Letters to Holly

Monday, May 22

Back From Memphis

Even though I arrived at 5:30 yesterday afternoon, I’m still feeling the jet lag. Didn’t help that my hotel room had only decorative curtain flaps that did not glide together to block the window. The sun blasted me awake each morning at about 6 a.m.

The conference went well, with about 90 attendees including eight or so vendors. The majority of folks were younger than me, but we did have some folks who handily surpassed 40. It was a packed two days of seminars. My brain is en-full-inated. The food was great each night. The event started Thursday night with a get-to-know-you dinner followed by an Elvis impersonator. Not bad at all. We all got into the mood of it. I discovered the conference assigned newbies like myself with a mentor to help us fit in. I found my guy the next day. Friday was a mass of seminars orbiting a catfish lunch. That night we packed into two vans and rode to Beale Street. After a hearty, outdoor barbeque buffet, we hit the street. We walked to the Peabody Hotel where a family of ducks live on the roof and use elevators to visit the hotel lobby fountain. We went up to see them as they were locked up for the night and got a great view of the downtown Memphis and the Mighty Mississipp. Back inside, we sat down for drinks. I chose my default libation, the screwdriver. But this joint served it in a way I’d never had it: They fill up a glass with ice and vodka and give you a second glass full of orange juice. You mix your own drink. But the ice forces you to pour the juice over the vodka, and because it’s already a full tumbler, your first sips will knock you down. We visited the Hard Rock Café and perused the local businesses before heading back to the bus.

Saturday started with a two-hour grammar course. I think I was in the minority who enjoyed it. The night ended with an awards banquet (we got bupkis) and a swank dinner and dessert. Sunday, I weeded through the vendor freebies to determine what could fit in the suitcase. If the conference had any downside, it was the hotel location (apparently the Baghdad area of Memphis) and the lack of design seminars. In fact, the organization is debating internally whether to change the group’s name to include designers, writers, and IT guys. This was an editors’ group with info mainly for editors. I picked up some new ideas, but it was focused on just one facet of what I do.

My plan for today is to file through what I brought back and organize my workspace anew, if my groggy brain will allow.

During the trip, I read the following:

The Cat Who Walked Through Walls – Heinlein’s a good read for those times when you want to read something fluffy. Entire chapters of men handing down lectures on social ethics with scattered paragraphs of hard science and flirting.

Sebastian O – Grant Morrison’s the kind of comic book writer who doesn’t spell it all out for you. You have to reread the material to get the whole picture no matter who the artist is. Every title he’s written feels like it’s missing an expository issue. This comic is about a Wildean dandy seeking revenge on his former running buddies in a Victorian steampunk England. It also sets the stage for his epic Invisibles series which presaged, if not directly influenced, The Matrix.

Torso – After chasing Capone, Elliot Ness went to Cleveland just as a serial killer started leaving body parts all over town. It’s a good story that sadly feels less like a comic and more like an illustrated movie script.

Picture of the Day
A shaky screen capture of myself standing with Elvis. Experts immediately scoffed at its authenticity. And they can go explode.

In the news
Loathe as I am to spread conspiracy theories, I can’t help but wonder what was up with Barbaro in the Preakness. It’s just too odd a series of events to be coincidence. Someone is at fault, and the jockey might be the guy. Maybe he didn’t mean to screw it up. I dunno.

+ + +

Attorney general Alberto Gonzales said the government can prosecute reporters who publish classified material. This seems to say that reporters should be responsible for leaks from the government, not those federal employees who distribute classified info. This is clearly a “shooting the messenger” scenario, and one meant to spook the news outlets.


Anonymous said...

glad you enjoyed the trip, even if it only related to one facet of what you do. And I like that you like Elvis impersonators. I had the great misfortune of drinking enough sangria saturday night to wail through a horrendous version of the King's "in the ghetto." Again, for those of you at home, drinking plus kareoke equals pain for everyone.

Gregory said...

I once sang "Time Warp" from "Rocky Horror" in someone's living room. Jesus, that chorus repeats for hours.