We were somewhere around Boylston on the edge of the deserted streets when the doubts began to take hold. There were no huge bats swooping and screeching and diving around us, but we had definitely taken a wrong turn. We knew for sure when our pints of Guinness arrived in 12 oz plastic cups. The waitress said "we ran out of mugs," and I expected her to suddenly turn into a vomiting green-hued lizard, but no such luck. We had decided to sally forth to find an alternative to the hotel bar, whose $11 martinis and flowing beer welcomed us the night before, but looted our pockets, too. Besides there was the piano player whose repertoire included bizarre choices like Paul McCartney's "Every Night" that left its mark in my brain for three more days, repeating helplessly the inane chorus, "ooo ooo ooo ooo ooo ooo, ooo ooo, ooo ooo," like a tape loop from the depths of Gehenna.
Our first attempt, however, landed us in what looked like a promisingly inexpensive dive but instead featured plastic beer cups and music that proved deadeningly moronic in its assault. Rabbitting away as soon as the first round was consumed, we reeled around the corner to the more welcoming wooden warmth of Charley's and settled in for more amenable surroundings, the promised beer and the occasional spit-take brought on by just a little too much silliness. Lingering until last call, we had plenty of time to chat with old friends and get to know some new ones. We intrepid few, still wandering abroad afterward sidled over to King's because Miss Wendy was craving some food. She and I had gone to breakfast at Thornton's so we kind of skipped lunch (not to mention playing hooky afterward to go to the Brattle Book Shop) and there had been no real time for dinner. When we finally got back to our hotel around 2 am, our neighbors were having a loud party. Hurrah -- and I had a 7 am meeting to go to. Consequently a little dim and punchy the next morning, but there was a breakfast service with lots of tea, fruit and pastries, so I slowly woke up and recovered some semblance of humanity.
The conference went very well -- about 800 panels over four days. Not a howler in my area, which is always good to see. I checked out some of the comics panels, one horror panel (yawn) and couple of other things, but with so many panels in the area I run (Medieval Popular Culture) there wasn't as much free time as I have had in the past. I had to miss the sword fighting demonstration that I had set up with the help of Amy West of the Higgins Armory Museum because it was opposite one of Gene's presentations, but I suppose it's better to have an abundance of riches. Or so I tried to think as I spent the day grading papers after stretching out the conference to stay at Wendy's Saturday night and Robert's last night (mmmmm, tasty tapas!), so that we finally got home this morning to Kipper's voluble delight.
Three weeks to the next conference -- what was all that noise I made about doing less?
Next: the mind-bending experience that was the Korvac panel...