particularly good for him -- he's mentioned a couple of times that he's pleased that we've grown from little children into free-thinking automatons with our own personalities and so on. Mom's just happy that I manage to pay my bills and come home every so often to fix her computer.
We shorted ourselves on sleep slightly as a result for both Friday and Saturday evening. Not a real big deal for me, but relsqui was pretty tired.
The festival takes place on the UCLA campus. Things start in earnest around 10am or so and if you want to get tickets for the panels that day, you'd better expect to be there at ~9am. We got there and, despite an awfully long line, managed to get the tickets we wanted (A conversation with Paul Conrad, a panel with Susan and Jared Diamond, and Ray Bradbury).
Walking around was tiring as one might expect. We managed to cover everything I think and caught up with a few people we hadn't seen since last year. The mother and son who handle Don't Eat Any Bugs Productions and got the latest YARG! graphic novel -- autographed and everything.
Frederic Arnold didn't show this year -- I met him a number of years ago at the Van Nuys Air Show. I still have an autographed copy of his book and a postcard with a picture of a P-38 on it from that trip. It's a very pretty plane and was one of my favorites when I was still very much into aircraft. I chatted with him a bit and he seems to be doing well from his site.
Hi De Ho from Santa Monica was there again -- my favorite comic store from when I lived down there. There used to be a science fiction & fantasy bookstore right next door called Flights of Fantasy, but they went out of business around seven or eight years ago. It reminds me every year that there's lots of good comics and graphic novels that I've long since missed out on and that I haven't found a good store around my area. Most of the money spent was probably spent there -- the first book of Strangers in Paradise, The Adventures of Sock Monkey, Watchmen, the first book of Preacher, and the first two of Fables were among the things I bought.
The Scientologists were there again, but wearing sunglasses. I nearly overlooked them because of that.
We missed out on getting signed books from Ray Bradbury again this year. I thought the signing was going to be after his talk. I was incorrect. I intended to get a copy of Farewell, Summer for a friend and relsqui's Zen and the Art of Writing. I've decided to drive down for the next possible opportunity. He looked better this year than he has in the past, but he's pretty darn old.
His talk -- as always -- was wonderful. I bought a copy of it and I'll put an MP3 up when I can. It is *required* listening for all of you. Ray, alone, has been the primary reason I've been willing to do everything in my power to go to the event. The talk hasn't changed much over the years, but the way he delivers it is truly moving.
We only got in on one of the crosswords this year -- they have a number of them on whiteboards around the festival with volunteers and markers. I taught a bunch of people that "Sahib" is not pronounced saw-heeb, but sahb.
On Sunday morning, we went to a very funny panel with Wiley Miller, Stephen Pastis, Bill Amend, and Elaine Boosler. At one point, she was reading biographical notes and said that Stephen Pastis had won "a MILLION awards" to which I yelled out "A million and one! A million and one!". A little later, she said he had put out "a MILLION books" which prompted a second outburst of "A million and two!" From then on, she incremented accordingly which was amusing.
The rest of the day spent seeing the booths we hadn't seen on Saturday -- including a "Visit Alberta" booth which seemed to have "Take a picture with a REAL Canadian" as the theme. I also took advantage of a couple of booths to get a free copy of the Qu'ran and the Bible. I realized last week that I don't have a copy of either handy as references. The versions of both are suspect, but it's hard to beat the price.
Zipped out of town Sunday at around 8 or so. Got home, gave stonesundial a couple of presents in thanks for kitten kare, and taught her a bit about her car's engine and oil. relsqui stayed up a bit longer. I zonked out -- I had to get up for work after all. 8)