I have arrived in Massachusetts! Within hours of arriving I had eaten a "French Dip Beef Pastrami Panini" (so many descriptors! TOTALLY WORTH ALL THE DESCRIPTORS), seduced a cat, won a bet, and epically failed at Lego Marvel.

In my universe, Lego Captain America can't run in a straight line. This is why I'm not a gamer.

Anyway, I'm here and safe, enjoying the New England architecture and an electric blanket. ONWARDS TO ADVENTUR!
So I am traveling this week, but I brought my origami paper with me! (I brought the quirky origami paper that folds weird 'cause it's paper-backed foil.) Today I made a golden Penguin And Child.



I do love the way the foil looks in the final figure, even if the corners are a bit sloppy. THE GOLDEN PENGUIN -- it sounds like a spy novel.

Otherwise today I have mostly hung out with people and played Avengers Academy on my phone. Although I did also eat fried cheese curds. Fried cheese curds sit at the parallel apexes of "food that is bad for you" and "the best thing I've ever put in my mouth".

I wake up most morning at 4 to go running, and this morning I woke up at 4 per usual, not because my alarm went off but because a cat was standing on me. And for a split second I thought, oh, the cat wants to go running with me this morning! He's waiting for me to put on my running shoes!

But then I realized that was nonsense, and I went back to sleep. NO RUNNING TODAY, CAT.
So yes. Did not die at the City Museum, despite the fact that it has MANY OPPORTUNITIES. It's filled with sharp pointy things and narrow tunnels and stairs and small children to trip over.

I did have a total blast despite near death, and despite all my bruises this morning. The attention to detail is stunning -- everything has another thing inside it or on top of it. Tiny little details and things you have to step back to see. I can see why it's so popular and beloved. I mean, the ten-storey slide doesn't hurt (though the nine flights of stairs you have to climb kind of do). We were there with a five year old, which is a great excuse to do all kinds of stuff, so we did the giant slide and explored the caves and climbed up to the big scrapped airplane which still has bits of cockpit intact, went through the wire tunnel (BRUISES) and saw the shoelace-making machine and bought shoelaces. Also we got eyeballed by the giant catfish, holy crap.

We also hit up Crown Candy Kitchen, which is apparently a St. Louis landmark and does serve the best grilled cheese sandwich I have maybe ever had. Plus, malteds!

Then we had MOVIE NIGHT and I got to see some old friends I hadn't seen in a while, and will be seeing even more this afternoon for a potluck. Though admittedly I did drift off a few times during the movie. It was a good movie, I was just Very Tired.

I took more photos than I posted, but you can see the ones I posted to instagram if you check @ouija_sam on twitter for the last day. Including my super-cool new shoelaces which, because I am an ADULT, a GROWN MAN, I definitely did not pick due to them being Iron Man colours.
Overheard in the airport today: "He was a preacher and he'd had six bypasses, and he was going to Vegas with his wife when she broke her hip, and I was left holding this body!"

I spent the rest of the flight wishing I'd turned around and demanded that woman tell me the full story of the cardiac preacher, his fragile wife, their aborted Vegas trip, and what body?

I also spent much of the flight sleeping in order to escape from the two dreadful women I sat with, one of whom asked me to buckle her safety belt for her (I told her I'd call a flight attendant, she was creeptastic and turned out to be a holy roller). The other one asked if I could put her bags in the rack for her and the only reason I did was that she looked like she had low muscle tone and was trying to lift a bag directly over a woman holding a sleeping baby. I decided I would take responsibility for that child not growing up brain damaged from falling luggage, and helped her with her bag.

The flight got in early, which was nice, and when I arrived home dinner was nearly ready. My sister's Sullen Emo Boyfriend was there for Christmas dinner, but he turned out to be quite nice and we had a reasonably intelligent discussion about the ruination of the radio industry after a post-dinner viewing of a film called Pirate Radio, which was brilliant if a trifle naive.

Anyway he seems like a decent young guy and is probably too busy doing his hair and contemplating his manpain to be a dick to my sister, so I'll let him live.

And now I am supposed to be sleeping, so I'd better get on that. Hope everyone had as...intriguing a holiday as I did today.
Oh look! Is that a train station? I think it is!

Every time I ride over the river on the El, I get this weird sense of pride. Chicago might not be Queen of Cities, we might always be Second to New York, but Chicago is, at any rate, mine, and I'm pretty pleased to live in a city of rivers and bridges and trains.

I'm leaving from Union Station this morning for a Thanksgiving holiday, and it's been a good-omen trip so far. I remembered my Christopher medal (these days I often forget) and the trains came pretty fast to get me here. Walking over the river I saw a light change and one car rear-end another, and while I was waiting for the light I watched two women get out of their respective cars, assess the nonexistent damage, shake their heads and grin at each other, and then, while I totally stared in surprise, shake hands and hug and wish each other a happy Thanksgiving.

Who does that?

CHICAGOANS. THAT'S WHO.

Then, walking into the station, I saw a red-marker graffiti on the scaffolding reading WE CAN'T STAND YOU. Someone had gone back in with a black marker over the red and changed it to WE CAN'T STAND TO BE AWAY FROM YOU.

I won't have wifi on the train, but I'll see y'all this afternoon at some point. Hope you're staying warm (or cool, depending) and having as good a Wednesday as I am.

November's almost over. THANK GOODNESS.
I leave the state for THREE DAYS and my whole office falls apart. Honestly.

I came back this morning to the news that two department heads are leaving -- not my departments, so not my bosses, but nonetheless it's sad-making. They're both not-my-bosses that I've worked with and like; they always say hello in the mornings, which not everyone does, and they always say please when they need something. I don't really expect Please everytime someone needs me to do something, but it's awfully nice when it happens. Except for one guy I work with who manages to make it sound creepy, like he's about to ask me to cook him some meth or something.

I had a really good holiday weekend -- fun people, good food, way less awkwardness than I generally display -- marred only by the bus ride home, which is my own damn fault for believing the bus driver that it would be full and thus not pulling my bag-on-seat-and-asleep ruse. :D I'm not sure how much rest I would have got on the bus anyway, however, due to the college kid across the aisle who was COMPELLED TO SHOUT EVERYTHING HE SAID, ESPECIALLY VERY PERSONAL PHONE CALLS TO HIS GIRLFRIEND.

Still, it was a ton of fun and I regret not a minute of it. Except for how I'm maybe falling asleep at my desk just a little bit today. :D
I HAVE LANDED!

Actually I landed many hours ago, but there was shopping and pizza and beer and more shopping, and some dogs, and a gay bar, and a really really nice sofa where I now am. I mean, the sofa was always the eventual goal, it's not like a random sofa I just discovered. Did I mention there was beer?

Anyway, I am here, safe and sound and well-fed. For great hurrah!
Whoever said the bus internet would die an hour into the trip, you were not wrong.

We are at a rest stop in the back of beyond. Ride is smooth, good times. Me and the Fourth Doctor are getting better acquainted.

Also, lol Brigadier in a kilt.
There are times I wish that I didn't take the red line in the mornings, but only because the brown line gets such better scenery going over the river. Man, I forgot how Chicago could look in all its splendour, when you approach it that way. Scenic vistas are scenic, yo.

I am broadcasting to you live from the megabus, which offers free wifi and that more than makes up for its terrifying mascot (WHY DOES HE SMILE SO WIDE? WHAT IS HE HIDING?). It's nearly full -- though, due to dumping my stuff and falling asleep (something I do often while traveling, especially on airplanes) I have one of the few unoccupied seats next to me. Which is just as well since this bus, while quite comfortable, is not really built for tall people.

It's a double decker bus. I'M ON TOP. :D

More news as events develop! Right now it's time for a snack.
Well, by the time I post this I will be home, and I can tell you right now I will be a totally limp mess of a human being.

The HOGROAST last night was a lot of fun, I got to talk to some people and the food really was good. I suppose it was too much to ask that there would be an actual roast hog, but at least they did have quite a lot of pork products. Still, I was hoping for grilled corn and a pig on a spit. Alas, another dream dashed.

I have to admit one of the conversations I had was truly strange -- I was explaining to the table that I wasn't a teacher or a student, just interested in the conference because I write "As a hobby". I was about to turn the conversation to Transformative Works, which are (or should be) impacted by some of the conference topics and which also distract people nicely, when the man across from me announced, "I don't understand fiction writing."

Now, it's slightly weird to say that to someone who has just said they find pleasure from writing fiction, but it's very weird to say that at a conference about writing. So, after a startled moment, I said, "Do you not understand the mechanics of it, or why people write fiction...?"

"Oh, I get why people write it, but I don't know how you just make up stories out of your head and make them mean something," he said.

"Neither do I," I told him with a grin, before I thought about it. Which is kind of a lie, but it's the blithe kind of lie that I think writers tell a lot, I think, when talking about their work.

"But how do you get there?" he asked.

I was going to launch into some big long thing about where ideas come from and how you craft them into something, but the music was loud and I was tired so I just said, "Practice. Excuse me, I'm going to get some pudding," and bolted.

So that's my new explanation of my writing process: "Practice and chocolate pudding."

I got up early this morning -- man, going back a time zone is going to be awesome, I'll be waking up in time to have breakfast at home instead of grabbing a Bagelful and going -- and caught a cab to the station. Well, called a cab. Perhaps that fleet only has one cab, because it was the same guy who took me to campus on Wednesday night when I got lost. Nice guy, told me all about how he used to run a hot dog truck and the "Fat Charlie" sandwich they used to serve: a hoagie roll spread liberally with cheese whiz, topped with chopped steak, onions, french fries, and mozzarella. Cheese whiz, for our international readers, is an infernal American creation that tastes something like cheddar cheese, only mostly not, and is liquid in its natural state. It's "cheese", but about the consistency of mustard. It's an acquired taste.

Overall, the conference has been a very positive experience. I'm glad I went and I feel it was worth the cost. It has given me a lot to think about both in terms of the scholarly world I left behind and the world of online publishing in which I now find myself. My instinct is always to take literary things apart and see how they work, which is apparently a tenent of Rhetoric; I didn't know that, and I'm a bit glad I didn't study it in school, but the crash course I got this weekend is going to be helpful. It pays to hang out with English majors, guys (plus, after theatre kids, they throw the best parties).

Anyway, I was going to write up all my conference notes on the train, but I ended up sleeping most of the way home, so the nuggets of brilliance will have to wait. I did get to see Doctor Who but I'm still working on the Three Things, so those may be a while.

Thank god I took tomorrow off.
Well, I have had a morning!

I was at breakfast when I mentioned I wasn't registered for any sessions today and was planning on looking around town, and someone turned to me and said, well, that'll take you fifteen minutes.

I stepped off campus and sure enough, fifteen minutes later, I had reached The End Of Town. (Part of this is due to the fact that nothing was open yet.)

I ended up walking down to where I'd been SO LOST last night, a small strip mall with the tiniest Borders I've ever seen. It was huge, and yet, still the tiniest. I hung out there for a while, and then went and got lunch at

*drumroll*

TRIPLE XXX FAMILY RESTAURANT.

Lest you think I'm kidding: They're on the hill but on the level!

I was going to take a Travelin' Jack photo for everyone but I've realised that when a solitary man takes an action figure out of his backpack and photographs it standing next to his root beer, it's very difficult to explain away rationally. I did buy a root beer for later, though.

We're under a boil order here since yesterday afternoon (would have been nice to know when I brushed my teeth this morning) because according to the guy I talked to at TRIPLE XXX FAMILY RESTAURANT, "The main done broke."

I did get to wander through Von's, as someone suggested, which is a cool row of stores all connected by doorways and yet not connected by ANYTHING ELSE. There's a bookstore, a bead store, a record store, and a second-hand bookstore if you turn right as you pass from the bead store to the record store. It was fun! I bought nothing. I have too many books as it is, alas, and my use for loose beads is pretty limited.

I'm back on campus now, and pondering walking back to my room for a few hours before the opening ceremonies tonight (which I will undoubtedly be underdressed for, but whatever, this is my vacation). I'd catch a bus, but this is THE TOWN OF NO BUS STOPS. I see the buses toodling around town, but I think they're just a ruse. Maybe some kind of performance art.

This is a sweet, small-towny kind of town, but there are moments where I think this town is fucking with me. It's amusing so far.
I am at the airport, prepping for my flight out -- thankfully no delays this time. Though I'd frankly rather be delayed from a 2pm flight than a 7pm flight (this seems like tempting fate. I'd really rather not be delayed at all).

It has been a remarkably quiet visit; perhaps I burned through all my travel-unpleasantness credits with the 1am arrival on Saturday. I did at one point threaten to medicate both my parents into pleasantness, but they were bickering and at least it shut them up. Possibly because we are all reaching an age where my ability to medicate them is drawing nearer on the horizon. Deo volente it is still many years off, even if sometimes I want to slip a sedative into the family meal.

Last missive before I get onto the plane and head to Chicago -- I have to head through Houston first so I won't be home until tonight, but it will be good to be home and I have tomorrow off, so that's something. And unless I fall off the gangway or something, I have successfully navigated this trip with no injuries. Touch wood.
So, yes, here I am. In Texas. I brought the cold weather with me, which is awesome.

Last night's flight wasn't really as awful as some transportation nightmares I've had, in terms of not having to change gates or get back on planes and such (for that, I refer you to the "the day I spent in abia" tag in my archives) but I was definitely more overwhelmed mentally than usual. There was a lot going on outside of the chair I was sitting in and for some reason I was subject to all of it.

But this morning there were mango smoothies, and we made a custard for later, and we're about to go out shopping, which will be fun. I am introducing my family to sushi and then we're going to the art store. MORE AS EVENTS DEVELOP. :D
I am safe in Austin.FYI. that was definitely an adventur. More in the morning! The.later morning anyway.
My flight has been delayed five hours. Coincidentally, that is also the length of my flight. I will now be departing when I should be arriving and arriving a bit past one in the morning. I've decided to pretend I'm a Time Lord and can't quite control when I land, which adds a daring touch of spice to my ADVENTUR. (My Time Lord Descriptor Name: The Stumbler?)

This airport is a lot more crowded than my TARDIS should be.



While I was coding that, they paged "A doctor, nurse, paramedic, firefighter, any emergency staff" to another gate. Ways my day could be worse!
Okay, kids, I am off for the airport and the wild blue yonder. But before I go I wanted to reassure you that I haven't forgotten him this time:



Travelin' Jack Harkness is very sad that there will be no tumbling, but there's no time for tumbling! We're on an ADVENTUR!

Plz to note: Travelin' Jack pictures from here out will be on LJ only, because of email posting. SORRY OFF-LJ PEEPS :(

The guy in the car next to us at the light looked just like Oscar Wilde, down to the hair.

I know I stared, but I couldn't help it -- I've never seen Oscar Wilde use an iPhone before.

Safely home in Chicago. Flight sucked, but is done now. No broken bones!

Mum says the west coast is under a tsunami watch. Check your news sources, guys, I can't give more info than that. See you all when I get home!

I am home! And tired. And sunburned a little. Curse my Irish ancestors and the Danes they married!

If you're reading this on Dreamwidth, Insanejournal, or Journalfen, you've missed a lot of photos in the past few days. Sorry about that! I have to go back through and tag them. And I have a ton more photos to post as well, though those will have to wait until I'm conscious again. I'm not worrying. Everyone appears to be at DragonCon this weekend anyway :D

I'm so glad I traveled in the way I did though, because now I still have two days of weekend ahead of me after today. If I had to go back to work tomorrow morning I think I would cry. SO TIRED.

Also I think I broke my toe while fetching lemonade for my parents last night. NOTE: I DID NOT SPILL THE LEMONADE.

I just walked awkwardly into a chair.
On the shuttle to the fair.

STICKS BEWARE.

This is my fourth shuttle of the day. Omg please drivers stop talking to me.

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