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Of miles and "Misseri" ... Part One

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Of miles and "Misseri" ... Part One  Reply with quote  

You'll find I often refer to Missouri as "misery," with some sort of bastardized spelling. This goes back to a group of self-important
idiots in the Joplin area ... though it may not be out-of-line to blame it on the Lead and Zinc mining in that area (from decades ago) ...
and that they probably were involved in hat-making too, to get more transition elements in their diet (For those not up on the *Alice
In Wonderland*, "hatters were often considered "mad" from the exposure to mercury in the hat manufacturing process ... And if
"Alice" is too literary for you, then there's the Mad Hatter from Batman ... the villain who, appropriately, made Adam West's cowl ... pink.

Everyone in Missouri was pleasant on this trip ... okay, not all of the drivers ... but "misery" came to apply in other ways too.

On the way to St Louis, I stopped to see a friend in Noel, MO, near the southwest corner of the state I actually cut across a corner of
Arkansas ... to add to my state count? Well, sort of. The last time I went, in summer, the other routes were RIPE with the odor of chicken
rendering, and I was trying to spare my nose. This was also to check on if/when the friend (and family) was coming to the sci-fi
convention in Tulsa that would round out the week. She said Saturday and Sunday, but she miscalculated either time or finances,
and couldn't make it. The first night of this trip I made it as far as Rolla ... decent striking distance for St Louis, which made
off-interstate adventures easier.

So out of Rolla I headed north, eventually I was on [Hey,] MO-19 then after crossing the Missouri River ... on a NARROW two lane
bridge with a weight limit ... can truck drivers do that kind of math? Ah, what was I worried about the fall would probably kill me, so
forget the river. Then I turned onto [Hey,] MO-94 ... at one point there was a parking area and boat ramp for the Missouri River.
This was the closest I've been to water of a major river (well except for the Niagara, the Hudson, and the Potomac, but, by length,
they're sissy rivers, and a big portion of the Potomac and Hudson are tidal ... barely noticeable flow). The water was probably a
little high after the 37th day of rain for the month of June (the calendar said the 16th ... silly calendar), and the water was swift ... so
don't fall in. I also found a dragonfly that had apparently died trying to emerge from water-larva to winged-adult ... though it looked
like something had attacked him, or as CM commented, it took his faulty dragonfly genes out of the gene-pool. I used to collect
insects, and I still marvel at them ... but this was the first dragonfly that I had seen that hadn't emerge successfully. Probably
because the rest were eaten whole and not just munched on ... but it is a ritual much like that of cicadas emerging.

I also saw a pair of wild turkeys ... and 3.5 million Lewis & Clark signs.

On the outskirts of St Louis near exit 14 of US-40, a cement mixer kicked up a stone and gave me a new one-inch, six-point starburst
on the passenger side of my windshield (eye level) ... it goes well with the one I got in northwest Kansas (near Oberlin ... is that
anywhere near Oh, Calcutta?) in Oct 1999, and the other one from Phoenix in Sept 2000.

CM's stop was in a ritzy part of town ... most of the streets had been gated off from the main drag ... how snobbish ... granted a few
of the cut-off streets had some very nice garden arrangements, but most just had cold wrought-iron fence. Also there was lots of
bistros with sidewalk tables ... and one "antique" shop with just the heads from two Buddha statutes, and a small, apparently
anorexic Buddha. In the future I may have to look into acquiring one of the heads.

Since he already mentioned when Clinton spoke ... the additional point he said, that he hadn't posted in the blog, was after
Clinton's speech when many were leaving the room, some in tears ... many were saying,

. . . . "He spoke in complete sentences."

Lib, sorry that I didn't have one of my business cards for you (too) ... my brain was ever so slightly fried for the time on the road,
the pending rain, and the frickin humidity. Chris put me to work, listing names and descriptions for him to correctly identify those
who were posted on the blog and tour page ... this included correcting the spelling of the first guy in line ... I think he was the
Assistant Principle (though I learned that later). As far as I know, everyone was spelled correctly ... and if any of them are wrong;
well, you're going to need to go into court and change them. However Paramount may not want to change the name to "Clingon"
(sarcasm accepted CM ... accidental as it may be).

Oh, and from Left Bank Books, I also bought the Traveler's Guide To MARS ... I mean I'd hate to show up just in time for the
Dry Ice Storms, or the JPL-Probe season. Ironically, the store is on the right-bank-side of both the Missouri and Mississippi
Rivers. In describing a stream, when you look downstream, the bank on the left, is the left-bank, and of course the other one
is the right-bank.

I also crossed the Mississippi River into Illinois, which with Kansas, would bring the number of states traveled in, to five.
Crossing the Mississippi is like a major step towards home, when you're from the northeast ... where "sausage" is a lot
more than what they try to give you with breakfast ... and the answers for seasoning is something other than "hot" or
"barbecue" sauce.

I stayed the night near Warrenton, MO ... I needed one last thing out of my car ... reached awkwardly, and fucked up my back
... it was more bothersome than a problem that next day, and as long as I could get in and out of the car, and sit to drive I was
fine. But this is where "misery" was still "true" to Missouri ... I knew I should have bought stock in Advil. Also, the item that
seemed most unneeded when I put in the car turn out to be the most valuable, it was a belt that supported the lower back
... it helped tremendously.

I only spent part of the time on I-70 heading for KC. I hadn't been on this portion of I-70 since I went to geology field camp ...
in 1984. Gee, 20 years ... a little more than 12 of it, stuck in Oklahoma. I exited, once again onto MO-19 (you can do the
Three Stooges joke yourself at this point ... Hey, Moe) ... and I once again paralleled the Missouri River on MO-94 (again)
going west this time, and seeing another bazillion Lewis & Clark signs ... was that before or after he worked with Dean Martin?
There's an abandoned railroad bed, along MO-94 and the Missouri River, that is a popular bike path. I slowed to make certain
the three young guys kept going, past the petite woman, and until an older couple was also close to her. The guy of the old
couple looked to be in his fourth trimester. Good for him, getting lucky at his age.

I also explored some of the north side of I-70 ... MO-124 from US-63 to MO-5 ... during this leg of the journey to KC, I had a
slight close call with a deer, but I was in the right place for the guy coming the other way to miss even seeing the two deer.
For the other guy in the truck, they were on the blind side of the hill, He would have had zero chance to see them. Sometimes,
in the grand scheme, we are there to help the other guy ... often without him even knowing it happened ... which is, kind of, my specialty.

Once I gave up on back-road adventures, I got back on I-70 and zeroed in on KC ... just as a nasty thunderstorm was doing
the same. About 8 miles out from the 470-loop the rain and the interstate and me, well, we all intercepted one another ... and
just too many were WIMPING out and pulling over ... I was in the left lane, and the idiot in front of me decides suddenly he
better park it under the bridge ... dirt and mud and water flew everywhere, and I bet he buried to the axle before he got out
... they had been doing along of work on the center median, and with all the rain, it was nothing but slurry (water with some
mud thrown in ... for coloring). Traffic came to a stand-still then a crawl ... at the next exit, I got the hell away from the driving-
-impaired and parked it. After the worst of it had passed ... about 15 minutes ... I got back on the road, more were exiting
I-70 than driving on it, so it was a good time to get back on I-70 before rush-hour climaxed; with only occasional sprinkles,
made it to the motel, showered (which helped my back), fresh clothes ... and went to "Rainy Day Books"
... CM already commented on that irony.

Hey, I've driven in worse ... I get off the road, if either the weather of the quality of the driving of others starts to get stupid. And
the lightning show was great ... looked kind of lavender in color.

Don/i8tokyo was there... as was Lynn ... we haven't seen much of her because she's had 70-hour work-weeks. She got
some autographed for her friend Chrissie (I think she posted a few times too) ... well, Chrissie had a morning court date
back in Columbia, and did not want to chance being late. Also in the line was a "Curt" and we discussed briefly, that
when someone asks how my name is spelled, that I use it as a judge of their personality ... that even though my starts
with a "K" that the one's who ask if my name starts with a "C" tend to be nicer (and probably a little more liberally minded),
than those who ask if it starts with a "K" ... that's why, outside of sci-fi conventions (or other autograph situations) I don't offer
how my name is spelled. I was given the "K" spelling so that my initials were the same as my fathers (he's "Kenneth" ...
Kenny to most), so I'm not a "true "junior." Good thing, too.

I stayed the night in KC. The next morning, my back clued me in that my Thursday was not going to be fun and games. It
took me about EIGHT minutes to get up from the bed and into the bathroom ... a distance of about 30 to 35 feet. The hard
part was just to achieve standing (that kind of makes walking easier). After everything was in the car, I called my chiropractor,
he's in a bigger office now, so there's a handful of people to talk to make an appointment. I told them where I was (Lenexa, KS)
and it would take about 4-1/2 hours to make it there ... and if I couldn't get out on my own, I'd call them from the parking lot. At
the appointment, he said I was lucky that I could sit to drive without too much discomfort.

Another friend was going to the same sci-fi convention in Tulsa, and she was part of a group of us who were going to sit
together. At first she was going to need a ride, so the dates and cities for the Tour were PERFECT for seeing CM and
picking her up. Ginny, later found a "chauffeur" for the trip, so she wouldn't need me to pick her up in Ames, Iowa. She's
on a list for a heart and liver transplant ... caused by ill-advised prescription medication. On Wednesday, because of the
rain she slipped and fell and injured a knee ... in part because of blood thinners, she swelled kind of severely. When
I talked to her on Thursday, I wished I was on the same meds, because you could tell, she was on the good stuff ... and
except for the swelling, I told her of the two of us, I was probably in worse shape.

Since I've given her a couple of CM books, I was hoping to see Chris in St. Louis, pick up Ginny, and if our schedule allowed,
see him again in KC, for Ginny mainly ... but that if it didn't work out, I'd already seen him, in St. Louis ... or if I hit a snag (such
as car problems) I still had KC as a back-up ... with or without working Ginny into the picture. And if I hadn't screwed up my
back, I was hoping to stop by and see another friend in Lawrence, Kansas on Thursday.

The scalene nature of the trip (although non-Euclidian) was 943 miles. The cheapest I saw gas was 1.72 (dollar seventy-one
and 9/10s really) I saw a few that said 1.96, but I didn't happen to need any ... at least at that price ...

It was great meeting Lib, and Don, and Lynn (Lynn, we miss you ... please find some time for us if you can) and Chris, as always
it's an honor.

Post Fri Jun 25, 2004 4:17 pm   

Fictional space ... Part 2 of my Tour week  Reply with quote  

A large sci-fi convention is held in Tulsa, it's called Trek Expo and run by a group that as a whole is
"socially distant" (customer service, what's that?). Since 1998 that had been held at the fair grounds,
in June. And even if they had warp-powered AC, if it's hot outside, it is still hot inside ... this year we
were lucky ... okay, at least I was. Thanks to clouds and rain it was reasonable all three days, a little
too cool to some.

The worst part after the potential for HOT days ... is STANDING on line ... when you're back is bothering
you, standing on a concrete floor is the worst. Oh, and both the paying customer, and the stars get
herded around like cattle ... so it's appropriate (and ironic) that this event is held at the Fair Grounds.

It was three days ... the BIG guests were ... (Saturday: ) Brent Spiner, Ron Perlman, and Penny Johnson
Jerald ("Sherry Palmer" on 24); (Sunday: ) Michael Shanks, Lexa Doig, Ronny Cox, John Billingsley,
and Katee Sackhoff. And then a whole bunch of pay-as-you-go guests: Ray Park ("Darth Maul"),
Daniel Logan ("young Boba Fett"), Sala Baker (LotR), Gil Gerard, Erin Gray, Vaughn Armstrong
(about 12 aliens on various Trek shows), Malachi Throne (Adm Mendez "The Menagerie" ... Spock
on trial, two-parter, "False Face" on Batman, AND Senator Pardok on ST:TNG, "Reunification" the
two-parter with Spock ... and a whole lot more) ... AND Kristen Dalton, from the Dead Zone series.

Oh and the "FRIDAY reserved seat guests (RSG)" ... they tried something new this year, the maroons.
In the past, a Friday RSG, you'd go through and get a "free" autograph on Friday, then you paid as you
want the rest of the weekend typically a little more expensive, generally 30/autograph ... or they had a
book, like Wil Wheaton did last year. This year ... for Mercedes McNab, Jennifer Lien, and Teryl Rothery
... Mercedes ("Harmony" on Buffy and Angel) and Jennifer Lien ("Kes" on Voyager), I've seen them before
... just find a new item, or one that didn't get signed before ... no problem (then ignore them). But Teryl ...
I had missed her four times already ... two conflicts, one event cancelled, and a rescheduled event ...
conflict or budget, not certain which (it took six times before I saw Robert O'Reilly ... now he and I are
good friends). I'll admit, I kind of fell for her when she did her X-Files episode ... the interview with Mulder
and Scully ... in jeans, her hair down ... Wow! The story line of the episode, however, doesn't fit with
"admiration" ... well, until she talks about it ... that she's cool with the story line, and some of the cool
things she got to do with it ... except for the "Oh Henry" bars David "set free" in the room as it flooded
(think Caddyshack, the pool scene ... "Doody!") Teryl's also been Dr Janet Frazier on a whole bunch
of Stargate SG-1 episodes ... they've just killed off her character. Damn! BUT ... she's going to be
in/on "Dead Like Me" ... she would only hint at, but didn't want to say too much ... for those who know
the show ... I'm guessing that she's also a reaper, and perhaps, real estate is her second job. But
Teryl is not only cute and beautiful ... she's also this incredible bundle of energy ... fueled by coffee
and enthusiasm ... which it's always great to see somebody who is excited to be there. One of the
other guests was painfully, hide-under-the-bed SHY. And they put her table right next to Teryl's table.

But here's what cheesed me off ... keep in mind that my back was much better ... they set it up that
you were charged $5 for her photos, but you also had to have an autograph ticket to get her autograph,
ANOTHER 30 ... so that's 35 total, PLUS you have to stand in line to get those autograph tickets, and
the line was still trailing out the door, for those who wanted to see Brent Spiner (Cmdr. Data). Now I'm
not faulting Teryl, she was caught in the middle ... actually her presence was of incredible assistance
to the "assigned helper" (the bitch) because I was ready to live up to CM's assessment of "Klingon
assassin" and reach across the table and squeeze until she stopped squirmin ... or at least give
her a string of expletives that would turn her hair into a fright wig. The only time I'd seen this method
before, the photos were included, not extra ... and you didn't have to wait on line FOREVER, and they
were, well, BIGGER names. They were wanting 35, for an autograph, than I could get from a dealer for
that same price.

To prove the point that I didn't like the arrangement, the next day I bought one of each of the photos
from Teryl that I didn't already have ... it was my way to support the actress and thumb my nose at
the arrangement. And I didn't quite expect this, but Teryl silently mouthed "Thank you" when I did
this, so she knew what I was doing. Fortunately that dressed-baboon next to her, also knew not to
say anything, so as much as I wanted to strangle her the day before, the trained chimp knew not to
anger the customer again.

Now Teryl is the person I did most want to meet this past weekend ... I also gave her a signed
copy of FLUKE (there's always a reason that I get a couple extras signed). I told her how it was
up against *The Secret Life Of Bees* (she said she loved that book) ... she worried that a whale
might be killed in the story ... and I'm thinking "Zodiac Diaphragm for Right Whales" and "forty
tons of doofus dressed up like a police car." So when I see her, I'll get an unbiased opinion ...
Fluke vs Bees.

I'll see Teryl again ... in fact I'm considering going to the Shore Leave sci-fi convention in Towson,
Maryland (outside of Baltimore ... "Balmer" to the locals). Shore Leave is July 9,10, and 11.

For the other guests ... Michael Shanks "Daniel Jackson" on Stargate SG-1 perhaps had the
best QnA ... this was aided by Teryl coming out, followed by his wife Lexa Doig ("Romy" on
Andromeda) ... her pictures don't begin to do her justice. Even Ronny Cox was out there for
the last few minutes. Some of the questions put him caught-in-the-middle between his female
co-star and his wife ... and actually the three of them seemed to be having a better time than
the audience.

Brent Spiner (Data on ST:TNG) also gave an excellent QnA. so did John Billingsley ("Dr. Phlox"
on ST:Enterprise) ... Teryl by herself was also one of the better acts on stage.

This was my 99th Science Fiction Convention ... because I knew Starbase 21 and the Keystone
cop volunteers would screw it up, I made certain this was NOT my 100th. They did screw it up,
true to form.

Post Fri Jun 25, 2004 4:29 pm   

Joined: 05 Apr 2004
Posts: 557
Location: The world at random...
 Reply with quote  

Yes but did you realize that yours was the 100th post in this column? Laughing
And ironically the 101rst goes to me who just happens to be wearing a 101rst patch on my shoulder. Cool, Sounds like it was neat despite all the damn dirty apes running around. Next time take some pictures and share. I haven't had the chance to go to a con in years. Nothing like seeing two Klingons try to haggle over blackmarket tapes of Dr. Who. In Klingonese...and a good time was had by all.
Think how much better you would be if you knew what you were doing?

Post Sat Jun 26, 2004 8:48 pm   View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail

 Reply with quote  

Gee how did I miss being #99 and # 100 ... but glad I could set you up to be the 101st.

The site for the con is

They have past years' pictures.

My old style camera, well for the last few hours on Sunday, the view finder fell out of place ... it happened once before, so I poked around until it fell into place then used a ton of clear nail-polish to get it to stay in place, and gently cut away some of the over-paint ( this has been good for about
5 years). But after blowing lots of dollars on the event, film development then becomes low priority (and a stretch of the gas and grocery money).
Some people literally scrimp throughout the year for this one.

I know the guy who did the official photos, some good stuff, but again, it's true photography, with film, then he scans them in apparently, so it's hard to say when this year will be posted, but probably soon.

For my 100th Con, I'm still toying with Teryl in Towson ... or a Lone Gunmen in Dallas ... unfortunately, dollars will decide it, since they are going head-to-head. Though the irony of "a Lone Gunmen" in Dallas may be too magnetic to pass up. (But I do want to ask Teryl if FLUKE kicked the stinger out of the Secret Life of Bees).

Post Mon Jun 28, 2004 4:33 pm   
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