Once you have a kid, selecting a place to eat requires factoring in considerations other than quality, cost, and distance. Locating kid-friendly restaurants becomes a constant, background, priority. For those of us who enjoy beer and brewpubs, this search demands even greater focus. One approaches a new prospect with both hope and trepidation.
My weekend was eventful. How was yours?
OryCon returned to (almost) its former site for the 39th installment of the convention. The Red Lion on the Columbia River was home to the first several OryCons I attended, beginning back in the late ‘80s. The Red Lion owned two hotels, bracketing I-5 with views of the bridge. The west side hotel hosted those early events. This year the convention returned from many years deep in the heart of Portland to this border hotel, facing across the river into enemy territory: Washington State.
The leaves are dropping, exposing the bare wooden scaffolding of the trees. The rain is either a constant or an intermittent irritant. Moments of warmth are welcome rarities. Yes, the dismal season is upon us until Spring comes to our relief.
And so, we party. There’s a reason we call it the holiday season. Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s Eve in rapid sequence. Why? Because the days are short, gray, and miserable and remind us of our mortality. When faced with thoughts of death what do we do? We gather up our friends and family and we eat and drink, deliberately focusing on the positives. Each beer, each glass of wassail is a middle finger to the skeletal fellow with the black cloak and sickle.
It never rains at Autzen Stadium. At least, it didn’t last night.
The drive down I-5 to Eugene, Oregon suffered from the typical bottlenecks that develop when both the University of Oregon and Oregon State University host home football games on the same day. Occasional squalls and heavy, lowering cloud banks hinted that the night’s game would be a wet one.
Imagine, if you will, a drum roll. Or a trumpet fanfare if that’s your preference. Got it? Great. Here comes the big reveal. It’s the cover for Thick As Thieves.
What a weekend. I’m writing from a hotel lobby in Los Angeles. I mentioned before that a creative organization was flying me down to LA to participate in a writer’s workshop. Well, that’s done. Now I can recap the weekend while waiting for my ride to the airport.
The flight down was fine. Enjoyable even. Shuttle van hell proved less joyful. Let’s just say the trip from airport to hotel required two hours. And let’s never speak of it again.
LA is warm. Did you know that? The blocks are too long and they radiate and magnify the heat. But the tacos are good. Thank you, Daniel, for the tour. Beverly Hills, Rodeo Drive. Done and done. I’d come back for the tacos at Grand Central Market. The rest is fine, if you go in for that sort of thing.
Karl Strauss Brewing tells me LA’s beer scene is coming along nicely. I could ask for a greater concentration, but as a visitor I’ll humbly accept what I can get.
The workshop was a treat. The list of mentors, faculty, and speakers was — with the exception of yours truly — distinguished. In fact the roster of student/attendees was impressive. I’m not going to name drop, so you’ll just have to take my word.
My part of the proceedings went off without a hitch. I don’t believe I embarrassed myself. The conversations over the course of the weekend scintillated and entertained. Well worth the trip. Hard to believe I got paid for this. I mean, I’m going to cash the check, don’t get me wrong. But the weekend proved more pleasure than work.
I feel energized. I’m looking forward to opening the laptop again once I’m on the plane and letting the words flow. The goal: complete chapter two before Portland.
True, misfortunes may come not as single spies but in battalions. (Or something like that. I’m too lazy to look up the actual line from “Hamlet.”) On the other hand, good news can clump as well. I provided an update a couple of weeks ago on doings along the writing front. Now there is more.
I have a few bits of information I’d truly like to share. But until the details firm up a bit more I’m not going to. Instead, I’m going to write about beer. Deal with it.
This year is the 30th anniversary of the Oregon Brewers Festival. Not necessarily an interesting number, but it is for me considering I’ve been to almost all of them. Twenty plus years of beer lines, heat, random yelling, and crowds. It’s better than I make it sound. I’ve tried some fantastic beer over the years.
This year I took the day off and brought the HA with me. MBW was across the country at a conference. So, daddy and daughter beer day. Bula! We arrived as the festival opened. A stroller provided her shade and a platform for the portable DVD player. She was set. I had a festival mug and tokens. I was set.
I’ve returned from NanoCon Mark IV and my stint as GOH. How about that?
It was a fun little con, held at the Longview Community College, just across the river from Rainier. I’d guess attendance came in at about two hundred. I’d consider it a success. I sold out of Under Strange Suns. I cut my inventory of Reunion in half. I met a number of intelligent and interesting people.
Among these I’d count James Wells, the great grandson of H.G. Wells (or the great man himself with a time machine and a convincing American accent.) We exchanged novels, so I have The Great Symmetry on my to-read pile now.
I had an engaging chat with James Omelina who runs several escape rooms in the southwest Washington area. I’m intrigued to check one out. I hear good things about the entertainment value of well-designed escape room, and James appears to have the design aspect dialed in.
I even managed lunch at the Ashtown brewery, a few blocks away from the convention. Well worth it.
The organizers were kind enough to invite me to return next year. I do hope my schedule allows it.